- This is a musical project by Dutch keyboard player Jack Langevelt, a huge fan of the Seventies symphonic rock and the late keyboard wizard Rick Van Der Linden. Between 1981 and 1997 Survival existed in its first line-up, then disbanded but fortunately Jack didn’t give up and now we can enjoy the Musea release of his first album entitled Crusader (2008).
- From the very first moment I listened to this instrumental album, I was carried away to Vintage Keyboard heaven, what a wonderful and often compelling keyboard driven symphonic rock: a tight rhythm with a lush and powerful, Jon Lord-like Hammond sound, fiery guitar and propulsive drum work in The Holy Land, orchestral keyboards in the melancholical Lamentation, a long and swirling Hammond solo and howling duo-guitar in the titletrack, a slow rhythm with pitchbend driven synthesizer work and lush Hammond organ (like Procol Harum) in I Cried For You, sparkling piano, exciting Hammond and synthesizer play and splendid Gilmourian guitar in Exceptional Friend, majestic church organ in The Knights Templar, sensational interplay between keyboard (including a choir-Mellotron sound), guitar and rhythm-section with lots of great solos on keyboards and guitar and a compelling duet between synthesizer and guitar in the long Montsigard and a dreamy final track entitled After All featuring beautiful interplay between warm piano and soaring keyboards. It's a subtle conclusion of an often bombastic and compelling sounding album that frequently reminds me of Trace and Japanese progrock band Gerard (but I wonder or Jack has ever heard of that Japanese progrock band)......
-After the tragical lost of keyboard-wizard Rick Van Der Linden, we can enjoy a new Dutch master on the (vintage) keyboards: Jack Langevelt, thanks for your wonderful debut album, I am proud to be Dutch and .. looking forward to your next album!-
Rating: [4 of 5 Stars!]
Tracklist: The Holy Land (3:38), Beauseant (2:15), Lamentation (1:11), Crusader(6:24), Abide With Me (2:06), Baldwin (3:21), I Cried for You (2:25), Exceptional Friend (7:03), The Knights Templar (2:57), Montgisard (10:26), After All (4:15)
Survival is more of a solo project rather than a band, initiated by Jack Langeveld and the first version of Survival existed between 1981 to 1997, after that Langeveld worked on the solo album The Final Chapter which was released in 1999. The following two years he was occupied creating his own recording studio and with this studio he saw no limitations anymore for creating, composing and producing his music on a level that was more to his satisfaction.
Jack Langeveld is heavily influenced by Rick Van Der Linden, keyboard player for Dutch progressive rock band Ekseption which was active from 1967 to 1989. And just like Ekseption, Jack Langeveld is influenced by The Nice and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. So needless to say this is an album containing a lot of keyboard sounds, with Langeveld playing Hammond organ, keyboards, synthesizers, piano and mellotron. He is a true genius at playing these instruments and besides that he also plays bass and drums. The guitar parts are played by David Dexter apart from the first song on which Mario Roelofsen handles the guitar. The booklet contains a review by Rick Van Der Linden written in 2003 concerning an early demo version of Crusader and therefore this album is dedicated to Rick Van Der Linden who passed away in 2006.
The Holy Land starts with a thick keyboard sound that reminds me of Don Airey's solo album A Light In The Sky and with many dark Hammond organ sounds that will suite many fans of the keyboard genre. The organ is changed for a synthesizer during Beausant, a more gentle song that remind me of Focus, although Thijs Van Leer would have used his Hammond. Lamentation is a short interlude with a more classical feel to it. These first songs contain good tunes and deserve to be listened to, but the real fun starts at Crusader, a composition of over six minutes with again many influences from Focus. The guitar melodies by David Dexter are played beautifully and very clear and of course Jack Langeveld fills this song with his excellent craftsmanship, his abilities on the Hammond organ are stunning.
Abide With Me is classical just like Lamentation, but this song is supported by drums which makes it sound more contemporary. The drums are put aside for Baldwin which contains a lot of synthesizer playing. Up-tempo drumming for I Cried For You with lengthy synthesizer solos has less of the dark Hammond sounds, which are put aside and therefore this song sounds not as dark and moody as some earlier songs. I must say it is a strange title for such an uplifting song. Exceptional Friend is of course written for the late Rick Van Der Linden. The song starts mellow with synthesizer solos with David Dexter playing some Gilmour like guitar solos just before the pace of the song increases and it really starts groovin'. Great dramatic keyboard parts. The song ends in the style of the mellow opening part and David turns his guitar playing back to Focus' style.
The Knights Templar provides church organ sounds that Jack made himself from scratch on his keyboard. At this point I realize I forgot to tell the music is about a Templar Knight called Baldwin. With so many other aspects surrounding this album it's better to forget about this fact and just enjoy the music. Montgisard is the epic song on this album and it sure opens like that. Dark keyboard sounds that slowly evolve into a cacophony of guitar and frantic drumming. I was surprised by this change and after that all bets are off and Jack really opens all registers on his keyboards. This song changes from one magnificent part to the other. The guitar is allowed only a small part on this song, Jack keeps most of the fun to himself on this one. Also a few bars from Eruption (Tarkus) from Emerson, Lake & Palmer can be found on this song. After All gently closes the album and after Montgisard it is a nice song to slow down your heart rate.
Crusader is a good album that will be loved by fans of Ekseption, Rick Van Der Linden, Don Airey and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Crusader is a summary of the music Jack Langeveld has created in the years since Survival first was disbanded. He is a master at the keyboard but he leaves room for guitar player David Dexter to create a nice balance. One very small point of criticism is the fact that he should also have asked someone else to play the drums. The bass, also played by Jack, is not very profound on this album but the drum parts are the "weakest" part on this album. This album is for keyboard lovers only, a must-have for the ones who like Ekseption.
Conclusion: 7.5 out of 10DPRP Reviews
Just got the album prior to this weekend. After spending quality time with it I can say you just won't find better symphonic progrock anywhere. Keith Emerson, take notice. This is a beautiful produced album ranging from serene to bombastic, all done with the best of classical flair wrapped in inspired and compelling writing. This album is just perfect...what a beauty it is!!! Highly recommended.~
Blake (TCP keys, bass, producer)TCP Website
Survival is the name of the project of Dutch keyboardist Jack Langevelt, who is no newcomer to progressive rock. Born in 1954 and initially attracted to classical music, Langevelt was most inspired by Ekseption, who after all were national legends, as well as Trace, The Nice, and ELP. It sounds very much like Langevelt has taken up the mantle left by Rick van der Linden (the keyboardist and leader of Ekseption and Trace). Like van der Linden, Langevelt does use modern synths, but his favorites remain Hammond organ and piano. Although a version of Survival existed from 1981-1997, that band split up. Following several CD-Rs, Crusader (2008) is their first proper CD and features tracks recorded between 2001-2006. Langevelt plays keys, bass and drums, with two guitarists assisting. Langevelt had been a drummer earlier in his career and provides a competent rhythm section. Crusader is old-school keyboard-dominated symphonic prog that is highly recommended to fans of Langevelt’s influences listed above, though it is often executed with higher energy and more guitar, yielding a more contemporary-sounding result. Note some of the audio samples on Survival’s myspace and ReverbNation pages are not from this CD. The track list for Crusader is: The Holy Land, Beauseant, Lamentation, Crusader, Abide With Me, Baldwin, I Cried for You, Exceptional Friend, The Knights Templar, Montgisard, After All.Kinesis cd's USA(Click Dutch CD's)
Analysis. In the liner notes for this release Langevelt states that his primary influence is fellow Dutchman Rick Van Der Linden, who passed away in 2006, and included with the booklet is a letter by Linden giving praise to Langevelt's skills as a keyboardist. Other stated influences are acts like The Nice and ELP, alongside a general one from classical music and jazz. The style explored on this production is quite clearly one belonging to the symphonic progressive rock genre though. "Crusader" is a concept album, with a recurring theme inspired by the crusades in the middle ages. Somewhat unusual for such a production, there are no lyrics included with the CD; instead there are descriptions of what inspired selected tracks on the album. As this creation is an instrumental one, lyrics as such aren't needed, but it would have been nice to know slightly more of the story conveyed by means of music alone in this case. But I digress. Keyboards dominate this piece through and through. Langevelt adores the Hammond, which is used extensively from start to finish on this creation, more often than not as the foundation for the musical explorations rather than truly dominating in sound and scope. The Hammond is given quite a few soloing spots throughout, but apart from that the instrument is a key element rather than a dominating one. Keyboards and synths are used extensively, too; multiple layers of these dominate the proceedings throughout, mostly floating above the Hammond in the mix. Swirling themes and virtuosic soloing are the dominating facets, while additional layers add nuances and textures to build up rich and highly textured sonic tapestries with a plethora of details and more often than not a majestic overall sound. The piano adds some further details to the compositions, while guitar and bass, although present, rarely perform a function besides adding minor nuances to the songs. The drums are mostly used to provide a basic rhythm to the proceedings: simple and effective, they serve their function but don't add anything to the songs beyond this. Virtuosic is a good word to describe the contents of this CD, as the focus on this outing is the soloing, especially in the longer tracks. The compositions are made up of relatively few elements, with soloing by synths, organ and sometimes guitar as the main element. Langevelt is a more than able performer; how good he is technically I can't vouch for on grounds of musical knowledge but he's certainly no slouch. Many passages sound quite impressive and the praise he got from Linden seems to be quite appropriate. I do find the compositions to be somewhat lacking, though. More often than not they come across as constructions set up to be vehicles for Langevelt's virtuosic soloing, rarely evolving and relatively often staying put in the same repetitive pattern too long. Apart from a strong sacral atmosphere throughout, the individual tracks too often seem to be somewhat lacking in compelling themes and moods in themselves, which may limit the audience interested in this production.
Conclusion. "Crusader" is a creation that will appeal strongly to those who enjoy skilled, extensive soloing by way of keyboards, synthesizers and the Hammond in particular, and should be a treat for fans of the latter instrument too, in particular for those who are fond of Rick Van Der Linden's output and artists like Rick Wakeman and ELP.