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Ayreon - Actual Fantasy CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.21 | 258 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars The very short intro (93 seconds) is a great summary of this whole piece of music which is half a concept album, half a traditional one. "Sit back and relax. Crawl into the maze, Within your mind. Leave it all behind. Now allow yourself to Slide into a world As real as you want it to be. Actual fantasy". And here we go for a strange adventure...

"Actual Fantasy" mixes symphonic style, electronic beats, orchestrations and at times some metal inspiration. "The Stranger from Within" fully describes this. Somewhat "Ultravox" - the Ure era - oriented and somewhat heavy during the closing section). A very good mix.

But before this song, one of the highlight has already been performed. A scary and complex trip to the "Abbey of Synn". Almost mystical. The beat is rather hypnotic, heavy but slow (like "Kashmir"). Here and there a great guitar break will punctuate this very good song.

The Flodyan intro of "Computer Eyes" is so pleasant and so sweet. Miles away from the "heavy metal" style. But we get there with the second part of the song. Heavy riff a la "Dream Theater", but the melody is still pleasant. Heavy melodic rock, maybe! The finale is extremely bombastic (some would say pompous). A highlight.

Not all songs will be jewels of course. One of the weakiest one being "Beyond the Last Horizon" IMO. I don't really like these "computerized" vocals and these orchestrations are a bit too much for me (but I have never liked these). No feeling during this song. A filler. "Farside of the World" also sounding too much "electro-metal" to my taste.

But Arjen will revert to better inspiration with "Back On The Planet Earth". Especially during the great duet : keys / guitar. One of the best moment of this album. A bit too dark maybe...

The last two numbers are going directionless. Invading orchestrations during the mellowish "Forevermore" and totally bizarre mood for "The Dawn of Man".

The single edition of "The Stranger from Within" won't be good enough to save this album from being average. It starts promisingly but can not deliver.

Two stars.

ZowieZiggy | 2/5 |


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