Ayreon: The making of The Human Equation (2004)

Front cover

The Human Equation is the sixth album of progressive metal/rock opera project 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, the main character, 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 the wife. The following year, Bovio and Lucassen created together the progressive/symphonic metal band Stream of Passion.

Day Eight: School

Day Nine: Playground

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 the main character's manifest emotions in his dream world including Fear (Mikael Åkerfeldt), Reason (Eric Clayton), and Pride (Magnus Ekwall), the presence of his Wife (Marcela Bovio) and Best Friend (Arjen Anthony Lucassen) at his bedside and the past events that he is forced to reflect on. The plot builds from the character’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), has driven him to become merciless and eventually he betrayed his closest friend for his own benefit. His past is intertwined now with the plot surrounding his wife and best Friend, eventually revealing the cause of the accident: he 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 him 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, 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 (character of the album Into The Electric Castle) 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 album (1995). In the following footage, Arjen Lucassen explains the  concept of the album.

The concept of The Human Equation

Day Eleven: Love

Track listing:

CD 1
1. Day One: Vigil (1:33)
2. Day Two: Isolation (8:42)
3. Day Three: Pain (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 (4:22)
9. Day Nine: Playground (2:15)
10. Day Ten: Memories (3:57)
11. Day Eleven: Love (4:18) 

CD 2
12. Day Twelve: Trauma (8:59)
13. Day Thirteen: Sign (4:47)
14. Day Fourteen: Pride (4:42)
15. Day Fifteen: Betrayal (5:24)
16. Day Sixteen: Loser (4:46)
17. Day Seventeen: Accident? (5:42)
18. Day Eighteen: Realization (4:31)
19. Day Nineteen: Disclosure (4:42)
20. Day Twenty: Confrontation (7:03)

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)

This is the Inside The Human Equation behind the scenes film

Inside The Human Equation 


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 (Kaleidoscope / Fairfield Parlour) 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 tracks 13, 16 and 18 and whistle on day 18
Jeroen Goossens-flute on tracks 3, 5, 9, 14 and 18, alto flute on track 2, bass flute on tracks 5 and 14, panpipes on track 6, descant and treble recorder on track 13, didgeridoo on track 16, bassoon on track 18
Joost van den Broek (After Forever)-synthesizer solo on track 2, spinet on track 13
Martin Orford (IQ, Jadis)-synthesizer solo on track 15
Ken Hensley (Uriah Heep)-Hammond solo on track 16
Oliver Wakeman-synthesizer solo on track 17

Day Sixteen: Loser

Day Eighteen: Realization

The Human Equation lyrics:

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Human_Equation