Lalu is the brainchild of French composer and keyboardist Vivien Lalu and is a sort of supergroup consisting of familiar names from the progressive metal scene such as Mike LePond (Symphony X), Martin LeMar (Mekong Delta) and Simon Mularoni (DGM).Â “Atomic Ark” is the band’s second effort coming 8 years afters its predecessor “Oniric Metal.”
The first thing to note the differences between “Atomic Ark” and “Oniric Metal” is that the songs are much more concise and to the point. You will also note a more mature approach to the songwriting on “Atomic Ark” as well. Had it not been for the long length of time since their debut effort, it would be hard to digest such differences in the songwriting.
The tracks center around the power of the guitar riffs by Simon Mularoni, which are pretty sweet. If you are familiar with his work, then you will know that there is plenty of ability to shred right there. There is no holding back on “Atomic Ark” either. The riffs are on par with the best rhythm players out there and the shredding solos are always on time and intricate. The two opening tracks, Greed and War on Animals start the guitar rampage and get the gears turning. There is a slight letdown on the next few tracks as they venture more into Dream Theater type sounds (could do without these) as well as some classic Queensryche type sounds (awesome).
Songs like Slaughtered offer progressive metal fans their fill of Lalu’s progressive metal tendencies (as well as one hell of a nice solo). The band has not completely dropped their progressive sound at all – just honed it. Also, Slaughtered and tracks like Follow the Line offer a little bit of silliness and fun along the way.
The aforementioned Simone Mularoni is the star of this show on guitar, but vocalist Martin LeMar is no joke either. His dynamic vocals are always well placed and show a very wide range. Vivien Lalu is always in top form on keyboards as well. Musically, the band is about as solid as they come and “Atomic Ark” is a very solid album.
Atomic Ark Track Listing:
2. War on Animals
4. Mirror Prison
5. Deep Blue
8. Follow the Line
Martin LeMar – Vocals
Mike LePond – Bass
Simone Mularoni – Guitar
Virgil Donati – Drums
Vivien Lalu – Keyboards