AYREON — 01011001

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AYREON - 01011001 cover
4.23 | 75 ratings | 8 reviews
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Album · 2008

Filed under Progressive Metal


CD1: Y

1. Age of Shadows (including We Are Forever) (10:47)
2. Comatose (4:26)
3. Liquid Eternity (8:09)
4. Connect the Dots (4:12)
5. Beneath the Waves (8:26)
a) Beneath the Waves
b) Face the Facts
c) But a Memory...
d) World Without Walls
e) Reality Bleeds
6. Newborn Race (7:49)
a) The Incentive
b) The Vision
c) The Procedure
d) Another Life
e) Newborn Race
f) The Conclusion
7. Ride the Comet (3:29)
8. Web of Lies (2:50)

Total Time: 50:13

CD2: Earth

1. The Fifth Extinction (10:29)
a) Glimmer of Hope
b) World of Tomorrow Dreams
c) Collision Course
d) From the Ashes
e) Glimmer of Hope (reprise)
2. Waking Dreams (6:31)
3. The Truth Is in Here (5:12)
4. Unnatural Selection (7:15)
5. River of Time (4:24)
6. E=mc² (5:50)
7. The Sixth Extinction (12:18)
a) Echoes on the Wind
b) Radioactive Grave
c) 2085
d) To the Planet of Red
e) Spirit on the Wind
f) Complete the Circle

Total Time: 52:02

Total Time: 102:15


- Arjen Anthony Lucassen / Vocals (CD2: 3), Guitars, Bass, Mandolin, Keyboards, Synthesisers, Hammond, Solina, Backing Vocals

Guest musicians:

- Ed Warby / Drums
- Anneke van Giersbergen / Vocals (CD1: 1-2, 5 / CD2: 1-2, 7)
- Jonas Renkse / Vocals (CD1: 1, 3, 6-7 / CD2: 1-2, 4, 7)
- Floor Jansen / Vocals (CD1: 1, 3, 5, 7 / CD2: 1, 7)
- Bob Catley / Vocals (CD1: 3, 5-7 / CD2: 1, 4-5, 7)
- Magali Luyten / Vocals (CD1: 3, 7)
- Jorn Lande / Vocals (CD1: 1-3, 5-7 / CD2: 1, 4, 7)
- Tom Englund / Vocals (CD1: 1, 3, 5-7 / CD2: 1, 4, 7)
- Hansi Kürsch / Vocals (CD1: 1, 5-6 / CD2: 1, 4-5, 7)
- Daniel Gildenlöw / Vocals (CD1: 1, 3, 5-6 / CD2: 1, 7)
- Steve Lee / Vocals (CD1: 1, 5 / CD2: 1, 4, 7)
- Simone Simons / Vocals (CD1: 8)
- Phideaux Xavier / Vocals (CD1: 8)
- Wudstik / Vocals (CD2: 6)
- Marjan Welman / Vocals (CD2: 6)
- Liselotte Hegt / Vocals (CD2: 3)
- Ty Tabor / Vocals (CD1: 4)
- Michael Romeo / Guitars
- Lori Linstruth / Guitars
- Derek Sherinian / Keyboards
- Thomas Bodin / Keyboards
- Joost van den Broek / Keyboards, Piano
- Jeroen Goossens / Flute, Recorders, Bass Flute, Tin Whistle
- Ben Mathot / Violin
- David Faber / Cello

About this release

Release date: January 25, 2008
Label: InsideOut Records

Thanks to adg211288, diamondblack for the updates

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The packaging is fantastic even before we get to the music, featuring scintillating artwork and all the lyrics represented on a well set out booklet, and all the guest artists are listed when they sing which helps a lot. The best way to purchase this is to ensure you get the special edition which comes in a beautiful little box with a DVD of certain tracks and some higher quality versions.

The guest artists are an incredible plethora of talent from a variety of genres. Namely there is the amazing Anneke Van Giersbergen of The Gathering, Bob Catley the power vocalist of Magnum and Daniel Gildenlöw the extraordinaly voice of Pain Of Salvation. Floor Jansen is brilliant as always, and has featured on Ayreon projects especially Star One. Jonas Renkse from Katatonia is captivating as is Simone Simons, the wondrous enchantress of Epica. Ayreon as usual is utterly sparkling on guitar and keys, and in fact all musicians are virtuoso talents.

The concept is heavy handed and difficult to grasp not that it matters, it is the overall experience of being transported to another realm that is the ultimate pleasure for Ayreonauts. The guitars are heavy at times but there are enormous slices of ambience. A lot of this is familiar territory to early Ayreon though nothing compares to the masterpiece The Human Equation. As a followup this latest album is a delight although not as brilliant as THAT album, which is almost impossible to beat. This is more like the kid sister of Into The Electric Castle especially in concept and musical dexterity.

The songs themselves are not as memorable but the whole album as an entire epic concept works on the senses as it is playing. Nothing really sinks in after the album has finished and this is unusual for Ayreon. Highlights are still here and it is evident as soon as the track ends that you have heard a classic, namely Liquid Eternity, and Ride the Comet. The Truth Is Out There is a standout where Arjen shines on vocals. Unnatural Selection has a huge passage of incredible instrumentation and really blows the walls apart with sheer power and force.

I have to say this is perhaps not the place to start for newcomers to Ayreon as Into the Electric Castle and The Human Equation bury it, both conceptually and musically, however there is nothing wrong with taking the 01011001 journey after one has settled into the uncanny world of Ayreon.

Let’s establish something at the outset. Arjen Lucassen is an absolute musical genius & visionary. His Ayreon discography alone is enough to solidify this fact. Not to mention his side project forays; Ambeon & Star One among them. His penchant for combining what sounds like every Rock & Metal sub-genre under the sun into double albums of pure aural adventure is second to none. Digging into 010011001, listeners will find Prog Rock, Metal, Industrial, Folk, even Classical music all melded together into a sonic kaleidoscope that will dazzle even the most jaded fan.

Another trademark of Arjen’s is his ability to concoct some of the greatest “all-star” vocalist line up’s in music time after time. This time is certainly no exception. In fact, this may be the broadest net he’s cast thus far. A diverse array of talent & tones including Tom S. Englund (Evergrey), Jonas Renske (Katatonia), Ty Tabor (King’s X), Hansi Kursch (Blind Guardian) as well as Ayreon veteran Anneke van Giersbergen (ex-The Gathering) should be an instant signal that the moods & textures in the music will be just as widespread.

As usual, 01001101 is a concept piece, best taken as an entire work. But when pressed to break it up, “Comatose”, “Beneath The Waves” & Disc 2 opener “The Fifth Extinction” are all monster tracks. Most people in the Metal scene have heard of Ayreon. Most Prog Metal fans own at least one of the albums. So, basically everyone knows what to expect. The only difference is, this time, expect more of it.
By the time it was released in 2008, Ayreon's seventh album 01011001 was an album I had been waiting to get for months, it is easily my most anticipated metal release of 2008 and also my favourite album of that year. So what can be said about it? Well a good start would be to say that it certainly was worth the long wait that Arjen Lucassen has put his fans through, only giving us small teasers every so often for each vocalist on this album, a total of seventeen, a record number for an Ayreon album. While it was fun to guess all it did in the long run was make me want to get a copy of 01011001 in my hands. Of course there was the fear that the album may not live up to expectations but there certainly needed have been, this is easily the second best Ayreon released to date for me, the only one beating it being Into the Electric Castle from 1998. Previous offering The Human Equation isn’t a patch on this masterpiece and I already rate that album pretty highly.

Starting up this double disc album is the song Age of Shadows incl. We Are Forever. Age of Shadows is the main song, but the We Are Forever section is like a separate track but placed in the middle of Age of Shadows. Progressive bands are known for making songs that have movements, each with a different subtitle; 01011001’s own Beneath the Waves, Newborn Race, The Fifth Extinction and The Sixth Extinction are examples of this, but Age of Shadows is different. It’s a song within a song, something I personally haven’t known a band to do before. I can’t really say if it’s original or not but it makes for a change from the normal formula that lengthy progressive metal songs seem to follow.

But even those songs that do follow the formula of ‘movement one, movement two, etcetera’ are all varied from each other. Beneath the Waves is dominated by it’s first movement with the only real variations in the second and final movements. Newborn Race is almost the same but it’s musical style is completely different from Beneath the Waves, which is a much slower, but not quite a ballad. Newborn Race is much more a metal song and it also features one of the album’s best guitar solos courtesy of guest guitarist Lori Linstruth.

The other two songs of this kind, The Fifth and Sixth Extinctions respectively are much more traditional progressive metal songs, with nearly every movement differing greatly from the last. The main difference here though to something that Dream Theater may write is that each has many different vocalists, nine in each to be exact.

In other, more traditionally structured songs we have Liquid Eternity, which features what I consider to be some of the best vocal performances on 01011001, a duet between After Forever’s Floor Jansen and Jorn Lande of Masterplan/Ark fame, and a great chorus from Magali Luyten, in one of her two appearances on 01011001. Then, nearer to the end of the first of these two discs we get her second and sadly final appearance on Ride the Comet, one of the album’s shortest tracks and one of it’s best, although if you look at the score I’m giving this album you don’t need me to tell you that there is no bad track on here.

It’s not all heavy songs though. The second song on disc one is Comatose, which features no metal elements and is much more like the sound of Ayreon’s Dream Sequencer album. Web of Lies is also a 100% non-metal song but is much more classically based. Waking Dreams from the second disc is another non-metal song.

Elsewhere on the second disc of 01011001 we have two songs that are heavily influenced by folk music. First up we hear The Truth is in Here, a catchy track and a duet between Arjen Lucassen himself and Dial’s Liselotte Hegt. Second we have River of Time, a lighter song than The Truth is in Here and voiced by Bob Catley of Magnum fame and Blind Guardian’s Hansi Kursch. Both are great additions to what is a greatly varied album.

There is even a song that comes across as pop. Connect the Dots is probably going to be many people’s least favourite track on 01011001 but to me it comes across as just another facet of one of metal’s most varied artists and a song that does fit into the rest of the album.

Vocalist wise the group of seventeen is split into two groups. There is the main cast, who portray the alien race Forever in the Ayreon story, are ten of them and the ones that sing on all but four of 01011001’s fifteen songs, and the supporting cast, who portray humans in the story, sing on those four, most of them being duets between male and female. Connect the Dots is the only exception, as it is sung almost entirely by Ty Tabor of King’s X, with the occasional line from Lucassen himself. They are a diverse cast, ranging from gentle female tones (Anneke van Giersbergen) to the strong tones of Jorn Lande and the versatility of Daniel Gildenlow, even operatic warbling from Floor Jansen and even the occasional death grunt front Jonas Renkse. Arjen Lucassen even has the bravery to have a hip-hop artist sing on the song E=mc2 but thankfully there’s not a trace of any rap.

01011001 is without a doubt in my mind the album of 2008. You'll going to struggle to find a album from 2008 that is better than this is.

(Review originally written for Heavy Metal Haven)
And here it is, my favorite Ayreon album, and why, I'll tell ye why...

The songs are the best Arjen has ever written, and don't try and argue with me on that.

The line up is the best it has ever been, Daniel Gildenlow,JORN LANDE!!!, Floor Jansen, Simone Simons, Steve Lee (RIP), Hansi Kusch, Jonas Renske, only to name a few...

It's so different from any other Ayreon album, and I know it has that distinctive Ayreon sound, but it also has a wider range of influences, and all you skeptics out their who claim that its just repetitive and the same as all the other Ayreon albums need to grow up, stop being so smug, picky and glum and just listen and enjoy.

And the story is also the most interesting with some aspects of the overall Ayreon concept, with a broader reach on the stort, e.g. going from Y to Earth, from Forever and the humans point of view.

And as a double album, it's actually quite snugly packed, with the total length just under 2 hours, perfect.

CD 1 (Y)

1. Age Of Shadows - The chorus is amazing, and this song got me interested in the amazing power of Steve Lee, and his cheesy as hell band Gotthard. Sadly Steve died a few weeks ago in a motorcycle accident, and it's such a shame because he was another amazing talent lost this year (alot of vocalists have bitten the dust this year, Dio & Pete Steele come to mind). The We Are Forever part has amazing use of vocorder and some nice counterpoint. 10/10

2. Comatose - Jorn does have a nice calm voice in this song. The calm nature of this song is amazing, and the chorus is lovely. 10/10

3. Liquid Eternity - Kick ass song, with the highlight being the epic vocals from Tom Englund in the bridge (even though I've got mixed feelings about Evergrey). 10/10

4. Connect The Dots - I do really like this song and I do think it is infectiously catchy, but the lyrics are bit too odd, and seem confused and a wee bit "trying to be modern" for Arjen. 9/10

5. Beneath The Waves - Great vocals and some great instrumental work. 9/10

6. Newborn Race - Best song on the album. If you need the definition of a vocal battle hear it is. I can rhyme this song off like gospel, I love it too bits. 11/10

7. Ride The Comet - Pretty epic chours. Some nice riffing. 8/10

8. Web Of Lies - Great vocals from Simone, but I'm not the biggest fan of Phideaux's vocals. 9/10

CD 2 (Earth)

1. The 5th Extinction - Instrumentally this song is epic as hell. The vocals are just good as well. 10/10

2. Waking Dreams - Lovely chorus and the instrumentation is odd, but it works. 10/10

3. The Truth Is In Here - Again, some odd lyrics, but classic Ayreon really. 9/10

4. Unnatural Selection - Some odd arrangments, but the most epic bit is the vocal battle between Bob & Steve (even though I don't really like Bob Catley's vocals.) 9/10

5. River Of Time - Hansi just rules this song. Great chorus. 10/10

6. E=MC2 - The chorus is amazing, especially the repeat with the descant harmonies. Just epic as hell really. 10/10

7. The 6th Extinction - Very epic and so over the top. The highlight of this one really is the meld of Jonas' growls and Floor's amazing luscious high alto warbles. The riffing at the end is also very spine chilling, expecially when the last vocals you hear is Steve Lees (again, the dead really do have an odd effect).

CONCLUSION: This was my first Ayreon album, and even after hearing their other efforts, nothing will beat it in my opinion. This might be Ayreons last album, because of certain big mouthed nosed stupid, hipster critics didn't really like this album, which made me sad, because because of those a***holes Arjen decided not to continue the traditional Ayreon tradition, and being an Ayreon fan, made me very angry. Critics need to wisen up, and Arjen should really do it for the fans, not for those awkward cretins.
Conor Fynes
'01011001' - Ayreon (9/10)

When I first listened to the vocal samplings released on the internet a few months before '01011001' was released for sale, I was a little bit concerned as to what this album was going to turn out like. There was no doubt in my mind that it was going to be good, but having been so used to masterful works such as 'The Human Equation' and 'Into The Electric Castle,' I was worried that this third double album wouldn't match up to the other two. Upon listening to the finished project in it's entireity, it was a pleasant feeling to realize that not only was this a good album, but it was more or less on par with the other two double albums (which exist as the defacto core of Ayreon's repetoire.) What Arjen has done here is apparently wrap up his epic Ayreon storyline with an equally epic album, that uses a relatively unique style of storytelling to get the plot across. Instead of having recurring, filled-out characters, each singer, or 'character' is used to compliment the whole, instead of take a shape of his or her own. While this different conceptual approach took a while to get into, it ends up working well for the story Arjen is trying to tell.

The heart of this tale consists of the three 'epics' the album has to offer; 'Age Of Shadows,' 'The Fifth Extinction,' and 'The Sixth Extinction.' Each clock in at least ten minutes, and do the best job of telling the story. For those unfamiliar with the Ayreon concept, a race of alien beings called 'Forever' populated Earth with lifeforms in their own image (humanity) in order to experience emotions and primal feelings once again. However, in their blindness, they let humanity become too advanced and in the process, mankind destroys itself in a great war. While the concept is a little morose, it has a profound social message to tell, and that added dimension makes '01011001' a really moving experience.

Despite the fact that most of the singers portray alien characters, there is a resounding feeling of humanity that emanates from each performance. Despite each Forever character being named as nothing more then a symbol (such as a heart or pentagram) each character manages to forge it's own distinct personality.

The music itself passes off as being darker then alot of Ayreon's previous works. Elements from electronic and folk music are used alot here. There's a strong metal influence here, second only to the metal-centric 'Flight Of The Migrator' album. The heavy use of synthesizers adds to the science-fiction theme, and the concept. Of special recognition is the beautiful Thomas Bodin keyboard solo in the song 'Waking Dreams.' Another highlight of this album is the mind-blowing choral arrangement 'We Are Forever' performed by one of the best female vocalists in Prog, Annette Van Giersbergen. The compositional talent required to write four-plus singing counterparts is massive.

Arjen Luccassen does not dissapoint on this album. '01011001' stands as being one of the best albums of 2008.
After thoroughly enjoying The Human Equation album I was really looking forward to Arjen A Lucassen's latest Ayreon project. Was it worth the wait? Well I'm pleased to say a resounding yes. On first listening 01011001 whilst not a disappointment didn't hit me the way The Human Equation did but after listening for a couple of weeks I think it's even better.

Basically the concept (I think I have it right) appears to be about the inhabitants of planet Y known as Forever, who have lost their emotions and wishing to re-discover them attach their DNA on an earthbound comet thus giving birth to humanity on the planet. Humanity develops too fast setting them on a course to their own destruction. Forever's attempts to save the planet ultimately fail forcing them to leave with the last man alive.

Musically the album is familiar territory for Ayreon fans, no great leaps forward but then that doesn't matter as the material is so strong. We get the expected array of top class vocalists and guest musicians complimenting Lucassen's multi instrumental talents. Although Ayreon get branded as Progressive Metal, which much of the time it is, there are many more styles going on here. Futuristic sounding synth lines work surprisingly well against Hammond Organs and occasional programmed Drums compliment Ed Warby's excellent Drumming. The use of acoustic Guitar helps add some light and shade to the project and the use of Violin and Flute add another dimension to the sound though they're used sparingly like on the celtic sounding River of Time. Getting back to the vocals, although we have fine singers here all credit to Lucassen for giving them such strong vocal melodies to sing and the girls sing like angels. My only minor complaint is considering how lovely the girls harmonies sound it would have been nice to have had them featuring a little more as the male vocalists, also excellent tend to dominate a lot of the time.

There's no doubting Arjen Lucassen's incredible talents; I can only imagine the amount of effort it must take to put these projects together but I'm very pleased he does. One of my favourite albums of 2008.
Arjen Lucassen sure has evolved big time since his days as a guitarist in Dutch hair metal band Vengeance. 01011001 is the seventh regular release from his Ayreon project, and arguably the most developed of these projects so far.

Ambient and electronic music has a clear influence on the sound here, folk music influences are used quite extensively too; and the songs come across as well structured, planned and executed.

Less dramatics and less metal than in the previous releases; and not as pretentious as previous releases either. It's a concept album as the previous ones; some songs still suffer from being parts of the story more than songs as such; but overall this is a release that generally can be said to be better than his previous outings.

Some fans may be disappointed in the slightly more accessible approach musically here; but personally I think Ayreon will gain new fans with this release due to that; and in my opinion this is a very good release - highly recommended.

Members reviews

Prog Geo
Great album!Here Arjen Lucassen continued the space/futuristic concept.This album is about the end of the world.What can I say for this album?Fantastic compositions/ideas,vocalists,lyrics and instrumentalists.There's a big variety in music.Metal,classical,folk,electronic and opera.The music is calm,angry,positive,negative,heavy,operatic e.t.c.There are two sides(2 cds).The Y side and the Earth side.

The artwork is fantastic!Very sci-fi influenced and describes very well the concept.

My favorite tracks are:The Y side:Age of shadows(great beginning,wonderful vocals by Jonas renkse and Anneke Giersbergen in We are forever,2nd favorite track),Comatose,Liquid eternity,Beneath the waves(sad and strange feeling) and Ride the comet.The Earth side:The fifth extinction(Great heavy metal scream by Jorn Lande),Waking dreams(great vocal performance by Jonas renkse and again),Unnatural selection(positive spirit) and The sixth extinction(great growls by Jonas Renkse and a terrific ending).

My favorite vocalists are:Jonas Renkse(my most favorite),Daniel Gildenlow,Jorn Lande and Anneke Giersbergen.

For all music lovers.A musical gem!You must hear this album!

My grade:8,8/10

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