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Look at me... I'm Alive - 100%

ScreamoMantis74, July 4th, 2012

Arjen Anthony Lucassen (the leader of Ayreon, present in every album) should be a goddamn science fiction movie director or author. He is a GENIUS. He is creative like nobody I have ever seen, a damn fine songwriter, and can shred something fierce on the guitar.

The Human Equation is a strange album. Currently, it is my favorite album of all time in a stranger sense than what I normally do. First off, i can perfectly understand 90% of the vocals. That is a huge change than what I normally listen to, and now that I was actually listening to what they were saying, I was thrown into a beautiful and heart breaking story.

Me, the character sung by James LaBrie, was in a car accident and is bedridden in a coma. The album structure is in days, each day being another day in his life, and in each day, more is revealed to us, whether it be info as to how or why the crash happened, or the things his emotions (Agony, Fear, Reason, Love, Pride, Rage, Passion) tell him. Ayreon is known well for the lyrics being dialogue between characters, and this album is that in SPADES. And it is awesome. Incredible singers like Mikael Akerfeldt from Opeth and Devin Townsend from The Devin Townsend project are all here, and others like Mike Baker and Magnus Ekwall.

Now, the important thing about this is that the lyrics is where the album really shines. Don't get me wrong, the guitar, drums, keyboards are all incredible, keyboards especially, but you can't listen to the album as if it was an instrumental album, that isn't where the beauty of Ayreon is. In retrospect, you can listen to it however you want, you might find the music itself the best you've ever heard and the lyrics to be stupid. But this album is truly best heard when you understand the mood. The words is where the thought comes from in this case, I know instrumental albums that are very thought provoking, but this is an album that encourages understanding the plot, because it makes the music so much more fitting. The happy little sounds of Day Six, Childhood, seem so much more fitting when you understand that the song is about Me's childhood, it gives you the sense of the innocence and exploratory spirit. The low key of Day Twelve, Trauma, is so incredibly reinforced by Fear and Reason battling eachother about Me's past.

Now then, the tone of the lyrics is a whole other matter, and still a great one. There are a few times like in Day Twelve, Three, and Sixteen that there is some screamo lyrics integrated, and while they aren't bad at all, they seem odd. They make sense in those songs, but they sound funny sometimes, like in Day Sixteen, after the speech Father gives, Rage just starts howling, and while it is very fitting, I couldn't help but laugh, because it sounded so hilariously awesome.

Ayreon isn't a band that follows most metal song structures; it doesnt' have verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-outro, but Ayreon still does that sometimes, but never a real solo. Maybe a new part where the story is developed in a new direction: only in Day Fourteen, Pride, is there ever a real guitar solo. And that's fine. Alot of the music comes from the incredible keyboards, and the AWESOME effects they can make, almost always played by Arjen. The drums are always nice, and the guitar can rip some lovely riffs.

This is the best album i have ever heard (so far) because of how it makes you want to understand what Me is feeling, because it only helps the music be better.

Also, that is one sick album cover.