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The Final Experiment
Studio album by Ayreon
Released October 27, 1995
Recorded Studio "RS 29" Waalwijk, Holland
Genre Progressive metal
Length 71:19
Label Transmission
Producer Arjen Lucassen
Ayreon chronology
The Final Experiment
Actual Fantasy

The Final Experiment is a progressive metal album released in 1995 by Dutch multi-instrumentalist Arjen A. Lucassen. Originally penned Ayreon: The Final Experiment with no artist noted, at the suggestion of the record label the subject was later detached, and used as the name for what was to be Lucassen's Ayreon project.[1]

In 2004, Arjen moved to a new record label, InsideOut - with this move came re-issues of all the previous Ayreon releases, including The Final Experiment. This re-issue includes a bonus CD featuring nine re-worked recordings of tracks (or segments of tracks) found on the original album.[1]

The Final Experiment introduces several concepts which appear in future Ayreon albums, such as mankind's propensity for war ("Waracle"), polluting earth's environment ("Listen to the Waves"), or the gratuitous use of technology and computers in human society ("Computer Reign (Game Over)").[2] The latter concept appears overtly in the tracks "Computer Eyes" from Actual Fantasy, and "Web of Lies" from 01011001.



After leaving Vengeance in 1992, Arjen began working on writing and recording some solo material, with his newfound creative freedom. Finding motivation to commercialize the new music from his record company, Arjen released his first solo album in 1994 under his middle name, Anthony, entitled Pools of Sorrow, Waves of Joy.[3] The album lacked a musical direction, and became a heterogeneous mixture of styles and genres. While the album was not commercially successful, it formed the groundwork for the Ayreon project to come.[4]

A number of albums from the 1960s and 70s featuring common stylistic threads made a lifelong impact on Arjen. The dynamic and exciting music, emotionally driven lyrics, and an ensemble cast found in albums such as Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar and The Who's Tommy, commonly referred to as rock operas, inspired Arjen to create one of his own. Working in an environment where he could develop an album exactly as he wanted, Arjen intended to create his vision, making no compromises along the way. His vision manifested itself in The Final Experiment, picked up by a small Dutch record label.[5] The project was financially burdensome, but through some subsidization from his father, it was seen through to completion, and was successful enough to warrant another Ayreon release.[6]




The prologue is narrated by the magician Merlin. He explains that scientists living in the future, in the year 2084, have developed a method of sending messages back in time, using a process called 'time telepathy'. Having seen earth narrowly avert destruction from a variety of causes in the time leading up to 2084, humanity's ultimate hope rests with this experiment. These scientists must warn denizens living in the past of the future that awaits them, so that they may take preemptive action to prevent humanity's decline and ultimate destruction.[2]

Act I: "The Dawning"

The setting changes to 6th century Britain, and introduces the blind minstrel, Ayreon. He receives the message sent by time telepathy, and after a lifetime in darkness, is able to see the images of the future. Ayreon knows nothing of the details related to the message he received, who it came from, or when. Believing the message to be sent by the Lords of Time, he sets off to sing of humanity's upcoming demise, through songs of environmental disaster, pervasive computer technology, and war. Such predictions are frightening to his 6th century audience, and the villagers who hear his words soon throw him out of town.[2]

Act II: "King Arthur's Court"

In this act, cast out of his village, Ayreon travels to the domain of King Arthur. His reputation as a minstrel permits him entrance to Arthur's court, where Ayreon is able to sing of his visions to the crowd.[2]

Act III: "Visual Echoes"

Merlin, the wizard of King Arthur's court, becomes jealous of Ayreon's extra-sensory perception of the future. He is dissatisfied with the message spread by the minstrel, and convinces the court that Ayreon's visions are not genuine.[2]

Act IV: "Merlin's Will and Ayreon's Fate"

Deeming it necessary to silence the minstrel bringing him grief, Merlin curses Ayreon, which results in a permanent inability to communicate. Merlin soon recognizes he was in error, but too late, and Ayreon's message is quelled. That is, until the end of the 20th century, when Merlin predicts another minstrel will receive the message predicting humanity's downfall.[2]

Track listing

Act # Title Writer Composer Time
Prologue 1. "Prologue"
  • I. "The Time Telepathy Experiment"
  • II. "Overture"
  • III. "Ayreon's Quest"
Arjen Anthony Lucassen 3:16
I: The Dawning 2. "The Awareness"
  • I. "The Premonition"
  • II. "Dreamtime (Words Become a Song)"
  • III. "The Awakening"
3. "Eyes of Time"
  • I. "Eyes of Time"
  • II. "Brainwaves"
4. "The Banishment"
  • I. "A New Dawn"
  • II. "The Gathering"
  • III. "The Accusation"
  • IV. "The Banishment"
  • V. "Oblivion"
II: King Arthur's Court 5. "Ye Courtyard Minstrel Boy" 2:45
6. "Sail Away to Avalon" 4:02
7. "Nature's Dance" 2:27
III: Visual Echoes 8. "Computer Reign (Game Over)" 3:24
9. "Waracle" 6:44
10. "Listen to the Waves" 4:58
11. "Magic Ride" 3:35
IV: Merlin's Will And Ayreon's Fate 12. "Merlin's Will" 3:20
13. "The Charm of the Seer" 4:11
14. "Swan Song" 2:44
15. "Ayreon's Fate"
  • I. Ayreon's Fate
  • II. Merlin's Prophecy
  • III. Epilogue

Bonus disc (2005 reissue only)

  1. "Dreamtime" (vocals by Astrid van der Veen of Ambeon and The Endorphins) - 4:19
  2. "Eyes of Time" (vocals by Ruud Houweling) - 3:25
  3. "The Accusation" (vocals by Rodney Blaze) - 3:49
  4. "Ye Courtyard Minstrel Boy" (vocals by Esther Ladiges) - 2:50
  5. "Sail Away to Avalon" (vocals by John JayCee Cuijpers of Parris) - 3:26
  6. "Nature's Dance" (vocals by Peter Daltrey) - 2:03
  7. "Waracle" (vocals by Marcela Bovio of Stream of Passion and Elfonía) - 5:16
  8. "Merlin's Will" (vocals by Irene Jansen) - 3:29
  9. "The Charm of the Seer" (vocals by Robby Valentine) - 3:29



  • Arjen Lucassen as Ayreon on "Nature’s Dance," "Listen To The Waves," "Magic Ride" and "Ayreon’s Fate".
  • Barry Hay (Golden Earring) as Ayreon on "Sail Away To Avalon."
  • Edward Reekers as Merlin on "Prologue," "The Awareness" and "Ayreon’s Fate;" as Ayreon on "The Awareness" and "Ayreon’s Fate".
  • Ian Parry (Elegy) as Nobleman on "Ye Courtyard Minstrel Boy," as Ayreon on "Computer Reign" and as Merlin on "Ayreon’s Fate".
  • Jan-Chris de Koeijer (Gorefest) as Ayreon on "The Banishment".
  • Jay van Feggelen as Ayreon on "Waracle" and as Merlin on "Ayreon's Fate".
  • Lenny Wolf (Kingdom Come) as Ayreon on "Eyes Of Time".
  • Leon Goewie (Vengeance) as Merlin on "Merlin's Will" and "Ayreon's Fate;" as Ayreon on "Ayreon's Fate".
  • Robert Soeterboek (Cotton Soeterboek Band) as Villagers on "The Banishment" and as Merlin on "Ayreon's Fate".
  • Ruud Houweling (Cloudmachine) as Ayreon on "The Charm Of The Seer".
  • Debby Schreuder as Merlin, Women and Villagers on "Ayreon's Fate;" as Chorus on several tracks.
  • Mirjam van Doorn as Merlin, Women and Villagers on "Ayreon's Fate;" as Chorus on several tracks.
  • Lucy Hillen as Ayreon on "The Charm Of The Seer;" as Chorus on several tracks.


  • Arjen Anthony Lucassen - guitar, bass, keyboards, synthesizer
  • Cleem Determeijer - keyboards
  • Ernst van Ee (Trenody) - drums
  • Jan Bijlsma - bass
  • Jolanda Verduijn - bass
  • Peter Vink - bass
  • Rene Merkelbach - keyboard

Bonus disc instrumentalists (2005 reissue only)

  • Arjen Anthony Lucassen - acoustic, electric, and bass guitars, drums, percussion and timpani
  • Davy Mickers (Stream of Passion) - drums
  • Peter Vink - acoustic bass guitar
  • Marieke van der Heyden - cello
  • Ewa Albering - flute
  • Lori Linstruth - electric guitar solos
  • Jeroen Goossens - assorted wind instruments
  • Dewi Kerstens - cello
  • Robby Valentine - piano


  • Arjen Anthony Lucassen
  • Ruud Houweling
  • Richelle Rijst
  • Jacoby Peters


  • Arjen Anthony Lucassen - producer
  • Oscar Holleman - engineer

References and footnotes

  1. ^ a b Ayreon Chronology
  2. ^ a b c d e f The Final Experiment at, features lyrics, album personnel, and storyline.
  3. ^ Pools of Sorrow, Waves of Joy: Album page
  4. ^ Arjen Lucassen's Biography (solo career)
  5. ^ Arjen Lucassen's Biography (Ayreon)
  6. ^ Interview with Aardschok Magazine, January 8, 1995


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