Ambeon - Fate Of A Dreamer

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Transmission
Catalog Number: TM-030
Format: CD
Total Time: 51:29:00

By now it is clear to all prog lovers that the Ayreon project of flying Dutchman Arjen Lucassen needs an average of about two years in between releases. Right now I can tell you that the next album has been planned for a 2002 release. To make sure the wait isn't too long, Arjen released an album of outtakes and demos called Ayreonauts Only. On this album, well-known Ayreon classics were sung by vocalists other than the ones we know from the official releases. One of those songs was an acoustic version of "Temple Of The Cat" sung by the fourteen year old Astrid Van Der Veen. Having released her very own album called Beautiful Red, this girl has the voice Arjen was dreaming of for another project outside of Ayreon. Taking the words "ambient" and "Ayreon" to form Ambeon, Arjen wanted to take well-known Ayreon material, but transform them by adding new lyrics and melodies. What was initially planned as being a very ambient sounding album, in the end became a dark sounding experiment in a similar vein as Within Temptation and After Forever. Recorded with a very limited line-up, the atmosphere on the album is indeed very intimate, making room for the expressive and powerful voice of Astrid.

As a preview, the track "Cold Metal" had been included on the Ayreonauts Only album, but there it still had Jolanda Verduijn on bass. On the Fate Of A Dreamer album she has been replaced by Walter Latupeirissa (Snowy White, Pat Travers, Steve Lukather), which means the teaser version remains unique. The album opens with "Estranged", a song that immediately illustrates the wide range of Astrid's voice. Augmented with typical folky instruments courtesy of two members of the band Celtus, it gives a nice celtic feel. Recorded and produced at Arjen's Electric Castle studio, especially the rhythms are more laidback than on the Ayreon albums, which again emphasizes the vocals. By overdubbing layers of Astrid's backing vocals the vocals almost become like a whirlwind of sounds, as is apparent during "Ashes." Introducing uillean pipes in "High" kind of gets in the slipstream of projects such as Adiemus and Enigma but that's before Astrid starts singing, moving her voice like a snake through the twists and turns of Arjen's arrangements.

The long instrumental "Fate" holds enough Jean-Michel Jarre references to keep you happy throughout. Especially the use of the sequencers, together with the way the rhythm is incorporated, goes back to the Equinox period. The opening for "Sick Ceremony" comes close to Pink Floyd yet the hard guitar riffs wipe out all Gilmour comparisons. In "Surreal" Arjen treats us to a nice tasty portion of acoustic guitar, which kind of lifts this song to "unplugged" heights, backed by great fretless bass to make Jaco Pastorius jealous! The instrumental "Dreamer" sports Astrid's vocals, used as an extra instrument floating between the guitar parts and adding kind of a Michelle Young-Kate Bush flavour to the final chords.

So instead of an instrumental album with one or two vocal tracks, Fate Of A Dreamer turned into a vocal album with two instrumentals. In a way it kind of reminds me of Steve Rothery's Wishing Tree project, too good a project to only devote one single album to. As long as it remains impossible for Ayreon to be performed live, then Ambeon certainly is the solution. Order now for your weddings, bar mitzvahs and, why not, funerals as well!

Estranged (2:47) / Ashes (5:29) / High (4:12) / Cold Metal (6:50) / Fate (7:39) / Sick Ceremony (3:44) / Lost Message (4:30) / Surreal (4:37) / Sweet Little Brother (6:06) / Dreamer (5:17)

Astrid Van Der Veen - vocals, backing vocals
Arjen Lucassen - acoustic and electric guitars, analogue keyboards, samples
Stephen Van Haestregt - acoustic and electronic drums, percussion
Walter Latupeirissa - bass, fretless bass


John McManus - low flute, uilleann pipes
Pat McManus - fiddle
Erik Norlander - additional synths
Lana Lane - reversed backing vocals

Fate Of A Dreamer (2001)

Genre: Other

Origin VA

Added: June 13th 2001
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 1070
Language: english


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