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Lalu: The Fish Who Wanted to Be King

Progressive rock & metal act Lalu return with their second album for Frontiers Records, and essentially the same line-up that recorded 2022's Paint the Sky, titled The Fish Who Wanted to Be King. Led as always by founder, songwriter, and keyboard player Vivien Lalu, the band is rounded out by guitarist Joop Wolters, vocalist Damien Wilson (Arena, ex-Threshold, Ayreon, Star One), drummer Jelly Cardarelli, and keyboard player Matt Daniel. Perhaps not as much dipping into prog-metal waters as previous albums, the band takes on a more melodic prog-rock stance with The Fish Who Wanted to Be King, with Wilson's soaring vocals front and center throughout the album's seven new tracks. The opening song "Forever Digital" is highly engaging and memorable, with a killer hook on the chorus and layers of tasty keys and guitars, while the more atmospheric title track follows, simmering and boiling, allowing for busy drums underneath layers of synths, organ, sublime lead guitars, and those always enjoyable vocals from Wilson.

"Deoxyribonucleic Acid" is a great slice of melodic, modern prog, as is "Is That a London Number", the latter also having some '80s Rush moments with the way the synths and guitars were layered...nicely done. Again, the drums are off the charts good, and I hear a little atmospheric Marillion going on here as well. The big, epic centerpiece of the album is "Amnesia 1916", a moody, floating gem that again allows Wilson to shine spectacularly, and while it contains a few moments of heavier riffing, ultimately it never really approaches metal territory, which can be said for the entire album. "A Reversal of Fortune" has some lovely electric piano, velvety bass, bubbling synths, and tasty Wolters lead guitars, showing the band can create some terrific prog/fusion, and "The Wondering Kind" finishes off the album in grand fashion, Wilson again knocking it out of the park on that killer chorus, the drums acrobatic, and loads of irresistible proggy keyboards.

The Fish Who Wanted to Be King is an exceptional prog-rock album, chock full of melodies and sophisticated musical arrangements. Plus, it's further proof of the greatness of Damian Wilson. Check it out!


Track Listing
1. Forever Digital (6:36)
2. The Fish Who Wanted to Be King (10:59)
3. Deoxyribonucleic Acid (5:44)
4. Is That a London Number? (6:01)
5. Amnesia 1916 (14:02)
6. A Reversal of Fortune (4:37)
7. The Wondering Kind (6:07)

Added: December 19th 2023
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 525
Language: english

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