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The Human Equation [Regular Edition]

4.7 out of 5 stars 84 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

As with his previous "Ayreon" releases, the latest offering from the brilliant musical mind of Arjen Anthony Lucassen is both the prototype and benchmark of all modern Rock Operas. The Human Equation is the sixth studio CD from Ayreon and it is by far the most grandiose to date. It shall surely prove to be another milestone in the genre.

The 2-CD set features an impressive line up of guest vocalists including: James LaBrie (Dream Theater), Mikael Akerfeld, Devin Townsend, Devon Graves (Dead Soul Tribe), Eric Clayton (Saviour Machine), Irene Jansen (Star One), Magnus Ekwall (The Quill) and Heather Findlay (Mostly Autumn). The Human Equation is released as a stylishly packaged digipak double CD with two non-album tracks.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 15, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: May 15, 2012
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Century Media
  • ASIN: B0001YNK70
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,369 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Fantastic, 2004 is shaping up as a defining year for the Progressive and Symphonic Metal genre. In fact in just the last two months three amazing albums (two of them double)have been released to the public, Evergrey's Inner Circle, Therion's Lemuria/Sirius B and Ayreon's Human Equation.
I'm sure many of you reading this review are familiar but for you newcomers here is a little background. Ayreon is not a band in the normal sense. It is a continuing project of Dutch Multi-instrumentalist and composer, Arjen Anthony Lucassen, not unlike Alan Parsons. This is Lucassen's eighth overall Rock opera and sixth under the name Ayreon. The other two were entitled Star One and Ambeon.
Once Lucassen has written a new rock opera he invites guest singers and musicians to participate. To date he has had ninety-two guest artists participate in his eight projects.
The first thing I noticed about The Human Equation was that it was mellower than most of Ayreon's previous projects. The second thing I noticed was that it was not as mellow as I had thought. The third thing was that, although I at first didn't think I liked it that much, the more I listened the more I liked it. In fact after three listens I decided it is one of Lucassen's best works, if not his best. After a couple more listens I have decided that it's in the running with the two above mentioned masterpieces for Progressive album of the year.
The Human Equation like all previous Ayreon rock operas tells a story. In The Human Equation we have a comatose man reliving his memories and the events leading up to his bizarre auto accident, slowly realizing only he can wake himself.
For this project we have an unprecedented eleven singers including Lucassen himself.
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Format: Audio CD
After hearing the numerous albums Arjen Lucassen released under the Ayreon moniker as well as his side projects Star One and Ambeon, I came to the conclusion that, while each release is its own masterpiece, he would never release something better than the very first Ayreon disc The Final Experiment. That album is criminally underrated and it actually marked the beginning of a completely new era in progressive metal. I personally considered TFE and Into the Electric Castle the highpoints of Arjen's career, and as much as I like pretty much everything he's released, I prepared myself to never hear anything from him that would move me as deeply as these records.
Well, I was wrong. I was completely wrong. Arjen Anthony Lucassen has achieved the impossible and created his greatest masterpiece to date! The Human Equation is so far the best release of the year and it may become one of the greatest CDs of the last couple of years.
This is an incredibly difficult album to review, because it is so deep and rich in content with its poignant songwriting, amazingly talented singers, intriguing musicianship, perfect production work and well-thoughtout lyrics that form a deeply moving storyline. Like many other Ayreon releases, this is a concept album, but somehow I can relate to the subject theme a lot easier than some of Arjen's previous works. Maybe it's because the album deals directly with human emotions (or lack thereof), and Arjen has come up with a very original idea. He has taken the human mind as the context because the human mind can be a very terrifying realm that most people would rather not spend much time investigating. In the story, the emotions are played by various singers and this presents its own unique challenge.
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Format: Audio CD
I've only had this album three days, as of this writing, and I can honestly tell you that I've listened to virtually NOTHING ELSE since I broke the seal. Any fan of progressive rock or metal should absolutely LOVE The Human Equation. It spans so many different musical genres and vocal styles, you need a program to keep track of everything. Fortunately, there is a full program included in the CD, aka the booklet that tells you who the characters are and what words they are singing. And this isn't a case of each guest singer doing his or her own song...at times you'll find as many as FIVE SINGERS on ONE SONG!
The most impressive part of this album is its true "progressiveness". This isn't a collection of progressive songs (although the songs do stand alone quite well)...this is a collection of progressive songs WITHIN each progressive song. It's almost like listening to thirty years of great music all condensed down into one 100-minute recording. One minute you're listening to some deep, dark David Bowie-does-Goth kind of thing, the next you're listening to Marcela Bovio belt out an awesome operatic melody, and then you're listening to that singer from Opeth scaring you half out of your wits along with some of the most crunching guitar riffs you'll ever hear. And all of it is five stars easily...there's not a moment of this cd that I don't like. And it only gets better each time you hear it.
The Human Equation really is a showcase of top-notch songwriting, awesome production, and a mixture of some of the best voices in rock and metal these days. The mellower parts are highly reminiscent of the 60's and 70's, including passages that might remind you of The Beatles, Pink Floyd, ELO, Styx, Jethro Tull and several others.
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