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Ayreon returns with another massive metallic undertaking in the form of 01011001, a 102-minute rock opera of the highest order. An intriguing mix of revered guest vocalists and musicians from the global metal scene lend mainman/composer/producer Arjen Anthony Lucassen their talents here with startling results, assisting the plethora of dramatic compositions heard to sound ready for the bright lights of Broadway gone Gothenburg. While this compact disc hands down goes beyond a normal listening experience, the most notable part of it all is that there's not a requirement to have an astute attentiveness to the backstory in order to be able to fully enjoy any of the tracks, as each song expresses the duality of standing on its own in addition to completing the final picture. If you're a prog rock head, this one is a must have.
- Mike SOS