The Final Experiment

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The Final Experiment
Ayreon The Final Experiment.jpg
Studio album by
Released27 October 1995
StudioStudio "RS 29" (Waalwijk, Netherlands)
ProducerArjen Anthony Lucassen
Ayreon chronology
The Final Experiment
Actual Fantasy
Arjen Anthony Lucassen chronology
Pools of Sorrow, Waves of Joy
The Final Experiment
Actual Fantasy

The Final Experiment (originally Ayreon: The Final Experiment) is the debut studio album by the Dutch progressive metal band Ayreon, released in 1995. 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 Dutch musician Arjen Anthony Lucassen's Ayreon project.[2]

In 2004, Arjen moved to a new record label, Inside Out - 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.[2]

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)").[3] 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.[4] 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.[5]

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's Jesus Christ Superstar and The Who's Tommy, 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.[6] 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.[7]



In the year 2084 scientists have found a way to send messages back into time using time telepathy. With the Earth nearly destroyed by many different causes, they have one hope for the experiment: warn the past of the future to avert the fate of Earth.

Act I[edit]

The receiver of the telepathic messages is Ayreon, a blind minstrel living in 6th century Britain. He’s lived his life in darkness from the day he was born, but one fateful day everything changes — Ayreon can see images. The minstrel believes these visions are sent to him by the Lords of Time. Unaware of how much time there is left before Earth is destroyed Ayreon sets out to tell the tale of Earth’s demise singing songs of wars, natural disaster, and computer technology. The terrifying tales frighten the villagers who run him out of town.

Act II[edit]

Alone, and cast out of his village, Ayreon goes to King Arthur’s castle, and, being a famed minstrel, he is allowed to sing of his visions in the King’s very own court.

Act III[edit]

Jealous of his ability to foresee the future, Merlin, the court’s wizard, isn’t pleased with Ayreon’s message, convincing the court the minstrel must be a fake.

Act IV[edit]

Merlin believes it is necessary to silence Ayreon forever and curses him. With the curse completed Merlin realizes his error, but it is too late. The wizard then predicts that the message will arrive in the mind of another minstrel at the end of the 20th century…[8]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Arjen Anthony Lucassen.

  • A. "The Time Telepathy Experiment"
  • B. "Overture"
  • C. "Ayreon's Quest"
Edward Reekers3:16
Total length:3:16
Act I: The Dawning
2."The Awareness"
  • A. "The Premonition"
  • B. "Dreamtime (Words Become a Song)"
  • C. "The Awakening"
Edward Reekers6:36
3."Eyes of Time"
  • A. "Eyes of Time"
  • B. "Brainwaves"
  • Lenny Wolf5:05
    4."The Banishment"
  • A. "A New Dawn"
  • B. "The Gathering"
  • C. "The Accusation"
  • D. "The Banishment"
  • E. "Oblivion"
  • Jan-Chris de Koeijer, Robert Soeterboek11:08
    Total length:22:49
    Act II: King Arthur's Court
    5."Ye Courtyard Minstrel Boy"Ian Parry2:45
    6."Sail Away to Avalon"Barry Hay4:02
    7."Nature's Dance"Arjen Anthony Lucassen2:27
    Total length:9:14
    Act III: Visual Echoes
    8."Computer-Reign (Game Over)"Ian Parry3:24
    9."Waracle"Jay Van Feggelen6:44
    10."Listen to the Waves"Arjen Anthony Lucassen4:58
    11."Magic Ride"Arjen Anthony Lucassen3:35
    Total length:18:41
    Act IV: Merlin's Will and Ayreon's Fate
    12."Merlin's Will"Leon Goewie3:20
    13."The Charm of the Seer"Ruud Houweling, Lucy Hillen4:11
    14."Swan Song" 2:44
    15."Ayreon's Fate"
    • A. "Ayreon's Fate"
    • B. "Merlin's Prophecy"
    • C. "Epilogue"
    Arjen Anthony Lucassen, Edward Reekers, Ian Parry, Jay van Feggelen, Leon Goewie, Robert Soeterboek, Debby Schreuder, Mirjam van Doorn6:55
    Total length:17:10
    Semi-acoustic bonus disc (2005 Special Edition release only)
    1."Dreamtime"Astrid van der Veen4:19
    2."Eyes of Time"Ruud Houweling3:25
    3."The Accusation"Rodney Blaze3:49
    4."Ye Courtyard Minstrel Boy"Esther Ladiges2:50
    5."Sail Away to Avalon"John JayCee Cuijpers3:26
    6."Nature's Dance"Peter Daltrey2:03
    7."Waracle"Marcela Bovio5:16
    8."Merlin's Will"Irene Jansen3:29
    9."The Charm of the Seer"Robby Valentine3:29
    Total length:37:41



    1. ^ Howey, Ann F.; Reimer, Stephen R. (2006). A Bibliography of Modern Arthuriana (1500-2000). Boydell & Brewer. p. 532. ISBN 9781843840688.
    2. ^ a b Ayreon Chronology
    3. ^ The Final Experiment at, features lyrics, album personnel, and storyline.
    4. ^ Pools of Sorrow, Waves of Joy: Album page
    5. ^ Arjen Lucassen's Biography (solo career)
    6. ^ Arjen Lucassen's Biography (Ayreon)
    7. ^ Interview with Aardschok Magazine, January 8, 1995
    8. ^ "Ayreon – The Final Experiment". Arjen Lucassen. Retrieved January 4, 2018.