I’ve got a real soft spot for Arjen Anthony Lucassen and his progressive rock project Ayreon, despite his insistence on using as many symphonic metal vocalists as possible on a lot of his tracks. This song features eleven main guest singers, which is frankly perhaps too many, but the song is thirteen minutes long, so I guess there’s a lot of space to fill. Consider yourselves thoroughly warned on that front, by the way. What makes this song sparkle for me is the fantastic behind the scenes video that is available to watch online, which features Arjen explaining a large part of the story, instrumentation and structure through text, while videos of him and the guest vocalists play over the top. It actually makes for an incredibly interesting viewing and listening experience, and I really wish more artists did behind the scenes this detailed and throughout, it’s an incredible thing to do and major props to everyone involved for taking the time. As for the music, a lot of ground gets covered: flute, analogue synths, cello, piano, blues section (that parts really good), and a couple of stunning signature guitar runs Lucassen that still amaze, and are even more impressive when you get the chance to watch them in the video. Speaking of Lucassen, he is obviously an amazing guitarist, but he also such a truly massive nerd, and I find that kind of endearing completely independent of his generally impressive musical output, both of which he gets to demonstrate in the video/song. A big shout out also to Ed Warby’s drumming, which is some of the best work I’ve ever heard on an Ayreon record. The album is called The Source, and I hope it does well, because Lucassen seems like a lovely bloke who really enjoys what he does, and so much of it so different in its organisation to what other bands are doing that it deserves notice all on its own.