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Ark +2 - Ark

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Genre: Rock - Pop Rock / Artist: Ark / Import / Audio CD released at Jvc

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      27.01.2008 17:05
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      Ark's first album (1999).

      Ark played a very different style of progressive metal to the norm, especially surprising considering the extreme tendencies of Norwegian metal bands, as this long-awaited self-titled debut fuses talented musicianship with an undeniably commercial agenda. Most of the virtuoso musicians involved seem to have played as part of Yngwie Malmsteen's band at some point, and the Ark project adopts the same slightly contradictory and ultimately bland mix of pop rock choruses and instrumental masturbation. The result won't necessarily appeal to fans of more experimental prog metal bands, but those who enjoy the light side of hard rock and the occasional non sequitur jazz piano interlude or extended neoclassical guitar solo should feel right at home.

      The hard rock singing is carried off well by Masterplan's Jørn Lande, who also seems to appear in everything I write about, and his gruff-but-high approach is perfectly suited to what are predominantly slow near-ballads, never crossing over into genuine heavy metal. Tore Østby's guitars are similarly controlled, mostly following simple riffs to suck the listeners in before he plays around with solos, and even Randy Coven's bass gets plenty of chances to shine rather than being relied on as a mere rhythm instrument. Mats Olausson's keyboards are one of the driving forces here, mostly maintaining a pleasant atmosphere but at other times showing off with a mixed degree of effectiveness, most tedious in the organ of 'Singers at the World's Dawn,' and on the whole these songs are a bit of a contradiction: too soft and bland for the serious prog fan, and too long-winded and changeable for the casual listener.

      Although a long-performing outfit, Ark disbanded after releasing only two albums, and this is the slightly less impressive of the two. There are some interesting decisions made, such as the overall French sound of 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' before the song drags on severely, while others such as 'Mother Love' have too much going on to be really enjoyable as a consistent piece of music. By contrast there are those 'Where the Winds Blow' that are only memorable for the titular chorus. This is inherently contradictory and strange, but not in the way I enjoy.

      1. Burning Down
      2. Where the Winds Blow
      3. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
      4. Singers at the World's Dawn
      5. Mother Love
      6. Center Avenue
      7. Can't Let Go


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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 Burning Down
      2 Where the Winds Blow
      3 Hunchback of Notre Dame
      4 Singers at the World's Dawn
      5 Mother Love
      6 Center Avenue
      7 Can't Let Go

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