Arjen Anthony Lucassen / Star One

Live on Earth

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Some fans of Arjen Anthony Lucassen's prog metal project Ayreon had a hard time digesting his next project, the much heavier Star One. But they should not turn their backs on this live set, since more than half of it is devoted to Ayreon's songbook. And listeners who got hooked with Star One's Space Metal (the group's sole studio CD) are not left out either, since this concert presents roughly the same lineup of singers and musicians. Russell Allen (Symphony X), Damian Wilson (ex-Threshold), and Robert Soeterboek (Ayreon) form a powerful front line of singers. They are backed by two female vocalists and when the six of them (Lucassen sings too) sing in harmony, as in "Songs of the Ocean" or "The Eye of Ra," they give you goosebumps. The set list is comprised of seven cuts off Space Metal, some chunks presented in sequence (and "The Eye of Ra" and "Starchild" definitely stand out), five songs from Into the Electric Castle -- including "Isis and Osiris" and "The Two Gates," serving as a showstopper -- and a couple of selections from Universal Migrator, Actual Fantasy, and The Final Experiment. The band is in stellar shape, putting an extra effort into the last concert of the tour. The balance between Lucassen's arena-style riff shredding and the more ambitious compositions is what makes Live on Earth an entertaining listen. The same concert was also released on DVD.

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