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AYREON 'The Human Equation'
(Inside Out)(2004)

Arjen Anthony Lucassen for those who don’t know is the musical mastermind behind the excellent series of Ayreon album and also the two Star One albums (one live, one studio). There are always plenty of musical guests, thought provoking lyrics and so damn fine tunes and this new album proves no exception.

It’s a double CD based on the concept of life following the main character through his internal mind following a car accident. There are eleven vocalists on here including Lucassen taking the part of the Best Friend, Dream Theater’s James LaBrie as the main character, Irene Jansen (she’s appeared on many Ayreon albums in the past), Mostly Autumn’s Heather Findlay and Devin Townsend to name but a few. There are top draw musicians as well including ex-Uriah Heep member Ken Hensley, Martin Orford (IQ/Jadis) and Oliver Wakeman.

Split into twenty days it really is a musical rock opera (just picture the epic stage show in your mind as you listen!), with heavy guitar one minute and then a total switch to a Celtic tinged folk piece. ‘Pain’ is a n album highlight, with Devin Townsend adding his distinctive roar and ‘Love’, where Heather Findlay shines vocally on a lovely piece of folk tinged music.

Some cracking synth solos as well - ‘Isolation’ just stands repeat plays on the synth part alone. Ken Hensley runs riot on the Hammond as well on ‘Loser’.

This is the best Ayreon album and that’s no mean feat considering the wealth of quality material that has been done previously. ‘The Human Equation’ scores by having a seamless theme throughout and musical arrangements that would shame most West End or Broadway musicals. Quite simply - buy!

10 Questions

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Review by Jason Ritchie


1) What are you doing musically at the moment?

I'm currently working on the re-issues of my Ayreon albums. They will all be special editions with bonus material. The 'Universal Migrator' and 'Into the Electric Castle' have been (re) released, and I just finished Actual Fantasy Revisited (new drums, bass, guitars, 5.1 mix, DVD etc). I've now started working on the re-issue of my first Ayreon album 'The Final Experiment'

2) What were your main achievement(s) in 2004?

Well, obviously my latest Ayreon album 'The Human Equation'. It turned out to be my best-selling album to date!

3) Any disappointments?

Hmm...can't think of any. Things have been good I guess ;-)

4) What were your own favourite albums, films and/or books of 2004 and why?

I have no idea if they were released this year, but I liked the latest releases of Opeth, Dead Soul Tribe, The Quill, Mostly Autumn, Dream Theater, Devin Townsend, The Mars Volta, Porcupine Tree, Rammstein, Perfect Circle Tiamat, IQ etc.

Didn't see that many movies lately, not much time I guess. Was there a Johnny Depp movie this year? Okay, that one.

Didn't read any books this year either. Come to think of it, never read a book in my life...

5) What are you planning musically in 2005?

A new project, different from my other projects like Ayreon, Star One and Ambeon. A new challenge!

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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