CD Reviews

Arjen Lucassen’s Guilt Machine - ‘On This Perfect Day’ Hot

Added by James Gaden     February 17, 2010    
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New album from the driving force behind the Star One, Ambeon and Ayreon projects.


Arjen Lucassen has been playing rock music for many years now, from his early days with Bodine and Vengence, through to his more well-known Star One, Ambeon and Ayreon projects. His work has never lacked quality, but each release has been decidedly different from the last. With this new album ‘On This Perfect Day’ he continues to change and evolve as a writer and musician. What is slightly different about Guilt Machine is that Arjen only wrote the music this time, leaving the lyrics and lead guitar work to Miss Lori Linstruth (ex-Stream Of Passion), who does an excellent job with both. Also, instead of having loads of guest vocalists, Arjen has gone with just one voice, but as usual he hasn’t gone with someone you would expect him to. On lead vocals he has used the talents of a young guy called Jasper Steverlinck, who plays with alternative rock band Arid, and I have to say Mr. Lucassen has done it once again, picking a relative unknown whose voice suits the music on this album perfectly.

The six songs that can be found on ‘OTPD’ are on average ten minutes long and deal with such thought provoking subjects as human nature, guilt, loss, death, regret and life. Mixed within’ the songs are spoken messages from fans, who were asked to phone in and talk about how these subjects affected them, and this little touch makes the album and it’s songs feel even more personal. I would give you a little bit of a warning though - please don’t expect this to be a new Ayreon CD, because it’s not. The album has a darker and much colder outlook than most of the music that Arjen Lucassen has released in the recent past. The subject matter of the songs and it’s moody, oppressive nature does not make this CD an easy listen in any way.

When given the time it needs, ‘On This Perfect Day’ for me is a standout moment in the career of Arjen Lucassen, it’s dark attraction and strange beautiful harmonies will be for some an acquired taste, though for me it’s without a doubt one of the best things that Arjen Lucassen has been involved with. If you have a love for the darker side of progressive rock, then like me I think you will fall for this album in a big way. So give it the time it needs to work it’s spell on you because after a dozen plays and more I’m still finding new and interesting things to listen to on this album.

(NB: There are three different versions of this album, the normal jewel case, a digipack with bonus DVD, and a special edition digi-book with extra artwork and the DVD. The choice is yours).

Ian Johnson


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