In the exhausted world of prog-metal, I found it a pleasant surprise to get and hear Laluís Oniric Metal cd. The band (Vivien) Lalu put together on this album are guitarist Joop Wolters from Arabesque, former Annihilator bassist Russell Bergquist, Devin Townsend drummer Ryan Van Poederooyen, and a singer named Martin LeMar from Germany on vocals.
I first heard of Lalu on Hubi Meisel's second solo album EmOcean, which was written entirely by Lalu (Meisel had penned the lyrics). So when I got Oniric Metal, I had an idea of what to expect. It should be noted that Oniric Metal sounds nothing like EmOcean. It's a lot heavier, more guitar-based and darker.
Even though this is the brainchild of Vivien Lalu, the band Lalu is a solid band effort. One of the many surprises was with the vocalist. Now in almost every prog-metal band to date the singers have that operatic over the top vocal style. Martin LeMarís voice has a grittier, soulful feel to it. Lalu's keyboards are played with wonderful restraint, which is a breath of fresh air in this genre. Joop Wolters' guitar playing compliments Vivien so well.
The one cool thing about this album is that none of the musicians over shadow another. Theyíre all on board with the notion of the music comes first and it shows in all of the eight songs. This is a solid album from beginning to end with absolutely no filler songs here to fill up space which annoys most music lovers.
All of the songs are very good so itís hard to pick a favorite but the standout tracks for me are the first track, "Yesterdayman", and the epic tracks, "Timestop" and "Potboy: The Final Fantasy", with the latter which clock in at the 18-minute mark.
Oniric Metal is a one of those prog-metal discs that will also appeal to progressive rock and metal fans alike. In my personal opinion, it is one of the best albums to come from Lion Music! It's apparently obvious how much I like this album, but if I have to spell it out then I'd say it's a very recommended for 2005.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on September 27th, 2005