The Theory Of Everything (2CD/DVD)

Arjen Lucassen's long awaited Ayreon project is a total blast.  Like some of the earlier Ayreon albums, it owes as much to prog rock as it does metal.  All the old school heroes like Emerson, Wakeman, Wetton get to strut their stuff showing a young stud like Rudess a thing or two.  As always Lucassen latches on to some of the best vocalists around and this one is no exception.  Highly recommended.

PLEASE NOTE THERE WILL BE A VERY EXPENSIVE IMPORT "ART BOOK" EDITION FORTHCOMING.

"You know what the metal world needs more of? Musicals. I'm not saying that ironically either. Sure, we have plenty of prog bands putting out concept albums, but cool as these records many be, the story themselves are not the focus of the album. Ayreon mastermind Arjen Anthony Lucassen has resurrected his grandest of all projects to continue showing these folks how to tell an epic story the right way.

With 01011001 the Ayreon story came to an end, or so we thought. Arjen instead decided to focus on projects like Star One, Guilt Machine, and his solo album Lost in the New Real. When he revealed not too long ago that he was working on a new project, it wasn't a surprise to discover it was new Ayreon, but I was still plenty excited.

Lucassen said of the newest record, "It's not science fiction, but a human story set in a science context." So no aliens or battling emotions or any of that. So, in an attempt to better understand the story, I contacting him for the lyrics and much to my surprise, he sent them to me saying, "Oh yes, you need the lyrics, definitely." Holy hell, was he right. The story is indeed more grounded than previous records, but there are still layers to this beast.

Fans of Ayreon should know what to expect here. The Theory of Everything has seven guest singers and each singer plays a part in the story. They are JB (Grand Magus) as the Teacher, Christina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil) as the Mother, Michael Mills (Toehider) as the Father, Tommy Karevik (Kamelot) as the Prodigy, Marco Hietala (Nightwish) as the Rival, John Wetton (Asia/ex-King Crimson) as the Psychiatrist, and Sara Squadrani (Ancient Bards) as the Girl.

Of these singers, the most impressive is the relatively unknown Sara Squadrani. She performs on a large portion of the story and shines every time, especially on "Love and Envy". I was also surprised to be so enamored with the performance of Christina Scabbia. She's always had  a wonderful voice, but her performance in this record might be her finest. Her harmonies with Squadrani stand out particularly on "Mirror of Dreams". This isn't to say only the performances by the female singers are worth mentioning. Tommy Karevik's introduction in "The Prodigy's World" is one of the strongest moments on the album.Press_Photo_01

Every Ayreon album comes an eclectic group of guest musicians. This round primarily consisted of guest keyboardists. Rick Wakeman (ex-Yes) handles a good portion of the record, while Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer) and Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) both make excellent solo appearances on "Progressive Waves".

Having listened to all of Lucassen's albums at least once, I can say The Theory of Everything is the most musically diverse offering he's had a hand in, perhaps with the exception of his solo record. This isn't as heavy as previous Ayreon titles, but it has its driving moments like "Collision" and the Dream Theather-esque "Frequency Modulation." The aforementioned "Love and Envy" is a slower introspective song, while "Diagnosis" is massive and a little cheesy, but so awesome. "Transformation" has a Middle Eastern feel to it, and  "The Eleventh Dimension" sounds like intergalactic renaissance faire music.

Often times there are jumps in mood, genre, etc in the middle of a song. This is fairly typical for an Ayreon release; what isn't typical is that technically this record consists of only four songs. These four songs are each at least twenty-one minutes, but they are cut up into forty-two pieces (yes, that's a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference) .

This is a fun record. It's a record that does require a time commitment. I'd say listeners should treat it as a proper musical or film in a theater. Try to experience it all in one sitting for the full effect. It's absolutely worth it." - Metal Injection

There are no review yet. Be the first!

Product Review

You must login or register to post reviews.
Laser Pic

customers also bought

SEE ALL
  • "The first DVD by Primordial is a fact and the band delivers something really good. When all bands would release a DVD this way, the medium DVD could be very interesting for the record industry.‘All Empires Fall’ consists of two discs of which the first one contains the complete show that the band did on January 24th 2009 at the Button factory in Dublin in front of 800 fans. Quite a good number for a gig in Ireland. The show was recorded with five cameras and has been edited in a great way that is easy on the eyes. Some minor criticism is that at some points it’s perhaps a bit too dark. They probably used a filter making it all a bit darker, which fits the band of course but is a bit tiring after a while. Concerning the choice of songs there’s no complaints, every album is represented.The second DVD is perhaps the most interesting for the fans as it contains the complete history of the band, they tell it themselves with al the ins and outs. Really good to watch. This disc also contains songs from the shows at Ragnarok Festival in Germany, Hove Festival in Norway and Graspop in Belgium. From the last two mentioned w only get a couple of tracks and I guess that has a bit to do with the sound recording of these gigs that aren’t too good. Other than that this is a great DVD of which there is even a special edition containing two CD’s with the complete live show of the Dublin show in audio." - Lords Of Metal
    $14.00
  • New CD/DVD digibook edition."Bloodbath is an all-star old school death metal band fronted by Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt. He left the band after their first album to concentrate on Opeth, but returned for 2008's The Fathomless Mastery. They released a live album in 2008 as well, but Bloodbath Over Bloodstock is the band's first DVD, filmed at the 2010 British festival.In addition to Akerfeldt, Bloodbath's lineup includes guitarists Anders Nystrom and Per “Sodomizer” Eriksson and bassist Jonas Renske from Katatonia (Eriksson has been a touring guitarist for them) along with Opeth drummer Martin “Axe” Axenrot. Their approach is direct, brutal and to-the-point. It's an interesting contrast to Opeth and Katatonia's progressive and melodic tendencies, although you'll hear brief flourishes that give an inkling of Bloodbath's pedigree.Three of the 12 songs on Bloodbath Over Bloodstock are from The Fathomless Mastery, three are from their 2002 debut Resurrection Through Carnage, and they even play “Breeding Death” from the 2000 EP of the same name. Interestingly enough, the album most represented in this set is 2004's Nightmares Made Flesh, which Akerfeldt did not appear on.My review copy just has the concert, but the press materials say there is bonus material on the DVD including band interviews and some songs from 2008's Party San Festival. The audio and video quality on Bloodbath Over Bloodstock is good. The band is tight, and having a giant festival crowd always seems to add energy to a band. Because of their primary band duties, Bloodbath doesn't play a lot of live shows, so this DVD may be your best opportunity to see them in action." - About.com 
    $15.00
  • Excellent US neoprog that will appeal to fans of Marillion and Iluvatar.
    $3.00
  • Arcturus is the Norwegian avant metal band that is considered a "supergroup" of sorts. The band continues to evolve with each album. This was recorded at the Sonic Solstice Festival in Oslo on September 24,2005. Unfortunately with the DVD now out of print you are missing a large component of the performance as itt is a highly theatrical performance incorporating dancers, costumes and effects. The primary source of material is taken from their Sideshow Symphonies and Sham Mirrors albums. This is real progressive metal. I hear tremendous similarities to Hawkwind and Grobschnitt but served up with a metal edge. Imagine Solar Music Live and Space Ritual over a bed of blastbeats courtesy of Hellhammer. Spacy Mellotron samples explode with tortured vocals and dual guitar leads. I can't believe how great this is - totally mesmerizing. Highest recommendation.  If you can't have the DVD this is the next best thing.
    $17.00
  • Eighth album from the Swedish masters of melancholy may well be their best. Katatonia's music is all about atmosphere and mystery - all served up with a bit of a moody and depressing feel. Night Is The New Day finds the band inching a bit closer to Opeth territory but doesn't get quite as heavy and vox are never growly - just plaintive and emotional. They do come up with some amazing riffs that suck you right into the tune. David Castillo's production gives the whole album a contemporary sheen. A real stunner.  4 bonus tracks.
    $12.00
  • Composer, guitarist and electronics innovator Richard Pinhas is recognized as one of Frances major experimental musicians. A pivotal figure in the international development of electronic rock music, Pinhas' stature in France is analogous to Tangerine Dream's in Germany: the father figure of an entire musical movement. The pioneering, aggressive music produced by his band Heldon during the 1970s, fusing electronics, guitar and rock, heralded the industrial and techno to come and remains today vital and unsurpassed. On Tranzition, Pinhas weaves beautiful, spacey, processed guitar tapestries, with added color from laptop, violin and the drumming of Antoine Paganotti of Magma. The voice of the late author Philip K. Dick can be heard on Moumoune girl, from a 1977 tape that he gave Pinhas. The BBC described his recent guitar music as Music that is in flux and stasis at the same time, with an almost sculptural presence, stuffed with overtones and rich textures. Tranzition is a multifaceted and richly jeweled work in which cause and effect, acoustics and electronics, taped sound and live playing change roles and even realities. Among collectors of electronic music, some names have become legendary and are present in every search list. These names include Richard Pnhas, the leader of the French cult group Heldon."-Audion.?
    $13.00
  • THIS NORTHERN VIRGINIA BASED BAND is a three-piece at heart, musically rooted in the raw energy and rhythmic interplay of RUSH and KING’S X. Fans of dark, guitar-driven rock bands from ALICE IN CHAINS, DEFTONES to the contemporary metal riffing of LAMB OF GOD and PANTERA, will connect to the heavy core of IRIS DIVINE’s sound. Add to that progressive complexity and moody synths inspired by DREAM THEATER and PORCUPINE TREE, and a liberal dose of memorable hooks and melodies, to understand some elements of IRIS DIVINE’s sound. And yet, the band has a distinct identity, not quite sounding like any of the aforementioned bands, and with an emotional urgency that pulls subtly from alternative and other influences.KARMA SOWN IS A TRIUMPH OF A DEBUT ALBUM, immediate and memorable but revealing layers and depth upon repeated listens."Progressive metal is in a rough period right now. The old guard are either releasing sub-standard albums that only make it more obvious how far they have fallen, or they are drastically uncool with anyone who didn't become a fan when progressive metal was first being created. Progressive today tends to mean djent, a style that has sapped all the life and humanity out of music, turning metal into a math equation of time signatures, and not songs that anyone can actually remember. There was a time when progressive metal remembered the ultimate goal of music; to have listeners enjoy the songs so much they would return to them again and again. Today, progressive metal is mostly the sort of music that could pass for muzak, if you don't turn the volume up too loud.Iris Divine wants to change that. They set out with the mission of writing progressive metal that is intricate and challenging, but still produces the kind of songs that listeners who don't have an advanced degree can love and sing along to. It's a challenge, and it goes against the tide, but it's a desperately needed revolution if progressive metal is going to flourish anytime in the near future.I knew from hearing the pre-release track “A Suicide Aware” that Iris Divide was special, and the full album reinforces the point. “The Everlasting Sea” comes out of the gates with plenty of tricky riffing and unusual rhythms, but they lead into big melodies with strong hooks and vocals. Their progressive playing isn't meant for show, it's a tool used to set a tone that juxtaposes with the more melodic moments. Finding the proper balance between these elements is not easy, and many a band have failed miserably trying to do so, but Iris Divine doesn't. On their debut record, they show a skill some bands have spent their entire careers failing to learn.What I love most about the record is that it can be seen in many different lights. If you like straight-ahead metal, there is plenty of heavy riffing and pounding drumming here to keep you satisfied. If you like progressive music, these songs have twists and turns, and Rush-like keyboards, in enough quantity to match the djent crowd. And if you're a fan of old-school radio rock, the choruses in these songs will be music to your ears. Keeping all three of these in mind at the same time can be tricky, but it's worth the effort.For being a trio, “Karma Sown” is a massive sounding record. The production is flawless, big and clear, without ever sounding too polished. The heavy parts are heavy, the vocals are up front, and you would never believe this was a self-produced record that was crowd-funded. I can put it up against many, many of the big label releases, and it would win the fight.In fact, I can think of a dozen so-called progressive metal bands that should immediately hand over their label contracts to Iris Divine, because it's a crime that a band that is advancing progressive metal in the right direction doesn't have the backing of one of the labels. Not to name names, but this album would be bigger than half of the progressive metal released this year if it had the media push behind it.In case you haven't noticed, what I'm saying is that “Karma Sown” is a fantastic debut, and the future of progressive metal. Iris Divine isn't a Dream Theater clone, and they're not djent. What they have done is integrate all the strains of progressive metal into a singular sound, one that could set the standard moving forward. If every band sounded this good, progressive metal wouldn't need to be underground. “Karma Sown” is the best progressive metal album of the year, bar none." - Bloody Good Horror
    $13.00
  • First new studio album since 1999's Darktown demonstrates a masterful musican firmly in control. Steve has continued to evolve as an progressive artist with only a modest look backwards. At times subdued there are plenty of guitar pyrotechnics and keyboard embellishments to remind you of his earlier solo works. Recorded with his recent touring band, notable guests include Ian McDonald and brother John Hackett.
    $13.00
  • Third album from this Finnish power metal band finds them on a new label - Spinefarm Records. The sound hasn't changed at all. This is operatic female fronted power metal exactly in the same direction of Tarja era Nightwish.
    $15.00
  • The third and final album of the Blackmore/Dio marriage was a fine one. "Gates Of Babylon" and "Kill The King" and the title track are now timeless classics of hard rock.
    $5.00
  • Musical sequel to their earlier masterpiece. Similar in sound to "Tides Return". Klaus Peter Matziol is back!
    $13.00
  • "This sophomore release by German outfit Seven Steps to the Green Door is an odd one, very well made, well performed, but still an odd one.In the 10 tracks on the CD, 12 if you have the US version with bonus tracks, the band steers it's listener through an erratic - or perhaps rather eclectic - menu of all sorts from the world of music.The compositions themselves have a high degree of variation, the first bonus track the most stellar example with segments exploring funk, laidback jazz and prog metal in one and the same song, but most other tracks have style variations with a minimum of two different styles explored.Lighter neo-progressive touches and heavy progressive rock leaning towards prog metal at times are the most dominant features, closely followed by jazz and fusion. Spirited and energetic in general, and even the hip hop or nu-metal inspired vocal segments come across rather well.The mix and production are high class, but seems to be directed at a mainstream audience though. The guitars are tuned down, contrasts are dampened rather than highlighted; and for such an adventurous creation the overall sound is very slick. Perhaps too slick to cater for a progressive audience; while the music may be too weird for a more mainstream oriented public. Personally I found this to be a great record; but can understand those who doesn't manage to get enthralled by this one.Still - a highly worth investigating tag for this production from me." - ProgArchives
    $3.00
  • "Gurnemanz, was a German folk rock band, who have recorded and pressed privately two excellent albums during the mid 70s. Their delightful music is somewhere between first Broeselmaschine, Hoelderlin and Ougenweide. All ingredients are there, sitar, flute, lute, lyre, mandolin etc played by master musicians, but above all is this stunning female voice of Manuela Schmitz.This is their first album, originally pressed privately in 1975, most tracks are sung in English.Deluxe 180g vinyl, from the original analogue master tapes, exact reproduction of the original first pressing. 500 pieces limited edition."First ever official exact reissueGreat German folk rock album with female vocals from 1975Fully authorizedMostly English lyricsExpertly remastered by band member John Cremer himselfLimited, deluxe exact reissue on 180g vinyl with printed inner sleeve 500 pieces  
    $29.00
  • 3 album slipcase set includes: Departure, Escape, and Frontiers.
    $16.00