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Best known for his progressive rock project, Ayreon, Arjen Anthony Lucassen has chosen to expand his artistic identity with a new project album called 'Star One'.

When Arjen makes a new CD, it is often a reaction to his work on a previous album. Prior to 'Star One', Arjen created a softer, more atmospheric album under the name of Ambeon. Now in contrast, he has gone to the other extreme to create a completely unbridled heavy metal album.
So why not just call it Ayreon? Arjen replies, "Ayreon has come to be known as having many different musical styles, while Star One focuses mainly on just the heavy side of my music. The songs are more straightforward and guitar-oriented but they are still progressive. This album was never intended to be an Ayreon album, so calling it Ayreon just wouldn't feel right to me." The name Star One is derived from an episode of Arjen's favourite science fiction TV series called 'Blakes 7'.

Unlike the Ayreon albums, 'Space Metal' isn't a continuous story or a rock opera, yet it is still very much a concept album. Instead of a continuous story, the individual songs are all based on space movies and are designed to act as vehicle to that takes the listener on a journey through Arjen's mind and memory; A place where they relive those great science fiction space films that made such an impact on him.
Arjen talks about the concept: "I based the songs on films that take place entirely in space. It's really hard to write a song based on a film and then not use names or make the references to the original too clear. I really wanted to write about my impressions of the films and not just tell the same story over again. I wonder how many people are going to recognize the films on which I based the songs!".

Arjen Lucassen set a trend in conceptual recordings with his Ayreon albums. Many laughed when he recorded his first rock opera 'Ayreon - The Final Experiment' in 1995, and most record companies were hesitant to sign him. But after the highly successful release of his third Ayreon CD, the rock opera 'Into the Electric Castle', many musicians and producers have followed in his footsteps and new rock operas with multiple singers began to surface all over the world. Arjen comments: "Yes, I've noticed it! And I regard it as a compliment. But I have also noticed that on many of these operas the singers sound the same, and you need the CD booklet to tell them apart. To ensure that this didn't happen on 'Space Metal', I used very different sounding singers. Though appearing in the same songs, the different singers were used to convey different moods". Dan Swano (ex-Edge of Sanity, Nightingale) sings the low parts, Russell Allen (Symphony X) sings the powerful rough parts, Damian Wilson (ex-Threshold) sings the high clear parts, and to top it off, Floor Jansen (After Forever) sings the really high choruses. Robert Soeterboek (Ayreon) sang the backing vocals with his huge smoky voice.
Of course the same consideration was given to the instrumental sections. Ed Warby played the powerful drums, and Erik Norlander once again added his huge analog synth leads. Arjen also managed to get Jens Johansson (Yngwie Malmsteen, Dio, Stratovarius) who played some incredibly fast synth leads as well. And Gary Wehrkamp (Shadow Gallery) played two explosive and speedy guitar solos. Arjen even succeeded in getting Hawkwind's Dave Brock to make a guest vocal appearance, something no one has ever managed to do before. Arjen talks about Brock's guest appearance: "Hawkwind were the inventors of Space Rock, so I thought it would be a cool idea to record a Hawkwind medley for the album. I asked Dave to sing on it, and to my surprise, he did it! This is a dream come true as he has been a huge influence on me".

Although Arjen has been satisfied with his previous collaborations with Transmission Records, (the label that released the Ayreon CDs in Europe) he felt that he needed a change of direction for this new album. After releasing 10 albums with Transmission, Arjen had a chance meeting Thomas Waber of Inside Out Music whom he ran into at a progressive rock concert. Thomas expressed his keen interest in the 'Star One' project and opened a dialogue which resulted in the relationship.
Arjen talks about the decision: "Thomas and I had a meeting at my place where he listened to the material and he loved what he heard. I'm quite excited about this partnership -- it feels like a new start. I hope to gain some new fans with this album, maybe those who find Ayreon too diverse or perhaps too soft for their taste will embrace this heavier project. This album will be my first side project that has the same level of commitment and the same quality as Ayreon. I worked on it for over a year, and slowly it grew into a monster!"

To compliment the music, and to complete the package Arjen searched for months to find just the right painter to represent his musical vision. Through an exhaustive search of the internet, Arjen came across the work of famed artist Vincent Di Fate. Arjen says, "I knew immediately that he was the one. Vincent is a really famous guy. He was one of the NASA artists for the Apollo/Soyuz program in 1975, and he has continued to work for NASA ever since!"
In addition to the cover art the booklet layout also required a careful choice. Each time Arjen saw a CD booklet that he liked, he found that the same artist was responsible for the lay out: Mattias Noren. When Arjen approached Mattias, he learned (to his delight) that Mattias was already a fan of Ayreon! Arjen states "Mattias is very talented, reliable and great to work with. He surpassed himself with the fantastic artwork he has made for the Star One booklet!"

'Star One - Space Metal' is an exciting project from one of rock's great visionaries. Like Ayreon, it is sure to become a beacon in the vast universe of rock titles. With its stellar musicianship, visionary production and simple yet far-reaching concept, 'Star One - Space Metal' shines bright as a giant sun in the galaxy of rock.


1. Lift-Off
2. Set Your Controls
3. High Moon
4. Songs Of The Ocean
5. Master Of Darkness
6. The Eye Of Ra
7. Sandrider
8. Perfect Survivor
9. Intergalactic Space Crusaders
10. Starchild


Arjen Anthony Lucassen (Guitars, Bass, Hammond, Mellotron, Analog Synths, Solina Strings)
Ed Warby (Drums)
Russell Allen (Vocals)
Damian Wilson (Vocals)
Dan Swanц (Vocals)
Floor Jansen (Vocals)
Jens Johansson (Synth)
Erik Norlander (Synth)
Gary Wehrkamp (Guitar)
Robert Soeterboek (Backing Vocals)
Dave Brock (Vocals)

Produced by: A.A. Lucassen