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Ayreon - 01011001 review

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Band: Ayreon
Album: 01011001
Release date: 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 [feat. Lori Linstruth]
    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 [feat. Derek Sherinian]
    1 - Glimmer Of Hope
    2 - World Of Tomorrow Dreams
    3 - Collision Course
    4 - From The Ashes
    5 - Glimmer Of Hope [Reprise]
02. Waking Dreams [feat. Tomas Bodin]
03. The Truth Is In Here
04. Unnatural Selection
05. River Of Time
06. E=MC² [feat. Michael Romeo]
07. The Sixth Extinction [feat. Joost van den Broek]
    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.

Written on 22.02.2008 by I shoot people.

Sometimes, I also write about it.

And one day I'm going to start a band. We're going to be playing pun-rock.

Staff review by
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 Lucassen 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 round

published 05.02.2008 | Comments (69)

Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 32   Visited by: 446 users
31.10.2009 - 07:23
Liver Failure
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

member of the true crusade against old school heavy metal, early 80s thrash, NWOBHM, traditional doom, first and second wave black metal, old school death metal, US power metal, 70s prog rock and atmospheric doomsludgestoner. o/
09.02.2010 - 18:49

I will never understand those who says the this one is better than Human Equation
the riddle wants to be...

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