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Vivien Lalu - 'Atomic Ark' (album stream) (PopMatters Exclusive)

Fans of expansive and triumphant arrangements, you know what to expect from Vivien Lalu -- meticulous progressive craftsmanship, all finished with a virtuoso panache.

Eight long years ago, fans of French metal maestro Vivien Lalu immersed themselves in the composer's successful solo debut, Oniric Metal. The progressive prowess and collaborations therein drew hearty applause from prog-metal aficionados in Europe and the US. On 10 September, Sensory Records releases Lalu's latest venture, Atomic Ark.

Composed entirely by Lalu, Atomic Ark sees the keyboard wizard joined by members of Dream Theater, Mekong Delta, Symphony X, and many other luminaries from the progressive rock and metal field for a 50-minute-plus jaunt of cinematic metal. The album is driven by Lalu's sense of fine-tuned technicality and majestic flair. The acoustic gentility of "Mirror Prison" collides with the head-banging hostility of "War on Animals"; classic rock riffing plows into downtuned ominousness on "Greed"; and "Revelations" provides a 20-minute symphony of multi-instrumental soloing, choral vocals, and ethereality.

Fans of expansive and triumphant arrangements, you know what to expect -- meticulous progressive craftsmanship, all finished with a virtuoso panache.

The 10 Best Debut Albums of 2009

Continuing our celebration of PopMatters' 20th anniversary, we revisit our 10 picks for the best debut albums of 2009. It turns out our selections were prescient as many of these artists have gone on to storied careers. Travel back to 2009 and see them again for the first time.

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The 60 Best Albums of 2009

PopMatters turns 20 years old this October and we're beginning to celebrate our history by taking you back in time a decade ago. Obama was in the White House and the musical times were very good indeed. Revisit 2009 through its best albums.

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