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If you’ve never heard an Ayreon album before then you are really missing out as this man is to modern day metal what Beethoven was to classical music centuries ago. Hailing from Holland Ayreon not so much writes an album as much as he does write an epic musical that you feel should be witnessed on one great stages in Europe.

Like we have come to expect from Ayreon his new album, The Source, takes the listener on a journey from start to finish and as a whole, the album takes the concept of story-telling in songwriting to a whole new level. This doesn’t feel like you are listening to a short ballad it feels like you are listening to a feature film in audio with all the characters magically coming to life in your own imagination. So vivid is the imagery created on the album scenes like Disney’s Fantasia play out in your mind.

Musically Ayreon experiments with not every genre of metal known to man but also skips genre of music at whim as well. Tracks like The Day That The World Breaks Down starts as off as edgy theatrical metal and then mid song turns to pure rock. That’s one thing you should expect from The Souce… surprises at every single turn. Everybody Dies sees Ayreon experiment with an electronic sound before a foreboding darkness takes over and takes the audience to a much different side of the album.

The experimentation continues with a folky and tribal sound coming through on Deathcry Of A Race and as usual, a lot of Ayreon’s styles are heavily influenced by the lead singers that he chooses to work with. Here the angelic voices of Floor Jansen and Simone Simons lift the album to a whole new level while the inclusion of legends like Tobias Sammet remind you just how well respected Ayreon is in the music industry.

The Source is nothing short of brilliant. This is a true masterpiece and while some hardcore metal fans might not like the fact that the album samples other genres of music as well, this is pure metal to the core and fans of European metal simply must have this in their collection. This is an album that is impossible to fault.

5/5 stars

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