Ayreon - The Source
Music Theories Recordings
Progressive Metal
Disc 1: 7 songs (43:57) Disc 2: 10 songs (44:26)
Release year: 2017
Reviewed by Goat

A new Ayreon album is always cause for celebration, being weighty, complex but rewarding and enjoyable listens that show off mastermind Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s talent perfectly. And the limited time I’ve had to spend with The Source, Ayreon’s tenth full-length album, has been as terrific as with the previous albums, with serious care and attention gone into not just the music but the surrounding storyline, which links with past Ayreon albums. Telling the tale of humanity’s precursor race facing destruction and sending colonists out to a new planet armed with a drug that enables them to survive underwater and communicate telepathically – the ‘source’ of the album title – and the music and lyrics are built around this rock opera setting. The usual army of supporting vocal talent is present and correct, including but not limited to Dream Theater’s James Labrie, Kamelot’s Tommy Karevik, Simone Simons and Floor Jansen, Russell Allen, Tobias Sammet and Hansi Kürsch, Zaher Zorgati of Myrath and Tommy Rogers of Between the Buried and Me! As usual each plays a distinct character, and it’s ear candy to the extreme to have tracks featuring many of the above – the opening The Day That The World Breaks Down introduces Labrie, Sammet, Kürsch, Karevik and Simons to name but a few, and takes in everything from sung binary code to crunchingly heavy guitar riffing.

The Source definitely seems guitar-oriented, adding heaviness to otherwise proggy tracks like Everybody Dies (a swinging groover with a Devin Townsend-esque feel). Hooks are everywhere of course, but the variety in songwriting is impressive, the folksy All That Was contrasting well with the following speedy power metal of Run! Apocalypse! Run! And there’s not a bad song present, little touches like The Dream Dissolves’ violin-backed intro keeping things fresh as you get deeper into the tracklisting. Everyone will have their own favourites, but the contrasting Middle-Eastern and acoustic melodies in Deathcry of a Race and the souped-up Deep Purple-esque hard rocking of Into the Ocean are personal highlights. The Source Will Flow is the closest thing present to a ballad, a softer, slower piece that hints at the encroaching album end (interestingly, the last four tracks are all short, the last two under three minutes long) and the end of the story, for the moment. As before, I find Ayreon albums extraordinarily enjoyable and relistenable given how long and involved they are (and as ever although lyrics can be a bit simplistic at moments the vocalists rescue them) and The Source is no exception. It’s yet another terrific album from Arjen, another gem in the Ayreon pantheon that is sure to be on my playlist all year and beyond.

Killing Songs :
All, especially The Day The World Breaks Down, Everybody Dies, Run! Apocalypse! Run!, Deathcry of a Race, Into the Ocean
Goat quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Ayreon that we have reviewed:
Ayreon - The Theory of Everything reviewed by Joel and quoted 100 / 100
Ayreon - Into The Electric Castle: A Space Opera reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
Ayreon - 01011001 reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 91 / 100
Ayreon - The Human Equation reviewed by Marty and quoted 95 / 100
Ayreon - Part 2: Flight Of The Migrator reviewed by Claus and quoted 95 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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