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Life Line Project - Beyond Time CD (album) cover


Life Line Project

Symphonic Prog

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Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars LIFE LINE PROJECT (LLP) is an interesting Symphonic band from The Netherlands, that I been following since some months ago due to the good music and the virtual friendship I developed with "Erik De Beer" (mastermind of the band).

Recently Erik sent me the latest LIFE LINE PROJECT album called "Beyond Time", but we are not talking really about a new album of the band for two reasons:

1.- Most of the music was written between 1976 and 1976 , released in 1994 and remastered in 2010

2.- The album is performed by Erik de Beer, who plays all the instruments, being that the first LIFE LINE PROJECT album featuring a band, was released in 2003.

The album is opened with the pompous and vibrant "Overture", in which he captures efficiently the classical 70's Symphonic spirit (well, it was written in 1976) but with a modern touch that makes the song sound original but respectful of the golden era of Prog.

"Shadows of a Distant Past" begins with a Mellotron intro that places the most demanding fan in mood for the classical influenced track played with strength and energy, even when I'm not sure if the choice of keyboards is the best, we are here to talk about the music and it's outstanding, with a hint of RICK WAKEMAN (Criminal Record), but with a more atmospheric sound and radical changes.

"Acceptance" is a short Medieval inspired interlude, played with an instrument that sounds like lute, and works as an introduction for the main theme, the 17:33 epic "Beyond Time", which starts with a strong and sober introduction reminiscent of MUSSORGSKY'S "In the Hall of the Mountain King", but which immediately and after a dramatic change morphs into a full Symphonic track with lush and fluid keyboards.

ERIK DE BEER plays with the audience jumping from the introductory theme to different keyboard based Symphonic sections, Baroque inspired themes, Electronic Prog or simply to Hard Rock passages where he proves his skills with the guitar and percussion. An excellent song.

"Like Never Before" presents a different approach, starts with AOR sound (This song was recorded in 1986), some Neo Prog influences and some rhythmic mainstream, not my cup of tea, but still interesting, specially when the time comes for some Medieval moments and good heavy guitar passages, an uneven track.

The original album ends with "Liberty", a soft song that flows gently from start to end, not without a couple changes and "Finale", another breathtaking song with excellent keyboard performance and full of strength.

The 2010 version has two extra tracks recorded on stage, "Little Alice" that reminds me of RICK WAKEMAN'S late 70's albums and the excellent "Last Run" where ERIK plays guitar in the style of JAN AKKERMAN.

Now comes the difficult part of rating it, to be honest, it's not as strong as "The King", mainly because the choice of keyboards in some tracks and the use of Roland Electronic Drum Kit on a few tracks (he also plays acoustic drums on most of the album). But the music is solid so would like to give "Beyond Time" 3.5 stars, but being impossible, will have to go with 4, being that it's way above the average.

Report this review (#857690)
Posted Monday, November 12, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Beyond Time" is an album by the Dutch LIFE LINE PROJECT. After three albums, all recorded with a complete band, this one is an early album on which all instruments are played by multi- instrumentalist Erik de Beer. Apart from lots of keyboards and guitars he is also taking care of the bass guitar and drum parts, while he also shows his skills on the flute, mandoline and the renaissance lute. The album is entirely instrumental and so are the two added live bonus tracks.

The music on the album is all very symphonic and contains many beautiful melodic and majestic themes, performed both on the keyboards and the lead guitars. An acoustic gem is delivered with "Acceptance", which is almost like a prelude to the core piece of the album "Beyond Time", a piece of 17 minutes and 33 seconds, leading us through lots of beautiful themes, surprising interludes and containing many tempo and character changes.

Some of the music on this album dates back to the seventies, a period in which Erik was already active in symphonic rockbands J.S. Quasar & Brancard. Both the "Overture" and the "Finale" (obviously based on the same theme) were already written in 1976 and the over 8 minutes lasting piece "Shadows Of A Distant Past" goes back to 1978. The overall sound on the album is very seventies indeed and the music will please to fans of this somewhat nostalgic sound. The drums on the album are played both on acoustic drums and a Roland electronic drum kit, which is maybe the only disadvantage on this otherwise splendid album. We have to bear in mind however, that this album was recorded on eight analogue tracks only and considering this, the sound quality of "Beyond Time" is very good. This goes in particular for the two live tracks, played by one of the numerous live line ups of the band during the nineties. One track "Little Alice" can also be heard in a studio version on "The Finnishing Touch", while "Last Run" is a track dug up in the Life Line Project vaults. Both tracks show us the excellent live potential of the band.

"Beyond Time" is a very beautiful album indeed and it makes me curious to other old Life Line Project- recordings.

Theo Schop

Report this review (#862814)
Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars It is hard to believe, that all instruments on "Beyond Time" are played by one man. Generally these one man projects tend to sound a bit static and not all instruments are played equally well. But this album, originally recorded in 1994 and remastered in 2010, sounds so dynamic and so very much alive. The man behind the LIFE LINE PROJECT, Erik de Beer, is playing 6 and 12 string electric & acoustic guitars, keyboards, flute, a medieval lute, bass guitar and electronic & acoustic drums. The sound on the album has a touch of the seventies, which isn't strange, because three of the compositions are written in the period 1976/1978. The album is completely instrumental and starts off like a rocket with a short overture, that returns in a different form as a finale. "Shadows of a distant past" is a beautiful symphonic rock piece with lots of changes of tempo and atmosphere. The keyboards have that full symphonic sound, to support the melodic guitar parts. The synth solos remind me a bit of the glory days of Tony Banks, perfectly played and very harmonious. A short prelude, called "Acceptance" precedes the over seventeen minutes lasting title track "Beyond Time" in which Erik shows all his skills. Several of the guitar solos are of the twin type, so loved by lots of metal bands like Iron Maiden, with two guitars playing very fast triplet scales. The more quiet parts sound very mysterious and just when you are carried away, the tempo changes and you are startled by a solid Hammond solo. I particularly liked the majestic symphonic guitars themes, which go straight to the heart. "Like Never Before" is an up tempo piece, that ends with a viruoso guitar solo, while "Liberty" is a beautiful symphonic conversation between the keyboards and lead guitar. As a bonus there are two live tracks added, played by a complete band. The sound quality is excellent and the band deliver a solid live sound. It's a pity the names of the band members are omitted in the booklet. Still it gives a good impression of the live qualities of LIFE LINE PROJECT. I think "Beyond Time" is a great album and that it's worth checking out, so four stars are well deserved. Whister.
Report this review (#876725)
Posted Monday, December 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars A fantastic instrumental symphonic album by Life Line Project. Beautiful majestic themes, full of velvet keyboard parts and melodic guitar leads. All music is carefully composed and the arrangements are of excellent quality. Great symphonic themes on both keyboards and guitars create a beautiful atmosphere in which also acoustic instruments, like the flute, lute and 6 & 12 string guitars operate. Compositions like title piece "Beyond Time" (playing time well over 17 minutes) are a paradise for a true symphonic prog lover.

Also very impressive is "Shadows Of A Distant Past", already written in 1978, displaying an excellent symphonic main theme which is interrupted by other more up tempo parts, full of tempo changes and odd metres. A beautiful tender composition is "Liberty", which starts with a dreamy motive on keyboards and acoustic guitars and ends very symphonic with a lead synth and a guitar duelling in a beautiful final theme.

The album ends with two short bonus tracks, recorded live on stage. An album worth listening to !


Report this review (#974708)
Posted Sunday, June 9, 2013 | Review Permalink

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