This is French Progressive Metal group Lalu with their second album Atomic Ark. Helmed by just one man, the album boasts a plethora of well known names from the Progressive/Power Metal genres as both band members and guests.
Big sound, big songs. It’s like Threshold and Kamelot have collaborated together with the express purpose of making an album to please just me.
It’s also heavier than you might expect. The drums are solid and the guitars are thick. When they’re not being used for lightning molten-Metal solos of course.
A huge amount of talented people are involved in this album, and it would be a disappointment, (to say the least), if it was all for nothing. I’m pleased to say that all the hard work, years of development and obvious enthusiasm and ability of the contributing musicians has paid off handsomely and this is as fine a slab of Progressive/Power Metal as you’re likely to hear.
With the exception of the final track, (the hugely epic 19 minute extravagance that is Revelations), the songs are all relatively short. The vast majority barely worry at the 4 minute mark, but not a single second is wasted. Efficient and concise; the songs are instant hits yet retain enough meat to the bones to satiate for some time.
The vocals are highly accomplished, as you would expect, and the melodies and harmonies of the songs are very pleasing.
The keyboard-work on this album merits special mention and is more than just an atmospheric addition; certainly they fulfil this purpose admirably but they are also integral to the songs themselves.
One interesting thing about this release is that for all of the calibre of the musicians who contributed to it, the technicality is never too overt or flashy. It’s there of course, just beneath the surface, enhancing the songs and playing its role. Rather than attempting to play centre stage and steal all of the limelight; the playing never attempts to upstage the actual songs.
Achieving the rarest thing of being both catchy and full of depth, this is an exemplary example of just how brilliant and life-affirming Progressive Metal can be when done right.