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ARK: Burn the Sun

This second release from prog-metal supergroup ARK takes the same formula from their debut and adds a bit more heaviness and progressive elements. What's really cool is that this band does not sound much like the groups the participants come from, that being Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force, Conception, Steve Vai's band, and the Snakes.

While the playing is red hot throughout, it is the vocals of Jorn Lande that stand out here. The singers raspy, David Coverdale influenced vocals breathe fire on scorchers like "Absolute Zero", "Heal the Waters", and the riveting "Noose", the latter sounding so much like vintage Whitesnake it's scary. His performance on the emotional "Waking Hour" is a real treat for lovers of passionate vocal performances. Keyboard player Mats Olausson adds lots of atmospheric keyboards and proggy touches on songs like the melodic "Missing You" and "Resurrection", which helps create a nice balance between all the heavy riffs. Conception guitarist Tore Ostby shows another side to his playing on the Latin tinged "Just a Little", a wonderful song that might be slightly out of place here, but features fantastic flamenco guitar work, organ, and Jaco inspired bass work from Randy Coven.

For complex, melodic, and well played progressive metal, this is a no brainer. ARK have put together a strong sophomore release that should please both metal and progressive rock fans alike.

Added: August 13th 2005
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: ARK Website
Hits: 5977
Language: english

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ARK: Burn the Sun
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-08-13 16:35:17
My Score:

The year 2001 saw him rising to the peak of his career with three different albums all of which offer something unique. Ark's Burn the Sun happens to be my favourite album with Lande ever, though I also think his vocal performance on the Beyond Twilight album is incredible.

What sets Burn the Sun apart from 99% of the other prog metal albums released in the last 10 years must be the influences it borrows from progressive music. As opposed to creating an album with technical prowess in the forefront, Tore Ostby (ex-Conception), John Macaluso (Yngwie Malmsteen), Jorn Lande (Beyond Twilight, Masterplan), Mats Olausson (Lion's Share) and Randy Coven (CPR, Holy Mother) have taken their influences mostly from the 80's incorporating them with new, fresh ideas from the progressive metal genre. The result is a very one of a kind record: Burn the Sun. The reason why everyone praises it to no end is because Burn the Sun takes an unusual musical path to express itself. Its refined production with crystal clear vocals, thundering bass, and perfect drumming is jaw dropping. Tore Ostby, the amazing guitar virtuoso, plays very tasteful guitar rhythms and solos never overstepping the limits; he knows when to restrain himself and when to impress the listener with his beautifully complex songwriting.

I lack words to describe Jorn Lande's singing. He is a phenomenal vocalist, perhaps one of the very best singers to emerge in the 90's. He is so versatile, one minute he sings like David Coverdale and another he shifts to a raspy tone that sounds like none other than Jorn Lande. I think this album was the pinnacle of his success as a singer that proved his talents to the entire rock world. He even toured with Yngwie Malmsteen, and those of you who know how picky Yngwie is when it comes to choosing a vocalist for his band, I think you get the picture. If you've never heard of Lande before, I think this album would be the best starting point for you.

I feel there's a great chemistry between all the members here; together they all take full advantage of playing in a prog band. They explore with longer, more complex compositions and cerebral/emotional lyrics. They use keyboards as a texture to fill the gap between the instruments, and Macaluso proves to be one of the greatest drummers the rock community will ever hear. His tone here is one of the best tones to have ever been recorded. Almost half the songs kick off with his majestic drum beats supported by Randy Coven's bass. Coven has been one of my favourite bassists ever since I heard his CPR record in 1992 along with guitar virtuoses such as Al Pitrelli, Zakk Wylde, Vito Bratta and Steve Morse. He plays slap bass in some songs, and I love slap bass. It's fiery, exciting, and very fitting to Ark's style.

Another thing why I believe this album has appealed to not only prog listeners but fans of classic hard rock to thrash metal to death metal to neo-prog is because of its eclectic style which refuses to compromise. Music fans of any genre are most likely to find elements in Ark's music that will draw their attention. They don't sound like Queensryche or Dream Theater. They don't sound like Whitesnake or Deep Purple either, cause they definitely have a feel all their own. Tore Ostby's playing sounds so mature. One guitarist that he reminds me of has got to be David Gilmour of Pink Floyd (check out his solo 9-minute epic "Missing You"). His playing, very much like Gilmour's, breathes--very atmospheric feel with the addition of the keys. Each note he plays on the guitar bleeds!

Burn the Sun is an instant classic. It's an album that will last forever. Too bad that they couldn't maintain their great line-up when vocalist Jorn Lande left Ark to fully concentrate on his new band Masterplan. Considering that Lande has never been one to stay in any band for too long, I guess that's normal. It's just makes me sad that they may never re-capture the spirit with a different singer. The vocal melodies he provides when there's simply no need for lyrics drip with sentiment and emotion. The way he uses his voice like an instrument on "I Bleed" is amazing. He was one of the main figures that defined the sound of Ark and without him they may suffer quite a bit, if not break up completely.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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