Ayreon Netherlands

202 Prog150
[Supreme Songwriting20, Supreme Musicianship20, Supreme Composition20, Awesome Production20 and Awesome Coverart18]
added by Mike
Review by PowerWyrm published
01011001 2008
Symph Modern Prog Space Metal

"This album is a strong follow up to The Human Equation. Very well produced with vocalists and musicians giving the best of them. It has its good moments (I could even say it has his great moments... some of the songs here are unbelievable) and also its cheezy parts like its predecessor."

Review by zitro published
01011001 2008

"A subpar concept album about an immortal and technological advanced alien race hooked on machines deciding to plant their DNA in a comet creating humans. To their disappointment, the humans got hooked on machines and myspace.

The music is carefully crafted, but for some reason, I find the music dull, unoriginal, monotonous, and overlong. There are tons of talented musicians and vocalist trying to save this album, to no avail."

Review by Lofcaudio published
Melodic Prog Metal

"I am stunned. For whatever reason, I’ve heard very little about Ayreon and The Human Equation. I took a chance and recently purchased this because someone told me that I might like it. Well, I think it is outstanding. This album grabbed me in the very first listen (not always a good thing) and has continued to thrill my ears on subsequent listens (definitely a good thing).

Unlike a lot of listeners, I have a softspot for double album rock operas such as this. When I consider albums that I consider to be prog masterpieces: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (Genesis) and Snow (Spock’s Beard) are two albums that immediately come to mind. The Human Equation may be just as good (if not better) due to the amazing vocalists who all contribute to make this such a special listen.

Eric Clayton, Heather Findlay, Mikael Akerfeldt and Magnus Ekwall are the most noticeable in their performances, while the rest of the vocalists provide wonderful textures to this musical landscape. If I could change anything regarding the vocalists, I would have a little less LaBrie and a little more Clayton and Lucassen.

The entire two-disc album consists of 20 tracks called “days” which comprise the conceptual story. Each vocalist plays a part of either an individual in the story or of an emotion (fear, passion, love, rage, etc.) that grips the protoganist. Arjen Lucassen pulls this whole thing off superbly with each song often becoming a dueling duet as two varying emotions oftentimes pull at the central character. And with every song being loaded with numerous vocalists, there is never a dull moment despite the length of the entire album.

I enthusiastically give this album a rating of Magnificent, but feel that I should point out two minor criticisms. The concept is very unoriginal as it has been done many times before. While the story does have a bit of a twist, the whole man-in-a-hospital-bed thing sure is cliché. The second criticism is almost not worth mentioning, but it is a shameless copy of the James Bond theme used in one of the first couple of tracks. While it sounds good, it is the James Bond theme exactly. Both of these criticisms are really very minor in comparison to the musical smorgasbord that will treat your ears. I highly recommend this piece of art. It has left me stunned."

Review by Mike published
Dynamic Modern Prog Art Metal/Rock

"This is the most accessible Ayreon album, with many really good songs and awesome production (the re-release is a big improvement, with re-recorded drums). There's no big concept like on Electric Castle or The Human Equation, but the typical Ayreon spirit is more than enough to create a good flow."

Review by Mike published
Modern Prog Space Metal

"There are no weak songs on this album. The solos are lengthy, but never directionless. However, the whole package does take some time to grow on you. I give it 3 stars, but you might want to add a star if you're a "metalhead".

If you're not a musician, you might indeed find some passages boring and repetitive. It might have something to do with the fact that many songs contain solos by different artists. If you don't know these artists, you might not recognize the "change of artist". All of the solos are beautiful and relevant - melody in favor of technique and "noodling".

For those that prefer more progressive stuff and a little less metal, I recommend Into the Electric Castle. This is the essence of Ayreon, even more so than The Human Equation. Both are masterpieces, but Into the Electric Castle is more over the top, which really is one of the key aspects of Ayreon. Consider this album as a short "journey" into the heavier realms, only to be topped a few years later by Lucassen's Star One."

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