Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ayreon - A metal saga

Soooo...it seems like my first post will be about the progressive metal band called Ayreon, and it will be a massive post!


If you never heard about this band you'll probably ask "Why 'A metal saga'?".
The answer is pretty simple: because Ayreon is a huge single concept, I mean that every album is like an episode of a great story narrated through music.


The man behind this great projest is a dutch musician called Arjen Anthony Lucassen who also created other projects such as Ambeon, Star One, Stream of Passion and Guilt Machine.
In fact it's kind of wrong calling Ayreon a "band" because there are no stable members, the musicians and the singers involved in the project change from album to album and sometimes even from song to song, leaving Lucassen the only stable musician.


Alright! After this small presentation let's talk a little about the albums.


The Final Experiment -1995




This is the first album of the Ayreon project and probably the most underrated.
Lucassen had a pretty bad time searching for a label to release this album and the Ayreon project nearly before it's birth. "There is no market for this kind of music" is what most of the record executives answered him but eventually Arjen succeded realeseing the album.

The story narrated in this album in centered on the character from which the project takes its name, Ayreon.
The year is 2084 and scientists have developeda plan in order to save the world from its downfall. They manage to send signals back in time, which are received by a blind medieval minstrel, who has these visions from the future and takes on a mission to save mankind from its tragic fate.

The music style of this album ranges from Queen's rock to very atmospheric sounds, from ELP's progressive to folk music, all of this is melt in Lucassen's work.

This is absolutely one of the finest progressive debut albums ever.

Into The Electric Castle - 1998


Into The Electric Castle, second chapter of the Ayreon story is an absurdly beautiful album, probably the most beautiful in Ayreon's history.
The musical style is very similar to The Final Experiment but the whole experience is way more polished, mature, involving and epic. I don't really know how to describe this album  so i suggest you to just listen to it!

The plot is very different and the story seems totally detached ffrom the one in the previous album.
Eight character are picked from different times of mankind's history and are put together in "a place beyond time and space", their goal is to reach the Electric Castle overcoming all the dangers of that mysterious place.
The eight characters are:
An Highlander (performed by Fish) who thinks to be in hell.
An Indian (performed by Sharon den Adel) who thinks to be on a spiritual journey.
A Knight (performed by Damian Wilson) who thinks to be in Avalon searching for the Holy Grail.
A Roman (performed by Edwin Balogh) who thinks to be in the afterlife.
A Barbarian (performed by Jey van Feggelen) who thinks to be in some cursed, evil palce.
A Hippie (performed bu Lucassen himself) who thinks to be in an allucination caused by the weed he smoked.
An Egiptian (performed by Anneke van Giersbergen) who thinks to be in the hall of  Isis and Osiris.
A Futureman (performed by Edward Reekers) who carefully tries to examine the place they are in.
They are guided in their strange journey by a mysterious voice who refers to himself as "Forever fo the stars"

Even the story is so fucking beautiful and i don't even want to spoil it, this is just an album everyone should listen to at least once.


Universal Migrator - 2000

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The Universal Migrator album is split in two distinct chapters called "The Dream Sequencer" and "Flight of the Migrator".
The first part has a progressive-atmospheric kind of sound while the other is more Heavy Metal oriented.


The Dream Sequencer has been defined by Lucassen himself as "a melodic and atmospheric journey throgh time", the metal sound you could hear in Into The Elecric Castle is put aside and a futuristic rock atmosphere with a lot of electronic takes its place.


As previously stated Flight of the Migrator is way more Metal-oriented with massive use of guitars, everpresent keyboards and killer drumming, there are also some guests from other famous metal bands such as Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), Andi Derris (Helloween) and Fabio Leone (Rhapsody).

One of the main differences with the previous albums is the role singers have in the album, while in Into The Electric Castle and The Final Experiment each singer is "acting" as a specific character creating opera-like feeling, in this album each singer sings in one single song.

Here the story revolves around a man who is living on Mars, he is the first colonist on the red planet and also the last man alive. Using a machine called The Dream Sequencer he falls asleep and travels through time in his dreams, starting from his time he sees all human history, he sees the first man on Earth and beyond, he withnesses the birth of the whole universe.


The Human Equation - 2004



And here we are, this is absolutely my favourite Ayreon album.
Now the Ayreon project has gathered a lot of fans worldwide and Lucassen can dare inviting a lot of famous musicians and vocalists from other bands to participate in his project.

The plot is about a man who has a car accident and goes into a coma. During the coma he meets several characters in his head each one representing a sentiment, he must find the strength to wake up from the coma and some characters will try to help him wile others try to keep him trapped in the depths of his own mind.

Once again every singer has the role of a character in the story:
James Labrie (Dream Theater) has the role of  "Me" who is the man in the coma.
Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth) is the awesome voice of  "Fear".
Eric Clayton (Saviour Machine) is the voice of "Reason".
Heather Findlay (Mostly Autumn) is "Love".
Irene Jansen (Karma) is the voice of "Passion".
Magnus Ekwall (The Quill) is "Pride"
Devon Graves (Dead Soul Tribe/ ex-Psychotic Waltz) has the role of "Agony"
Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad) is "Rage"
Marcela Bovio (Elfonìa) is "Wife", the wife of "Me" of course ;)
Lucassen has the role of "Best Friend".
Mike Baker (Shadow Gallery) is the voice of "Father".

This album is Progressive Metal, with a shitload of contaminations but still damn great Progressive Metal.
The 20 songs of the album are all beautiful, all the singers did an awesome job and the journey in the mind of "Me" among memories and nightmares is never boring.

Another album i'd really suggest to everyone.

"I am pain / i am real / i'm not a dream / i'm the chain / around your neck / as you scream"

01011001 - 2008


01011001 (which is the ASCII code for the letter "Y") is the final chapter of the Ayreon story.
This time the singers are the voices of some alien people that live in a world with no war nor suffering and achieved eternal life by scientific means, but this led them to lose their emotions, their lives are eternal but meaningless and they are looking for something that will give them back their emotions, something to suffer for, something to be happy for.

The story in this album connects all the other albums in a huge, epic story but i won't tell you why or how, if you're curious you'll have to  listen to the album. ;)

Here the singers do not represent a specific character, they don't have a name but talk to eachother in every song. Just like in the previous album there are a lot of famous artist featuring in 01011001.
Tom S. Englund (Evergray)
Steve Lee (Gotthard)
Daniel Gildenlow (Pain of Salvation)
Hansi Kursch (Blind Guardian)
Floor Jansen (After Forever)
Jonas Renkse (Katatonia)
Anneke van Girsbergen (The Gathering)
Jorn Lande (Masterplan)
Magali Luyten (Virus IV)
Bob Catley (Magnum)

There are also Simone Simons (Epica) and Phidelaux Xavier (Phidelaux) who appear in the song Connect The Dots, Arjen Lucassen and Liselotte Hegt in the song The Truth is Here. These singers are supposed to represent human characters and don't appear in other songs.

The sound of the album is somewhat similar to his predecessor but a little heavier and darker, there is also a lot of Katatonia-feeling in some songs due to the fact that Renkse wanted to write the music of his parts by himself. The album is very enjoyable and even if i prefer The Human Equation songs like Newborn Race, Beneath The Waves and The Sixth Extinction are absolutely masterpieces.

Conclusions
The genius known as Arjen Lucassen managed to create 5 masterpieces of progressive music the kind of which have never been seen before but that's not all, he also created a very entertaining and clever plot (that would make a fucking good movie too) connecting all of these chapters and making the whole work even more epic and involving.

TL;DR
OP is a faggot but if you are a progster you must listen to Ayreon, it will blow your mind. ;-)


14 comments:

  1. yeah cool music but rlly fucking long tl;dr directly xD anyway showin support faggot :D

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  2. supporting

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  3. Cool story bro. Showing support!

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  4. love the post... I want to see moar!

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  5. wow man that was an epic post! :D

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  6. That's quite a lot to read :( Ayreon... I'll give it a try.

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  7. I liked the final experiment. O-o

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  8. I never thought of it that way... interesting

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  9. imma showin mah daily luv!!!! ;)
    w8ing for your add

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