This is another brainchild of Arjen (Ayreon) Lucassen. Perhaps because of the line-up (consisting “only” of Lori Linstruth – lead guitars, Chris Maitland – drums, Jasper Stevelinck – vocals, and Arjen on all other instruments) he felt the need to create Guilt Machine.
Another reason might be the topic. All lyrics were written by Lori and the booklet explains the coming about of the themes. The word depression is mentioned several times, so that might give it away a little.
The find of Jasper is a great catch. He has the capability to sing soft, clean, hard, has a great reach, and does it all convincingly. The perfect vocalist for the job.
Music wise, I feel this is instantly recognizable for all who know Ayreon. Maybe a little lighter at times because of the vocals and arrangements, but all Ayreon trademarks (music with a lot of changes, both in style and dynamics) accompanied by great guitar riffs, vintage and modern keyboards, melodic vocals and versatile drumming, are present. So the connoisseurs already know that this album is a grower. But will also never disappoint. The man´s work has got too much class for that.
A fun trick is the use of several phone messages from fans throughout the album. Talking of audience participation…
Personally I feel no need for other names than Ayreon, but on the other hand, when a CD is good, who cares what the name tag is?
Personal play tips: hey, there are 6 songs on the album…