Author Topic: Arjen Lucassen Discography Thread v. A moment lost in time  (Read 9519 times)

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Offline Evermind

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Arjen Lucassen Discography Thread v. A moment lost in time
« on: September 12, 2016, 11:03:43 AM »
Hello and welcome to Arjen Lucassen Discography thread!

This is the place where we'll be discussing most of Arjen's extensive discography in the upcoming months. Since Arjen has been a well-known figure on the world's progressive scene for more than 20 years now, and since he is also quite a prolific musician, this should keep us busy at least until Christmas, and possibly even longer. So buckle up and get ready to share your opinions and facts about everything Arjen-related! Every contribution to this thread is valuable, and every well-constructed and well-reasoned opinion is welcome. I think I won't be lying when I say we're looking forward to see what kind of discussions our writeups will spark.

By "we" I mean yours truly, who comes up with all the information featured in the writeups and who does the actual writing (sheesh, I'm talking about myself in the third person), and 425, who does all the editing. He doesn't know a lot about Ayreon—though I'm sure he indeed owns a few albums—but it's because of his invaluable contribution that my huge posts here will end up being actually readable. You don't want to see the first drafts I sent him, they're horrible. He will probably deny that, though, because he's courteous and polite like that.

Anyway, I thought I'd provide a bit of background information about Arjen for people who are completely unfamiliar with him.


Arjen Anthony Lucassen was born in 1960 in Hilversum, Netherlands. He started playing guitar at the age of 14 and participated in several cover bands in school. He was so passionate and enthusiastic about music that he started to neglect his main school duties. Eventually, this resulted in his expulsion and he was sent to an institute for difficult children to complete his education.

After finishing school, Arjen joined the hard rock band Bodine in 1982, under a pseudonym Iron Anthony, as a guitarist. Initially, he auditioned for being a singer, but his voice wasn't what the band was looking for at the time. Arjen recorded two albums with Bodine, but eventually he got bored of the band—all the other members were ten years his senior, which meant no real partying after the show—and they didn't make a lot of money from tours, either. Therefore, when he received a call from the band Vengeance in 1984, asking if he knew a guitar player to join the band, he left Bodine and joined Vengeance instead. With Arjen, they released five studio albums in ten years, becoming one of the most successful Dutch bands. However, the band decided to split up in 1992. Arjen recorded a solo album in 1993, which didn't impress music fans or critics; and then he started Ayreon with The Final Experiment in 1995. And that's where it all began...

As of today, Arjen has released eight Ayreon albums, branched out in several side projects like Star One and Guilt Machine, and put out three live records. He worked with numerous singers and musicians from all over the globe, young talents and rock legends alike. Besides composing music, he also plays multiple instruments on his albums—most notably guitars and keyboards, but he also does bass and some other, more eclectic instruments. His side projects are usually focused on some particular aspects of his music—Star One being all-out heavy, The Gentle Storm being more folk-oriented—while Ayreon albums encompass all the styles from which Arjen draws influence. His latest release, a live theatrical production of one of the Ayreon albums, saw the light of day just a few months ago, and he has already written a secret new record and recorded the guide vocals for it. This secret record is scheduled for release in 2017.

The thread will start in earnest in an hour or two, when I'll post our first writeup; the one for the debut Ayreon album, The Final Experiment. Settle in, sit back, make yourself comfortable and get ready. ;)

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Re: Arjen Lucassen Discography Thread
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2016, 11:18:48 AM »
Following!
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Offline twosuitsluke

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Re: Arjen Lucassen Discography Thread
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2016, 11:23:05 AM »
Totally following along with this. I've not actually listened to The Final Experiment yet so this will be good. I'll give it a listen tonight in preparation.

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Re: Arjen Lucassen Discography Thread
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2016, 11:36:57 AM »
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Re: Arjen Lucassen Discography Thread
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2016, 11:51:06 AM »
Totally following.
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Re: Arjen Lucassen Discography Thread
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2016, 11:57:07 AM »
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Great to see you guys are following this. I hope we won't disappoint you. ;) Let's get it on with the first writeup.



The Final Experiment (1995)




Release date: October 27th, 1995
Length: 71:17


Tracklist:

1. Prologue
     A. The Time Telepathy Experiment
     B. Overture
     C. Ayreon's Quest

Act I: The Dawning

2. The Awareness
     A. The Premonition
     B. Dreamtime (Words Become a Song)
     C. The Awakening
3. Eyes of Time
     A. Eyes of Time
     B. Brainwaves
4. The Banishment
     A. A New Dawn
     B. The Gathering
     C. The Accusation
     D. The Banishment
     E. Oblivion

Act II: King Arthur's Court

5. Ye Courtyard Minstrel Boy
6. Sail Away to Avalon
7. Nature's Dance

Act III: Visual Echoes

8. Computer Reign (Game Over)
9. Waracle
10. Listen to the Waves
11. Magic Ride

Act IV: Merlin's Will and Ayreon's Fate

12. Merlin's Will
13. The Charm of the Seer
14. Swan Song
15. Ayreon's Fate
     A. Ayreon's Fate
     B. Merlin's Prophecy
     C. Epilogue

Personnel:

Arjen Anthony Lucassen - vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, synthesizer, drums, percussion, timpani, audio mixing, sleeve design & photography

Vocalists:

Arjen Anthony Lucassen as Ayreon on "Nature’s Dance," "Listen To The Waves," "Magic Ride" and "Ayreon’s Fate".
Barry Hay (Golden Earring) as Ayreon on "Sail Away To Avalon."
Edward Reekers (Kayak) as Merlin on "Prologue," "The Awareness" and "Ayreon’s Fate" as Ayreon on "The Awareness" and "Ayreon’s Fate".
Ian Parry (Elegy) as Nobleman on "Ye Courtyard Minstrel Boy," as Ayreon on "Computer Reign" and as Merlin on "Ayreon’s Fate".
Jan-Chris de Koeijer (Gorefest) as Ayreon on "The Banishment".
Jay van Feggelen (Bodine) as Ayreon on "Waracle" and as Merlin on "Ayreon's Fate".
Lenny Wolf (Kingdom Come) as Ayreon on "Eyes Of Time".
Leon Goewie (Vengeance) as Merlin on "Merlin's Will" and "Ayreon's Fate;" as Ayreon on "Ayreon's Fate".
Robert Soeterboek (Cotton Soeterboek Band) as Villagers on "The Banishment" and as Merlin on "Ayreon's Fate".
Ruud Houweling (Cloudmachine) as Ayreon on "The Charm Of The Seer".
Debby Schreuder as Merlin, Women and Villagers on "Ayreon's Fate;" as Chorus on several tracks.
Mirjam van Doorn as Merlin, Women and Villagers on "Ayreon's Fate;" as Chorus on several tracks.
Lucy Hillen as Ayreon on "The Charm Of The Seer;" as Chorus on several tracks.

Musicians:

Cleem Determeijer — keyboards
Ernst van Ee (Trenody) — drums
Jan Bijlsma — bass
Jolanda Verduijn — bass
Peter Vink — bass
Rene Merkelbach — keyboard

Artwork:

Ruud Houweling
Richèle Nijst
Jacoby Peters




This is the voice of Merlin. Listen well, for it concerns you. This chronicle commences in the year 2084 A.D. Mankind has virtually destroyed itself. Its survival depends on the final experiment.

Scientists from the 21st century have developed a new computer program called “Time Telepathy”. By using this technique, they have sent visions of humanities’ decline back in time. These transmissions have been received by the mind of a blind minstrel who lives in 6th century in Great Britain. His name… is Ayreon.

*synthetic trumpets blow*


Damn, but Arjen surely does know how to make a musical entrance.

It shall be Ayreon’s quest to sing of these visions and thus warn the world of its impending downfall in order to change its future into a long and prosperous one. Let us go back to the dark ages…

Dark ages…

Dark ages…

Dark ages…


No, seriously, that’s how it is on the album.

So, remember those wondrous times when Ayreon albums were concise enough you could fit them on only one CD? Because if you don’t really count two Universal Migrator albums as the separate ones—they were released as two different albums on the same day for the reasons I’ll get into the respective writeup, but essentially, they’re two parts of the same album—then The Final Experiment is one of the only two Ayreon albums that isn’t a double-CD release. Oh, Arjen can write and release concise albums, a bunch of his side-projects being the fine evidence of that, but when it comes to Ayreon albums, you know you’re getting the full package, always more than an hour of music, and considerably more than that in most cases. The Final Experiment, therefore, ends up on the lower end of the scale if you look at the Ayreon album lengths.

History / Background

There are multiple ways of interpreting the album’s title, The Final Experiment. On one hand, it fits right into a concept—of which I’ll speak in a few paragraphs—referencing the last desperate attempt to save humanity from self-destruction. On the other hand, I can’t help but notice how it alludes, perhaps unintentionally, to the whole situation around this release. Arjen, tired of the necessity of making compromises with his fellow band members when it came to writing music and tired of being confined to any particular style of music, decided to go all-out and write a rock opera where all the styles he loved were present. In several interviews he mentions that he always had to cater to someone else’s view of music. His first band, Bodine, tried to play NWOBHM, which was popular at that time; Vengeance followed the styles of the popular bands like Van Halen and (later) AC/DC; and when Arjen wrote his first solo album, Pools of Sorrow, Waves of Joy, he tried to make it as radio-friendly as he could. Most songs on it were radio-oriented, and the record was a commercial flop. Arjen earned quite a lot of money from the Vengeance farewell tour, so he set out to create his ultimate album. Thus The Final Experiment was born. Reflecting on that time, Arjen has stated that he didn’t really care if people liked it and or if it was the last thing he did in music—he just wanted to release something behind which he could stand one hundred percent. As it turned out, the payout from the Vengeance tour wasn’t enough for Arjen to finance the project. The hiring of some rather big names in Dutch music industry drove up costs, and in the end Arjen’s father had to make a financial contribution of his own to ensure that the album saw the light of day.

However, it wasn’t enough to simply write and record the album. Arjen also had to find a label, and he didn’t have a lot of success on that front—basically everyone turned him down when he presented his rock opera. Finally, Arjen met Hans van Vuuren from Pseudonym Records, who really liked the album and agreed to release it. Hans had never handled a new CD release before—he had previously worked only with re-releases—so Arjen was initially apprehensive about this, but Hans’ enthusiasm about the project and the absence of another viable option were enough to convince the maestro to take the leap. Together, they started a label called Transmission, and The Final Experiment was its first release. At the time, Arjen wanted to make only one rock opera, and he didn’t want to label The Final Experiment (which was originally called Ayreon: The Final Experiment) with a band name. However, Hans managed once again to convince Arjen to follow his guidance and include one, since using a band name would be better for marketing purposes. At first, he thought it would be impossible to name the whole project “Ayreon”, since the protagonist died in the end of the first album—and besides, naming the band after the main character in the rock opera was beyond cheesy even for Arjen’s standards. But eventually, Arjen relented and agreed to do just that—a decision which he now admits was a good one. Defending his original opinion about this, he often gave an example of The Who re-naming themselves into Tommy after their rock opera of the same name.

And so The Final Experiment was released. In the subsequent weeks, it would become a commercial success—at least, for a full-fledged rock opera, featuring a spoken prologue and four musical acts.

Plot

The story takes us to the 6th century, to a quiet village in Britain, a home of the renowned blind minstrel, Ayreon. By a mysterious choice of fate, the visions of the future come upon the man, showing him the images of destruction, impending doom and the extinction of the human race (The Awareness). At first, Ayreon doesn’t realize what these visions mean—he only has his suspicions and general ideas. Therefore, when the villagers ask him to shed the light on whatever he sees, he refuses, not fully understanding the nature of the visions himself (Eyes of Time). His strange visions, odd behavior, and the secretive unwillingness to reveal the content of the visions lead the villagers to exile him. Later, we see Ayreon wandering through the forest, exhausted, with only an indistinct sense of accomplishment sustaining him (The Banishment).

Ayreon’s path guides him to Camelot, and he’s invited to the court as a skilled minstrel. (Ye Courtyard Minstrel Boy). To prove his worth as a minstrel and to entertain the court, Ayreon quickly whips up a song about Knights of the Round Table (Sail Away to Avalon). The song is well-appreciated, and Ayreon is welcomed to the court. He retreats to the garden and ponders his destiny and his fate in the scheme of things (Nature's Dance). Reluctantly, he embraces his destiny and decides to return to the court to share his visions of the disastrous future, singing about the various disasters he has foreseen. He sings about machines and technology prevailing over human passion and other emotions (Computer Reign (Game Over)), about the uselessness of the countless wars to come (Waracle), and about the eventual future pollution of the atmosphere and the environment (Listen to the Waves). After this is done, Ayreon commands the people who are sending him the visions to grant him another vision in which everything is alright, and he’ll be free of the agony and misery he’s in now (Magic Ride). He receives no answer whatsoever—he still doesn’t understand what is going on. Of course, he has no chance of understanding the events happening. However, something comes out of this desperate move—Merlin notices him and finally decides to interfere with Ayreon’s whole harbinger-of-death agenda.

Merlin strides into the court and declares Ayreon is aiming to deceive everyone at court with his deceptive songs about doom. Merlin then renounces Ayreon’s name (Merlin’s Will). Ayreon realizes he can’t change the minds of whoever was listening to him in the present time because of Merlin’s influence over them, and that he has no way to stop these agonizing visions from coming upon him. He surmises his only choice is to submit himself to Merlin’s killing charm (Charm of the Seer). Merlin grants Ayreon a few moments to compose himself and to remember all his life’s highlights before his death (Swan Song). Ayreon makes a final attempt to convince Merlin about his sincerity, but it doesn’t work because Merlin is, in this story, an envious douchebag. Ayreon dies, and then Merlin has a vision proving Ayreon’s visions were genuine (Ayreon’s Fate). Overcome with grief and shame, and unwillingness to be the one who condemned mankind to its certain death by not spreading the word of the future disaster, he vows that he’ll make sure Ayreon’s word gets heard in 20th century…

The outcome of the final experiment has now been placed in your hands.

Music

Musically, this album is all over the place. The album begins with the classic Ayreon’s song—of course, there were no classic Ayreon songs at all in 1995, but still—The Awareness. This song features some trademark Arjen synth sounds, which provide a haunting atmosphere that is quite fitting for this track. Edward Reekers shines on this one. Eyes of Time reflects Arjen’s hard rock background, which is expected when you have Lenny Wolf at the mic. The Banishment, Arjen’s first attempt at a 10+ minutes long song, isn’t too shabby, but it does feel a bit disjointed. And, of course, there’s that section with growls at the end, which feels way out of place for me. Growls are tricky with Ayreon, because while they’re present in The Final Experiment and later on Into the Electric Castle, I feel the first time Arjen got the growls sections right was on The Human Equation. We’ll definitely touch on this subject again in the future.

Ye Courtyard Minstrel Boy offers a nice contrast to the previous songs, being folky and peaceful with accessible melodies and over-the-top lyrics with some old English words like “thy” and “thine.” Sail Away to Avalon is a perfect radio single, or at least as perfect as it gets when we’re talking about a rock opera—catchy, memorable and with famous Dutch singer Barry Hay on vocals—there’s no wonder it won a contest on Dutch Radio 3 and stayed in rotation for five consecutive days.

Arjen himself sings a few songs on this record too, namely Nature’s Dance, Listen to the Waves and Magic Ride. I usually tend to defend Arjen’s singing, because I like how he has no delusions about his voice and I think his voice can be enjoyable on the right song, but for me it mostly became tolerable from The Dream Sequencer onwards. He tended to distort his voice a bit (and sometimes not a bit) on the earlier albums, including here—we’ll talk more about this when we get Into the Electric Castle—and this was where he always lost me, which also happens here.

There are also some rather unpredictable story-telling songs like Merlin’s Will with Leon Goewie as a lead singer, and there are some anthemic numbers like Charm of the Seer, featuring a whole choir and the beautiful vocals from Lucy Hillen. Rock songs, 70-s inspired songs, progressive numbers, folky tunes, atmospheric tracks, metal songs... This record has this unusual variety of styles all tied into a cohesive story, something that, apparently, wasn’t that common in 1995. This rock opera was very ambitious, and its ambition obviously affected the sales in a positive way.

My Thoughts

You know, despite somewhat pretentious moments and pretentious ways the plot was turned into the music here, I think the actual album’s story and plot are somewhat compelling. I mean, yeah, not much even happens throughout the album story-wise, and there is some plot-related filler like Sail Away to Avalon, Nature’s Dance and Magic Ride, all true, but still, I think it was pretty cool idea to have Merlin vow that he will make sure the story will reach all the way into 20th century, and make it so by releasing this album. I mean, I’m usually partial to cheese, so I’m not your best expert on this one, but I’m curiously fond of this idea.

What’s even more interesting is that Arjen himself admits he didn’t think much further than this album about the whole overarching Ayreon sci-fi plot with Forever of the Stars and whatever else came up next. He just wrote this album as a finished story and later couldn’t help himself when the opportunities arose to link the upcoming albums to this one and to the ones after it. And so just like that, The Final Experiment started a plot that lasted for the better part of six albums, excluding Actual Fantasy, something that almost no rock opera before this one managed to achieve. Actually, I can only think of two more examples. 425 kindly informed me that Coheed and Cambria has released seven concept albums related to their "The Amory Wars" storyline; and The Dear Hunter is catching up with Ayreon as we speak, too, with five Acts of a six-album story released already.

I also think that for his finances and popularity at the time, Arjen managed to gather a great cast of singers for this album. Edward Reekers, Ian Parry, Lenny Wolf and of course Barry Hay are close to perfect on their songs, and the songs are well-tailored to fit them, too. However, I feel that the value of the actual rock opera is diminished by the fact they all play the same character on the different songs. Arjen fixed that on Into the Electric Castle and onwards—or at least provided the plot-logical explanations for that—but here we have a rock opera with more or less two prominent characters (not counting the Nobleman in one song and Villagers in two others) and like what, eight people portraying them? This could be a little confusing without the booklet (which also was one my main beefs with The Astonishing)—but with the re-release of the album, I don’t think the booklet is difficult to get your hands on.

In my opinion, this album is a strong beginning for Ayreon (on the odd day, I might even blasphemously prefer it over Into the Electric Castle), and overall is a worthy entry in the whole Ayreon discography. Yeah, it has got some rough edges and it’s certainly not as polished as some records that came after it, but the high points here are wonderful (The Awareness, Sail Away to Avalon, Charm of the Seer). I do think The Final Experiment could benefit from cutting a track or two here and there, though, preferably something Arjen-fronted. But overall I keep coming back to this album, and I’m always caught off-guard by how strong it is for a debut.

And apparently the audience following the progressive rock and metal scene in 1995 shared my opinion, since (as I said before), the sales for the album were fairly impressive—providing the opportunity to do another Ayreon album...

Offline twosuitsluke

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Ok, so I've read your post on The Final Experiment and I'm about 20 minutes into the album. This is the only Ayreon album, that follows the over arching plot, that I haven't heard.

I had preconceptions that this album would be a really unpolished version of Ayreon. For that reason I have listened to all his other albums before this one. This has given me the kick up the ass to listen to it so that's cool. So far it does kind of sound like I expected but it also has that Ayreon sound in spades. As you said, maybe a little rough around the edges at times but I don't mind that.

Its also a bit heavier than I expected so far, which is a good thing, and has more audible bass than on some of his other albums.

Edit: I quite liked that on first listen. I always imagined there would be a larger progression of Ayreon's sound between this and Into the Electric Castle. I almost thought it would be one of those 'for hardcore fans only' kind of albums.

I liked The Banishment and Waracle. I really didn't mind the growls at the end of The Banishment. I'll definitely pick this album up and give it more listens  :corn

« Last Edit: September 12, 2016, 03:18:01 PM by twosuitsluke »

Offline MrBoom_shack-a-lack

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Following!

Listening to The Final Experiment now. I've always wanted to dive into Arjen's music but I never really have. This thread seems like a good opportunity to do so!

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Offline Parama

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I always remember that the chorus of merlin's will is like the most cheesy awesome thing
and this album as a whole is solid, but pales in comparison to most Ayreon stuff

Offline wolfking

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I should try and follow this thread and listen to everything along with it.  There's some holes in my Arjen discography.

Offline Nick

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EASILY the most underrated and underappreciated Ayreon album. From your excellent write up you set the scene as Arjen wanting to, if need be, go out in a blaze of glory. He had never done an album like this before. He lacked the big names and international recognition he would later acquire. The bands he had been in didn't do this style of music. He didn't have a bigger name label.

All of that, and he came out of the gate with a fantastic album. Musically it has some of his best songwriting, and story wise it manages to be cohesive and inviting without being boring. This is tied for my 3rd favorite Ayreon album just a smidge behind the masterpiece THE and the smidge behind ItEC.

And truly, this write up is fantastic, and this thread is off to a great start.

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Offline twosuitsluke

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Yea dude, really great write up.

So this thread will have all things Arjen that were released after The Final Experimentation? I have every Ayreon album except The Final Experimentation and Actual Fantasy. Outside of that though I just have the two Star One albums so will look forward to filling in the gaps.

Offline Evermind

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Thank you guys.

I always remember that the chorus of merlin's will is like the most cheesy awesome thing
and this album as a whole is solid, but pales in comparison to most Ayreon stuff

The whole song is kind of like that. Leon's portrayal of Merlin is so ridiculously over the top that I can't help but like it. :lol

So this thread will have all things Arjen that were released after The Final Experimentation? I have every Ayreon album except The Final Experimentation and Actual Fantasy. Outside of that though I just have the two Star One albums so will look forward to filling in the gaps.

So far that's the plan, yes. We go forward from The Final Experiment, covering every studio and live album after it (except Strange Hobby). Then, if everything goes well, we go back and cover all the rest of Arjen-related stuff, like Bodine, Vengeance and his first solo album. This will take some time, because I'm not familiar with anything that preceded The Final Experiment.

Something I meant to mention in the first post but forgot to: we're aiming at posting one writeup per week. This schedule can change a bit due to the amount of details I try to include in these posts and also due to the amount of time it takes to edit these walls of text. But the original plan is to do one of these each week.

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oh good, so i have an entire week to read through that novel of text then  :corn

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All of that, and he came out of the gate with a fantastic album. Musically it has some of his best songwriting, and story wise it manages to be cohesive and inviting without being boring. This is tied for my 3rd favorite Ayreon album just a smidge behind the masterpiece THE and the smidge behind ItEC.

And truly, this write up is fantastic, and this thread is off to a great start.

In fact, this is something we briefly discussed with 425 just yesterday. What appeals to me about most of Arjen's plots is that they're relatively transparent and easy to follow. I've listed TDH and Coheed and Cambria as the examples of other multiple albums rock operas, and from what I've heard, the plot is much more intricate and difficult to follow from the albums' liner notes.

oh good, so i have an entire week to read through that novel of text then  :corn

Fun fact: the first draft was so huge that it didn't fit in a single post. We had to restructure it severely, as well as cut most of my cheesy jokes about the storyline. :lol

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Please please please host a teamspeak/skype call with a live listening session so we can comment along the way? That would be the best rendition of a discography thread ever and I would be in like flynn.

Offline Evermind

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I suppose that's possible, but it'll be very difficult to get enough people for that to be worth it. All the time zones, work duties, school duties, I'd be surprised if I'll get more than three people at once.

But if there's enough interest, I'm willing to try it out.

Offline Cyclopssss

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Great write-up! it's funny, I actually didn't hear about Arjen untill Into the Electric Castle. Suddenly EVERYONE on the Fates Warning forum was talking about this guy.

And I'm like 'WTF?! I'm Dutch and I haven't heard about him?' (turns out later, off course I had, just didn't recognise him).

I will comment later on further in detail, after re-listening to the album.
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Offline Kwyjibo

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Definitely following  :metal

Will write more later when I get some time

Offline Nick

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All of that, and he came out of the gate with a fantastic album. Musically it has some of his best songwriting, and story wise it manages to be cohesive and inviting without being boring. This is tied for my 3rd favorite Ayreon album just a smidge behind the masterpiece THE and the smidge behind ItEC.

And truly, this write up is fantastic, and this thread is off to a great start.

I'm fact, this is something we briefly discussed with 425 just yesterday. What appeals to me about most of Arjen's plots is that they're relatively transparent and easy to follow. I've listed TDH and Cheese and Cambria as the examples of other multiple albums rock operas, and from what I've heard, the plot is much more intricate and difficult to follow from the albums' liner notes.

Yeah, it's something I've always appreciated in his work as well. On 01 especially he sometimes got a little bit too much to the point, but this album is just perfect. You can just sit back, listen, be entertained and know what's going on. I know some people enjoy the stories from TDH and Coheed, and I'm certainly not knocking all the awesome work that goes into those stories, especially for TDH. Coheed, even with all the novels and comics sometimes seems to be pounding a square peg into a round hole, mainly because Claudio writes what he feels and then twists it to make it work on the albums. With Ayreon though it's just straight up enjoyment, which is good, because when it comes to digging too deep into one record out of thousands, I think Harriet Tubman said it best with "ain't nobody got time for that"*.

*Quote may or may not be properly credited.

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Offline Evermind

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I just noticed my phone fixed "Coheed and Cambria" as "Cheese and Cambria". :facepalm: That was totally unintentional, but I think that's kind of hilarious too. :lol Sorry about that, C&C fans. From what I've heard, Ayreon is much more cheese-induced, if that helps. And I'm not fact too, that's another autocorrection mistake. It's like I'm turning into King.

I remember Arjen mentioning in the interviews for The Theory of Everything that it was his direct intention to make the story transparent and easy to follow. That was one of the reason he didn't give any names to the characters, and he also wrote some paragraphs in the liner notes explaining the events and when it took place. I think his two non-space stories, THE and TTOE, are the easiest to follow through. They also were the most poignant for me. I don't mind simple lyrics at all, as long as they're doing the job.

Offline Train of Naught

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Alright guys, I know just as much about Ayreon as any Nickelback fan like me does, but I decided to step in this.

Just had a teamspeak session with Evermind to check the sound quality and stuff and it turns out the quality is perfect, so the plan to have a live listening session for one (or more, not sure about this yet) of the Arjen Lucassen albums seems pretty realistic now.

The idea is that Ruslan would have the album play through his TeamSpeak and the rest of the guys in the chat could comment along the way (most likely by typing since speaking could kinda ruin the album experiencce). Obviously with all the different timezones it's not going to be easy to please everyone. Right now we're thinking the best option we have is to do it around this time of the day, which means the Europeans would probably be home from work/school, for the rest of you it would be a bit harder to adapt, but maybe some have a day off or work evening/nightjobs or whatever.

If you're up for this let us know and we can start figuring out what the best date+time is for this.


Fill them in in case I've missed something Ruslan!

Offline Tomislav95

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That seems like a cool idea :tup

BTW I listened to The Final Experiment for the first time yesterday and I really liked it. Planned to read Evermind's post on my 2nd listen because I wanted to fully concentrate on listening so I can't comment on that yet (sorry Ruslan :P ).
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Offline Shadow Ninja 2.0

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The livestream sounds cool; I'll definitely drop in if I can.
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Offline Scorpion

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I'm definitely in for the livestream if I can make it, time-wise. Best time for me would be 7-11 GMT on pretty much every evening except for Tuesdays, so we should be able to find something that works.

Anyway, I'll hold my first listen off until the livestream (unless it turns out that it won't happen for whatever reason), so I don't have anything to contribute yet, but I want to say that I really liked reading your review; good job Evermind and 425.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2016, 12:40:51 PM by Scorpion »
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Hey, the length is fine :azn: Thanks!

Offline Evermind

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Alright guys, I know just as much about Ayreon as any Nickelback fan like me does, but I decided to step in this.

Just had a teamspeak session with Evermind to check the sound quality and stuff and it turns out the quality is perfect, so the plan to have a live listening session for one (or more, not sure about this yet) of the Arjen Lucassen albums seems pretty realistic now.

The idea is that Ruslan would have the album play through his TeamSpeak and the rest of the guys in the chat could comment along the way (most likely by typing since speaking could kinda ruin the album experiencce). Obviously with all the different timezones it's not going to be easy to please everyone. Right now we're thinking the best option we have is to do it around this time of the day, which means the Europeans would probably be home from work/school, for the rest of you it would be a bit harder to adapt, but maybe some have a day off or work evening/nightjobs or whatever.

If you're up for this let us know and we can start figuring out what the best date+time is for this.


Fill them in in case I've missed something Ruslan!

No, that's pretty much it! Only, if you guys are up for this, you're better to provide the time you're available at for this, so we could find the best time for everybody. For example, let's use GMT: I'm available every day from 3 P.M. to 10 P.M. (well, not every day, but I can stay until 10 P.M. on certain days for that if needed), and I can do most weekends from 3 P.M. to 11 P.M. This weekend is off bounds since my friends from St. Petersburg are coming over and I'll be kind of busy I guess.

So let us know how you guys feel about something like Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday (or Thursday I guess) next week, any time from 3 P.M. to 10 P.M. GMT.

Offline Train of Naught

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My timetables are different every week but between like 4 PM and 9 PM would work best for me personally, and as long as it's planned plenty of time ahead it wouldn't be a problem to reserve 1-2 hours for this when I'm at home.

Offline Zoom E

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The Final Experiment is the only Aryeon album I don't own, and I haven't heard one note of it. Thanks to your in depth analysis of the album I may have to rectify this. Nice job  :tup

Offline Cyclopssss

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Played the cd over the last couple of days and I forgot how good it was. Considering the amount of talent on this first effort really, it's staggering. Barry Hay is virtually unrecognisable in the one song he sings (Sail away to Avalon) which is probably a good thing. I love the big keyboard lead lines when they come in. The basswork is pretty good as well. In fact all the instrumentals work very well, mind you, this is Pre-Warby on drums!
I do agree with the comments about the grunting. Not really feeling it here. A lot of these songs were given the live-treatment during the Star One tour in 2003 (jeez, has it been that long?) And very well too.

All in all, great listening experience.
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Offline Mosh

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Good start. A bit raw and low budget, but some really enjoyable music on here. Looking forward to his more elaborate albums with a full cast of characters and such.
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Offline ronnibran

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Following!  Big Arjen fan here.  I have all the Ayreon, Star One, and Guilt Machine albums.  Honestly, I may actually get the most listening these days still from Guilt Machine, just love that album!  Universal Migrator is probably my favorite Ayreon album.

Offline ErHaO

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I will probably not reply very actively, but I am definitely following this thread!

Final Experiment is an amazing debut. Though as a whole it is not close to being one of my favourite Lucassen albums, it does have a few songs I keep coming back to.

And I love the version with the semi-acoustic bonus disc. Not sure if that will be covered later on in this thread. I really like the renditions of Merlin's Will and Sail Away to Avalon in particular, which unlike many acoustic versions of metal songs, retain some of their metal prowress. Actually, I think I prefer the semi-acoustic disc as a whole.