Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Arjen Lucassen is back with the ninth Ayreon instalment. Typically, the futuristic sci-fi rock opera/metal opera formula is center stage on this outing complete with more than 10 guest singers providing vocals, playing characters in the story, on the hefty double album. Most notably James LaBrie, Floor Jansen, Tobias Sammet, and Tommy Giles Rogers appear as guest vocalists.
Whilst The Source is about 90 minutes long, it felt like it went for a lot longer. There’s a fair bit of hard rock, power metal and 80′s sounds, folk, power ballad type arrangements, and everything in between, going on here and it’s all fused together across a very proggy and weighty rock opera that requires a lot of effort to digest, even with the ridiculously slick production to help it go down easier.
The war against machines and AI theme of the album is nothing terribly new here, but for fans who have followed the Ayreon narrative this instalment may be exactly what is needed in the saga. There’s some absolutely amazing musicianship going on here and the album darts from sub genre to sub genre without offering any groovy, lengthy passages as breathing space.
Mascot Label Group
Reviewed by Paul S Taylor