ALBUM / EP REVIEWS — October 14, 2013 at 6:27 PM

AYREON – The Theory Of Everything

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Ayreon - The Theory Of Everything

Clocking in at just under 90 minutes, this isn’t your average ‘throw on and listen’ album – this is a rock opera. In this an hour and a half, characters are born, live and die.

Over the four movements, each clocking in at just over 20 minutes each, this tale approaches something Shakespearean, intricately delivered by Maestro Luccassen.

The cast for this release is massive (larger than ever before) with vocals coming from the likes of Christina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil) as The Mother, Marco Hietala (Nightwish/Tarot) as The Rival and Tommy Karevik (Kamelot) as The Prodigy. This is only a tiny sample of the complete cast, and alongside these vocalists sits a plethora of legendary musicians including the brilliant Rick Wakeman. It’s been five long years since Ayreon released 01011001, but these five years have allowed Luccassen to pen a story which has developed into a powerful and moving rock opera.

The story in this release follows The Prodigy (not the band) and his quest to find The Theory Of Everything. There’s plenty of torment and strife along the way, generated partially by The Rival, whom also strives for everything our prodigy does. Whilst the story is key to this release, it’s the music that backs it up that gives it such power. It mirrors the darkness and light of the plot, reflecting the love, loss and separation encompassed within the opera. This is aided by the vocalists’ effortless performances, from Karevik’s innocent and soaring vocal qualities to the contrast of Hietala’s tormented, haunting style. In the track Collision, a powerful argument demonstrates the depth and quality of the guests on this release. It’s a heavy album that retains its delicate edge.

This album is true progressive metal. It has no chugging guitars or generic vocals, it’s just… massive. Arjen has earned a great deal of respect through his music, and everyone else who played their parts on this release deserves the same recognition, as each one delivers something spectacular. The Theory Of Everything is a massive undertaking that completely pays offs. It draws from many genres and gives you so much more than you’d ever expect, leaving you with a sense of overwhelming calm.

This album is essential listening. It’s prog perfection, and for that I have to salute everyone involved.

While it’s a shame that due to the scale of the project, this music can’t be brought on tour, I happen to believe that this is best listened to through headphones in the dead of night…

MetalMouth Rating : 10/10

For Fans Of: Dream Theater, War Of The Worlds, Transatlantic, Yes, Uriah Heap.

Track Listing

PHASE I: SINGULARITY

  1. Prologue: The Blackboard
  2. The Theory of Everything part 1
  3. Patterns
  4. The Prodigy’s World
  5. The Teacher’s Discovery
  6. Love and Envy
  7. Progressive Waves
  8. The Gift
  9. The Eleventh Dimension
  10. Inertia
  11. The Theory of Everything (Part 2)

PHASE II: SYMMETRY

  1. The Consultation
  2. Diagnosis
  3. The Argument 1
  4. The Rival’s Dilemma
  5. Surface Tension
  6. A Reason To Live
  7. Potential
  8. Quantum Chaos
  9. Dark Medicine
  10. Alive!
  11. The Prediction

PHASE III: ENTANGLEMENT

  1. Fluctuations
  2. Transformation
  3. Collision
  4. Side Effects
  5. Frequency Modulation
  6. Magnetism
  7. Quid Pro Quo
  8. String Theory
  9. Fortune?

PHASE IV: UNIFICATION

  1. Mirror Of Dreams
  2. The Lighthouse
  3. The Argument 2
  4. The Parting
  5. The Visitation
  6. The Breakthrough
  7. The Note
  8. The Uncertainty Principle
  9. Dark Energy
  10. The Theory of Everything part 3
  11. The Blackboard (reprise)

All tracks 10/10

Band Members

Vocalists (in order of appearance):

  • JB as The Teacher
  • Sara Squadrani as The Girl
  • Michael Mills as The Father
  • Cristina Scabbia as The Mother
  • Tommy Karevik as The Prodigy
  • Marko Hietala as The Rival
  • John Wetton as The Psychiatrist

Instrumentalists:

  • Ed Warby – Drums
  • Rick Wakeman – Keyboards
  • Keith Emerson – Keyboards
  • Jordan Rudess – Keyboards
  • Steve Hackett – Lead Guitar
  • Troy Donockley – Uilleann Pipes & Low Flute
  • Arjen Anthony Lucassen – Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Bass, Mandolin & Keyboards.
  • Ben Mathot – Violins
  • Maaike Peterse – Cellos
  • Jeroen Goossens – Flute, Piccolo, Bass, Bamboo & Contrabass Flutes
  • Siddharta Barnhoorn – Orchestrations
  • Michael Mills – Irish Bouzouki

Release Details & Links

Record Label: InsideOut Music
Release Date: October 28th 2013

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