Ayreon – 01011001 (2008)

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The seventh full length 2 CD album from Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s project Ayreon has finally been released. Four years have passed since the last Ayreon album The Human Equation and once again Arjen launches his thoughts away on an “intergalactic Space Opera ride” he began in 1995 when he released The Final Experiment. Into the Electric Castle and Universal Migrator (Part 1 & 2) made their way to a small but strongly growing community of fans from both, the metal and the progressive rock scene. The global idea behind his albums is to tell a science fiction story using both, musical and vocal aspects in various ways: the music genre varies from heavy guitar riffs to atmospheric synthesizer parts, creating a unique sound. The vocal parts in every album represent a definite character (or emotion) like in a book and you can literally “feel” the story coming to life. This feeling can clearly be felt with this new opus from Ayreon 01011001 (which means 89 and is the symbol for the letter Y, like the plant Y from the previous albums).

The storyline can be set between The Final Experiment and Universal Migrator (Part 1 & 2) where the research for emotions of the Forever has lead to the creation (1st CD) and the destruction (2nd CD) of mankind as we know it, leaving one survivor, the Migrator.

Although being more progressive and atmospheric than The Human Equation you clearly feel that Arjen’s music and concept has evolved considerably during the past years. The singers on this album were more *far fetched* in terms of voice genre, than the casts of the previous album which leads to interesting contrasts between several parts like on “The Earth Extinction” and “Age of Shadows”. The folk atmosphere still persists in this album revealing a mix of power metal and progressive rock in the song “River of Time” and I would best describe it as a Human Equation sound meets Valley of Queens… simply beautiful. Yet although the concept stays strong and the music did some amazing evolution I still hear many parts that sound too much like The Human Equation and you can’t feel a direct gap between the two consecutive albums musically. The ideas are quite good and the album is well mixed yet some of the voices seem to be in the wrong spot at some songs, but that’s rather a personal feeling.

In the end it’s a very thoughtful and atmospheric album but it lacks a certain degree of innovation of the genre. No doubt that this is a great album and a huge new step in the Ayreon storyline and that fans will get their coin for their gold, but in my opinion you could have gone a bit further in some aspects.

7.5/10

Benno (Rahjas)

~ by rahjas on January 29, 2008.

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