Lance King - ReProgram

Lance King ReProgram cover
Lance King
Nightmare Records
Lance King has been around quite a bit. He’s held the vocalist post for Balance Of Power, Pyramaze and Ilium most recently and many others along the way. He’s also been a solo artist, but the last time we heard from him in that capacity was with “A Moment in Chiros” some eight or so years ago. This is set to change this year as his second solo outing “ReProgram” is coming out.
It doesn’t stray away from what he did in his personal debut, but I’d dare say there’s slightly more focus and luster overall. You also know the name of the game, prog inclined melodic power metal that seems able to balance all these tendencies without giving into one over the other, with a crystalline gliding voice on top, chanting pleasant melodies.
The title track that opens the album quickly sets the pace and its suspended celebratory chorus makes it even more impressive.
“Pointing Fingers” is more aggressive and reminded me a bit of Pagan’s Mind, although I guess its chorus was more prog in nature.
“Stand Your Ground” is modern and a little aggressive in the riffing department but manages to balance that with a very “mid era Queensryche” like bridge and chorus. And it’s got one of the nicest solos on display.
“Technology” continues that refined, sophisticated prog, tendency and has nice micro transitions, but overall ends up sounding a little flatter, with its mellow and ponderous soloing offering a nice resolution in its middle.
“Reaction Formation” doesn’t change the vibe but rather the tone to the darker 90s era of Queensrÿche.
While I find the chorus and musical phrasing of “Limitless” pretty much amazing, I think the verse vocal delivery is a little lazy. The drums seem to be jumpy and energetic and the vocals don’t quite follow. It makes for a stark contrast, but I think if there was bit more mix-up, it would have been for the better. Might have been quite the nightmare to mix, but…
“Wide Open” quickly resolves it’s opening statement, with its vibe being very “Promised Land” like and I say that as a compliment. Its smart lyrics also contribute to making its quirkier parts where it momentarily wants to assume a more post millennial “Theater” vibe work. It’s a clear highlight, even if it’s pretty timid…
“Chaotica” quickly descends into chaotic mode, although it feels like organized chaos, with the chorus arriving in an almost adlibbed fashion that causes it to stick out.
“Spell of Domestication” is probably the culmination of all the moods of the album and breaks down from aggressive, to well… domesticated.
“Perfect World” tips wildly more towards melody, with soft keys enveloping refined guitars.
“A Mind at War” is a lot more ponderous and quiet at first before it decides to go for a short interlude where it flexes it’s prog/power muscles in a way not to dissimilar to later day Dream Theater. Clocking at nearly 10 minutes and including spoken word passages etc., it tries to go the high concept road, but I presume that if it were a little more compact, it would have been far more effective, as in its core it’s an fine composition, just veering on for a little too long. As it’s tucked on the end of the album that’s not a cardinal sin, but still.
Overall, I like the ability of this album to sound both cool and prog, without going overboard, and to the point when it comes to choruses. It’s something that has plagued Latorre era Queensryche and they only seem to be coming out of a dry spell with their newest album. Obviously, despite being a busy man, King had years and years to prepare this album, but the quality shows he’s invested the time wisely. I don’t have any qualms about the album, although, I might have wanted a couple of tracks to be a little more dynamic and while I get what they tried to do with the cover, it ends up looking like a cheap “Iconoclast” (S-X) variant. Still don’t judge this particular book by its not particular fetching cover, since the contents are likely to really be up your alley.