Lance King is a difficult figure. He’s best known for being a bit of everywhere but still being best known for nothing in particular. His early late 2000’s work with Balance of Power or most likely Pyramaze’s first two albums might be the points of interest. The man has a very grounded style, combined with an interest for sci-fi scenery, very befitting the style that permeates the second album to bear his solo name; ReProgram. His self titled solo works are released through Nightmare Records, of which he is the founder and proprietor. It seemed for some time that he’d fallen out of the business, releasing the latest album (Ilium - My Misanthropia) in 2015, and since then only a few guest spots here and there. ReProgram is his return to form, and to be perfectly blunt, the man’s still as Lance King as Lance ever Kinged.
Compared with the previous album released under King’s name - A Moment in Chiros (2011) - it’s the same, but in a new, modernized way. The prog presence is heavy, with invigorating drums by Morten Gade Sørensen (Pyramaze, Anubis Gate, Wuthering Heights), laying the fundament for the distinct melodic play to follow, which is one of the best parts of the album. For some reason, the album opens with - and is titled after - a song that for every intent and purpose feels like filler. The title track simply isn’t interesting in any way, and everything about it feels like filler. Very much aside from that, and a few hiccups later on, ReProgram is a good album, one deserving of a good lineup to deliver it. And while the album might not be of a coherent line-up, it’s still delivered with plenty of refreshing pomp and style and befitting the underlying theme and the style of the album. Much of the guitars, bass and keyboards however are shared between a few distinguished guests; being among others Kim Olesen of Anubis Gate, Markus Sigfridsson of Darkwater and Mattias IA Eklundh of Freak Kitchen.
King himself shows that while it’s been years since his last significant release, he still has all the powers of the bone carver. Tracks like Pointing Fingers or closing epic A Mind at War show his magnificent range, while Stand Your Ground and Perfect World show the power metal side of things. Unfortunately, the lyrics sometimes border on the right down cringeworthy, especially with tracks like Technology and Chaotica; I’m sorry Lance, but to pull “technology is moving so fast” on us you’re about fifteen years too late. That nitpick aside, the material on here is mostly driven by the hypnotic vocal melodies and stellar effort from King, taking center stage. Flawless tracks like Pointing Fingers cement what was begun on the first album, while a personal favorite in Perfect World tries for some slightly different stylistics, tossing in a sweet little keyboard solo to break off. It’s about time King came out of hiding, because ReProgram might not be super new and innovative, but it shows the stalwart presence that King can be in the progpower scene.
Standout tracks: Pointing Fingers, Technology, Perfect World, A Mind at War