Band: Star One
Band Website: www.arjenlucassen.com
Label: InsideOut Record
Label Website: www.insideout.de
Release Date: 2010
It’s taken all of eight years for Arjen Lucassen to follow-up on his first Star One musical project released in 2002. I was beginning to think that was a one off project, but no, timing is everything and he’s back with another blast of progressive metal entitled Victims of the Modern Age. As is his approach Lucassen has surrounded himself with a group of players specifically inclined to fulfill his musical vision for the project. Here we have Arjen Lucassen (guitars, keyboards), Ed Warby (drums), Peter Vink (bass), Joost van den Broek (keyboard solos) and Gary Wehrkamp (guitar solos). Then on vocals; Russell Allen (Symphony X), Damian Wilson (Headspace, Threshold), Floor Jansen (ex-After Forever, ReVamp), Dan Swanö (Nightingale, Second Sky, ex-Edge of Sanity). Now if you’re thinking, that that list of vocalists says anything, well the emphasis here is obviously on the metal side.
If you remember Star One’s first go around, the theme, if we can the term, was that all the songs were a kind of musical interpretation of popular science fiction movies. Here the story line is a little more contemporary as if ripped from the headlines. It’s all about what’s happening to the planet earth. Victims of the Modern Age features nine-tracks most around the six-plus minute range. From the opening notes of “Down the Rabbit Hole” [1:20] that leads directly into “Digital Rain” [6:23] there really is no mistaking who you’re listening too. There are a few tracks where the music opens up to some variation. Take for example “24 Hours” [7:20] which is part power ballad and then some. This is first rate Progressive Metal with a pile of symphonic embellishments. That said other than the three-part closing track “It All Ends Here” [9:46], these tunes rarely depart very far from their core melodies. Another words they’re aggressive and direct with loads of crunchy, chunky guitar. Keyboard solos do make plentiful appearances both in terms of textures as well as leads, but make no mistake this is a heavy sounding disc.
Fans of Lucassen’s various projects will no doubt want to add this one to their collection as I did. Not sure what it was but for me, this second release wasn’t quite as fulfilling or as enjoyable as his previous Star One project. Maybe it was just that I liked the lyrically theme of the first disc more than this one’s darker subject. Still if you’re looking for some well executed prog metal with some catchy riffs Victims of the Modern Age will do it for you. I’m sure there will be plenty out there happy to see a new Star One disc.