Star One Space Metal

The guitars and drums hit heavy but Space Metal has the theatrical attitude of a full-fledged rock opera sung to a '70s progressive rock score. Each song on this latest project from Ayreon's Arjen Lucassen tells the tale of a different space-set science fiction movie, with a cast of guest vocalists that includes Dan Swanö and Symphony X's Sir Russell Allen, among others. Star One is a little showy at times, like a vehicle for demonstrating the impressive talents of the many musicians involved. At the same time, it's a fun listen, changing in mood and atmosphere as the theme varies from song to song. The diversity of voices on Space Metal offers one of the greatest highlights on the album, covering a range of dynamics and emotion that stand out even above the intricate keyboard and guitar solos. Musically, Star One reminds me more of Yes, but as I listen to Space Metal, I can't help thinking of Queen's soundtrack for Flash Gordon. (Inside Out)