Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Star One
Live on Earth
InsideOut / SPV
Delightfully pompous, Lucassen never knows when to hold back, and comes out looking all the better for it. Star One is the latest project from the mad German guitar wiz, and it places itself neatly alongside the man’s other similarly over the top metals-meets-sympho projects, including Ayreon, Vengeance and Ambeon. Lucassen himself has opted to use the term “space metal” to describe Star One, and it’s pretty accurate (as is the name of the band’s first studio album). But it somewhat belies the music’s surprising sing-along charm and Teutonic riffing.
Live on Earth actually surpasses last year’s studio debut album. No small feat considering the exhausting scope of this live album: nearly two hours of complex heavy metal, technically draining performances and a well-directed show. It’s highly impressive stuff.
That said, this isn’t for everyone. The genre itself is enough to turn off most listeners, and Star One is so over the top you’d almost be forgiven for ignoring it on prejudices alone. Two CDs of symphonic, melodic speed metal demands you invest some time in this, and at least are willing to buy into the fundamental premises of the music. Most will not — after all, this is so un-2003 it’s ridiculous — but for those of you who have anxiously been awaiting a new dose of epic speed metal, well, look no further.
SPV Records: http://www.spv.de/