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Ayreon - The Human Equation CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.19 | 1199 ratings

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3 stars Arjen Lucassen is easily the most pretentious man making music today so it would make sense that his finest effort is also his most pretentious. As a self proclaimed metal composer Lucassen seems to think that extended solos and ungodly concept albums make him incredible. Maybe, but probably not.

Let me start by saying that I actually enjoy this album. I've probably spun it forty times and it's always an enjoyable experience. At the same time I can't give it an objective review filled with overwhelming praise. It took me a while to realize what my problem with the record was as it seemed to have a lot of the elements of prog metal that I really enjoy. After some contemplation, I realized that ultimately, the album is a perfect example of the bloat that plagues a good deal of modern music. 11 vocalists, nine instrumental musicians (not counting Arjen), 102 minutes of music, and a concept worthy of a novel.....That's quite a recipe for disaster.

It has to be mentioned that Arjen controls the expansive nature of the music with skill. Few other individuals would be able to make this type of album listenable, but at the same time, few would be foolish enough to try. The album comes off as disordered and superficial. There is a lack of real emotion and energy past some solid attempts by three or four of the vocalists.

The final negative element of this composition is the lyrics....dear god. Normally I could let it slide, but in a concept album/metal opera? The music is very lyrically based, and unfortunately, each song stinks of cheese.

Now on to the positive points. The concept is interesting on the first few listens, the instrumentation is top notch, and the skill of the vocalists ranges from above average to spectacular (Devin, Mikael). Despite this, I can't, with good conscience, give it more than a three. Its as flawed a masterpiece as I've ever seen. It seems to me as if ambition got the best of Arjen....maybe he can hold back a bit more next time and really produce a fantastic album, but then again, he may never learn (cough*01011001*cough).

Wowbagger | 3/5 |


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