Wow!!!! Is what came out of my mouth, as I have to say that keyboardist virtuoso, songwriter and composer Vivian Lalu stole my soul with his latest solo release: “Atomic Ark”. The passion and feeling this Parisian plays his keys with on “Atomic Ark” is powerful enough to move the Himalayas – you have to hear it to believe it.
Having enjoyed Lalu’s keyboard and synthesizer work on Hubi Meisel’s “Em Ocean” and “Kailash”, I was taken away to musical worlds never before explored by a listener: me. The feelings he invoked through his playing alone on these two releases was out of this world, and what I’ve experienced on “Atomic Ark” was a god-like feeling of serenity and a supreme level of spiritual consciousness.
Lalu’s talents also make the talents of the others members shine in his band, and this too can be heard and felt with intense passion and fire. The fact that Lalu and his band are so damn tight (as if they can read each others’ minds), because the music on this album flows so flawlessly, it is so amazing that a band can play at such magnitudes of intensity and keep it so cohesive.
There are quite few styles of music on this release, but the main one being rock/metal with progressive elements, which gives all of their songs such depth, you can actually hear the multiple layers of music on each track. Lalu and his band write with plenty of substance, which only makes for an interesting listen, but this album has to be listened to at least several times before you get the sense of direction the music is going in.
As far as any particular tracks are noteworthy of mentioning, not really because they all break new ground. “Bast” is a good example of Lalu’s semi-classical and renaissance fueled synthesizer passages blended in with heavier guitar rhythms and harsh vocals along with the more melodic singing.
However, fans of Hubi Meisel will truly enjoy this solo output from Vivian Lalu, as there are some cool influences from Meisel’s two releases. All in all, this has got to be the most musically diverse prog rock and metal CD I’ve heard in the last several years. Highly recommended for fans of Hubi Meisel, Symphony X, Yes, Genesis, Dream Theater, Planet X, Red Circuit and even Iron Maiden. You’ve got to hear this one to believe it. [Sensory] Sarjoo Devani