VARIOUS ARTISTS – Shawn Lane Remembered, Vol 1 & 2

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Shawn Lane Remembered, Vol 1 & 2


Lion Music
Release date: 2004

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When Shawn Lane (SL) passed away at only 40 years old last year, he left a worldwide group of dear friends and colleagues behind in grief. From this grief emerged not one but two tribute albums. Unlike many other tributes, this one holds just a handful of originals by the man remembered. Most songs (or compositions I should say, since they are all instrumentals) are signed by the individual “tributes” themselves. Thus these are albums to be treated with respect. However, it’s my job to let you all know my honest opinions about the songs, as well …

Both albums need some time to grow on you … probably the first more than the second. So, let’s focus on some of the ups and downs of this compilation.

Volume 1

Nothing really happens in Volume 1 until the fifth track, “Mike Crow’s Mailbox of Doom!” by Dave Martone, which starts off in a 7/8 beat on an acoustic guitar in a very oriental mood. The mood turns West as the song becomes more electric and powerful … and it’s probably the best track on this CD.

Track 6, “Gray Pianos Flying,” is a Shawn Lane original, but totally ruined by an electric guitar sounding like a bee stuck in a jar. Sad.

In “Delusion,” track 10, Marcel Coenen flirts around with Latin moods and then it turns mighty strong when the power chords literally kick in after the 3:30 mark. Definitely, a track that stands out from the crowd!

Lars Eric Mattsson is responsible for track 14, and thus responsible for making a 3-minute song seem like a 30-minute annoyance. Pity, really, because he has a few very nice ideas and twists in this! He drops in on several Metal and guitar genres, but – sadly – his main riff, played out on a clean electric guitar, just spoils the whole thing.

The last highlight on Volume 1 is the final track, “The Life of a Miracle” by Mistheria. It’s a beautiful, mourning song, played out on piano with the kind of emotion that only Ennio Morricone could have done any better. No guitars, just a truly respectful piece.

Volume 2

Volume 2 holds a higher standard, and the first track, by Roger Staffelbach, gets the show going! Wakes me up in the morning, too.

Track 3, by Patrik Carlsson, serves as a beautiful piece of music … played out entirely with a clean-sounding electric guitar, except for a little cello towards the end, adding a great sense of depth and bass to an otherwise bright composition. Sounds like someone’s been practicing a lot on his delay effect, too. Simply great!

Track 6 has got “Made in Studio” written all over it. Nice guitar and nice tune, kind of a hero’s happy ending movie theme, but listening to the drums — they lack so much of the nerve that something like this needs in order to keep my skip-button-finger from jerking …

… and leading to the next track, by Luis Moreno, while saying: What’s that coming out of the radio?!? What a kickass opening! The soloing is also awesome! It sometimes sounds like the track that didn’t make it to Passion and Warfare. The kind of song that brings wind to your hair like when riding in a convertible. But OUCH! Who fumbled with the master fader at the end?

The 9th track, signed Richard Daude, has got some creative drumming … and a saxophone … and a flute … and quite a lot of guitar. The problem is this track is just too damn long!

The last two tracks are both very nice, each in their own way. Tom Krypto gives his track 11 a very dirty sound, but with a definitive live feeling. This is a song that would benefit from a singer, but otherwise it’s got lots of energy and that breathtaking, pushing bottom-end sound of the guitar. And in the last track, by Alex Masi, a modernized classical Pakistani musical piece that might not suit the conventional Metal reader at this site, but a piece of music that’s right up my alley. I find this track to be a decent and respectful fusion of East and West, of old and new, and a tribute indeed to Shawn Lane.

As you can see, there are lots of ups and downs in these tribute albums. If keen on Shawn Lane, just buy his own stuff. If curious and open-minded, check these out. Put straight, these tributes would benefit from fewer tracks, better production, and a whole lot more of soul.


  • Frode Leirvik

    Frode was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Norway. His headbanging experience started when his brother-in-law gave him Deep Purple’s Fireball at the age of ten. Since then, he has also been a fan of and active in several other musical genres, resulting in a deep and profound interest in music. Some of his favorites, among all of those who have somehow managed to tap into the universal force of Progressive Music are (in no particular order): Thule, Dream Theater, King Crimson,Pink Floyd, Rush, Spock’s Beard, Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman, Ekseption, Focus, The Beatles, Deep Purple and Frank Zappa.

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