Review Summary: Arjen is back with his squad team of universal musicians and creates a solid release but nothing is new which may or may not be a bad thing.
Ayreon is quite the interesting artist as he likes to utilize many different artists who are not part of his band. One could even adequately state that Ayreon is a band of all the collective musicians in the world. Ayreon is led by the mastermind Arjen Anthony Lucassen who has nothing less than an extensive track record of recording and creating music for many years. Lucassen likes to reach out to different artists to contract work for musical projects based on his ultimate vision of creating fantasy-like music that draws the listener into visual landscapes and emotions. Whether he’s been successful or not depends on the listener and their interpretations. Many could make an argument as to whether his music touches them or not but few can say he isn’t talented.
I will start off and say The Theory of Everything isn’t anything new and it doesn’t really surpass anything he’s accomplished before but it still does have its solid moments. I have a strong pet peeve for music that is corny and while I’m on that subject it denotes where I stand with this release. There are without a doubt moments that are extremely cheesy but it doesn’t happen enough for me to completely hate this because, in fact, I enjoy a large majority of this. The production is great, well suited for this style of progressive music. The instruments and guest musicians hardly ever fall out of place. Where moments call for a certain specialty Arjen knows when to summon just the right person such as the falsetto over classical moments on “The Parting” or the end acapella section to the “The Visitation”.
The Theory of Everything is quite massive in appearance because it’s comprised of forty-two tracks spanning four sections. However, most tracks average in length around the two minute mark. For future reference it may be difficult to revisit a certain favorite moment because the reference points aren’t according to the norm. The numerous tracks do correlate with each other but the high numbers are justified in the sense that there is enough diversity so as to not wonder 'why didn’t Arjen’ just make a one track album?' .
So again there are many great moments to enjoy here and anyone who enjoys progressive metal and rock should find something here. I personally like the song “Surface Tension” as it reminds me of work from Cynic with feel-good keys and a unique atmosphere that keeps drawing me back for more. The solo in this same track is reminiscent of In Flames in the melody department yet the overall vibe would be one of power metal, however. While Arjen didn’t shoot for a ground-breaking album he did a great job at writing solid music and at the end of the day that’s all that really matters for me.
This CD is terrible beyond words, I really do not know where to start, lyrics seem to be written by a schoolkid, almost all vocal performers literally cannot sing. It sounds like a musical performed on some high school stage... seriously such an album should not be made public
I suppose this is filed under the category "progressive rock", maybe the people involved in this should try to listen to some Devin Townsend stuff or should go back to the Peter Gabriel Genesis era to see what real progressive music sounds like.