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There's something inherently un-metal about Ark. Most people probably couldn't put their finger on it, but at the end of the day Ark's self titled debut has an atmosphere that's more conducive to taking your date on a long walk alongside a starlit beach than, say, smashing someone's head in. Sure, at times it's campy and cheesy, but that hasn't stopped anybody on this site yet and I see no reason why that would lower my enjoyment of this.
At its heart, Ark is fusion -- there are multiple elements here, from salsa music to jazz to metal to 70's progressive rock ala Kansas. Each song displays different elements, and gives you time to swish them around in your mouth before moving on to different themes. Essentially Ark is somewhat of a difficult band to describe, and I honestly doubt that there are really all that many bands who do similar things. Nay, Ark have cut a path of their own. While the follow up "Burn The Sun" has more matured songwriting and more consistent delivery, the s/t is more daring, more varied, and generally sees Ark doing things that simply haven't been before, or at least not in great quantity.
Albums like this usually almost scream for a song-by-song review, since each song is so different from the last. Each song possesses an atmosphere of its own, and has a good mix of catchy lines that will get stuck in your head long after you've forgotten the name of the song or even who wrote it, as well as progression and flitting from theme to theme. There's truly something here for any fan of progressive music here. The musicians are top notch here; every one contributes, and every instrument is not only clearly heard but quite prominent. There is no lazing here or background instruments.
I wish Jorn Lande would do more stuff like this. I'm such a fan of his voice, but his taste in bands is tacky, to say the least. I would love it if he spent more time doing projects like these instead of some other, more bland and derivative projects... *cough*masterplan*cough*... Anyways, enough wishful thinking. This album, on the other hand, requires no wishful thinking or rosy tinted glasses. It won me over from day one and I still swear by this album, and when you listen to it, you will too.