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Ayreon: The Source

It's been four years since the release of The Theory of Everything in 2013, which is generally the amount of time it takes for Arjen Anthony Lucassen to cook up a new Ayreon album. Considering the scope of these albums, a lot of work goes into the writing and organizing of the musicians & singers, and Lucassen no doubt utilizes every available moment at his disposal. The Source now arrives, the Ayreon project once again surrounded with plenty of buzz and fanfare, as Lucassen has assembled a very fine line-up to bring this latest sci-fi progressive rock/metal epic to fruition.

The Cast:
Arjen Anthony Lucassen / electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitar, mandolin, analog synthesizers, Hammond, Solina Strings
Ed Warby - drums
Joost van den Broek (ex-After Forever) / grand and electric piano
Ben Mathot / violin
Maaike Peterse (Kingfisher Sky) / cello
Jeroen Goossens (ex-Pater Moeskroen) / wind instruments
Paul Gilbert (Mr Big/Racer X) / guitar solo
Guthrie Govan (The Aristocrats, ex-Asia) / guitar solo
Marcel Coenen (Sun Caged) / guitar solo
Mark Kelly (Marillion) / synthesizer solo
James LaBrie (Dream Theater) / vocals as The Historian
Tommy Karevik (Kamelot, Seventh Wonder) / vocals as The Opposition Leader
Tommy Rogers (Between the Buried and Me) / vocals as The Chemist
Simone Simons (Epica) / vocals as The Counselor
Nils K. Rue (Pagan's Mind) / vocals as The Prophet
Tobias Sammet (Edguy, Avantasia) / vocals as The Captain
Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian) / vocals as The Astronomer
Mike Mills (Toehider) / vocals as TH-1
Russell Allen (Symphony X) / vocals as The President
Michael Eriksen (Circus Maximus) / vocals as The Diplomat
Floor Jansen (Nightwish) / vocals as The Biologist
Zaher Zorgati (Myrath) / vocals as The Preacher

As you can see by the list above, some of the very finest singers and musicians in the world of prog, prog & power metal have joined up for this latest opus. Having veterans such as LaBrie, Allen, Jansen, Eriksen, Kursch, Sammet, Karevik, Rogers, Rue, Mills, and Zorgati, and Simons all together playing their parts will truly be a dream come true for many fans, and they do not disappoint one bit. Musically, The Source is pure bombast, fluctuating between rousing heavy metal one minute, and gorgeous prog the next, the soloists all having their spots to drop in some blazing excursions (Govan, Coenen, and Gilbert especially shred up a storm) but kudos to the talents of multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire Lucassen for such fine arrangements that include massive riffs and symphonic keyboards. Highlights are many, but the crushing and quite epic "The Day That the World Breaks Down" and "Everybody Dies", the latter with dueling vocals from Karevik (clean) and Rogers (growls), are absolute treats. Allen, who plays The President, wows on "Star of Sirrah" alongside impressive contributions from LaBrie, Sammet, Rogers, Rue, Eriksen, Jansen, and Kursch, making for just a great all-star vocal extravaganza. Images of vintage Deep Purple and Rainbow pop up on the chugging Hammond organ/guitar/synth rocker "Run! Apocalypse! Run!", and catchy metal tracks "Aquatic Race" and "Into the Ocean" feature headbanging moments surrounded by hooks and splendid vocals by the cast. Love Jethro Tull? Check out the engaging prog number "Deathcry Of A Race", complete with flutes and orchestral keys, and "Planet Y Is Alive!" is a crunchy prog-metal workout, the riffs huge and the vocals soaring.

As with any Ayreon release, there's a lot of material to take it and so much going on that it will take multiple listens to digest it all, but it's worth all the time invested. It's epic, it's heavy, it's symphonic, and it's bombastic, all things we love about Ayreon. The vocals are outstanding, and I can't stress enough how well this all-star cast blended together on this album. Top notch stuff, and another must hear album here in the early part of 2017!

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
CD1 (44:07)
Chronicle 1: The Frame
1. The Day That The World Breaks Down (12:32)
2. Sea Of Machines (5:08)
3. Everybody Dies (4:42)

Chronicle 2: The Aligning Of The Ten
4. Star Of Sirrah (7:03)
5. All That Was (3:36)
6. Run! Apocalypse! Run! (4:52)
7. Condemned To Live (6:14)

CD2 (44:26)
Chronicle 3: The Transmigration
1. Aquatic Race (6:46)
2. The Dream Dissolves (6:11)
3. Deathcry Of A Race (4:43)
4. Into The Ocean (4:53)

Chronicle 4: The Rebirth
5. Bay Of Dreams (4:24)
6. Planet Y Is Alive! (6:02)
7. The Source Will Flow" (4:13)
8. Journey To Forever (3:19)
9. The Human Compulsion (2:15)
10. March Of The Machines (1:40)

Total Time 1:28:33

Added: April 16th 2017
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 3350
Language: english

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