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Erik Norlander


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Erik Norlander Music Machine album cover
3.72 | 48 ratings | 5 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 - Rise (51:42)
1. Prologue: Project Blue Prince (3:38)
2. Music Machine (6:39)
3. Turn Me On (5:49)
4. Heavy Metal Symphony (6:31)
5. Tour of the Sprawl (8:40)
6. Andromeda (6:02)
7. Letter from Space (3:16)
8. Lost Highway (5:12)
9. Soma Holiday (3:04)
10. Return of the Neurosaur (1:39)
11. Project Blue Prince Reprise (1:12)

CD 2 - Fall (54:24)
12. Fanfare and Interlude (3:04)
13. Beware the Vampires (5:18)
14. The Fire of Change (7:53)
15. The Fall of the Idol (5:43)
16. Metamorphosis (3:14)
17. One of the Machines (5:17)
18. Fallen (5:13)
19. Johnny America (6:35)
20. Music Machine Reprise (1:53)
21. Epilogue: Sky Full of Stars (10:14)

Total Time 106:06

Line-up / Musicians

- Erik Norlander / keyboards, piano, Mellotron, synth, Hammond, pipe organ, Vocoder, sampler, vocals (5,6,14), composer, producer

- Kelly Keeling / vocals (2,6,13,17,19,20)
- Mark Boals / vocals (14,15)
- Scott Kail / vocals (3,4,14,18)
- Robert Soeterboek / vocals (3-5,13)
- Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser / vocals & guitar (8)
- Peer Verschuren / guitar (1-6,11-15,19,21)
- Neil Citron / guitar (10,12,17,19)
- Tony Franklin / fretless bass (1-4,7,8,10-15,18-20), acoustic guitar (18)
- Don Schiff / Chapman Stick (5,6,9,14,21)
- Vinny Appice / drums (4,12,13,17)
- Gregg Bissonette / drums (2,3,5-9,14,18-21)
- Virgil Donati / drums (1,10,11,15,16)

Releases information

Artwork: Michael Parkes' "Water Music"

2CD Transmission Records ‎-TM-037 (2003, Netherlands)
2CD Think Tank Media ‎- TTMD-1033 (2003, US)

Digital album

Thanks to Proglucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy ERIK NORLANDER Music Machine Music

ERIK NORLANDER Music Machine ratings distribution

(48 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (35%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

ERIK NORLANDER Music Machine reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Menswear
4 stars Testosterone keyboard.

Erik Norlander is doing what he does well. Not super well, but dang well. When I popped this into my player the 1st time, I thought immediately:'This guy's good, but I heard it somewhere...' Yep, I read after that he played for Ayreon many times, and it shows. Good thing though, I always thought that his work with Ayreon was the icing on the cake that made it so memorable. It started pretty well for me. noticed a very deep foot print of the glam/ neo/ metal of the 80's (again?! What's with that decade?). While my teeth grinded, I also read so collaboration with chubby fingers Yngwie and I understood the course it would take. Okay, alright. And then I heard the lyrics, and I didn't know if I had to laugh or cry. I chose laughing for your information, but I did appreciate the music a lot.

Norlander writes very cheesy lyrics, really man (Beware the Vampires, Music Machine, Johnny America and it goes on and on...), okay I can deal with that. Know why? Because he's not the only one (Ayreon, Spock's Beard, Par Linhd Project, Shadow Gallery). So in this case, the best thing to do is to focus on the music, shall we?

The music is good for metal and pompous gothic keyboard lovers, and even sometimes quite good, but unfortunetaly never topping the kings of metal operas (Nightwish, Ayreon, Within Temptation). But being second fiddle in this case still means lots of speed metal solos (eh..) and some of the best keyboard fireworks in the buisness. This guy's mean serious buisness on the synths! No kidding, he shreds his Korg Triton like Malmsteem does it on the Fender Strat! Chicks dig out the finger calluses, right?

The album suffers and benefits the same thing: it's lenght. It's long enough to find some annoying filling but it's also long enough to create reliable material and memorable tunes or keyboard solos. So you have to press skip sometimes, but there's enough stuff in it to find something you'll like quite often.

Amateurs of DragonForce will appreciate.

3.5 stars

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars I have mixed feelings about this CD. While it is very good as a concept album and very well crafted, it is definitly less progressive than Into The Sunset, his previous work. The hard rock side of Norlander prevails on this double album: it seems there is no coincidence that he recruited such hard rock stars like Kelly Keeling and Scott Kail to play the main parts. Ok, his sound is still prog, no matter what. Epilogue: Sky Full Of Stars is, in its ten minutes, one of Norlander's most beautiful prog instrumentals. And his keyboard playing is amazing and creative as ever.

Yet I was expecting more. As a concept album I found the storyline to be a little lacking originality. The playing, vocals, production and mixing are all top lotch. Not all the songs really work, but mostly they do. the album flows is even. but I really wish he had done something more epic and should explore more his obvious huge talent as a songwriter.

All in all, a good album. A mix of classic rock, hard rock and prog. If you like those styles then go for it. But if you want to see more prog parts, you should listen to Into The Sunset before tackling this one.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
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.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Im impressed with Eric Norlanders Knowledge of what sounds good as opposed to trying to sound like the second coming of Bach.This album has everything space music,hard rock,proressive rock and metal not to mention a song by Buck Dharma one of my favorite American Guitarist of the 70's and a pi ... (read more)

Report this review (#19247) | Posted by James Hill | Saturday, August 7, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This "Music Machine" from keyboard deity ERIK NORLANDER is a twin-disc concept rocker that fits stylistically somewhere amid symphonic metal, artfully atmospheric synth-prog, and melodic hard rock. The album's story --the Rise and Fall of a preternatural pop/rock prodigy named Johnny America ... (read more)

Report this review (#19246) | Posted by | Monday, July 5, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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