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(10 items)

Release date: 28 October 2013
Style: Progressive metal

Rating:

8.5 | 360 votes

Owners:

299 have it
62 want it


Disc I
01. Phase I: Singularity
    1 - Prologue: The Blackboard
    2 - The Theory Of Everything (Part I)
    3 - Patterns
    4 - The Prodigy's World
    5 - The Teacher's Discovery
    6 - Love And Envy
    7 - Progressive Waves
    8 - The Gift
    9 - The Eleventh Dimension
    10 - Inertia
    11 - The Theory Of Everything (Part II)
02. Phase II: Symmetry
    1 - The Consultation
    2 - Diagnosis
    3 - The Argument I
    4 - The Rival's Dilemma
    5 - Surface Tension
    6 - A Reason To Live
    7 - Potential
    8 - Quantum Chaos
    9 - Dark Medicine
    10 - Alive!
    11 - The Prediction

Disc II
01. Phase III: Entanglement
    1 - Fluctuations
    2 - Transformation
    3 - Collision
    4 - Side Effects
    5 - Frequency Modulation
    6 - Magnetism
    7 - Quid Pro Quo
    8 - String Theory
    9 - Fortune?
02. Phase IV: Unification
    1 - Mirror Of Dreams
    2 - The Lighthouse
    3 - The Argument II
    4 - The Parting
    5 - The Visitation
    6 - The Breakthrough
    7 - The Note
    8 - The Uncertainty Principle
    9 - Dark Energy
    10 - The Theory Of Everything (Part III)
    11 - The Blackboard (Reprise)

Disc III [Special Edition DVD]
01. The Making Of The Theory Of Everything
02. Full-length Interviews
03. Recording Session Time Lapse Footage

Top 20 albums of 2013: 15

Lyrics (4)


Line-up
Arjen Anthony Lucassen - all instruments, vocals

Session musicians
Ben Mathot - violin
Siddharta Barnhoorn - orchestrations
Ed Warby - drums
Maaike Peterse - cello

Guest musicians
Michael Mills - vocals, irish bouzouki
Marco Hietala - vocals
John Wetton - vocals
Cristina Scabbia - vocals
Tommy Karevik - vocals
Janne "JB" Christoffersson - vocals
Sara Squadrani - vocals
Troy Donockley - uillean pipes, whistles
Rick Wakeman - keyboards
Keith Emerson - keyboards
Jordan Charles Rudess - keyboards
Steve Hackett - guitar


Additional info
The Theory Of Everything is released in three differend formats:
- Limited Edition 2CD + 2CD + DVD Artbook
Artbook is LP-sized with a 48-page booklet
2+2 CDs (The actual album plus full instrumental versions)
DVD with 2 1/2 hours of behind-the scenes content, including a 47-minute "Making of" documentary, 90 minutes of in-depth interviews, and time lapse clips of the recording sessions.

- Special Edition 2CD + DVD Mediabook

- 2LP Vinyl Edition
2LP Gatefold vinyl (180g black) with 12-page booklet
2 CDs included (for listening convenience)

Found in 43 lists
Top lists

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R'Vannith Albums of interest: 2013  | #36
Korah 2013 in the Giant's Mountain with Korah  | #18
hadriel Hadriel's Favorites Of 2013  | #23
Kalmari Top 30 Most Anticipated Albums Of 2013 (Alphabetical Order)  | #5
Red_Travis My Top Albums Of 2013  | #19
Chris Steele My Top 20 Albums From 2013  | #1
Erik M. Ayreon Albums: Best To Worst  | #4
More lists with this album (43) | Create a list! ››



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Hex_Omega - 29.10.2013 at 13:28  
Rating: 8
Written by Lustful Maid on 29.10.2013 at 12:40

Written by Hex_Omega on 28.10.2013 at 14:02

Written by Lustful Maid on 28.10.2013 at 13:54

One of the bands on my list of "The Top 100 Overrated Bands of All Time".

Pff, you gave 9 to the last Morbid Angel album

Morbid Angel's latest album is out of the box, you definitely can't see it as you are inside the box.

So I'm inside the 'box'? Cool, everyday I learn something new about myself, thanks.
Lethrokai - 29.10.2013 at 15:19  
Rating: 10
Written by Lustful Maid on 29.10.2013 at 12:48


1) ...I mean for god's sake, your average album rating is 6.1 - This is the current facts, I can't change it, sorry.
2) ...and some of the albums which you've given your highest ratings to (that being a 9) are Queensryche's "Dedicated To Chaos" - Queensryche's "Dedicated To Chaos" and Perverse Recollections Of A Necromangler are "out of the box" where you're inside of it. I gave Persefone's a 9 too recently.




Just because you have a different opinion from a majority, doesn't make you "out of the box", as you so kindly put it. Similarly, just because I'd give these albums a lower rating, doesn't make me "inside the box". It sounds to me like you're just making an attempt at divergence; seperating yourself from everyone else because it gives you a kind of merit. When I listen to albums, I tend to think as objectively as possible. Even though opinions are subjective in the end, I try to find as much objective basis for what I say so that at least I can be credible. Listening to those albums, I couldn't find much that was good; heck, I was even looking forward to Dedicated To Chaos, and thus I became one of the people who didn't enjoy them. Doesn't mean that I'm stuck inside "the box" (I believe "hivemind" was the word you were searching for.)

And yes, I'm aware that you gave some generally-considered-good albums a high rating. Doesn't mean I'm not going to find it odd when some of the lowest rated albums of all time get a 9 from your perspective, whereas you see some albums such as Fortress, Clockwork Angels and Time I as being lower than 5. Like I said before, it just seems like an attempt at divergence.
Warman - 29.10.2013 at 15:41  
Rating: 10 Probably Ayreon's best after "The Human Equation". This is really good. To me Ayreon has always been a great but often weird band. During the best moments, it's among the best of metal music overall. During the worst moments I'm almost embarrassed while listening to it. Kinda like my feelings for Queensrÿche.
I remember once when I still lived at home, I was listening to "Actual Fantasy", which is a horrible album with no good moments IMO and my little sister came in and said "what the hell is this shit you're listening to?". I actually excused myself.
What I wanna say is that this album is full of the great Ayreon moments.
Groby94 - 29.10.2013 at 19:34  
Rating: 9
Written by Lustful Maid on 29.10.2013 at 12:48

Written by Lethrokai on 28.10.2013 at 14:50

Written by Lustful Maid on 28.10.2013 at 13:54

One of the bands on my list of "The Top 100 Overrated Bands of All Time".


After seeing some of the things you've said on some other albums, I've gotten to the point where I just can't take anything you say seriously anymore.

I mean for god's sake, your average album rating is 6.1, (one sixth of your votes are a 3 - there are very few albums in existance that deserve that rating) and some of the albums which you've given your highest ratings to (that being a 9) are Queensryche's "Dedicated To Chaos" (average: 3.6), Morbid Angel's "Illud Divinum Insanus" (average: 4.6) and Perverse Recollections Of A Necromangler (average: 3.3).

On the other hand, I've seen you have a go at bands because you don't like their genre, have a go at albums while stating that you never liked the band's style to begin with and just plain-up shitting on a band because they're popular.

Please, just stop already.

1) ...I mean for god's sake, your average album rating is 6.1 - This is the current facts, I can't change it, sorry.
2) ...and some of the albums which you've given your highest ratings to (that being a 9) are Queensryche's "Dedicated To Chaos" - Queensryche's "Dedicated To Chaos" and Perverse Recollections Of A Necromangler are "out of the box" where you're inside of it. I gave Persefone's a 9 too recently.


Being outside or inside the box has nothing to do with it. What I consider "outside the box" would be something fresh, weird (I think this is optional) and interesting at the same time, that it has something to offer. These are just plain bad albums, if you ask me, but that's just my opinion, I may be wrong. I feel like you are trying to be different by giving those ratings.
BloodJuNkie - 31.10.2013 at 14:23  
Rating: 4 Well, the album isn't impressive. I guess it won't last for too long as the best album for 2013.
JohnDoe - 31.10.2013 at 15:03  
  9.1 | 97 votes

I can't believe it, I hardly have the patience to listen to this, but then again I need a special mood for this band.
Daniell - 31.10.2013 at 15:56  
Rating: 7
Written by JohnDoe on 31.10.2013 at 15:03

9.1 | 97 votes

I can't believe it, I hardly have the patience to listen to this, but then again I need a special mood for this band.


It's usually the people that care who vote first. That's why ratings shortly after an album's release aren't really anything to go by. Wait a month or two and see.

EDIT: Feel free to give it a rating it deserves in your opinion. The lower it is, the more flak you will get from psycho fanboys
Lethrokai - 31.10.2013 at 16:53  
Rating: 10
Written by Daniell on 31.10.2013 at 15:56


It's usually the people that care who vote first. That's why ratings shortly after an album's release aren't really anything to go by. Wait a month or two and see.

EDIT: Feel free to give it a rating it deserves in your opinion. The lower it is, the more flak you will get from psycho fanboys


Hey, we're not ALL that bad, are we?
JohnDoe - 31.10.2013 at 16:56  
 
Written by Daniell on 31.10.2013 at 15:56

Written by JohnDoe on 31.10.2013 at 15:03

9.1 | 97 votes

I can't believe it, I hardly have the patience to listen to this, but then again I need a special mood for this band.


It's usually the people that care who vote first. That's why ratings shortly after an album's release aren't really anything to go by. Wait a month or two and see.

EDIT: Feel free to give it a rating it deserves in your opinion. The lower it is, the more flak you will get from psycho fanboys


I will express opinion on the album once I listen to it properly; positive or negative, no doubt about it!
Azarath - 31.10.2013 at 18:46  
  101 votes, 53 of them 10's. Impressive.
3rdWorld - 31.10.2013 at 18:58  
 
Written by JohnDoe on 31.10.2013 at 15:03

9.1 | 97 votes

I can't believe it


Written by Azarath on 31.10.2013 at 18:46

101 votes, 53 of them 10's. Impressive.


What I can't believe is how people still find that hard to beleive. If you were pretty accustomed to this site, you know how this process works. Nothing surprising in it.
Daniell - 31.10.2013 at 19:21  
Rating: 7
Written by Lethrokai on 31.10.2013 at 16:53

Hey, we're not ALL that bad, are we?


No, not ALL . Only some!
iMorphball - 31.10.2013 at 23:18  
Rating: 8 Awesome album. Been a long time since I've actually sat down and listened to 90 minutes of music straight.
SWAMPL0RD - 01.11.2013 at 00:03  
  Damn this album is ......................long. Had to listen to it in segments, one "Phase" at a time, otherwise the music started to drag on for me. It's well made music, that is certain. Gonna give it another couple listens and see if it grows on me or not.
Unhealer - 01.11.2013 at 05:22  
Rating: 9 Yep, he could stop making double albums. 8-10 minutes less wouldn't be much of a loss but an improvement to these records and a single CD could handle that length.
Even If I get kinda distracted towards the end due to the duration and production is not excellent, the album itself is lovely. Also, the team Ayreon assembled this time works perfectly, I think it's the best one so far!
phanto - 01.11.2013 at 05:51  
Rating: 6 The worst lyrics I've ever heard. Laughed several times. Juvenile writing.

Musically, it sounds like Arjen... Some very impressive keyboarding in particular. But I just can't take it seriously.

I give it 6 for Average.
Unhealer - 01.11.2013 at 06:21  
Rating: 9
Written by phanto on 01.11.2013 at 05:51

The worst lyrics I've ever heard. Laughed several times. Juvenile writing.


A drink everytime you hear the word "genious" next listen
Laze - 01.11.2013 at 11:47  
Rating: 7
Written by Unhealer on 01.11.2013 at 06:21

Written by phanto on 01.11.2013 at 05:51

The worst lyrics I've ever heard. Laughed several times. Juvenile writing.


A drink everytime you hear the word "genious" next listen



*drunk after the first ten minutes*

Judging by a quick listen, the lyrics are definitely nothing to be proud of. Laughable is quite accurate description.

"Oh no, I can't believe
You're falling for this loser
Oh no, I thought you knew
That I am so much cooler!"

...

All-in-all everything seems to be pretty much the same as with the previous Ayreon releases. Including the (in my opinion) annoying, supposedly space-like, mellotrons/keyboards. Has Arjen come up with anything really new?

Gotta give it a few spins to get a better idea about the album...
Hughes - 01.11.2013 at 12:26  
Rating: 10 I didnt wait for any shakesperean quotations in this album , the lyrics isnt Arjen's strongest suit , but i think his storytelling is good and if u think about it its made in a simple way so all can understand the story the rival's lyrics struck me for abit to much simplistic too but in the end i dont mind so much since the music is just awesome and the story is not bad at all. In the original's cd lyrics in each song it has a small text before the lyrics explaining what is going on in the story etc , anyways we all have our opinions no album is perfect (except of pink floyd's )
Warman - 01.11.2013 at 12:48  
Rating: 10
Written by Laze on 01.11.2013 at 11:47

"Oh no, I can't believe
You're falling for this loser
Oh no, I thought you knew
That I am so much cooler!"

Yes, a great album but I have to agree with the later posts. The lyrics are probably some of the cheesiest I've ever heard. And especially that part, the first time I was like "did Marco really just sing that?"
Lethrokai - 01.11.2013 at 14:07  
Rating: 10
Written by Laze on 01.11.2013 at 11:47


"Oh no, I can't believe
You're falling for this loser
Oh no, I thought you knew
That I am so much cooler!"

...

All-in-all everything seems to be pretty much the same as with the previous Ayreon releases. Including the (in my opinion) annoying, supposedly space-like, mellotrons/keyboards. Has Arjen come up with anything really new?

Gotta give it a few spins to get a better idea about the album...


Yeah... I think that no matter how much you enjoy the album, that line will always be groan-worthy.

As for the keyboard thing though, I actually believe this is by far the best keyboard work we've seen on an Ayreon album. I guess if you don't like the keyboards that much as a whole, then chances are this will bug you too, as the keyboards are quite prominent in this album. (Similarly to Into The Electric Castle)
However, if you take the quality of the synth-work into account here (and I especially take careful note of this, being into keys myself) then there is no doubt that this is one of the best synthwork on any modern rock/metal album you will hear. This is part of the reason that I enjoy this album so much.
sador42 - 01.11.2013 at 21:12  
Rating: 10 "Psycho Fanboy" here - I give it a 10!
Chriwalker - 02.11.2013 at 02:29  
Rating: 10 Okey, after seeing the lyrics and understanding the story I have to say I do love it, even if the lyrics are simple. 9/10 and one of the best albums of the year!
theembryo - 02.11.2013 at 06:09  
Rating: 9 Finally a chance to listen entirely, the psycho keyboard fanboy of me upholds my previous rating. Definitely parts of 'Human Equation' & '01011001' I like better, but parts of this release I prefer to both previous releases as well.
DelightfulJim - 02.11.2013 at 21:43  
Rating: 9 Oh wow, an Ayreon album with corny lyrics? Call the fucking press!

Yeah they were pretty bad in some places, the lyrics, but I view the album as a musical more so than a proper metal album, so I felt they worked for the most part. They worked just to explain the very basic story, which isn't very easy to do in music I think. But yeah, cheesy, very.


I crack up every time I hear the Father wail "GREAAAAAT! TELL US MORE. THAT SOUNDS INTRIGUING!" or of course, pretty much all of "Love & Envy". Apart from that I don't really see what the fuss is over the lyrics.


(Probably just me though, but whatever)
Iamawalker - 03.11.2013 at 07:13  
Rating: 10 Just had my first listen through this album, and I feel I have to disagree about the lyrics being so bad. The style in which the lyrics are written is obviously quite straight-forward. Granted, In that sense they're pretty simplistic. But just like dialogues would be pretty straight-forward in a movie and/or a novel (as a vehicle to carry the plot and the characters), so are the dialogues in this album (which cover most of the lyrics, while some are inner thoughts and reflections).

It's everything around the lyrics that make it all come together in a completely brilliant way (just like all the different visual elements in a movie or the descriptive format of books, make it all come together along with the dialogues). And in music that "missing link" is of course the instrumental journey to go along with the lyrics; Everchanging and ever so fitting.

The story itself is quite fleshed out and fairly complex. Add to that, the different emotional bonds between the characters and the interesting motivations behind their actions make the lyrics "far" from simplistic (in my opinion).

In contrast to f.ex. Avantasia (where the plot and characters serve as vehicles to drive the lyrics), Ayreon has even more of that cinematic/literary way of building up the albums. If one's full attention is not given to absorb all the different elements, then it's perfectly understandable how the lyrics appear to be quite shallow. Just like the dialogues from a movie would appear completely lame without having the visual experience of watching it unfold on screen, so does the lyrics on this album if one doesn't connect with the relationship between the music and the words ( this isjust how I feel about it, in my opinion).

What I'm trying to say is, that on their own merits I agree with previous statements; The lyrics are simple. But in the proper context within the album (built around the plot and the characters), then I disagree (again, just my opinion). Depending on which angle we look at it from, I think a case can be made from either way.

I'm not trying to convince myself or anyone else that Arjen is the new Stephen King (or whatever author being put on a pedestal these days ), and I'm not an elitist. I'm curious if anyone else share the same opinion (I'm a bit clumsy with expressing myself so I aplogize for the long post. )
Hex_Omega - 03.11.2013 at 17:37  
Rating: 8 8.5 for me. I gave 9 because of sentiment. I am a bit disappointed because album is quite chaotic. I think that it wasn't good idea to divide it to 42 short songs. Arjen should do this album like all previous albums. I enjoy longer and more complex songs. But generally music and vocals are very good. I also enjoy cool keyboard solos.
Marcel Hubregtse - 03.11.2013 at 18:10  
 
Written by Hex_Omega on 03.11.2013 at 17:37

I think that it wasn't good idea to divide it to 42 short songs.


it seems that the reason why it's 42 songs flies over the heads of many people. The album is called 'The Theory Of Everything', so, people, please do the math
Uldreth - 03.11.2013 at 18:16  
 
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 03.11.2013 at 18:10

Written by Hex_Omega on 03.11.2013 at 17:37

I think that it wasn't good idea to divide it to 42 short songs.


it seems that the reason why it's 42 songs flies over the heads of many people. The album is called 'The Theory Of Everything', so, people, please do the math

Oh gawd. This flew over my head as well even though I am a huge DA fan...

I don't think I'll listen to this. I disliked most of Ayreon's past stuff I have heard even though I consciously wanted to like it and this album just seem to ooze with "pretentious". And the bad kind.
DelightfulJim - 03.11.2013 at 18:20  
Rating: 9
Written by Hex_Omega on 03.11.2013 at 17:37

8.5 for me. I gave 9 because of sentiment. I am a bit disappointed because album is quite chaotic. I think that it wasn't good idea to divide it to 42 short songs. Arjen should do this album like all previous albums. I enjoy longer and more complex songs. But generally music and vocals are very good. I also enjoy cool keyboard solos.



Yeah, I thought it was pretty jarring at first. But really, given that each track has a particular scenario happening with it's own title, it made following the story MUCH easier. In terms of structure and story I feel that this is the best written Ayreon album, just because it's easy to follow without being boring, in my opinion. I don't know about you, but as much as I love The Human Equation, it took many listens in order to digest it all and follow the story properly, and I feel this was made difficult by most of the songs being a bit long (not that many of them, but more so in contrast with this album here).

It did of course take a couple of spins to understand The Theory of Everything, but I felt it sunk in much easier than the other Ayreon albums. Heck I still don't really understand the one prior to The Theory Of Everything.


I'm not saying you're wrong, of course. This is just how I understood it.
Hex_Omega - 03.11.2013 at 18:38  
Rating: 8
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 03.11.2013 at 18:10

Written by Hex_Omega on 03.11.2013 at 17:37

I think that it wasn't good idea to divide it to 42 short songs.


it seems that the reason why it's 42 songs flies over the heads of many people. The album is called 'The Theory Of Everything', so, people, please do the math

I understand why he divided album to 42 songs, but I'm not sure if it was a good idea. For a concept of course it was, but for music?
Lethrokai - 03.11.2013 at 19:29  
Rating: 10
Written by Hex_Omega on 03.11.2013 at 18:38

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 03.11.2013 at 18:10

Written by Hex_Omega on 03.11.2013 at 17:37

I think that it wasn't good idea to divide it to 42 short songs.


it seems that the reason why it's 42 songs flies over the heads of many people. The album is called 'The Theory Of Everything', so, people, please do the math

I understand why he divided album to 42 songs, but I'm not sure if it was a good idea. For a concept of course it was, but for music?


To be honest, I just listen to the album as 4 tracks. It's a much more comforting and fun listen when you do that. I'd only recommend listening to the "42 track" style when you're picking out single songs such as The Parting and Progressive Waves.
Unhealer - 03.11.2013 at 20:32  
Rating: 9
Written by Hex_Omega on 03.11.2013 at 18:38

I understand why he divided album to 42 songs, but I'm not sure if it was a good idea. For a concept of course it was, but for music?


I liked the flow of the album better with this 42 track division, it somehow makes the listen seem lighter to me whereas It sometimes felt like a struggle to listen to The Human Equation in it's entirety for example. Of course it's divided this way because the music allows it in the first place, it's not like you can divide any of his previous albums into 42 tracks and pretend it actually adds something to the experience.
PocketMetal - 04.11.2013 at 14:49  
 
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 03.11.2013 at 18:10

it seems that the reason why it's 42 songs flies over the heads of many people. The album is called 'The Theory Of Everything', so, people, please do the math


yeah it's pretty obvious why it's "42" tracks ... but still some of them are too short , sometimes insignificant.
undi - 05.11.2013 at 11:35  
  The lyrics are indeed simple and straight-forward, but that is in no way an inherently bad thing. Asimov also chose to make use of a simplistic, easy to follow and to-the-point narrative in favour of being prolific. There are people who disregard his prose because of that, but who doesn't know Asimov? Who dislkes his stories?

He knew he was not a masterful prose-crafter.

And so does Arjen. His lyrics are easy to follow and to-the-point.

That said, it's true that there are some times where the overly-simplistic lyrics are kind of awkward and embarrasing.
Fredd - 05.11.2013 at 15:04  
Rating: 8 I enjoyed it.
Vonpire - 05.11.2013 at 16:40  
Rating: 7 Probably the best from this mediocre band called "ayreon", the most overrated band ever on M.S. .
Marcel Hubregtse - 05.11.2013 at 16:43  
 
Written by Vonpire on 05.11.2013 at 16:40

Probably the best from this mediocre band called "ayreon", the most overrated band ever on M.S. .



we don't agree on much But here I fully agree with you.
Vonpire - 05.11.2013 at 16:45  
Rating: 7
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 05.11.2013 at 16:43

Written by Vonpire on 05.11.2013 at 16:40

Probably the best from this mediocre band called "ayreon", the most overrated band ever on M.S. .



we don't agree on much But here I fully agree with you.


OMG Let's eat some cookies then !
Fritillaria - 05.11.2013 at 16:54  
  Top 20 albums of 2013? I think many of MSers are more into progressive tunes.
JēkabsFiļi - 06.11.2013 at 11:58  
Rating: 1 WTF ? Nothing against Ayreon (album is nothing special, though) but Album of the Year on Metalstorm ?
Hughes - 06.11.2013 at 14:10  
Rating: 10 For me its easily one of the best of the year , so its a matter of perspective in this site always , how many fans are there for each band and are willing to vote for it , so it mind be the best for me but for someone else is some other album , dont take always account of the list its a matter of how each one sees it, as all top 10 lists tha exist for every reason that may be. it will probably drop in the future anyways they always do.
Passenger - 06.11.2013 at 16:39  
Rating: 5 Great snippets. Now, where's the full album?
Swamphell - 07.11.2013 at 00:55  
Rating: 7 Why I gave it 6:-
1)not that heavy you can call it Progressive rock
2)the guests are not that good (comparing with last 2 albums) and their voices seem so similar to me
3)the lyrics (the language is so weak)
4)the concept (I don't understand how it's end and I need to know what is the theory of everything or any hint about it)
5) [and the most important one] 42 tracks ?!why?! I can handle a 4 long tracks or he can make it 8 or even 6
BloodJuNkie - 07.11.2013 at 02:24  
Rating: 4 Well, definitely not the album of the year. Not even in the top 20!
Iamawalker - 07.11.2013 at 03:43  
Rating: 10
Written by Swamphell on 07.11.2013 at 00:55

Why I gave it 6:-
1)not that heavy you can call it Progressive rock
2)the guests are not that good (comparing with last 2 albums) and their voices seem so similar to me
3)the lyrics (the language is so weak)
4)the concept (I don't understand how it's end and I need to know what is the theory of everything or any hint about it)
5) [and the most important one] 42 tracks ?!why?! I can handle a 4 long tracks or he can make it 8 or even 6


Hope you don't mind , but I'd like to "counter-explain" (lol, is that even a term?) the points you make (no hard feelings(!), just another perspective).

1) Wether or not it's Prog Rock instead of Prog Metal, it shouldn't automatically mean worse music (unless you only like the more agressive stuff). This album relies much more on emotions and atmosphere instead of heaviness. Speaking of that, I think there definitely are bursts of Metal to be found on this album. It's just not thrown at us constantly.

2) The list of guest singers on this album is maybe not as high-profile as in the past, but popularity is not necessarily an indication of quality. Technically, I think there are some awe-inspiring performances here! I'm curious on why you think they're so similar. To me some of them sound very wide and deep, others stretch up high in range and become thinner, some are male, some are female, etc...

3) The lyrics are written in a very straight-forward manner, but in the context of the album I think it all makes perfect sense. They're pretty much the equivalent of dialogues in a movie; They seem to be there to support the characters and the story rather than amaze us with intricate poetry and metaphors (like several(?) people have said here). In the bigger picture within the plot and between the characters, I feel the lyrics become fairly complex.

4) I don't think this album is really all that much about science and mathematics, as much as it is about the emotional bond between human beings and the psychology. I also think the ending was supposed to be vague and mysterious; The unanswered questions are what stays with us the longest. Plus the part where the different characters sort of acknowledged the completion of "the theory", while not spilling it out and giving it away really magnified the effect. It became clear that it was some really powerful stuff, and that keeps the listener wondering and guessing about it. The sense of mystery remains (maybe the next album is going to go deeper into that somehow).

5) I partially agree with this one, as I also found it a bit unnecessary to divide the four songs into all those tracks. But apparently that makes the listening experience easier for some people, and besides that, we can always just pretend the numerous tracks aren't there and just listen to the album as four long songs (which several(?) people have said here). No matter how we look at that, it doesn't change anything on the album.

The album is really long and there's a lot to discover here, you should give it a second chance to see if it's grown on you! (6/10 is a decent rating so there's gotta be something you liked about it?)
Saidar - 07.11.2013 at 18:54  
Rating: 10 There is absolutely no point in rating this album if you give it only one spin and don't even follow the story. This definitely isn't something you're going to put on as some background music while you're browsing the web or such, it takes time and dedication to fully understand what the album is about. I get that many people don't approach to music this way but it's kind of a necessity if you're going to comment about progressive metal. If you're not into it, go listen to genres you like and don't comment on the quality of albums such as ToE, when it's clear you haven't given enough attention to what you're reviewing.

The story flows very well and I agree with the comment posted above how the lyrics should be regarded in the context of dialogues. The actual CD provides additional info about the timespan, notes about the characters' whereabouts and such stuff, which is also very important to look at if we're going to evaluate the quality of the text. Point being, lyrics are arranged to suite the musical form of the album and to provide us with the most general idea of the story and the relationships between the characters - don't search for Baudelaire here, it wasn't Arjen's intent in the first place. That being said, the ending of the story is really nothing short of grand and majestic, similar to what we could experience in an action-packed theatrical movie release. I'm glad that Arjen has expressed a wish to continue this storyline in the future, he surely gave himself a lot to experiment with.

Instrumentally, the album is arranged beautifully and offers a surreal landscape of brilliant melodies - the original keyboard line that goes through all three The Theory of Everything parts sounds so hauntingly ecstatic each time I hear it. Rudess's solo is also one of the highlight's of the album, as the whole Progressive Waves is by itself. Keyboard work in general is outstanding here, I would say.

The vocal ensemble might be the best one yet - especially when you compare how well they all sound put together. One of the basic premises that Arjen had was to depict the relationships between various characters (Arjen is very mindful when it comes to choosing who will sing on Ayreon albums - he first chooses the vocalist and then writes the lyrics for the specific part) so choosing the voices that will carry those characters and their story was of a crucial importance. You really feel the envy and greed in Hietala's voice, the warmth and tenderness in Scabbia's deep contralto, the raw power of Michael Mills as the Father. It's absolutely silly to say how "their voices seem so similar". Really makes me wonder if we're even listening to the same album here.

However, I do have a problem with the track division. The more I listen to the album, the more the whole 42 tracks thing makes less sense. Those accusations of the album "not being catchy enough/memorable enough" come exactly from the fact that people judge the songs as individual entities, rather as parts of a bigger song structure. When you listen to the album as a 4 part release, you get a completely different point of view. The division does come rather handy though, being able to skip to your favourite parts and all that but it's creating a lot of confusion with the perception of the music, imo.
Lethrokai - 07.11.2013 at 19:29  
Rating: 10
Written by Saidar on 07.11.2013 at 18:54

There is absolutely no point in rating this album if you give it only one spin and don't even follow the story. This definitely isn't something you're going to put on as some background music while you're browsing the web or such, it takes time and dedication to fully understand what the album is about. I get that many people don't approach to music this way but it's kind of a necessity if you're going to comment about progressive metal. If you're not into it, go listen to genres you like and don't comment on the quality of albums such as ToE, when it's clear you haven't given enough attention to what you're reviewing.

The story flows very well and I agree with the comment posted above how the lyrics should be regarded in the context of dialogues. The actual CD provides additional info about the timespan, notes about the characters' whereabouts and such stuff, which is also very important to look at if we're going to evaluate the quality of the text. Point being, lyrics are arranged to suite the musical form of the album and to provide us with the most general idea of the story and the relationships between the characters - don't search for Baudelaire here, it wasn't Arjen's intent in the first place. That being said, the ending of the story is really nothing short of grand and majestic, similar to what we could experience in an action-packed theatrical movie release. I'm glad that Arjen has expressed a wish to continue this storyline in the future, he surely gave himself a lot to experiment with.

Instrumentally, the album is arranged beautifully and offers a surreal landscape of brilliant melodies - the original keyboard line that goes through all three The Theory of Everything parts sounds so hauntingly ecstatic each time I hear it. Rudess's solo is also one of the highlight's of the album, as the whole Progressive Waves is by itself. Keyboard work in general is outstanding here, I would say.

The vocal ensemble might be the best one yet - especially when you compare how well they all sound put together. One of the basic premises that Arjen had was to depict the relationships between various characters (Arjen is very mindful when it comes to choosing who will sing on Ayreon albums - he first chooses the vocalist and then writes the lyrics for the specific part) so choosing the voices that will carry those characters and their story was of a crucial importance. You really feel the envy and greed in Hietala's voice, the warmth and tenderness in Scabbia's deep contralto, the raw power of Michael Mills as the Father. It's absolutely silly to say how "their voices seem so similar". Really makes me wonder if we're even listening to the same album here.

However, I do have a problem with the track division. The more I listen to the album, the more the whole 42 tracks thing makes less sense. Those accusations of the album "not being catchy enough/memorable enough" come exactly from the fact that people judge the songs as individual entities, rather as parts of a bigger song structure. When you listen to the album as a 4 part release, you get a completely different point of view. The division does come rather handy though, being able to skip to your favourite parts and all that but it's creating a lot of confusion with the perception of the music, imo.


Pretty much everything you've said.

As for the whole "track division" thing, Arjen explained this in a recent interview. He stated that the album was written purely as 4 long tracks, and that the whole "42 track division" thing was something he put in at the last minute, simply because people who he previewed the album for stated that 4 tracks of that length would be too much to bear. He also said that it was included so as to satisfy people who thought in the way of "hmm, I really like the Emerson solo. I wish I could skip straight to that part."
To put things in bullet points, the things he made clear in that interview were:
a-) The album was written as 4 tracks, and the whole 42-song subdivision had no influence at all on the writing process.
b-) The album is meant to be listened to as 4 tracks, and 4 tracks alone. If you want the proper experience, listen to the full 20+ minute song. The subdivision is merely for the convenience of anyone looking for a specific part.

The only reason that the subdivision should affect anyone's listening experience, in my honest opinion, is if someone is listening to the pirated version, in which every division is made incredibly obvious with millisecond cuts between each segment. Listen to the actual album version, and that all goes away.
Saidar - 07.11.2013 at 20:39  
Rating: 10
Written by Lethrokai on 07.11.2013 at 19:29

He stated that the album was written purely as 4 long tracks, and that the whole "42 track division" thing was something he put in at the last minute, simply because people who he previewed the album for stated that 4 tracks of that length would be too much to bear. He also said that it was included so as to satisfy people who thought in the way of "hmm, I really like the Emerson solo. I wish I could skip straight to that part."


I believe there was pressure from the record company as well, he must have received an angry brow or two after presenting them 4 very long tracks of complex material.

Nevertheless, the problem with the division is also kind of a psychological matter - people see 42 tracks and all sorts of ideas come to mind. There is no negativity in the division itself, as I said, it's handy and useful (although I had my mind on merging all tracks together in 4 pieces but it would mess up my last.fm scrobbles so I gave up on that). But the bottom line is that it doesn't serve the album justice, it only creates a lot of fuss about a pretty irrelevant issue, when you think about it.

Oh and yes, a real shame the cuts were pretty "hearable" in the pirated version.
Inrrascable - 08.11.2013 at 02:37  
  Like any Ayreon album, this one is an acquired taste, the lyrics are whimsical and the musicianship and creativity is endless. I give it a 10.

As for the guys who complain about the lyrics, I would advice to listen to some classic opera. Dialogs are very simplistic too, just like Ayreon's rock operas. No poetry or cool statements, but a story to convey.

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