Ayreon - The Theory of Everything (2013)

Aaarg... This is a difficult album to review. The reason is Ayreon music is just too complex, it's difficult to give a comment on each song unless we go track by track. The Theory of Everything is the eight studio album, an opera of metal music as always. After his last album 01011001 the first Ayreon story was actually reach the end, so this album is a new tale. Arjen Anthony Lucassen is hiring again. Interesting line up of vocalists and instrumentalist. Now that we know the gathering of super star is quite usual nowday, in 2013 we already see Avantasia, Timo Tolkki's Avalon and some others. In Ayreon line up we mostly see fresh singer such as Tommy Karevik who did excellent in Kamelot, Sara Squadrani as main female lead, and many others. In instrumentalist, it's crazier with YES and ELP keyboardist on board and Jordan Rudess, who been busy lately with DT and side jobs.

The Theory of Everything is basically four compositions with interesting movements title. The first phase is Singularity. On The Theory Of Everything part I,  we introduced to the main theme. It's story started simply but intrique with the Teacher and the Girl introducing the Prodigy.  Very familiar tunes as it's something like The Human Equation:Isolation theme. This phase mostly just an 'introductionary' where the storyline that over the music pretty much. Only in The Teacher's Discovery we turn into contrasting theme with different set of scale. Progressive Waves is mostly mostly variation movement without voices, enjoy the battle of keyboardist. And the phase I simply finished after this climax with the main theme repeated.
Phase II: Symmetry, this phase even more focus on the vocal parts. See how in The Consultation the opera-type of singing make things difficult in the instrumentation department. From Diagnosis to Potential is dedicated to developed the dialog. Quantum Chaos is the 'solos' movement. It ended the phase with The Predictions, which is making things hanging and unresolved.

Phase III: Entanglement, as in the templates 2nd movement Transformation is where the main theme introduced. Unlike the first two phase where things a bit slow and light, in Collision we getting heavier and faster. The duet male character taking the show under this movement. We interrupted briefly by Frequency Modulation as a bridge into the sub part. Then String Theory is likely the solos movement with Fortune? ended the phase, again in unresolved situation. Phase IV: Unification, is to be the last phase and expected most interesting one. It's started quickly, Mirror Of Dreams introduced the main theme. It's more lyrical or in the term of heavy metal, more melodic. A bass house music beat starts The Lighthouse, to be the calm before the storm feeling type. This phase begin to quote the previous phase, as in the Argument part II, we again recall the dialogue between the Mother and the Father, with his high pitch voices. We reach the beginning of the last, start with the Breakthrough. The conflicts between the Prodigy and the Rival come to happy ending. Dark Energy start with something victory theme so we know the ending is near. Because we back to the grand main theme in The Theory of Everything part III. Ok folks, light on , but enjoy the last reprise to the Blackboard that basically, again, make the story open ended.

Basically this is an album with pretty heavy storyline and the music did put aside for a little. There is not much highlight of musical, as in say, The Human Equation. So we will mostly remember the vocal song, rather than the instrumentation, except for the main theme. Excellent work by Arjen, he able to starts a new Ayreon project with pretty much same quality as their predecessor. A sequel is to be expected.

Metal Harem class: ********** nine stars out of ten

Ayreon - The Theory of Everything (2013)
Buy it HERE - Amazon

Disc I
Disc II
01. Phase I: Singularity
01. Phase III: Entanglement
    1 - Prologue: The Blackboard
    1 - Fluctuations
    2 - The Theory Of Everything [I]
    2 - Transformation
    3 - Patterns
    3 - Collision
    4 - The Prodigy's World
    4 - Side Effects
    5 - The Teacher's Discovery
    5 - Frequency Modulation
    6 - Love And Envy
    6 - Magnetism
    7 - Progressive Waves
    7 - Quid Pro Quo
    8 - The Gift
    8 - String Theory
    9 - The Eleventh Dimension
    9 - Fortune?
    10 - Inertia

    11 - The Theory Of Everything [Part II]

02. Phase II: Symmetry
02. Phase IV: Unification
    1 - The Consultation
    1 - Mirror Of Dreams
    2 - Diagnosis
    2 - The Lighthouse
    3 - The Argument I
    3 - The Argument II
    4 - The Rival's Dilemma
    4 - The Parting
    5 - Surface Tension
    5 - The Visitation
    6 - A Reason To Live
    6 - The Breakthrough
    7 - Potential
    7 - The Note
    8 - Quantum Chaos
    8 - The Uncertainty Principle
    9 - Dark Medicine
    9 - Dark Energy
    10 - Alive!
    10 - The Theory Of Everything [Part III]
    11 - The Prediction
    11 - The Blackboard [reprise]

Arjen Anthony Lucassen – electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards

JB (Grand Magus) as The Teacher
Sara Squadrani (Ancient Bards) as The Girl
Michael Mills (Toehider) as The Father
Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil) as The Mother
Tommy Karevik (Kamelot, Seventh Wonder) as The Prodigy
Marco Hietala (Nightwish, Tarot) as The Rival
John Wetton (Asia, King Crimson) as The Psychiatrist

Ed Warby (Hail of Bullets, Gorefest) – drums
Ben Mathot (Dis) –violin
Rick Wakeman (Yes) – keyboards
Keith Emerson (Emerson Lake and Palmer) – keyboards
Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) – keyboards
Steve Hackett (Genesis) – lead guitar
Troy Donockley (Nightwish) – Whistles, Uilleann pipes
Maaike Peterse (Kingfisher Sky) – cello
Jeroen Goossens (Flairck) – flute and other woodwinds
Siddharta Barnhoorn – orchestrations
Michael Mills (Toehider) – Irish Bouzouki
Wilmer Waarbroek – backing vocals

Ayreon Theory of Everything album review

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