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Lucassen, Arjen Supersonic Revolution: Golden Age of Music

Can it possibly be yet another project/band from the multi-talented and already multi-projected Arjen Lucassen, yes he of Ayreon, Star One, The Gentle Storm, Guilt Machine and Stream of Passion? Well, so it would seem and I must admit that even with a seriously impressive catalogue of work behind him under all those guises and more, I entered Supersonic Revolution with a little bit of reservation. Not because I don’t enjoy Arjen’s music, I do - massively - but I’m always wary of an enterprise where one of the main tasks at hand seems to be to praise the past, and with song titles like “Mr Starman”, “The Glamattack” and “Came To Mock, Stayed To Rock”, it’s pretty clear where things are headed. Or is it?

Well, yes and no, because right from the off as the intro of “SR Prelude” segues into “The Glamattack” it’s clear that lyrically homage is being paid to the 70s, whereas the guitar attack in the former of those two undoubtedly makes you think of a certain Edward Van Halen. However, I should have known better because if there’s one thing you can guarantee that every release from Arjen Lucassen will come brimming with, it’s a conviction in its beliefs that most musicians struggle to muster. Hence, as the inspiration points - Rainbow, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, David Bowie, T-Rex and many more - hurtle past, rather than endure a pastiche, you can’t help but join in with the celebration.

The band Arjen has assembled for this outing, titled Golden Age Of Music, is keyboard player Joost van den Broek, guitarist Timo Somers and drummer Koen Herfst. Now, you’ll notice from that list that the space Arjen has left for himself this time round is bassist, which in itself is unusual, but with the aforementioned quartet all putting in impressive shifts, it’s an inspired move. Vocally it’s Praying Mantis singer Jaycee Cuijpers who takes control, the man who with his performances on the bonus disc on the most recent Star One release pretty much outshone his more illustrious main album counterparts now standing front and centre - and I’m guessing that’s no coincidence. He’s utterly outstanding once again here, leaving you thoroughly flummoxed as to why this guy ain’t a megastar.

The main album is 11 tracks long and in truth the standard remains so consistently strong that picking out highlights is a tough ask, and yet I simply can’t get enough of the Rainbow meets Purple via a little Europe of “Burn It Down”, with its glorious Hammond Organ, while the even more dramatic “They Took Us By Storm” makes a mighty mark. Add in the almost Cats In Space like “Came To Mock, Stayed To Rock” and honestly, there’s barely a foot put wrong. However, the truly clever aspect is that even with all of this 70s inspired rocking going on, there’s also a faint whiff of Euro power metal, a dash of melodic progressive metal and a whole host of Arjen Lucassen production magic thrown on top, immediately setting this album out as something different from the main man himself and yet instantly recognisable as his, and his alone.

Certain versions of this release come with four bonus cover tracks, and unlike many an album with that claim, they are more than worth hearing, T-Rex’s “Children Of The Revolution” sounding like some Rex Sabbath mash-up! Whereas ZZ Top’s “I Heard It In The X” barely sounds anything like the original, while still being a huge wallop of fun. Earth Wind & Fire’s “Fantasy” is twisted into a prog- metal monster with Jaycee’s best Ronnie James Dio alike vocal, while the unexpected, but utterly glorious, rocked up version of “Love Is All” from, yes, Roger Glover’s The Butterfly Ball and originally sung by that man Dio, is almost worth the admission price on its own.

From being more than a little cynical towards this release, I have to admit that Arjen Lucassen Supersonic Revolution has completely won me round. If you’re searching for a rocking good time that acknowledges its inspirations without slavishly aping them, look no further than the Golden Age Of Music.

Track Listing
1. SR Prelude

2 .The Glamattack

3. Golden Age Of Music

4. The Rise Of The Starman

5. Burn It Down

6. Odyssey

7. They Took Us By Storm

8. Golden Boy

9. Holy Holy Ground

10. Fight Of The Century

11. Came To Mock, Stayed To Rock

12. Children Of The Revolution (Bonus Track)

13. Heard It On The X (Bonus Track)

14. Fantasy (Bonus Track)

15. Love Is All (Bonus Track)

Added: May 19th 2023
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Lucassen, Arjen Supersonic Revolution
Hits: 992
Language: english

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