So Arjen is back with another massive double CD release. I was always a fan of his AYREON work and STAR ONE was excellent as well. This time around on his latest solo release “Lost in the New Real” we see Arjen taking more of a Progressive Rock route, and the Metal elements are definitely taking a back seat.
Right off the bat I can say that the market might be a little limited. Arjen’s style has always been a bit of an acquired taste, and listeners new to his work would be better suited to checking through the AYREON back-catalogue. Arjen has a very unique style of song writing, which has always been worthy of praise, his work is the kind of work instantly identifiable as his own.
“Lost in the New Real” is another concept album, this time focusing on the character Mr L who Arjen takes the role of. The general plot is basically Mr L being awoken very far into the future and coming to terms with a new world. The theme rings somewhat as bittersweet, and comparisons can very easily be drawn to modern day. A disdain for modern music rings out particularly in “Pink Beatles in a Purple Zeppelin” and whilst it conforms to the storyline, I can’t help feel he does mean what he’s saying with the whole “every song has been done before” message. Obviously I can see that it’s trying to apply to the story canon, as it wouldn’t be too hard to imagine a future where every note has been played, however I must level a degree of criticism on a personal level, as I feel no matter what’s been done, with changes in technology new sounds will always arise; for better or for worse.
As I mentioned earlier, the album takes a Progressive Rock approach, and elements of 60’s rock such as THE BEATLES can be heard throughout the album. The hooks are well placed, and this is one of the catchier releases Arjen has created. The inclusion of Rutger Hauer narrating the album is an awesome touch, and really adds to the experience on the whole. As far as my personal palette goes, I definitely prefer Arjen’s more Progressive Metal oriented releases, hence tracks such as “Parental Procreation Permit” and “Yellowstone Memorial Day” are the ones I’ve found most enjoyable.
At two discs you definitely get a good wedge of bang for your buck on “Lost in the New Real”. The album is undoubtedly solid, but those who preferred the likes of “01011001” and “Flight of the Migrator” might not find as much to enjoy. Progressive Rock nuts would do well to pick this up though, with the second disc housing some ace covers, and the first disc featuring Arjen’s signature prog mastery. The bottom line here with “Lost in the New Real” is: A good album that previously established fans should buy without hesitation, but one those unfamiliar should explore after having acquainted themselves with some of the AYREON work and ultimately not as strong as the last STAR ONE release.
(Online August 5, 2012)