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

VICTIMS OF THE MODERN AGE

Star One

 

Progressive Metal

3.68 | 157 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

memowakeman
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Arjen's projects are guarantee of good music!

He has to be one of the most prolific and well recognized musicians in the progressive rock (metal oriented) scene from the past two decades. His works always give elements to create a nice talk and good criticism, and this time is not the exception, however, my main problem here was that in moments I felt that it was just more of the same. I'll explain it later.

After eight years of Star One's first album (Space Metal), Arjen and his colleagues decided to give light to a new child with the title of "Victims of the Modern Age", so this 2010 was a really expected year for those who love his projects, especially Star One. I am a follower of Ayreon, in particular a true lover of The Human Equation, but I also enjoy some of his other projects such as Ambeon or this one.

The album's running time is around 53 minutes and features nine compositions. It kicks off with the shortest one, a one-minute intro called "Down to the Rabbit Hole" with a keyboard that leads you to Arjen's sound; he has actually created a label himself, Arjen's music can be easily recognized. The second track has the title of "Digital Rain". The label of space metal that some people give to this band can be understood with songs like this, also, knowing that sci-fi films have given Arjen inspiration to create music, that label works together with the sound. This song is very powerful, the drums are heavy and vocals reach high notes. What I probably like the most is the sound of keyboards, the way they guide the music, and the listener.

Of course, it is worth mentioning that here you will find several singers, well known from their works in other bands, they are Russell Allen, Damian Wilson, Floor Jansen and Dan Swanö. The third track is "Earth that was", with again a powerful sound made by guitars first, and then by drums and keyboards. Some of the things I appreciate the most in Star One and Ayreon, is the mixture of voices, and how they interplay, no matter if they are male or female vocals, I think almost always they appear in the precise moment. Just before minute three, there is a pretty nice keyboard solo, the thing here is that some notes really remind me of The Human Equation, so here I started to compare the current, with past music.

"Victims of the Modern Age" has a catchy sound actually, the guitar and keyboard that share the same notes produces a repetitive and in moments maddening sound. Though this is the title track, I honestly believe is one of the weakest pieces on this album, I also don't like the growl vocals that appear before minute five, and n the will of create an addiction, this song created only boredom.

"Human See, Human Do" start with some dialogues from a film, and then seconds later the music begins with a strong guitar sound, powerful drums and punch bass, the rhythm is very fast so you better pay attention, otherwise you will miss the track. The first voice is not really what I like the most, actually I would omit it, but then Wilson's and Jansen's ones fix it. Again, the main problem I have here is that some passages take me to some previous Arjen's projects, so in moments I feel it is repetitive and I lost interest.

Next track is more interesting, "24 Hours" creates a dark but sweet atmosphere which easily takes you and maintains you expectant of what's coming next. The vocal work here is excellent and the music helps a lot. It is divided in various passages with colorful moments and sounds that create images and stories in your own mind. This is without a doubt one of the most brilliant moments on this album, or at least, one of my favorite songs.

"Cassandra Complex" is a nice but average track. Now that I am reviewing, I realize that despite the album was well elaborated, I found some kind of discontinuity, because when the music takes me on the top of my interest, it all of a sudden takes me to the bottom. That happened here, after truly enjoying 24 Hours, now I just listen to Cassandra Complex, not really loving it.

"It's Alive, She's Alive, We're Alive" is another good track, well in fact I believe they all are good, of course, some better than others. This song creates a pretty cool mood and that, mixed with the different vocals, succeed. The keyboard sound is also great. And the album finishes with "It all ends here" which also happens to be the longest track. The atmosphere shares some nervousness and tension, so you might feel trapped under the sound, and stay still until it finishes. With this song it is clear that there is no need to be overpretentious or pompous to catch anyone's attention, you only have to choose the correct elements in the correct moments, no more.

Now, I like the album, and musically I believe it deserve four stars, easily, my problem, as I've mentioned, is that in moments I felt it inconsistent and in some others the music took me to Ayreon passages, so i have to admit I though "maybe he is running out of ideas" which is very harsh to say, and I am sure he is not. But well, for that, my final rating will be three stars. It is recommendable, great, but not an album that really excites me.

Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 3/5 |

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