Atomic Ark


LALU is the brainchild of the French composer and keyboardist Viven Lalu, and although it […]
By Tuoksu Holopainen
September 2, 2013
Lalu - Atomic Ark album cover

LALU is the brainchild of the French composer and keyboardist Viven Lalu, and although it might sound like a solo project at first, by looking at the lineup of the band you can easily realize it's a sort of supergroup consisting of familiar names from the Progressive Metal scene such as SYMPHONY X's Mike LePond, Martin LeMar from MEKONG DELTA and Simon Mularoni from DGM"Atomic Ark" is the band's second release, coming after nearly 8 years to follow up its predecessor "Oniric Metal" and to showcase how Lalu's songwriting has matured and evolved after such a considerable amount of time. This was indeed an allusion to the prominent deviation in the music.

Other than the great diversity and the outstanding songwriting, the album has much more surprise elements to offer featuring awesome contributions by some more big names including Jordan Rudess (DREAM THEATER) and Jens Johansson (STRATOVARIUS) on keyboards, as well as Marco Sfogli on guitar. Alongside the great amount of talent displayed, the compelling variation is also something that LALU should be credited for. In other words, when playing this album, one shouldn't expect any form of repetition or a similar continuous mood.

Although the titles and the lyrical concepts have a fairly serious undertone, the music is generally lighthearted despite the heaviness. The songs range from the downright Prog sound of "Greed" and "War On Animals" of a four-minute runtime, to the epic and multilayered "Revelations" that is actually a few seconds shy from twenty minutes. Special and outstanding moments keep emerging throughout the album, flicking from the acoustic balladry mood of "Mirror Prison" and "Deep Blue" to the almost ethnic beat of "Tatonka". However, it's only when you reach "Bast" that you will start to unveil the hidden charms of the "Atomic Ark"LeMar delivers a top-notch vocal performance which shines exclusively in this song. The keyboard work is outstanding and the shift between the symphonic passages and the flamenco-like verse is just sublime. "Slaughtered" ventures into a more Serj Tankian-like territory yet a lot heavier, making it a very fun and enjoyable one, arguably the catchiest of all. However, "Revelations" is certainly the track that would speak of the whole release.

This is a highly recommended album for Prog-Metal fans, yet still anyone can potentially get into this stuff. It requires a little time to completely grasp it, though, as it is a bit complex. 

8 / 10


"Atomic Ark" Track-listing:

1. Greed
2. War On Animals
3. Tatonka
4. Mirror Prison
5. Deep Blue
6. Bast
7. Momento
8. Follow The Line
9. Slaughtered
10. Revelations

Lalu Lineup:

Martin LeMar - Vocals
Mike LePond - Bass
Simone Mularoni - Guitar
Virgil Donati - Drums
Vivien Lalu - Keyboards

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