Into The Exectric Castle / 2-CD
|Release Date||Jan 27, 2017|
With a new Ayreon album in the works, Mascot Label Group is set to re-release its comprehensive back catalogue, which includes The Final Experiment, Actual Fantasy: Revisited, Into The Electric Castle, Universal Migrator Part I & II, The Human Equation and 01011001, on CD in a jewel case on January 27, 2017.
Ayreon is in a class of its own. You might call Lucassen’s Ayreon studio albums “rock operas.” Or, to be more precise, you may prefer a description like, “ambitious studio projects combining progressive rock, metal, and folk over intricate storylines, brought to life by countless famous guest singers from all over the world.” But no matter how you categorize it, the Ayreon album collection offers highly creative rock music with a quality in composition and production rarely heard in the last twenty years.
Ten years with hardrock band Vengeance brought Lucassen recognition in not just the Netherlands, but in Germany, Switzerland, Japan, the UK and the USA, as well. When he started writing and recording on his own in the early 90s, it was the funding of a Japanese record label that got the ball rolling. The Final Experiment was Ayreon’s first album, released in the Netherlands in 1995 by start-up label Transmission Records. It set the tone for the project, with intricate sci-fi/fantasy storytelling and timeless progressive rock featuring a line-up of world class vocalists and musicians, including Barry Hay (Golden Earring), Jan-Chris de Koeijer (Gorefest), and Kingdom Come’s Lenny Wolf. The follow-up, Actual Fantasy (1996), turned out to be a relatively modest production, but the phenomenal reception of these first Ayreon albums exposed Lucassen to world-famous singers and instrumentalists.
The various Ayreon titles include contributions of Fish (Marillion), Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), Devin Townsend, James LaBrie (Dream Theater), Neal Morse (Flying Colors, Spock's Beard), Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil), John Wetton (King Crimson, Asia), Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth, Bloodbath), Ty Tabor (King’s X, The Jelly Jam), Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Michael Romeo and Russell Allen (Symphony X), Steve Hackett (Genesis), Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Alice Cooper), Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), and Rick Wakeman (Yes). Besides Lucassen himself, virtuoso drummer Ed Warby (Gorefest, Hail of Bullets, The 11th Hour) is the only other constant member of Ayreon.
Into The Electric Castle was released to critical acclaim in 1998, and the album went on to sell over 100.000 copies. The twin albums Universal Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer and Universal Migrator Part 2: Flight of the Migrator (2000) proved that Lucassen was not afraid to take Ayreon to yet another level of larger-than-life creativity. With The Human Equation (2004), Lucassen turned away from his earlier sci-fi themes to explore the realm of human emotions. The Human Equation was adapted for stage and performed in 2015 by a cast that included almost everybody from the original album. In 2007, Arjen returned to the sci-fi concept and linked all of the previous Ayreon albums together, musically as well as lyrically, on 01011001.
1. Welcome to the New Dimension
2. Isis and Osiris (Let the Journey Begin - The Hall of Isis & Osiris - Strange Constellations - Reprise)
3. Amazing Flight (Amazing Flight in Space - Stardance - Flying Colours)
4. Time Beyond Time
5. The Decision Tree (We're Alive)
6. Tunnel of Light
7. Across The Rainbow Bridge
1. The Garden of Emotions (In the Garden of Emotions - Voices in the Sky - The Aggression Factor)
2. Valley of the Queens
3. The Castle Hall
4. Tower of Hope
5. Cosmic Fusion (Soar on the Breeze - Death's Grunt - The Passing of an Eagle)
6. The Mirror Maze (Inside the Mirror Maze - Through the Mirror)
7. Evil Devolution
8. The Two Gates
9. "Forever" of the Stars
10. Another Time, Another Space