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Star One - Victims Of The Modern Age CD (album) cover

VICTIMS OF THE MODERN AGE

Star One

 

Progressive Metal

3.67 | 163 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

J-Man
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Human See, Human Do

Strangely enough, I jumped onto the Arjen Lucassen bandwagon pretty late. Having only discovered him through Ayreon's 01011001, I really only delved into his massive discography in the last two years or so. So after thoroughly enjoying the Ayreon classics and some other side-projects, I was pretty excited for the new Star One album, Victims of the Modern Age. Although I set a pretty high level of expectations for the album, I can confidently conclude that Arjen Lucassen & co. has exceeded almost every single one of them. Even though I can't consider Victims of the Modern Age to be one of the best albums released in Arjen's catalog, calling this anything less than a spectacular masterwork would be criminal. It seems as though it's impossible for Arjen Lucassen to create anything that isn't great, and this Star One album is just further proof of that. If you like progressive metal, power metal, or rock operas, Victims of the Modern Age should already be in your collection!

The music here is a typical Arjen creation, though a bit more metal-oriented and darker than we're used to. If Ayreon played a heavier and slightly more stripped-down style, this would be the result. The songs are also a bit more commercial-sounding than other things Lucassen has done in the past. There aren't a whole lot of progressive tendencies outside of the synth-laden sound and vocal harmonies. Victims of the Modern Age is first and foremost a power metal album, and a very good one at that. There is some expected cheese, mainly in the production, but when the music is this good, it's rarely a problem. Every song is irresistibly catchy, filled with bombastic arrangements, terrific vocal harmonies, and crushing riffs. After the brief synth intro, Down the Rabbit Hole, the album rarely stops and catches its breath again. Victims of the Modern Age is filled to the brim with heavy and melodic riffs, sure to please fans of progressive power metal.

One of the best things about most of Arjen Lucassen's projects is the host of guest vocalists, and the same surely applies to Victims of the Modern Age. With a cast consisting of Dan Swanö (Edge of Sanity, Nightingale, Unicorn, Bloodbath, Demiurg, etc.), Russell Allen (Symphony X), Damian Wilson (Threshold, Headspace), and Floor Jansen (After Forever), you're bound to have a terrific vocal department. The instrumentalists are also some of the best in the prog and metal worlds. The drumming from Ed Warby is especially notable.

The production is a bit of an issue, in my opinion. Although the sound is powerful and heavy, it's far glossy and over-produced to be enjoyable. I really wish Arjen would take a bit of a step back in terms of production. This is way too synthetic and pompous for me. Some may enjoy the sound, but it just adds loads and loads of cheese to an otherwise incredible album, in my opinion.

Conclusion:

Victims of the Modern Age is a great comeback album for Star One, and another terrific release in Arjen Lucassen's shining catalog. Although the album is over-produced and occasionally a bit pompous, there are so many great things that tremendously outweigh any detriments. If you like Arjen Lucassen's past projects, it'd be awfully hard for you not to enjoy this. Even though Victims of the Modern Age isn't quite a masterpiece, it's awfully close, and surely among one of the best albums in 2010. 4 shining stars are well-deserved here.

J-Man | 4/5 |

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