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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars AMBEON is an ARJEN LUCASSEN project built around the superb vocals of 16-year old ASTRID VAN DER VEEN, whom LUCASSEN discovered when she was just 14. The music - mostly electronic with a gothic feel - is almost identical to that of AYREON, LUCASSEN's other pet project. But it is ASTRID's powerful delivery that gives it a peculiarly haunting feel. This young lady can sign: she'll tear your guts out on such tracks as "Sick Ceremony", "Lost Message" and particularly "Sweet Little Brother", a tune that recounts the chilling tale of a young boy murdered by his sister. Considering the rarity of truly talented female vocalists on the prog scene, "Fate of a Dreamer" is a little treasure to behold. And with LUCASSEN at the controls, you have nothing to fear: the top-notch production and the excellent musicianship that characterize all of his projects are all present here. A very unique album indeed.
Report this review (#28576)
Posted Saturday, April 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another Arjen Lucassen's wonderful finding; Astrid Van der Veen has one of the most beautiful voices ever, although she has been compared to Tori Amos and Alannis Morrisette, she sounds more like The Gathering's female lead singer Anneke Van Giersbergen, also from the netherlands; Astrid sings like the pros, and gives a powerful and yet soothing tone to the ambient songs, which she also wrote (melodies & lyrics); Ambeon is a great Ambient/Prog Album, You should get it, or at least listen it.... Caution: Do not Listen to it if you are sleepy....
Report this review (#28577)
Posted Friday, April 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Dutchman Arjen Lucassen is best known under the moniker AYREON. Now he has released an ambient prog metal album together with a 14-year-old girl named Astrid Van Der Veen. Arjen has written the music, and the lyrics and melodies are written and performed by Astrid. A very successful combination! Astrid has a very strong and beautiful voice, and her singing together with the music makes you think of a mix between SHAKESPEARS SISTERS, Lana LANE, BLACKMORE'S NIGHT, NIGHTWISH, Tori AMOS and Kate BUSH.

There are also two interesting guest musicians on this album: Erik NORLANDER on additional synths and Lana LANE on reversed backing vocals.

This album is a perfect mix between ambient, folk, Goth, prog metal and symphonic rock. It's recommended to AYREON followers as well as Tori AMOS, Kate BUSH and BLACKMORE'S NIGHT fans.

Report this review (#28579)
Posted Saturday, July 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars, I fell asleep for how long? Not that the music's boring, but this record could help you meditate or snoozing quietly in the afternoon. Some songs rocks (if we can say that) a bit more, but the whole thing is just jammed-packed with waves of keyboards and the very delicate voice of Van Der Veen.

A cross of Enya, Loreena McKennit, Tori Amos and a tad of Evanescence which means new age atmosphere, celtic-like ballads and woman driven vocals. Her voice is definitely the MAIN instrument of this record, so be prepared to throw away what made Ayreon a brutal melody maker. Very few crunchy chords, many long and marshmallow solos a la Pink Floyd and some beat box rythm, the whole thing wrapped in waves of atmospheric keyboards.

After listening and getting into The Human Equation, this is like a trip to Delaware with a teenage Sarah Mc Laughlan vocal queen and her spikey hair melancolic gothic boyfriend on the back seat. Yep, the ultimate open hearted emotionnal discussion of a lifetime. And expect it, 'cuz the lyrics are written by a 14 year old.

Very relax, professionnal, very good production and the discovery of a great new voice but maybe too mellow for the Ayreon Electric Castle or Human Equation fan.

Report this review (#28582)
Posted Saturday, February 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ahhhhh yes...... just right for those days when your neck is worn out from a long night of head banging. JUST ENOUGH of the right stuff at just the right time.

NOT a TRUE progressive recording, non-the-less quite enjoyable..... the guitars growl JUST enough. About the time you are ready to turn it off.... it's over!

My secret weapon to convert my children to the TRUE music. (heh heh heh).

I recommend it....... IF you need to give the "Boys" a break....... AND if you like YOUNG DUTCH FEMALE VOCALISTS.

Report this review (#28583)
Posted Monday, March 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is NOT prog-metal at all, I'm positive that most people expected an "Ayreon-like" album with lots of power and an over-the-top concept. While some listeners felt very disappointed with the direction of the Ambeon project, others welcomed the softer and most atmospheric sound of the album.

In my opinion, there is no relation between this music and that of "Ark, Pain of Salvation, Liquid Tension Experiment, etc. Ambeon SHOULD be compared to the likes of Clannad, Dead Can Dance or even Tori Amos, "Fate of a Dreamer" features some of those influences mixed with Ayreon's harder edge but without pushing the music towards hard-rock.

There are hardly low points on this record, all tracks flow into each other like most of Arjen Lucassen's albums but the most important feature is the voice of the lovely Astrid Van Der Veen, it's amazing how a 14-year-old girl has delivered such a professional vocal performance, comparable to any skilled veteran female singer.

So please don't expect any prog-metal here, instead just relax and listen to the music, I bet you'll love it!

Report this review (#45199)
Posted Friday, September 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is another Arjen Lucassen´s project, in this album he worked with a Dutch singer called Astrid Van Der Veen, who has a beautiful voice, of course voice is not all in music, but is an important element, and i think in this album her voice is what kept me on it, i think this album is not another Ayreon album, because in all Arjen´s projects we can find a bit of Ayreon sound, this albums is pretty nice because the voice and music has a lot of emotion, is not an strong prog metal album, because i found it a bit electronic, with weird sounds and great guitars and synths,so we could call it light metal, of course it is not a masterpiece, but i think it is a great addition for Arjen´s lovers and prog metal lovers, the music is also very good, but i have to be honest, the voice is simply beautiful , the main fact in the album! I didnt know this album until a friend gave to me an Ayreon MP3, then i listened to Ambeon, one, two, three times, and everytime i enjoyed it, i am not the biggest metal fan, but i do like Arjen´s projects, this is very nice but not the best, 3 stars is a fair grade.
Report this review (#74149)
Posted Wednesday, April 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars AMBEON "Fate of a Dreamer" was a different type of metal than what I usually listen to, but I found it very, very like able. Though it is very mellow music with the occaisonal heavy metal guitar I found the music very calm and somewhat soothing to do work to. 'Ashes' was a very good song and my favorite off of the album. 'High' and 'Fate' are also really good songs as well, but compiled with the rest of the songs I'd give the album a 4/5. Not to include how talented Astrid is in her singing. Here are my song ratings:

Estranged: 4/5 (Cool low flute in the begining) Ashes: 5/5 High: 5/5 Cold Metal: 3/5 Fate: 5/5 Sick Ceremony: 4/5 Lost Message: 3/5 Surreal: 4/5 (Cool acoustic solo) Sweet Little Brother: 4/5 Dreamer: 4/5

The CD is a nice one to your Prog collection, and I didn't regret getting this one at all. Not only is Astrid Van Der Veen a very good Dutch singer, but the music quality is spectacular as well with some very good solos among the album.

Report this review (#74684)
Posted Tuesday, April 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars This is another in a seemingly endless line of projects from Arjen Anthony Lucassen (Ayreon). Like Stream of Passion, this is his music overlaid with the lyrics and melodies of a young woman who was largely unknown before his discovery. The comparisons really end there though. Stream of Passion has the feel of a broadly collaborative effort with a range of sounds and plenty of professional musicianship. Also, Marcela Bovio’s vocal range and overall musical abilities appear to well exceed those of young Astrid van der Veen. At the time of this recording she was only sixteen though, so time may tell a different tale.

This album was supposed to be largely instrumental, and a way for Lucassen to work out the capabilities of some new recoding equipment (the name Ambeon comes from the merging of ‘Ayreon’ and ‘ambient’). After hearing van de Veen’s vocals, he added a handful of professional musicians, allowed the girl to add her own lyrics and melodies, and turned this into a full project. The result is pleasant enough, but one that sounds like just what it is – a talented artist experimenting with some new sounds accentuated by appealing vocals and dressed-up with a few accompanying musicians. Wrap that in a pretty package and you have something that Ayreon fans are likely to spend money on as a completion piece to their collections, but probably not much more. One note – the ‘pretty package’ includes lyrics and various musings by the young van der Veen, but considering these are the heaviest thoughts of a somewhat precocious but very young girl, they aren’t likely to provide any deep insights into the meaning of life.

The opening “Estranged” has some nice flute and faint violin from John and Pat McManus, brothers lately of the Irish folk band Celtus and founding members of the 80’s one-hit wonder metal band Mama’s Boys. The remaining music is mostly synthesizer, slow and folksy but largely unremarkable. Van der Veen’s lyrics are rather trite, the lament of a girl at the moodiness of her lover, and while her voice is quite beautiful and melodic, she has a tendency to over embellish at bit. This isn’t really a distraction, but it does emphasize the fact that her style was still at a fledgling stage of development.

The drums and guitar finally appear on “Ashes”, but the drum tracks are digital, and Lucassen’s guitar work appears to have been lifted right off of Universal Migrator. The lyrics – not sure, but it sounds like someone singing about getting stoned. I’m sure I’m wrong about this, but…

On the other hand, I’m quite sure the words in “High” are about losing one’s virginity –

“And now I know it is time to possess your mind whole; and now I know it is time to give away what I saved. And you will take me high, so high”.

Right then. How awkward, unless you are a sixteen year old boy. Lyrics aside, this sounds a lot like some of the more sensual stuff done by the Corrs, or maybe Sarah McLachlan, and isn’t really progressive music in any way, and certainly not metal. On any other album this would be considered R&B-influenced slow-dance music. This is definitely one of the weaker tracks on the album, but probably would have made a club hit as a single.

“Cold Metal” was the closing track on Ayreonauts Only, and shows a bit more of a metal flair with actual drums, singing guitar riffs from Lucassen, and ambient violin tracks interspersed with eerie keyboards. Van der Veen’s voice here sounds like a melding of Tarja Turunen and Kate Bush, perhaps intentionally so. The story I gather is about suicide by tossing oneself under a train. Pretty dreary stuff. This sounds like it’s the same mix as the one on the Ayreon album.

The first of two instrumentals is “Fate”, which starts off with a slowly building, slightly syncopated keyboard riff accompanied by thin violin strands and spacey synthesizer, and again with the digital drums plus a few variations on guitar. This kind of reminds me of Alan Parson’s I Robot at times. The track never really develops into much, and just fades into a slow transition to “Sick Ceremony”, a reference I believe to some kind of ritual drowning –

“She crossed her fingers and apologized to them, then she flew off into the stream - went to the light”.

This just seems like filler, with drum and guitar tracks that sound like they were lifted off “Cold Metal”, and van der Veen over-inflicting on vocals again.

“Lost Message” starts off with a keyboard track and violin that sound a bit like Nightwish, and van der Veen’s voice here is remarkably similar to Madonna circa early 90s. The story is of a winged creature that appears once then flies away, never to return, leaving the singer waiting and longing to see her again. This is fantasy stuff, and more celtic-sounding than metal with the lilting backing vocals and violin.

“Surreal” is a rather sophomoric lament about love and pain, although this one has some pretty decent guitar that includes both electric and acoustic tracks to give it a more romantic feel I suppose, along with the most passive keyboard accompaniment to be found anywhere on the album.

“Sweet Little Brother” tells the Jason Vorhees-like story of a young girl who comes home to find her brother gone mad and chasing her around with a knife. She wrests it from him and kills him with it, and is left with her own demented voices in the end. More decent guitar work and a strong rhythm, but again nothing remarkable. There’s a radio news report track wafting through the background with a reporter describing the crime scene, which interestingly enough happened near Lake Michigan, meaning the fictional crime probably occurred in Chicago. Or it just means that’s the best audio track Lucassen could find for the album, whichever.

The final track, “Dreamer”, is also an instrumental, and quite similar the other wordless number “Fate”, except that here van der Veen offers a few snippets of closing vocals to end the album.

This is certainly not a masterpiece by any means, and after numerous listens I don’t believe it even really qualifies as ‘good’. The instrumentation is decent but average, especially for such strong musicians as Lucassen and Erik Norlander, who are capable of much better work. This may appeal to some who like lyric-intensive songs with a solid female vocalist. But I think this album represented a moment in time when Lucassen was briefly infatuated with Astrid van der Veen’s young voice, and perhaps went a bit overboard in trying to either impress her or to capitalize on her sound. In the six years since, there have been no further Lucassen projects featuring her, and she in fact has moved on to her own band theEndorphins (spelled as one word), whose web site announces that their repertoire is now “extensive enough to provide a full length performance”. Bravo.

I think that two stars are probably appropriate for this one.


Report this review (#83253)
Posted Sunday, July 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars What's with the references of this record not being loud or rough enough, and the odd references to Astrid's age and emo teens? Sheesh...

Granted, this record isn't gothic metal. It's not Ayreon. It's not folk. So what is it? It's a mixed potpourri of all kinds of music, blended together into a whole, with Astrid van der Veen, who was 14 at the time, on lead vocals. So, don't waste your time trying to compare it to any other band, because honestly, I have yet to hear a band that even remotely sounds like Ambeon.

Well then, onto the album itself. The lyrics and vocals by Van der Veen are dark and often about unpleasantries, but I know those are often very easy and deep things to write and sing about, as they hook on your very soul. The music itself is based on various Ayreon songs, from the albums "The Final Experiment", "Actual Fantasy", "The Dream Sequencer", "Into The Electric Castle", and "Flight of the Migrator".

The album opens with an atmospheric folky "Estranged". You can hear the melody of "Ye Courtyard Minstrel Boy" of The Final Experiment quite clearly here. The real tempo doesn't begin until "Ashes".

"Ashes" was based on "Back On Planet Earth" from Actual Fantasy. It's a pretty haunting song, mixing dark gothy elements with Actual Fantasy-like electronics. It's softer and more ambient than Back On Planet Earth, but gives more room to breathe (and guitar solos!). Astrid's voice is beautiful, though after having heard her on the Final Experiment bonus disc of 2005, I can hear she is still developing her voice on this album.

"High" was based on "The Shooting Company of Captain Frans B. Cocq" from The Dream Sequences, though this one has less guitars and electronics, and more flutes and steady synth carpets.

"Cold" Metal was based on "Into the Black Hole" (Flight of the Migrator), but it's a longer distance away from the previous songs. This one is definately more ambient, but the guitar riffs an solos come back here again, ala "Ashes".

"Fate" is an instrumental track, and based on "Welcome to the New Dimension" and "Forever of the Stars" from Into The Electric Castle. This song I usually skip, as it's somewhat lacking something...and I don't mean vocals.

"Sick Ceremony" is definately similar in rhythm to "Magic Ride". You could even mix these songs as a medley of sorts. It would fit quite nice, I think.

"Lost Message" sounds somewhat like "Charm of the Seer" from The Final Experiment, as well as "Carried by the Wind" from The Dream Sequences. It's one of the more folky songs on the album, a nice change of pace.

"Surreal" is taken from "And the Druids Turn to Stone" (The Dream Sequencer), and actually has less vocals than the other songs. Sort of semi-instrumental, if you will. Electronic/Acoustic, maybe. I ramble on...

"Sweet Little Brother" is probably the heaviest song on the album, especially compared to "2084", the song it's loosely based on. It's also a very dark one, in which Astrid tells how she killed her sweet little brother, whom she thought threatened her with a knife. In the middle of the song, there's a more ambient dark piece with a radio voice telling the police is looking for her, etc.

"Dreamer" is an instrumental song, and very strongly resembles "Computer Eyes" from Actual Fantasy. They could've put this song in elsewhere and ended with Sweet Little Brother, I'd say...for this one sounds too much like the Computer Eyes to keep my interest.

Conclusion? I think it's a great album with mixed tunes and styles. The downside is that the song's instrumental melodies are based on existing Ayreon song. Of course it works, and some are hard to recognize, but knowing Arjen, he could've been a bit more creative with it. Though it's a nice album to give Astrid the recognition she kinda deserves. She really does have a beautiful haunting voice, even though she hadn't developed it fully on this album yet.

If you want metal ala EPICA, WITHIN TEMPTATION and the like, you'll be disappointed. If you don't like dark lyrics or young performers (aka people who hate "emo teens"), stay well away from this album. However, if you're mature and open enough to listen to something more ambient, folky, and most of all, DIFFERENT, you might be surprised. I give it 4 stars, because it's a beautiful album vocally and musically (and cuz I'm a fellow "emo teen"!), though not as creative as it could've been.

Yours, Tailscent

Report this review (#89002)
Posted Tuesday, September 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ambeon is a mysterious and ambient project of Arjen Anthony Lucassen, and features a young, and very talented female vocalist, Astrid van der Veen.

Originally Arjen set out to record an ambient instrumental album based on certain electronic patterns, chords and melodies derived from the recorded tracks of existing Ayreon songs (to test his new studio hardware system). In the process some new songs evolved, and Arjen figured female vocals on one or two songs would add a warm human touch.

Arjen heard a recording of a 14-year young Dutch singer named Astrid van der Veen. This was exactly the voice he was looking for, and so he asked her to write lyrics and melodies to go over some of these re-constructed ambient tracks and then sing them. This arrangement worked out extremely well. So before he realized it the album had developed from an instrumental album with two vocal songs to a vocal album with two instrumentals.

"Fate Of A Dreamer" is a very ambient "Arjen Luccassen" album and having purchased all Ayreon albums before this one I must say you definitely recognize the melodies which are all derived from existing Ayreon tracks. They work great in an ambient setting with the wonderful voice of (then) teenage girl Astrid van der Veen.

Report this review (#101039)
Posted Wednesday, November 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars What has become of Ambeon? 5 years ago this young girl's collaborration with Arjen Lucassen cried for a follow up. But it didn't happen.

The opener Estranged starts with a beautiful and dynamic voice that twists eastern-tinged melodies around Mike Oldfield soundscapes. Ashes adds typical Ayreon sounds, heavy guitars and dramatic harmonies. Again the vocals of the 14 year old Astrid van der Veen are exceptionally strong and combine the best qualities of Tori Amos with those of Anneke Van Giersbergen.

High is a folksier tune that Ayreon used before on one of his earlier albums I believe. Celtic influences aplenty. Cold Metal is one of the few pieces that could be called 'metal', though the metal element is really faint, not much more then some slowly marching power chords. Fate adds another typical element of the Ayreon sound: Tangerine Dream sequences. It's a good instrumental, a tad too long maybe.

Sick Ceremony is the point where it all loses focus. The continuous slow pace maintained throughout the album inevitably makes your attention wander to whatever your cats are up to at that time. And believe me, they're sleeping again. Lost Message is another pleasant Celtic tune, but the album needed something else at this point. It's something that doesn't come anymore. Also Surreal and Sweet Little Brother don't offer anything refreshing.

People that don't like Ayreon shouldn't worry though. This is a project with just one lead singer, and quite a phenomenal one. Recommended for everybody for whom the combination of Stream of Passion with Tori Amos and an 80's Mike Oldfield polish sounds attractive. Too bad only half the album is good.

Report this review (#252005)
Posted Saturday, November 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars For me the criteria for a 5 star album is one where all of the tracks are very good or where maybe one track is below par, but the others make up for it. This album is the former.

I've heard most of Arjen's output and only this album and the first Stream Of Passion hits the spot for me. Ambeon is low key, slow paced, atmospheric, top quality prog rock. The kind of stuff that you might play to your parents without causing offence. There are hints of electonic music, celtic, prog, metal but it all melds into a coheasive whole.

A word on the young vocalist. A very mature voice for 14!, somewhat unusual delivery but very effective nonetheless.

If you want pure prog metal and pyrotechnics, look elsewhere. Otherwise, submerge yourself in this beautiful work.

I too hope for a follow up album at some point.

Report this review (#252010)
Posted Saturday, November 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars Don't expect metal, growl or drum riffs. Don't expect guitar solos and space-rock athmospheres. This is not an Ayreon work. If Mr Lucassen decided to give this project a different name there's a reason: this is different from all the other Lucassen's works. It's still recognisable as Lucassen's music, but the most remarkable thing is Astrid Van Der Veen. She was a teen. Somebody says 16teen, somebody else 14teen, but very young in any case. Nothing that can be guessed just listening to her incredible voice. She's somewhere between Heather Findlay (not so good, but she's young) and Eliza Gylkinson (not so new-age). The songs are relaxing, even when the percussions are in evidence. I suggest looking to the first solo work from Astrid (the second is unlistenable). That could have been a follow-up of Ambeon and demonstrates that she has probably taken part in composing and arranging, even if some Ayreon material appears here and there. 3 stars. Not for ayreonauts.
Report this review (#277761)
Posted Tuesday, April 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
2 stars The fate of the dreamer Astrid Van Der Veen (the 14-year vocalist at that time) seemed quite bright 9 years ago when this album was released. She possesses a really attractive and captivating voice which quite resembles to the great female vocalists that since the 90s emerged in the wider prog/rock scene, mainly Anneke van Giersbergen (ex-Gathering). It does not take too long for the listener to realise that it is this voice that is the biggest asset of this release.

Experimental/post metal does not quite describe the style in this album - Arjen Lucassen is slightly experimenting with ambient, electronic and folk sounds which form the main musical platform on which Astrid is allowed to reveal her talent. Metal appears in limited amounts, mainly in the rhythm guitars of some tracks that act as a tempo-creator rather than as the main spine of the compositions. Scarce lead guitar solos are melodic and blend successfully with the ambience where implemented. However, the best melodies come from the flutes and pipes of John McManus in tracks like the promising atmospheric opening trackEstranged, the strong-Ayreon-resembling High and Lost Message, the latter being a touch "folksier".

The two instrumental compositions, Fate and Dreamer show many commonalities, particularly in the way the Mike Oldfield-alike use of the keyboards, but in the end sound quite indifferent. Tracks such as Ashes, Cold Metal and Sweet Little Brother move closer to atmospheric/gothic metal practices, resembling to bands such as Lacuna Coil. Overall, the album flows pleasantly, without big surprises. Compositionally, it does not offer something new to the scene; rather it repeats patterns that could be heard elsewhere and indeed in some Ayreon works. One major drawback of this release is the weak, simplistic and naive lyrics that could put off a demanding listener. The electronic drums also could sound a bit annoying at times.

This release could appeal to fans of generally ambient/atmospheric music and could work for others under particular circumstances, but I could not consider this a good or excellent record. As with most Lucassen side projects, this one does not seem to serve a specific purpose. If this was an instrumental release, I fear that it would have failed miserably. 2.5 stars is thus the most appropriate rating for me, despite the remarkable efforts of young Astrid and the few very good melodies.

Report this review (#314279)
Posted Thursday, November 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
Errors & Omissions Team
1 stars Arjen Lucassen is known for having many projects. Well, Ambeon was just one more.

Ambeon was in fact Arjen Lucassen's (too late) attempt to jump in the bandwagon of the so- called Gothic Metal fronted by females. The genre was really succesfull in the late 90's with bands like Nightwish, Epica, Within Temptation and The Gathering so Arjen thought: Well, why not?!?

So, he gathered a few musicians (and as usual, lots of guests) and the female vocals of Astrid Van Der Veen and recorded Fate Of A Dreamer (2001).

The problem with the album is: this thing is souless and really week. There's not enough Metal and is far away from having any real Prog Rock interesting parts. It's a bunch of Ambient melodies with layers and layers of vocals (bad ones, have to say) all the way through, a really bad patchwork.

So, Arjen jumped on Gothic Metal bandwagon more than 10 years ago to try and make some money! It worked? No, it was a big and awfull fail.

Report this review (#1104779)
Posted Wednesday, January 1, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Review Nş 91

Ambeon is a Dutch progressive project metal act of the multi-instrumentalist and composer Arjen Anthony Lucassen of Ayreon. It's a ten track collaboration with an only 14 year old Dutch singer Astrid Van Der Veen whose debut album "Beautiful Red" drew his attention during 2000. This led to their acoustic recording of "Temple Of The Cat" and the sneak preview of the track "Cold Metal" released for the first time on for his compilation album "Ayreonauts Only". "Cold Metal" would also be released as a single.

So, "Fate Of A Dreamer" is the debut and only album of Ambeon, until now, and was released in 2001. Originally it was conceived as an ambient remix of Ayreon's instrumentals and Ambeon's "Fate Of A Dreamer" blends electronic patterns, chords and melodies derived from existing songs with Astrid's crystalline vocal arrangements. The name Ambeon is a play on the words "Ambient" and "Ayreon". As the music, without vocals, is based on previous Ayreon's songs, it could be said this act is an "Ambient/Ayreon" album. Ambeon can be said to be progressive metal with elements of dark ambient music. In the process of the recording of the album some new songs evolved Ambeon, and Arjen figured female vocals on one or two songs would add a more warm human touch to his new musical project.

Despite Ambeon be labelled as a project of Arjen and Astrid, Lucassen decided to involve also several musicians who could bring in their own ideas, something new, just like Astrid did. Two further musicians provide a solid rhythm section for the album. Walter Latupeirassa of Snowy White's White Flames band and also of Steve Lukather and Pat Travers, who play bass and fretless bass and Stephen Van Haestregt is heard on drums and percussion. John and Pat McManus of Celtus add folky atmosphere on flute and pipes, and fiddle, respectively. And as usual in many occasions, Erik Norlander is around for some synthesizer working and Eric's wife Lana Lane provides some backing vocals too.

While each track on "Fate Of A Dreamer" stands alone perfectly well, the album works equally well as a cohesive whole with lyrics and sounds on the ten selections that comprise "Fate Of A Dreamer" flowing wonderfully from one to the next. The Ambeon's music builds on the Ayreon's sound with the material blending atmospheric, celtic, electronic, gothic, metal and progressive styles. Arjen plays guitars and keyboards, he wrote the music, produced and mixed the album. Astrid sings the lead and backing vocals and she also wrote the storyline of the concept, melodies and lyrics.

This particular album focuses more on creating a pleasant ambient soundscape and is equipped with a dash of heavy metal. There are some really nice grooves created by the drummer and the bassist on "Fate Of A Dreamer", which are definitely one of the stronger points of this album. The guitars are more of an accent than a prominent element within the music. This is rather unusual for Arjen seeing as how he loves shredding on both guitar and the keyboard, which he is really great, on most of his musical projects. The metal aspect of this album is really a treat because it breaks the stereotype of all metal being this loud, nonsensical noise and proves it can be crafted into a really relaxing and fulfilling entity, as far as music as a whole is concerned. This is really a very nice thing on the album.

The last but not the least important thing about the album is that it was out of print for years, due to the closing of the Dutch music label. It was re-released in 2011 with bonus tracks, and an accompanying acoustic CD covering various Ambeon and Ayreon tracks. As Arjen said, in 2001 it was asked to him to do an acoustic show with his Ambeon project in Italy. Besides Astrid, Arjen invited two other girls, Ewa Albering on flute and Dewi Kerstens on cello. The four recorded a combination of Ayreon and Ambeon tracks, 16 in total, in his studio. Unfortunately, the gig never took place. When he was approached for the re-release of the album, Arjen remembered those rehearsal recordings. Due to its high quality, Lucassen decided to share them with his fans and re-released it as a double working with a CD bonus.

Conclusion: "Fate Of A Dreamer" is a beautiful album. It's an interesting project that Lucassen has put here on their feet. It lives by an impressive and outstanding voice, especially because we are talking about a 14 year old girl. It's fun to listen to the voice of Astrid. The young lady should definitely keep our attention. The album draws its effect from the successful fusion of catchy melodies, spherical keyboard carpets and hard guitar riffs. While listening to this album you can't expect a single shred of aggression because you won't find any. If you do want some simple and emotional music put this on. This is one of the best atmospheric albums I own. The Ambeons' "Fate Of Dreamer" is a breath of fresh air within the progressive scene. "Fate Of A dreamer" is an album that will satisfy atmospheric music's fans but it will surprise all prog heads in general and, of course, Ayreon's fans. Give it a listen and enjoy it because it deserves.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#1635487)
Posted Tuesday, October 25, 2016 | Review Permalink

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