I knew it would happen sooner or later. When in late January I decided that INTO ETERNITY’s “Buried Into Oblivion” would be my album of the year, I knew that something would dethroned it, but what would it be, that I couldn’t guess until today. “The Human Equation” was the answer!
The unique master of concept albums return this time around with his AYREON project, after a little “jump” in space with his STAR ONE project, which I had found rather disappointing compared to Ayreon’s albums. What’s the best way to describe this new work? Well, for me it is easy. Take everything that was good in past AYREON’s work and make it twice better. In fact, what was once heavy is heavier; progressive, more progressive and melodic, more melodic than ever. With the help of an unbelievable cast of singers and musicians (James LaBrie (DREAM THEATER) and Mikael Akerfeldt (OPETH) comes to my mind as the most prominent singers, with the surprise being Devon Graves (DEAD SOUL TRIBE) and Magnus Ekwall (THE QUILL)), each interpreting a different character. I will spare you the details of the concept as it is well describe on the AYREON’s official website.
What got me the most enthusiastic about this new AYREON album is the fact that even though you recognize at first listen that it is AYREON stuff (mainly with the keyboard sounds) it still sounds fresh and modern, with, as usual, a strong production. Also, one of the only musicians to have already participated on a past AYREON album, Ed Warby, is really destroying everything on drums, proving once more that he is really one of the best, if not THE BEST, progressive drummer out there.
Can AYREON do anything wrong? I don’t know a lot of artists that can write that amount of music without sounding boring a single minute. What awaits us in the future with AYREON, only he knows, but I’m pretty sure it will be great. (Online August 13, 2004)