REVIEW: Arjen Lucassen’s Supersonic Revolution – Golden Age of Music


The name of this one Dutch prog polymath, Arjen Lucassen, should be quite familiar to every self-respecting prog-rock connoisseur by now. After all, he is the man behind prog-rock conceptualists AYREON, as well as the prog-metal offshoot STAR ONE, not to mention GUILT MACHINE or his solo material. I mean, if you happen to come across the odd, far-flung concept album about space and time, packed to the hilt with special guests that reads like a ”who’s who?” of contemporary prog, the chances are that it has been made by this crazy wizard. Now, perhaps a little out of the ordinary, along comes a new Arjen Lucassen endeavor, recorded with a new lineup of, simply, five musicians: Lucassen himself on bass, long-standing keyboardist Joost van den Broek, guitarist Timo Somers, drummer Koen Herfs, and vocalist Jaycee Cuijpers (also known from STAR ONE). His new band is called ARJEN LUCASSEN’S SUPERSONIC REVOLUTION and their first studio effort, “Golden Age of Music,” will be released on May 19th, 2023, via Music Theories Recordings/Mascot Label Group. Surprisingly enough, the new outing is not a conceptual journey through a closed loop in spacetime, but his trademarks – stellar musicianship and killer tunes – characterize this novel approach just as well, just like old times.

There is a particular track in this selection, “I Heard It On the X,” which served as the catalyst for the whole endeavor; the project grew from a simple request to provide a track for a cover compilation album for the German music magazine, Eclipsed, and this ZZ TOP original was the song of choice for the cover rendition. Not only was ZZ TOP‘s Texas boogie something very unlike Lucassen‘s earlier prog efforts, but there was a catch too; the song had to be ready in one week, which no doubt was nothing short of a novel approach for the self-confessed control freak of a musician that his long-time fans have become to know him for. Nonetheless, from there the seed was sown: Lucassen wanted to form a band to simply have fun for a change, without the hassles of trying to organize a recording project with a few dozen guests. It really shows, too: “Golden Age of Music” is a markedly upbeat endeavor with its feel-good aura – just five guys having a great time, enjoying themselves. The ZZ TOP original is from one of the band’s greatest albums, “Fandango,” released in 1975, and it kind of sets the tone for this whole SUPERSONIC REVOLUTION debut. All tracks are more or less influenced by the music of the 1970s, but without being mere pastiches. Okay, it was also the golden era of progressive rock, Lucassen‘s true passion. Here, however, the palette of influences is far more diverse than that, as you can quickly check out for yourself from the bonus-track section. The ZZ TOP cover, along with three other cover renditions – of T-REX‘s “Children of the Revolution,” EARTH, WIND & FIRE‘s “Fantasy,” and Roger Glover‘s “Love Is All” – suggest that his formative years weren’t entirely and exclusively spent listening to prog.

The brief instrumental intro opening the album, “Sr Prelude,” could easily bluff you into thinking that this is yet another gargantuan prog-rock offering what with its 1970s-tinted, fanfare-esque Hammond chops and Moog melodies, but it’s certainly already showing off something a little different. There’s a reason this music is not AYREON or STAR ONE, for example. When “Glamattack” kicks in, the vintage prog feel soon gives way to strong power metal vibes of the Hammond-driven, DEEPPURPLE-inspired sort. There is definitely a hint of some of the more high-energy tracks from The Source in there, but mixed in with the now-quite-familiar voice of John “Jaycee” Cuijpers. If memory serves me right, it’s possible that we’ve heard Lucassen flirting with this type of thing once or twice before as well – and speaking of DEEP PURPLE, “Burn It Down” is obviously based on “Smoke on the Water,” yet it was claimed to have been written from the perspective of the “stupid with a flare gun” mentioned in the original lyrics of the DEEP PURPLE classic.

The title track is nothing short of a spectacular hard-rock anthem, rolling out all the magic tricks from the vintage-savvy revivalist’s toolkit. Keyboardist van den Broek and guitarist Somers exchange rather delicious licks throughout the song and the chorus is really catchy. The lyrics ruminate in the glories of the music of the past, which obviously resonates with the air of PORCUPINE TREE‘s “The Sound of Muzak” from their 2002 album “In Absentia,” although perhaps with a tad less hopeless stance. Here, it sounds as though Lucassen wishes to simply pay homage to the music of his formative years. (I guess it is a thing that the vast majority of people kind of lose the ability to get hyped up about new music in such an all-encompassing manner after they turn 21 or so. You have to be an insufferable music junkie, a musician, or a music journalist, to be able to do so…). It’s hard to believe that “The Rise of the Starman” wouldn’t be a reference to David Bowie, as the album was said to be in reference to the most beloved parts of the ’70s, but with a more modern sound. “The Rise of the Starman” might be the best example of that on the album, while “They Took Us By Storm” resonates pretty heavily with the organ sounds of Jon Lord.

At their most progressive, in the song “Odyssey,” SUPERSONIC REVOLUTION almost traverse into the realms of DREAM THEATER, albeit messing with the time-signature changes with a considerably less liberated approach. At its softest, the album dips into the hard-rock balladry of vintage WHITESNAKE rather prominently, in “Holy Holy Ground.” Fortunately, the lyrics aren’t as infested with dubious innuendos as David Coverdale‘s lyrical efforts back in the day. As for the influences, I’d say this song has more than a robust DIO feel, right down to the song title. By contrast, the follow-up track, “Fight of the Century,” especially the chorus, has a peculiar ABBA vibe, which creates a quaint feel juxtaposed against the song’s heavy riffs. Okay, GHOST has made ABBA-esque metal almost a subgenre of its own, but these hooligans layer the whole thing with a good pinch of vintage prog if only to blow your mind to smithereens. This song is not even the most quaint on this offering; the hard-rock boogie in “Came to Mock, Stayed to Rock” is an eccentric mix of DIO and boogie-woogie riffing – and, bloody hell, it works!

In conclusion, this 15-track offering is something you’d probably better check out for yourself, because, in my desperate attempt to keep this review within the 1000ish-word limit, all I can say at this point is, “Wait, there’s more…” Once again, Arjen Lucassen delivers up to specs. Has he ever really let us down? Perhaps this nostalgia trip into the 1970s is not what some of us expected to come from his magical music-writing quill, but now, it’s here and it’s pretty damn good! “Golden Age of Music” is a real cornucopia of feel-good hard rock with a touch of vintage prog, among other things. Oh, and make sure to check out that ZZ TOP cover – it’s damn hilarious, in a way, and yet, it frigging rocks! (Not to mention the oddball choice for a cover song, “Fantasy” by none other than the funk legends, EARTH, WIND & FIRE – I bet it is something you would have NEVER expected to hear from someone like Arjen!).

Written by Jani L. & Bear W.


  1. Sr Prelude
  2. The Glamattack
  3. Golden Age of Music
  4. The Rise of the Starman
  5. Burn It Down
  6. Odyssey
  7. They Took Us By Storm
  8. Golden Boy
  9. Holy Holy Ground
  10. Fight of the Century
  11. Came to Mock, Stayed to Rock
  12. Children of the Revolution (bonus track)
  13. I Heard It On the X (bonus track)
  14. Fantasy (bonus track)
  15. Love Is All (bonus track)


Arjen Lucassen – bass

Joost van den Broek – keyboards

Timo Somers – guitars

Koen Herfst – drums

Jaycee Cuijpers – vocals


Music Theories Recordings / Mascot Label Group