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Ark Ark album cover
3.92 | 120 ratings | 13 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Burning Down (5:26)
2. Where The Wind Blows (5:06)
3. The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (8:53)
4. Singers At The World's Dawn (6:56)
5. Mother Love (8:43)
6. Center Avenue (5:54)
7. Can't Let Go (9:44)

Total Time: 50:42

Line-up / Musicians

- Jørn Lande / lead vocals
- Tore Østby / lead guitars
- John Macaluso / drums

Releases information

Sensory SR 3009

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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ARK Ark ratings distribution

(120 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

ARK Ark reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lucas
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Ark is a supergroup consisting of Jorn Lande (The Snakes), Tore Ostby (Conception), John Macaluso (TNT and Yngwie Malmsteen). Although they come all from mainly hard- rock bands, they developed on this self-titled album a very intricate music with a certain virtuosity in their playing. All three members are very gifted artists and their music is metal-prog oriented. A special mention must be deserved to John Macaluso, who achieved one of the most original drumming ever in the realm of metal-prog. Jorn Lande sings in the way of Coverdale but with more passion. Tore Ostby provides some flamenco guitar work on "The hunchback of Notre-Dame" and "Singers at the world's dawn". "Mother love" is rather bizarre, as it features moments of pure emotion, and a crushing chorus. "The hunchback of Notre-Dame" begins with church organs and is followed by a flamenco-like music, the accordion was also added to give a "french touch" to this song (the title of the song is taken from Victor Hugo's most famous novel). The last track : "Can't let go" is a jewel of melody, a beautiful balad that deals with african-influenced percussives at times and saxophone. Jorn's vocals may seem depressive at times, but they nonetheless bear a real emotion. Once again, I have to insist on the fact that Macaluso's drumming is stunning and will content all lovers of fusion à la Holdsworth or Brand X, or even Tony Williams New Lifetime. I remember when I saw Ark playing acoustic live, and they were truly fantastic. They were opening for Pain of Salvation, and to be honest I bought the ticket just to see them (PoS's performance was not as exciting as Ark's). On Ark's first record, the bass and keyboards are played by two relatively unknown musicians but they sound great and discreet. To conclude, melody, virtuosity, technicality and emotion meet to create a dynamic and intricate music. I gave this album five stars because I consider it as one of the best prog album recorded in the last 15 years and certainly an essential one for anyone who loves metal-prog.
Review by maani
4 stars Although it is sheer coincidence, I am truly pleased that this, my 100th review, is for a band that has become one of my favorite "neo-neo-prog" groups. Indeed, Ark is simply one of the best current prog groups in any subgenre, and second only to Dream Theater in the prog metal category. Remarkably, given that DT is their unabashedly strongest influence (others include Pink Floyd, Arena, IQ, and bits of Marillion, Pendragon and recent Crimson), there are times when the "student" equals, and even outdoes, the "teacher." In this regard, one of Ark's fortes (which they have in common with DT) is that they are masters of the instrumental break - and this eponymous debut has plenty of those. / The album opens with an unexpected (for prog metal) percussion figure, and moves into classic prog-metal mode. Ark's very first instrumental break (3:09-4:04) gives DT a serious run for its money: indeed, throughout the album, guitarist Ostby, and especially drummer Macaluso, keep pace with, and sometimes outshine, Petrucci and Portnoy. "Where the Winds Blow" opens with more Macaluso madness, and has a neat jazzy break at 2:41-2:55, and an excellent guitar break at 2:56-3:10. A superb segue brings us to "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" - not only the stand-out track (and my favorite), but one of the best prog tracks I've ever heard. Stunningly crafted, it opens with what may be the world's first prog-metal samba, with super spanish-style classical guitar from Ostby. It then moves into a heavier prog figure. The song ends with a 6/8 prog-metal samba which increases speed until Ostby and Macaluso are moving so fast you can just make out the notes and beats. Throughout the song, Lande's vocal moves from sweet to savage, almost Hammill-like. Another excellent segue brings us to "Singers at the World's Dawn," which has Lande growling some of the album's best lyrics. Just as you notice he sounds a little like Steve Perry, he sings the line "go for journey"; a neat touch. There is also a strange but excellent jam at 3:51-5:15. Yet another segue brings us to "Mother Love," another superbly structured, stand-out track. Opening with an eerie chorus, the verses have a recent Belew/Crimson approach, while the choruses are almost thrash-metal. There are two tremedous jams, at 6:12-7:12 and 8:15-8:30. "Center Avenue" is a truly odd composition, which sounds like a mixture of DT and current Crimson, and has a wonderful jam at 3:00-3:55. The album closes with "Can't Let Go," which opens with a quasi-Arabic rhythm, moves into a Floydian "sound," and ends with a "turn" of the opening riff of "The Wall" combined with a piano figure and overall eerie sound similar to the end of "Crime of the Century." / One of the things that adds to Ark's excellence is the strength of Lande's vocals. As noted, his voice moves comfortably from "sweet" and fairly sensitive to outright growl and scream, something which James Labrie (among others) cannot do (i.e., although I like Labrie's voice, and he can certainly scream, he does not have the capacity to "growl," which is important in some cases). The only misgiving I have about this album is that it is not as well recorded as it could be; there is something strange about the way the bass is recorded, and it detracts (but only a little) from the overall "atmosphere." However, that quibble aside - and although their second album, Burn the Sun, is a definite step forward for them - this album is not only a great prog-metal album, but a great "new" prog album in all senses.
Review by Tony R
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Imagine,if you can,a curious hybrid of Dio-era Rainbow,Colosseum II and Dream Theater and you might just be able to imagine what this Ark debut album sounds like.

Band members Lande(vox),Ostby (guitars) and Macaluso (drums and percussion) are all extremely proficient,with Lande,in particular,a joyous rock vocalist in the Dio/Coverdale mode.

Stand out songs are the epic "Hunchback Of Notre Dame" and the pulsating,anthemic "Where The Wind Blows".The two songs segue neatly into each other and advertise the bands musical strengths.Pounding beats and crashing guitar swerve and crash land into delicate percussion and very exciting flamenco-style guitar,which definitely echoes Gary Moore on CII's Wardances.Lande too excels with his catchy hooks and his occasionally soulful style.

Those two tracks alone would make this at least 4 star album,but the other five songs,whilst generally good,do not quite match this standard.Each track hints at greatness without actually achieving it,particularly "Singers At the World's Dawn",which reminds me of Rainbow's "Gates of Babylon".

To sum up, a very fine debut effort,which should appeal to fans of Rainbow (and their ilk),DT,and Queensryche.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This very good album is a progressive metal work made at the end of the 20th century. The lead singer is a VERY strong point on this album: despite his visceral, wild and hard rock tone, he is OUTSTANDINGLY melodic and addictive: sounding a bit like David Coverdale (Whitesnake), his voice fits VERY well with the background floating keyboards. The razor rhythmic electric guitar is not too monolithic and it is very melodic and structured. The keyboards are subtly played rather in the background during the more mellow parts of the tracks. The disciplined drums are OUTSTANDING: be prepared to hear an overdose of restless, complex and completely asynchronous toms & bass drums parts!

On "Burning down", you can hear the addictive lead vocals: around 3:30, there is an impossible part made of TONS of fast bass drums and crazy electric guitar solos: IMPRESSIVE! The track ends beautifully by putting in evidence the background floating organ through the EXCELLENT lead vocals. "Were the wind blows" is so catchy that you could easily sing the main refrain: around 2:40, the musicians show us their jazzy influence with an interesting combination of pleasant drums and electric guitar solo. On "Hunchback of Notre-Dame", the musicians really show their versatile talent: a refined flamenco Spanish guitar and some funny jazzy piano parts through metal passages confirm the HUGE talent of the band: notice the excellent "normal" voice of the lead singer! On "Singers at the World's dawn", there is often an unbelievable synchronized interlock between the drums, the bass and the electric rhythmic guitar. "Mother Love" is the most ethereal and accessible track, as reveals its epic floating keyboards and its emotive electric guitar solos: it is an excellent song full of "fast as light" bass drums: past 6:00, the EXTREMELY fast Latin part made of impossible drums and flamenco guitar is absolutely jaw-dropping. "Central avenue" is very syncopated and scattered, but the discipline and the structure involved is absolutely impressive! The very visceral vocals on "Can't let go" make this track very catchy and addictive: the song contains very good sax parts, electric guitar solos and floating keyboards that may remind you bands like Clepsydra or Riverside. The track charmingly ends with a delicate kid's voice.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars ARK are the second band effort of Tore Obsty,the brain of the legendary progsters CONCEPTION.An important point of the band is the voice of Jorn Lande,maybe the most ''theatrical'' voice in the progressive metal scene.Their music includes elements of the whole rock history!There are hints of CONCEPTION,jazz/fusion rock elements,you can hear hints even of WHITESNAKE(!!!) music as well.A really different disc!Check this guys out...3.5 to 4 stars...
Review by Negoba
4 stars Power prog metal supergroup.

That label is a huge burden to shoulder but this band lives up to it beautifully. If I were to imagine what Prog Metal was without the preconception of Dream Theater or any of the other standards, this is what I would imagine. Firmly rooted in the core of heavy metal, with many allusions to the 80's classics, this band progresses into realms that their obvious influences would never have imagined.

The most obvious characteristic of this group is the powerful voice of Jorn Lande, who sounds most obviously like David Coverdale but pulls from both more powerful (the oft mentioned RJ Dio) and more gentle elements than the Whitesnake frontman ever displayed. I am a former Whitesnake fanatic, and Jorn sounds as good as Coverdale at his best when he chooses that part of his voice. But he has so much more to pull from. Amazing vocalist. Admittedly, however, my previous affection for Whitesnake certainly affected my opinion of this band.

The second leading character in this project is Tore Ostby, a prog metal guitarist with all the shred chops you could want plus his characteristic clean tone / flamenco influenced playing that can also be heard on his previous project Conception. While both offer guitarists like me all the burn that we could desire, Tore's ability to seamlessly blend clean and distorted tones, jazzy chords, and textures is what puts the prog into this band.

I am less familiar with the drummer, but the work here is very good, with dark tom parts, the now standard double bass, and syncopation all adding dark flavor to the mix. He's more than able to keep up with the all-star chops of the other members.

Composition is a final important piece here. These are multi-segment pieces that go far beyond the metal formula and are sure to please the prog heart. Dark harmonies, slow builds, climactic energy, it's all here. The songs are strong, all enjoyable. Though there are certainly chances for the artist to show their chops, this disc is about the songs. Flurries of notes are used as colors to enhance the music, rather than showing off, which certainly is a weakness of some metal bands both prog and standard. Ark's member have the savvy and taste to concentrate first on songs.

There are some significant weaknesses in this disc. First is the track order. The best tracks are in the middle of the disc and certainly the early tracks are among the weakest. I'm tempted to start at track 3. And with all power metal / 80's influenced metal, there is a cheese factor. Frankly, it's less than listening to Labrie sing, but it's almost unavoidable in this kind of metal. The melodies are good but not amazing, and the lyrics are again fine but nothing to really amaze.

In the end this is very good prog metal. Best classic metal voice I've heard in the prog arena and one of the more interesting guitarists. Definitely recommend.

Latest members reviews

5 stars In terms that have to be decent and not too impressive, this album could easily be called as HYSTORICAL!Why this pretentious appreciation?Simply,because it bringed something new and fresh in music in 1999!At his time this album had the effect of a bomb!It was so unexpected to errupt such an al ... (read more)

Report this review (#258116) | Posted by Ovidiu | Sunday, December 27, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars What an amazing debut! ''Ark'' is the self-titled debut of the Norwegian band, Ark. Ark release an excellent debut and promises a lot! Anyone notices immediately, that this band has a wide sense of music in general! Its compositions is something never heard before. There are many musical ge ... (read more)

Report this review (#236448) | Posted by FatalV | Wednesday, September 2, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars TALENT, GOOD TUNES, REAL MUSICIANS, ZERO MEDIOCRITY... Maybe words like innovation and creativity are the best to describe this band. In fact, I already had heard many good comments about them (even, I had listened Burn the Sun, before this album) and how they were doing an outstanding musi ... (read more)

Report this review (#173628) | Posted by Epsilon | Wednesday, June 11, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Picked this one up based on the reviews here and was a little disappointed. It has some very good musical sections and the vocals are very good - though at times I had to check I wasn't listening to either Coverdale era Deep Purple or Whitesnake. I agree that the stand out songs are "Hunchback. ... (read more)

Report this review (#102747) | Posted by scarista | Tuesday, December 12, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Incredible. Absolutely fantastic. This was the first reaction that I had when listening to this masterpiece. And everytime I listen to it the sensations are just the same as the first time. A rather bizarre but almost perfect mixture of progressive metal (the drumming work by John Macaluso and ... (read more)

Report this review (#99455) | Posted by Rosenfield | Saturday, November 18, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Great debut by these talentet Norwegian trio (then they will be 5, just the opposite of Genesis :p ). This is prog metal with a lot of flamenco influences and bits of hard rock. All the songs rock hard, when Lande screams sometimes it feels like a lion roaring (Singers At the World's Dawn is a fin ... (read more)

Report this review (#36831) | Posted by mistertorture | Saturday, June 18, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Ark is simply the best. I've never listened to such variated music before. I also have to admit that Jorn Lande has become my favorite singer/artist since the first time I heard him sing. Together Ark is a masterpiece that really should be more known around then what they really are. They can' ... (read more)

Report this review (#25374) | Posted by | Wednesday, March 30, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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