AYREON – 01011001

AYREON - 01011001
  • 9/10
    AYREON - 01011001 - 9/10


Inside Out
Release date: January 25, 2008

User Review
10/10 (1 vote)

Whenever Prog-God Arjen Lucassen graces his fellowship with a new album, a few facts are constants in an otherwise ever-changing music scene: First, the epos is always looooooong, either a double album or at least two separate ones like The Universal Migrator; secondly, one cannot but wonder how the heck he is always managing to get so many great guest musicians to record the album with him; and finally, he is always giving everybody else a lesson in songwriting, atmosphere, and emotion.

This is all true again for the album so strangely named 01011001 (which is the binary code for “Y”). It is again a double album with over 100 minutes of music; the sheer number of guest musicians is overwhelming, and when one checks the names, it is apart from a few lesser known persons an incredible who-is-who in Prog and Power Metal (just to name the well known people, there are Ty Tabor of King’s X, Tom Englund of Evergrey, Jonas Renkse of Katatonia, Anneke van Giersbergen of The Gathering, Jorn Lande of … uh, almost everybody these days, Daniel Gildenlöw of Pain Of Salvation, Hansi Kürsch of Blind Guardian, Floor Jansen and Joost Van Den Brock of After Forever, Steve Lee of Gotthard, Simone Simonens of Epica, Ed Warby of Gorefest, Derek Sherinian, Michael Romeo of Symphony X, Tomas Bodin of Flower Kings, and Bob Catley of Magnum); and it is a masterpiece again.

It does not come as a surprise that Mr. Lucassen continues down the road of Space Metal and wrote a weird Science Fiction story for this album, which involves a strange race, degeneration, Comets, DNA, the secret how human life came into existence, and other quite unusual story ideas, which to discover should be up to each listener himself. The album also closes the circle to the two Universal Migrator albums as the Migrator is mentioned in the lyrics. It seems the emotional and melancholic The Human Equation intermission was nothing more than just that.

For every Ayreon fan, this introduction was surely enough to make him run to the next record store/ download site/ mail order company to get his copy of one of the first 2008 highlights in Metal. For everybody else, it makes sense to characterize the album a little further: Lucassen’s specialty is to create progressive, elaborate, and extensive songs with a certain degree of heavyness, but always solidly based on Prog ground. Since his roots are more Hard Rock than real Metal –- he began his career with Dutch formations Bodine and Vengeance –- the guitar is equally important as the keyboard. His specialty is to combine catchy melodies with compositions filled with depths and intelligence and such diversity and class that other bands would have made a whole album out of each single long track of Ayreon. The current album has three tracks that extend over ten minutes, and as usual, every single one is a reason to buy this album alone. But, also the shorter songs hardly pale against the triumvirate of elaboration. That is mainly because changes in mood and tempo are frequent, and especially on the first CD when one is not yet used to the drastic differences between the songs, “Comatose“ and “Connect The Dots“ manage to catch one off guard. The use of different voices to represent characters, moods, and personality aspects create a diversity that always makes an album a frequent guest in one’s player. In this, 01011001 is eye to eye with The Human Equation, with the style and sound of Universal Migrator. After a few spins, it all falls into place and creates a picture full of details and colors, nuances and moods that will be difficult to beat this year. With a double album it is difficult to avoid an occasional length, though, and that is the reason for not giving the highest score here. Sometimes, a few lines less, or a repetition avoided, an atmospheric part shortened would maybe have made it even more exciting, so it fails to reach the ultimate height – even if barely.

Maybe if you let this album mature a while and dwell on it a bit, it would be no surprise if this would turn out to be his best work so far …


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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