Lalu - Atomic Ark (2013)

It's Vivien Lalu's, Frenchman composer / keyboardist, project with several big names on the line up. It's also an example of how several world class musician in one supergroup actually can lift up expectation. The album swim in the progressive metal genre, the most technical of the metal motherland of course. The consisting musicians give a sub 'variation' that related to their own works, such as the vocalist give bits of Virgin Steele mainly due to its vocal style similarity, and of Mekong Delta of course. Virgil Donati is a logic hire for the drum and he added his free style fusion elements. The string players, Simone Mularoni, Mike LePond and guests Marco Sfogli / Joop Walters added the needed metal chops. It's quite a complex combination though, and it's reflected to the output of each songs. So here we are, Atomic Ark is the title and looks like Lalu's second solo album of this kind.

The main menu was actually on the last track: Revelations, a 20 minutes composition, mixed up many interesting passage of progressive, groove, fusion, elements. Very ambitious one. Back to the first track called Greed, the opening with Virgil's drumming triggered the right guitar riff respond. This is straightforward - almost standard - song structure, but then solos improvisation in the middle-end shake it all. War On Animals is nice to heard for its alternative like chorus line. Tatonka, grabbing inspiration from AOR-like drum+keyboard intro, the deep low vocal vs standard heavy metal voice is a good one. Thick progressive chording combined with one more deep voice is in the acoustic Mirror Prison. This continue to a longer acoustic song call Deep Blue. And then come one of most catching ear track, Bast. It's quickly steal attention for it's '40s horror movie intro, but then the verses run in flamenco style before we reaching the proper prog-metal part in the middle. Momento is also interesting one, with far-eastern scale in the intro, listeners were made holding breath to wait what happened in each next second. Follow The Line sounds like a jamming session composition, Virgil Donati is enjoying each of Vivien's challenges, and with a great degree of success. And we reach a darker and speedier song in Slaughtered, a bit of Helloween influence in there and Jordan Rudess executed his trademark piano rag-time solos. Again the last song Revelations is the real thread for progressive fans.

One thing to compliment is a strong song writing in this album. Not fall into the pit trap of progressive metal album, where the instrumentation takes control over the song, in Atomic Ark the vocal part is still enjoyable. Lots of creativity and new ideas. Great progressive metal album in short sentence.

Metal Harem class: ********* nine stars out of ten

Lalu - Atomic Ark (2013)
Buy it HERE

01. Greed (4:05)
02. War On Animals (3:26)
03. Tatonka (4:01)
04. Mirror Prison (2:26)
05. Deep Blue (3:29)
06. Bast (4:04)
07. Momento (3:40)
08. Follow The Line (3:51)
09. Slaughtered (3:13)
10. Revelations (19:29)

Martin LeMar (Mekong Delta) - Vocal
Mike LePond (Symphony X) - Bass guitar
Simone Mularoni (DGM) - Guitar
Virgil Donati (Planet X) - Drums
Vivien Lalu - Keyboards

Jens Johansson (Stratovarius, Timo Tolkki's Avalon) - Keyboards on tracks 1,7,8
Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) - Keyboards on tracks 9, piano on 9 and 10
Joop Walters - Guitars Solo on track 3,8,10
Marco Sfogli - Guitars Solo on track 1,9
Mike Anderssen - Vocals on track 2
Peter Wildoer - Death Metal vocals on track 6

Lalu - Atomic Ark album review

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