Bad, vile and meaningless: Ayreon's latest from Alan's clob

Don't review what you haven't even listened through yet.

Now, having said that, I'm going to do that. My initial impression is that this is good stuff, but probably will never be my favourite. Firstly, this album suffers from a bad mixing, and it's apparent to you almost as soon as you start listening: the guitars have a deafening roar to them, and the drum discants conspire to convert everything into a porridge. I have no idea how to listen to this without dismissing it. I just can't concentrate and thus I must wait for the noise to end.

But when the guitars aren't roaring, you can actually approach the imaginative and obviously quite competent sort of playing. Some songs have really enjoyable and complicated sort of rhythms that work seamlessly with their singers. Excellent! There is also a lot of folkish sort of stuff going on in there, even if it feels pretty overused by the time you're nearing the end of the 2nd cd.

I quite found "Loser" and "Trauma" worth paying attention to. Loser in particular is simply hilarious. It plays well and I like that sort of thing. Some other tracks from cd1 also had a neatly goofy sort of atmosphere, think it was Playground or Childhood or something like that.

Despite I initially reacted quite negatively due to the mixing problem, I think this CD may well end up spinning in my drive every now and then. It's a worthy addition to my collection, and well deserves its place. There is simply no denying that mr. Arjen can put guitars, synths, men and women to sing, and the end result blends together in harmony and skill yielding possibly the best metal album I've heard for a long time.