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Ayreon - The Human Equation CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.19 | 1101 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars This is the definitive Ayreon album. The Human Equation consists of two near-perfect CDs filled with Progressive Metal, Folk, Rock, Pop, Opera and numerous other genres that seem to flow perfectly into each other upon listening to this release. Out of every Ayreon album, this one has the strongest list of musicians and singers on-board.

James LaBrie gives a great performance, acting as the main character in the story behind the album. Eric Clayton, playing the role of "Reason", is as powerful and noble as you would expect. Heather Findlay's soft-yet-soaring vocals work great for the part of "Love". Opeth's lead singer, Mikael Akerfeldt, utilizes two very different styles of singing as "Fear". At times, his voice is quite powerful -- almost monsterous -- as he uses his trademark growling, but for the most part, he sticks with a more chilling, soft-spoken tone of voice. The lovely Marcela Bovio also sings magnificently, donning the role of "Wife". Mike Baker of Shadow Gallery fame leads the role of "Father" with rockin' attitude. Devin Townsend, with his inhuman (yet uber-cool) growling and screaming really adds a new dimension to the Ayreon experience as "Rage". Arjen himself does a great job as well, along with Irene Jansen, Magnus Ekwall and Devon Graves. This is a FANTASTIC line-up of singers and I would be ecstatic if even half of them were featured on the next Ayreon album.

There's to much awesomeness to talk about with this CD, so instead of going into detail about the things that are right about it, I'll point-out a couple of its weaknesses (because it will take much less time.)

When listening to CD 1, I usually skip over the first track, Day One: Vigil, because, although it is a good mood-setter, I'd rather just go straight into Day Two: Isolation.

Day Six: Childhood is one of my least favorite tracks on CD 1, although after about the 2 and 1/2 minute mark, things start to get much, much better. It's just the beginning to this track that's kind of boring. Still a very song.

Day Seven: Hope, while not a bad song, feels a little out-of-place with it's overly poppy, happy mood. I still like it, but it's not the strongest track. It is a nice change, however, from the darkness of some of the tracks on the album.

Day Nine: Playground is an instrumental, but I feel like Arjen could have done so much more with this. It's quite repetitive and I just think that THE would've benefitted from a more complex, dynamic instrumental than this. But I guess that it suits the album well because it sort of represents the innocence and simple nature of childhood.

The song Day Twelve: Trauma only suffers from one thing: very drawn-out sections of what seems almost like conversation between the singers. I understand that Arjen was using this to elaborate on the story, but I feel like if he had tried to cut down on some of the excess chatter that the album, while lacking some the Operatic elements that it's comprised of now, would be a lot stronger.

The last flawed song IMO is Day Fifteen: Betrayed. Again, this one's pretty boring and I usually skip it -- it's pretty much just talking with some mood-setting keyboard stuff being played under it.

Overall, though, it's hard to fault this album. It's become one of my favorites in the Prog Metal genre and I couldn't bare to give it lower lower than a 4.5, so I'm giving it a 5. Despite its flaws, it is a magnificent album and has helped me to craft my own style of music-writing. I wish more people could enjoy this album the way I do, but not everyone can get past it's Opera influences or even it's Prog-Metal influences. This truly is Arjen Anthony Lucassen's masterpiece.


Fuzz | 5/5 |


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