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Ayreon - The Human Equation CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.19 | 1103 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer
4 stars What a story: once Arjen Lucassen played in the hardrock bands Bodine and the very popular Vengeance as the archetypical hardrock guitar player and now is an acclaimed progrock multi-instrumentalist who has created his own and very distinctive Ayreon sound with amazing albums sales and a huge popularity on this site so a big hand for this creative and nice fellow Dutchman!

Today I listened for the first time to this 2- CD set (The Electric Castle is my favorite Ayreon album) for the total running time because earlier I had heard some parts that sounded a bit too prog-metal-like and I am not a fan of that genre. I can to say that I am very impressed by the music on both discs. It's obvious that Arjen has incorporated elements from his favorite bands from the past like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Hawkwind. But he has blended these elements in a very captivating, dynamic and unique way, culminating in the typical Ayreon sound. Although this will not be my favorite album (because of the prog metal elements), to me this 2-CD sounds as his most mature effort delivering 20 compositions that alternate frequently between mellow and bombastic, between folky and progmetal, between dreamy and heavy and we can enjoy amazing soli (on guitar, keyboards and flute), stunning breaks, a pleasant variety, lots of great musical ideas (like the sound of a church organ, a didgeridoo and a classical orchestra) and a wide range of excellent male and female singers (from James LaBrie and Heather Findlay to Mike Baker and Irene Jansen) and famous musicians (like Ken Hensley and Martin Offord) , another typical element of the Ayreon sound. My highlights on this 2-CD set are Day Two: Isolation (very dynamic and alteranting featuring swirling organ, a spectacular On The Run-like synthesizer intermezzo, Gilmourian slide guitar and flashy synthesizer flights), Day Five: Voices (between folky with mandolin, violin and acoustic rhythm guitar and prog metal with bombastic eruptions, biting guitar and wonderful violin-Mellotron waves), Day Fourteen: Pride (exciting with sensational distorted guitar, a super-propulsive prog metal climate and strong work on flute traverse and a fiery guitar) and the very varied Day Eighteen: Realization (an array of instruments like flute traverse, organ, tin-whistle, choir-Mellotron and violin). My keyboard hero Ken Hensley delivers an outstanding, very spectacular Hammond organ solo in Day Sixteen: Loser, this inspired contribution prooves that Arjen is not only a great composer but also an inspirational musician who knows how to create exciting and varied prog. This 2-CD set has not only become one of the highlights in Dutch prog, it's also a worldwide very acclaimed effort, highly recommended!

erik neuteboom | 4/5 |


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