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Guilt Machine - On This Perfect Day CD (album) cover


Guilt Machine


Progressive Metal

3.90 | 180 ratings

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4 stars It seemed that Arjen A Lucassen's had taken his excellent Ayreon project just about as far as it could go on last years 01011001 album. A fitting end (or will it continue?) to a highly enjoyable series of easily accessible prog metal albums that if that's it, went out on a high. I read somewhere that Lucassen had felt that he had perhaps gone a little overboard on the amount of vocalists used on the last Ayreon project. Of course a multi singer format was one of the recognisable features of Ayreon and I certainly don't share such views on 01011001. Still whether that's the case or not he decided to use the single vocalist format on On This Perfect Day and employed Freddie I mean Jasper Steverlinck. Okay joking aside Steverlinck's vocal style does bear an uncanny resemblance to Mercury but he's a fine singer in his own right. Hats off to Lucassen for taking a chance on a relatively unknown singer, Steverlinck coming from Belgian indie band Arid which might sound like an unlikely partnership but actually works very well.

It appears that Lori Linstruth on lead guitar has had a key role in Guilt Machine, not only musically but also writing lyrics, her and Lucassen making a complimentary dual guitar team. Drum duties are handled by former Porcupine Tree man Chris Maitland who not surprisingly does an excellent job. Lucassen also handles bass and keyboards.

I've read reviews on other sites that say that Guilt Machine is a departure from the Ayreon sound. I have to disagree with this line of thought as Guilt Machine clearly has Lucassen stamped all over it. To my ears if you take the Ayreon sound as a template but reduce the amount of metallic guitar riffs, replacing them with cleaner guitar sounds and increase the atmospherics you'll be somewhere near. The pulsing synth sequencers are still there from the off on opener Twisted Coil. Like most of the 6 songs it's quite long giving it time to create some musical tension and build from subtle restraint to a powerhouse of a riff of unison synth and guitar. Steverlinck's voice is suitably dramatic and fits the part well. In fact the album is book ended by the two best tracks and closes with the suitably climatic Perfection? which follows a similar format as it builds to an exciting high.

Between those two pieces the songs follow a similar format. Although there are heavier moments, the songs rely more on an atmospheric and melancholic approach, exaggerated by Steverlinck's vocals. There's occasional ambient moments, the songs in the main building through many layers, but still allowing room for the music to breathe, with light and shade punctuating the dramatic highs. Just when you think it's reached a natural high it moves up another level.

On This perfect Day is another well crafted, melodic and accessible album from Lucassen. On first hearing it sounds a bit ordinary but stick with it and it will reveal its charms. Not quite as good as the last two Ayreon albums which set a high benchmark but fans of that band and his other projects should find much to enjoy here.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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