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Arjen Lucassen's Star One - 'Victims Of The Modern Age' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/51/90/13/969_ARJENLUCASSENSSTARONEVICTIMSOFTHEMODERNAGE_1297033042.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 06, 2011    
 
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Arjen Lucassen's best release to date? Quite Possibly!

Does Arjen Lucassen never sit down for a couple of days and think it would be nice to have a rest? Well judging by the fact that we have a new album from his Star One project coming hot on the heels of last year's Guilt Machine release, I would guess not. Whilst that last CD was a more subtle (if excellent) effort than Arjen's most renowned outfit Ayreon, he has always stated that his previous album directly influences what direction the next will take, as he strives not to repeat himself album after album. 

So with that in mind, it is no surprise that he has resurrected his heaviest, most overtly metal project Star One, for their first studio album in eight years. That debut release 'Space Metal' was hugely popular with Arjen's followers, with the more metallic themes being augmented by the considerable vocal talents of Damian Wilson (Threshold), Russell Allen (Symphony X), Dan Swano (Nightingale) and Floor Jansen (After Forever/ReVamp) and I'm delighted to say that the same four vocalists are all fully involved on 'Victims Of The Modern Age'.

The glorious introduction to the album that is 'Down The Rabbit Hole' is one of the most seductive keyboard melodies I've heard in quite a considerable time and while its pomp is no more than a short taster of what is to come, it is possible to hear those same strains reappear throughout the album. The first track proper is the powerful riff-fest 'Digital Rain' where immediately you are struck by the enormous guitar sound that Lucassen has produced, but the real skill comes in the way he blends that with hook laden keyboards and the four powerful voices that play a part in each and every song. The harmonies and counterpoints that these four decidedly different singers are able to conjure up is quite breathtaking, lending a grandeur to proceedings that makes for a simply stunning set of songs.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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The highlights come thick and fast with the progressive metal blast of the title track seeing Jansen, Wilson, Allen and Swano combine on some mesmerising harmonies and while I know that many people who read this magazine will have already made up their minds that growling vocals have no place in their music collection, I defy any lover of music that contains drama not to be moved as the chorus of harmonies that sing the line "Violence breeds violence, breeds violence, breeds violence" leads into the final two cries of "violence" being growled quite majestically by Swano. It is a wonderful example of how to build dramatic tension into a song and illustrates Lucassen's amazing song writing skill perfectly. I could go on to name check every song on this album, telling you just how magnificent they are, but it is suffice to say that if you are vaguely interested in heavy, guitar led music that has the added dimension of gloriously melodic keyboards and stunning vocals, then 'Victims Of The Modern Age' will be among your favourite albums of the year.

Arjen Lucassen's best release to date? Quite Possibly!

Steven Reid

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