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
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
'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
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...