Love him or hate him, but it´s clear that Arjen Lucassen is not a conventional artist. After his success with "Into the electric castle" and both "Migrators", Arjen has had another original and risky idea composing and recording a CD without dozens of collaborators and with an only fourteen years old female vocalist!. Ambeon´s line up is formed by Arjen (guitars, etc.), Astrid van der Veen (vocals), Walter Latupeirassa (bass), Stephen van Haestregt (drums), John McManus (flute), Pat McManus (pipes). As collaborators there are only Erik Norlander and Lana Lane in the album
When Arjen conceived this album, he wanted to give Ayreon´s music a more ambient approach (ambient + Ayreon = Ambeon). Fortunately and finally, this never has happened. And I said "fortunately" because I think Arjen would have walked over muddy sands if he would have tried to develop an ambient style. Lucassen is a progressive and metal musician. I even think he can record a CD in a Pink Floyd style. But nowadays, in the current musical scene "ambient" term is a little bit risky. ¿is Radiohead ambient?, ¿is Anathema ambient?, ¿is Tiamat ambient?.
Anyway, "Fate of a dreamer" is a CD of atmospheric music based on melodies taken from Ayreon tracks. And "Fate of a dreamer" is not a bad album. Perhaps is too lineal for a restless musician like Arjen. Is a CD very melodic, very personal, very intimate, very "bright"... too much bright. If somebody listens to this CD carefully, it is very easy to notice that this CD was initially composed in a different way and it slowly evolved to end having another style. Arjen´s guitars sound in a crystalline and Floydian way, the keyboards create beautiful atmospheres, and McManus brothers do a great job. But I can not get out of my head that the leader of this project gave me amazing moments with his previous albums.
And what about Astrid´s voice?. Very good. Wonderful. Arjen is a great talent hunter and he has discovered a girl who is able to sing with a style similar than Anneke Giersberger (The Gathering) or the singer of The 3rd and the Mortal, even better than them. The main problem is that there are many bands playing this style with female singer (Within Temptation, After Forever, Nightwish,...) and perhaps we are a little bit overdosed.
With more nerve than any CD of The 3rd, with a style close to Liv Kristine´s (Theatre of Tragedy) solo CD, and with the quality given by the great talent of Arjen Lucassen, "Fate of a dreamer" is a CD that will satisfy atmospheric music´s fans but it will surprise all progheads in general and, of course, Ayreon´s fans. Now we have to wait for Arjen bringing the blind Ayreon back to life to show us his real musical ability, quality, talent and skill. And of course we wish Astrid to go on with her career this way. We have a great voice for many, many years.
Ah, and although Arjen is a cool guy, I thank him to let 99% of the booklet´s photos to Astrid, who sings like an angel and is very pretty.