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Tore Ostby (Ark, Conception) and Leo Margarit (Pain Of Salvation) are in a rehearsal room…

Ark, anyone who knew about this band just had a shiver running down one’s spine simply thinking about those three letters. Born from the ashes of Conception – another shiver-inspiring band – Ark was formed by Norwegian guitarist Tore Ostby and American drummer John Macaluso who were joined by then unknown vocalist Jorn Lande, who learned the craft working with various smaller bands such as Vagabond, The Snakes (with ex-Whitesnakes Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody) or Mundanus Imperium. Two albums were made, a great self-titled debut album, but more noticeably Burn The Sun, probably one of the greatest albums of the 2000s.

Classified as progressive metal for the virtuosity of its musicians, Burn The Sun remains a catchy, concise and incredibly rich album. To the listener, you often recognize the greatest albums when technique is forgotten in the face of sheer musical genius. Burn The Sun is full of choruses, melodies and riffs that stick to your mind, as well as remarkable ideas: the sound of a coin falling and spiraling used as a fill in the middle of « Heal The Waters », the part where the fretless bass, drums and vocals tangle-up and merge in « Torn », the Björk-inspired vocal lines on « Absolute Zero », and of course, the amazing « Just A Little » where Tore Ostby shows his latin influences as he did in Conception. Burn The Sun is a monument which has, in addition to all that, revealed an extraordinary vocalist, recognized as one of today’s greatest singers. An album which, by the way, features a rarely matched vocal performance by Jorn (let’s mention The Devil’s Hall Of Fame by Beyond Twilight as an example).

It was all too good. What followed wasn’t. After a tour with Freak Kitchen, Jorn Lande leaves Ark. His ambition: to follow in the footsteps of David Coverdale and Ronnie James Dio – his long-time idols to whom he is often compared – and to express himself in a more direct hard/heavy band where he’d be more under the spotlight. From there on, dead silence on ark’s side – people mention disagreements between the musicians – until recent years where John Macaluso reveals the title of a third album: Aradiokaos. On the other hand, nothing else is said, nor about Jorn Lande’s replacement. More recently, Macaluso gives some news through his Facebook profile, revealing that Ark is working on the next album with a new line-up, until they brought an end to all hope: the album was abandoned and the band quit. This was said to be due to human factors.

All this little recap was to get to today’s information, which will give hope to those of you who are in love with Tore Ostby’s genius and who haven’t had nearly enough to listen to in a long time. Our small metal world really needs that kind of talent. Now, Leo Margarit, Pain Of Salvation’s drummer, has just told us that Tore and him are about to start a rather promising project:

« I’m putting together a project with Ark’s guitarist, Tore Ostby. It’s funny, if you want to know the story, because Tore used to live at Castelnaudary, next to Avignon, for two and a half years. I’m talking about ten years ago, and I was a really big Ark fan at the time. It also happens to be around the same time that I became a fan of Pain Of Salvation. A friend of mine called me and says « you know that band, Ark? The guitarist lives in Castelnaudary. » I then said « What the hell? What is he doing around here? » [laughs] And it happened to be true. We met at the time, the drummer, John Macaluso was there too, he came down at the same time. They started to write Ark’s third album which, in the end, never came out. Now Tore, who’s Norwegian, lives in Stockholm because he’s married to a Swede. John had also decided to move to Stockholm as well to get the band going again, but that didn’t happen. […] So I had a phone call from Tore a few months ago, he told me John had left again and, since we had been talking for weeks, even months – since I had moved to Sweden actually – about jamming together, so we met up one afternoon. We started to jam for a couple of hours. We said to each other that we should try to do an album together. So it’s in my future projects. »

The first question that could pop into your head would be about other musicians involved in the project:

« For now, it’s just the two of us. We did two, three jam sessions. We recorded the session, and all three times we played for forty-five minutes straight without even noticing it! Since I’ve been on tour, we haven’t seen each other lately, but I think we’ll see each other in two days. He should’ve had listened to all the tracks we have recorded and tried to select the interesting moments to use as a basis for some songs. »

Do they have any ideas about musicians they would want to work with?

« Not really. I like the novelty of this. Maybe we’ll have some unknown people who might just blow me away when I hear them. We asked ourselves who could sing in the project. Finding a vocalist is a delicate task, especially since Tore has been used to working with some pretty good vocalists, like Jorn or Roy Khan in Conception. [Laughs] So he’d like to have someone of the same caliber. That won’t be easy! Right now we’re focusing on the music anyway, and when the time comes we’ll start to look for a vocalist, bassist, keyboardist, etc. »

After all, why not ask Jorn Lande if he’s interested? It’s been a while since their last collaboration…

« I don’t know. I’d have to talk to Tore about that! But it might sound a bit too much like Ark. […] I was supposed to meet him Saturday in Stockholm with Tore but I won’t make it because I have a show with the orchestra. So the two of them might talk about it and say: « It’s a shame, we should do something together ». But don’t get your hopes up, you might be disappointed. Whatever happens, this won’t be Ark because that was Tore and John. I’m an outsider in that. As I said, if we did that with Jorn, even if he wanted to, it might give the impression that we want to do Ark under another name. We’ll see. »

By the way, Roy Khan is also available…

« Indeed he is, he quit Kamelot! That might be another lead [laughs]. »

So even if nothing’s done yet, let’s cross our fingers and hope this project finds it’s way to the studio!

NB : This interview with will soon be available in its entirety.

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