My first encounter with the music of Arjen Lucassen was his last release, THE HUMAN EQUATION. I picked that CD up solely because James LaBrie of Dream Theater was singing on it. I was immediately impressed with the depth of story, the virtuosity of musicians and the masterful way that Lucassen pulled so many top flight people together to make, what amounts to a prog-rock opera. It was one of the best purchases I made a few years ago. I guess the only complaint I had at the time was the growling on a few of the tracks…a particular musical style I’ve personally never really appreciated.
It was with great anticipation that I bought 01011001. I wasn’t sure if it would be a continuation of the Human Equation story or something completely different. This time around, it’s a brilliant and powerful science fiction epic of a grand scale. I understand the story is related to his previous album UNIVERSAL MIGRATOR, PT 1-2. (Looks like I have another CD to buy.)
I was blown away with this album from the first moment. The assembled musicians are perfectly cast, and the music is incredible! I was expecting a good album, but got a great one. This is the must-buy album of the year for any and all progressive rock fans.
I purchased the Special Edition box set with a DVD included. I have to say that the “Beneath The Waves” video is amazing and wonderful to watch, but much of the rest of the DVD is dross. There is a tedious video showing interviews with many of the singers and musicians, talking about how they met Arjen, or how Arjen emailed them, or how Arjen picked them up at the airport, or how great it is to work with Arjen…..I got really bored with it really quickly. Unless you are really into that kind of thing, I can easily recommend that you save the extra $10 or so, and just pick up the music.
But you must, must, must get the music…you won’t be sorry!