Monday, July 06, 2009

I have declared my favorite band: Ayreon.

So I had an epiphany a few days weeks ago. I was at work and I was listening through my mp3s when I started to listen to Ayreon. This a band that was introduced to me by my good friend Ace. The very first track that I heard from this band was "Computer Eyes". Interestingly enough, it's about video games and a virtual reality in a dark and abstract way. Coolness. This was back in 2001 and that was all back then.

Not until several years later I stumbled upon the album "The Human Equation"... and I was blown away by the range in lyrics, music and concept. As I was listening it reminded me of something, then I remembered that song I had heard years back! So, as my interest grew in this album and band, I dove into who and what was behind it.

Ayreon is a progressive rock/metal Dutch project of Arjen A. Lucassen. He invokes and gathers musicians from other bands for his projects. To name some: Michael Romeo, Damian Wilson, Daniel Gildenlöw, Floor Jansen, Neal Morse, James LaBrie, Lori Linstruth, the great Erik Norlander and many more. I listed mainly vocalists, guitar players and a keyboard player, but the repertoire is much broader, from flutes to even the Didgeridoo.

Anyways, my path on the Ayreon track went to listening to "Into The Electric Castle", a great scifi rock opera which I think is one of the best albums I've ever heard. Then I got to "The Universal Migrator". This project consisted of two albums, Part 1: The Dream Sequencer geared towards a progressive feel and the other one Part 2: Flight of the Migrator was towards a more metal feel. Both great, but I identify more with metal one. The next album was "01011001", a culmination that ties all the previous albums and portrays how humans came to being. Only until lately have I really gotten into the other albums "The Final Experiment", "Actual Fantasy" and "Ayreonauts Only", which the first one is really good, but in the words of Ace: 'I had to train myself for it' and it's about this ministrel who receives a message from the future through a technolgy called "Time Telepathy" about how humanity comes to an end by destroying itself... How is that for a mouthful? Continuing, "Actual Fantasy" is not a concept album and the songs are independent of each other and very loosely tied, I have a special connection with this one because it has the song "Computer Eyes". Finally "Ayreonauts Only" is a compilation of alternate versions of songs released from "The Final Experiment" to "The Universal Migrator".
I need to make a special mention to the most recent album released: "Timeline". Which is a second compilation of select songs and a previously unreleased track.

I cannot choose a favorite album nor a favorite song, because each is different and depending on my mood I may like one or some over another. The following however, I keep coming back to and are in constant rotation in my ipod:
  • Merlin's Will
  • The Charm Of The Seer (and the alternate home demo version)
  • Abbey Of Synn
  • Computer Eyes
  • Back On Planet Earth
  • Isis and Osiris
  • Time Beyond Time
  • The Garden of Emotions
  • Evil Devolution
  • The Two Gates
  • My House On Mars
  • 2084
  • Carried By The Wind
  • And The Druids Turn To Stone
  • Chaos
  • Dawn Of A Million Souls
  • Through The Wormhole (and the alternate version)
  • Out Of The White Hole (and the alternate version)
  • Carpe Diem
  • Into the Black Hole (alternate version)
  • Eyes of Time (alternate version)
  • Day Two: Isolation
  • Day Three: Pain
  • Day Seven: Hope
  • Day Eleven: Love
  • Day Eighteen: Realization
  • Day Twenty: Confrontation
  • Age of Shadows
  • Liquid Eternity
  • Beneath The Waves
  • Ride The Comet
  • The Earth Extinction
  • Unnatural Selection
  • River Of Time
  • E=MC2
Yeah, that's about it. :D Ayreon. Right on.