One of Arjen Lucassen's many side projects, however with this project he has departed from the over-the-top complexity of Ayreon in favor of the simplicity of a relatively small line-up. Including only a single vocalists, Jasper Steverlinck and the talents of Chris Maitland (ex-Porcupine Tree) were enlisted for the drum parts. Arjen’s partner and manager Lori Linstruth supplied the guitar solos. The rest of the instruments were played by Arjen, who also sings backing vocals.
Artistically, Guilt Machine is a deeply personal statement reflecting years of emotional turmoil. “The past few years have been quite rough for me, following the end of a long-term relationship,” says Arjen Lucassen. “This dark period left its mark: I was depressed for quite some time. On top of that, I lost my sense of smell and taste; it’s a condition called anosmia.” Laughing, he continues, “Although some people might say I never had any taste to begin with!”
“Depression is something I’ve also struggled with for most of my life,” adds Lori Linstruth. “Since Arjen and I had both recently been through severe depressions, it’s only natural that the concept behind Guilt Machine evolved from that. I’m interested in psychology and how the mind works, and at one point came across a scientific study examining the role of automatic feelings of guilt in depression. It’s as if the depressive mindset is like a machine, incessantly and automatically manufacturing feelings of guilt – whether they’re justified or not. So there we had it: a theme…and a band name!”