Since Dutch guitarist and producer Arjen Lucassen delivered his masterpiece Into The Electric Castle (1998) with his Ayreon-project, he is for me the ideal combination of Waters and Gilmour, the head and the heart of Pink Floyd. Both the predecessors and the successors of that album were all very good, but they never reached the same high quality level. After his mental and physical problems, which Arjen openly explains in the booklet, he managed to write another highlight.
For his new project Guilt Machine, Arjen gathered new musicians around him like singer Jasper Stevelinck (Arid), his current partner Lori Linstruth (ex-Stream Of Passion) on lead guitar and Chris Maitland (ex-Porcupine Tree, ex-Kino) on drums. Normally Arjen uses many singers, but for these six tracks, only Jasper sings like a young and reborn James Labrie or Damian Wilson. That makes On This Perfect Day a more consistent album. Another strong feature is the dark and sometimes heavy atmosphere in most songs combined with the outstanding and omnipresent melodies. We know from his earlier projects that Arjen Lucassen knows how to create an electrifying, majestic and symphonic sound. In addition - but that was common for Ayreon as well - we here many echoing soundscapes in the songs.
I couldn’t discover any weak tracks on this album. All songs are compositions of a high quality level. Tuneful electric and acoustic guitar riffs, wonderful synthesizer waves, emotional shouting, inventive drumming and wonderful melodies. You get it all in this musical adventure. A special remark concerning the lyrics: they are very personal and emotional, written straight from the heart. Arjen combines guilt and regret, the two emotional themes, into one by using short lyrics in different languages. For me, On This Perfect Day is a masterpiece and one of this year’s highlights.
***** Cor Smeets (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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