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Ayreon - The Human Equation CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.19 | 1106 ratings

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4 stars This record lasts more than 100 minutes! The best qualifier of the genre involved would be prog metal rock opera, a bit like the album "Black opera" by Presence. The accent is slightly put on the miscellaneous lead & backing vocals. Indeed, about a dozen of talented male and female guest vocalists personify an emotion or a specific character belonging to the story narrated. The singers do a very good job: James Labrie is excellent and another singer sings like David Bowie! The style of the vocal arrangements, the keyboards and the acoustic guitars slightly reminds me the Styx's "Crystal ball" and "Grand Illusion" albums: however, Ayreon here is more modern, dramatic and slow.

Regarding the music, I think it is very good, but not excellent: most of the tracks are very good, but slightly bombastic and overrated. Seeing the impressive number of musicians involved, I have expected more elaborated and complex tracks before the listening. It took me MANY listenings to acquire the taste, and most of all, you have to uninterruptedly listen to all the tracks in order to have a better opinion.

I prefer the parts when the loud monolithic distorted guitar is absent, so that it does not take all the room! Actually the rhythmic guitar is irritating, monotonous, too sustained and too loud for nothing, thus imposing a too slow overall rhythm.

The angry vocals on Day 3 or Day 16 are pretty irritating: that's completely useless and irrelevant! The keyboards are very simple, although quite present and efficient; they consist in a mix of vintage age more modern keyboards. Flute, acoustic guitar, violin and cello give some personality to the ensemble, sometimes reminding Jethro Tull; there are some pleasant string arrangements, like on Day 8.

I think the weakest point, apart the monotonous rhythmic guitar, is the lack of support of the miscellaneous singers: they often sing without nothing being played in the background, so that the catchy character of the vocal parts is often compromised.

greenback | 4/5 |


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