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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The MUSIC with Everything
If The X Factor and Britain (or insert your own country here) Has Very Little Talent has the thumbs down set on your Tivo box then Ayreon's The Theory of Everything will come as a timely oasis in the desert that is modern music.

Progressive music got a bad reputation with those who could only play three chords on a guitar and didn't have the musical ability,...
Published 14 months ago by S. Honeyman

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ayreon Review
Beautifully presented album not quite as high a standard as I was expecting but far from disappointing. Still a wise choice.
Published 9 months ago by Susan Dean


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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The MUSIC with Everything, 30 Oct 2013
If The X Factor and Britain (or insert your own country here) Has Very Little Talent has the thumbs down set on your Tivo box then Ayreon's The Theory of Everything will come as a timely oasis in the desert that is modern music.

Progressive music got a bad reputation with those who could only play three chords on a guitar and didn't have the musical ability, imagination or attention span to explore any further. So welcome back my friends to the show that never really ended, welcome to THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, Arjen's attempt to progress music a little further in 2013.

For those of you who are still to become Ayeonauts (where have you been!!!), the band Ayreon is really a 6 foot 7 inch tall geeky guy from the Netherlands called Arjen Anthony Lucassen with the help of a couple of regular contributors and assorted special guest singers and musicians adding a solo here and there to a greater or lesser extent.

In nearly all of the reviews I have seen so far a lot has been made of the all star guest players. While this is certainly the talking point of the album, what must not be forgotten here is that 90% of what you hear is played by Arjen himself - the guitars, bass, most of the keyboards. If you focus on that, it's then you start realising how significant a talent he has. Quite extraordinary. Nevermind Actual Fantasy, this guy as ACTUAL TALENT, and an over abundance of it.

I'll not review the content of the music in detail as that has been done many times elsewhere. Instead I will sketch a picture of how this album makes me feel.

When I feel jaded and world weary, when something's bothering me, I will look through my music collection for inspiration and 50% of the time I will find I have an Ayreon album in my hand. I will lay down with my Audeze phones on and listen, REALLY LISTEN. Almost daily for the past few weeks I have found The Theory of Everything entering my ears and firing my imagination. Arjen's music is a eclectic combination of many things I like in music, he could almost be composing this just for me. His music has imagination, a scale and depth I have rarely heard elswhere. Arjen tells stories with his music so you wonder what is going to happen next both narratively and sonically.

I appreciate his choice of instruments, many of which have a noticable texture to them, i.e. old analogue synths with sci-fi like square waves which tickle my ears. Then there is his gravelly Hammond organ which invoke feelings of grandure. There is a lot of violin, cello and low flutes on this album, again adding texture to the sound, giving it another dimension. On this album Arjen uses his trademark deep tone crunching industrial rhythm guitar backgrounds on some tracks. This adds another texture layer to the music all of which make listening with headphones an aural and physical experience. Try it and see what I mean, give your ears a workout.

If you have never heard of Arjen Lucassen or his music before and you like rock music with feeling and a spacious epic sense of wonder you really must listen to this. Melodic, rhythmic, sometimes metal, sometimes folk, other times intense, other times sublime.

Of course "Theory" is not perfect. Some of the transitions between tracks sound a tiny bit forced. I remember reading somewhere that sigues or transitions between two pieces of music stick in the memory at a deeper level than the music itself - this might leave a jarring feeling with those not accustomed to the sudden, angular changes of tempo or melody common with progressive music. Keith Emmerson's solo is a little embarrassing - Arjen asked him for something along the lines of the solo from Lucky Man, Keith must have taken him too literally as he delivered about 30 notes which are an uncomfortably close pastiche of that and a solo from Pictures at an Exhibition. All the vocalists do a fantastic job, however the two female singers are a little too similar and without the lyrics in hand it's possible to get the mother and the girl characters confused. Also the singer portraying the father has a higher voice than the son, which goes against the grain a little.

I would sum up the music of Ayreon as an aural and emotional journey - a comfort blanket for the imagination. Spacey, epic, profound, full of musical wonder, curiosity and experimentation (some of which crash and burn but many take you to places you really wish you could stay). There are a hundred wonderful riffs, hooks and musical passages throughout the hour and twenty minutes of The Theory of Everything, some make you smile, some make you say "wow" to yourself.

I hope with this tremendous double album Arjen will finally breakthrough into a wider and general appreciation of his music beyond the usual prog and metal scene. Why is music in our culture dominated by barely post-pubescent girls or boy bands - the sonic equivalent of painting-by-numbers or the Mona Lisa done on Etch-a-Sketch? Let's hear it for tall Dutch guys for a change who can actually write and play their own stuff. :)

The Theory of Everything deserves to be up there with "The Wall" or "Echoes". It is a significant event in the history of progressive music.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous as you'd expect!!, 28 Oct 2013
This is probably going to be my favourite Ayreon album along with 01, and that's saying something amongst all the great Ayreon stuff. The concept here is a bit more "down to earth" than usual - basically an interesting tale about a young mathematical genius and the people surrounding him, ending in an intriguing touch of mystery. The vocalists Arjen has used are ALL amazing - and we've got people like Marco Hietala and Tommy Karevic. And an array of incredible musicians. Choosing the right people for projects like this is half the skill. It's beautifully put together, the music perfectly complementing the vocal sections and the story. Prog at its finest. Emotional and intelligent, melodic and powerful. It's not an "easy" listen, not for background music - you need to pay it the courtesy of attention, take time to sit and allow yourself to be drawn into the story and properly hear the voices of the characters and the magical music drawing pictures around them. It's a holistic experience in music and lyrical imagery. And as always with Arjen's work, a beautiful package with lovely atmospheric artwork.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ayreon and on and on and on !, 6 Nov 2013
By 
Stuart Smallman "s.smallman" (staffs,england) - See all my reviews
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This is a beauty of an album , the like of which is very rarely seen these days. The album with it's wonderful Tull like hook is a great prog epic in the tradition of the one's that went before and reminds me so much of waiting for the new Yes or ELP release . The art work by Jef Bertels (today's Roger Dean) leads you into a magical Arjen concept with a journey of time changes to compliment the story and the great vocalists that tell the tale as actors would on stage.

Anybody familiar with Arjen's work will already have this album , but if by chance you stumble upon this and the other reviews looking for somethhing different but yet familiar to listern to and have a love for all things prog , then do buy and sit back on a journey of pure escapism and enjoyment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prog Rock Heaven @ It's Best..., 17 Feb 2014
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Have to agree entirely with the many comments here and for me Into The Electric Castle was always my fave of Ayreon albums but I think The Theory Of Everything as succeeded it. In reality I love them all and Arjen's work on Ayreon as always appealed to me big style and this album contains many of my God's with the likes of Rick Wakeman. Keith Emerson. Jordan Rudess. Steve Hackett. As for the singers I have never heard of any of them before apart from John Wetton. But have to say what a terrific job they have all done, along with the other muso's and of coarse Arjen himself..

As with all Ayreon albums they take years to come out (not surprising really when you consider just what a genius this guy is) and this one completely got past me on its release, and I only discovered it last week on youtube and on Friday on the 14th February 2014 as soon as my pennies went in the bank I instantly ordered the Limited Box Set with DVD.

It very much came with the MP3 Audio Rip which was a great thing and having seen Arjen's video on the tube about it having 4 long epics over some 20 minutes each and him stating to take it easy, and not take them all on at once. I can honestly say over this weekend and even now on this Monday morning I have took on the whole journey at least 20 times, and even had an whole Ayreon Weekend and blasted out his other 7 albums too, and when the discs arrive I know I am gonna be enjoying the experience even more in better quality and give my ears another treat by playing it to death (LOL).

Absolutely Prog Rock Heaven at its best is what I call it and it ROCKS my boat 100%.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ayreon Theory Of Everything, 1 Dec 2013
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Excellent CD,probably best to date.Great choice of voices and musicians.Must admit ,took a few listens before realizing how good this is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ayreon do it again!, 29 Nov 2013
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Great album from a great musician...Arjen Lucassen. Two CD's of splendid music, great vocalists and superb musicianship..what more could you ask for?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ayreon Review, 15 Mar 2014
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Beautifully presented album not quite as high a standard as I was expecting but far from disappointing. Still a wise choice.
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5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING!!!, 9 April 2014
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This review is from: The Theory Of Everything [+digital booklet] (MP3 Download)
This is literally the best album I have ever listened to! There is an amazing variety of genres mixed into an unique storytelling album, I love it!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 27 Mar 2014
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Andy (UK Wickwar) - See all my reviews
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Just discovered this band and i'm very impressed. Full of great music from beginning to end. There are many different influences and styles which come together to make a great rock album. Some great guest musicians including John Wetton - Asia, Jordan Rudess - Dream Theatre, Steve Hackett & Rick Wakeman. It's also a double album so has quantity as well as quality.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Ayreon album ever!, 11 Mar 2014
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Best Ayreon album ever!
Every track is a pleasure to the ears.

Lucassen is the most criative musician in the music today.
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