Golden Age Of Music

Music Theories
rating icon 7 / 10

Track listing:

01. Sr Prelude
02. The Glamattack
03. Golden Age of Music
04. The Rise of the Starman
05. Burn It Down
06. Odyssey
07. They Took Us By Storm
08. Golden Boy
09. Holy Holy Ground
10. Fight Of The Century
11. Came To Mock, Stayed To Rock

Arjen Lucassen is a one-man phenomenon. A supremely gifted multi-instrumentalist and composer, he has amassed an extraordinary catalogue of music over the last four decades. Best known for the numerous, extravagant prog concept albums he has released under the AYREON banner, the Dutchman has pursued numerous other projects over the years — from the galactic power metal of STAR ONE, to THE GENTLE STORM: a sublime symphonic rock collaboration with ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN. Over the course of all those lengthy, intricate records, he has demonstrated a masterful grip of fine detail and lofty production values. He is, to put it mildly, a talented bastard, and one from whom music just seems to pour. As a result, it comes as no surprise whatsoever that Lucassen has formed a new band, ARJEN LUCASSEN'S SUPERSONIC REVOLUTION.

There are certain things that link all of Lucassen's various projects together: the opulent arrangements, the technically pristine performances, and the ever-fruitful blend of hard rock, prog and melodic metal. "Golden Age Of Music" has all of that too, but this is a step away from the often futuristic and theatrical urges of AYREON and STAR ONE. As advertised, this is a celebration of music from the '60s and '70s, as seen through the eyes (and heard through the ears) of Lucassen himself. But rather than disappear down the retro pastiche rabbit hole, these songs aim to give the style, vibe and instrumentation of rock's first classic era a robust upgrade.

In keeping with the BEATLES and BOWIE records that loom over this project, "Golden Age Of Music" eschews lengthy, progressive pieces in favor of a more succinct, hard rock anthem approach, which is summed up neatly by "The Glamattack". Pitched somewhere between URIAH HEEP and RUNNING WILD, it doesn't exactly evoke the glam rock era, but dishes out some RAINBOW-like, "Kill The King"-style fire and fury all the same. Sealing the deal are Jaycee Cuijpers' heroic vocals and the staggering keyboard wizardry of Joost van den Broek. It's a prog-tinged, pomp rock riot. Somehow, it sounds even more fun to play than it is to listen to.

Thereafter, Lucassen's inquisitive streak makes its presence felt only sporadically, but songs like "The Rise Of The Starman" and the DIO-saluting "Burn It Down" have such authentic charm (and immaculate production notwithstanding) that they really serve to complement more imaginative moments. Of those, "Odyssey" and "Golden Boy" both sound a little less restricted by the album's backward-looking theme, and Lucassen's prog rock heart can be heard banging away in the background. Meanwhile, just to prove his own point about how great music was back in the hallowed day, some bonus covers of songs by T. REX, ZZ TOP and EARTH, WIND & FIRE and ROGER GLOVER are little explosions of joy, just waiting for your attention.

Author: Dom Lawson
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