The Final Experiment, originally Ayreon: The Final Experiment, is a progressive metal/rock opera album released in 1995 by Dutch multi-instrumentalist Arjen A. Lucassen. Originally with no artist noted, at the suggestion of the record label the subject was later detached, and used as the name for what was to be Lucassen's Ayreon project.
In 2004, Arjen moved to a new record label, InsideOut - with this move came re-issues of all the previous Ayreon releases, including The Final Experiment. This re-issue includes a bonus CD featuring nine re-worked recordings of tracks (or segments of tracks) found on the original album with different singers and all acoustic instrumentation.
The Final Experiment introduces several concepts which appear in future Ayreon albums, such as humanity's propensity for war ("Waracle"), polluting earth's environment ("Listen to the Waves"), or the gratuitous use of technology and computers in human society ("Computer-Reign (Game Over)"). The latter concept appears overtly in the tracks "Computer Eyes" from Actual Fantasy, and "Web of Lies" from 01011001, as well as "Evil Devolution" from Into the Electric Castle.
After leaving Vengeance in 1992, Arjen began working on writing and recording some solo material, with his newfound creative freedom. Finding motivation to commercialize the new music from his record company, Arjen released his first solo album in 1993 under his middle name, Anthony, entitled Pools of Sorrow, Waves of Joy. The album lacked a musical direction, and became a heterogeneous mixture of styles and genres. While the album was not commercially successful, it formed the groundwork for the Ayreon project to come.
A number of albums from the 1960s and 70s featuring common stylistic threads made a lifelong impact on Arjen. The dynamic and exciting music, emotionally driven lyrics, and an ensemble cast found in albums such as Andrew Lloyd Webber'sJesus Christ Superstar and The Who'sTommy, commonly referred to as rock operas, inspired Arjen to create one of his own. Working in an environment where he could develop an album exactly as he wanted, Arjen intended to create his vision, making no compromises along the way. His vision manifested itself in The Final Experiment and, after being rejected by several different record labels, was picked up by a small Dutch record label. The project was financially burdensome, but through some subsidization from his father, it was seen through to completion, and was successful enough to warrant another Ayreon release.