SECTION A – Parallel Lives


Lion Music
Release date: February 27, 2006

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Consider an album of musically and lyrically interrelated segments that explores and develops a thought-provoking idea or subject, or, as in the case of Parallel Lives, that presents a story with characters and a plot. Those approaches afford the artist the opportunity — and the challenge — to get more eccentric and theatrical musically and lyrically. Parallel Lives falls short of that challenge, and even when taken as a collection of individual songs, it suffers, as a side effect from its original intent as a “concept” album.

The cheerless tale of Parallel Lives is that of William, who has the gift … or the curse … of experiencing two realities, one while he is awake, and another while he is asleep, the latter of which he differentiates from mere dreaming by evidence — such as a gun-shot wound in his gut — when he awakes. The Dark Alliance gets a hold of him and uses him as a hit man (sound familiar?). The tragic story continues as William is hopelessly haunted and hunted to the bitter end. For the depressing details, listen to the music or read the lyrics. It suffices to say that Tony Robbins will not likely be playing this record at motivational seminars.

The vocals often lack any real meter, and the lyrics read like a bad stage play (was a play the ultimate intent?). For example, dialogue between William and his wife (put to melody): “You are bleeding real bad. I don’t care what you’ve done. You must see a doctor. Perhaps you’re in shock, you need to lie down.” The story’s narrative and dialogue appear as if written by an ESL* student (*English as a Second Language). “Threat” is used (written and sung more than once) where the word should be “threatened” (e.g., “You threat my family”); “sealing” is used instead of “ceiling.” While slips of that sort are relatively minor and do not reflect on the music as such, the producer or record company would be well advised to employ a decent copy editor, to say the least, for the sake of everyone’s professional integrity. Ultimately it doesn’t matter, due to the deeper problem of a lack of creativity.

In terms of Section A’s musical production and performance, Parallel Lives is a professional recording by professional musicians. Torben Enevoldsen composed all the music (before Conny Welén and Andy Engberg wrote the lyrics, interestingly), produced the album, played keyboards, and gave a sharp guitar performance throughout the recording. He is quite adept at speed picking, and many of his solos include sequenced runs played fast and clean. Unlike a lot of guitar speed demons, Torben’s playing displays a high level of composure. His playing “breathes,” and he has a nice, fat, “stratty” tone. It is apparent that he is mindful in constructing his solos, and one can gather from his tendencies on Section A material that his bread and butter is in the realm of semi-improvisational instrumentals. In fact, his chops are most impressive on his three Rock/Fusion solo releases, which are nearly all instrumentals. On Parallel Lives, however, his leads tend to be a bit stiff and generally do not lend themselves to the substance of the songs insofar as making any thematic statement with regard to the story. They are short instrumental displays that can usually be appreciated on their own, for what that is worth in the big picture.

Parallel Lives is not completely without merit, thanks to Torben’s impressive guitar chops and Andy Engberg’s strong voice, but when considered as an eight-chapter story, it has less dynamics and theatrical oomph than a lot of non-concept albums. Considered as individual songs, the album is still tainted by the presence of the half-baked thematic concoction. For the best of Section A, The Seventh Sign (debut release, 2003, Lion Music), is hereby recommended first and foremost. The songs have more personality — sans the concept-album affectation.


  • Jason Sagall

    Jason was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He was born in Illinois and currently reside in California, USA, where he works in the field of Information Technology, and is a freelance web consultant His favorite Rock and Metal subgenres include Classic, Progressive, and Power. He is a guitar fanatic and listen to a lot of Instrumental Rock and Fusion. Jason has been playing guitar as a hobby for some 25 years.  

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