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Ayreon - The Human Equation CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.19 | 1102 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

1 stars This is my first contact with Ayreon, and one of my more intimate contacts with what we call progressive metal. All the musicianship is astounding, the writing is pretty complex. There are even some really warm melodies and powerful arrangements. The atmospheric sections and the folky-classical segments gave it a new layer of variety, and I must admit some of those folky moments are really phenomenal. And, as though a euphoric sickness, wrought of love for the album had taken hold of me, I couldn't stop laughing the first time I heard this album. This is comedic gold. But, in case you didn't see the rating attached to this review, the euphoria had nothing to do with love, but rather pity. Or something like that.

In fact, if mister Lucassen announced the Human Equation is nothing more than a piece of satire, mocking the stereotypical progressive metal group, I would say, Was that not obvious enough already? The first piece of the holy tri-head of foolishness on this album is the story. A narrative tale in music is extremely tricky business, and very tough to pull off. If it's not a vague and artistic meaningful plot of nonsense à la The Lamb, then the story better be damn good. And here on The Human Equation, the story is vomitrociously awful. I wish all vocals were in a language I didn't understand, so that I could begin to take the album seriously. In short, what happens is this: our protagonist is trapped in a coma. Others and himself suffer throughout the album, and he wakes up in the end. A harmlessly decent plot, perhaps? Maybe if it wasn't plagued by ridiculous phrases, pointless side-stories, and awkward wording. Not to mention the annoying clichés.

The second head is the vessel for the hilarious story. Dream Theater have been harshly criticized for LaBrie's ridiculously over-the-top singing, but on the Human Equation, he's accompanied by a troop of equally irritating singers - of both genders. I will admit the female vocalist is warmer, but the others sing with a transparent cold precision. I find it difficult to describe. It's as though they're speaking in a phony accent, or acting without enthusiasm. They destroy any subtlety, and sing without class. Maybe I'm a bit biased because of the dreadful lyrics they're articulating. However, I can't deny the silliness of the singing. Hollow and without feel, they hit the notes perfectly. I wouldn't be surprised if Lucassen announced he employed robot versions of real singers, either.

And lastly, the least prominent of the godhead of comedy, is the metal. The metal on this album is so drearily conventional, so painfully expected, so mundane. It's unsophisticated, easy-to-head-band-to, double-bass-drum abusing, power-chord-raping trash. I feel nothing unique in this, and often I can overlook that and enjoy the music regardless. But here, it stands so obvious, so plastic and regurgitated. I can't help but criticize this work for its lacklustre display of familiar themes. There is no unique style. I apologize for being so brutally frank, I mean no harm to the musicians or composer, but I cannot deny my opinions. I'm proud to be the first collaborator to give this album one star. And that one star is only for the excellent folk sections.

This is indeed a masterpiece of progressive metal.

Shakespeare | 1/5 |


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