Arjen Lucassen boldly goes back to where he has been before as Star One is reborn again

Dutch progressive rock legend Arjen Lucassen is full of ideas, many of which can be found swirling around in his Ayreon series of albums. Mostly science fiction based conceptual works, he has created his own universe for the stories to take place, but that’s not enough space rock for the man.

Arjen Lucassen’s Star One – Revel In Time (Inside Out Music)

Release Date: 18 February 2022

Words: Ian Sutherland

As one of a series of side projects, he also has Star One, which specialises in individual songs based on or inspired by SF tv shows and films.

This is all proudly geeky, to the point where the band name is taken from the cult 1970s UK show Blake’s 7, but we know that the geeks will inherit the earth, so it’s all good. 2002s Space Metal was full of invention and great riffs, and he returned to the idea in 2010 with Victims Of The Modern Age, narrowing the focus onto dystopian or post-apocalyptic stories.

Now it’s the turn of stories involving manipulation of time in some way to be the inspiration for some epic space opera. The title track is an excellent example of how this works.

“This is definitely the most varied Star One album so far,” Arjen told MetalTalk when revealing the video for the song Revel In Time. “After the epic Lost Children Of The Universe, the fast and furious Fate Of Man, and the complex and proggy Prescient, we now have this deliriously wild ride for you with Revel In Time.”

Inspired by Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Revel In Time is a bluesy hard rocking kind of tune livened up further by ex-Whitesnake man Adrian Vandenburg’s guitar and fronted with vocals by Crobot’s Brandon Yeagley.

The video is a lot of fun, too. “It was filmed in Holland and the U.S. and of course in outer space,” Arjen says. I think this song would fit right in on the original soundtrack to its’ inspiration.

“I sure hope you have a sense of humour,” Arjen said. “I hope you will enjoy this Amazing Flight in Time and Space. Thanks for your support, as always, and I’m looking forward to reading your comments. Be excellent to each other.”

So take an idea, write a great song, pin down the sound with Lucassen’s own guitar and bass plus Ed Warby’s terrific drumming skills and then let some fabulously talented people add their take on it is the formula.

Arjen Lucassen's Star One release Revel In Time
Arjen Lucassen: “Be excellent to each other.” Photo: Lori Linstruth

The first two Star One albums had a core of four singers, but limited opportunities to get people together due to the insidious Covid-19 situation mean he has decided to open this out and have different singers on each song Ayreon style. Then after getting some other singers to record guide vocals for the intended singers, he decided their efforts were too good to waste and has added alternate versions of all the songs with different singers as part of the package.

So if Brandon Yeagley isn’t doing it for you, there’s John JayCee Cuijpers putting his spin on the song too. I did say Lucassen was an ideas man, and he’s given that free reign on this one.

This is probably a more diverse album than the other Star One albums. There are several different styles in evidence but anchored by Lucassen/Warby so that the sound stays in the space Metal pocket the fans of the big Dutchman’s work love.

Opener Fate Of Man has a double bass drum Power Metal style to it, and you get Unleash The Archers’ Brittney Slayes and ex-Stream Of Passion singer Marcela Bovio competing to see who can hit the highest note on the two versions. 28 Days (Till The End Of Time) is more of a riff-based epic stomp of a tune, and Symphony X man Russell Allan is typically impressive on his version.

 

Floor Jansen may be hitting the superstar heights with Nightwish these days, but she remembers her roots as a long time Lucassen project contributor. She’s happy to combine with her old After Forever bandmate, keyboard player Joost van den Broek on the epic shifts and turns of A Hand On The Clock.

Joe Lynn Turner sounds terrific on The Year Of ’41, but then so does Alessandro Del Vecchio on the alternate version, although in a very different style. Lucassen even allows himself a rare lead vocal on the alternate Today Is Yesterday, and he’s much more accomplished than he’d have you believe while sounding like he’s having a blast in a high tempo thriller of a tune.

“Ayreon is like the mothership for all my music,” Arjen says. “It contains all the different musical styles that I like to listen to and that I love to create. But I’m always looking for challenges and trying to create something new and original as well. Working within a set of constraints forces you to do that, so sometimes, I like to limit myself and focus on just one style.

“With Star One, I focus on the Metal side of Ayreon. That means you won’t hear the exuberantly liberal use of acoustic instruments that are so often featured on Ayreon albums.”

There really is so much to get to know and appreciate here, and frankly, I haven’t had the thing long enough to get anywhere near understanding and getting to know the songs and the talents within them. That is something which I am looking forward to doing.

I think if you love Arjen’s work, Revel In Time will really hit the spot for you. If you don’t know his work, click on the videos and see what you’ve been missing.

Space Metal is far out, man!

Revel In Time can be pre-ordered from arjenanthonylucassensstarone.lnk.to/RevelInTime

Star One – Revel In Time

CD I:

1. Fate of Man 5:29
lead and backing vocals: Brittney Slayes
guitar solo: Michael Romeo
2. 28 Days (Till the End of Time) 7:21
lead vocal: Sir Russell Allen
guitar solos: Timo Somers
3. Prescient 6:34
lead and backing vocals:
Micheal Mills and Ross Jennings
4. Back from the Past 4:50
lead vocal: Jeff Scott Soto
guitar solo: Ron Bumblefoot Thal
5. Revel in Time 4:38
lead vocal: Brandon Yeagley
guitar solos: Adrian Vandenberg
6. The Year of ’41 6:20
lead vocal: Joe Lynn Turner
vocalisation: Will Shaw
guitar solo: Joel Hoekstra
synthesiser solo: Jens Johansson
7. Bridge of Life 5:14
lead vocal: Damian Wilson
8. Today is Yesterday 5:46
lead vocal: Dan Swanö
Moog synthesisers: Lisa Bella Donna
guitar solo: Marcel Singor
9. A Hand on the Clock 5:52
lead and backing vocals: Floor Jansen
Hammond solo: Joost van den Broek
10. Beyond the Edge of it All 4:52
lead vocal: John Jaycee Cuijpers_
guitar solo: Arjen Lucassen
11. Lost Children of the Universe 9:46
lead vocals: Roy Khan
choir: Hellscore Choir
guitar solo: Steve Vai

CD II: Same Songs, Different Singers

1. Fate of Man
lead and backing vocals: Marcela Bovio
2. 28 Days (Till the End of Time)
lead vocal: John Jaycee Cuijpers
3. Prescient
lead and backing vocals: Will Shaw
4. Back from the Past
lead vocal: John Jaycee Cuijpers
5. Revel in Time
lead vocal: John Jaycee Cuijpers
6. The Year of ’41
lead vocal and synth solo:
Alessandro Del Vecchio
7. Bridge of Life
lead vocals: Wilmer Waarbroek
8. Today is Yesterday
lead vocals: Arjen Lucassen
9. A Hand on the Clock
lead and backing vocals:
Marcela Bovio and Irene Jansen (verses)
10. Beyond the Edge of it All
lead vocals: Mike Andersson
11. Lost Children of the Universe
lead vocals: Tony Martin
Arjen Lucassen: guitars, bass, keyboards and vocals
Ed Warby: drums
Erik van Ittersum: Solina Strings
Marcela Bovio: backing vocals
Irene Jansen: backing vocals

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