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AMBEON

Experimental/Post Metal • Netherlands


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Ambeon biography
AMBEON is a unique project of Arjen Anthony Lucassen (AYREON) featuring a young and talented female vocalist, Astrid van der Veen. Lucassen had originally set out to record an ambient instrumental album made up of various patterns and melodies taken from existing AYREON material. Wanting to add a warm human touch to it, he sought out some female vocalists and fell upon a recording by a 14-year old Dutch singer: Astrid van der Veen's was exactly the voice he was looking for. The CD ended up as a mostly vocal album, where Astrid not only sings but wrote the storyline and lyrics as well as melodies to go over some of these remixed ambient tracks.

The project also involved many other talented musicians/singers such as Stephen Van Haestregt (acoustic and electronic drums and percussion), Walter Latupeirissa (bass and fretless bass guitar), John McManus (low flute and Uillean pipes), Pat McManus (fiddle), Erik Norlander (additional synths) and Lana Lane (reversed backing vocals).

While each track on AMBEON stands alone perfectly, the album works equally well as a cohesive whole, successfully blending atmospheric, Celtic, electronic, gothic, metal and progressive styles, and where Astrid's strong, beautiful vocals fit the music like a glove. Her pure, crystalline voice is altogether powerful and soothing, moving nicely with the ebb and flow of the melodies.

Especially recommended to AYREON fans, but lovers of Tori Amos, Kate Bush and folk proggers BLACKMORE'S NIGHT will also appreciate the magical qualities of this unique and faultless production.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

See also:
- Ayreon
- Star One

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Fate of a Dreamer: Album & The Unplugged SessionsFate of a Dreamer: Album & The Unplugged Sessions
Import
Transmission Nl 2011
Audio CD$22.41
$25.76 (used)
Fate of a DreamerFate of a Dreamer
Import
Import [Generic] 2002
Audio CD$15.00
$13.80 (used)
Cold MetalCold Metal
Single
Audio CD$49.98
Faith of a DreamerFaith of a Dreamer
Phantom Sound & Vision 2001
Audio CD$11.00 (used)
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AMBEON discography


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AMBEON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.24 | 74 ratings
Fate Of A Dreamer
2001

AMBEON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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AMBEON Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

AMBEON Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 8 ratings
Cold Metal
2001

AMBEON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Fate Of A Dreamer by AMBEON album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.24 | 74 ratings

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Fate Of A Dreamer
Ambeon Experimental/Post Metal

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover 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.

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 Fate Of A Dreamer by AMBEON album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.24 | 74 ratings

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Fate Of A Dreamer
Ambeon Experimental/Post Metal

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator 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.

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 Fate Of A Dreamer by AMBEON album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.24 | 74 ratings

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Fate Of A Dreamer
Ambeon Experimental/Post Metal

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

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.

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 Fate Of A Dreamer by AMBEON album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.24 | 74 ratings

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Fate Of A Dreamer
Ambeon Experimental/Post Metal

Review by gingernut

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.

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 Fate Of A Dreamer by AMBEON album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.24 | 74 ratings

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Fate Of A Dreamer
Ambeon Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator 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.

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 Fate Of A Dreamer by AMBEON album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.24 | 74 ratings

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Fate Of A Dreamer
Ambeon Experimental/Post Metal

Review by evenless
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Fate Of A Dreamer by AMBEON album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.24 | 74 ratings

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Fate Of A Dreamer
Ambeon Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Tailscent

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

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 Fate Of A Dreamer by AMBEON album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.24 | 74 ratings

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Fate Of A Dreamer
Ambeon Experimental/Post Metal

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator 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.

peace

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 Fate Of A Dreamer by AMBEON album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.24 | 74 ratings

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Fate Of A Dreamer
Ambeon Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Xeroth

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.

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 Fate Of A Dreamer by AMBEON album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.24 | 74 ratings

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Fate Of A Dreamer
Ambeon Experimental/Post Metal

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator 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.

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