Ayreon – The Theory of Everything (2013)

Ayreon - The Theory of EverythingWell this was a long time coming. I’m speaking of the review, but the same could go for The Theory of Everything, the follow-up to the 2008 01011001 album, which was long held to be the swansong for the Dutch Ayreon project. Arjen Anthony Lucassen, tired of doing huge and complex projects after 01011001, had all but decided that there would be no more Ayreon, and instead concentrated on Guilt Machine, the second Star One album and his 2012 solo record, albums which were all a lot more straight-forward the increasingly complex bloat Ayreon had become. Apparently though, Lucassen needed another challenge in his life; queue 2013, and the new Ayreon album, The Theory of Everything. Continue reading

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Avantasia – The Mystery of Time (2013)

Avantasia - The Mystery of TimeAvantasia’s The Metal Opera, released all the way back in the dark age (2001), is still one of my favourite modern power metal albums. Edguy frontman Tobias Sammet managed to capture just about anything that makes Teutonic power metal into such a joy (the rolling double bass drums, the epic choruses, the choirs, the optimism), got a few if not all of my favourite vocalists of the time and released an absolutely smashing record. Deciding that enough wasn’t enough, der Tobi released a follow-up the next year, an album much in the same vein, featuring largely the same cast. After that, everything changed. Continue reading