The Theory of Everything

1 Prologue: The Blackboard
2 The Theory of Everything part 1
3 Patterns
4 The Prodigy’s World
5 The Teacher’s Discovery
6 Love and Envy
7 Progressive Waves
8 The Gift
9 The Eleventh Dimension
10 Inertia
11 The Theory of Everything part 2
12 The Consultation
13 Diagnosis
14 The Argument 1
15 The Rival’s Dilemma
16 Surface Tension
17 A Reason to Live
18 Potential
19 Quantum Chaos
20 Dark Medicine
21 Alive!
22 The Prediction
1 Fluctuations
2 Transformation
3 Collision
4 Side Effects
5 Frequency Modulation
6 Magnetism
7 Quid Pro Quo
8 String Theory
9 Fortune?
10 Mirror Of Dreams
11 The Lighthouse
12 The Argument 2
13 The Parting
14 The Visitation
15 The Breakthrough
16 The Note
17 The Uncertainty Principle
18 Dark Energy
19 The Theory of Everything part 3
20 The Blackboard (reprise)

JB as The Teacher
Sara Squadrani as The Girl
Michael Mills as The Father
Cristina Scabbia as The Mother
Tommy Karevik as The Prodigy
Marko Hietala as The Rival
John Wetton as The Psychiatrist
Ed Warby –drums
Rick Wakeman – keyboards
Keith Emerson – keyboards
Jordan Rudess – keyboards
Steve Hackett – lead guitar
Troy Donockley – Uilleann pipes and low flute
Arjen Anthony Lucassen –electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitar, mandolin and keyboards

The Final Experiment (1995)
Actual Fantasy (1996)
Into the Electric Castle (1998)
Universal Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer (2000)
Universal Migrator Part 2: Flight of the Migrator (2000)
Ayreonauts Only (2000)
The Human Equation (2004)
01011001 (2008)

Ben Mathot –violins
Maaike Peterse –cellos
Jeroen Goossens – flute, bass flute, piccolo, bamboo flute & contrabass flute
Siddharta Barnhoorn – orchestrations
Michael Mills – Irish Bouzouki

Co-produced by Al Morse, Rich Mouser and John Boegehold
Artwork Design by Thomas Ewerhard

Released 2013-10-28
Reviewed 2013-10-30



“Will we ever understand, this complex genius, this visionary thinker?” that is how this albums opens on the storytelling side and I can’t help but think that it is autobiographical in some sense. Arjen Lucassen is a musical genius, doing music the way no one else really does. He said himself after the latest album 01011001 that it got a bit too complex, even for himself. He had indulged a bit too much in the riches that was given, with lots of great musicians and a big number of singers he made a complex album he claims was only really great to those who are the most dedicated fans of Ayreon. Nevertheless, it was the only album that received the highest rating from Hallowed in 2008. It is an amazing album and one I would suppose should be quite difficult to top and one I thought would be the last of the Ayreon album as the story was wrapped up with a track on the best of album called timeline. And Arjen himself said that there would be no more Ayreon universe unless Arjen could start from scratch and do something completely different with it.

And something different he has done, this is a more down to earth story focusing on the fine line between insanity and genius and that alluding theory of everything that is a theory looking to explain everything in one all encompassing formula. But combining the quantum mechanics with the theory of general relativity contains several stumbling blocks yet to be overcome. This sets the framework for this story about a savant and people close to him, this genius and visionary thinker who cannot handle ordinary life too well. It is a smaller version of Ayreon in that we have only seven singers and a smaller number of instrumentalists as well. The music though is recognisable as Ayreon with the telltale signature spacey sound from guitars and keyboards as well as the flutes. It sounds like Ayreon but completely different. The story is setup differently compared to what we had before, forty two tracks that sets up a story of four epic tales encompassing almost one and a half hour playing time. Cleverly the number 42 is significant for being the meaning of life, death and everything.

The production is probably as good as a production can be, the dynamics of the album is quite strong and it contains more or less everything bar a Devin Townsend screaming “never” in a desperate aggressive way. The singers are probably the best selection ever on an Ayreon album, not the best singers but the one most suited for their roles. Impressive. The depth is magnificent, the album will require some time to get into but it is rewarding as it is one that will last for a very long time. It is not repetitive in any way, there are no repeating choruses and not many melodies that runs through the album. I find it a very exciting album and it is both simple and complex with a storyline that is very good and well told. I must say that when hearing this I don’t miss the grandeur of the previous albums, it is probably an album that is better made than any of them.

I think this is Ayreon taken to the limit, perfecting all that is good about Ayreon and close to perfect, I really doubt that the rock/metal opera can be made any better than this. I am impressed with how this album is done, how the guests contribute their uniqueness to the stories, generally in the earlier works I don’t think the instrumental guests have really done so much but Wakeman, Emerson, Rudess and Hackett definitely add a bit of their own flair to the Ayreon sound and it sounds brilliant. As it stands now I think that this is the best Ayreon album I have ever heard and that says a lot as I think they are all brilliant, bar perhaps Actual Fantasy which is fairly ordinary. It is probably the best ever album I have reviewed for Hallowed.se as well and one of the best albums I have ever heard. An impressive piece of work no doubt.

It is difficult to select a favourite song as the album it built as a whole and the story is as I stated before, excellently told. 2013 has now proven to be an excellent musical year and W.E.T. got a run for their money and I think got comparatively beaten by this absolutely fabulous and wonderful album. I think this is one of those extremely few albums that feels like they are too good to be true and that you would be a monumental idiot to overlook it.



Label: InsideOut
Three similar bands:
Star One/Arjen Anthony Lucassen/Vengeance
Rating: HHHHHHH (7/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

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