Rating:
7.0
Ayreon - 01011001
23 January 2008


Disc I [Y]
01. Age Of Shadows [incl. 'We Are Forever']
02. Comatose
03. Liquid Eternity
04. Connect The Dots
05. Beneath The Waves
    1 - Beneath The Waves
    2 - Face The Facts
    3 - But A Memory...
    4 - World Without Walls
    5 - Reality Bleeds
06. Newborn Race
    1 - The Incentive
    2 - The Vision
    3 - The Procedure
    4 - Another Life
    5 - Newborn Race
    6 - The Conclusion
07. Ride The Comet
08. Web Of Lies

Disc II [Earth]
01. The Fifth Extinction
    1 - Glimmer Of Hope
    2 - World Of Tomorrow Dreams
    3 - Collision Course
    4 - From The Ashes
    5 - Glimmer Of Hope [Reprise]
02. Waking Dreams
03. The Truth Is In Here
04. Unnatural Selection
05. River Of Time
06. E=MC²
07. The Sixth Extinction
    1 - Echoes On The Wind
    2 - Radioactive Grave
    3 - 2085
    4 - To The Planet Of Red
    5 - Spirit On The Wind
    6 - Complete The Circle

Disc III [Special & Deluxe Limited edition][DVD]
01. Behind The Scenes: Making of 01011001
02. Beneath The Waves [CGI Movie (5.1/2.0)]
03. Guide Demos [feat. Arjen on vocals][audio]
04. Ed Warby's Session: Recording drums
05. Bloopers [audio]


The more Ayreon albums get released and the more spectacular the line up becomes – the more known Ayreon becomes and the more awaited the new album is. That is nothing bad by itself but it does hit a ceiling eventually. There are basically two statements I want to get across about this album. First, it's perfect. Second, it's not.

How so? There are number of reasons and the eventual opinion depends heavily on your viewpoint. If you have never ever listened to Ayreon before and are an open-minded person, you'll be stunned. Not just by what you hear. Most likely you'll be stunned by the understanding that you have indeed never ever listened to anything like it.

However, if you are as avid fan as I am, you may not feel all right about it. Don't get me wrong – I do like the album and I'm sure I'll find it playing plenty of times. What actually brings me down, is that this album sounds like an all time best of album of all that Arjen Lucassen has ever released. I wouldn't have thought it this way but it's not good. There, it's out now and I'm sticking by this opinion. You see, all the while listening to the album there's a feeling of familiarity hovering. I hear a riff and I think: "Oh, that's cool! That's definitely awesome! Yeah! But damn it I know it. I know it! Where have I heard it? Oh, yeah! That's Star One. Oh, here's another one! Right, 'The Human Equation' is what this sounds like." And so on. You get the idea.

Basically this album is a fusion of best parts of Ayreon, Ambeon, Star One and Stream of Passion. What you get, however, is not half as awesome as you would think. The best part in some context is like a mountain peak, a release of emotions that stands out. Now, if you take two such peaks and put them next to each other and generally raise the bar, these mountain peaks don't seem mountain peaks at all any more. Putting awesome things right next to each other heightens your awesomeness threshold and you don't find it awesome but just plain above average. To put it bluntly, your ooh-sense gets numbed rather fast.

What "01011001" lacks is freshness and something new. To date, every other Ayreon album (or Arjen album, to be precise) has brought something that has not been present before. I can't complain about musicianship or singers. Everything is excellently done and produced to the maximum. The quantity is not quality, however. I mean, 11 singers on "The Human Equation" was on the very edge. 17 singers on "01011001" is way over the top. It blends together and all the really awesome voices fade in the wall of sound. I'd say that only Jonas Renkse, Anneke van Giersbergen and Jorn Lande manage to really stand out and shine. Jonas and Anneke sing together "We Are Forever" part of "Age of Shadows" and "Waking Dreams" and if nothing else, hearing those two songs performed by these two awesome voices should make the whole experience worthwhile.

In the end it comes down to how much of Ayreon and it's side projects you know. If you know everything, this won't rock your socks off. If you don't know anything, congratulations, you may just have opened a door into a world full of most talented singers and musicians on the planet. Ayreon is an excellent catalogue of new bands to discover for yourself. I'm, however, sticking with the opinion of "01011001" being a best of album, a rather ingenious (maybe even unconscious) and commercially successful idea judging by the furore it is causing. To make an end statement, this album only proved how excellent are Jonas, Anneke and Jorn and why I admire them.


Band profile: Ayreon
Album: 01011001


 



Written on 22.02.2008 by
Ivor
I shoot people.

Sometimes, I also write about it.
More reviews by Ivor ››

Staff review by
Jeff

Rating:
9.5
How can I start this review? How many words will I have to use to talk about the new Ayreon? There are definitely too many things to say about "01011001", the new baby of Arjen Lucassenů I should maybe try to write a book about this album and the whole Ayreon story but well, I will just write a review and I promise I will do my best to explain what "01011001" is, and sorry if I'm a bit long this time roundů

Read more ››
published 05.02.2008 | Comments (68)



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Ivor - 22.02.2008 at 23:06  
Being a fan I couldn't let Jeff get away with his review being the only one. I sort of had my own thoughts to say out, so here's a second review of the album that's stirring the waters this year. Enjoy!

I.
Ellie - 22.02.2008 at 23:37  
Im an avid Ayreon fan..but I havent heard this one yet. Im not in such a hurry after reading the review
Adus - 23.02.2008 at 01:25  
I couldn't really figure out why this album didn't amaze me, since it was obvious it was 'perfect' but I think you hit the nail on the head. It sounds like everything I've already heard, which is good in one way but it had no 'wow' factor at all. I'd say my favorite songs are Age of Shadows (We Are Forever in particular), Unnatural Selection and The Sixth Extinction, as they all have good tunes. The rest just hasn't really given me much to think about. Still a good album, but not an early contender for best of the year in my opinion, unless everything else that I'm looking forward to turns out mediocre.
ylside - 23.02.2008 at 01:34  
Interesting to read critics from an avid fan.
But as I said in the other review it somehow turned as expected for me. Even if by principle..such music should be umpredictable.


"Oh, here's another one! Right, 'The Human Equation' ", was also my thought at some point (forgot where or which track)
Dark Blood - 23.02.2008 at 02:54  
I understand your point of view. In some way It's the same with me.. in musical terms always feels like something he's done before, but on the other hand, IMO, originality is still there and, specially the lyrical part, it blows me away. As I'm a big Arjen AND concept albums fan, as long as it's original and we get the feeling of it, it's a good album.
Talvi - 23.02.2008 at 04:25  
Hey, Daniel has some cool lines too! Even though I tried to hear him a lot being a fan of him. But I find that vocalists hre 'blend' together, so it's difficult to notice which is singing at the right moment, something never happened me on The Human Equation.

Oh, and Hansi dissapoints me a lot.
Dane Train - 23.02.2008 at 05:39  
Wow. I agree so much with your review. Now, I am a die hard Human Equation fan, and when I heard some of my favorite vocalists were going to be on this album (and yes, I do love Ty) I freaded out. When I first heard the album it did nothing for me. I held a blank expression for a while.

Well...this is Prog Metal, and like most Prog music, it is an aquired taste. Yeah, still has no grown on me. Everything is so well exicuted, and the production is flawless, it is just too much.

Also, not one of these songs stands out to me. Mention the name Ayreon and multiple melodies pop into my head like "Ayreon, don't you know who you are...", "Do it right, do it right, we aint got all night..." and even "I over heard the elders, telling each other stories..." This album, none of it sticks with me.
Doc Godin - 23.02.2008 at 07:56  
Wow, an Ayreon album with a 7? Thats fresh! Judging by the couple samples Ive heard from this album your review seems a lot more fair (sorry Jeff! I like your other reviews nonetheless!). I'm glad someone took a more rational look at the album. And I can see your point about freshness, it sounds like same old Ayreon to me. I'm hoping there won't be 14 other reviews for this album.
blackthor - 23.02.2008 at 11:49  
My first reaction when i saw how you rate this album was " This man is very far from the truth", but when i read carefully, i stopped a minute and said to myself " Wait this man really put the finger on the hot spot". This album is great, lyrics awesome, music well done from all aspects so from this points of view i will rate it 9.5, but if we discuss this album from the point of view of originality, yes Ivor is right 7 is a fair rate.
gid - 23.02.2008 at 14:12  
This review is interesting, because although I approached it from the same situation as you, Ivor, I came away with a completely different opinion. For me, this album fixed everything I didn't like about The Human Equation. When I first heard The Human Equation I thought there were way too many guest singers that just didn't gel, and that was the major negative for me for that album. With this album, however, there are more guest singers but they sing well together. Basically where The Human Equation sounded like a prog fan's 'dream team', this album sounds a whole lot more cohesive. To me, anyway.

As far as the musicianship goes, I think this album is simply brilliant. It balances the ambient, dream-like sound I loved on Universal Migrator Part 1 with the heaviness of The Human Equation and, in my opinion, it achieves the perfect mixture.

The problem with rating the originality of this album is that as Ayreon progresses, it's going to be harder and harder to for Arjen to do something radically new and different, simply because in his previous albums he covered so many different styles and merged them into what Ayreon is. I'd agree that in this album there aren't as many "whoa, that's new" moments, but what I do feel is that Arjen's perfected what he does well.

The more I listen to this album, the more I think it's my favourite, and when I look at this album in terms of the ongoing Ayreon story, it just pulls all those separate storylines together and blows me away.
Baz Anderson - 23.02.2008 at 15:31  
I think the urge to try and douse the hype about the album has come across more so than needed and overly critical..
yes, now I know all the Ayreon albums very well but this was the album that started it all - maybe because it was my first, but I think this review really plays down the album
okay, maybe looking back there are things you can find in other places, but comparing to the standards of the whole metal genre today - this album is still a masterpiece.. maybe "Into The Electric Castle" will always be the best Ayreon album, but this album still does what it does amazingly well and worth more than an average rating I think it is given with a little spite here
Fernand - 23.02.2008 at 16:12  
Written by Baz Anderson on 23.02.2008 at 15:31

I think the urge to try and douse the hype about the album has come across more so than needed and overly critical..
yes, now I know all the Ayreon albums very well but this was the album that started it all - maybe because it was my first, but I think this review really plays down the album
okay, maybe looking back there are things you can find in other places, but comparing to the standards of the whole metal genre today - this album is still a masterpiece.. maybe "Into The Electric Castle" will always be the best Ayreon album, but this album still does what it does amazingly well and worth more than an average rating I think it is given with a little spite here


I totally agree with you. That's really great work and worth a higher rating considering all the work Arjen put into this to complete his "Ayreon story".
Ivor - 23.02.2008 at 16:25  
@Largos: Yes, Daniel has cool lines. In fact everyone has but it doesn't stand out as much as for the three I mentioned.

@Dane: I wouldn't say this album has no memorable tunes, they just don't stick out as much as on previous albums. There are tunes that stick.

@Baz: I don't intend to douse the interest. I do know where you are coming from, for you this was the first album and it opened up a new world. Maybe it's the reason why I love "Into the Electric Castle" the most - that was the first one I listened. I've been listening to Arjen's projects for about 10 years now. That's a little bit different than your position. What I'm actually trying to get across it that Arjen stayed within the already established boundaries. I'm not saying it wasn't a challenge to make this album. What I'm trying to say, is that this album doesn't challenge me as a listener with something totally new that cannot previously be associated with Arjen't music. That's what I referred to as the sense of familiarity.

As for the rating, it is subjective, as is the review. And as far as the ratings go, they are never absolute. This what you call average is well above average in the scene actually. I wanted it to reflect the feeling in comparison to previous albums. Had I weighted this album against the scene, "Into the Electric Castle" would have to be 12 or something. Other than that, I think people give way too much credibility to a simple number.

I.
Fairëalkon - 24.02.2008 at 04:02  
This album is a natural evolution of Into "The Electric Castle" Very good, but not perfect.
Storchillarn - 24.02.2008 at 11:44  
I listened to the album quite a lot when it was released and thought it was his best after ItEC. I think I kind of over-listened to it because next thing I knew I felt really negative about the album. Now I'm pretty confident in saying it is up there with ItEC and THE, possibly better than THE. It does lack that little extra but a lot of songs are extremely well put together (Age of Shadows, Beneath the Waves, Fifth Extinction, River of Time). Maybe it should've been a single-disc album.. if it wasn't for that cheesy story.

Another thing, having Jorn on your album is dangerous! On every album that guy takes part in I always end up wishing he would have sung the whole album by himself (Avantasia - Scarecrow?), except for the Allen/Lande-stuff.
madgarry - 24.02.2008 at 22:38  
A great great album,I can agree to some point with the reviewer it is a bit like a best of, as some of it sounds familiar,but it still rocks,its a 8.5 for me
Introspekrieg - 24.02.2008 at 23:07  
Yes yes, now the dust has settled, the excitement has been quelled and we have to take a magnifying glass to this "masterpiece." This album is so close to perfection, if Arjen had only left out "Connect The Dots" and "Web Of Lies" this would be the best Ayreon. But, I understand that part of the concept required more storyline driven songs, it just seems like a waste to even have Simone Simons credited on this album. The flow of the album is hindered by these speedbumps and I think everyone raving about this album before others had heard it only set them up to be disappointed, w/o the "Wow!" factor.
100% / 15 songs = 6.66 per song. 15 - 2 duds = 13 * 6.66 = 86.6
My Rating = 8.7
Harmonic - 25.02.2008 at 02:14  
Written by Introspekrieg on 24.02.2008 at 23:07

Yes yes, now the dust has settled, the excitement has been quelled and we have to take a magnifying glass to this "masterpiece." This album is so close to perfection, if Arjen had only left out "Connect The Dots" and "Web Of Lies" this would be the best Ayreon. But, I understand that part of the concept required more storyline driven songs, it just seems like a waste to even have Simone Simons credited on this album. The flow of the album is hindered by these speedbumps and I think everyone raving about this album before others had heard it only set them up to be disappointed, w/o the "Wow!" factor.
100% / 15 songs = 6.66 per song. 15 - 2 duds = 13 * 6.66 = 86.6
My Rating = 8.7

Nice, but you're making the math awfully complicated. Observe:

13 good songs / 15 total songs = 0.87, so you know the rating out of 10 has to be 8.7 - see?
Introspekrieg - 25.02.2008 at 04:17  
Written by Guest on 25.02.2008 at 02:14

Nice, but you're making the math awfully complicated. Observe:

13 good songs / 15 total songs = 0.87, so you know the rating out of 10 has to be 8.7 - see?



That's why I don't do reviews, they would just be long and pointlessly calculated to dizziness. It was cool to use the 6.66 repeating though...
Harmonic - 25.02.2008 at 05:44  
Written by Introspekrieg on 25.02.2008 at 04:17

Written by Guest on 25.02.2008 at 02:14

Nice, but you're making the math awfully complicated. Observe:

13 good songs / 15 total songs = 0.87, so you know the rating out of 10 has to be 8.7 - see?



That's why I don't do reviews, they would just be long and pointlessly calculated to dizziness. It was cool to use the 6.66 repeating though...

Your written review is good - concise and to the point. Do you usually crunch numbers to come up with a rating? (That's the way I do it. An album is the sum of its parts, so I rate each track separately and take an average to get an overall rating.)
dismaleuphony - 25.02.2008 at 08:54  
I'm glad there is a review out here that is a bit more reasonable with this latest Ayreon release. However, I actually had no familiarity with any of the actual Ayreon releases prior to this - but I am very familiar with Ambeon and Stream Of Passion.

I do agree with you there seems to be a "best of" flavor here - in fact, the way the singers all "ad lib" in the final track really make it feel like Ayreon is celebrating itself, because I really think all the flair takes away from the album's seriousness. And, there are simply too many vocalists that get lost in the songs to really make them worthy of being present.

I agree with you that Jonas's and Anneke's vocals are masterful - but that's nothing to do with Ayreon, they have been great for several years now independently! This has some great tracks, but your rating is accurate in many ways

(And "connect the dots" still makes me nauseous!!!)
santiagomp - 26.02.2008 at 18:18  
This is really an interesting review of the "best album of the year"... It's true, Arjen took the best of the best of his last works and make something new, that doesnt sound new. Everything is perfect, he knows exactely "who" must sing "what", but that's something everybody knew from his last works.
You cannot compare AYREON with AVANTASIA, but having both new albums on hand, i must say that the evolution of Tobias is grewing incredibly fast (even if i prefer his old music than the new Avantasia, it's good to know that artist are still alive and are able to do something different). Arjen is on the top, but he must find a new way to surprise his fans. But I'm sure, Arjen will do a change now that this hystory is being closed.
Pianoman - 02.03.2008 at 23:22  
I think this was the right direction. I mean this is very different from the human equation. It is very atmospheric but not in the way that Star One (I think Star One sounds more like Pink Floyd) is. He used a lot of Synthesizers, like in the songs Beneath The Waves and Waking Dreams, and that created the authentic atmosphere of this record plus the darker music. The album is the darkest release from Ayreon and I think it still sounds original comparing to their latest albums.
Spyroid - 12.03.2008 at 14:28  
Written by Guest on 02.03.2008 at 23:22

I think this was the right direction. I mean this is very different from the human equation. It is very atmospheric but not in the way that Star One (I think Star One sounds more like Pink Floyd) is. He used a lot of Synthesizers, like in the songs Beneath The Waves and Waking Dreams, and that created the authentic atmosphere of this record plus the darker music. The album is the darkest release from Ayreon and I think it still sounds original comparing to their latest albums.


You're not thinking of Ambeon? Star One is almost pure metal in my eyes, the "least" prog thing Arjen has ever tried for sure.
Well, comparing anything with Pink Floyd is heresy, but a metal album? That's just wierd
Mystic Ice - 24.06.2008 at 02:36  
Written by Spyroid on 12.03.2008 at 14:28

Written by Guest on 02.03.2008 at 23:22

I think this was the right direction. I mean this is very different from the human equation. It is very atmospheric but not in the way that Star One (I think Star One sounds more like Pink Floyd) is. He used a lot of Synthesizers, like in the songs Beneath The Waves and Waking Dreams, and that created the authentic atmosphere of this record plus the darker music. The album is the darkest release from Ayreon and I think it still sounds original comparing to their latest albums.


You're not thinking of Ambeon? Star One is almost pure metal in my eyes, the "least" prog thing Arjen has ever tried for sure.
Well, comparing anything with Pink Floyd is heresy, but a metal album? That's just wierd



I hear the Pink Floyd influence in Star One all the way. not to mention the addition of Hawkwind, further proving the old prog rock theory. Not that it is a bad thing but regardless, metal is a product of rock. Comparisons are bound to happen.
Spyroid - 24.06.2008 at 11:03  
Written by Guest on 24.06.2008 at 02:36

I hear the Pink Floyd influence in Star One all the way. not to mention the addition of Hawkwind, further proving the old prog rock theory. Not that it is a bad thing but regardless, metal is a product of rock. Comparisons are bound to happen.


The synthesisers are actually very Hawkwind, but I still really don't think there's much of Pink Floyd in there - or any Hawkwind in the riffs or rythms. Hawkwind and PF are two of my favourite bands so in my book I should by able to hear influences if there was any - but I know it's not that simple. Pink Floyd for me, for you and for a third person can be totally diferrent things. Nevermind, anyway I still think it's Arjens 'worst' work.
TyrannicalGOD - 13.09.2008 at 04:47  
i disagree with the review almost completely .....if its not broke....dont fix it... the only simalarity i see with this album compared to the rest is the STORY CONTEXT...
ArcesseEum - 29.10.2008 at 01:04  
Its a review of everything hes done up to this point, so it makes sense to sound like everything else hes done.
Powerslavex - 27.11.2008 at 16:35  
Come on a 7! that's a bit harsh
Morphis - 19.12.2008 at 05:10  
I agree with this review, this album is good but everytime i was listening to it, i also got the impression that i already have listened to that sound before. It seems a bit maded of recycled material.
Knowing Ayreon discography this album didnt pump me up like some old ones but after The Human Equation masterpiece i guess in the end, even after 4 years was hard to do something new with the same power. 7.5 is my rating.
Uirapuru - 31.10.2009 at 07:23  
Better than the ''The Human Equation'' in my opinion, thats for sure. This album has less filler parts, less useless instrumental shit, thats how I prefer Ayreon music.

Best work from the paranormal dude
annodomini - 09.02.2010 at 18:49  
I will never understand those who says the this one is better than Human Equation

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