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Album Reviews : Ayreon – The Source

By on March 20, 2017

By his own admission, legendary musician and songwriter Arjen Anthony Lucassen is complete recluse. He doesn’t even tour his music, he stays in his studio and writes, plays, records, produces and releases music. And who ultimately reaps the rewards of these immersive ongoing efforts? We, the listeners, do.

Every time he brings out a new record, it never fails to be an event. And The Source is no exception. It is yet another journey into the fertile mind of its creator and into the wild, cathartic and wondrous sounds of classic hard rock, prog and power metal, Celtic/folky moments, soaring operatic vocals and symphonic flourishes, and even a little electronica here and there, all tied together with a completely realised and executed end to end storyline that explores sci-fi, technological and environmental themes.

Of course, a new Ayreon album brings with a cast of thousands, more great luminaries of heavy rock, metal and prog than you can poke a microphone or a seven-string guitar at. Instrumentalists include legendary guitar shredder Paul Gilbert, Asia and Steven Wilson guitar player Guthrie Govan and Marillion keysman Mark Kelly. And on vocals? Well, the list is truly illustrious: James LaBrie from Dream Theater, Floor Jansen from Nightwish, Simone Simons from Epica, Tommy Giles Rogers from Between the Buried and Me, Hansi Kursch from Blind Guardian, Australia’s own Mike Mills from Toehider, and many, many more, and lending their lungs, their prodigious skills and playing a role (literally) in making The Source and epic and magical listening experience.

And does all this add up to the sum of its parts. Of course it damn well does, and then some. The Source is an instantaneous classic, full of huge moments and enormous songs, scintillating musicianship and sparkling production.

When you’re a prodigiously talented creator of music and devote virtually your entire life to your craft, and have world-class musicians and vocalists at your fingertips, lining up to be a part of your creation, the result can only be miraculous. And so it is. The Source is yet another magnificent addition to an exalted canon of music.

The man is apparently doing three (only) select and exclusive live dates in his home country of The Netherlands later in the year. Oh, to be there!

Band: Ayreon
Album: The Source
Year: 2017
Genre: Progressive Metal
Label: Mascot Label Group
Origin: Netherlands

About

Rod Whitfield is a Melbourne-based writer and retired musician who has been writing about music since 1995. He has worked for Team Rock, Beat Magazine, themusic.com.au, Heavy Mag, Mixdown, The Metal Forge, Metal Obsession and many others. He has written and published his memoirs of his life and times in the music biz, and also writes books, screenplays, short stories, blogs and more.