Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Star One - "Victims of the Modern Age"

Star One - Victims of the Modern Age
2010, InsideOut

Disc One:
1. Down the Rabbit Hole
2. Digital Rain (The Matrix)
3. Earth That Was (Firefly/Serenity)
4. Victim of the Modern Age (A Clockwork Orange)
5. Human See, Human Do (Planet of the Apes)
6. 24 Hours (Escape From New York)
7. Cassandra Complex (12 Monkeys)
8. It's Alive, She's Alive, We're Alive (Children of Men)
9. It All Ends Here (Blade Runner)

Disc Two:
1. As the Crow Dies (The Road)
2. Two Plus Two Equals Five (1984)
3. Last Day (Logan's Run)
4. Closer to the Stars (Gattaca)
5. Knife Edge

I got to open a Christmas present early a few days ago. As you can see, that present was the mediabook edition of Star One's new album Victims of the Modern Age. It hasn't been too long since I listened to the first one and I liked it even if I thought it was a tad samey in parts. However, I can say that Victims is much better than Space Metal. The first thing I noticed, aside from how amazingly heavy it is, is that the hooks are much more apparent here. All of the same vocalists from the first disc return - no complaint there. Dan Swano has a much more prominent role in here and even gets to growl on a couple tracks. Another thing that made me smile was that this doesn't just sound like slightly beefed-up Ayreon tracks either. Despite Arjen's ever present Hammonds and synths, I didn't feel like I was hearing more of the same. I think there's a vitality and excitement here that may have not been present on Ayreon's latest CD. Some parts reminded me of Devin Townsend's Physicist and other parts King's X. I will say that I prefer "Starchild" to "It All Ends Here" in terms of epic closing songs. I'd also like to praise Ed Warby's drumming here. He's always been fantastic, but I actually agree with Arjen that this is one of his best performances.

The theme for Victims is post-apocalyptic movies - I've listed which one go with which songs for your convenience. Finally, if you're going to get this, splurge and get the mediabook edition. It contains an extra disc with five extra songs and a half-hour "making of" documentary. Of the five, four are awesome and I really think that they should have included them on the disc proper. On "Last Day" Arjen takes his downtuned riffs and plays them acoustically, leading to an interesting Days of the New-type sound. I didn't care for "Closer to the Stars" because it sounded like an Ayreon cast-off to me. The documentary is fun to watch - you'll know what to expect if you've seen most of the Ayreon ones.

When I listened to "Digital Rain" for the first time I didn't think I would like this as much as I do. Definitely worth the dough!

Useless Fact: Arjen said that this album was sort of a reaction to his previous Guilt Machine project that was more melodic and atmospheric.

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