Lalu – Paint The Sky

8.5/10

French keyboardist and composer Vivien Lalu literally has prog rock-DNA as his parents, Noelle and Michel Lalu both were members of 70s band Polène and in some ways you can tell since this brilliant album mixes old and new in a most spectacular fashion. With “Paint The Sky” Lalu set out to mix the ethereal, almost esoteric avantgarde of the grooviest decade ever with modern, percussive and staccatto laden progressive metal. And by Grabthar’s Hammer, how they have delivered!

With Vivien Lalu’s ivory tinkling spearheading this wonderful assault on your senses, the core line-up consists of veteran singer ace Damian Wilson (ex-Threshold, Arena, Ayreon), drummer Jelly Cardarelli (Adagio) and Joop Wolters (Solo, Shadrane) on guitar and bass just kicking an astounding amount of ass. These guys alone are an incentive to buy this record. But wait! There’s more!

Adding phenomenal talent like keyboard wizard Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment), legendary singer Steve Walsh (Kansas), drummer Simon Phillips (Toto, Judas Priest), guitarist Simone Mularoni (DGM), Alessandro Del Vecchio (Jørn Lande, Hardline, Revolution Saints) Jens Johansson (ex-Yngwie J. Malmsteens Rising Force, Stratovarius), a guest vocal performance from Gary Wehrkamp of Shadow Gallery, Vikram Shankar (Redemption, Silent Skies) on keys and Tony Franklin (Roy Harper, Whitesnake, David Gilmour, Jimmy Page) is just the icing on an already very tasty cake.

After about eight spins or so, Paint The Sky still reveals new details for each consecutive listen and that is just what I want from a progressive metal album. The spirit of bands like Yes and Genesis and to some degree fusion like Mahavishnu Orchestra soars over the songs and the 70s tint really seeps through the heavy varnish on a song like Standing at The Gates of Hell and the title track. The songs are playful, inspired and the bandmembers all fire on all cylinders throughout the record. Damian Wilson conjures up his best Jon Anderson-like vocals on a couple of the softer sections while still retaining his amgnificently

The only thing I really miss here is a real epic song like Yes’ Close to The Edge but this is so damn good I can live with these shorter ditties instead. This is a fantastic start to 2022 and Paint The Sky will no doubt score high positions only a multitude of best of-lists at the end of the year, mine included.

Highly recommended!

Artist: Lalu
Title: Paint The Sky
Rating: 8,5/10
Label: Frontiers Records
Playing Time: 63 minutes
Date of release: 2022-01-21
Place of origin: France
Standout tracks: Reset to Preset, We Are Strong, Paint The Sky

Lalu – Paint The Sky

January 29, 2022

After about eight spins or so, Paint The Sky still reveals new details for each consecutive listen and that is just what I want from a progressive metal album.

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