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Ayreon - Actual Fantasy CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.21 | 259 ratings

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1 stars Lucassen was here with his most limited cast. By ruling a one star rating, I do not mean that this album is worthless; it's not an utterly bad work, but most probably an album that even Ayreon fans could live without. Clearly the low point of the Ayreon project.

1. Actual Fantasy (1:35) - Nice short intro with flutes and soft sounds. Not much to say as this song only lasts for a minute and a half.

2. Abbey Of Synn (9:34) - In my opinion the album's second best track. Atmospheric and slow opening, leading to a nicely done pitch of metal guitars driving the song into an heavier and catchy melodic body. Balanced vocals. A bit simplistic on the instrumental side though.

3. The Stranger From Within (7:36) - I simply dislike the vocals on this song. Yet, the verses are still ok, but the choruses and the transitions to them are, well, a complete failure. The song's simple structure (soft verses to heavy choruses) produces here a very taxing song, and the instrumental solo is uninspired. The very final notes get better, and they never come soon enough.

4. Computer Eyes (7:31) - The album's best moment. Successfully melodic, gloomy and spacey introduction, slowly building up and lasting for about three minutes. Vocals also get a lot better from where they left on the third track. Some metal guitars then join in, but not too agressively, and the overall result is enjoyable. Keyboards are well done too. Still, the instrumental passage during the sixth minute is average, whilst it does a good job at leading to the final, more powerful segment.

5. Beyond The Last Horizon (7:34) - Some acoustic guitars overlapping spacey keyboards to open the song, transitionning to metal after a short while. The riffs dont get very good, and the vocals once again get irritating, notably during the verses. Melodically acceptable, but nothing special there either. And the mid-section instrumental passage is annoying.

6. Farside Of The World (6:21) - Interesting first 80 seconds, but turns into a total disaster. Bad vocals along with hopelessly bad melody and composition. Skip at all costs. A six minutes that feels like 16. One of the worst songs I've ever found on a prog album.

7. Back On The Planet Earth (7:01) - Another promising intro, with suspenseful keyboards and a nice metal guitar riff. Disappointing vocals quickly tarnish our hopes once again, although they get better in the chorus. Not the album's worst part overeall, but never gets really great nor very original. Sci-fi ambience and a notch above most of the other tracks with regard to composition.

8. Forevermore (6:10) - Good balladesque ending, with a variety of sounds, to an album made of some ups but also of too many downs to be recommended to the average fan or collector.

Again, not a total failure, but quite below the average. Reluctantly but fairly, 1 star.

SentimentalMercenary | 1/5 |


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