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Trace - The White Ladies CD (album) cover

THE WHITE LADIES

Trace

 

Symphonic Prog

3.61 | 74 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Surely there was a reason why Rick van der Linden stated this album as one of his plus Trace instead of a full-swing Trace album per se (as were the other two albums): most likely, the reason was that he embraced the project of this concept album as a solo endeavor and, while arranging and producing the written material, he found himself a part of a collective effort instead of being the creator of a proper solo album. This is my speculation and I accept I could be totally ignorant about the historical facts surrounding "The White Ladies". But, focusing on the album itself, I must acknowledge that I label it as the less strong compositionally of the Trace repertoire. Lacking the energy of the debut album and the graceful dynamics of "Birds", one could say that the best hopes for "The White Ladies" to become a good prog album should lie on the level of achievement of that sort of grandiosity that is expected from a concept- album. Grandiose this album is, so it is artistically successful in its own terms. Ven der Linden's adequate vision of the use of orchestral ornaments and backgrounds for most of the pieces comprised in "The White Ladies" makes the whole endeavor worth praising, even if it fails to match the symphonic excellence of prior works. Pieces such as 'Confrontation', 'Dance of the White Ladies' and 'Witches' Dance' manage to portray a catchy approach to the exact standard of symphonic prog, while the lovely adaptation of Beethoven's 'Pathétique' and the even lovelier Ven der Linde-penned 'Meditation' stand out as moving compositions, both filled with an exquisitely romantic vibe. Other romantic-oriented pieces such as 'Doubts', 'Surrender' and 'Conclusion' do not reach the same level of emotional drive, but they work OK as continuations of the album's overall concept. I have the feeling that the 'Conclusion' isn't worked on to its full potential, since the melodic basis hints at the story's sad end quite appropriately, but the final arrangement only states a portion of the dramatic atmosphere. There is another Beethoven adaptation here - 'The Rescue', which happens to be a bizarre yet effective refurbishment of chamber music in a funky-driven symphonic framework. 'Back Home' stays somewhere between the joyful and the melancholic: it has a nice motif going on, but I don't find it completely elaborated either. Conclusion: I find "The White Ladies" a very good symphonic prog album. More pleasant than brilliant, not equalling the beauty of other Van der Linden's works, but still, worth having in your prog collection.
Cesar Inca | 3/5 |

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