Ayreon - The Theory Of Everything

Year of Release: 2013
Label: InsideOut Music
Catalog Number: IOMCD 392
Format: CD/DVD
Total Time: 89:54:00

When prog rock fans listen to music they expect a great storyline, complex music, and atmospheres that encourage that story. One artist that has had a proclivity for doing that his entire career is Arjen Anthony Lucassen, otherwise known as Ayreon.

When The Theory Of Everything came out last fall there was a lot of anticipation that his masterful concepts would continue along with all the incredible guest musicians. He did not disappoint, he never does.

A dream came true for Arjen on this musical sojourn. Three major players joined in on all the proceedings, each one a legendary keyboard player. Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson and Jordan Rudess made their contributions count on the session. Another legend, John Wetton, provided vocals as the character The Psychiatrist.

I found myself all wrapped up in this story while listening. In short it's about a boy and his mother that are not getting enough attention from the scientist father who is working day and night trying to literally figure out The Theory Of Everything. Further into the story, the father finally tells the son that he had been giving him a drug, using him as an experiment in hopes that it would help the boy overcome his problems. There is much more to it all and that is a short encapsulation of what you will hear. The music is right on time and spot on for every track and it always puts more emphasis and thought upon the entire process of listening for the music fans. Anyone that is familiar with Arjen's music knows of his fascination with the unknown, science fiction and what confounds man and all the mysteries of the cosmos. That is his driving force along with a never ending desire to create music in his studio.

Arjen puts it all into proper perspective in his own words: "The story on this album looks at what happens when people are driven by an irresistible passion, like me in music. In this case, it's a scientist who is obsessed with finding the theory of everything -- the equation that will explain and tie together all known physical phenomena. He's so focused on solving the theory that he risks losing everything, including his family. But he is not alone -- all of the characters are driven to fill some kind of emotional need no matter what the consequences. If I had to sum it up in one sentence, I would say that the story deals with the drive to succeed and the emotional costs that come with treading the fine line between genius and madness."

One element I particularly enjoyed, besides all of the heavy prog metal guitars, bass and swirling keyboards, was Troy Donockley's Uileaan Pipes. That one addition gave the music an air of distinction that separated it from all other prog projects that came out last year. CD 1 has 22 tracks and CD 2 has 20 so it a very generous collection. Arjen told me that it would take some time to sit and listen and be able to assimilate the entire package. He was right; however, it was a joy to do so.

Arjen continues to outdo the last project and he never seems to run out of steam. He is always inspired and has a lot of respect in the prog community. One look at the guest list would make that obvious. I know he is a very humble man and does not consider himself to be a legendary performer like the people that contribute to his projects but he has earned a place amongst the elite in prog rock. The Theory Of Everything is one more addition to his ever growing popularity and impressive legacy.

One bonus I always look forward to is the DVD and all footage of Arjen and his guests during the creative process in the studio. I would feel incomplete without it. Not only is he one of the hardest working musicians on the planet, he makes it a point to communicate with all of his fans. That is so important especially now in our digital age. This man is as real as it gets folks and his music is something to be appreciated by all music fans.

This album showcases masterful musicianship, incredible vocals from talented men and women and a story that is thought provoking and exciting every step of the way. If you need an escape valve for a few hours and one that is not cookie cutter radio spew, then this can be your one way ticket to another world. Arjen has the magic and he uses it to the fullest extent. This is without a doubt a prog lover's happy place.

[2LP/2CD edition, IOMSECD 392]

Disc 1: "Phase I: Singularity" (23:29): Prologue: The Blackboard / The Theory Of Everything Part 1 / Patterns / The Prodigy's World / The Teacher's Discovery / Love And Envy / Progressive Waves / The Gift / The Eleventh Dimension / Inertia / The Theory Of Everything Part 2 // "Phase II: Symmetry" (21:31): The Consultation / Diagnosis / The Argument 1 / The Rival's Dilemma / Surface Tension / A Reason To Live / Potential / Quantum Chaos / Dark Medicine / Alive! / The Prediction

Disc 2: "Phase III: Entanglement" (22:34): Fluctuations / Transformation / Collision / Side Effects / Frequency Modulation / Magnetism / Quid Pro Quo / String Theory / Fortune? // "Phase IV: Unification" (22:20): Mirror Of Dreams / The Lighthouse / The Argument 2 / The Parting / The Visitation / The Breakthrough / The Note / The Uncertainty Principle / Dark Energy / The Theory Of Everything Part 3 / The Blackboard (Reprise)

Disc III [Special Edition DVD]: The Making Of "The Theory Of Everything" / Full-length Interviews / Recording Session Time Lapse Footage

Arjen Anthony Lucassen - electric and acoustic guitars, bass, mandolin, analog synthesizers, Hammond, Solina strings
JB - vocals (as The Teacher)
Troy Donockley - whistles, Uilleann pipes
Keith Emerson - keyboards
Jeroen Goossens - flute, bass flute, piccolo, bamboo flute, contrabass flute
Steve Hackett - lead guitar
Marco Hietala - vocals (as The Rival)
Tommy Karevik - vocals (as The Prodigy)
Ben Mathot - violin
Michael Mills - Irish bouzouki, vocals (as The Father) Maaike Peterse - cello
Jordan Rudess - keyboards
Cristina Scabbia - vocals (as The Mother)
Sara Squadrani - vocals (as The Girl)
Wilmer Waarbroek - backing vocals
Rick Wakeman - keyboards
Ed Warby - drums
John Wetton - vocals (as The Psychiatrist)
Siddharta Barnhoorn - orchestrations

Ayreon - The Final Experiment (1995)
Ayreon - Actual Fantasy (1996)
Ayreon - Into The Electric Castle (1998)
Ayreon - The Univeral Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer (2000)
Ayreon - The Universal Migrator Part 2: Flight Of The Migrator (2000)
Ayreon - Ayreonnauts Only (2000)
Ambeon - Fate Of A Dreamer (2001)
Arjen Anthony Lucassen's Star One - Space Metal (2002)
Arjen Anthony Lucassen's Star One - Live On Earth (2003)
Ayreon - The Human Equation (2004)
Ayreon - Actual Fantasy Revisited (2004)
Ayreon - The Final Experiment - Special Edition (2005)
Ayreon - 01011001 (2008)
Ayreon - Timeline (2008)
Arjen Lucassen's Guilt Machine - Arjen Lucassen's Guilt Machine (2009)
Arjen Anthony Lucassen's Star One - Victims Of The Modern Age (2010)
Arjen Anthony Lucassen - Lost In The New Real (2012)
Ayreon - The Theory Of Everything (2013)
Ayreon - The Theater Equation (CD/DVD) (2016)
Ayreon - The Source (CD/DVD) (2017)
Ayreon - Ayreon Universe - Best Of Ayreon Live (2018)

Ayreon - The Theater Equation (BR) (2016) Ayreon - Ayreon Universe - Best Of Ayreon Live (DVD/BR) (2018)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin NL

Added: April 27th 2014
Reviewer: Keith "Muzikman" Hannaleck
Artist website: www.arjenlucassen.com
Hits: 2210
Language: english


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