Friday, 28 February 2014

Album Review : Ayreon - The Theory of Everything

Ayreon is one of Arjen Anthony Lucassen's many projects and probably the one I enjoy the most. Each album is usually a story or certain idea that's brought to life in a Progressive Rock Opera of sorts.
 
The Theory of Everything is no exception, it seems like The Theory of Everything was influenced by the movies "Rainman" and "A Beautiful Mind" if you go by the lyrical content and theme of the album.
 
Every Ayreon album usually features a collection of different artists and in "The Theory of Everything" the great singers involved are as follows :

  • John Wetton from King Crimson
  • Marco Hietala of Nightwish
  • Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil
  • Janne JB Christoffersson of Grand Magus
  • Tommy Karevik of Kamelot
Ayreon also used quite a few guest musicians in "The Theory of Everything" including Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake & Palmer fame and Jordan Rudess from Dream Theater among others.

The album can be split up into 4 large parts each consisting of a collection of songs that follow on each other, in total "The Theory of Everything" has up to 42 tracks in total. Yes that is a reference to Douglas Adams Book "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe"

Enough back story, you are probably wondering how it all sounds, Well If you are familiar with the previous Ayreon albums you will be fairly familiar with it all, yet Arjen has changed things up enough so that doesn't fall into "just another album" category. Of which their previous album 01011001 could be accused.

In the first "part" works as an introduction of sorts to all the characters, their traits, relationships and problems. The second "part" is about the treatment of the Autistic child and the moral dilemma the doctor's as well as his parents face. The third "part" of the album focuses on the achievements and side effects of the treatment as well as estrangement from his family. While the final "part" works as a conclusion of sorts. Musically each part really fits well with the theme portrayed.
 
One thing that plagues music released in the 2000's and lately is the lack of Dynamic Range, mostly due to overuse of Dynamic Range Compression and as such music sometimes sounds flat. Due to that I will in this review and Future post a picture of the wave-forms of one of the tracks in the album in question to show if there is clipping or not. For more information regarding this Check out this great video on it.


I have set up my audacity to show clipping in songs in RED as you can see there is no clipping in this release.
I really do like this album in general and  if you want to give it a listen, Here is the GrooveShark link.