|Guilt Machine – ‘On This Perfect Day’ (Mascot Records)|
|Written by David Whistance|
|Tuesday, 27 October 2009 19:24|
In 1995 Dutch multi instrumentalist Arjen Lucassen created Ayreon, an ambitious musical project that began with the self titled album 'Ayreon', a progressive rock opera, that would eventually transform into a series of well respected rock opera albums featuring many of the world's greatest rock vocalists such as Bruce Dickinson, Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt, Dream Theatre's James Labrie, Blind Guardian's Hansi Kursch and Primal Fear's Ralf Scheepers to name but a few. In 2009 Arjen Lucassen unveiled his latest musical project, Guilt Machine, a dynamic, epic journey of human nature.
Rather than just picking up the phone, opening his little black book (with leather and conical studs binding) and hooking up with the usual assortment of rock acquaintances, Arjen Lucassen decided upon taking a gamble this time around by using just the one vocalist for Guilt Machine. He decided upon Belgian Jasper Sterverlinck, vocalist from pop/ rock alternative band Arid, taking the vocalist from his usual comfort zone and thrusting him into the unfamiliar territory of progressive rock. Also featured are Porcupine Tree drummer Chris Maitland and personal manager and partner Lori Linstruth on lead guitar duties.
Guilt Machine is more than just a band though; it's like an out of body experience, as you let the music take you on its dark, atmospheric tale of self-discovery. If you prefer your music in quick three minute bursts of pleasure then you might find this album a bit of a challenge as each track has an average running span of ten minutes. If you are willing to pick up the gauntlet and run with it then you will be guaranteed a reward of musical satisfaction at its final conclusion.
Opening tracks 'Twisted Coil' and 'Leland Street' both start with a mellow opening akin to Pink Floyd before taking you on a darker journey that twists and turns in every direction; at times I would almost compare it to a Tool masterpiece in its musical structure. Entwined with telephone messages from all corners of the World as they relay their personal thoughts on guilt, regret, life, death and human nature, each of the six tracks on the album leads you into the epic journey of human nature where you discover guilt and regret in its darkest form.
Arjen Lucassen has to be commended on his choice of vocalist for the Guilt Machine project, Jasper Steverlinck owns one of the most atmospheric, haunting voices that I have heard for a long time and it fits perfectly into the dark musical passages. The incredible writing talent of Lori Linstruth who has written the most incredible, and poignant lyrics to accompany the impressive musicianship must also be applauded.
There are some truly great moments during 'On This Perfect Day', where I can close my eyes and almost envisage Liverpudlian former doom/death merchants Anathema, who themselves have metamorphosed into masters of atmospheric rock.
There are also a few subtle moments of indulgence during this musical masterwork that give an ever so slight nod soundwise to Devon's new progs on the block Muse in its musical splendour, but that's never a bad thing...is it?
If I had to describe Guilt Machine's 'On This Perfect Day' in one word, then I would have to refer you to the title of the album's final passage, 'Perfection?'