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The Ayreon versus Avantasia EP "Elected" is a nice little gimmick for both fans of the Ayreon and the Avantasia project. The cover version of a classic Alice Cooper song has been done by the masterminds of both projects as their albums "01011001", maybe Ayreon's most diversified and perfect record, and "The Scarecrow", probably too the most diversified record of the Avantasia catalogue, have been compared by metal magazines around the world by trying to create an atmosphere of concurrency between the two majestic records instead of praising them for their very different styles and approaches. Arjen Lucassen and Tobias Sammet ridiculise this wrong image of a rivalry between the two projects in a very funny way and original interpretation of the hard rock classic. Tobias Sammet envies Arjen Lucassen for his collaboration with Bruce Dickinson while Arjen Lucassen is jealous about the fact that Tobias Sammet worked with Alice Cooper himself. Ayreon's image is described as intellectual and boring while Avantasia's project is compared to a more sexual and superficial aspect. There are many good jokes in the song and the music is still great and addicting. Both masterminds sound quite relaxed but are definitely on their zenith of originality.
This release includes three more Ayreon songs. Those gimmicks are enjoyable but nothing outstanding and show a more intimate approach to the bombastic project. "E=MC2" becomes a very insightful and quite short acoustic track and "Day Six: Childhood" is a shortened and relaxing piano version of the original. The album version of the very strong "Ride The Comet" presents us nothing new or essential but I think it's a good choice for this release because this track would have been a very strong single from the last output if Ayeron and Avantasia had not decided to work together on this rather interesting "Elected" experiment.
In the end, we have a quite entertaining and diversified release here that is worth to be bought by fans and collectors of both projects at a low price. Let's not that the cover artwork is very detailed and filled with interesting comments and quotations. On the other side, there is nothing really essential or surprising to be found on this little gem and anyone that doesn't know that much about both projects should instead purchase the epic progressive metal masterpiece "01011001" and the commercial rock and world music star ensemble work on "The Scarecrow" first and will probably be blown away by the diversity and creativity of both projects.
This is the level of quality I've come to expect from Arjen through the years. This EP, even though it's only 4 songs, most of which I've heard in different forms before, just straight up kicks ass. The first song, Elected, is a great cover -- not only was there a definite Ayreon spin on it, but bringing in Tobias Sammet from Edguy and Avantasia turned out extremely well, his voice compliments the arrangement perfectly. The next song, an acoustic of E=MC2 is, in my opinion, better than the original. The only problem is, it's a radio edit. But still, it's a great song. Next up is Ride The Comet, and though I'd heard it on 01011001 already, it's such a strong track that it still sounded as great as when I'd first heard it. The final track is a piano version of Day 6: Childhood from the infamous Human Equation, and with Marjan Elister of Autumn on vocals, it is a beautiful piano ballad.
Overall, this album was well worth the money I paid for it. If you were expecting that this EP was just a bunch of repackaged old music, then you forgot just who you're dealing with when it comes to Ayreon.