*prognotes – Ayreon’s “The Forever Saga”, Part II: The Final Experiment (For Real This Time)

I already took a deep breath during my intro post but, perhaps, I can be afforded one more, dear reader, in the face of the task at hand? OK, now that that’s out of the way (you’re too kind, really), we can see about getting this started. So, Ayreon’s “The Forever Saga”. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go read the aforementioned intro post. This sprawling epic begins in one place: The Final Experiment. It is perhaps the smallest album we’ll be dealing with here (because we’re cheating and skipping The Human Equation), in its scope and protagonists. However, it is crucial for the understanding of the whole, both in theme and music. What doesn’t echo elements within this album bounces off of them and is thus no less influenced by their directions and ideas.

Ayreon – The Theory of Everything

Arjen Lucassen’s flagship musical project Ayreon has been a mainstay for progressive music fans for almost two decades. With seven prior albums, all of which except for one falling under a massive album-to-album concept, Ayreon has excelled at projecting a grandiose and epic (in a classical sense) feel, giving true meaning to the term “rock-opera”. However, after 2008’s 01011001, Arjen and his fans grew a bit accustomed to the familiar sounds of Ayreon, and a hiatus ensued. After a five years to dabble into different sounds and methods of emotional exploration, Lucassen returns to the fold with what is arguably his most ambitious project to date. Branching away from the now finished “Forever” story-line, The Theory of Everything sees the Ayreon brand venturing into what is undoubtedly the first in a new concept, and with an array of musicians that Lucassen has never worked with before, the new record sails to new and familiar lands alike.

Devin Townsend: Productivity and the Urge for Understanding — The HBIH Interview [Part One]

They say you should never meet your heroes, because it will only shatter the image of them that you have built up inside your head. For a long time I followed this rule, and I avoided interviews with musicians I really admire — Arjen Lucassen and Ihsahn, to name a few — but when given the opportunity to interview Devin Townsend, a man whose music has literally saved my life in the past, I couldn’t resist. I knew full well that I wouldn’t be able to be one-hundred percent professional, not in this situation, but I tried my darnedest not to resign to my go to attitude — that of a squealing school girl.

But like I said, you should never meet your heroes, because you may realize that the dude you’ve been praising in your head isn’t the all-knowing and god-like figure you held them up to be. You may realize that he’s just a regular dude; with just as many insecurities and hang ups as you. You may find that his productivity isn’t a sign of his ability to churn out masterpieces with a snap of his fingers, but rather the result of a work ethic that has to continue, lest his dreams fall through. So yes, you should never meet your heroes because you may realize that you, and him, are on the same level. And well…well, to be honest, that’s a spectacular reason to meet your heroes…

Download a Free Music Sampler From InsideOut Music!

Last week we directed your attention to a pretty nifty sampler from Candlelight Records which featured the world premier of the track “The Paranoid” from Ihsahn’s upcoming solo release, Eremita. Now it seems other labels are ponying up and offering their own samplers, one of which is my favorite label,…