Online since August 2002

Another progressive opera

From the Summer 2004 issue.

The Human Equation
The Human Equation
By Ayreon

Inside Out U.S. Records: 2004

To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.

The latest two-CD rock opera by Arjen Lucassen is, as usual, a who's who of singers in the progressive music world – featuring the voices of James Labrie (Dream Theater), Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth), Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad) and Mike Baker (Shadow Gallery), as well as many others.

However, all the big names in music won't save an album without any good songs, so it's a good thing that "The Human Equation" has plenty of them with each one showcasing a singer doing what they do best as either a character or an emotion. Each vocalist does an amazing job at his or her respective parts, but it's quite obvious that it's Åkerfeldt who steals the album playing the role of Fear. His melancholic style is an amazing thing to behold in the context of an Ayreon album, and makes his death metal growls all the more effective on the rare occasion where they do pop up on this album.

Not to be outdone, Baker and Townsend team up their vocals on the strangest song, musically (in a good way), on the second disc, "Day Sixteen: Loser." Baker's pure singing style combined with Townsend's blood-curdling screams is an unbelievable, albeit too brief, attack.

Each song is incredible on its own, but takes on even more meaning within the context of the album's story. No need to spoil it for you, especially those likely to do themselves a favor and check out this album.

Review by Gabriel Lopez. Gabriel is guitarist for Fractured Halo, and lives in Fallbrook, Calif.

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