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01011001

Ayreon

Progressive Metal


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Ayreon 01011001 album cover
3.85 | 510 ratings | 43 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc 1 (Y):

1. Age of Shadows incl. We Are Forever (10:47)
2. Comatose (4:26)
3. Liquid Eternity (8:10)
4. Connect the Dots (4:13)
5. Beneath the Waves (8:26)
(a) Beneath the Waves
(b) Face the Facts
(c) But a Memory...
(d) World Without Walls
(e) Reality Bleeds
6. Newborn Race (7:49)
(a) The Incentive
(b) The Vision
(c) The Procedure
(d) Another Life
(e) Newborn Race
(f) The Conclusion
7. Ride the Comet (3:29)
8. Web of Lies (2:50)

Disc 2 (Earth):

1. The Fifth Extinction (10:29)
(a) Glimmer of Hope
(b) World of Tomorrow Dreams
(c) Collision Course
(d) From the Ashes
(e) Glimmer of Hope (reprise)
2. Waking Dreams (6:31)
3. The Truth Is In Here (5:12)
4. Unnatural Selection (7:15)
5. River of Time (4:24)
6. E=MC2 (5:50)
7. The Sixth Extinction (12:18)
(a) Echoes on the Wind
(b) Radioactive Grave
(c) 2085
(d) To the Planet of Red
(e) Spirit on the Wind
(f) Complete the Circle

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

VOCALISTS:
- ARJEN ANTHONY LUCASSEN / vocals
- Anneke Van Giersbergen (Agua De Annique, ex-The Gathering) / vocals
- Bob Catley (Magnum) / vocals
- Daniel Gildenlöw (Pain Of Salvation, Genius) / vocals
- Floor Jansen (After Forever, Star One) / vocals
- Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian, Demons & Wizards) / vocals
- Jonas Renkse (Katatonia, Bloodbath, ex-October Tide) / vocals
- Jorn Lande (solo, ex-Masterplan, ARK, Beyond Twilight, Millenium, ...) / vocals
- Liselotte Hegt (Dial) / vocals
- Magali Luyten (Virus IV, Beautiful Sin) / vocals
- Marjan Welman (Elister) / vocals
- Phideaux Xavier (solo) / vocals
- Simone Simons (Epica) / vocals
- Steve Lee (Gotthard) / vocals
- Tom S. Englund (Evergrey) / vocals
- Ty Tabor (solo, King's X, Platypus, Jelly Jam, Xenuphobe,...) / vocals
- Wudstik (solo) / vocals

INSTRUMENTALISTS:
- ARJEN ANTHONY LUCASSEN / guitars, bass, keyboards, synths and programming
- Lori Linstruth (ex-Stream Of Passion) / guitars
- Michael Romeo (Symphony X) / guitars
- Ben Mathot (Dis) / Violin
- David Faber / Violoncello
- Jeroen Goossens (Flairck) / Flute
- Derek Sherinian (solo, Planet X, ex-Dream Theater, Yngwie Mamlsteen, ...) / keyboards
- Joost van den Broek (After Forever, Star One) / keyboards
- Tomas Bodin (Flower Kings, Karmakanic, Circus Brimstone) / keyboards
- Ed Warby (Gorefest, Elegy, Star One, Orphanage, Thanatos) / drum

Releases information

2CD Inside Out SPV 79682 (2008)
2CD/DVD Inside Out SPV 79688 Special CD/DVD edition(2008)

CD 1 name is Y, the name of the fictional planet where the forever come from
CD2 name is Earth, where the forever supposedly populated to experiment feeling.

The name of the album (01011001) is the binary code for Y (or why, Arjen did not made it clear)

Thanks to A. F. Doyle for the addition
and to graphix for the last updates
Edit this entry

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Into the Electric CastleInto the Electric Castle
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The Human Equation [Regular Edition]The Human Equation [Regular Edition]
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Theory of EverythingTheory of Everything
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Universal Migrator Pt 1 & 2Universal Migrator Pt 1 & 2
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Human Equation: Special EditionHuman Equation: Special Edition
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101 DISTRIBUTION 2012
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AYREON 01011001 ratings distribution


3.85
(510 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
32%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
38%
Good, but non-essential (21%)
21%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

AYREON 01011001 reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Arjen Lucassen sure has evolved big time since his days as a guitarist in Dutch hair metal band Vengeance. 01011001 is the seventh regular release from his Ayreon project, and arguably the most developed of these projects so far.

Ambient and electronic music has a clear influence on the sound here, folk music influences are used quite extensively too; and the songs come across as well structured, planned and executed.

Less dramatics and less metal than in the previous releases; and not as pretentious as previous releases either. It's a concept album as the previous ones; some songs still suffer from being parts of the story more than songs as such; but overall this is a release that generally can be said to be better than his previous outings.

Some fans may be disappointed in the slightly more accessible approach musically here; but personally I think Ayreon will gain new fans with this release due to that; and in my opinion this is a very good release - highly recommended.

(and as this review is posted before release date - I'm one of the lucky ones that got a promo copy of this one if anyone wonders)

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Send comments to Windhawk (BETA) | Report this review (#155525) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, December 15, 2007

Review by Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars (Science Fiction + Nu Metal) x Star One = 01011001

The Dutch Metal Maestro is not known to deliver half-baked material, and this album is certainly NOT a disappointment but it's really not hard to go through these 2 records (read heavy but light hearted music). Lucassen is again well supported: the usual Epica/ Within Temptation female vocals, the macho Iron Maiden vocals for guys, lots of super keyboard textures and layers of shredding guitars.

Hey, is it me or this is reminds me of Star One?

In fact, not only Star One, but also The Human Equation and a couple others...

Okay, this is no spoiler: this album is the same recipe of the past records that put Ayreon and co. on the map. But to me, this is a bit too close to his past works from the artwork to the plot and the music. But, frankly I didn't mind too much 'cauze you know what? It rocks hard...really hard.

The songs are fantastic, the singing is top notch and the hooks are plenty; nothing to complain! If you liked the 'sound pattern' of Star One, you cannot go wrong with this one. There's not as much folk-metal in 01011001 as I wanted to be; too bad 'cause Ayreon really excels in that matter. In the end, expect more electronica rythms than the past, and it fits good in this sci-fi tale.

On the head side, this record has everything that made Ayreon's world what it is, so no change of pace nor direction this year. Awesome melodies and production; a distinctive sound that will shake the dust of your PA without a Swiffer.

On the tale side: no surprises really (since it's an old recipe), the whole plot starts to collect dust and the electonica textures are kinda worn for 2008.

Oh Ayreon, we love your little bubble but try to be less predictable.

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#159906) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, January 26, 2008

Review by Moatilliatta
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Nearly four years after Ayreon's renowned The Human Equation, Arjen puts out his fourth double- disc release in a row. Four years is a lot of time to really allow your material to incubate. I was personally exicted to hear his work with Daniel Gildenlow, Jonas Renkse and Anneke Van Giersbergen - three of the most powerful and/or ethereal vocalists out there. Ayreon's music allows for a lot of possibilities, so this album really had some potential.

Turns out the album shows no progression whatsoever. This is basically the last album with a different concept. The concept of the literal prog-rock opera with the multiple vocalists having dialogue and so on was a fantastic idea, but after 5 albums of basically the same thing, it's time to change. Aside from The Universal Migrator, Arjen has not really tried to experiment with the sound he created in the mid-90s, and that album basically took two of the key elemtents of his sound (space rock and metal) and made one album focusing on each and reserved one singer for each song, which really isn't stretching much. Even if each album is better than the last, after five albums, if you haven't perfected or come darn close to doing so, it's time to think of some new ideas. Unfortunately, this album doesn't even have the attribute of being better than it's predecessor, so it's of even less appeal as a consequence.

In general, the music here is humdrum and somnolent. I feel like it lacks some of the energy and quality instrumental moments from before. It's hard to get through this whole thing without multi-tasking to keep your mind active. It's not bad, but it's the same thing you've already heard with new voices and words. If that's enough to pique your interest, great; check this out. You will like it either if you've never heard an Ayreon album before, or if you don't particularly care for variety in your music. However, if you fall into the former case, just get The Human Equation, maybe one more if you really enjoy it, and you'll probably be set. That's all I have, and I am very content.

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Send comments to Moatilliatta (BETA) | Report this review (#160097) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 28, 2008

Review by Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars A subpar concept album about an immortal and technologically advanced alien race hooked on machines, losing their emotions, and feeling hopeless about the future of the race. Seeing a comet about to collide with Earth (the one that extinguished the dinosaurs), they decided to plant their DNA on that comet. Initially, it was successful, but then humankind got hooked on machines, World of Warcraft, reality tv shows, World Wars and Myspace.

The music is carefully crafted, but for some reason, I find the music moderately dull, unoriginal, monotonous, and overlong. There are tons of talented musicians and vocalists trying to save this album, but desspite their good efforts, it was not enough. The problem is not the performance, but the songwriting, lack of diversity, and this ultra-perfect production which takes away feelings for me.

It begins with a solid, if unspectacular, Age of Shadows which sounds like a below-average outtake from their previous album, with the operatic vocals, ultra-crisp production, and then leads into a lady singing zeros and ones. It leads to a nice atmospherical percussion of Comatose but everything but the percussion is bland and badly written. Afterwards, Liquid Eternity woke me up from that coma and is a fantastic song with an instrumental section that carries a highly memorable theme.

After Liquid Eternity, the album ends up with many dull numbers and is a chore to listen to. Connect The Dots is especially a bad song, being poppish, carrying juvenile lyricss and being musically out of place. The following tracks are ok, but unexciting and stuff you heard in the previous albums, until you get into one of the most pathetic prog songs I've ever heard: a ballad accompanied with a cliched romantic motif and bland acoustic guitars. After Simone starts searching in google for PX, hopefully in forums, Fifth Extinction is next and becomes less laughable and musically ok, if uninteresting again. Waking Dreams is next and is more interesting as Tomas Bodin, from the Flower Kings, comes to the rescue with a good solo and someone else comes with an electric guitar and does a decent job. After a bunch of boring tracks, E = MC^2 is next and is one of the geekiest songs in the prog world. With dramatic and bombastic lyrics like let's break the equation, E equals M C squared!!!! and the electric guitar going berserk and undergoing nuclear fusion, this is a fun song with a great guitar solo from Romeo (Symphony X). The closing track sums up the album and is surprisingly good and interesting, you shouldn't be let down by that track and maybe ... just maybe will make you forget of the Simone lyrics of Web of Lies.

The story is not bad if you like these kinds of sci-fi stories, but the lyrics and especially the music severely ruins what could have been a good concept album. Hopefully this album will not spawn a religion nor be taught in school as Eternity design.

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#161030) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars After thoroughly enjoying The Human Equation album I was really looking forward to Arjen A Lucassen's latest Ayreon project. Was it worth the wait? Well I'm pleased to say a resounding yes. On first listening 01011001 whilst not a disappointment didn't hit me the way The Human Equation did but after listening for a couple of weeks I think it's even better.

Basically the concept (I think I have it right) appears to be about the inhabitants of planet Y known as Forever, who have lost their emotions and wishing to re-discover them attach their DNA on an earthbound comet thus giving birth to humanity on the planet. Humanity develops too fast setting them on a course to their own destruction. Forever's attempts to save the planet ultimately fail forcing them to leave with the last man alive.

Musically the album is familiar territory for Ayreon fans, no great leaps forward but then that doesn't matter as the material is so strong. We get the expected array of top class vocalists and guest musicians complimenting Lucassen's multi instrumental talents. Although Ayreon get branded as Progressive Metal, which much of the time it is, there are many more styles going on here. Futuristic sounding synth lines work surprisingly well against Hammond Organs and occasional programmed Drums compliment Ed Warby's excellent Drumming. The use of acoustic Guitar helps add some light and shade to the project and the use of Violin and Flute add another dimension to the sound though they're used sparingly like on the celtic sounding River of Time. Getting back to the vocals, although we have fine singers here all credit to Lucassen for giving them such strong vocal melodies to sing and the girls sing like angels. My only minor complaint is considering how lovely the girls harmonies sound it would have been nice to have had them featuring a little more as the male vocalists, also excellent tend to dominate a lot of the time.

There's no doubting Arjen Lucassen's incredible talents; I can only imagine the amount of effort it must take to put these projects together but I'm very pleased he does and already we have one of the contenders for album of 2008. A rare 5 star release.

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Send comments to Nightfly (BETA) | Report this review (#161485) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, February 10, 2008

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is a very well-intentioned and good sounding project from Arjen Anthony Lucassen's symphonic metal outfit, and there are quality moments throughout. Rather than the music, though, it is the theme that is the star. The actual plot is vague, having something to do with visions of star children, world doom, dire Roger Waters mirages and Wall-like predictions, occasionally lightened by a soft sentimental center. Unfortunately the album suffers from the Concept Fatigue Syndrome so common these days, when a few riffs and an idea with as much depth as a tuna sandwich is an excuse to foist yet another three hour, 9-part epic spanning two discs (and a novel-length booklet) on to a gullible market. It isn't bad, it's just all a bit familiar, with tons of confidence and layers of sound sculpting but little musical or emotional payoff. More space opera, and it kinda just sits there.

Maybe the record would have benefited from less indulgence and more discipline, but that's easy to say in retrospect and I'm sure Arjen got exactly what he wanted. 'Age of Shadows' starts as a factory-metal riffer with Arabic flavors, unremarkable but spirited, Derek Sherinian's distinct synth and mellotron sounds adding some dimension. 'Comatose' is quite good, sounding a bit like Tori Amos and David Coverdale got thrown together in a last minute duet at a video award show and is a welcome relief from the screaming pomp-metal of this album. But 'Liquid Eternity' is back to the endless and aimless story of cosmic proportions, Viking metal and contrived atmosphere, and 'Connect the Dots' is nearly a pop tune, a pretty good one too. This is followed by the unending parade of dark clouds and cold machines, 'Beneath the Waves' and reasonably good 'Newborn Race'. 'The Fifth Extinction' has some tasty guitar and string sections, one wishing it had appeared sooner, and 'Waking Dreams' carries on with Vangelis robotics.

I suppose if you really have a thing for Symphony X/Enid/Isildurs Bane-style grand undertakings this could thoroughly please you. If you're not a fan of those artists, you may want to save your money for something else. An enormous effort that left me wondering when the news was coming on.

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Posted Thursday, February 14, 2008

Review by laplace
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars The Earth is sick and its fate hangs in the balance, unable to sustain its errant population. Aliens and self-absorbed dirtwalkers strive to complete lyrically silly but portentious couplets in voices strained by emotion and by the aftermath of too many late-night Dio listening sessions. Sephiroth intends to cause grievous injury to the very world itself, thereby releasing and embracing the power of the Lifestream to forge a twisted new deity. Sensing that downfall is imminent, a league of rockstar superheros have assembled... to spring another goofy rock pantomime on the fans of inoffensive hard rock. There must be an audience for this, but it doesn't include me, so here comes one of those perspective reviews that you all hate. ;P

01011001 is the science fiction version of last year's Fear of a Blank Planet in that it takes the form of a semi-established musician's blog, containing ineloquent rants about isolation, the world's sad exploitation and the consequences of technology. It has a plot, too, sort of, best left to be unlocked by people who enjoy hammy muscle vocals (for you, there's a Thin Lizzy-ish section during the song New Born Race which is absolutely *priceless* - I say this ironically but someone must like this sincere rawk-out business) and have come to be able to tell these singers apart - neato singers like Hansi the Hobbit get submerged in a river of perspiration exuded by a bunch of carbon copy rock gods and yodelling mini-vampirettes. Being a full-blown conceptual double-album (and I don't begrudge this sort of ambition - if this album has ties to progressive rock then they are seated in the idea of a bardic rock saga in the vein of '70s epics like Lizard or Supper's Ready, songs which were gloriously over-arching and groundbreaking. It's a shame that this sort of project now can't be original by default.) you'd expect plot-boosting filler even from the very best artists, and Mr. Lucassen isn't on my list of those.

Ayreon, being a troupe of forward-facing metal storytellers, can resemble Queensryche and can feel like their logical next step at times. Unnatural Selection is perhaps the most overt homage to that band, and the worst song on the album by entire kilometres. Aside from that fairly obvious comparison, Ayreon aren't really like any particular band, being more like a synthesis of a hundred other melodic metal/hard rock groups, many from the era where things like power and speed metal were still being defined, and perhaps this is inevitable in a project containing so many fragments from successful, Iron Maiden-inspired groups. In short, Ayreon rock hard in that early metal-that-just-shook-the-blues manner, and even during the folk-pop interludes there's a sense of riff inevitability. This is just a guess, but I think everyone in this album's line-up has long, silky, rock-out hair. I know that's a meaningless and silly thing to mention at the best of times, but while the profiling is good...

Many influences and techniques are culled from the music of the recent past and packed into giant songs, with results that range between the mediocre (the entire no-surprises structure of E=MC Squared is particularly disappointing and easy to deduce on your first listen) and the enjoyable - the opening track, Age of Shadows seems the most exciting on the album and shows a mastery of riff-choice (even if it's just someone playing the same fifth every half-beat, some thought has gone into this) transition and textural blending, reciprocating between mid-pace rock hysteria and more subdued, alt-goth-folk meanderment with impeccable singing and smoothed over by an application of synths and electronics. The cod-industrial introduction got me hoping for more than I got, but if Arjen promises to move his music further towards the electronic then I promise to try his next album. I'll also mention Beneath the Waves for having a very well-judged atmosphere - it's peculiar in that the metal moments are few and far between, being very electronic and moody, but you can tell the song wants to be heavy. It also brushes up against 7/8 at times - on a fairly straightforward rock album, you must notice these things; it's the law.

Sadly, I just can't ignore the feeling that this music is too safe; there are so many rock cliches in evidence that the album verges upon a joke during its weak points. I don't blame Web of Lies for this, like many have done in the forum - it's a short track, no sillier than anything performed by our beloved Canterburians and the lyrics aren't perceptibly worse than those in other songs. Rather than placing the blame on one of the songs, I find that it's more to do with the furrow Ayreon plough - it's one where it's impossible to do anything unpredictable, a situation in which the band's mastermind has instead decided to focus his efforts towards making solid, reliable, very well-played (accompaniment throughout is noticeably professional and one or two of the lead spots surprise in terms of technicality) but derivative rock music.

If you're looking for modern music that's advancing some form or another, then discount Ayreon - this is new old in all its glory. There's no shame in being a retrohead, of course - I just don't feel like I can score you highly if you are one. Rather, I'd recommend this album (or one of it's predecessors, Universal Migrator, on a forum-poster's advice - apparently they resemble each-other) to people who can never have enough modern rock, and by that I mean rock music untinged by influences from indie or from jazz. I'd recommend it to people who really like the collaborations between Meatloaf and Dollie Parton - I know there are those of you out there who hold their union dear and it's OK to admit it, honey. Most of all, I recommend 01011001 to you if you own jeans with Iron Maiden patches sewn on to them, or if you're a fan of Iced Earth (*giggle*) on the understanding that you've already heard and enjoyed Blind Guardian's Nightfall in Middle-Earth, because if you want a modern metal concept album that's not too heavy on the prog, then that one is far more classy and succinct. This album is going into my vault now, but you'll like it more than I did. Almost certainly, anyway.

Finally, I'd like to say two things: one, that in more forgiving times, Ayreon (should they tour) would be famous stadium-fillers, and two, that I hope the next Ayreon album is a one-disc affair, because the man will never write a large amount of songs that are distinct from one another. Don't give up hope, Mr. Lucassen, because I have faith in your desire to be epic!

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Send comments to laplace (BETA) | Report this review (#162020) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, February 17, 2008

Review by sleeper
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Ayreon's latest opus continues the story played out in The Final Experiment, Into the Electric Castle, The Universal Migrator: The Dream Sequencer and The Universal Migrator: Flight of the Migrator. This time the concept explores the relationship between Man and Forever of the Stars whilst referencing the previous albums. For anyone hoping for something new, you are going to be very disappointed, this album follows the same pattern as Into the Electric Castle, though thankfully toning down on the cheesiness that plagued previous albums. The music still does the job without fanfare or flourish and, though filled with catchy melodies and hooks, offers little to really get your hooks into. From the vocalists, the stand out performances come from the usual suspects, namely Daniel Gildenlow, Anneke van Giersbergen (who steels the show on this album) and Floor Jansen. Many of the male vocalists are good but they all have a very similar vocal style, it becomes difficult to distinguish between them, this even happens to Gildenlow but this is more down to poor production and a sense of him being held back from upstaging the rest. Simone Simons and Phideaux Xavier are badly under used here, only appearing on the dull Web of Lies at the end of the first disc, I would have preferred it if they had taken the place of other singers in the main body of the work. Overall its a case of we've seen it all before, its pleasant to listen to but wont really grab you, and is sonically far too similar to Into the Electric Castle. Fans of traditional prog metal will get a kick out of it but if you prefer the more experimental or technical side of prog metal, I doubt this will do much for you.

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Posted Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Review by TRoTZ
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars So the master of metal operas (Arjen Lucassen) has returned again. The formula is the same: a background of relatively complex heavy metal orchestrations intercepted with various acoustic and mellower passages, haunting melodies, relatively virtuous playing, various artists singers including female vocals, spacey majestic (though increasingly retro) arrangements... It almost looks a Human Equation - part 2 (and even that is shamelessly not hidden). If the originality chapter certainly needs a great improvement, lyric chapter needs a revolution - it is as retro as embarrassing.

Nevertheless, at few listens the album is as enjoyable and appealing as powerful, as we could expect from Lucassen proficient songwriting, and at least in this aspect he has some merit.

5,5 (between trivial and decent)

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Posted Sunday, April 13, 2008

Review by Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The capstone in Arjen's sci-fi epic, 01011001 suffers only in its somewhat bland delivery and pervasive feeling of sameness to Arjen's other work. In other words, fans of Ayreon have heard (almost) all of this before.

The Good: the music itself is finely produced and tightly performed, delivering lavishly epic (i.e. corny) melodies and hooks throughout. There are also a few new instrumental sounds fans might recognize as well, mostly in an improved set of keyboards; however, this is still VERY much what we might call Arjen's classic sound of spacey/light metal. Vocals are good as always, but do not approach the level of memorability we heard on Human Equation, nor do they display the range on that album. However, it is still very fun to pick out and identify vocalists you know from other bands belting out Arjen's goofy lyrics. Heck, Daniel Gildenlow's performance here is better than the entirety of Scarsick.

As the final piece of his sci-fi opus, 01011001's lyrics put all the pieces together. If you're a fan of Ayreon, then you'll love it. This album explains the entire mythology going on behind the scenes in previous releases and closes the story appropriately. If you're new, than you'll probably be put off by the extreme corn-ballness of what these great singers are singing about.

The Bad: 01011001 is essentially bits and pieces of every album Ayreon has released up to this point. I don't imply that Arjen is cutting and pasting old recordings into this one, I mean that there is virtually no sonic progression here at all; this might as well be Electric Castle pt. 2. Additionally, 01011001 does not have nearly as many WOW moments as one would hope. The music is more subdued, somber even, and as a general thing does not demand much from the listener.

I don't discourage fans of Ayreon from picking this one up-- which they should, it concludes the story-- but those investigating Ayreon's rising popularity would do better to pick up Human Equation/Electric Castle first. Finely played and produced though it is, 01011001 does not have what it takes to elevate it above the group's other offerings.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

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Posted Saturday, April 19, 2008

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I know the truth is out there...

Multi talented songwriter/composer Arjen Lucassen has graced the progressive world with a number of excellent prog metal albums over his career, and all of them a very different product. Whether it be the Aryeon projects, or his side projects such as Ambeon, Stream Of Passion, Star One or any of his various guest appearances one can always expect a number of things. High production value along with an all-star cast of ever changing musicians that join his ranks make Arjen one of the most dynamic and compelling musicians in the scene.

Definitely an acquired taste (like most prog music) Arjen's focal point here (as with many of his albums) is on the fans of his stories and styles. Unrelenting to people who don't like his particular style of otherworldly bombastic progressive metal epics with a folk twinge and overly sci-fi (in a good or bad way, depending on your tastes) lyrics, Aryeon continues on the worn (yet apparently effective) path that he's been on since the Ayreon project started. After the fairly down to earth The Human Equation, which saw the music exploring the human psyche, Ayreon have once again blasted off into space on this album to conclude the saga started over a decade ago.

Musically, this one is fairly familiar. Arjen has always said that he's never wanted to ever make a ''better'' album, but rather, always a ''different'' album. And while this one is different from it's brethren in many respects, this one is much closer in style to Into The Electric Castle and can (appropriately) be seen as a direct follow up to the album. Indeed, in the storyline of Arjen's opera these two are the ones best connected, however all the other albums (spare Actual Fantasy) are given reference. It's clear that here Arjen wanted to go ''behind the scenes'' and explain the whole story as it has evolved over the last decade, and the lyrics very much reflect that.

Less character driven and now more society driven the vocalists are divided into two camps, Earth and Y, human and alien. Whereas other albums had a vocalist voice a person or song they now collectively represent different views of the story as it unfolds. (If this comment seems useless, don't worry, I'm getting to my point) This allows for the many vocalists represented to be used very dynamically and not limiting them to their own dialogs. On this effort Arjen found a great way to have all the particular vocalists play to their strengths where needed.

Speaking of guests, let's get into that a little bit. There's a good amount of talent here. Not quite the all-star cast that The Universal Migrator Duo possessed but still strong, there's vocals featured here by the likes of many. The heavy and raspy Jorn Lande (ex-Masterplan), the mystic Anneke Van Giersbergen (ex-The Gathering), the excellent Daniel Gildenlöw (Pain Of Salvation) and the soothing Phideaux Xavier (Phideaux) all make wonderful additions to the cast list among many others. As usual, Arjen is able to wrangle all of these talents and mold them into something that really suits his style.

As far as the songs go, on this effort Aryeon really managed to capture the sounds that they were seeking. At times metallic and cold yet at others organic and welcoming. The heavy metal songs on the album sometimes have a beat and rhythm that could seemingly match that of a machine. Coming to mind is the trudging standout Liquid Eternity, the speedy Ride the Comet and the excellent Unnatural Selection.

If course, an over the top double album would be a little monotonous if it was a heavy metal blast-fest the entire way through, so Arjen decided to put in some slower moments. It's common knowledge that I am someone who despises a slow song that breaks the momentum of an album, luckily that doesn't happen here. Any time there's a slow song to break up the constant bombardment of noise it's an incredibly welcome addition. Exceptional standouts on the album include the points where Arjen's Tull influences start to shine through a bit, adding a human touch to the machine. The folk melody behind Connect The Dots adds a harsh contrast between the darkly real lyrics. However it's a couple of ongs off the second half that really make the album. As much as Arjen himself hates to sing on his own albums, he does a freaking good job when he does. One of the album's greatest achievements is the Arjen voiced The Truth Is Out There which shows huge folk touches with flutes and melody to back the delivery. River Of Time is much to the same effect, with a very upbeat yet dark tempo.

Reluctant to give this one a 5 sheerly because it's a hard album to recommend to everyone, this one gets a shining 4. Some people may not enjoy this album if they're not way into the concept since it's the concept that drives the album, but if you're someone who wants a wild space adventure this is definitely an album for you. Certainly a hard album to ingest, this one takes about 4 or 5 listens until it finally clicks thanks mostly to it's length. Regardless, this is an excellent album from a talented performer which would interest any Space Cadet.

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Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008

Review by Muzikman
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Arjen Lucassen continues to astound the world of music worldwide with a string of releases that always seem to raise the bar for everyone else in the prog-rock community.

010110001 is yet another 2 CD set that fans and media are calling a prog-rock opera masterpiece-And with good reason of course and I am in total agreement with those thoughts. So is this the Ayreon Magnum Opus? Well, every time I hear a new album I really want to say that but this time I am not going to count my chickens before they are hatched because he will probably find a way kick it up another notch on the next release. Clearly, this is one of his best albums.

In typical Ayreon style, he put together an incredible cast of characters to contribute and every one of them honored to get the call from the master of the modern day rock opera. Some of the stars that stepped into Arjen's studio were Ty Tabor, Jonas Renkse, Hansi Krusch, Anneke van Giersbergen, Simone Simons, Tom Englund, Michael Romeo and Derek Sherinian to name a few.

I was lucky enough to receive the limited edition from the man himself. Again, his down to earth personality just blows me away for a person of his stature in the world of music. He is successful because he is real and remains so, not only because he happens to be an incredibly talented and respected musician.

The first two discs is the entire story with some the of best prog-rock you will hear this year and the third disc is a DVD that takes you through the behind the scenes recording sessions and all the people that participated including interviews with all of them and their thoughts on the project and how they feel about Arjen. There is also a 5.1 surround sound version of the video "Beneath the Waves." It is unfortunate that the 5.1 conversion process is so cost prohibitive as this recording would be unbelievable in that format. I cannot take anything away from the stereo version though because it is outstanding. Arjen knows exactly what he wants during the recording process and is simply brilliant producing his own work. The separation of instruments is fantastic and it sounded great on my surround system, it really just blew me away entirely.

There is also a section of bloopers on the DVD that is riot.it shows a side we never see as listeners while at the same time shedding some light on our rock star heroes illustrating that they put their pants on every day just like you and me. That is what Arjen is all about; he never takes himself too seriously.

I enjoyed the entire recording but I did have some favorites. The theme is typical Ayreon, with songs based on our dark future and what it will be like because of our poor stewardship of our surrounding environment and where technology rules our every move.

"Unnatural Selection," "Beneath the Waves" (a five-part track) and "Comatose" I feel are classic prog- rock opera tunes, its vintage Ayreon surrounded by some of the best of his contemporaries. This is an environment that he thrives in, getting the energy and input from all the participants. The only drawback with projects like this is that it is highly unlikely you will ever see it hit the road. Not only is it a logistical nightmare, everyone has his or her own bands and projects they are responsible to return to. Perhaps someday I will have the chance to see this legendary musician perform but until then I have his entire catalog to dive into and enjoy and that is quite satisfying to say the least, 010110001 is another template for his peers to judge their success by, if anyone can come close to matching this superlative effort they would have released a fine album.

© MuzikReviews.com

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Posted Friday, May 02, 2008

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars If there is an artist featured in this site that almost never fails to deliver, that one is Arjen A. Lucassen. Of all his AYREON albums, not one of them would receive less than 3 stars from me, and most would actually reach the best possible rating. The Dutch's career has been one of continuous work and amazing albums, never releasing a sub-par effort even when he did (ACTUAL FANTASY, though weaker than its conceptual brothers, still has better music than many prog-metal bands out there).

So it's no surprise that "01011001" is another success in a long line of excellent records. Coming off the heels of fan-favorite "The Human Equation", this album had very big shoes to fill. Lucky for us, the end result is as good (or even better from my perspective) that its famous predecessor.

Most everybody will know by now what AYREON's music sounds like. Don't expect any dramatic changes in style. What you have here is progressive-metal with a strong space flavor, a lot of 70's prog- rock influences, a little bit of classic like THE BEATLES or BOWIE, with a small dose of classical musical touches here and there, and a big amount of PINK FLOYD. Arjen manages to blend all these styles with some folk melodies and dances, enhanced orchestration, and unusually large casts of singers to create the AYREON sound, a sound that is so unique to him that is quite difficult to mistake his music for somebody else's.

The music in itself is hardly complicated. Most every song in the album follows traditional structure and harmonic rules, many are riff-based, rhythms are rather normal 4/4 and there's hardly any technical wizardry. What is amazing is that, with such, let's say, "traditional" elements, Lucassen achieves, album after album, the unlikely: to create a collection of songs that never sounds repetitive, boring, that always has something for everybody, and that is atmospheric, spacey, cosmical enough to make us fly with him while we enjoy it. For that's what AYREON's albums sound like: a trip through space and time, a voyage through history being carried by the wind at a speed much slower than light yet celestial enough to let us see that burst of energy.

In "01011001" AYREON has the usual line-up of musicians: Arjen Lucassen playing mostly everything, Ed Warby of GOREFEST fame behind the drum-kit, and a bunch of guests playing solos. Regarding that, let me just say that, while Sherinian's and Romeo's solos are instantly recognizable, is Tomas Bodin's (of THE FLOWER KINGS) one in track 2 in the second disc, "Waking Dreams", that really steals the show for me. His amazing scales and figures, followed by Lucassen soloing himself in guitar, make one of the best moments in this outstanding record.

The story is, as always, very cohesive and coherent. Inspired by Lucassen's own previous ideas, the picture he paints for us, one of impending doom and ruin for the planet and the species, may not be his most immediate one, yet, arguably, is the one that tackles with a greater dilemma (maybe only behind "The Human Equation"). Lucassen tries to fuse all his albums into one in terms of story and he manages to do it even though at moments it feels forced.

Stylistically, "01011001" lies somewhere between "Into The Electric Castle" and "The Dream Sequencer". There's not much of the pure-metal of "Flight of the Migrator" to be found here (even though this album contains probably one of the heaviest tracks in AYREON yet) and there is a bigger emphasis on choruses and hooks than in "The Human Equation". Lucassen has surprises every now and then, and the final song, "The Sixth Extinction", takes the shape of a true musical halfway down.

A final word about the cast. The group of singers here is one of the best in all Lucassen's albums. Just let me mention the bigger names: Englund of EVERGREY does a fairly good job, as does Gildenlow of PAIN OF SALVATION, without ever shining. Jonas Renske of KATATONIA delivers probably one of the best performances with his dark, menacing voice, rounded-up with his death grunts near the end. His voice gives the music a sense of atmosphere only matched by that of the female vocalists, especially Floor Jansen of AFTER FOREVER and Anneke van Giersbergen (ex-THE GATHERING). The power metal voices of Hansi Kursch (BLIND GUARDIAN) and Jorn Lande (of several bands including MASTERPLAN) add to the metal experience. There's two more vocalists worth mentioning: Phideaux Xavier, mastermind of the band of the same name, with a very effective soft tone, and Ty Tabor, of KING'S X, probably the weakest singer in the group. Of course, Lucassen wouldn't be true to his roots if he hadn't included a few numbers for himself to sing, something that we can't complain about as his voice, a little bland and soulless, is overly effective and sedative, ethereal and narcotic.

All in all, another success by one of the best "bands" in progressive-metal, another brilliant album by one of the genre's true master artists, and an essential album in any prog-metal fan collection. For progressive-rock purists, you may also find a lot to enjoy here, maybe not in form, but in spirit, as Lucassen really carries the torch of a long-gone decade in his music.

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Send comments to The T (BETA) | Report this review (#170238) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, May 08, 2008

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One might consider this album is somewhat "pretentious" with its story-telling kind of thing in the science-fiction territory. No harm with putting the main story to the album so that each song in the album contributes to the whole story. Having the story as the main idea for the album might inhibit full exploration of the music as it is limited by the chapters of the story - unless the whole story comprises radical ups and downs that allow the music flow wildly. Unfortunately, it does not happen here with this Ayreon because there is practically little varieties in style and mood from one song to another. I actually reach "boring" state at the later part of the first CD. There is basically no surprise and the music can predicted - no challenge at all. And also, the album title is hard to memorize (it's using "binary" numbers known by computers). However, as usual, Arjen Lucassen has gathered many musicians to contribute in this album.

A predictable stream of music . and boring riffs?

"Age of Shadows incl. We Are Forever" (10:47). It's a nice track which relies heavily on groove and beat as the music flows. There is nice part with acoustic guitar work which remarks the "We Are Forever" part. I like the ambient part with thin guitar solo during the female vocal portion. It's quite good to open the album and set the overall tone. The music comes back into upbeat style with good violin work. No more repression. "Comatose" (4:26) starts off with a sound of the sky followed with keyboard loop typical to Ayreon. No need to feel the pain, No need to feel betrayed, No need to feel inane, No need to feel afraid. flows nicely with only keyboard loop in spacey nuance backed with some guitar / violin effects. "Liquid Eternity " (8:10) opens with great guitar distortion followed with long sustain keyboard sound followed by music riffs. The keyboard loop still appears hear and seems like to be used in any other segment. The key attraction of this track is on violin solo performed by Ben Mathot in the middle of the track.

"Connect the Dots" (4:13) does not sound quite nice to my ears as it has weak intro part. The chorus part is quite OK. We are dying for tomorrow, we are living for today .. "Beneath the Waves" (8:26) flows in mellow style with keyboard loop and guitar fills accompany male vocal until female vocal enters, the drum starts to roll. Floydian guitar work is nice. This track comprises five parts. "Newborn Race" (7:49) starts with good combination of acoustic guitar and mandolin. It comprises six parts. "Ride the Comet" (3:29) has good percussion work. Disc one concludes beautifully with nice acoustic guitar and violin work accompanying female voice "Web of Lies" (2:50).

Disc Two kicks off with "The Fifth Extinction" (10:29) where the intro part is a spacey nuance created by long sustain keyboard and guitar fills. This opening track comprises five parts comprising soft parts and heavy ones with guitar riffs. The guitar solo in the middle of the track combined with keyboard solo are all stunning. "Waking Dreams" (6:31) is a mellow track with great guitar solo and melodic singing. "The Truth Is In Here" is a ballad (5:12). "Unnatural Selection" (7:15) opens with a very long spacey keyboard work followed with low register male voice and at approx minute 1:52 it moves to heavy riffs typical Ayreon. "River of Time" (4:24) starts with traditional acoustic guitar that reminds me to Ayreon's "Looser" of Human Equation album. "E=MC2" (5:50) is a nice track with typical Ayreon's riffs. The album concludes nicely with "The Sixth Extinction" (12:18) which comprises six parts. I like parts with growling style.

Overall, this is a good album with good composition typical Ayreon music. Unfortunately there are many similar riffs that tend to bore me if I listen to the whole CD in its entirety. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW (i-Rock! Music Community)

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#177707) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, July 21, 2008

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3.5 stars. I remember when I was a kid i used do detest any movie that was a musical.You know the deal, instead of the actors speaking their lines to each other they would sing them (gag). Anyway my tastes in that regard haven't changed whatsoever. That was the problem I had with "Into The Electric Castle", and I couldn't get past it. "01011001" isn't nearly as bad in that regard thankfully, but there are those moments. Another problem I have is that Jorn Lande is the most prominant vocalsist. This was by design of course. Arjen has suggested that with Jorn's strong voice and versitility he was an obvious choice to have a lead role. I do like Jorn it's just that he reminds me of David Coverdale too much. Not a fan. By the way this is the first AYREON album to enter the charts. Very cool. Another aside is that Roy Khan was supposed to sing on this recording but had vocal problems, Arjen couldn't wait for him to get better so he had Daniel Gildenlow do his parts.

Arjen has also stated that with 17 vocalists it is difficult for them to have enough time to fully display their talents unfortunately. So we have a double concept album here with a wide array of vocalists and instrumentalists. I wish they had broken down who sings on what songs in the liner notes. I know it's obvious at times but still. I still think Anneke is the most amazing vocalist on here. Floor Jansen is another vocalist I never tire of. Cool to hear Hansi from BLIND GUARDIAN on here, especially on the backup vocal parts. Oh, and Jonas from the great KATATONIA is a real treat too.

For being a Metal guy I really like the reflective "Connect The Dots" so much. It opens with the sound of a car starting then a beat with vocal melodies comes in. I just love the male reserved vocals on this one. I like the drums and female vocal melodies in "Ride The Comet". Another highlight for me is "Waking Dreams" that sounds like a TANGERINE DREAM song at first thanks to the synth work of Tomas Bodin. Again this is far from a Metal song but I find it so refreshing. Anneke is refreshing too. Haha. "The Truth Is Here" is great too with Phideaux on vocals with Simone helping out. Excellent tune.

This is good, but in my opinion it's not good enough to give it 4 stars.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#194617) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, December 21, 2008

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars '01011001' - Ayreon (8.5/10)

When I first listened to the vocal samplings released on the internet a few months before '01011001' was released for sale, I was a little bit concerned as to what this album was going to turn out like. There was no doubt in my mind that it was going to be good, but having been so used to masterful works such as 'The Human Equation' and 'Into The Electric Castle,' I was worried that this third double album wouldn't match up to the other two. Upon listening to the finished project in it's entireity, it was a pleasant feeling to realize that not only was this a good album, but it was more or less on par with the other two double albums (which exist as the defacto core of Ayreon's repetoire.) What Arjen has done here is apparently wrap up his epic Ayreon storyline with an equally epic album, that uses a relatively unique style of storytelling to get the plot across. Instead of having recurring, filled-out characters, each singer, or 'character' is used to compliment the whole, instead of take a shape of his or her own. While this different conceptual approach took a while to get into, it ends up working well for the story Arjen is trying to tell.

The heart of this tale consists of the three 'epics' the album has to offer; 'Age Of Shadows,' 'The Fifth Extinction,' and 'The Sixth Extinction.' Each clock in at least ten minutes, and do the best job of telling the story. For those unfamiliar with the Ayreon concept, a race of alien beings called 'Forever' populated Earth with lifeforms in their own image (humanity) in order to experience emotions and primal feelings once again. However, in their blindness, they let humanity become too advanced and in the process, mankind destroys itself in a great war. While the concept is a little morose, it has a profound social message to tell, and that added dimension makes '01011001' a really moving experience.

Despite the fact that most of the singers portray alien characters, there is a resounding feeling of humanity that emanates from each performance. Despite each Forever character being named as nothing more then a symbol (such as a heart or pentagram) each character manages to forge it's own distinct personality.

The music itself passes off as being darker then alot of Ayreon's previous works. Elements from electronic and folk music are used alot here. There's a strong metal influence here, second only to the metal-centric 'Flight Of The Migrator' album. The heavy use of synthesizers adds to the science-fiction theme, and the concept. Of special recognition is the beautiful Thomas Bodin keyboard solo in the song 'Waking Dreams.' Another highlight of this album is the mind-blowing choral arrangement 'We Are Forever' performed by one of the best female vocalists in Prog, Annette Van Giersbergen. The compositional talent required to write four-plus singing counterparts is massive.

Arjen Luccassen does not dissapoint on this album. '01011001' stands as being one of the best albums of 2008.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#205514) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, March 05, 2009

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars - Phideaux Xavier (solo) / vocals - Simone Simons (Epica) / vocals

whoo hoo, my favourites ones. To be honest, "Age of Shadows" instantly hooked me on. Songs where I enjoyed every little bit (except rather longer "bit" which serves as intro). I really feel like you simply like him, or you don't. I grew old on sci-fi stories with little bit flavour of fantasy. Isn't this what Arjen is offerring us ? So to song: Indeed, every bit (except...), even zero-one-zero-one part which (is it so strange?). It may look monotone, but that's in fact every guitar riff (repeating over and over). When woman voice starts singing ""Forever..."" line to it, ecstasy, I'm awaiting you.

"Comatose" is also melodic one, with depth of infernal abyss (can we have heavenly abyss, please?), not so much changes, but with perfectly directed vocals. He's master on doing this. To handle so many singers and vocalists, you have to be talented. And these, who sings, also (by the way).

Sad things that [i]Simone Simons (Epica) as Simone & Phideaux Xavier as PX, internet-dating service users. [/i] are not so used.

"Liquid Eternity" uses this weird synth sound in back which reminds me water. Really liquid feeling. Slowly coming (like slow creek, or should I say eternal creek?) to refrain. 4:12-4:36 and I though I will not be offered this characteristically sounding keyboard solo. And then, also familiar string like tune. Why it's so well known, I must have heard this in past Ayreon's work. But just as I'm reading wikipedia (same as this story, just facts and facts, no emotions, this is why I'm writing reviews).

But my shameless favourite is "Connect the Dots", because it reminds me myself. So mundane story, so non-mundane music (try to find all instruments playing here without looking on wiki to help), with strong emphasis on melody, which is probably because of getting feeling of something from this Earth amongst alien ones. ""have you seen little Steve today?"". So pleasant tune, so hanting lyrics.

""Silver dances on the waves"". I can't help myself, this dystopia presented by AY is always so creepy, so pessimistic, but I know in deepness of my soul that also realistic. If not WW3 will destroy us, then nature disasters will do the job. And if not them, then human himself will ruin everything.

and so on. Five stars because of complexity, both lyrical and musical, but at the same time melody, wide variety of voices, IDEA and many other reasons which can be written, but aren't necessary.

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Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#208459) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars I'm glad I didn't review this album when I first bought it. I'm not sure why, but the first time I listened to 01011001 I was not impressed. I put the disk away in my collection, and did not go back to it. Now, finally, on the second listen, I have no idea what I thought I heard. I love this album!!!

The music may be metal based, but it's much more than that. The keyboards often have have Pink Floyd like tone, and the music is complex and intriguing. The vocalists are all outstanding, and the story told on the collection is compelling.

So, if you buy this album. Give it a chance. Or a second chance like I did.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#211375) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
2 stars 01011001 came as a bit of a disappointment after following Ayreon around for the last couple of years. There isn't much in the way of sounds and melodies here that you haven't heard from Ayreon before, nor do the songs stick out above anything from earlier albums. Also the concept fails to work. It doesn't improve the individual songs and it doesn't have the coherence from the Human Equation or Electric Castle. Call it lack of inspiration or lack of conviction in the Ayreon formula on Arjen Lucassen's part.

The approach is the same as on the Human equation. Two cd's of rock opera with plenty of heavy metal and symphonic rock influences. The cast is baffling, featuring some of the most remarkable voices in metal of the last ten years.

On paper it sounds like a recipe for success but the whole enterprise doesn't get off the ground. It takes an extreme effort to sit through this tepid album and not press the skip button before each song is halfway through. Just too predictable and deja-entendu.

It's a much better idea to ignore this album altogether and have another go at one of the earlier rock operas that preceded it. The Ayreon saga has reached a disappointing end.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#248119) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars The packaging is fantastic even before we get to the music, featuring scintillating artwork and all the lyrics represented on a well set out booklet, and all the guest artists are listed when they sing which helps a lot. The best way to purchase this is to ensure you get the special edition which comes in a beautiful little box with a DVD of certain tracks and some higher quality versions.

The guest artists are an incredible plethora of talent from a variety of genres. Namely there is the amazing Anneke Van Giersbergen of The Gathering, Bob Catley the power vocalist of Magnum and Daniel Gildenlöw the extraordinaly voice of Pain Of Salvation. Floor Jansen is brilliant as always, and has featured on Ayreon projects especially Star One. Jonas Renkse from Katatonia is captivating as is Simone Simons, the wondrous enchantress of Epica. Ayreon as usual is utterly sparkling on guitar and keys, and in fact all musicians are virtuoso talents.

The concept is heavy handed and difficult to grasp not that it matters, it is the overall experience of being transported to another realm that is the ultimate pleasure for Ayreonauts. The guitars are heavy at times but there are enormous slices of ambience. A lot of this is familiar territory to early Ayreon though nothing compares to the masterpiece The Human Equation. As a followup this latest album is a delight although not as brillaint as THAT album, which is almost impossible to beat. This is more like the kid sister of Into The Electric Castle especially in concept and musical dexterity.

The songs themselves are not as memorable but the whole album as an entire epic concept works on the senses as it is playing. Nothing really sinks in after the album has finished and this is unusual for Ayreon. Highlights are still here and it is evident as soon as the track ends that you have heard a classic, namely Liquid Eternity, and Ride the Comet. The Truth Is Out There is a standout where Arjen shines on vocals. Unnatural Selection has a huge passage of incredible instrumentation and really blows the walls apart with sheer power and force.

I have to say this is perhaps not the place to start for newcomers to Ayreon as Into the Electric Castle and The Human Equation bury it, both conceptually and musically, however there is nothing wrong with taking the 01011001 journey after one has settled into the uncanny world of Ayreon.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#285434) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, June 07, 2010

Review by progaardvark
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I really enjoyed most of Mr. Lucassen's projects and especially his Ayreon project, something he started way back in 1995. Each album in this project has improved upon the last and culminated with his 2004 masterpiece The Human Equation. Ahh, but where do you go from here? Can it actually get any better?

Unfortunately for Ayreon, 0101101 just doesn't seem to match up to the quality of previous efforts. I just cannot put my finger on why this is case for this album. It has the feel of being thrown together and it has the feeling of following "the formula." Not that following the formula is a bad thing, it's just the quality of the material just doesn't match up to the formula. I'm not going to go into the storyline of 0101101 because other reviewers already have. I don't think the concept is as badly conceived as others have stated. I think it's more in the music and the delivery of that music. I don't know exactly how I can put this in words, but it would seem that Ayreon is experiencing the "doldrums," for a lack of a better term. That's the feeling I get with this album. The excitement is gone.

Still, Mr. Lucassen and his host of guests are technically proficient and the concept is decent enough. Some songs are good, some are skippers. Overall, I don't think this is bad enough to warrant two stars. It has its good moments, so I feel confident in giving this a middle-of-the-road three star rating.

I hope this is just a bump in the road and not the start of a decline for Ayreon. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

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Send comments to progaardvark (BETA) | Report this review (#303883) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, October 14, 2010

Latest members reviews

5 stars This album is amazing, its a rollercoaster ride of Proggy goodness, I stumbled across Ayreon by being on this site and have since shared it amongst my friends, I love a lot of this guys music but this album is by far and away my favourite, stand out tracks, Liquid Eternity, Connect the Dots and ... (read more)

Report this review (#583513) | Posted by Rushfan47 | Tuesday, December 06, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars When you listen to one of Arjen Lucassen's Ayreon albums, you are in for an amazing treat: It is like going to the theater and experiencing an epic science fiction movie. He immerses you into a story with sound effects and hard-driving rock with influences from Pink Floyd, Genesis, Dream Thea ... (read more)

Report this review (#442758) | Posted by BobVanguard | Wednesday, May 04, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Great album!Here Arjen Lucassen continued the space/futuristic concept.This album is about the end of the world.What can I say for this album?Fantastic compositions/ideas,vocalists,lyrics and instrumentalists.There's a big variety in music.Metal,classical,folk,electronic and opera.The music is ca ... (read more)

Report this review (#388598) | Posted by Prog Geo | Friday, January 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars And here it is, my favorite Ayreon album, and why, I'll tell ye why... The songs are the best Arjen has ever written, and don't try and argue with me on that. The line up is the best it has ever been, Daniel Gildenlow,JORN LANDE!!!, Floor Jansen, Simone Simons, Steve Lee (RIP), Hansi Kus ... (read more)

Report this review (#307947) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Tuesday, November 02, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Wow, this album is totally excellent thats all there is to it I found out about this band all by mistake, just looking randomly through Lastfm and I came across this guy who's favorite band was this one, and I was curious to know about them and got 01011001 (which is the binary code for the fi ... (read more)

Report this review (#284803) | Posted by deathlifereborn | Friday, June 04, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Now Ayreon (for those of you who have been living in caves) is a project created by Arjen Anthony Lucassen the creator of..things. He also has another two projects/bands in the form of Star One and Guilt Machine and also formed Stream Of Passion. This being the latest offering with the wierdly co ... (read more)

Report this review (#282211) | Posted by FarBeyondProg | Sunday, May 16, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars At times, Lyrics can make or break a concept album. I'll start with the last track, beautiful song, love it, but the lyrics...... There are also a couple of other songs, E=MC2...cringe. Then there are songs like "New Born Race"...cringe, just not to my taste. Then there's Liquid Eternity, I li ... (read more)

Report this review (#271159) | Posted by praj912 | Thursday, March 11, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Basically, Arjen tried to make Human Equation part II buth with a different lyric concept ... and failed. Lets start with the lyrics, i'm someone who likes cheese very much but this is just over the top and plainly bad, just check this out: "I checked the web and left it on over night Downloadin ... (read more)

Report this review (#233116) | Posted by Moonshield | Thursday, August 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars WOW!! In the many albums that have provided bits and pieces of different storylines, this album, 01011001 is the one that ties them all up together, Completing the circle as Forever has said before. This technique makes it all the more epic, as well as holds a whole new creation mythology that ... (read more)

Report this review (#207964) | Posted by HammerOfPink | Saturday, March 21, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Ok....this is my first taste of Ayreon.....based upon some of the early reviews on this site, I decided to check it out for something new. However, this album will lead me to check out more of their efforts. During my first listening, I was a bit distracted by the use of the different singe ... (read more)

Report this review (#175097) | Posted by indiscipline200 | Wednesday, June 25, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Industrial, Celtic, Metal, Operetta..IN SPACE! 01011001 is my first album from Ayreon, and it's left a lasting impression. It has so many different sounds and different musical styles within it that no matter what kind of musical taste you have, there will be at least one point on the album t ... (read more)

Report this review (#171051) | Posted by mothershabooboo | Wednesday, May 14, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Ayreon's highly anticipated new album 01011001 (Y). Released about four months ago I was one of the many fans that eagerly jumped to the roof to buy this long awaited album. The next step in the climb to amazingness by Arjen A. Lucassen. After listening to the album a few times... I sit comfor ... (read more)

Report this review (#170283) | Posted by Xeroth | Friday, May 09, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I waited a long time for this album. And I avoided downloading it or reading any of the above reviews or previews before buying it and giving it my full attention for a lot of spins. So after I created a pretty good opinion about it, I came here and read all this. To be honest there are two trend ... (read more)

Report this review (#165608) | Posted by Sophocles | Thursday, April 03, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After a hard time of personal turmoil, excellent Dutch multi instrumentalist/composer Arjen Anthony Lucassen returns with yet another sprawling rock opera, and unlike The Human Equation (the previous album) this one heads fully back to the sci-fi theme of the earlier records, reprising the tale ... (read more)

Report this review (#165023) | Posted by | Wednesday, March 26, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars If you love Ayreon, you should find little disagreeable about this album. In it Lucassen brings his sweeping sci-fi mythology full circle, tying together nearly all the concepts, twists and musical adventures of the Ayreon catalog. That he employs a hugely gifted lineup of musicians and vocalists ... (read more)

Report this review (#164260) | Posted by senor_velasco | Wednesday, March 19, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Well, even though I'm still absorbing this thing, I think I can make a fair review. First, I wasn't expecting anything innovative or excitingly new from this album. Nor should anyone who has been listening to Ayreon for any length of time. But I was hoping. After all, the previous album was ... (read more)

Report this review (#163699) | Posted by infandous | Tuesday, March 11, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I was really eager to see how other reviewers rated this album and part of Zitro's (Zitro is a long time member of PA) review said EXACTLY how I feel: The music is carefully crafted, but for some reason, I find the music moderately dull, unoriginal, monotonous, and overlong. There are tons of t ... (read more)

Report this review (#163196) | Posted by Drew | Tuesday, March 04, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Review from www.wpapu.com. After nearly four years the follow up to my favorite Ayreon album had finally arrived. The anticipation for 01011001 rivaled what I felt for new Rush and Dream Theater releases, which is saying something. That said I am very glad I didn't review this album after one l ... (read more)

Report this review (#163102) | Posted by Xanadu3737 | Monday, March 03, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 01011001 is a masterpiece, and I mean that in every sense of the word. It's clever but simple, complex but easy to grasp, progressive but catchy. The concept is dark and heavy, and involves, among other things, the end of the world. Such a storyline could be very difficult to relate to (as I beli ... (read more)

Report this review (#162788) | Posted by Silhouette | Wednesday, February 27, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What can i say? Its great. I love this album - its a piece of genius. I am a huge Ayreon fan, i love his music - and i think that The Human Equation is perhaps the greatest album of all time. This album doesnt quite reach the dizzy heights of THE, but it comes damn close. The feeling of this al ... (read more)

Report this review (#160483) | Posted by Whacky | Friday, February 01, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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