Arjen Lucassen is back with his massive metal opera Ayreon, and with The Source he has outdone himself in everything on the musical path, and the singers on this album shines.
I have always loved Metal operas. Making a massive concept album that tells a deep and engaging story is hard and a process where you need plenty of talented musicians to make everything go around.
Let’s begin with singers. There are some massive names on this album. James LaBrie(Dream Theater) Tommy Karevik(Kamelot), Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Tobias Sammet (Edguy/Avantasia) Michael Mills (Toehider, doing some of his greatest singing ever) Simone Simons(Epica) Russell Allen (Symphony X) Hansi Kursch (Blind Guardian) Michael Eriksen (Circus Maximus) Tommy Rogers (Between the Buried and Me) and Nils K Rue (Pagans Mind). It is so many great singers it is hard to say where we should focus but there are some things worth noting.
Michael Mills is a genius in the role as the android TH-1 and Tommy Karevik could sing the phone book and I would buy it. Simone Simons and Floor Jansen are both excellent singers, and there are some parts on this where they sing together and it is so comfortable to listen to. The thing Ayreon manages is to take these eleven excellent singers on the same album and making it work out so great. The chemistry between the different characters are so realistic and great.
On the instrumental part we really need to talk about Ed Warby. The man is a drum machine, Jeroen Goossens makes beautiful music with the flute and Maaike Peterse delivers some amazing Cello parts. What I love about projects like this is how they use orchestral instruments to make great progressive metal
The opening track: The Day That The World Breaks Down features all eleven of the main singers in one epic thirteen minute long masterpiece. The great thing about progressive metal like this is that yoy never know what you will get. It changes so fast. This album is a lot more guitar oriented than the previous Ayreon albums and Arjen Lucassen has always been one of my musical heroes. The guy is a string instrument God and a creative master writing songs like this.
Deathcry of a Race features vocals by Zaher Zorgati (Myrath) as The Preacher and he sings soley in arabic. It is such a cool song and the arabic chanting really manages to capture the spirit of the epicness of this song.
Ayreons ninth studio album is also it’s best, and a strong contestant for greatest album of 2017. Arjen Lucassen impresses in everything from choice of singers to story, and has made a progressive gem that every metal fan should have in their album collection. This is a must hear.