4.5 out of 5 Stars!
First off, let me say that fans of Lana Lane and her music will probably love this release as much as I do. That’s not to say U.K. band IOEarth is a direct clone of Lane’s exact sound, but the band’s new singer Linda Odinsen has a clear and crisp tone, a wide range, and a style of delivery reminiscent of Lana’s that it’s hard not to acknowledge the similarities between both of these exceptional vocalists.
IOEarth’s music on this two-CD set also falls into realms not unlike Lane’s. You will find lush arrangements throughout, whether it’s on the dreamy ballads or the harder rocking pieces, which wonderfully showcase Odinsen’s passionate vocals. Overall, the instrumentation/orchestration is quite grand, cinematic even, and although the band’s style is typically labeled solely Progressive Rock on many music-related websites, the material is so much more—Neo-Progressive and Symphonic Prog-Rock to be certain, somewhat along the lines of Magenta, while some Folk or Celtic influences bring to mind Leaves’ Eyes, and Symphonic Metal or Gothic Metal, not too far from bands such as Nightwish, also dominates several tracks.
Some songs are mellow, almost hypnotic, piano-driven ballads, whereas others are firmly guided by stellar heavy guitar riffs, and many of the longer songs are a mixture of both. Not to find itself outdone or overshadowed, the rhythm section proves its worth, with driving bass guitar and drums where necessary, with perfect team play when emphasizing the dramatic peaks of each song like blasts of dynamite-laced apostrophe points. Unique percussion instruments make the occasional appearance as well. And finally, the inclusion of sax, flute, cello, violin, and even trumpet on several songs, seemingly inserted in just the right places and used sparingly to full effect, adds to the almost mystical feel of the album.
And through it all, the melodies grip and engage, flow pitch-perfectly over either the celestial or edgier background music.
With such a mixture of moods, 2015’s New World offers more than a few surprises throughout its extensive length, with no mood overstaying its welcome. In short, this is destined to be one of my favorite albums of all time.