Ark – S/T (Release Year 1999)
Day 1 of the 10 days of Jorn starts with the self titled debut by the progressive metal band Ark. This is the disc where people really started noticing Jorn Lande. He did have prior releases with the Snakes, and Vagabond ( very hard to find discs, that get big dollars on EBay and GEMMto name a few), but this is the disc where Jorn started perfecting his craft. The end result is a classic progressive metal disc that is still a very good listening experience in 2007.
Ark also features the amazing playing of Tore Ostby (Conception) on guitars and progressive rhythm master John Macaluso(TNT and Yngwie Malmsteen) on drums.
Burning Downestablishes the tone and pace of this CD immediately. Jorn’s amazing voice takes hold of you quickly. The tempo changes and power of this track will kick you in the ass, and Tore Ostby’s flying fretwork will set your hair on fire.
Where the Winds Blowis a progressive masterpiece by any standards. This is one of the many tracks that Jorn chose to rework for his new release, the Gathering.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a track that is hard to describe. It has parts with Spanish guitar and jazz like piano. It is an interesting track but not my favorite by any means.
Singer’s at the World’s Dawnis a heavy prog rocker, with excellent guitars and Deep Purple like keyboards. Jorn really belts this song out. The power and raspiness of Lande’s voice on this track is amazing.
The bass drumming by John Macaluso on Mother Love will amaze you. The track is what I would consider another progressive masterpiece. There lots of timing changes, killer drumming, great keyboards, and more amazing fretwork by Tore Ostby.
Center Avenue was an odd track to me. It starts off sounding like a Dream Theater track, but the pacing of the music doesn’t seem to fit the vocals to me. It was the lone track on this disc, that for some reason did not really work well for me. The guitar parts are pretty cool, but lyrically it didn’t seem to fit together right.
Can’t Let Go on the other hand has oodles of redeeming qualities. This 9 plus minute track has a Pink Floyd like sound to it, and is an awesome track to end this disc with. The epic track needs to be heard to be appreciated.
This is a very solid debut Ark. The musicianship on these songs is superb. The production quality sounds a little muddy at times, but it does not distract from the power of the music. Jorn Lande’s powerhouse vocals are worth the price of admission. This is a disc that progressive rock and Jorn Lande fans can’t afford to miss.
Rating:Out of 10
The video below is Ark performing Burning Down at a rare U.S. appearance at the Prog Power U.S.A. festival in Atlanta, Georgia. The sound is kind of muddy on the video, but you will still be able to hear the power of Jorn Lande’s voice. This video doesn’t capture the power of the studio track, but its still worth watching.
- Burning Down
- Where the Wind Blows
- Hunchback of Notre Dame
- Singer’s At the World’s Dawn
- Mother Love
- Center Avenue
- Can’t Let Go