About the Album and Artist:
As you may know Arjen Lucassen, is a Dutch ProgRock/Metal composer, as probably mentioned before in my Ayreon´s Review this incredible musician is known for his many contributions as guest musician and also for making his own music projects asking other well known musicians to participate.
In this case we'll talk about one of his projects called Star One, at the beginning the idea of this project was created with the collaboration of Iron Maiden´s singer Bruce Dickinson, where basically Arjen would have been composing the Music and Bruce would have written the lyrics... seems that the known reasons why didn´t this happened was because Arjen announced this over the Internet and Bruce´s manager cancelled the deal. Later on, basically Arjen didn´t drop the idea and after some negotiations he decided to make it happen; so he created the 1st album and he named it "Space Metal" which was based on Sci-Fi Movies and TV shows... the album was a total success (of course, for those who love ProgRock and Metal music).
So this time we´re going to focus in the Sequel to this cool music project, so Arjen wanted to name it Star One - Victims of modern age, which is also based on movies but he picked more dark and thrilling Classic SCI-FI ones...
The themes of the album's songs are based on the following SCI-FI films or television shows:
1 Down the Rabbit Hole - Introductory Song/The Matrix (In allusion to Alice in Wonderland)
2 Digital Rain 3 Earth That Was
4 Victim of the Modern Age
5 Human See, Human Do
6 24 Hours
7 Cassandra Complex
8 It's Alive, She's Alive, We're Alive
9 It All Ends Here
1 As the Crow Dies
2 Two Plus Two Equals Five
4 Closer to the Stars
5 Knife Edge (ELP - COVER song)
In this project Arjen Invited these well known musicians and singers to participate:
Russell Allen (Symphony X Vocalist)
Damian Willson (Threshold Vocalist)
Dan Swano (Nightingale, Katatonia, Bloodbath etc...)
Floor Jansen (After Forever)
Joost Van Der Broek (After Forever Keyboardist)
Gary Wehrkamp - guitar solos (Ayreon , Shadow Gallery)
Ed Warby - Drums (Ayreon, Hail of Bullets, Gorefest)
Peter Vink - bass
Track 1 Down the Rabbit hole :
This Instrumental Intro starts with as usual a Fantastic Keyboard atmospheric patch-sound which reminds a lot of Arjen´s Trend mark, very emotive with this fuzzy leading Keyboard melody takes you to the intriguing world of SCI-FI/Fantasy Universe. (This song obviously refers to Alice in Wonderland).
Track 2 Digital Rain:
So It begins the album with this power metal riffs companied by tremendous background Organs and powerful drums, the song is based in the whole story about the movie "The Matrix", it has a lot of dark melodies and with yet great vocal arrangements combines Dark tones with glorious Light choruses mixing destruction and peaceful feelings, really great tune, if you like fast power metal with beautiful music arrangement, also we hear amazing Lead keyboard solo by Joost Van Der Broek.
Track 3 Earth that Was:
Then we have the third song also commencing with really thick guitar riff, also it has sad theme atmosphere, the song is based on the movie "Serenity" call me ignorant but I haven´t watched this film yet LOL, , anyway I´m planning to get it and watch it not only because Arjen made a song about it but also caught my attention after I read about the plot. The song has a lot of great melody compositions and cool instrumental parts, I really enjoy it but it´s not one of my favorite tunes.
Track 4 Victims of Modern Age:
This is a very interesting track, not just because is based on one of my all time favorite films directed by probably one of the best Directors of all time "Stanley Kubrick" yes and that movie is "A Clock Work Orange" if you haven´t seen this film or "2001: Space odyssey" I RECOMMEND YOU to do it! If you´re fan of the "Seventh Art" of course.
So the song, has this catchy melody signature pretty cool Guitar and Keyboard + drums all together makes it a bit particularly different, but of course its Rock and Metalish... lyrics singed by Russell, Damien and Floor gives us totally atmosphere of the Story, simply theatrical and bit kind of Broadway Metal musical style.
Track 5 Human see, Human do:
This track simply rocks the hell out of your Player, great start with fast paced guitar riffs and beautiful keyboard background sounds, is mainly Power Metal with symphonic and spacey touches... really cool, song is based on "Planet of the Apes" Movie, pretty thrilling and the theme suits the story very well done, again, Keyboard solo is mind blowing all full of emotion and feeling. Great tune!.
Track 6 24 Hours:
Ok, this is one of the best tracks of the album in my opinion also because is really cool how it fits the Story in the movie "Escape from New York". Begins soft with awesome clean vocals made by Damian W. following the melody Russell A. with his powerful angry vocals is just amazing how the song develops, really grows on you, I can´t stop listening to this tune...
in the middle we have these darkish riffs accompanied by Dan Swano´s Vocals and also Floor Jansen´s beautiful voice, then it calms... and there´s is this so cool Keyboard Flanged patch lead melody which totally rocks your mind and ears... awesome track honestly.
Track 7 Cassandra Complex:
So this song also is going to catch your attention, as the title says has this cool particular lead melody really complex and mixing several music scales... passes through all states being weird, sad, and beautiful arrangements ... is weird, as the movie plot itself "12 Monkeys" if you don´t pay attention you won´t understand the story and so this track, very cool what Arjen wanted to do in this song, really insane but cool.
Track 8 It´s Alive, She´s Alive, We´re Alive:
Ok this is my least favorite tune, also the movie didn´t like it very much although the story is very interesting ... the movie is just not that interesting because it was a bit slow, IMO of course, is based in "Children of Men" post apocalyptic movie where this song is not quite I expected but is not bad song. Fast melodies good riffs and descent vocal arrangements, could have been more epic ... given that the story is Epic right? Don't worry you´ll get what I mean in the next song.
Track 9 It all Ends there
Well if you didn't quite dig previous song... not because it was bad but because it deserved something more thrilling... all right, you got it!, in this one! Haa! excellent song based on the Epic SCI-FI classic "Blade Runner" the songs is as thrilling and dark as the Film, is amazing the vocals arrangements on this one... outstanding performances by Dan and Russell, also worth mentioning the chorus performance made by Floor, all melodies are incredible. The song just ROCKS! Amazing work ... you must listen again and again this tune, it also have beautiful Guitar solo and lots of feeling, then again we hear more of Russell´s incredible vocals... then at the end there´s a climax, melodies grow and grow making this track EPIC, of course is one of my favorite on the album, but hold on because it´s not over yet.
Bonus CD (Only if you bought DIGIPACK LE)
Track 1 As the Crown Dies
Well in this Bonus Cd I might say I find these songs so really freaking good! On this song, Arjen Invited Mike Andersson, this guy has a lot of feeling, great tune based on the movie "The Road" simply amazingly emotive melodies and fantastic music composition.
Track 2 Two plus Two Equals Four
In this track we have on vocals Rodney Blaze, the song is based on the movie "1984" haven't seen either this one, but the song is really cool, also Rodney made pretty cool work here, song is very Rockish style, don't know why but this song reminds me a lot of some Ayreon´s songs. Great tune and ending also melody grows from darkish and painful to glory and epic light... really cool track.
Track 3 Last Day
In this track Arjen´s sings himself the song is based on movie "Logan´s Run" also we can find cool Guitar riffs with keys ... the song has these soft parts where Arjens sings with this Flanger effect which is also a trade mark from his works... again pretty cool Keyboard solos and patches, I can´t get tired of his compositions.
Track 4 Closer to the Stars
Now in this song I must say... it's definitely my favorite Track of whole Album, this is like the Climax of this whole work, Arjen´s seems to reach the stars honestly with this Tune, the theme is based on one also of my favorite Movies "Gattaca" for this song Arjen asked very well know great singer "Tony Martin" he just can´t be more fitted to this song, the whole music makes you think about how amazing the universe and galaxy is incredibly unraveled, with great keyboard Organs, awesome guitar leaks and beautiful vocal compositions.
Track 5 Knife Edge
This is a bonus COVER from the Great prog band ELP, what can I say I like this cover! But of course is pretty Metalish-Rock style, keyboard performance is quite cool by the way... also worth mentioning that all Vocalist performing on this Cover made an incredible work, the song fits perfectly the Star One ambience.
My Opinion and Rating
Score I will give 4 / 5
Ok I must say I really enjoy the Album but I liked more the 1st Album Star One - Space Metal although the approach that Arjen´s took on this Cd is really good also if you love SCI FI then the music speak by itself. So anyone who enjoy good melodic and Symphonic Rock / Metal, certainly would enjoy it.
Hope you liked my review, otherwise I´d love to hear your opinions!
Thanks for reading
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Down the Rabbit Hole
2 Digital Rain
3 Earth That Was
4 Victim of the Modern Age
5 Human See, Human Do
6 Cassandra Complex
7 It's Alive, She's Alive, We're Alive
8 It All Ends Here
9 As the Crow Dies
10 Two Plus Two Equals Five
12 Closer to the Stars
13 Knife Edge
14 Video: The Making of Victims of the Modern Age