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Lalu – ‘Paint the Sky’

Frontiers Records
Arena, The Flower Kings, Dream Theater, Pendragon
Release Date
Frontiers Records
Progressive Rock

Producer, composer and instrumentalist Vivian Lalu has good form; 2005’s “Oniric Meta” and the 2013 follow up “Atomic Ark” are huge scale sprawling Prog Metal from the Dream Theater school of doing everything at 120%. Good albums both, and with a who’s who of Rock and Metal royalty guesting too. Here Vivian Lalu goes back to his familial roots and quietly removes the heavier end of the Metal epithet; this is a deliciously old-school Prog Rock album; it just happens to pull off the trick of sounding bang up to date at the same time.

The guest list for “Paint the Sky” album is no less impressive; Jordan Rudess, Simone Mularoni, Simon Phillips and many others; rounded off by Arena’s Damian Wilson on lead vocal duties. Vivian himself writes and arranges all the music, and plays virtuoso grade keyboards for the whole project.

Jelly Cardarelli needs a special mention. Drummers play a pivotal role in Prog possibly even more so than in other genres, and here he takes a seat previously occupied by Ryan van Poederooyen and later Virgil Donati. No pressure then! And my word does he do it some righteous justice. I’d stick my neck on the line and say this is one of the most impressive recent albums for not just drum writing and technical complexity, but also drum recording quality. Quite astounding. Joop Wolters plays both the bass and guitar parts, and on bass he gets both the tone, and the “feel” of the distinctive late 70’s sound and artistry of Chris Squire and Geddy Lee by turns. There’s some serious bottom-end on the recording too so you get every note in crisp relief.

Overall, this is an impressive modern Progressive Rock album, and it avoids the cliché of having a 20–30-minute epic song you never really get into; the songs are all a manageable length, and great choices in tracking and flow makes the 63-minute run time feel much more compact than it would seem.

"Concise and entertaining modern Prog, beautifully recorded too"

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