Review | Lucassen & Soeterboek’s Plan Nine – The Long-Lost Songs

Music Theories Recordings / MLG

In the early 1990s, the musical landscape for blues-oriented hard rock was not fit to make a dent in a pack of butter, to say the least. Grunge was the new thing and the record companies all wanted to find the new Pearl Jam or Nirvana. It didn’t matter if you had played in 1 of the most important and successful bands in the 80s. Vengeance in the case of Arjen Lucassen. Or that you were a young singer with the vocal potential of singers like David Coverdale or Robert Plant. It was just mopping with the tap open and eventually Plan Nine, the love child and latest project of Arjen Lucassen and Robert Soeterboek was put away in a closet somewhere and forgotten.


Both men went their separate ways. Lucassen went to work on his first solo record and 1 or another Rock Opera. Ayreon ‘The Final Experiment’, that this project would put him on the map as the master of the progressive rock operas, he couldn’t have dreamed then either. Everything Lucassen has touched since the Ayreon success seems to turn into pure gold. Star One, Stream of Passion, Supersonic Revolution just to name a few ‘little’ projects. Soeterboek also continued to follow his passion and sang in My Brother Jake, the German Wicked Sensation, The Cotton Soeterboek Band, among others.


The friendship between the two men never went away and Soeterboek was also always a to-go to singer that Lucassen worked with, live or in the studio, often over the years. Sometime in 2022, the songs of Plan Nine were dusted off and the material that had been sitting in a closet for all those years turned out to be interesting and these gems were finally properly recorded. So on May 17, Plan Nine’s songs will be released to the public after all this time.


So what does Plan Nine sound like now? Well, you can clearly hear the zeitgeist of projects Lucassen did in the early 90s. Some songs could perfectly have been on Vengeance‘s 1994 ‘Last Of The Fallen Heroes’ album. Others wouldn’t have been out of place on the first Ayreon either. Especially the structure and construction of the background choirs remind me of that. Lucassen’s style is clearly present everywhere.

And Soeterboek proves, once again, what a wonderful voice he has, especially for these kind of songs. It just fits like a glove.


Indeed, this record would not have done much commercially in the early 90s, because this kind of music was not supported at all back then. That had nothing to do with the quality of the music. It was simply put away as, the 70s and 80s are over. We have something new.  BUT, it should be obvious that this 70s/80s style of bluesy hard ‘n’ heavy rock is still relevant in 2024. So it is a smart move to revive Plan Nine just now, because there is room for a record like this.


Is the album earth-shattering? Well…no, but ‘The Long-Lost Songs’ is a high quality album. Good songs, great vocals, great background vocals, great guitar and Hammond work. In that respect I am glad that the duo Lucassen/Soeterboek took the time to dust off the old demos and gave them a second chance.

Standouts? ,,The Preacher’’ which has a fat `Final Experiment’ vibe, ,,Die With Your Shades On’’ with nice sleazy guitar work that wouldn’t have been out of place on Vengeance work either and ,,High Speed Chase’’ which has a delicious drive. As a lover of Blues oriented melodic hard ’n’ heavy rock, you just have to give the album a listen, because honestly, Plan Nine is not easy to pigeonhole.


On top of that, the record also features great production and a bunch of high quality musicians. Peter Vink on bass, Cleem Determeijer on hammond, Koen Herfst on drums, Rob van der Loo on bass, Marcel Singor on guitar, Mirjam van Doorn and Irene Jansen on backing vocals. And of course Robert Soeterboek and Arjen Lucassen.

The demos on CD2 are nice to have especially for the real fans who want to have everything from a band and/or Lucassen.

Nice that Plan Nine will finally get a chance in 2024 this way!!!

Release date: 17 May 2024


Dutch multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer who is best known for his progressive metal/rock opera project Ayreon. Other projects are: Star One, Guilt Machine, The Gentle Storm, Ambeon and Stream Of Passion. Also known for Dutch hard rock bands Bodine and Vengeance. Active since 1980.

Photo credit: Lori Linstruth


Progressive rock, metal, rock opera




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