Six out of ten or three stars out of five. Very good if we´re talking about an album that collects covers and having in mind that I´m not friend of tribute, homage's, and so on. If we´re talking about rarities, I prefer unreleased –but original- material.
Lana Lane, queen of sympho-pomp-hard-melodic-rock and her mate Erik Norlander (bass, producer, keyboards, guitars) offers us her particular collection of favorite songs. If you imagine Lana´s vocals along with the names written in the booklet, you´ll notice that instrumental quality is guaranteed: Gregg Bissonette, Nick D´Virgilio and Ed Warby on drums; Arjen Lucassen, Neil Citron, Mark McCrite and Gabriel Moses on guitars; Tony Franklin on bass; y and the delicate point of Novi Novog on viola and Cameron Stone on cello. This album is great to complement “Music Machine”, the amazing conceptual double album released by Norlander. The review will be publish in the next progVisions update if I survive summer´s spanish heat.
As you can suppose there´s no room in “The Covers Collection” for sympho or progressive covers. Lana mainly focus on melodic hard rock, that I admit is currently out fashioned, and great bands that out of labels. Lana and Erik dismount the original songs rebuilding them adding personal touches and thoughtful and original arrangements.
The album opens with “The Wall” (Kansas) &“Kashmir” (Led Zeppelin). A great beginning and two tracks that everybody must listen in order to understand the order of the Universe. After these songs, the first surprise… a song titled “Soaring” by an unknown (at least for me) band named Aviary. A really beautiful and delicate song with reminiscences of Queen and Chicago. I´m sorry I can´t compare it to the original but this cover is really great. After a good version -with an amazing hammond solo- of Argent´s “Hold your head up” (sorry but I can´t stand this song) that destroyed Fish in the album “Songs from the mirror”, it´s time for “Innocence”, a great song by the undervalued Enuff Z´Nuff, the band that, along with Cheap Trick, better honors The Beatles melodies (Blur and Oasis are (bad) disciples). With “I´ll see you in my dreams” by the kings of AOR Giant, Lana takes me back to my sixteen years thanks to one of the best ballads I´ve ever heard. The keyboard arrangements and the voice of Lana are breathtaking. If you don´t know Giant and you love AOR I don´t know what are you waiting for. In “Don´t try so hard” Lana pays homage to the most lyrical and delicate Queen of “Innuendo” with good guitar and backing vocals arrangements. Do you want more AOR?... well, it´s time for “Northern Lights” by TNT, another great band and a very hymnic track. Lana shows the power of her voice and there´s also a great guitar solo by Gabriel Moses played over good arrangements by Norlander.
And now the last three tracks. If AOR is uncool in 2003 (for the ignorant's, of course), the uncoolest thing of the universe would be a cover of “Still Loving You” by the german band Scorpions. I must admit that I loved the song the first two millions listenings but after that I hate it to death. Fortunately the harpsichord sounds and string arrangements of this cover have convinced me and Lana´s voice is not Klaus Meine´s. The best cover follows: “Weep in Silence”, a classic song by Uriah Heep co-written by John Wetton. A delicious song with good guitars by Neil Citron and amazing drum work by Nick D´Virgilio. The last tracks is “Stargazer” by the mythical Rainbow. Lana reaches the highest notes that once Ronnie James Dio sang. The song sounds fine with a brutal Warby and a tasteful Lucassen on guitars. Keyboards and guitars solos are simply incredible.
Of course I keep on thinking that tributes are not my favorite material but this album is drenched in quality. You can listen to great covers of classic tracks and you can discover lots of legendary bands.