"But Armandooooo, there's already a metal thread over thereeee, get it oooouuuuuut," the thread participants whined futiley. But Armando didn't give one half of one shit, because a new Ayreon album is out, and it deserves ears.
Ayreon's particular blend of Hawkwind/Jethro Tull/Pink Floyd/Beatles-influenced proggy space metal/rock opera is rife with Moog synths, noodly guitars, and the voices of a dozen or more hand-picked vocal powerhouses (tragically, Magnum's Bob Catley isn't on this one, so I can't lay out a non-metal vocalist for the thread to appreciate :P) acting out a grand space opera play. Hell, 9/10ths of their output thus far has, in some form or another, linked into the overall "Ayreon arc," a tale of an alien species overwhelmed and stripped of their emotions by technology, seeding the earth with life in a millenia-long experiment to reclaim their lost mortality, and humanity's inevitable stumble toward nuclear apocalypse. It's pretty awesome shit.
The new album, The Source, featuring luminaries like Dream Theater's James Labrie, Blind Guardian's Hansi Kursch, Epica's Simone Simons, and Nightwish's Floor Jansen on vocals, alongside musicians like Mr. Big's Paul Gilbert and the unfailingly brilliant Ed Warby on drums (plus project mastermind Arjen Anthony Lucassen on, err, let's see, electric and acoustic guitars, bass, mandolin, synths, Hammond, Solina Strings, and just about every-damn-thing else), tells the prequel to this story, as the alien world of Y is overwhelmed by technological supremacy as a handful of brave politicians, scientists, prophets, and citizens try in vain to stop the government's doomed plans.
Plus, hey, the video above features all sorts of fascinating insights into Lucassen's production strategies as he drops into the music video to explain how he recruited a singer or achieved a particular synth sound. Give it a listen :)
Edit: Oh fuck, the opening to "Everybody Dies" is so good.
(I'm literally listening to the album as I write, as it's only just come out today)