*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.

*prognotes — Clipping’s Splendor & Misery, Part III: Break the Glass

And so, dear readers, we find ourselves at this, the third and final part of our prognotes analyzing clipping.'s Splendor & Misery. The last part had left us with our protagonist, Cargo 2331, embracing the life of a space pirate, cast out from both space and time in order to survive. Ducking in and out of the "normal" universe, he wages war against foreign, pale "gods", an alien race taking advantage of humanity's hypersleep technology to rule the galaxy. Stranded, he uses the selfsame technology to remain constantly out of their reach. In the process, he leaves his sanity, his genealogy and his life hanging in the bright glow of the ship's fusion engines which, possibly unbeknownst to him, loves him dearly. Thus, the two are outcasts in the deepest senses of the word; they are not merely unwanted but also unable to return should they desire to.

*prognotes – Slice the Cake’s Odyssey to the West: Part I

2016 has been a great year for our *prognotes feature, and here we are with yet another mammoth album to explore. Slice the Cake’s Odyssey to the West clocks in at a massive 77 minutes, and that’s without even looking at the 28 minute accompanying EP Odyssey to the Gallows which acts as a prologue. Today we’ll only be looking at the LP, so strap yourselves in because this is going to be a long one, and we’d best be getting started.

*prognotes — Clipping’s Splendor & Misery, Part II: Long Way Away

Welcome back to our ongoing analyses of clipping.'s Splendor & Misery. In case you aren't caught up, we highly recommend reading the first part. If you're a busy adult with many busy adult things to accomplish today (such as undermining the basic structures of our lives as we know them), here's a summary: we're in the future. Our protagonist, Cargo 2331, has seized the ship on which he was being ferried to a distant space war. The ship, in turn, fell in love with him (or, rather, its AI did) and now they are hurtling through space, jumping at random in order to escape their pursuers. This leaves 2331 in dire straits as his life literally flashes before his eyes every time the ship jumps and he is put into hypersleep. This is where "Wake Up" left us, with 2331's mind slowly degrading as his history, genesis and family get left behind in the unfathomable millennia that are involved in any form of "realistic" space travel.

*prognotes – Vektor’s Terminal Redux

Wikipedia has this to say about space opera: "Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes space warfare, melodramatic adventure, and often risk-taking, interplanetary battles, as well as chivalric romance". While this definition is certainly accurate, it also downsizes one of the grandest, most expansive sub-genres of science fiction out there. Beyond the insane amount of terrible space opera (see Sturgeon's Law for why this shouldn't bother you), it has some of the most memorable and well thought out settings in science fiction literature (and beyond, but we are not getting into this discussion). Funnily enough, it also has some ties to metal: several albums draw on the space-oriented themes of the sub-genre to create their oppressive, rust-tinged settings, replete with beasts from beyond space and time, sentient spaceships and more. However, this year we were treated to the best space opera setting in the history of metal with Vektor's Terminal Redux. If by some insane reason you haven't listened to this album yet (seriously, go listen to it RIGHT NOW), let me by way of an introduction tell you that it's everything that progressive thrash should have been and wasn't. It's truly diverse, with choirs, technical tricks and much more to vary up the huge amount of riffs, and focuses on delivery and composition rather than just blistering displays of technicality. And, on top of all of that, it's a concept album. It tells a classic space opera story: an outcast finds great (internal) power, returns to claim dominion, achieves stellar success, literally, only to realize that it all means nothing in the wake of the vastness of space and time. Along the way, we are treated to some of the most fleshed out characters in a concept album, complete with competing, interstellar empires, brutal enforcers, uncultured masses and a technology that changes everything, for better or for worst. And so, this album basically begs for a *prognotes post and here we are! Small note for this specific post: it is highly recommended to listen to the album while reading these lyrics. Some of the sounds, instruments and progressions on the album only make complete sense when experienced via the lyrics (you'll get a good example for this very soon, on the first track) so while it's always advised to listen and read at the same, it's doubly true here. Let us begin!