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GUILT MACHINE

Progressive Metal • Netherlands


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Guilt Machine biography
GUILT MACHINE is a progressive metal project by Arjen Lucassen of AYREON among many other projects and bands. It was formed earlier in 2009 in the Netherlands by Arjen Lucassen, Jasper Steverlinck (lead vocals), Lori Linstruth (guitar), and Chris Maitland (drums).

They have released one album as of now, titled "On This Perfect Day" under Mascot Records. The album is very impressive, and is surely one of the best 2009 albums. Arjen Lucassen pulled off another excellent project with GUILT MACHINE, and I hope to see more of them in the future. They will appeal to fans of AYREON, DREAM THEATER, and SYMPHONY X.

Why this band is on PA:

Undeniably a progressive metal project by Arjen Lucassen and approved by the Prog Metal Team.

-Written by Jeff Ballew (J-Man)

See also:

- Ayreon

Guilt Machine official website

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Mascot Records 2009
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3.88 | 142 ratings
On This Perfect Day
2009

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GUILT MACHINE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 On This Perfect Day by GUILT MACHINE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.88 | 142 ratings

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On This Perfect Day
Guilt Machine Progressive Metal

Review by Memo_anathemo

3 stars Guilt Machine is another project by the incredible Arjen Lucassen. The sound is pretty much similar to what he does with the project AYREON; however, with Ayreon is a project where he always invites a dozen of musicians from different bands to perform a conceptual album. Here, he just gathered a singer (Jasper Steverlinck, with an amazing voice by the way); a guitar player (Lori Linstruth, whose style of playing resembles all Ayreon's guitar riffs) and a drummer (former Porcupine Tree, Chris Maitland, with an accurate job). The album is really good, it is constant and well designed. Most of the tracks have the effects used by Lucassen in most of his projects, that may be the only drawback, because it is something not different, if you're expecting such thing. But if you love Ayreon's sound, definitely you will enjoy it!

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 On This Perfect Day by GUILT MACHINE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.88 | 142 ratings

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On This Perfect Day
Guilt Machine Progressive Metal

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams

4 stars I'm not much of a fan of Arjen Lucassen, but I think this may be my favorite of his projects. Ayreon and Avanstasia are both good, but this project has a great amount of emotion and scale to it. On top of that, the music is interesting, as I'm not sure this is really prog metal. It is mostly driven my symphonics, and is augmented with a some great riffing and awesome vocals.

I have much respect for the unique aspects of this album. The female voice-overs are a great touch, as are the wonderful song structures. The themes display a great amount of profundity, especially the final track. Speaking of, I think the two best tracks are "Season of Denial" and "Perfection?" as these two tracks represent stunning structures and the whole array of styles displayed on this album. All in all, this a great and unique album that deserves at least a few listens.

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 On This Perfect Day by GUILT MACHINE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.88 | 142 ratings

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On This Perfect Day
Guilt Machine Progressive Metal

Review by Daedalus

5 stars Guilt Machine is a new project by Dutch prog legend Arjen Lucassen. This is something different from his usual projects like Ayreon, in that the band only exists out of 4 members. This album is also different in that it's not a rock opera. It's not about sci-fi, not about fantasy, but instead the main theme of this album (as the band's name certainly suggests) is guilt. The style of the music on this album reflects that. This album sounds a lot darker and more melancholic than most of his others. All songs start out with some atmospheric sounds accompanied by people talking about guilt and everything involved with guilt in many different languages, giving an eery feel.

What's not different compared to his other albums, are the complex rhythms, harmonics and great variety in the songs. Most of the songs on this album start out softly, with subtle guitar play complimented by Jasper's magnificent voice, only to later burst out in a whirlwind of soaring guitar riffs combined with some very aggressive and powerful drumming. The album differs a lot from Lucassen's usual stuff, but you can still clearly hear his sound in hear. The guitar rhythms are unmistakeably Arjen's style. The album only counts 6 songs, but since most of the songs are very long (The shortest is 6:11 and 4 songs are just over 10 minutes) the album still clocks in at nearly an hour.

Twisted coil starts out slowly and softly, Jasper's voice complimented by some backing vocals from Arjen himself. At around six minutes the song takes a turn for the aggressive, and the heavy guitars kick in. Before the end it slows down for a bit, and then gets aggressive again, ending in a fantastic earthshaking finale.

Leland Street starts of particularly dark, with a rhodes like synth playing complimented by some great drumming by Chris Maitland, who really excels throughout the album as a showcase for his versatility. He has no trouble whatsoever playing the dark subtle parts and later playing some of the most aggressive drumming I've heard with the same ease. Again this song features some backing vocals by Arjen.

Green and Cream is probably my least favourite song on the album, though since I really love this album, that doesn't mean I think it's a bad song. In fact, it's still quite good.

Season of Denial is one of my favourites on the album. I'm still undecided as to whether I like this one better or 'Perfection?'. This is probably the darkest song on the album, and also one of the most powerful. It starts slow again with some really nice guitar play. Jasper's just has a fantastic voice, and he sings this song sublime. Seemingly having no problem to start out a song with a dark low tone, only to give a soaring finale which blows me away. After the intro a synth bass kicks in accompanied by a melotron choir, remembering me of the old Genesis song 'Entangled'. Occasionally this part is amplified by a well placed kick drum and crash, and then a beautiful violin solo. After this the chorus kicks in, the guitars getting progressively more powerful. From a single power chord, to some heavy palm muted playing, and then finally going all out and once again accompanied by the magnificent violin solo from before. After that it slows back down and showcases some really nice acoustic guitar play. The chorus in the finale is even more powerful than the chorus from before, with Jasper just going all out with that fantastic voice of his.

Over, at 6:11, is the shortest song on the album. But no lesser in quality. The song has a more traditional structure, with a regular chorus and regular verses. I've always found the guitar riff of Over rather strange, but still very pleasing. It's strange how it's somewhere in between uplifting and dark.

Perfection? is the brilliant finale to this brilliant album. As stated before, my favourite along with Season of Denial. I really love the first part here. The first verse and chorus are sung very low, and the second is the same but sung with a high voice instead giving a nice contrast. The song then bursts out into a massive wall of guitar riffs, organs and powerful drumming only to fall back into the soft intro chorus, and then taking a very different turn. The last part has some great lyrics. (What's one more year, a trip around the sun?) And after that it ends in a soaring finale, bringing this fantastic ablum to an end.

On This Perfect Day is one of the most enjoyable albums I've had the pleasure of listening to in the past few years. Especially Perfection? and Season of Denial are true masterpieces in my book. I'd give it a 4,5 normally, but since that's not a possibility I'm gonna round it down to a nice 5 star rating. I'm not quick to hand these out, but I truly consider this album a masterpiece. Bravo Arjen.

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 On This Perfect Day by GUILT MACHINE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.88 | 142 ratings

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On This Perfect Day
Guilt Machine Progressive Metal

Review by praj912

5 stars Out of all the things Arjen Lucassen produces, I must say I that I like this the best. There's no cringey bits on this release, it's all moody and there's an underlying rage. It doesn't have the all star singers (aka "We are the world"/Dio's "Stars"), but it does has one great singer, clear and expressive with an excellent range.

Musically, there are lots of quiet moody melodic atmospheric guitars, keyboards, cello, many tension building sections which I love, heavy guitars when needed, and some tasty guitar solos. Very similar to where Ayreon is on 0111100110101010101001, with the industrial feel but less of the folk (...and, and, no cringe ;o).

The first four tracks are the heaviest, climaxing with Season of Denial. Track 5 takes a lighter path before the final track builds moodily to the heavy end.

It's a superb progresive metal album that'd appeal to more people than Ayreon, that's why I give it a 5, maybe 4.5 if I'm mean. P.S. The singer's own band "Arid" is alas, a bit average in comparison. So if you want hear him at his best, this is it.

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 On This Perfect Day by GUILT MACHINE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.88 | 142 ratings

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On This Perfect Day
Guilt Machine Progressive Metal

Review by CCVP
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Space Metal?

It is no mystery for anyone familiarized with Arjen Anthony Lucassen's many works and projects, like Ayreon, Star One, Stream of Passion, among others, that the mastermind behind all those projects is a huge Pink Floyd / space rock and science fiction fan. That is because, in almost every project he does, there is a reference to either one of those or even to all of them, as we can see in the Ayreon albums Into the Electric Castle and Universal Migrator part 1: The Dream Sequencer. The album On This Perfect Day, from Arjen's newest project so far, called Guilt Machine, is no exception to that rule: it is drenched with space rock influences, along with other classic / traditional progressive rock references and heavy metal touches. This mix creates a quite interesting music, something that is in a crossroad between space rock, heavy metal and classic rock, though being slightly more inclined towards space rock than the others parts of this musical concoction.

Guilt Machine, despite fitting in what you would expect from something made by Mr. Lucassen, have some differences that should be noted from his other works. In the first place, On This Perfect Day is much more rock driven than his latest Ayreon release, despite sounding quite closely to it and having some kind of a goth / depressive / dark tone to it, just like Ayreon's 01011001. The unrestricted usage of minor scales, organs and (somehow) dark-sounding synthesizers contribute heavily to that, along with the gloomy phrases spread throughout the album in a big variety of different languages. These features fit quite well with the direction taken here, because, let's face it, outgoing and bright space rock would be an oxymoron.

In the second place, there is only one singer! Well, two actually, but Arjen is only making backing vocals, so he doesn't really count for that matter. That is a huge reduction from what we are used to see in Ayreon (just for the sake of comparison, 01011001 had 16 guess vocalists). In the third place, On This Perfect Day is an album that is much more focused in making some music for the band, so the center of attention here is the band, in the contrary to what happens in traditional Ayreon albums and in some of Arjen's side projects, where there is more focus on the vocalist(s) than in the band. As a result, the music sounds simpler and the album sounds very balanced and cohere. By the way, this new vocalist Mr. Lucassen called to join the band has a very good voice and, overall, sings well. His tone and vocal timbre are quite pleasant and match very well with the music being played here, but there is one downside: when he tries to hit high notes or tries to sing forte, his voice (along with whatever he tries to deliver) suffers a lot.

Grade and Final Thoughts

Although having positive features, Guilt Machine's On This perfect Day is not perfect. The main reason for it is because the songs are not what we can call perfect nor the whole package is something that is worth that title. Despite starting very well, with the great song Twisted Coil, by the time the third and fourth songs are playing the album have downgraded itself from the exceptional to the average and good, respectively, reaching the rock bottom on the forgettable song Over. The album can recover much of its quality with the last song, but the damage was already done: though being far from bad, the album had the potential to me much better. Some of the problems that kept this album from being better are overlong songs, the vocalist trying to reach notes he can't or barely can and other minor things that simply break the mood of some song and the mood of the album. Gladly, such bad features are the exception, making Arjen Anthony Lucassen's space metal release highly enjoyable for anyone.

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 On This Perfect Day by GUILT MACHINE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.88 | 142 ratings

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On This Perfect Day
Guilt Machine Progressive Metal

Review by Muzikman
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Arjen Lucassen's latest release for his new band Guilt Machine is On This Perfect Day. This release is a departure from the complex Ayreon projects that included a multitude of musicians and vocalists. Instead he favors one small consistent lineup made up of his partner, manager and lyricist Lori Linstruth (lead guitar) who was also with him in Stream of Passion, Jasper Steverlinck (lead vocalist) from Belgian alternative rock band Arid and ex- Porcupine Tree member Chris Matiland (drums) while Ben Mathot (violin) and David Faber (cello) contribute their fair share of well placed and appropriate parts and of course Arjen showing the way playing guitars, mandolin, bass, keyboards and providing some vocals. The album was recorded at Arjen's Electric Castle in the Netherlands.

This release is more interesting and unique because of the contributions of several people from all over the world speaking in their own language on life, regret, death, guilt, and human nature. Although you will not be able to understand what they are saying (well most of us won't) it lends a different atmosphere and kind of "get the chills" feel to the tracks. Lucassen has always had an ability to give each of his projects their own stamp of uniqueness and this one is no exception. I had no idea what to expect because I have always had some sort of insight prior to each release because of the ongoing story with Ayreon and the well known configuration of supergroups he would assemble for every project. I knew I would not be disappointed with On This Perfect Day, in fact it was a nice surprise and it turned out to be an excellent album.

There are six tracks on this CD; there is also a two disc special edition available with bonus tracks and videos. Not one of the tracks is less than six minutes with the longest being the lead off track "Twisted Coil" clocking in at 11:43. The lead singer Jasper Steverlinck sounds like he would have been a great for Arjen's previous projects but he does make his own distinct mark here. Also Lori is no slouch on lead guitar. I already respected her for the previous work I have heard but this output is exceptional. Arjen contributes immeasurable amounts of across the board talent as usual on guitars both acoustic and electric amongst other things. Chris is excellent with all the drum parts, driving the Guilt Machine along a steady course that seems to falter. If Jaspar sounds familiar it's because he was a guest vocalist on the third CD of Timeline on an unreleased song, called "Epilogue: The Memory Remains".

This is a fine collection of progressive rock tracks complete with the usual thought provoking album art and the bonus of the lyrics included with the CD booklet, which guarantees a reflective listen by anyone's estimation.

I think prog rock fans and avid Arjen fans will find complete satisfaction with this recording. I found no weaknesses to mention. At times you are reminded of the old Ayreon with some of the musical displays however that is quickly dispelled with the Guilt Machine stamp that sounds fresh and full of energy.

Arjen mentioned in an interview in Classic Rock magazine that he feels like there is a black hole in his life if there is no project to be working on, which explains his continuous flow of music every year. Listeners benefit from the workhorse methods of this great artist. I cannot help but wonder what could be next! This is a great way to usher in the new decade of prog rock.

5/5 Stars. Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck. İMuzikReviews.com

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 On This Perfect Day by GUILT MACHINE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.88 | 142 ratings

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On This Perfect Day
Guilt Machine Progressive Metal

Review by Nightfly
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

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 Mercury...er.... 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.

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 On This Perfect Day by GUILT MACHINE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.88 | 142 ratings

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On This Perfect Day
Guilt Machine Progressive Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Guilt Machine is another project of famous Arjen Lucassen from Ayreon fame. They released in 2009 the album named On ths perfect day. At first spin I was little surprised about what I've found here on this release, not in a very positive way, I've expected something else, more vein , more balls on compositions who sounds very same, the variety is not at his home here, but overall not a bad album. The music from here is almost the same with Ayreon Universal migrator part I, same moody, atmospheric prog metal, even in places ambiental moments interlude with dark elements but combined with some prog metal arrangements the album is most of the time enjoyble. What I don't like is some pieces are too long, and not offering something really excellent to grab the listner for all 11 min for ex on Green and cream, an ok track but no more then that. 2 pieces stand apart from the rest, while keeping same mid tempo mmood, are far better then the rest, Twisted coil and Seaason of denial, great prog metal arrangements here, whre the voice of Jasper Steverlinck shines, he remind me in some parts of Damian Willson from Threshold fame and aswell he worked with Lucassen on some Ayreon pieces fiew years ago. The unmatch style of Lucassen is instantly recognazible here, same aproach like his main band Ayreon, but this time, the keys are more background and atmospheric with little space for free improvizations. So overall a good album who desearve 3 stars, but is far from being an essential listning or something groundbreaking, still pleasent most of the time.

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 On This Perfect Day by GUILT MACHINE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.88 | 142 ratings

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On This Perfect Day
Guilt Machine Progressive Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is Arjen Lucassen's latest project called GUILT MACHINE. He's enlisted Lori Linstruth on lead guitar, Chris Maitland on drums and Jasper Steverlinck on vocals.This is supposed to be a permanent band and not a "one off" side project. I have to admit to not being an AYREON fan at all. That project for me is like listening to a Prog musical, and I really dislike musicals. No matter how good the vocals and instrumental work is, and who the guests are, to my ears it's like listening to a musical. Did I mention I really dislike musicals ? Anyway the only side project that Arjen has been involved in that i've liked is STREAM OF PASSION's debut. It sounded nothing like AYREON to me unlike STAR ONE or GUILT MACHINE both of which bring AYREON to mind too often for my tastes. The vocalist here can really sing. He really reminds me of MUSE's singer especially when he "lets go". Did I mention i'm not a fan of MUSE's singer ? I think you know where this is going. Which is a shame because I love how atmospheric this album is.

It's pretty cool how each song opens with samples of people speaking. These were submitted by fans all over the world in various languages speaking their thoughts on guilt, regret, life, death and human nature.

"Twisted Coil" opens with words in Dutch (female) then German (male) as drums and synths create atmosphere. Vocals are reserved 1 1/2 minutes in then we get those backing vocals that bring AYREON to mind right away. They return later as well. Some cello in this one too. A Polish female vocal sample arrives 3 1/2 minutes in. Jasper sings with passion a minute later. The song kicks in after 5 1/2 minutes with riffs. Processed vocals follow. It settles with violin before 9 1/2 minutes. A calm with follows before it kicks back in. "Leland Street" opens with atmosphere as female Chinese words then male French spoken words come in. It turns spacey reminding me of PORCUPINE TREE. Reserved vocals 1 1/2 minutes in. It kicks in and contrasts continue. "Green And Cream" opens with Swedish then Japanese spoken words both male. Cool sound right here with drums and keyboards. Vocals after 1 1/2 minutes. It sounds like AYREON vocally before 4 1/2 minutes then it kicks in heavier. A change after 5 minutes with processed vocals and Arjen's vocals. Not a fan of this section. I do like the guitar before 8 minutes and the atmosphere that follows. Spanish spoken words before 9 minutes. More AYREON-like vocals follow.

"Season Of Denial" opens with Finnish then Bulgarian spoken words. Sounds like mellotron and a relaxing melody. Vocals and backing vocals join in. Violins here and acoustic guitar. Some mandolin too. It turns heavy before 5 minutes. Some great vocals from Jasper 8 minutes in heaviness follows. "Over" opens with Norwegian then Russian spoken words as a beat and keys follow. Vocals around a minute. They do get passionate. Organ comes and goes. Guitar solo before 3 1/2 minutes. The vocals shine later. "Perfection ?" opens with spoken Portugese then Hungarian words. As usual we get this beat with atmosphere. The vocal style here really reminds me of Tim Bowness from NO-MAN. It kicks in before 4 1/2 minutes. Settles again before 6 minutes with those Bowness styled vocals. A nice guitar solo follows. Spoken Italian words end it.

Forgive me if the languages of the messages are wrong. I really think this is going to get some high marks. It's modern sounding with atmosphere and a vocalist most will love.

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 On This Perfect Day by GUILT MACHINE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.88 | 142 ratings

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On This Perfect Day
Guilt Machine Progressive Metal

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Guilt Machine is the latest venture from Dutch composer and guitarist Arjen Lucassen, who following his tenure in hair metal act Vengeance back in the 80's made a name for himself with prog metal concept Ayreon in the 90's, releasing a score of commercially successfull albums under that moniker as well as several highly respected spin-offs and side projects to this endeavour.

This latest venture is very close to Ayreon in overall sound, where dramatic build-ups and soundscapes is the name of the game. The compositions all start off relatively mellow and melodic, and gradually builds up tensions and evolves the soundscapes in the 1 till 3 major parts each compositions is divided into. Rich, dramatic synths and heavy guitar riffs make up the bombastic climaxes in the appropriate parts of most songs, and the usual heavy, chumping riff passages are included as well as the folk-tinged embellishments one kind of expects Arjen to include in his productions these days.

Synths and keyboards does dominate a bit more here than on most Ayreon albums though, and while he opts for a powerful vocalist with a dramatic voice for this disc as well, he limits himself to one vocalist this time around.

As usual this is a strong production. Many themes and elements of the previous Ayreon CD are recycled though, and the level of actual new content may slightly disappoint existing fans somewhat. Still, the first two tracks on this CD ranks among the best tunes penned by Mr. Lucassen, and with two more strong efforts to boot this is a release worth having, even if it does contain a couple of songs that doesn't convince.

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Thanks to J-Man for the artist addition. and to CCVP for the last updates

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