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3.81 | 24 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2001

Filed under Progressive Metal


1. Heal the Waters (6:37)
2. Torn (3:51)
3. Burn the Sun (4:34)
4. Resurrection (5:31)
5. Absolute Zero (5:05)
6. Just a Little (4:36)
7. Waking Hour (4:15)
8. Noose (5:03)
9. Feed the Fire (3:56)
10. I Bleed (4:02)
11. Missing You (9:04)

Total Time: 56:40


- Jorn Lande / vocals
- Tore Østby / guitar
- John Macaluso / drums
- Randy Coven / bass
- Mats Olausson / keyboards

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Specialists/collaborators reviews

I suppose you could call Ark a supergroup. The band’s pedigree is more than impressive. Guitarist Tore Ostby (Conception, DC Cooper), drummer John Macaluso (TNT, Yngwie) and vocalist Jorn Lande (Beyond Twilight, Millenium) got together a couple of years ago with the collective hope of making music with no boundaries. Their resulting self-titled effort was nothing short of a masterpiece of melodic, progressive metal music; even if it was only their demos pressed to CD. Fusing metal riffing, classic rock vocals, prog-rock drumming and even Caribbean and Flamenco influences, the record stunned prog metal fans around the world.

Now for their second effort Burn The Sun, the band recruited keyboard master Mats Olausson (Yngwie) and fretless bass god Randy Coven to fill out their already stellar unit. The biggest mistake anyone could make with regards to this record is to simply label it ‘prog-metal.” That definition does not begin to describe the musical and artistic outpouring found here. There too much diversity to even attempt proper conveyance. But, this is a review, is it not? Ok, I’ll give it a shot. Burn The Sun is an absolutely breathtaking example of what passionate musicians can accomplish when the chemistry is right. And, boy, is there ever a vast amount of chemistry on this album. A lot of bands have to release records for 10 years or more to achieve this kind of record. I hear everything from metal, jazz, funk, electronic influence to blues in this music. In other words, they have achieved their original musical vision here in spades! No boundaries!

Opening cut ‘Heal The Waters’ is an intense, syncopated driver with arcs and valleys filled with emotion and virtuosity. Lande’s vocal melody, as on the entire album, could not be any more perfect or well fitting. The man’s voice is simply flawless. The instrumental section has one of the records more eye-popping moments as well. The song ‘Absolute Zero’ begins with a sparse clean guitar melody accented by Coven’s precision bass fills. The verses have an odd, Bjork-like feel to them. This is a vocal character Jorn doesn’t delve into too much. It works well. Macaluso’s drumming here is very jazz-like as well. Ostby gets to stretch his Flamenco muscles once again on the outstanding ‘Just A Little.” The acoustic soloing on the intro is smooth and inspiring. Lande’s chorus shows off one of his many strengths, which is melody combined with soulful feel. The verses are an odd-time acoustic strumming fest. Olausson pulls off an impressive organ solo here as well leading into a great electric solo by Ostby. This song, like all the others, contains some amazing transitional changes showing just what this powerhouse band is made of. The way they flow from part to part is both fluid and technically jaw-dropping. ‘Noose’ has one of the albums more metal moments in the opening riff. There are some great guitars layered in this one. The 9-minute closing track ‘Missing You’ has some obvious Gilmour-isms on the opening solo. A dark, sad song it moves and slides along velvet synth textures and an oozing bass and drum groove. Lande is clearly the star of this tune, though. This one takes the award for the albums most emotional vocal melody. Ostby has his shining moments as well in his solo section.

Ok, I am clearly running out of adjectives to describe the amazing music found on this album. Anyone, and I mean anyone, who is a fan of the progressive genre, be it metal, rock, fusion, or otherwise, needs to own a copy of Burn The Sun.
Great Sophomore Effort - Could Have Been Even More

Ark was a prog metal supergroup that produced an extremely promising, though uneven, debut album. For their second album, singer extraordinaire Jorn Lande, multi-faceted prog guitarist Tore Ostby, and drummer John Macaluso added Randy Coven, who was a shred bass aficionado in the guitar mags, and keyboardist Mats Olaussen, who had played with Yngwie Malmsteen. All the pieces were set for a prog metal masterpiece. Unfortunately, Lande led the band further down the melodic power metal path, and the progressiveness is actually less here than on their debut.

That said, this is a monster of a power metal album. The guitars are heavy, the riffs driving, and the chops of the players are phenomenal and on display. The bass deserves special regard here. Randy Coven plays like a demon on this album, let loose like he'd probably never been on record before. Along with providing active, jazz-infused accompaniment, he also gets some unbelievable solo spots, including a percussive face off with Lande doing traditional Indian vocal percussion! Lande is also a force of nature. While other vocalists may have higher ranges in terms of register, there is virtually no metal singer with a broader range of timbre, with different aspects of their voice brought to the music. On this album, Jorn's own identity is consolidating from his myriad influences, and is leagues above the majority of prog metal singers. And while he pulls off the ballads and straight rockers well, they are less interesting for (at least this) listener's ears.

My biggest disappointment is that guitarist Ostby doesn't get the chance to truly branch out. His parts are rocking and extremely well constructed, but his flamenco flavored acoustic chops are less prominent here than on the debut. As a result some of the exotic feel of the music is lost. (The flamenco IS still on full display on the song "Just a Little," which evokes the Seal song "Crazy" a little too closely). Tore's metal soloing is typically blistering, and admittedly his metal rhythm parts are just friggin' amazing. I suspect the shift in the balance of influence from equal parts Lande and Ostby to Lande as decided frontman was part of the breakup of the band. (This is painfully clear if you look at the promo pictures from the two albums.)

There ARE a fair number of proggy elements in this album. Intermittent thematic sci-fi references and off time rhythms punctuate the album. Heavy syncopation, jazzy bass, and exotic tonality are frequent visitors. There's just not enough. The little tastes we get are delicious, but this could have been a true feast.

For this review, I came back to listen after checking out some lesser known prog metal outfits. This album is so much better than those that my rating is going to increase as a result. Also, I have not listened to the debut album in a few weeks and I'm better able to judge this one on its own merits. It holds up remarkably well. It's hard to give this album the same rating as the debut, but within the reference point of prog metal, it is appropriate. Ark represents a fairly unique niche in an overpopulated genre, and this album is indeed excellent.

Members reviews

Strange beautiful music. That was my impression when I first listening to ARK’s Burn The Sun. Trio Tore Otsby (guitars), John Macaluso (drums), and Jorn Lande (vocals) return with their second album, Burn The Sun. This time, they are accompanied by bassist Randy Coven and keyboardist Mats Olausson. Opened with the song “Heal The Water”, a progressive metal song with a crunchy and tight rhythm guitar playing, and turned out to be a typical power and speed metal song during the keys/guitar solo part. While you will find “Torn” and “Absolute Zero” to be somewhat dark musically, you will also find that the title song “Burn The Sun” is very much a radio-friendly one. “Just A Little” is an amazing song. Opened with a Spanish-acoustic guitar style by Tore Otsby with a pop-like chorus, this should be another radio-friendly song from them. If you’d like to hear an ‘acoustic-progressive rock’ (well, did I say it right?), have a listen on this one. “Waking Hour” sounds a bit pop too. Thanks to Jorn Lande for his voice which makes the song sound nice. “Noose” is just a typical metal song with a touch progressive metal element in the solo section. I have to admit it that the music starts boring in the middle of the album but “Feed The Fire” turned out to be a refreshment and save me out of boredom. It’s a great and headbanging song. The last 2 songs, well it’s not as great as its previous songs in the beginning. “I Bleed” is just a ballad song with standard lyrical theme, while “Missing You” is no better than “I Bleed”, lyrically. My conclusion is that ARK has the capability to become a great band and able contribute their unique music in the progressive metal scene. What is lacking of them is most of the songs here sounds typically the same. The tempo, the riffs & rhythm changing, all are almost the same. If you had to listen the songs individually, I doubt that you’d recognize which song it is. But yes I have no doubt that would be able to do better than this effort. Unfortunately it seems that Jorn is settled in his position of MASTERPLAN’s lead vocalist which may lead into no future holds for ARK.

Ratings only

  • cefr45
  • sepozzsla
  • theaterd
  • progshine
  • Sinkadotentree
  • eduardo.alvm
  • Nergal131
  • Anster
  • cannon
  • vikt73
  • luanpedi
  • aecht
  • ollischr
  • Colt
  • Metallica999
  • Fernandi
  • LoFreeDig
  • Hagbard Celine
  • sauromat
  • Sleeper

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