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KRAMER

Neo-Prog • Netherlands


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Kramer biography
KRAMER began life as the band LORIAN in 2001. Several lineup changes occurred in the band between 2001 and 2004, when the band changed its name. Marc Besselink began writing the music for a concept album entitled "Life Cycle". The album would tell the sotry of two children searching for their lost father. In 2006, the band released a three-song self-titled EP containing two songs from the forthcoming "Life Cycle" and another song from a separate Kramer project. In 2007, the band began recording the album and would finish the album in November of that year. The band released the self-produced album in December.

The band has toured with such progressive rock luminaries as GALAHAD, CLIVE NOLAN'S CAAMORA, IT BITES, GOLDEN EARRING and PAVLOV'S DOG. The band cites among its influences MARILLION, GENESIS, PORCUPINE TREE, PINK FLOYD and GENTLE GIANT, among others, as well as non-prog bands like VAN HALEN.

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KRAMER discography


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KRAMER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.86 | 24 ratings
Life Cycle
2007

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0.00 | 0 ratings
Kramer
2006

KRAMER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Life Cycle by KRAMER album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.86 | 24 ratings

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Life Cycle
Kramer Neo-Prog

Review by Makntak

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 Prog. There are many beautiful moments scattered throughout the album especially in the wonderfully restrained use of piano as a central element in the sound. Rob De Jong's lead guitar work is very tasteful and melodic but rarely gets to let loose. Having said that the solo in the closing track is wonderful. The rhythm section do a fine if unremarkable job of holding everything together, but again, it's in the restraint of everything that much of this album's strength lies; the bass sounds like it was recorded in the belly of an empty ship it's so deep and resonant and full. Nothing is showy, bombastic or pyrotechnic except in very brief moments which, by their scarcity, have an increased impact . Instead, the songs are built around strong, gentle melodies that are characterised by melancholy and introspection supported by a highly developed sense of atmosphere in each title. Besselink's work programming the keyboards to accomplish this effect is very noteworthy in this regard with gorgeous string pads elegantly filling the soundstage on each song. His singing takes a little getting used to but once your ears adapt, his voice seems perfectly suited to the compositions.

The production is a bit lumpy and sodden for my ears, sonic wet bread, but it's not awful by any means. Individually, the compositions are engaging enough but it's over the course of the whole album that you grow accustomed to the style, timbre and tenor of the work and slowly but surely The Moody Blues appear from the sonic fog to offer you a touchstone for what you're hearing. Lush and warm with some wonderful moments, Life Cycle isn't going to jump up and bite you on the bum or change anyone's world, but for a Sunday morning as the sun breaks through your window and you want to just lie and reflect in pools of loveliness, then it's certainly worth your attention.

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 Life Cycle by KRAMER album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.86 | 24 ratings

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Life Cycle
Kramer Neo-Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

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 dind´t bore me a second!

Even if I enjoyed the album from start to finish, the CD´s 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 I´ve heard in a long time, all varied, with creative arrangements and very well crafted. Marc Besselink´s 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 Jong´s excellent guitar work throughout the Cd, even if the whole band does a great job at the instrumental department.

I can´t call this album a masterpiece right now - even if i´m 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. I´m looking forward to hear their next release. Rating: 4,5 stars. Highly recommmended!

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 Life Cycle by KRAMER album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.86 | 24 ratings

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Life Cycle
Kramer Neo-Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

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).

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