Rating:
9.5
Ayreon - 01011001
23 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
    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
    1 - Glimmer Of Hope
    2 - World Of Tomorrow Dreams
    3 - Collision Course
    4 - From The Ashes
    5 - Glimmer Of Hope [Reprise]
02. Waking Dreams
03. The Truth Is In Here
04. Unnatural Selection
05. River Of Time
06. E=MC²
07. The Sixth Extinction
    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]


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…

I don't really like to talk about the story behind a concept album; after all it's better to discover it when you listen to the album. I will just say a few words about "01011001" then… If you wonder why Arjen Lucassen has chosen the number "01011001" as the name of his new release, you must know that this is the binary form of the number "89" which is the ASCII code for the letter Y. The fans of the Ayreon project will probably remember the stories behind "Into the Electric Castle", "Universal Migrator" and "The Human Equation" and remember that the story of these concept albums is about humans (yes, us!) and the "Forever" people who live on the planet Y. A long time ago, those people forgot all their emotions and sent a comet on Earth with their DNA on it (of course it's pure science-fiction…) to re-create their race, pure and innocent. As you all know, the reality will be different for humanity, and "01011001", of course, deals with this "problem". "01011001" is full of metaphors and questions about human being conditions and ecology. Through a really good science fiction story, Arjen Lucassen asks a lot of questions about our world, that's what I call great lyrics.

The music of "01011001" is back to the futuristic mode. Sure, you'll always find some good Heavy Metal riffs with Folk elements but the "spatial" sounds are back and the keyboards and electronic sounds are really present on this release. All the songs (except maybe "Web Of Lies" which is cute but a bit boring) are catchy with great melodies, and I like that I hear a lot of different influences on them. As an example, the songs on which Jonas Renske sings are clearly influenced by the Katatonia spirit (if you like the new Katatonia, then you must like these songs!) and this is the same with the other artists. All in all, the music of this new Ayreon is not that fast (except with "Ride The Comet"), this is pure deep atmospheric Progressive Rock/Metal. The melodies are touching, the choruses are catchy, you just have here everything you need to enjoy a good moment, but of course you must love Progressive stuff to enter the music of this new Ayreon. "01011001" is not an easy album and is all but commercial, it is dark and sometimes even sad. The music on this release is beautiful and totally unconventional (I really have the feeling that I'm traveling through space when I listen to this album…).

The Ayreon project has always required a lot of guest singers but even if "Into The Electric Castle" (1998) was an amazing release, only "The Human Equation" started to amaze the world of Metal with such an incredible line-up. It was like impossible to hire better artists but I've known for long (I will keep for me the name of my secret informer hehe) the names of the singers and I can tell you that I was really looking forward to this album since that day… Just have a look at the line up of "01011001" and you'll see that this is probably the best one ever used for a Metal album. All the artists, singers as well as guest musicians, are leaders and monsters of the Metal scene and it was just impossible to be disappointed. Honestly there is nothing to say here, all the performances of the protagonists of this new Ayreon story are amazing, and I will especially talk about Jørn Lande and Daniel Gildenlöw who are for me two of the best singers of the whole Metal community and have just added all their class to the music of Lucassen. Also, don't worry I will not forget some people like Anneke van Giersbergen, Tom S. Englund or Jonas Renske, the former adding a really dark, Katatonia-like atmosphere to the music. All the singers are good, even Wudstik who apparently comes from the Dutch Hip-Hop scene and eventually proves to be an amazing Prog-Rock singer. If the singers are all good, the guest musicians are excellent too. I will always remember the memorable keyboard solo of Derek Sherinian on "The Fifth Extinction" and the guitar solo of Michael Romeo on "E=MC2". That's all good anyway and since Arjen Lucassen, as always, produced this released with the best means of production, it's hard to find bad points on this release. Even the artwork describes perfectly the spatial world of Ayreon… This is just top of the class, the "crème de la crème"…

"01011001" is an amazing album. Poetic, tender with everything we need when we like listening to Rock and Progressive music. I can understand that some people dislike Arjen Lucassen's works but they just have to remember that it's a just a matter of taste and there is no reason to be jealous of the success of Ayreon since all these releases aren't similar to (and can compete with) anything else. Ayreon is unique, indeed it is hard to enter that kind of music, so if you can't do that just live with it, after all Ayreon music will never hurt you, right? With "01011001" Arjen Lucassen is back in the cosmos and that's great to follow this space and life odyssey one more time. "01011001" will undoubtedly be one of the best albums of 2008, one more time it's just good to listen to this music. "01011001" is a masterpiece and I hope that people will remember all these songs for the centuries to come… The lyrics of "The Fifth Extinction" end with the words "We're alive"… That's right Ayreon is alive and more than ever…

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 10


Band profile: Ayreon
Album: 01011001


 


written by Jeff | 05.02.2008

Staff review by
Ivor

Rating:
7.0
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.

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published 22.02.2008 | Comments (32)



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Fernand - 17.02.2008 at 00:16  
Written by john_mcc on 16.02.2008 at 23:14

I really like most of the music on this album (except for "Web Of Lies" and "Connect the Dots" which I always skip, I often skip "Comatose" as well), I think that "Liquid Eternity" and "Waking Dreams" are 2 of the best songs that he has ever done, and both of the extinctions are really great (albeit not uniformly so).

On the minus side: I don't like the story/concept/lyrics very much at all, it manages to out-cheese the whole of his pre-THE back catalogue put together (and even Rhapsody Of Fire would struggle to manage that), and I really have to try and not notice what they are singing about to be able not to cringe because of the sheer awfulness of most of the lyrics. It's a pity because on The Human Equation he really did have a great story that added to the music and that was very well executed, so that part feels a bit like a step backward to me.


Try to understand the 1st three songs... lyrics are MAJESTIC!
Hail mastermind Arjen Lucassen.
john_mcc - 17.02.2008 at 01:00  
Written by Fernand on 17.02.2008 at 00:16

Try to understand the 1st three songs... lyrics are MAJESTIC!
Hail mastermind Arjen Lucassen.


I understand the lyrics to all of the songs just fine, but majestic is not quite the word that comes to mind whenever I hear them.
Harmonic - 17.02.2008 at 19:31  
IMO, "Into The Electric Castle" is better than "The Human Equation" - I get the feeling that Lucassen is coasting rather than improving. Like so many other bands nowadays, he's found a "formula" and he's milking it. I haven't heard "01011001" yet, but I expect it to be about as good as all his other stuff. What is the motivation to buy an album if the artist is not breaking new ground? Is it about completion - having all the latest Ayreon? I want to hear something fresh, or at least something that shows musical growth and improvement - not the same thing I already have in my collection. (Even the title of the album is pretentious, and that's not a good sign!) I'm also disappointed at hearing that there aren't any "standout" songs on the album. But I'll give it a try and post here again later today...
Harmonic - 18.02.2008 at 09:05  
...continuing from before...

As I feared, Lucassen's storytelling bent is taking away from his music. The tracks are all similar: heavy, pulsing electronica with an oversaturated "ambience" and a dearth of the mesmerizing progressive and folk elements of Ayreon past. Don't get me wrong; I do recognize that Lucassen is heading in a different direction, and that's good. But he also needs to push the creative envelope and - even more importantly - play to his strengths. (The man is a musician/composer, not the next Isaac Asimov!) The whole album sounds more stock 80s than inspired 70s, and is oddly reminiscent of a movie soundtrack.

On the plus side, I was pleasantly surprised to hear some Jean-Michel Jarre-influenced effects, particularly in "E=MC2" and "Waking Dreams." This type of sound could be a move in the right direction for Ayreon. The next album may well be astounding.

As it stands, the present offering is a B-rate science fiction musical first, and a prog metal album after the fact. Great for die-hard Ayreon fans and Star Trek junkies. Vague and tedious for those of us who don't care about the story and look forward to the music. (I will admit that "River of Time" is an excellent snapshot of Arjen's talent - but I will not purchase a double-album for the sake one track!)
Talvi - 22.02.2008 at 18:16  
Written by selken on 12.02.2008 at 06:51

Written by annodomini on 05.02.2008 at 23:32

It is really good album, but i still prefare Human Equation

+1 me too


+2

Oh and, I see some of the lyrics posted here on metalstorm say which singer sings each line, will it be done for every song?
Paradox0 - 22.02.2008 at 21:33  
Written by Guest on 17.02.2008 at 19:31

IMO, "Into The Electric Castle" is better than "The Human Equation" - I get the feeling that Lucassen is coasting rather than improving. Like so many other bands nowadays, he's found a "formula" and he's milking it. I haven't heard "01011001" yet, but I expect it to be about as good as all his other stuff. What is the motivation to buy an album if the artist is not breaking new ground? Is it about completion - having all the latest Ayreon? I want to hear something fresh, or at least something that shows musical growth and improvement - not the same thing I already have in my collection. (Even the title of the album is pretentious, and that's not a good sign!) I'm also disappointed at hearing that there aren't any "standout" songs on the album. But I'll give it a try and post here again later today...


This albums a bit heavier than THE and ITEC, with instrumentation being a bit more pronounced than his previous works.
Harmonic - 22.02.2008 at 23:39  
Written by Paradox0 on 22.02.2008 at 21:33

Written by Guest on 17.02.2008 at 19:31

IMO, "Into The Electric Castle" is better than "The Human Equation" - I get the feeling that Lucassen is coasting rather than improving. Like so many other bands nowadays, he's found a "formula" and he's milking it. I haven't heard "01011001" yet, but I expect it to be about as good as all his other stuff. What is the motivation to buy an album if the artist is not breaking new ground? Is it about completion - having all the latest Ayreon? I want to hear something fresh, or at least something that shows musical growth and improvement - not the same thing I already have in my collection. (Even the title of the album is pretentious, and that's not a good sign!) I'm also disappointed at hearing that there aren't any "standout" songs on the album. But I'll give it a try and post here again later today...


This albums a bit heavier than THE and ITEC, with instrumentation being a bit more pronounced than his previous works.

Heavy is not Lucassen's strong suit IMO, although he is very capable with the synthesizers.
into_the_fire - 23.02.2008 at 23:39  
Great review! "01011001" starts off with such a bang, but unfortunately does lose its edge at points with those songs that need to be skipped. The concept is amazing and i love the story. Another great Lucassen album.
Fearless - 02.04.2008 at 22:32  
which vocalist sings on which song?

Great review!
Dark Cornatus - 15.05.2008 at 04:25  
Ive just finished listening to the 'Y' part.

Dont really see what the fuss is about musicially (i havent read the lyrics yet though). Pretty standard and typical Ayreon. I still think Flight Of The Migrator is their best album, followed by The Final Experiment.

I think i need a few more listens, there is still the Earth side too i have to hear
Powerslavex - 07.10.2008 at 23:27  
no a big fan of aryeon but this album is great a 9 for me:maniac:
Morphis - 19.12.2008 at 04:57  
This album is good but everytime i was listening to it i always got the impression that i already have listened to that sound before. It seems a bit maded of recycled material.
Knowing Ayreon discography this album didnt pump me up like some old ones but after The Human Equation masterpiece i guess in the end, even after 4 years was hard to do something new with the same power. 7.5 is my rating.
The Prophet - 14.03.2009 at 22:59  
Well this was my first aryeon album and one word i can only said is''Amazing'' i only be i fan of dream theater i could never found a band
that as close maybe'' Redemption''Seventh wonder come close.
To any one you like the prog sound in metal this band is up they with dream theater or even better than them.

Be a real metalhead and listing to the bnad give a good description of it
(No Band Are Garbage)
silenius - 04.07.2009 at 05:36  
Ehm, one of my favorite albums of all time with a wide musical range and with excellent muscianship! and with lyrics that stun me(except a couple of songs), i have to say that comatose is the best track(i feel ashamed saying this thou im a real extreme doom metal freak) but the feelings that song display is just amazing!
Uirapuru - 31.10.2009 at 07:46  
Man, these are the coolest lyrics ever... love to read even without the music XD
Vonpire - 23.03.2010 at 19:23  
The lyrics are.. ok but some of the male voices are simply ... ugly, horrible (imo)

I think this could be a great album, but really when some of those guys start "singing" (??) i simply have to take it off. It's way too bad for my ears...

And that song "connect the dots" is one of the worst i have listened long time...
Entropic Silence - 16.06.2010 at 09:52  
This is my first dab into real 'prog' - everything else I've got is along the lines of Devin Townsend. Just had a listen to "Y" and found it alright - needs more listens of course. Beneath the Waves is the one I'm really loving at the mo.
Swamphell - 27.08.2011 at 11:19  
Am in love with arjen mind , he is a fuken genius..
and btw most of ayreon albums are relates to each other

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