Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Erik Norlander - Music Machine CD (album) cover


Erik Norlander



3.70 | 43 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars "This is the story of Johnny America, a new kind of music machine"

Just like David Bowie's classic The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, Erik Norlander's Music Machine is a concept album about an imaginary Rock Star. The storyline and the lyrics of this "Heavy Metal symphony" are sadly rather cheesy and full of cliches, but the music itself is mostly very good. The styles involved on this massive double album include traditional Heavy Metal in the vein of Deep Purple and Dio-era Black Sabbath, Classic Rock, Neo-Classical Metal, Progressive Metal, Power Metal, Hard Rock, Blues Rock and energetic keyboard-driven Symphonic Prog in the vein of Emerson Lake & Palmer.

The guests include Mark Boals (who also provided vocals for Yngwie Malmsteen), Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser (of Blue Oyster Cult-fame), and drummer Vinny Appice (who played with Black Sabbath and Dio), and several others. The backgrounds of these musicians give you further clues of what you will find here. Ayreon's Metal Operas, that relied on a similar set of styles (and to which Norlander contributed), might also provide some hints. Though, thank goodness, Music Machine is not as sprawling and all-over-the-place as Ayreon's works, I am sure that it will appeal to many of the same fans. The vocalists and instrumentalists involved are all very good, but the foremost instrument are Norlander's brilliant keyboard playing.

There certainly are some great moments on this album but also a few weaker moments. With a running time of one hour and 46 minutes, you tend to get a little bit exhausted towards the end even if it is mostly very good music. Had the cheesy storyline been toned down somewhat and the running time been brought down to fit on a single disc, Music Machine could probably have attracted a higher rating from me. But as it stands it is just a good, and not a fantastic, follow-up to Into The Sunset. Both of these studio albums are definitely recommended, but the live album Stars Rain Down is more consistent and provides a nice cross-section of tracks from these two albums plus some of Norlander's best works from other sources.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this ERIK NORLANDER review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.