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Progressive Rock Concert Reviews

The Lifeline

Live in Dekalb, Illinois, March, 2010

Review by Travis Jensen

Northern Illinois has always been a Mecca for music; mainly because of Chicago, Rockford and Rosemont, which have hosted most of the greatest rock bands in the world. However, the last fifteen years or so have given way to the smaller venues as the age of rock has come full circle. There are many club venues popping up all over and in-between the arena shows, and Otto’s nightclub in Downtown Dekalb is certainly no exception. Dekalb is really coming into its own as a town that plays host to many of the up incoming working bands with such event venues as The House Café, Starbuster’s and Otto’s, of course. As many bands do, you have to start out with “paying your dues” on the smaller circuit tours and work your way up. As many times that I’ve been to Otto’s, I don’t believe that I’ve seen a band quite like The Lifeline.
What I mean is that they have cohesiveness between them that is almost surrealistic on stage. It’s like they are a larger-than-life band playing for such a small group of people. I can picture them playing in a stadium in my mind, but in reality they are ten feet away from me on a small stage. I had the pleasure to meet this fabulous group of musicians before the show. My first impression of them was that they must be college-taught musicians, as their talent can match that of Dream Theater or perhaps even Queensryche. To my surprise, they have achieved their incredible talent through nothing but practice and diligent hard work. As it turns out, they are very ambitious, yet humble people that just like to hang out with the fans and get the message out to the public that is…The Lifeline

Travis Jensen
Travis Jensen
What astonishes me are the wonderful melodies throughout each song and the way the band works as a whole. Each song is heavily supplemented with strong violin (yes, violin) melodies and electric guitars which are used alongside lush rhythms, and it is all topped by Ryan T. Hope’s emotional vocals. Several songs may give the initial impression that the harmonies are over-emotional, but as each number increases the pace and intensity, you realize that it is essential to the meaning of the lyrics. Overall, each cut was very successful to the fact that they were all well-rehearsed, and absolutely flawless note for note. The CD contains the studio quality that is all necessary to carry through the melodies of each instrument. However, in a live show, I would like to see more expressive qualities with the lead guitar, as it seemed to become a little redundant as the guitars seemed to fade into the background as a supplement.

Travis Jensen
Travis Jensen

Once the first note is played, the music of The Lifeline is something to be appreciated, especially if you like music that is powerful and majestic. The way the violin is incorporated into the band’s larger-than-life sound is something that definitely pulls them apart from any typical progressive rock band into a sound that is completely unique. This isn’t anything typical of a classical concerto or restaurant violinist and isn’t anything for the timid, as these are pounding, rhythmic chops that match any lead guitarist solo work. Put this together with the operatic vocals and huge bottom end rhythms, and what you have is music that is out of this world where each song has the same individual quality that makes it different from the last.


Although my CD review will thoroughly cover each song from their debut album, For All Who Triumph, there are a few of them that have made an impression on me as being performed live, which in my opinion is the true test of any bands’ talent. The song “Never Enough” has a vocal quality that has more of a rock rhythm that seemed to give it a little more punch than the ones before it. “Push & Pull” definitely contained more emotion that brought the set full circle, while a couple of songs later, “Romeo & Juliet” had an element of drums that brought it to a pinnacle which made the stage glow enigmatically.


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Travis Jensen
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 2 at
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