Review Summary: Flames getting higher , playing with fire.
When the Norwegian progressive metal band Conception
announced disbandment during the late 90s, the guitarist and founder member Tore Østby continue his career with the band Ark
. Their second album called “Burn the Sun” is their best work to date and yet one of the most overlooked progressive metal albums, featuring the incredible and breathtaking voice of Jorn Lande.
Burn the Sun was released in 2001 and is an effort which has many elements from albums like “In Your Multitude” and “Parallel Minds” by Conception. However, Ark and Østby abandoned the power metal elements (or they just decided to reduce these elements) that were used in most of Conception's works, gone heavier and gave more attention to the progressive details. A characteristic of Tore Østby’s guitar playing is his flamenco and Latin elements. Such elements can be heard in the song ‘Just a Little’ which is one of the most memorable and catchy moments of the album. That’s the positive about this album; most of the songs can stick in your mind.
Jorn Lande’s performance is one of the album’s highlights. His colorful voice can combine softly and emotional melodies with aggressive singing, and such performance can be pointed in the album’s last and longest (9 minutes) song. ‘Missing You’ is a powerful ballad with a great atmosphere and a relaxing first part of peaceful singing and background synths while the second half is characterized with a soft guitar solo and extremely heavy riffs.
Of course the album has its flaws. One of my disappointments is the performance of Tore Østby. Burn the Sun is not even close to what Østby is capable to do with his guitar. His guitar solos are powerful but nothing interesting compared with his Conception performance. Also, the biggest flaw for me is the lack of his flamenco playing. The only song which has this Latin influenced feel, which many people love in songs like ‘Among The Gods’ or ‘A Million Gods’, is the song ‘Just A Little’ which is possibly the best moment of the album.
Burn the Sun is an excellent album with heavy riffs, great vocal performance and memorable musicianship. All the songs are great but... Is this album something that we have not heard before? The answer is ‘No’.