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Arjen Lucassen's Star One - Revel in Time Award winner

Arjen Lucassen's Star One
Revel In Time
by Kevin Lewis at 07 February 2022, 10:27 AM

STAR ONE is one of many projects Arjen Anthony Lucassen works on, partially depending on what kind of music he wants to make at that time. This particular creation is based somewhat on the manipulation of time and is heavier than AYREON. This is, first and foremost, Progressive Metal, but within that context, there are elements of symphonic and power metal with echoes of Thrash and Heavy Metal as well. "Revel In Time" is set for release on February 18, 2022, via Inside Out Music.

Another key thing to note about this record is that there are two complete versions. The “regular” and “alternate” versions have the same music on them, note for note. The difference is the alternate version uses different vocalists. According to the biography of the record stated,” The guide vocals that were recorded were way too good to just be guide vocals. Arjen felt it would be a real shame if they were never heard by anyone else, so he decided to release the guide vocal versions on CD2.” What this means for the fans is twice as many killer vocalists on these songs!

The album starts with “Fate of Man.” I may not recognize each of these vocalists by tone, but on the regular version, we get Brittney Slayes from UNLEASH THE ARCHERS doing the honors. The guitars are heavy, but not too dark. The keyboards are underneath the riff and lurk there like a beast lying in wait for its’ next victim. The bass and drums don’t just hold the song up, they drive it forward. They are less a rhythm section and more of a vehicle that speeds along with everything else.

On “Prescient” the keyboards take a front seat for the intro. They stay more prominent throughout this song. This variable use of keys is excellent, creating both an ethereal atmosphere under the guitars and building up the entire sound at other times. Either way, the keys are always right where they need to be to make the song feel bigger and sound more complete.

Another example of critical use of the keyboards and how they create such an incredible feel is “Back from The Past.” This song has a classic rock feel, beginning to end. This feels like DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW had a love child and this is the result. Then, to make sure you know the song is really epic, there’s a choir. The guitar solo is precise and wild at the same time. My inner classic rock fan loved the adaptation to a more metal sound on this track.

Revel In Time,” the title track, has a bit of groove metal to the guitar riff, paired with some doom-laden keys. This gives a darker tone to the song and the vocals match it well. The deeper timbre in some sections really provide a depth to the overall feel of the song. While the middle section is less gloomy, it has still the darker elements that make this song nice and heavy.

Interestingly, “Bridge of Life” starts with a light, almost atmospheric tune from a music box before the riff crashes in and takes the song heavy. Then, the music cuts out and the vocals shine through with nothing but minimalist keyboards for support. While the whole record is true to the progressive roots, this is the song that really shows of the prog chops. The tempo shifts and variable patterns of every instrument are phenomenal.

The next few songs are not all the same but continue the tale. The next real milestone is the final track, “Lost Children of The Universe.” This is the epic wrap of the story. Clocking in at just under 10 minutes, this is the not just the close of the record, but of the theme. The intro is ambient and feels futuristic while holding on to a few classical sounds. Then, the guitar kicks in and the song goes heavy. That riff is so, so good.

The blending of the vocals, both male and female, adds a lot of texture to this song. The layers of vocals weave around and over each other, making for a beautiful series of phrases that tantalize the ears. The guitar solo is subdued and takes the song from one section to another with the shift midway through. If my research is correct, this is Steve Vai doing what he does best, making a song better by crafting a solo that is exactly what the song needs. After that, the songs swells and fades, ending a great story with the phrase “It’s not over.”

I don’t know if that means there is possibly more to the tale, or if, like time, there is more to come. After listening through both the regular and alternate versions, I can honestly say that Arjen Lucassen made the right choice to release both. Both versions are excellent. It is impossible to say that one is better than the other. Both are epic. Both are done well. It would really only boil down to your preferred singers. I’m a fan of both.

There is a lot of heavy, a good amount of ethereal and ambient, some doom and just the right amounts of power and prog metal throughout this project. The music is phenomenal, the compositions precisely written with tons of attention paid to detail. The music is woven together with a precision and flair that few writers can master, and few musicians can perform with this much talent. STAR ONE absolutely crushed it with this record.

Songwriting:  10
Musicianship:  10
Memorability:  10
Production:  10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Fate of Man
2. 28 Days (Till the End of Time)
3. Prescient
4. Back from The Past
5. Revel in Time
6. The Year Of ‘41
7. Bridge of Life
8. Today Is Yesterday
9. A Hand on The Clock
10. Beyond the Edge of It All
11. Lost Children of The Universe 
Lineup:
Arjen Lucassen – Guitar/Bass
Ed Warby – Drums
Record Label: Inside Out Music
     


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Edited 04 October 2022
 

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