Review Summary: Japan's L'arc-en-Ciel strike gold, and create a neo-prog/alternative masterpiece.
Ahh yes. Good ol' L'arc en Ciel. A band that can guys can vibe too, and girls can cream to, in peace. L'arc-en-Ciel is one of Japan's most successful rock bands to come out in the last 20 years, and it's not that hard to see why. In the late 1990s, L'arc-en-Ciel were at the peak of their career. And thanks to the infamous arrest of their former drummer and pretty solid success of their last album, "Heart", L'arc en Ciel were ready to be launched into stardom with their breakthrough summer 1999 release of Ark.
In this album, L'arc-en-Ciel are still combining elements of alternative and progressive rock, with a pinch of pop rock thrown in for good measure. The album starts off with the powerful stomp of "Forbidden Lover", that is chockful dramatic vocals performed by the acclaimed frontman, Hyde, and an eerie and excellent instrumentation performed by the band. An all-around great introduction to a classic Japanese rock album.
The album continues on, and comes with all kinds of pleasant surprises, and covers a wide range of rock, from the driving beat of "Heaven's Drive", to the more laid back feeling with "What is Love"", to the spacey, extremely nostalgic stomp of "Dive to Blue", to even an island-tinged sound with"Perfect Blue". The different progressions throughout the album is very rewarding as it not only shows how many influences are in involved in this band, but also has a track than can satisfy just about every kind of rock fan. The production value of the album is equally priceless, as the 90's-era sound adds a bit of an extra charm to the album.
With their lenient tactics of conquering modern alt. rock music, it should be no surprise that "Ark" by L'arc en Ciel was a huge homerun and steppingstone for the band. So, if you're into alternative rock that has tons of influences in store, with a nostalgic pinch to boot, then by all means, give "Ark" by L'arc-en-Ciel a spin. You might find yourself intertwined with the boys's music in a matter of no time...