ARTIST:

AYREON

(NETHERLANDS)
TITLE:

THE SOURCE

(2017)
LABEL:

MASCOT LABEL GROUP

GENRE:

MELODIC METAL

TAGS:
Concept-album
"By moving towards metal, Arjen Lucassen loses the sensitivity of his singers on the way to finally offer us a production that is still above average but a bit disappointing."
ABADDON (14.04.2017)  
3/5
(0) opinions from our readers (0) comment(s)

Already 22 years since Ayreon's first album ("The Final Experiment", 1995), but only eight studio albums. It must be said that Arjen Lucassen is a busy man: Ambeon, Star One, Guilt Machine, Gentle Storm plus five albums under his name, his production is plethoric and of quality. The previous studio album ("The Theory of Everything") had somewhat left the shores of anticipation to develop a brilliant reflection on human relationships, offering us one of the most successful concept-albums of the last few years. Will the ninth opus, "The Source", live up to its predecessor?

The album is a prequel to "Planet Y", which itself was the sequel to "The Electric Castle". "The Source" is thus a return to the space opera of anticipation, which describes the conditions that led the characters to fail on the famous Planet Y. As usual, to tell this story, Arjen called upon some regulars (we could even talk here about a real band : Ed Warby on drums, Ben Mathot on violin, Jeroen Goossens on flute, Maaike Peterse on cello) and a legion of prestigious guests including Mark Kelly, Marillion's keyboardist, guitarists Marcel Coenen, Guthrie Govan and Paul Gilbert, not to mention a magnificent line-up of singers, from James Labrie to Tommy Karevik and the youngest one: Zaher Zorgati from the group Myrath, the first French-speaking singer to take part in the Ayreon adventure.

And it starts off rather well with a long 11-minute track where all the singers are involved and whose complex construction will rally the votes of all fans of modern progressive. The bluesy middle section with a nice guitar solo and the fabulous choral work of Michael Mills are highlighted here. 

But afterwards, the tone will get simpler while the rhythmics get harder, taking the listener to a universe closer to Star One or "Flight of the Migrator", Arjen Lucassen's most metal universe, far from the delicacies of a "Dream Sequencer" or "Theory of Everything". We are not in the most interesting regions of Ayreon: here the sound prevails over the melody and the densification of the lines precipitates most of the tracks in a certain form of repetition, even caricature. We know that Arjen evolves in a universe of his own, with a strong signature made of the association of very well studied spatial keyboards and sharp guitars, but here he reuses "tricks" that have been heard many times in the previous opus, with a thickness that doesn't leave the listener the liberty to be imbued with any sensibility.

Thus we find the Celtic ambiences ('Sea of Machines', 'All That Was'), the worked choruses ('Star of Sirrah', 'Condemned to Live') and the sharp riffs ('Everybody Dies', 'Aquatic Race', 'Into the Ocean' with the guitar + Hammond sounds that Ayreon is very used to, 'Planet is Alive'...), so many tracks that won't surprise Arjen's fans. All the more so as by dint of pulling the tone towards speed, the project often loses what was one of its essential strengths: the quality of the vocal interpretations. To see interpreters like Tommy Karevik who had amazed us on "Theory..." or Russel Allen releasing scores that are finally quite unremarkable proves to be disappointing.

Let's not be unfair, the quality of the production is always far above average, with a production as usual precise, ample, dynamic, and some flashes in the compositions that remind us of Arjen's talent: the synth solo of 'The Dream Dissolves', some guitar parts ('Planet is Alive') and some transitions are remarkable. But the Ayreon machine tends to purr, and when it gets excited, it's here without any emotion transmitted.

With "The Source", Arjen Lucassen hardly goes out of his comfort zone. His fame allows him to work with prestigious individuals and to give an honourable album, but the listener has the right to expect more from a composer whose talent has delivered several unavoidable albums. 


More informations on http://www.ayreon.com





TRACK LISTING:
01. The Day That The World Breaks Down
02. Sea Of Machines
03. Everybody Dies
04. Star Of Sirrah
05. All That Was
06. Run! Apocalypse! Run!
07. Condemned To Live
08. Aquatic Race
09. The Dream Dissolves
10. Deathcry Of A Race
11. Into The Ocean
12. Bay Of Dreams
13. Planet Y Is Alive!
14. The Source Will Flow
15. Journey To Forever
16. The Human Compulsion
17. March Of The Machines

LINEUP:
Floor Jansen: Chant
Guthrie Govan: Guitares
Hansi Kürsch: Chant
James Labrie: Chant
Marcel Coenen: Guitares
Mark Kelly: Claviers
Michael Eriksen: Chant
Michael Mills: Chant
Nils K. Rue: Chant
Paul Gilbert: Guitares
Russell Allen: Chant
Simone Simons: Chant
Tobias Sammet: Guitares
Tommy Karevik: Chant
Tommy Rogers: Chant
Zaher Zorgati: Chant
   
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READERS
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