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Review: Ayreon - 01011001

Label: Inside Out Music
Year released: 2008
Duration: 102:15
Tracks: 15
Genre: Progressive Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: February 24, 2008
Reviewed by: Pagan Shadow
Readers Rating

Rated 4.45/5 (89%) (20 Votes)

Ayreon is a band that I've known for a long time and one of the first I discovered when I got into metal. I used to buy whatever release I could get my hands on up until Space One, a side project, sort of came in as a disappointment . Later I found out that James Labrie was singing on the next Ayreon album which definitely made me give up on this act. What was my surprise to find this brand new promo landing! Mixed feeling of surprise, joy and fear that I would have to hear Labrie! Relieved was I to find out he was no part of the cast of vocalists (16) reunited by mastermind Arjen Lucassen.

Mr. Lucassen plays most of the instruments here with some guest musicians like Derek Sherinian (keyboards) as well as acoustic instrumentalists gracing the sound wall with tones of flutes, violins and cellos. As is mostly the norm with Ayreon, 01011001 is a play in which many vocalists come in to do their part. Many of the male ones are actually quite good but, I could have done without Mr. Jorn "inflated head" Lande. On the other hand, only superb female performances can be heard, especially remarkable with the likes of Anneke Van Giersbergen and Floor Jansen. Now Ayreon have definitely scored some points with this new double CD and up are they in my esteem. Reminiscent of their prime work like Into the Electric Castle, 01011001 is like having Flight of the Migrator and The Dream Sequencer combined in one package. Spanning on two discs their own blend of ambiance (quite a bit of keyboards), acoustic vs. heavier guitar works, varied vocal harmonies and emotional levels, all of which forming a melodic and futuristic progressive opus.

01011001 is jam-packed with classical Ayreon flavors easily recognizable on many great tracks like: "Age of Shadows", "Liquid Eternity", "Ride the Comet", "Web of Lies", "The Fifth Extinction", "River of Time" and "The Sixth Extinction".

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