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Life Line Project - The King CD (album) cover

THE KING

Life Line Project

 

Symphonic Prog

3.99 | 48 ratings

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ProgPanda 2/71
5 stars Here we have a true seventies' sound, while the year of release shows 2009. Then, reading the booklet I saw that large parts of the title track (almost 38 minutes) were composed in 1978. At that time keyboard & guitar player and mastermind behind the Life Line Project, Erik de Beer, didn't have the means to record and produce such a large scale work. This time he did and although not everything went as smooth as he planned (he had to conquer a severe illness) and the original year of release (2006) wasn't made, here we have a true symphonic masterpiece.

Erik is taking care of all keyboardparts and most of the guitar leads and he may be held responsible for all compositions and lyrics. He is assisted by a rhythm guitarist (Bram Vroon), a bass player (Remon Bergwerff) and the excellent drummer Ludo de Murlanos. As a bonus there is a lavish woodwind section, consisting of Elsa de Beer ? flute, Dineke Visser ? oboe, Anneke Verhage ? clarinet, Ada Bienfait ? bassoon & Jessica ter Horst ? recorders. The vocals are taken care of Maruschka Kartosonto, whose sometimes fragile and gentle voice contributes to the folk element of the band's sound. At some spots she is assisted by Peter van der Stel and Yvette Vrij.

This is truly a symphonic rock album to get hold of. The first track "Opening" immediately shows us of what the band is capable of, a huge rhythm section putting up the proper scene for some great soloing, both on the guitar and the keyboards, while there is sufficient room for some bass virtuosities by Remon. This is genuine majestic symphonic rock.

"Is This The End" is an introverted piece, beautifully sung by Maruschka, in which Erik says goodbye to the world, which fortunately appeared to be unnecessary. Fluent melodical flute parts are altered with beautiful wailing lead guitars and solemn synth parts.

Freeway is an up tempo showcase piece for the keyboards, probably not the best composition, but an excellent proof of what Erik is capable of. The following "Dusk" is one of these beautiful pages of symphonic rock, that would be a waste to leave unread. The woodwinds create a beautiful ancient atmosphere, in which a languishing guitar can cry its heart out in a way that could be worthy of the great Steve Hackett.

The title piece "The King", the sad but only too well-known story about the mad dictator who doesn't winch for the greatest atrocities and who is prepared to abuse both religion and democracy for his own purposes, is the best proof, that LIFE LINE PROJECT have a true sound of their own. They are not just another Yes or Genesis copy, they have to offer the listener a true sound of their own. It's true, that the virtuosities of keyboardplayer Erik de Beer will make Emerson, Lake & Palmer fans drool, but the sound of L.L.P. (not E.L.P.) is truly different. Just listen to the dreamy beautiful introduction and to the powerful majestic main theme, solid as a rock, but subtle at the same time. The first vocal part is the same as the main theme and is obviously not that easy to sing, but then it's off: medieval sounding folk insertions, displaying the recorders and other woodwinds combined with instruments like the lute and harpsichord, sustained by medieval percussion instruments, a pseudo-gospel, that might not be just the right cup of tea for more fundamental believers, double bass drummed pumping twin solos, charming moments with only flute and classical guitar, everything is laid out at your feet within minutes in this great symphonic epic. I enjoyed so much the pumping "World Of Steel" in which the grumpy vocals of mad "King" Peter are taking turns with the imploring beautiful vocals of "conscience" Maruschka.

"Defeat" is a beautiful acoustic piece, with touching two-voiced singing by Maruschka and Yvette and showing the woodwinds at their best, perfectly arranged and impeccably played. To me the dramatic climax of "The King" is "Doom", a piece that flirts with jazz-rock and shows us an unchained Remon Bergwerff creating the right atmosphere for some tremendous keyboard-soloing by Erik, a truly ominous piece, after which the epitaph of "The King" is spoken by Peter, accompanied by the "Dies Irae" , an ancient catholic church melody, to escort the dead to their destiny. Then the main theme returns and the peace and quiet return. Everything has been in vain, a beautiful ending of a brilliant composition.

The recording quality also reminds of the seventies, no cleverly compressed digitally polished tracks, but genuine breathing winds, some creaking strings and perhaps a bit too woody and dry sounding drums, but this shouldn't put you off. This is truly a great album, remembering the heydays of symphonic rock, without copying from any of the well-known bands and therefore I think, that this album deserves a place in every symphonic rock lover's collection.

ProgPanda 2/71 | 5/5 |

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