Merde alors! If you don't know about Vivien Lalu, the French prog wizard, you're missing out on some amazing music. Yeah, yeah, everyone knows about progressive metal music - and, to be honest, it's not like there's a lot of new stuff to be discovered in the genre. But when someone comes along with an album of this kind of depth, fully realized (and backed by some of the best genre specialists in the business) you can't dismiss it as just another also-ran.
And such is the case with Lalu's second album Atomic Ark. This is progressive music of some of the highest quality, showcasing much of the genre's breadth in terms of mood as well as musicianship - all composed by one guy. No stranger to colloborations or even film and TV work, Lalu knows how to make a record. But for every pensive or brooding piece of music, there is at least an equal amount of heavy, dynamic, progmetal bombast that reminds you this dude can rock some ears, man. And the work of artists Martin LeMar (Mekong Delta), Mike LePond (Symphony X), Simone Mularoni (DGM), Virgil Donati (Planet X), in addition to countless guest contributions from people like Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment) and Marco Sfogli (James LaBrie) really give this CD the sound of a seasoned, well-oiled metal machine. I can hardly imagine what Lalu could do to top this.
The Bottom Line: If you like the progmetals with more of a European flair, Lalu has delivered in fine form. With the help of some of his buddies (themselves some of the best in the genre) handling some the instrumental chores, this French master gets to concentrate on some really great arrangements. Check it out!
Tracks to Make You Excited About the New Wave of European Progmetal: Greed, War on Animals, Deep Blue, Bast, and Momento
- Genghis was wide-eyed at many points listening to this album...