Rating:
7.6
Lalu - Atomic Ark
9 September 2013


01. Greed
02. War On Animals
03. Tatonka
04. Mirror Prison
05. Deep Blue
06. Bast
07. Momento
08. Follow The Line
09. Slaughtered
10. Revelations


Label: Sensory Records.
Release date: September 9th (Europe), September 10th (North America).


Vivien Lalu is a man with an individual vision when it comes to progressive metal and, much like Arjen Lucassen, seeks out the talent of others to see his ideas come to fruition. Fashioning his latest album Atomic Ark from his position behind the keyboards he presents himself like a new age Noah, gathering not two of every animal but instead has found an accomplished line-up of musicians to play out this technically driven voyage.

Dutifully guiding Lalu's compositions with his vocal work Martin LeMar of Mekong Delta gives voice to a robust rhythm section. With Donati of Planet X on drums, LePond of Symphony X on bass and DGM's Mularoni on guitar it's no wonder an effective rhythm is so easily established.

The concise track lengths serve to emphasize the satiating guitar focused delivery, such as the drive of the opening "Greed" and "War On Animals", the latter featuring vocals from Andersson of Cloudscape. The major exception to the album's concise nature is the lengthy and varied nineteen and a half minute closer "Revelations" which holds much of the album's creativity. A noticeable departure from the preceding songs it undergoes much inner variation given its duration. From a magnanimous piano which flows seamlessly into a triad of a higher reaching vocal performance, gentle strumming and atmospheric layering it has the makings of a progressive metal epic.

The course of Atomic Ark is marked by a variety of images which are cleverly placed before the listener. Some of these have been ingeniously designated a global location; Lalu's own work at the keyboard gives "Tatonka" an OSI like texture which somehow conjure up tribal like beats of native American origin as they connect well with the song's theme. "Bast" concerns the Egyptian goddess with the guitar working in an appropriate oriental feel amongst the orchestral accoutrements and "Momento" with a stylistically power metal chorus gives off a far-eastern air. One track which receives particular inspiration is "Follow The Line", an obvious move into Gentle Giant territory with those bemusing time signatures and whimsical riffs.

From "Deep Blue" onward the album becomes more melodically inclined and a more effective flow is maintained. From track to track things seem dislocated as each new sound presented seems to abruptly jump into the next. When compared to the finale the songs of a more concise delivery appear as an assorted collection under a loose concept. This makes for a heavy ended product with "Revelations" existing as one continual movement in contrast to the rest of the album.

Although not startlingly original in sound Lalu's hook littered and varied song writing is sure to catch the attention of progressive metal fans with this individualized method of album construction.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 9


 



Written on 12.09.2013 by
R'Vannith
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
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BloodTears - 13.09.2013 at 11:07  
Definitely checking this one. Thanks for reviewing it, it seems to be exactly what I had imagined.
Diverge - 14.09.2013 at 18:12  
I need to check this out. Great review!
Rulatore - 15.09.2013 at 19:11  
Although it was good, I feel that I won't be listening to it again in a long while. Nice review

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