Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “Everybody Dies” — Ayreon (2017)

Doom, gloom, the world goes boom
None will be spared so don’t assume
Not ragged clothed nor silver spooned
You’re all the same when extinction looms…

October. FINALLY. At long freakin’ last. October has arrived and we here at HokeyCorps Industries LLC (still entirely fictitious) can drop the pretense of accepting the long, hot, miserable summers of South Florida (which never end) and get to the heady business of pure spookification.

That’s right, I’m talking about the return of our beloved Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs, a tradition held around these parts since 2013. Everyone is always looking for fun, spooky, creepy, terrifying, or just purely ridiculous songs to add to their Halloween Playlists that aren’t the usual pablum of Monster Mash, Thriller, the Ghostbusters theme song, etc. etc. and such as. Ecch. We’ve had enough of that overplayed dreck.

So now that we’ve established our criteria, let’s dive head-first into our first selection of the season, and it’s a hilariously macabre and delightfully apocalyptic number from the mind of Arjen Anthony Lucassen. Everybody Dies hails from his latest space rock opera album from Ayreon entitled The Source, and it’s a prog-metal bombastic explosion of horrific genocide being perpetrated on humanity by murderous Artificial Intelligence run amok.

You know: for kids!

The scene is set; millions of years ago, the forebearers of humanity lived on another world, a distant planet called Alpha, etc. etc. and such as. Long story short, the rulers of Alpha decide to let computers and AI automatically run their society, the machines decide the best way to do this is to destroy humanity and… everybody dies.

Well I mean, not EVERYBODY, of course, or we wouldn’t have much of a story. And if you want to check out the rest of the story, dig deep into Ayreon’s catalog of albums, as they all mostly tie into this vast tapestry of science fiction rock opera over-the-top awesomeness. Let’s focus on Everybody Dies — what a number. Featuring no less than 11 vocalists (all the main characters of the storyline), including James LaBrie of Dream Theater, Simone Simons of Epica, Tommy Rogers of Between The Buried And Me, Russell Allen of Symphony X, and Floor Jansen of Nightwish, this is a virtual who’s who of prog/symphonic metal, and it lends the song a strong feel of theatricality and immediacy. They really make you feel the planet is doomed, but hope yet remains. Somehow.

And of course there’s a measure of tongue-in-cheek here; Lucassen and his assembled talent are giving it everything they have, but they’re also having great fun here as well. The entire affair is musical, uptempo, and a total thrill ride from start to finish.

So let’s start our Halloween season with the end of the world! Much like the song, let’s mix up the morbidly macabre with a devious undertone of goofy fun. After all, none of us get out of here alive!

Then ominous skies materialize
No compromise, just say your goodbyes
It’s no surprise, we swallowed the lies
And everybody dies!

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