Style: Progressive Space Metal
Release date: January 28th 2008

Multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and vocalist Arjen A. Lucassen is an institution in progressive metal, a guy, who almost single-handedly revived the rock opera genre and brought the attention back to a genre that for most of the 80's and 90's was almost non-existent.

His Ayreon project has achieved world-wide acclaim and if he had problems hiring participants on his earlier albums, then he doesn't experience such things today, and musicians and instrumentalists almost stand in line to be a part of an Ayreon project these days. And once more he has invited the cream of the crop and the vocalists alone makes a hard core metal fan drool; Hansi Kusch (Blind Guardian), Daniel Gildenlöw (Pain of Salvation), Tom S. Englund (Evergrey), Jorn Lande and Bob Catley (Magnum) are just some of the singers portraying the characters in the story about the 'Forever' race, a race of aquatic beings living on Planet Y.

'01011001' is thematically darker and more enigmatic than previous Ayreon releases. Musically this is still a full blown attack on all the senses - a space metal opera of epic proportions with all of his beloved styles; intertwining progressive space metal, electronic-, folk- and symphonic rock into a big wonderful melting pot.

Ayreon album number seven: '01011001' is musically - like we all had expected - on one hand pushing the boundaries, exploring new territories and on the other hand going back to the roots. Revisiting the old days, with many references to earlier songs and structures - you could say that this album summarizes everything Ayreon is about in one album, in this case split into 2 discs.

So where does that leave us now? Well we are sadly left with an album that only has everything we starving Ayreon fans have been waiting for quite some time, an album that with most likelihood will be head and shoulder above any kind of competition at the end of 2008. An album that will stand the test of time and an album that has some the best compositions from the hands of Arjen since 'Into the Electric Castle'.

Arjen has written and produced another brilliant journey into the universe of the 'Forever' race, each guest has plenty of room to shine on their own, and he leaves them their space and it shows. Sonically we are for most parts in tested waters with a crystal clear and homogenous sound.

I get the feeling that Arjen with this album has explored the universe of 'Forever' to its full extent. Like there's no clear road ahead with this universe, the story is told. End of the story both sonically and musically.

Time will tell... For now - sit back, relax and be drawn into the magically universe of A.A. Lucassen - it’s worth your time...


  Disc One - Planet Y
01. Age of Shadows
02. Comatose
03. Liquid Eternity
04. Connect the Dots
05. Beneath the Waves
06. Newborn Race
07. Ride the Comet
08. Web of Lies
  Disc Two - Earth
01. The Final Extinction
02. Waking Dreams
03. The Truth is in Here
04. Unnatural Selection
05. River of Time
06. E=MC2
07. The Sixth Extinction
Label: InsideOut Music
Distribution: Target (Denmark)
Reviewed by: Kenn Jensen
Date: December 22nd 2007
Website: www.ayreon.com