Star One: Victims of the Modern Age
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Well, it's 2010, so that must mean time for another Arjen Lucassen release, right? I mean, this guy has been cranking out the music lately. With that, there has to be a bit of burn out and fatigue, right?
I wouldn't be so sure about that.
Don't get me wrong, Arjen's take on prog isn't for everyone. You have to accept a certain amount of cheese and camp. His latest release with side project Star One, Victims of the Modern Age is no different. But it is the willful embracing of camp, coupled with Arjen's unmistakable sound and songwriting prowess that makes it such a delicious trip to take.
Star One doesn't break new ground on the latest release. But there is a logical progression from Arjen's past work. Similar to Space Metal, Victims of the Modern Age is over-the-top, sci-fi space metal. It knows that up front, and embraces it. Again, each track on the album is based on a science fiction movie, with options ranging from "Escape from New York", to "Firefly/Serenity", and even "A Clockwork Orange" and "The Matrix". Knowing which movie goes with which song certainly makes the lyrics more enjoyable.
The usual cast of supporting characters is again in top form. Vocals are handled by top notch singers. Damian Wilson (!), Floor Jansen (!!), and Russell Allen (!!!) all return, and are joined by Dan Swano. Their performances are magnificent. These are some of the most talented vocalists out there.
Musically, the album is perfect for the subject matter. Arjen's rich guitar sound builds over the unmistakable Ed Warby's drums. These two work so well together. Joost van den Broek brings his skill and style with the keys, and Gary Wehrkamp's signature tone make appearances in some excellent solos. Overall, I would say the music is darker and slightly heavier than on the previous Star One release. There is certainly some evolution of Arjen's style on this album.
Final Verdict: Adore It
This album isn't for everyone. Some will be put off by the science fiction movie pastiche. However, as a self-proclaimed geek/nerd/dork (whatever you want to call me), I embrace it. The music is excellent, up to Arjen's incredibly high standards as always. However, some of the darker overtones found on other projects such as On This Perfect Day and 01011001 are readily apparent. Victims of the Modern Age isn't revolutionary, but it is a delightful evolution of the Star One formula.