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Kramer Life Cycle album cover
3.75 | 37 ratings | 4 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Homecoming (7:11)
2. Remember Me (7:16)
3. Identity (8:09)
4. Escape Into A Dream (8:35)
5. A Farewell (7:28)
6. We Mortals (11:24)
7. I Believe (4:57)
8. The Final Chord (9:22)
9. Life Cycle (6:37)

Line-up / Musicians

Rob de Jong / Guitars, Keyboards and Vocals
Jeroen Vriend / Bass & Vocals
Harald Veenker / Drums
Marc Besselink / Vocals & Keyboards

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KRAMER Life Cycle ratings distribution

(37 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

KRAMER Life Cycle reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by progrules
4 stars Kramer is a fairly new Dutch prog rock band that plays a style in between neo and symphonic prog. I asked them myself and they felt neo is ok. I can agree but the reason I had my doubts was their resemblance with fellow Dutch band Mangrove and that band is listed under symphonic prog so let's say it's somewhere in between and after all both subgenres are strongly related so I'm ok with the team's choice.

I also asked vocalist Marc Besselink if there was a second album on the way because the release from 2007, Life Cycle, is their only album so far. The answer was that we will have to wait for at least another 6 months probably but at least they are progressing so that is good news. The debut is an impressive effort to say the least and I will tell some more about it.

The funny thing is that last few years I mostly buy albums based on rumours or reviews on our own site and Kramer was not yet included when I decided to buy this album. So this is more or less an exception that I still decided to buy probably already then hoping for inclusion in the future. We are at that point now at last and I think it's a matter of justice. I compared them like I said above with Dutch band Mangrove and then I especially I mean their lyrical approach. Both bands write about love and life and the past of those things and both manage to create some excellent music around those lyrics.

Life Cycle starts with a quiet slower track that sounds like a sort of overture for the concept album this proves to be. Well, the title says it all really, Life Cycle surely gives the impression of a story of life and then it's logical the whole album is about that as a sort of story. I have never really analyzed the lyrics and wondered how the story goes in detail, I rarely do really but it's obvious that this is someone looking back at his life at least at some important moments in it. Maybe it's not the most original idea ever but the advantage is that you have the opportunity to create an entire album at one time instead of having to think of a new subject for each song. I think they did very well here. It sounds to me like a concept that absolutely worked out fine. I like the build up in many tracks like second Remember me or halfway the album the amazing Escape into a Dream and We Mortals, my personal favorites with stunning compositional moments.

But what I like most of Life Cycle is that it's a 70 minute treat of only great music. I can detect no weak moments on this debut and I'm actually even contemplating the full score here. The strange thing is that some Dutch prog sites were pretty critical about Life Cycle. I don't agree at all with them. But maybe 5 stars is a bit too much in the end. After all we have to give them some room for improvement, don't we ? Well, improvement, on what ? On an almost perfect album ? Maybe I'm exaggerating and it's probably not a perfect masterpiece. But at least I can recommend it to symphonic and neo fans if they got curious. I will keep the score at 4 stars ultimately but those are very well deserved (4,25).

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Some time ago a dutch friend brought me a four track demo recording of a new band called Kramer, among some other little known european acts. I was impressed enough by this band from Holland to look for their full CD as soon as I heard it was available. Fortunatly, I found it was no fluke. Life Cycle is a very strong debut in any way you look at it: impeccable perfomances of all involved, strong and mature songwriting, tasteful arrangements and even a quite fitting production.

This concept album is very ambitious, specially if you have in mind that it is only their first work. But they pulled it off very well! In fact, Kramer released an album that many other more seasoned bands with 3 or 4 CDs under their belts could only dream of making it. Their mix of symphonic prog and neo is quite original and hard to compare with other groups. The overall sound is melodic and familiar, and yet they have their very own sound and personality (something really hard to achieve, much harder on their debut!). The CD is in fact a long suite with many different swings and moods that takes you to a musical trip any prog fan will love to hear. It is over 70 minutes and it dindīt bore me a second!

Even if I enjoyed the album from start to finish, the CDīs highlights for me are the all on the middle part. Songs like the ethereal Escaping Into A Dream, the poignant A Farewell and the 11 minute epic We Mortals are some of the best prog songs Iīve heard in a long time, all varied, with creative arrangements and very well crafted. Marc Besselinkīs voice may not be terrific compared to other more technical prog singers, but he more than compensates his limitations with a passion and conviction that makes his interpretations quite unique and emotional. I also have to point out Rob de Jongīs excellent guitar work throughout the Cd, even if the whole band does a great job at the instrumental department.

I canīt call this album a masterpiece right now - even if iīm tempted to - because I think they will probably evolve even more in the near future. But Song Cycle is a remarkable CD in all aspects. A very strong and convincing debut that will surely please anyone who likes elaborated and melodic music. Iīm looking forward to hear their next release. Rating: 4,5 stars. Highly recommmended!

Latest members reviews

3 stars "TRIPLE DUTCH : PART ONE" Dutch formation Kramer is an offshoot of the Dutch formation Lorian (2001) and since 2004 the new name (with some new members) became Kramer. On this debut CD entitled Life Cycle you will find ... (read more)

Report this review (#1953199) | Posted by TenYearsAfter | Sunday, July 29, 2018 | Review Permanlink

3 stars An interesting if uncompelling release that is something of a slow-burner. I wouldn't put too much stock in their cited influences because there is little evidence on this album to warrant comparisons with them. They have their own sound which is very mellow, mid-tempo, laid-back Neo/Symphonic ... (read more)

Report this review (#294394) | Posted by Makntak | Friday, August 13, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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