Ayreon – “The Theory of Everything” (2013)

Label: Inside Out Music

Review by Tony Cannella

Arjen Anthony Lucassen released the last album on the Ayreon moniker back in 2008. Since then he has kept his creative spirit alive working on various other projects. Now he returns with the latest Ayreon opus entitled, “The Theory of Everything” and for someone who has a long career based on big, grandiose epic productions, “The Theory of Everything” may just be his biggest and most thoughtful yet. It is always interesting to see some of the musicians Arjen uses on the Ayreon albums and “The Theory of Everything” is no different. Some amazing singers make appearances here including: Tommy Karevik from Kamelot, Marco Hietala from Nightwish, John Wetton from Asia, King Crimson and Uriah Heep, Cristina Scabbia from Lacuna Coil and Sara Squadrani from Ancient Bards. The list of musicians is even more impressive reading like a prog rock super group: Rick Wakeman (Yes), Keith Emerson (ELP), Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) and Steve Hackett (Genesis) to name a few. The talent assembled here is mind boggling.

“The Theory of Everything” consists of four songs (or phases as they’re referred to) spread out over 2-discs and 90-minutes. This is a true rock opera. Each singer plays their part and the songs flow seamlessly from one to the other to move the story along. This album reminds me of when I was a young lad and artists actually released albums that you could delve into and become immersed in and listen to from front to back to front again. The talent truly makes the songs come alive throughout this rock opera. The limited edition also comes with a bonus DVD that includes the making of the album, which is interesting for all who wonders how a project like this comes about.

Wow… In the end there is a lot to decipher on “The Theory of Everything”. Like a lot of lasting art some of the songs on here may take some getting used to and others are a lot more immediate. This is not something that you will listen to once and think “this is cool” then move on to the next album. In this day and age of “fast food music” Arjen continues to challenge his fan base. “The Theory of Everything” is a hugely entertaining prog rock epic masterpiece and a helluva fun journey.

Rating – 85/100

 

Tracklist

Disc 1

  1. Prologue: The Blackboard
  2. The Theory of Everything Part 1
  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
  12. The Consultation
  13. Diagnosis
  14. The Argument
  15. The Rival’s Dilemma
  16. Surface Tension
  17. A Reason to Live
  18. Potential
  19. Quantum Chaos
  20. Dark Medicine
  21. Alive!
  22. The Prediction

 

Disc 2

  1. Fluctuations
  2. Transformation
  3. Collision
  4. Side Effects
  5. Frequency Modulation
  6. Magnetism
  7. Quid Pro Quo
  8. String Theory
  9. Fortune?
  10. Mirror of Dreams
  11. The Lighthouse
  12. The Argument 2
  13. The Parting
  14. The Visitation
  15. The Breakthrough
  16. The Note
  17. The Uncertainty Principle
  18. Dark Energy
  19. The Theory of Everything part 3
  20. The Blackboard (reprise)

 

Line Up

Vocalists

  • JB as The Teacher
  • Sara Squadrani as The Girl
  • Michael Mills as The Father
  • Cristina Scabbia as The Mother
  • Tommy Karevik as The Prodigy
  • Marco Hietala as The Rival
  • John Wetton as The Psychatrist

 

Musicians

  • Arjen Anthony Lucassen – Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Bass, Mandolin, Analog Synthesizers, Hammond, Solina Strings
  • Steve Hackett – Lead Guitar
  • Rick Wakeman – Keyboards
  • Keith Emerson – Keyboards
  • Jordan Rudess – Keyboards
  • Ed Warby – Drums
  • Troy Donockley – Uilleann Pipes and Whistles
  • Ben Mathot – Violin
  • Maaike Peterse – Cello
  • Siddharta Barnhoorn – Orchestrations
  • Michael Mills – Irish Bouzouki
  • Jeroen Goosens – Flute, Bass Flute, Piccolo, Bamboo Flute and Contrabass Flute
  • Wilmer Waarbroek – Backing Vocals and Guide Vocals

 

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