If you’re familiar with the Dutch composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Arjen Lucassen, you’ll know how in-depth and intricate his music is. If you’re not, well, prepare yourself. Arjen has quite a few ongoing projects, and this year he’s releasing another Ayreon album. He’s now nine records deep and his latest, The Source, is a prequel to the Ayreon universe he’s created over the other eight albums.

Coming in at an astounding 88 minutes, The Source is broken into four chronicles that detail the characters’ journey, in search of a new planet to inhabit. The cause of their upheaval: computer intelligence has far surpassed that of humanity, and the global computer mainframe deemed the Alphans (our human ancestors) the source of their massive global crisis. So with the threat of extermination from machines hanging over them, the Alphans have no other choice than to try to escape their fate.

It’s a lyrical work of fiction that’s accompanied by detailed and progressive music¾it’s very easy to get caught up in the emotions portrayed. The first track, ‘The Day That The World Breaks Down’, is a song that introduces the entire album; you’re eased in to the epic vibe and melody changes, not to mention Ayreon’s blending of genres. Throughout the album, you can pick up on many different facets of music; metal, progressive metal/rock, hard rock, classic rock, folk, celtic, classical, electronica and even industrial. It’s such a mix of genres that it should sound like an abstract combination but the composition of each song is something to be beheld because they’re woven together so delicately it becomes a masterpiece.

The multiple vocalists lend much to building the story with both feminine and masculine aspects that vary from sweet vocals to gruff and even operatic performances. Songs to take special notice of are ‘Sea Of Machines’, ‘All That Was’, ‘Deathcry Of A Race’ and ‘Star Of Sirrah’. But essentially, every song on The Source is unique and has an impressive quality or instrument that shines through.

Whatever your flavour of music, this album has a little bit of everything and a lot of heart. It’s a story that wouldn’t be the same if you separated the lyrics and music, and that’s just the way it should be. If you’re looking for a record that will take you on a journey through space and an exploration of music, The Source is what you’re looking for.

Rating: 9/10

The Source will be released on the 28th of April 2017. Pre-order your copy here.

Photos: Lori Linstruth

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