Hot off the Press

Ayreon | The Source

by John Kindred
– Publisher —

Multi-instrumentalist Arjen Anthony Lucassen returns with his project Ayreon and follows up the group’s 2013 release of The Theory of Everything with the double CD studio release of The Source.

Moving from InsideOut Records to the Mascot Label Group Lucassen continues his epic musical explorations this time taking listeners 6 billion years into the past relative to earth. “The story begins on Planet Alpha, a world in the Andromeda system where computer intelligence has far surpassed that of humanity. Alpha is facing a massive global crisis, with ecological and political catastrophes threatening all human life. The Alphans (our human ancestors) try to save their planet by entrusting the global computer mainframe — The ‘Frame — to find a solution. Given total control of the planet, the ‘Frame reaches the logical conclusion that its creators are the cause of all the trouble. The only way to solve Alpha’s problems is to exterminate humanity. This leaves the Alphans no other option than to try and escape their horrific fate. But their escape comes at a terrible price.”

The Source is the prequel storyline to the 2008 studio album 01011001 revisiting the “Forever” saga.

The Source features guest musicians and vocalists from across the Metal community. Lucassen is joined by vocalists James LaBrie (Dream Theater), Simone Simons (Epica), Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian), Tobias Sammet (Edguy, Avantasia), and Russell Allen (Symphony X). Musicians making an appearance include Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big, Racer X), Guthrie Govan (The Aristocrats, ex-Asia), Marcel Coenen (Sun Caged) and Mark Kelly (Marillion).

The Source offers Progressive music fans an eclectic journey through Ayreon’s musical world that combines elements from Progressive Rock and Metal, a joined to the dynamically different voices that steer the story from song to song. Written and arranged by Lucassen, the storyline of The Source, is thus, built into 17 songs, which spans one hour and 28 minutes of music. Those songs are broken into four chronicles:

Chronicle 1: The ‘Frame
Chronicle 2: The Aligning Of The Ten
Chronicle 3: The Transmigration
Chronicle 4: The Rebirth

While there is a lot going with the story vocally and lyrically, the music is held in check by the rhythm section of drummer Ed Warby and Lucassen, who handles bass and guitar duties along with many other instruments on The Source. The production, mix, and musical performances are all executed to perfection.

Obviously, there is a lot to digest when listening to the CD. One pass of the CD is not enough to give you a strong perspective of the album. The Source is best listened to with quality headphones, as a way to isolate the experience with limited external distractions. Until you can follow the storyline the overall feel of The Source, even though there are plenty of dynamic changes in each song, is that a lot of the songs bleed into one another. Therefore, you really need to purchase the CD so you can reference the booklet as needed when listening to the album and putting it all together for yourself.

Genre: Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal, Power Metal, Experimental Rock

Line-up:

Vocalists:
James LaBrie (Dream Theater) as The Historian
Tommy Karevik (Kamelot, Seventh Wonder) as The Opposition Leader
Tommy Rogers (Between the Buried and Me) as The Chemist
Simone Simons (Epica) as The Counselor
Nils K. Rue (Pagan’s Mind) as The Prophet
Tobias Sammet (Edguy, Avantasia) as The Captain
Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian) as The Astronomer
Mike Mills (Toehider) as TH-1
Russell Allen (Symphony X) as The President
Michael Eriksen (Circus Maximus) as The Diplomat
Floor Jansen (Nightwish, ex-After Forever) as The Biologist
Zaher Zorgati (Myrath) as The Preacher

Musicians:
Joost van den Broek (ex-After Forever) – grand piano and electric piano
Mark Kelly (Marillion) – synthesizer solo on “The Dream Dissolves”
Maaike Peterse (Kingfisher Sky) – cello
Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big, Racer X) – guitar solo on “Star of Sirrah”
Guthrie Govan (The Aristocrats, ex-Asia) – guitar solo on “Planet Y Is Alive!”
Marcel Coenen (Sun Caged) – guitar solo on “The Dream Dissolves”
Ed Warby – drums
Ben Mathot – violin
Jeroen Goossens (ex-Pater Moeskroen) – flute, wind instruments
Arjen Anthony Lucassen – electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitar, mandolin, synthesizers, Hammond, Solina Strings, all other instruments

CD1

Chronicle 1: The ‘Frame

01. The Day That The World Breaks Down
02. Sea Of Machines
03. Everybody Dies

Chronicle 2: The Aligning Of The Ten

04. Star Of Sirrah
05. All That Was
06. Run! Apocalypse! Run!
07. Condemned To Live

CD2

Chronicle 3: The Transmigration

08. Aquatic Race
09. The Dream Dissolves
10. Deathcry Of A Race
11. Into The Ocean

Chronicle 4: The Rebirth

12. Bay Of Dreams
13. Planet Y Is Alive!
14. The Source Will Flow
15. Journey To Forever
16. The Human Compulsion
17. March Of The Machines

Label: Mascot Label Group

Web: https://www.facebook.com/ArjenLucassenOfficial/

Hardrock Haven rating: 7.5 Stars (7.5 / 10)

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