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Star One - Space Metal CD (album) cover

SPACE METAL

Star One

 

Progressive Metal

3.13 | 73 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Space Metal" is debut full-length studio album by Ayreon mainman Arjen Anthony Lucassen´s sci-fi progressive metal project Star One. The album was released through InsideOut Music in May 2002.

The music on "Space Metal" is unmistakably in the sound and style of Arjen Anthony Lucassen. The man has a distinct sound and an original songwriting style which is recognisable regardless of project or band name. The music on "Space Metal" is inspired by seventies and eighties symphonic and epic heavy metal. The spacy synth sounds which remind me sligthly of Hawkwind are a bit different from the usual Ayreon sound and all lyrics are influenced by different science fiction movies, but it´s really only the choice of lyrical theme and the spacy synth sounds that set Star One apart from Ayreon. Most tracks on the album are in the heavy mid paced and epic symphonic style that we know so well from Ayreon, while the last song "Starchild" is more epic and slow building. The material are generally of a high standard.

What is always exciting about Lucassen´s projects is his choice of guest vocalists and "Space Metal" is no exception. There are four different vocalists on the album. Russell Allen (Symphony X), Damian Wilson (Ayreon, Threshold, Headspace), Dan Swanö (Edge of Sanity, Nightingale, Bloodbath, Maceration, Unicorn, Second Sky, Pan- thy-monium...among others) and the young female vocalist Floor Jansen (After Forever). They all sing different parts in the songs and in that way play different characters from the movies that the lyrics are about. This means that Russell Allen might sing the first vers of a song while Dan Swanö sings the chorus and Damian Wilson sings the second verse. This approach works brilliantly and and helps along the diversity of the album. The tracks are vers/chorus structured most of the time which gives them a somewhat formulaic sound. A few more experiments with that rather rigid formula could have worked wonders IMO.

Arjen Anthony Lucassen as usual plays all guitars, basses and keyboards except for a few guest appearences by people like Jens Johansson (Yngwie Malmsteen, Stratovarius) on keyboards and Gary Wehrkamp (Shadow Gallery) on guitar. The drums are as always on Lucassen´s projects played by Ed Warby (Gorefest).

The sound production is massive, heavy and clear.

From an objective point of view, there is not doubt "Space Metal" is a quality release, but personally it has always left me a bit cold. I hear brilliant vocal performances, professional instrumental performances and a detailed and professional sounding production but it´s the formulaic song structures that drags my rating down. Throw in a few surprises and "Space Metal" would have been a much more interesting album. Still a 3.5 star (70%) rating is fully deserved.

Bonus CD:

The special Edition of "Space Metal" features an extra CD with six tracks. Two of those tracks are alternate versions of "Starchild" and "Spaced Out". The other four bonus tracks are two outtakes, which are "Spaced Out" and "Inseperable Enemies" (both tracks are of equal quality to the tracks on the original album), while the last two tracks are a Hawkwind medley which includes among others "Silver Machine" and guest vocals by Dave Brock and "Space Oddity" by David Bowie. The Hawkwind medley is the most interesting extra feature on the bonus CD IMO but overall it´s a nice limited edition bonus CD which won´t change my overall rating though.

UMUR | 3/5 |

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