|Review: Lalu - Oniric Metal|
Label: Lion Music
Year released: 2005
Genre: Progressive Metal
Review online: October 9, 2008
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
Rated 2.5/5 (50%) (4 Votes)
These guys have stayed under my radar for a long time, but now I have discovered them, and what the hell does Prog mean anymore, anyway? Rattling guitars, a sleek production, some layered vocals and some melody-infested solo sections that go on for a few minutes before traipsing into some stop-and-go riffs and space atmospherics? Well, if so, then Lalu are well worthy of the ringing endorsements they never seem to get.
Don't take this as an insult to the band; it is rather...a mere observation on the state of things in the Prog world. There really is something different about these guys. Sure, they sound like Pagan's Mind and Circus Maximus and Anubis Gate, too, but there's something different here. I don't really know what it is. It just sounds like an inspired band making inspired music, and the day I don't appreciate something like that is the day I quit reviewing. Lalu are basically the brainchild of Viven Lalu, French keyboard prodigy and mastermind of several different projects, and you'll have a field day trying to find this shit. No Myspace, their label page doesn't seem to work, et cetera, et cetera.
But it is good. Mark my word on that. "Yesterdayman," "Wolven Eyes," "Windy" and "Nights of Poenari" are all kicking, introspective Prog monoliths flourished with Joop Wolters' impressive but not excessive guitar work, Ryan Van Poederooyen's acrobatic drums, Viven Lalu's exquisite keys and Martin Lemar's vocals - the man sounds quite magical here, sort of like Jacob Hansen of Anubis Gate except with a slightly lower pitch and a more menacing tone when he really gets angry. This band really is something special, with each song being a testament to rock-solid Prog loyalty and also to stunning individuality - a complex if there ever was one. "Moonstruck" and "Starwatcher" are also good, with doomier riffs and heavier synth abuse, very spacey and introspective tunes, and "Timestop" might just be the best song on here, with its dynamic, grandiose mood and masterful vocal performance. Even "Pot Boy: The Final Fantasy," despite going on for way too long, has its charms, boasting a queer comfortable nature about it, and also being a good summation of the album's charms, in the grand scheme of things.
This album flows like the white water rapids, and it doesn't even take a lot of work to get into. Lalu may never be the most widely known band, for whatever terrible reason, but Oniric Metal is something special. This is a really weird predicament, as it is not particularly groundbreaking, and yet somehow, in some strange, oxymoronic twist, it is. I mean, I can't even really tell you why. It just is. Listen to it. Lalu are a healthy balance to this reviewer's everyday breakfast, and they will be to yours, too.
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