CD Reviews

Allen-Lande - 'The Showdown' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 04, 2010    
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A barnstorming piece of hard rock theatre.

It all began way back in the fall of 2005 with ‘The Battle’, a precision engineered slab of molten hard rock which skillfully blended together epic storytelling, consummate theatrical melodrama and overblown musical bombast into one jaw droppingly tantalizing package. Less than two years later the equally enthralling second installment ‘The Revenge’ once again lit up the night sky as it blazed an indelible fiery trail across the collective subconscious mind of an expectant public. Now, prepare yourself for ‘The Showdown’, the third and arguably most grandiose part yet in the ever more intriguing saga that is Allen/Lande!

For those of you who, for one reason or another, find yourselves latecomers to this particularly opulent party, Allen/Lande is essentially a vehicle for Symphony X vocalist Russell Allen and Masterplan’s Jorn Lande to get together away from the day jobs and flex their tonsils over some of the most imposing, most ostentatious symphonic rock melodies you’re ever likely to hear in one lifetime. The brainchild of current Primal Fear guitarist Magnus Karlsson (also the principal driver behind a string of similarly stunning releases from the likes of Last Tribe, Starbreaker, Codex, Bob Catley, etc.), the project has always had pretty big ambitions, and boy, on those first two albums did it deliver those ambitions in style!

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Detractors of the first two releases (yes, they do exist) have often complained that the sound was too full on and in your face all the time, although I rather suspect that with a pair of vocalist essentially renowned for their ability to belt it out with the best of ‘em, that was rather the point! But whatever … it would seem that those involved have to some extent taken that on board in part as there’s noticeably more ambient light and shade to ‘The Showdown’ than was initially evident on early run-throughs of both its predecessors. Fear not however, if like me you have a penchant for the overblown, the good news is that the lavish arrangements, voluminous production values and soaring vocal battles we’ve come to expect are still very much the mainstay of the dozen songs which comprise this latest effort.

Honed to perfection by Karlsson, songs such as ‘The Showdown’, ‘Bloodlines’, ‘We Will Rise Again’ and ‘Eternity’ (to name but four) are then born aloft to a completely new level as both vocalists pour their heart and soul into their creation. Be it working independently or in harmony, rarely have two such powerful and distinct voices complemented and contrasted one another with such devastating effect. Dynamic, dramatic and replete with the kind of cocksure swagger which only comes when you know you’ve created a bit of a monster, ‘The Showdown’ is a barnstorming piece of hard rock theatre which, if you have any sense, should be coming to a CD player near you very soon!

Oh yeah, lest I forget, even before you get to the treasure within, there’s yet another great album cover from the artistic genius of Rodney Matthews!

Dave Cockett

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