I really loved Ayreon’s 01011001. It was such an overwhelming experience with great musical execution of deep topics. After songs like Connect the Dots, i guess it’s understandable that I had high expectations for The Theory of Everything.
While there are 42 songs in total on the two discs (what a smart answer that is to life, the universe and everything), the almost-two hours of progressive metal left me without any real impressions. It was there – it was playing – then it was over. Lucassen himself said that it was meant to be “less heavy and more instrumental than 01011001” and sure it is much more instrumental. My problem is that if you want to thin out the overwhelming lyrical depth that characterized Y (01011001 is the code for Y) and make it “more instrumental” then there would be a need to replace that attractive force with something on the instrumental side. That is something that the Theory of Everything fails to do.
It’s still a good prog metal album, but it is nothing compared to Y.