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Raimund Burke’s Spirit of Lao Dan – Secret Life Award winner

Raimund Burke’s Spirit of Lao Dan
Secret Life
by Mark Machlay at 09 November 2021, 8:30 AM

The multi-faceted musician Raimund Burke has been hard at work on his latest creation since 2019. A blending of progressive rock and metal influences mixed with traditional Chinese instruments and a plethora of guest vocalist form his new project SPIRIT OF LAO DAN and the album titled “Secret Life”. Burke has had a long career in music ever since his parents gave him his first guitar in 1984. That same year he formed his first band INVERNESS but having recorded only one demo title “Good Bye” in 1991, didn’t really go anywhere, though the other members would go on to form the band WARHEAD in 1993. Burke also studied popular music in 1990 at Hochschule fuer Musik und darstellende Kunst in Hamburg, Germany. Hungry for more, he formed the hard rock band KING COCKROACH in 1991, joined an oddly name instrumental fusion band name ZUMPF from 1992-1994, and was part of another hard rock band name MARTELLI in 1994. Some years later, he finally got back to his other passion and purchased a drum kit to play in 2000 and utilized it on INTO THE VOID, a cover band playing hard rock and heavy metal songs in 2001.

By 2005, Burke seemed to start really finding his passion and released his first solo album “Get it”. Under his own moniker, he has since released multiple collections of hard rock-based Christmas music collections and a new solo album in 2008 called “Into My Arena”. In 2014-2016 he created the stunning “The Raimund Burke Orchestra Performs a Rockin’ Tribute to Glenn Miller” in which he plays all the instruments as a Big Band on stage. He continues unhindered in his musical journey now with his new project SPIRIT OF LAO DAN wanting to return to prog-metal but including vocals this time around. He enlisted an extensive list of guest singers such as current DIAMOND HEAD vocalist Rasmus Anderson, MASTERPLAN’s Roland Grapow, and Henning Basse who has toured with BRAINSTORM, FIREWIND, and GAMMA RAY as well as fronting his own band METALIUM. The album features many connections to Daoism and Laozi which came from Burke’s own practices of traditional Chen Taijiquan since 1990. The practices contain many of the principles of Daoist tradition, denoting the unity of complementary polarities – a Yin and Yang. This is exemplified in Burke’s combining of the verses of Laozi and connecting them with his music.

After having done various instrumental albums including his latest “swing-rock” based album, Raimund Burke is back to music with vocals and despite the fact that often albums written entirely by one person can be hit-or-miss, “Secret Life” does an amazing job playing in the prog-metal space. With a plethora of world class singers, every track is quite the banger and there isn’t really a dull track on the album. For being written and recorded by just one person – even one who has been in the industry for over 35 years – the production and musicianship is on par with any major release you could pick. I’m reminded of classic hard rock and heavy metal bands such as DEEP PURPLE, QUEENSYRCHE and my own beloved DREAM THEATER. By the time you get to the final song “Live Forever” that seems to climb and climb to ever more heights, ascending to higher and higher epic glory and then going out on a quiet little strummed post-lude and some guitar noodling, you want to start to the album over and begin the journey again. The unexpected Chinese instruments enter and leave songs seamlessly and act as intro and outros between songs giving this western listener an air of mysticism and esoteric knowledge to the album.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Intro
2. All Things
3. One Brings About
4. The One
5. Secret Life
6. How They Return
7. Attained the One
8. Movement of Dao
9. If All on Earth
10. Mother of the World
11. Live Forever
Raimund Burke – All Instruments
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 24 March 2023

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