Oct 25

Ayreon – The Theory Of Everything (2013)

DIMMU BORGIR - Eonian

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Arjen Lucassen‘s Ayreon new album The Theory Of Everything is one of the most complete musical pieces that I had the pleasure to listen and now write about this year. First this album cannot and should not be taking lightly, you must listen to the whole 42 tracks (And, yes that is a reference from The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy) that composed this 90 minutes progressive metal masterpiece in order to understand the story and enjoy the album.

Let’s begin to clarify that Ayreon is well known for long conceptual albums (Take for example The Human Equation & 01011001) So The Theory Of Everything is not different from that model, but the fact that after you listen the album you can visualized it in the form of a rock opera or a movie because of the music and the story is so well put together that in my opinion it should it be done a concept movie based on this album, and that reason alone just sets this album apart from the others.

For this enterprise Arjen Lucassen selected a group of vocalists that have never worked with him before. Marco Hietala (Nightwish) as The RivalTommy Karevik (Kamelot/Seventh Wonder) as The ProdigyCristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil) as The MotherMichael Mills (Teohiden) as The FatherJohn Wetton (King Crimson/Asia) as The PsychiatristSara Squadrani (Ancient Bards) as The Girl, and Janne “JB” Christoffersson (Grand Magus) as The Teacher.

The voices on the new Ayreon‘s The Theory Of Everything are as important as the guest musicians on it in order to tell this great story. For that Arjen Lucassen used the help of keyboardists like Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), Rick Wakerman (Yes) Keith Emerson (Emerson Lake & Palmer), guitar player Steve Hackett (Genesis) and multi-instrumentalist Troy Donockley (Nightwish) Uilleann pipes and low flute.

The music in The Theory Of Everything is an emotional channel through which the story flows and serves as a bridge between chapters. You can feel the desperation and anguish of The Prodigy in The Prodigy’s World and The Note, his gift and curse in The Teacher’s Discovery and The Consultation, and his hopes and dreams in The Transformation. One of my favorite characters is The Mother who believes on the brilliant mind of her son against all odds, from confronting The Father in The Theory Of Everything part 1, her compassion in The Consultation, her mother instinct in The Diagnosis, to making the hard choices in The Parting.

One thing that caught me about this album was how many alpha male characters Arjen Lucassen created for this record, we have: The Father/obsessed scientist, The Rival, The Teacher, The Psychiatrist and somehow The Prodigy. Each one of them had their own agenda, that goes from developing The Theory Of Everything, the invention of a new drug, to the race against time to proof who has the brightest mind. Is just so fascinating to see the development and drama of these characters and their race to see which ego will come on top at the end.

The story and music on this new Ayreon album is beyond epic, smart, emotional, and carries so much drama that is difficult to stop listening regardless on how ridiculously long the album is. The Theory Of Everything not only brings a constellation of artists together on an epic album, but also fusions progressive music, science, rock opera, and operatic drama all in a wonderful 90 minutes bundle of joy. Without a doubt this album is competitor number one to be my top album of 2013.

Bravo Arjen Bravo!!!!

Arjen

Tracklist:

PHASE I: SINGULARITY (23:29)
1 Prologue: The Blackboard
2 The Theory of Everything part 1
3 Patterns
4 The Prodigy’s World
5 The Teacher’s Discovery
6 Love and Envy
7 Progressive Waves
8 The Gift
9 The Eleventh Dimension
10 Inertia
11 The Theory of Everything part 2

PHASE II: SYMMETRY (21:31)
12 The Consultation
13 Diagnosis
14 The Argument 1
15The Rival’s Dilemma
16 Surface Tension
17A Reason To Live
18 Potential
19 Quantum Chaos
20 Dark Medicine
21 Alive!
22 The Prediction

PHASE III: ENTANGLEMENT (22:34)
1 Fluctuations
2 Transformation
3 Collision
4 Side Effects
5 Frequency Modulation
6 Magnetism
7 Quid Pro Quo
8 String Theory
9 Fortune?

PHASE IV: UNIFICATION (22:20)
10 Mirror Of Dreams
11 The Lighthouse
12 The Argument 2
13 The Parting
14 The Visitation
15 The Breakthrough
16 The Note
17 The Uncertainty Principle
18 Dark Energy
19 The Theory of Everything part 3
20 The Blackboard (reprise)

Genre: Progressive Metal/Rock Opera

Record Label: InsideOut Music

Playing Time: 1 hour 29 minutes

Lineup:

Vocalists (in order of appearance): 
JB as The Teacher
Sara Squadrani as The Girl
Michael Mills as The Father
Cristina Scabbia as The Mother
Tommy Karevik as The Prodigy
Marko Hietala as The Rival
John Wetton as The Psychiatrist

Instrumentalists:
Ed Warby -drums
Rick Wakeman – keyboards
Keith Emerson – keyboards
Jordan Rudess – keyboards
Steve Hackett – lead guitar
Troy Donockley – Uilleann pipes and low flute
Arjen Anthony Lucassen -electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitar, mandolin and keyboards.
(Ben Mathot -violins, Maaike Peterse -cellos, Jeroen Goossens – flute , bass flute, piccolo, bamboo flute and contrabass flute, Siddharta Barnhoorn – orchestrations, Michael Mills – Irish Bouzouki)

Links:

www.arjenlucassen.com
www.facebook.com/ArjenLucassenOfficial
www.twitter.com/arjenlucassen

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