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Ayreon - 01011001 CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.90 | 699 ratings

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5 stars Review Nš 487

"01011001" is the eighth studio album of Ayreon, the musical project by the Dutch songwriter, producer, singer and multi-instrumentalist Arjen Anthony Lucassen and was released in 2008. As happened with every Ayreon's albums, this is also a conceptual album with each character being portrayed by only one singer. So, we have seventeen singers in total, including Lucassen himself, who contributed to the album, more than in other Ayreon's albums. Of all, except Lucassen of course, only Anneke van Giersbergen and Floor Jansen had sung on previous Ayreon's albums. Anneke had sung on "Into The Electric Castle" and Floor sung on "The Universal Migrator Part One: The Dream Sequencer".

As happened with "Into The Electric Castle" and "The Human Equation", Lucassen didn't write all the lyrics of the album. So, all the lyrics were written by Lucassen and all the music was also composed by him with the exception of two. Anneke van Giersbergen wrote her own vocal melodies and Jonas Renkse also wrote his own vocal melodies.

The concept of the album is about its title "01011001". Lucassen chose the number "01011001" as the name to the album because it's the binary form of the number "89" which is the ASCII code of the letter "Y". Fans of Ayreon's project know the stories behind "Into The Electric Castle" and "The Universal Migrator", and remember that the story of these concept albums is about the humans and the "Forever" people who live on the planet "Y". A long time ago, those people forgot all their emotions and sent a comet to Earth with their DNA to re-create their race, pure and innocence. As all we know, the reality will be different for humanity, and "01011001", of course, deals with this problem. This new musical project of Ayreon is full of metaphors and questions about the human being conditions and ecology. Through a really and true good sci-fi story, Arjenn asks a lot of questions about our world and our existence in the entire Universe.

The vocalists are divided into the characters of "Forever" and the characters of "Mankind". Each song features one specific race but the songs are placed amongst each other. The line up on the album is divided into vocalists and instrumentalists. The "Forever" vocalists are: Hansi Kursch, Tom S. Englund, Jorn Lande, Steve Lee, Floor Jansen, Daniel Gildenlow, Jonas Renkse, Anneke van Giersbergen, Bob Catley and Magali Luyten. The "Mankind" vocalists are: Simone Simons, Wudstik, Liselotte Hegt, Ty Tabor, Phideaux Xavier, Marjan Welman and Arjen Anthony Lucassen. The instrumentalists are: Arjen Anthony Lucassen (electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitars, mandolin, keyboards, synthesizers, Hammond and Solina strings), Michael Romeo (guitar), Lori Linstruth (guitar), Tomas Bodin (synthesizer), Joost van den Broek (synthesizer and piano), Derek Sherinian (synthesizer), Jeroen Goossens (flute, soprano and tenor recorder, bass flute and tin whistle), Ben Mathot (violins), David Faber (cellos), and Ed Warby (drums and percussion).

The music of "01011001" is back to the futuristic mode. Sure, you'll always find some good heavy metal riffs with folk elements but the "spatial" sounds are back and the keyboards and electronic sounds are really present on this release. All songs are catchy and with great melodies, and I like to hear a lot of different influences on them. All in all, the music of this Ayreon's album isn't basically too fast. It's purely deep atmospheric and progressive metal. The melodies are touching, the choruses are catchy. You just have here everything you need to enjoy a good moment. But, of course you must love Lucassen's prog style to enter into the music of this Ayreon's work. "01011001" isn't an easy album to digest. Sometimes it sounds a bit commercial, sometimes it's dark and sometimes it's even sad. But, for my taste, the music on this release is beautiful and totally unconventional. Basically, this album is a fusion of the best parts of Ayreon, Ambeon, Star One and Stream Of Passion. So, what you can get here is awesome as you would think. The best part in some context is like a mountain peak, a true release of emotions that stands out. Everything here is excellently made and produced to the maximum. That's all good here since Lucassen produced this release with the best means of production, as usual. Even the artwork is superb as usual, and it can describe perfectly well the spatial world of Ayreon.

Conclusion: "01011001" is another amazing album of Ayreon. Arjen is back into the cosmos and it's nice to follow this space odyssey once more. "01011001" is a masterpiece. I hope that people will remember all these songs for many years to come. I can see why some people dislike Arjen's works but they just have to remember that it's just a matter of taste. Ayreon is unique and is in a league of its own in which nothing can compete with it. The style of this album isn't surprising. Even more than on "The Human Equation" the songs sound in the familiar Ayreon's style. Sometimes, parts of melodies seem to be a copy of tunes of other Ayreon's albums. But, this doesn't mean this album is predictable or just not interesting for people who already have all other Ayreon's albums. He just has taken the music moulted it into perfection. So, Arjen has done it again and was able to create an album also similar in quality to "The Human Equation".

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |


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