Guilt Machine
On This Perfect Day


4.0
excellent

Review

by e210013 USER (124 Reviews)
January 29th, 2016 | 12 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Guilt Machine is another venture from the Dutch composer Arjen Lucassen. It’s a departure from the complex Ayreon projects for a simpler and a more personal project.

As with the Ambeon project, Guilt Machine is a Dutch progressive metal act, a project of the multi-instrumentalist and composer Arjen Anthony Lucassen, the mastermind of Ayreon, and their debut and only album, until now, is called “On This Perfect Day” and was released in 2009. Mr. Lucassen shouldn't need much introduction apart from the names of his bands and apart of his solo musical career with his own name. Star One, Stream Of Passion, Ambeon and Ayreon, can definitely to speak for themselves. Guilt Machine is the most recent member of the family of the Arjen’s projects.

For his new project Guilt Machine, Arjen gathered new musicians around him like the singer Jasper Steverlinck from a band called Arid, his current partner and manager Lori Linstruth ex-Stream Of Passion on lead guitar, Chris Maitland ex-Porcupine Tree and ex-Kino on drums and still, Ben Mathot on violin and David Faber on cello.

Normally Arjen uses many singers but, as Arjen explained, he wanted that Guilt Machine was a more manageable and a small scale project. He just wanted for the album only one vocalist and few musicians. So, he had to find a singer that could cover the entire spectrum of emotions and who was also versatile enough to keep the listener’s interest until the last track. After listen several singers, Arjen selected Jasper of the Belgian alternative rock band Arid. He thought he had a perfect pronunciation, an incredible broad range and his delivery was full of emotions. Finding a drummer created also another change to him. Compared to most of his previous works, where Ed Warby was almost always his choice, the music “On This Perfect Day” is more introspective and quiet. So, he had to find a drummer who could hit hard when needed, but who would also be able to shine in the subtle passages. So, he chooses Maitland because he thought that during the years with Porcupine Tree, he had proved to be the kind and versatile drummer that he needed.

From all of his side projects, this is probably the one closest to Ayreon. Still, those expecting the bombastic and theatrical music of Ayreon or Star One projects, might be a little bit surprised at the more atmospheric sounds here. However, don't despair. There are still plenty of progressive moments and heavy parts on it. But this is easily the Lucasson's darkest and most tranquil release to date, which for some might be a good change of pace. Fans of Ayreon, especially of the last two albums, before this one, and of dark progressive music too, should enjoy this release a lot.

Lyrically, the album is fairly interesting and departs from Ayreon's standard usual style. Lori, despite she plays guitar on the album, wrote all the lyrics “On This Perfect Day”. They're nowhere near as cheesy as on those previous efforts. Inspired by Lucassen's bouts of depression and perhaps taking a cue from “The Human Equation”, the lyrics on here deal with psychological themes and mental well being, deals with the destructive psychology of guilt, regret and the darkest form of our secrets, the deepest secrets we hide from ourselves. The album features several audio messages sent by fans throughout the songs, of the entire world. They’re nicely placed and add to the album's a nice atmosphere.

Musically, this album is a mellower affair and may not be metal in the traditional sense. Instead it takes on an alternative progressive direction that sounds a lot like a combination of bands such as Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree and the Opeth’s “Damnation”. The song lengths are long, the pacing is slow to mid tempo, and the instrumentation seems to rely more on atmosphere than overt technicality. The instrumentation is just the usual, with the Arjen's trademark sound. At the same time, this album is easily the darkest and most melancholic that the Dutchman has ever released. Haunting symphonic melodies, acoustic passages, instrumental desperation, emotional vocal work, Jasper sings like a young and reborn James Labrie or Damian Wilson, builds up intensity as it goes. This release is the incarnation of the dark parts in Ayreon albums. At the same time this is what sets it aside from Arjen’s main project. Instead of varying moods, fusing many different styles of music and bringing a lot of completely different vocalists together, Guilt Machine's style stays the same throughout its duration, making its culmination in the last track “Perfection?” the most powerful of all.


Conclusion: I find Guilt Machine a very strong project, one of the best things associated with all the Lucassen’s projects. All in all, this is not an easy record, as it must be understood through patience. If you’re more into speed, power and heavy progressive like Dream Theater or Fates Warning, digging up this record could be a very difficult task. If you like Pink Floyd and psychedelic rock in general, you may actually find it very interesting and promising. There are lots of layers of atmospheric keyboards, acoustic parts and the vocalist sounds pretty much depressing according with the concept of the album. It’s melodic, atmospheric and succeeds in capturing your attention without never being boring. You might give this record a chance if you have patience to listen to it. It's highly recommended, I think.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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user ratings (81)
3.9
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Arjen Lucassen's newest musical venture takes a dip into the feelings of guilt with a haunting, yet ...

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Arjen Lucassen's Guilt Machine differs quite drastically from his work with Ayreon. With a dark, mel...


Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
January 29th 2016


2590 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Your comments are very well received, as usual.

TheIntruder
February 2nd 2016


433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review of a good album. It's a good pair for Fate of a Dreamer, the album of his other project Ambeon. Have a pos.

e210013
February 2nd 2016


2590 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks man. It's really very nice and comfortable see that finally someone did a comment of the album and of my review. Probably, you're right. Despite the differences, On This Perfect Day is a nice pair for Fate Of A Dreamer. Thanks a lot man.

Cheers.

TheIntruder
February 3rd 2016


433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dude, I only did my comment now because I didn't know the album before. Still, it's a little bit strange that no one did any comment before. It was the same with Fate of a Dreamer. Perhaps Lucassen isn't a a beloved guy here on Sputnik.

e210013
February 3rd 2016


2590 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, man. I'm afraid that you're right, which is a pity. I'm a long time fan of Arjen. I always had a deep admiration by him. I always thought that he is a very complete artist with a rare capacity of have working with him a truly awesome hand of great musicians, which never was an easy task to do. By the other hand, I always admired his courage of resurrect the rock operas, a genre not very popular nowadays and that isn't for everyone, and which was a big risk to him. So, no wonder that so few comments were made about this album. Probably, you are an exception, a good exception, I say.

TheIntruder
February 4th 2016


433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I can agree with you. It's a pity that so few people love the Lucassen's projects. I'm a huge fan of Ayreon. And as it seems that you are also, I hope you do a review of one of its albums.



e210013
February 5th 2016


2590 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, you're right man. And yes, I will continue my path. And I can tell you one more thing. Very soon I will put here on Sputnik a review of one of the Ayreon's albums. You will see.

TheIntruder
February 5th 2016


433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm very glad man. I will hope for it. Then I will tell you my opinion.

Cheers.

e210013
February 5th 2016


2590 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You can bet on it, dude. I count with your opinion.

Cheers.

Jethro42
February 8th 2016


15964 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Whoa, it seems I've missed this last review of yours, e21. I thought to myself that you were long before writing another one. Here it is lol. I'll read it and listen to the album asap, since I dig the Lucassen's projects.

Jethro42
February 9th 2016


15964 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

K. After couple of listens, album keeps on growing on me. Musicianship and the vocals (a la Freddy Mercury) are top notch. Not exactly as metal as Ayreon, but music still reminds a lot of Ayreon. It makes me want to listen to more of Lucassen's stuff. While not metal at all, Phideaux also comes to mind melodically and in the arrangements.



Good job on the review, mate.



e210013
February 10th 2016


2590 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sorry, Jethro. I also missed your comments too, because they appeared very late and I didn't expect them so late. Anyway, as we say in my country, it's better later than never.

Yeah, you are right, man. This is a little bit different from the usual stuff from Arjen. It's more personal, as he himself confessed, and is more simple too. However, it has also many common points with Ayreon stuff. I also like very much of the vocal working on the album. For a non-prog vocalist, he did a terrific job, I think.

And yeah, when you have some time, I think all the Lucassen's stuff deserve a special attention.

About Phideaux, I must confess that I only know them practically by their name. However, I know that they're a great band, or a great artist, as you wish.

Thanks, dude.

Cheers.



P.S. I put another review here on Sputnik today. It's about the live album "Stage" of Bowie. I hope you enjoy it too.



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