AYREON — 01011001 (review)

AYREON — 01011001 album cover Album · 2008 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
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.

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