The new Ayreon track, “The Day That The World Breaks Down” has officially been up on YouTube and Spotify long enough for me to listen to it too many times. Ayreon albums are basically the Wrestlemania of prog albums, huge productions, storylines that are hard to follow and filled with some of the most talented performers in the business.
First things first, there is no better way to be led into a 13 minute apocalyptic Prog Metal epic than with the soothing voice of sweet Mr. Labrie; follow this with some flute and good luck not having a swarm of prog fans gathered at your feet within seconds. Next, the song enters full riffy/synthy Ayreon mode, if anything maybe a little heavier than normal. Then, we hear Tommy Karevik from Seventh Wonder/Kamelot who instantly proves why he is one of the most drooled over singers in metal. After that, we get the interesting match up of Tommy Rogers from Between the Buried and Me (who I may finally be warming up to) and Simone Simons, who is easily one of the two best female vocalist in metal (the other shows up in about 12 minutes). We then get a snippet of Nils K. Rue from Pagan’s Mind with arguably the most charismatic and theatrical voice in the song (if you’re one of the few people who liked the wrestling analogy earlier, he’s our Bray Wyatt).
The music isn’t taking a backseat either, we get some fun noodly lick followed by more mean riffing driven perfectly as always by Ed Warby on drums. Now, take a breath because the next thing that happens is going potentially cause an emotional overload for fans of metal concept albums, the music dies down to a single galloping bass and leads us into Tobias gosh darn Sammet just being the vocal icon that he is. I expect this to end up being one of the most entertaining characters in the Ayreon universe. Now, for those of you who don’t think Edguy is the top of the power metal food chain, the next voice we hear is another iconic one in Hansi Kursch of Blind Guardian.
One thing Ayreon is great for is providing a platform for lesser known artists, one guy who was introduced to many on The Theory of Everything is Michael Mills of Toehider (go buy What Kind of Creature Am I?). What’s better about this track is we get a thousand Michael Mills’ singing to us in binary and it just feels right. Shockingly what comes out of a an army of Toehiders is a groove oriented segment that allows Sir Russell Allen to delivery some of his patented soulful rock vocals. Now, there is always at least one singer on every Ayreon album that has a uplifting and inspiring performance, there is no doubt this is going to be Michael Eriksen. His delivery gave me goosebumps every time I heard it, “this is not over even if it all seems pointless, in the end we’ll cross this bridge together”. To ride the wave of optimism this line is followed by honestly one of my favorite Ayreon guitar solos, just perfectly crafted in tone, feel and technique. Last but not least we hear the voice of the other powerhouse female vocalist on this track, Floor Jansen. She comes in accompanying the returning heavy riffing and delivers all the power that you can imagine, this works as the perfect dichotomy to the softness of James Labrie at the outset of the song.
Needless to say, I pre-ordered the ultimate fan pack version of The Source and am anxiously awaiting its arrival. You too can pre-order The Source and be among the first to receive this musical masterpiece by going here. For all those antsy to hear the song we just reviewed just scroll a little further and enjoy!