The Human Equation
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|The Human Equation|
|Studio album by Ayreon|
|Released||May 25, 2004|
|Genre||Progressive metal, progressive rock, rock opera|
|Arjen Anthony Lucassen chronology|
The Human Equation is the sixth album of progressive metal/rock opera Ayreon by Dutch songwriter, producer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Arjen Anthony Lucassen, released on May 25, 2004 via InsideOut Music. As with other Ayreon albums, it features guest appearances from several musicians previously unrelated to the project, including James LaBrie of Dream Theater, Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth, Eric Clayton of Saviour Machine, and Devin Townsend, performing music arranged and written by Lucassen.
As with every Ayreon album, it is a concept album with each character being portrayed by one singer. However unlike previous albums, The Human Equation is not a sci-fi story but take place almost entirely in the mind of a character called Me (played by LaBrie) who is in a coma, with each song consisting of one day spent in coma. While his Wife (Marcela Bovio) and Best Friend (Lucassen) are at his side in the real world, Me, trapped in his own mind, encounters representations of his own feelings and recall his life from his childhood to his accident.
The album was released in three different editions: a regular edition with two CDs, a Special Edition with two CDs and a DVD, and a Limited Deluxe Edition with two CDs, a DVD and a 36-page booklet. The album peaked at #7 at Dutch Albums Chart and at #50 at Germany Albums Top 50. The album was also released on vinyl on December 2012.
The Human Equation is, together with Into the Electric Castle, the only Ayreon albums in which Lucassen did not write all the lyrics: Townsend wrote all the lyrics of his character Rage, while Heather Findlay of Mostly Autumn and Devon Graves of Deadsoul Tribe also wrote some of the lyrics of their characters, Love and Agony. The albums marks the first collaboration between Lucassen and Bovio, selected by Lucassen via an internet female singing contest to play Wife. The following year, Bovio and Lucassen created together progressive/symphonic metal band Stream of Passion.
Concept and storyline
The album explores the idea of psychological rebirth, and follows the story of a man who, after falling into a coma following a car accident, is confronted with his past, his emotions, and his current situation as he lays trapped inside his own mind. The circumstances surrounding the accident are mysterious, as the man ("Me", portrayed by James LaBrie) ploughed into a tree on a deserted road in broad daylight. Following this, he slips into a twenty-day coma, with each day represented by a single song. Each song follows a slightly different format, though there are major common themes, such as the presence of Me's manifest emotions in his dream world including Fear (Mikael Åkerfeldt), Reason (Eric Clayton), and Pride (Magnus Ekwall); the presence of Me's Wife (Marcela Bovio) Best Friend (Arjen Anthony Lucassen) at his bedside; and the past events that Me is forced to reflect on.
The plot builds from Me’s early broken state to his eventual rebirth as a new and better man. His own dark past, in which he suffered beneath an abusive Father (Mike Baker), was driven to become merciless by school bullies, and eventually betrayed his closest friend for his own benefit; is intertwined with the plot surrounding Wife and Best Friend, eventually revealing the cause of the accident: Me had witnessed the two sharing an intimate moment, and had swerved his car into a tree in his despair. The three eventually come clean and forgive each other, leading Me to conquer his negative emotions and escape his nightmarish prison.
The story terminates with a sci-fi twist in contrast to the psychodrama of the album, but reminiscent of earlier Ayreon releases. The final song cuts suddenly to silence as it crescendoes to a climax, and a computerised voice announces the shut-down of the Dream Sequencer. The voice of Forever of the Stars then speaks the final words of the album ("Emotions...I remember..."), tying its events into the overall Ayreon plot that began with The Final Experiment.
All lyrics written by Arjen Anthony Lucassen except where noted, all music composed by Lucassen.
|1.||"Day One: Vigil"||1:33|
|2.||"Day Two: Isolation"||8:42|
|3.||"Day Three: Pain" (Lucassen/Devin Townsend)||4:58|
|4.||"Day Four: Mystery"||5:37|
|5.||"Day Five: Voices"||7:09|
|6.||"Day Six: Childhood"||5:05|
|7.||"Day Seven: Hope"||2:47|
|8.||"Day Eight: School" (Lucassen/Townsend)||4:22|
|9.||"Day Nine: Playground" (Adaptation of Edvard Grieg's Morning mood)||2:15|
|10.||"Day Ten: Memories"||3:57|
|11.||"Day Eleven: Love"||4:18|
|12.||"Day Twelve: Trauma"||9:54|
|13.||"Day Thirteen: Sign" (Lucassen/Heather Findley)||4:47|
|14.||"Day Fourteen: Pride"||4:42|
|15.||"Day Fifteen: Betrayal"||5:24|
|16.||"Day Sixteen: Loser" (Lucassen/Townsend)||4:46|
|17.||"Day Seventeen: Accident?" (Lucassen/Devon Graves)||5:42|
|18.||"Day Eighteen: Realization"||4:31|
|19.||"Day Nineteen: Disclosure"||4:42|
|20.||"Day Twenty: Confrontation"||7:03|
Disc 2 has ten four-second and one nine-second hidden tracks which introduce "Day Twelve: Trauma".
|DVD (Special and Deluxe editions)|
|1.||"Inside" (behind the scenes)||45:27|
|2.||"Concept" (the concept of The Human Equation)||3:05|
|3.||"Drums" (Ed Warby's drums)||3:32|
|4.||"Video" (videoclip of "Day Eleven: Love")||3:49|
|5.||"Teaser" (teaser trailer)||1:28|
- James LaBrie (Dream Theater) as Me
- Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth, Bloodbath) as Fear
- Eric Clayton (Saviour Machine) as Reason
- Heather Findlay (Mostly Autumn) as Love
- Irene Jansen as Passion
- Magnus Ekwall (The Quill) as Pride
- Devon Graves (Dead Soul Tribe/ex-Psychotic Waltz) as Agony
- Marcela Bovio (Elfonía) as Wife
- Mike Baker (Shadow Gallery) as Father
- Arjen Lucassen as Best Friend
- Devin Townsend as Rage
- Peter Daltrey as Forever (uncredited cameo)
- Arjen Lucassen - all electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitars, mandolin, lap steel guitar, keyboards, synthesizers, Hammond
- Ed Warby (Gorefest, Hail Of Bullets) - all drums and percussion
- Robert Baba - all violins
- Marieke van den Broek - all cellos
- John McManus (Celtus, Mama's Boys)- low flute on Days 13, 16 and 18 and whistle on day 18
- Jeroen Goossens - flute on Days 3, 5, 9, 14 and 18, alto flute on Day 2, bass flute on Days 5 and 14, panpipes on Day 6, descant and treble recorder on Day 13, didgeridoo on Day 16, bassoon on Day 18
- Joost van den Broek (After Forever) - Synthesizer solo on Day 2, spinet on Day 13
- Martin Orford (IQ, Jadis) - Synthesizer solo on Day 15
- Ken Hensley (Uriah Heep) - Hammond solo on Day 16
- Oliver Wakeman - Synthesizer solo on Day 17