Lane, Lana - Lady MacBeth

Year of Release: 2005
Label: Frontiers Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 54:14:00

Take one look at the discography of Lana Lane and tell me what you see. 10 studio albums, 2 EPs, 1 "best of" album, 2 live albums, 1 DVD and 2 tour CDs. Add to that a huge fan base in Japan, the States and Europe and what do you get? A good reason for a party! 2005 marks the 10 year anniversary of Lana Lane as a solo artist. It all started with her debut album in 1995, Love Is An Illusion, but in the years since, she has developed not just as a singer, but also as a songwriter. On top of that, she has worked with several well known musicians and guested on albums of Ayreon, Hello?se and Gary Hughes.

The party is started with the release of her 10th studio album, Lady MacBeth. If you look at her albums, you wonder: what more could she possibly do that she has not already done before? Well, you'd be surprised. Something I personally admire is the fact she co-wrote almost the entire album. One song is even composed only by her, so she has grown as a composer herself.

The style of Lana Lane has always floated between melodic hard rock and symphonic prog, with one album standing out: Secrets Of Astrology, which could almost be called prog metal. This makes the expectations for Lady MacBeth high ? what direction would she go this time? Well, it is a little heavier than Project Shangri La, but not as loud as Secrets Of Astrology. There are some really nice, crunchy songs on the album, but alternated with more mellow songs and of course a few excellent ballads.

Besides Erik Norlander, who is present on every one of her albums, there is a very prominent role for guitar player Peer Verschuren, who already supported her on her European Tours since 2001. Also drummer Ernst van Ee is present on the album, providing a steady backbone to the songs. New is bass player Kristoffer Gildenlöw (Pain of Salvation), playing fretted and fretless bass on the album. The overall sound is fantastic, lush and warm. The musicians match perfectly with each other, so it is a great album to listen to.

As soon as you hear the opening song, "Lady MacBeth," you already feel the energy: first the piano intro, then the heavy, plucking bass by Gildenl?w and the rolling drums by van Ee, and the serene vocals by Lana Lane, then you know it ? this is an amazing, invigorating album. I particularly love the drums here! It is an up-tempo song, with great riffs by Verschuren, who keeps tread with the drums. Lana's vocals are fabulous, throughout the album and never over the top, but always in control.

As the title gives away, the story, a concept album, is inspired by Shakespeare, but not the clich? main character, but a different person out of the play, the dark and sinister Lady MacBeth, giving the album a dark edge, which again fits the heavy parts of the music.

The various stunning guitar solos, most of them by Peer Verschuren, but a few by Neil Citron, are just what the doctor ordered. They add spice to the total sound of the album and are not done "to have a few solos," but they fit in perfectly. Next to the leads by Verschuren, you hear the guitar play by Mark McCrite, who uses several string instruments, which again elevate this album high above many others.

Take for example the second track, "Someone To Believe In," which is exactly what you expect from Lana Lane. Here the intro guitar by McCrite and the rhythm guitar by Verschuren complement each other quite nicely. The keyboard intro is as you are used to from Erik Norlander; although I must say I noticed his play is more in the background than on other albums. This does add to the idea it is a Lana Lane album.

The heaviest track, and also the darkest, is without question "Summon The Devil." Don't take this song out of context, or people will think Lana has gone over to the dark side and now plays death metal :). (For the record, this is not a death metal song!) The haunting chorus will stick in your head for weeks and Peer's tight and heavy riffs are just great. I had the privilege to join the band in the studio during the rehearsals and this was the very first track I heard, so it stuck with me ever since. It's heavy, but not too much. Another highlight is the beautiful "No Tomorrow," which Lana wrote together with Mark McCrite and again showcases the amazing talents of Kristoffer Gildenl?w, who really surprises with his soft and warm play on this album. This will be a favourite track for many who listen to the album, I guess. I wouldn't call it the most beautiful track of Lana lane, but it is certainly in my top 5. More heaviness is found in the song that means the most to me: "Shine On Golden Sun," solely written and composed by Lana Lane. The mandolin by Neil Citron in the intro is so beautiful and it starts out as a soft and gentle ballad, but with the chorus, the heavy riffs and pounding drums kick in. Very impressive.

The album counts one instrumental, with wordless vocals. This gem, composed by Erik Norlander, is in the vein of his Music Machine epic "Sky Full Of Stars," with several nice solos, including a great piece by Don Schiff on the N/S stick. After this dream moment, you are brought back into the real world, with the savage drums of van Ee on "Keeper Of The Flame," a fast song, with short, tight riffs by Verschuren.

The album ends with "Dunsinane Walls" and you are left with the sound of Lana Lane in your ears: a gentle, but very beautiful singer. The soft mellotron tones accent her voice and can only lead to one conclusion: this is one of the best female vocalists around and one we should very much cherish.

I can't think of a better way to celebrate Lana Lane's 10th anniversary than with this album. I have been a fan of Lana Lane for about 5 years and I must honestly say that this is her absolute best album. If you value good and honest music, you must at least have Lady Macbeth in your possession. If you still doubt, visit her website and listen to the samples of the album. I am quite sure you will then agree with what I wrote in the above review. If not, well, it won't change my opinion. A fantastic album.

The Dream That Never Ends (7:55) / Someone To Believe (4:43) / Our Time Now (5:19) / Summon The Devil (5:52) / No Tomorrow (4:40) / Shine On Golden Sun (5:33) / The Vision (4:06) / Keeper Of The Flame (5:45) / We Had The World (6:31) / Dunsinane Walls (3:38) / Bonus video clip 'Someone To Believe

Lana Lane - lead and harmony vocals
Erik Norlander - keyboards
Peer Verschuren - lead and rhythm guitar
Mark McCrite - acoustic and electric guitars, harmony vocals
Neil Citron - lead guitars, mandolin
Kristoffer Gildenlöw - fretless and fretted basses
Don Schiff - NS/Stick
Ernst Van Ee - drums
Kelly Keeling - harmony vocals

Love Is An Illusion (1995)
Curious Goods (1996/2002)
Garden Of The Moon (1998/2002)
Echoes From The Garden (1998)
Live In Japan (1998)
Love Is An Illusion 1998 Version (1998)
Ballad Collection (1998)
Acoustic Live in Tokyo (1999) (promotional release only)
Queen Of The Ocean (1999/2005)
Echoes From The Ocean (1999)
Secrets Of Astrology (2000/2005)
Ballad Collection (2000)
Project Shangra-La (2002)
Covers Collection (2002/2003)
Lana Lane and Erik Norlander - European Tour 2003 Souvenir CD (2003)
Winter Sessions (2003)
Return To Japan (2004)
Lady Macbeth (2005)
Gemini (2006)
Red Planet Boulevard (2007)
The Best Of Lana Lane 2000-2008 (2008)

Storybook - Tales From Europe And Japan (2004) (DVD)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: May 16th 2005
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Artist website:
Hits: 1480
Language: english


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