Saturday, August 07, 2010

Ayreon: 01011001 (2008) Review

I've said many times that I'm not exactly a huge power metal fan, though sometimes I really like it. But Ayreon's 01011001 sounded like such an ambitious project that I had to get it.

It's two discs long, and features a total of 17 different vocalists, including such big names as Jørn Lande and Tom S. Englund. Each of them plays a single character in the concept album's storyline, which concerns a dying alien race somehow manipulating time in an effort to show Earthlings our fate so that we may avoid it.

Yeah. Maybe a little too ambitious. In the end, this is way more rock opera than it is power metal. There's very little metal to be had (you have to wait until the second disk before you hear more than just a breath of it), and every single track drags on far longer than it's welcome. This is bizarre crap, sci-fi sounding synthesizers and folksy flutes included.

Certain things should never be sung in the over-the-top power metal style; chief among these things is the mundane. Picking up fast food which is "finger lickin' good" (I'm not even joking) is not exactly a dramatic event. After the mundane comes the banal, like E=mc2.

In retrospect, it seems like a really bad idea, not just an ambitious one. To be fair, the vocalists are all quite talented, and they do a good job at what they are asked to do. But the Prague Philharmonic is talented too--and you would never want to hear them playing a Backstreet Boys song.

This is possibly the best track on the album:

The Verdict: I know someone who likes opera, campy movies, and sci-fi. I think this might be something he'll like, so I'll be giving this away. I give 01011001 just 1 out of 5 stars.

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