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Ayreon - The Human Equation CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.19 | 1103 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Another concept album from this skilled Dutch musician. As usual there is a myriad of great guests for this recording. Just to name a few : Heather Findlay (Mostly Autumn), James LaBrie (Dream Theater), Marcela Bovio (Elfonia) and Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth) for the vocalists and Ken Hensley (Uriah Heep) as well as Martin Orford (IQ, Jadis) on the keys. Heather and Marcela do belong to my favourite female prog vocalists and it is extremely pleasant to have them both featured here.

A great line-up. But again the concept is VERY thin.

This album has a deep influence from "Floyd" during some tracks of the first disc. It was already noticeable in his prior project "The Universal Migrator. During "Isolation" all the facets of "Ayreon" are proposed : metal riff, aerial keys and FULLY Floydian atmosphere. It is one of the best song from this double CD.

What I dislike particularly on "Pain" are these growling "vocals" from Mikael Åkerfeldt. Even if I can bear some of the "Opeth" offering, I could not really enter into these type of vocals (except during the fantastic "The Drapery Falls").

"Mystery" is a good song with Banks oriented synth work while the folkish "Voices" start almost like "Friends" from "Led Zep "(on III). The folkish atmosphere will be substituted with a metal one after three minutes. While "Childhood" offers some ambient but dull mood. It is saved by some good guitar work.

"Hope" brings us back to the folkish even medieval sounds. It is maybe due to the special keys sound here. Not my fave. Same sort of folkish flavour as well in the next and short "Playground".

The first part of this double CD is not really memorable IMO. Pleasant, that's all.

The second CD won't be very different. It starts with the long "Trauma". Some growling again from Mikael Åkerfeldt and a rather dull song after all. Some folkish mood again with "Sign".

My favourite song is "Pride". A heavy-rock one. It features brilliant flute play which will automatically remind the hardest Tull side. But it last less than five minutes. And the West end (or Broadway) musical tendency of "Betrayal" is not the best of this album (but it is not the first time that I noticed this influence on Arjen song writing).

It is remarkable to notice how one musician could influence the musical style of "Loser". I'm of course talking about Hensley and his great organ solo. Fully in-line with his epic days with the Heep. Apart from this excellent solo, there is really nothing fussy about this track.

The role of "Reason" is sung by Eric Clayton. He almost sounds as "Bowie" on each of his appearance. This is not to annoy me. Just listen to "Accident" (but there are other ones of course). A strong closing number is more than welcome. "Confrontation" is also one of my fave from "The Human Equation".

This album is far from the masterpiece status IMHHO. Too conventional, predictable. Same sort of weak concept all over again. A good album, no more. A shorter, condensed version might have worked better.

Three stars.

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |


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