Ayreon - Into The Electric Castle - Special Edition

Year of Release: 2004
Label: InsideOut Music
Catalog Number: 65090
Format: CD
Total Time: 102:35:00

Arjen Lucassen, a.k.a. Ayreon, is well known for his epic progressive rock space operas. In 1998, he released an absolute masterpiece, and one, I am ashamed to say, I missed somehow. Well time is the healer and now six years later, Inside Out Music signed a deal with Lucassen to reissue his music and Into The Electric Castle, a double album of progressive rock stories and sci-fi fantasy, is one of those releases. This special edition features a Quicktime movie of Arjen in the studio discussing the album. In the liner notes, he refers to this recording as a classic, and no doubt, it most certainly is.

Typical of Ayreon, he engaged many of the brightest stars available to help tell his story and play the music to set the stage for his characters. Artists such as Fish and Damian Wilson perform vocal parts (look at the credits for the extensive list) and Clive Nolan and Robby Valentine provide keyboards, and Arjen is on everything - guitars, vocals, mandolin, bass, moog and mellotron.

This is an incredibly eclectic mix of rock music. You can hear all the influences of Lucassen come bubbling to the surface, those wonderful classic rock bands like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Alan Parsons, and of course, the immortal Beatles. Were would prog-rock be without Sgt. Pepper?s Lonely Hearts Club Band?

You cannot help it; you become sucked into the story by the mesmerizing music and the incredible vocals of all the contributors. Essentially the story revolves around a group of stolen souls that come from different times to enter a strange portal that takes them on a dangerous journey. All of their trials and tribulations are explored in each song, until they reach the Electric Castle were they must choose between door number 1 or 2, nuclear portals that take you back to your own time or into an eternal abyss of oblivion.

This is truly a fascinating work of music and story. Arjen really should sit down and write a science fiction novel, he certainly has the imagination and talent to do so. This music is so powerful and melodic that it becomes easy to envision everything that is happening during the story. I think they should make this into a movie it would be fantastic! I cannot say enough about how excellent all of the instrumentation and vocals are throughout this album. For this much music, you would expect some filler, it never happens, every track is superb. Do you call yourself a prog-rock fanatic? You do not qualify as such until this album is part of your collection.

Disc 1: Welcome To The New Dimension (3:05) / Isis And Osiris (11:11) A) Let The Journey Begin, B) The Hall Of Isis And Osiris, C) Strange Constellations / Amazing Flight (10:15) A) Amazing Flight In Space, B) Stardance, C) Flying Colours / Time Beyond Time (6:05) / The Decision Tree (We're Alive) (6:24) / Tunnel Of Light (4:05) / Across The Rainbow Bridge (6:20)

Disc 2: The Garden Of Emotions (9:40) A) In The Garden Of Emotions, B) Voices In The Sky, C) The Aggression Factor / Valley Of The Queens (2:25) / The Castle Hall (5:49) / Tower Of Hope (4:54) / Cosmic Fusion (7:27) A) I Soar On The Breeze, B) Death's Grunt, C) The Passing Of An Eagle / The Mirror Maze (6:34) A) Inside The Mirror Maze B) Through The Mirror / Evil Devolution (6:31) / The Two Gates (6:28) /

Arjen Lucassen - guitars, mandolin, bass, Minimoog, Mellotron & keyboards
Roland Bakker - Hammonds
Jack Pisters - sitar
Robby Valentine - pianos, synth solos on IIa, IIIa (disc 1) and IV (disc 2), mellotron on VIa (disc 2)
Ern? Olah - violins
Clive Nolan - synth solos on Vc (disc one)
Rene Merkelbach - synth solos on V (disc one) and VII (disc 2), harpsichord on II (disc 2)
Ton Scherpenzeel - synth solos on Vc (disc 2)
Ed Warby - drums
Taco Kooistra - celli
Thijs van Leer - flute on IIIc, IV (disc 1) and II & III (disc 2)
Fish, Damian Wilson, Sharon Den Adel, Anneke van Giersbergen, Edwin Balogh, Arjen Lucassen, Jay van Feggelen, and Edward Reekers - vocals

Ayreon - The Final Experiment (1995)
Ayreon - Actual Fantasy (1996)
Ayreon - Into The Electric Castle (1998)
Ayreon - The Univeral Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer (2000)
Ayreon - The Universal Migrator Part 2: Flight Of The Migrator (2000)
Ayreon - Ayreonnauts Only (2000)
Ambeon - Fate Of A Dreamer (2001)
Arjen Anthony Lucassen's Star One - Space Metal (2002)
Arjen Anthony Lucassen's Star One - Live On Earth (2003)
Ayreon - The Human Equation (2004)
Ayreon - Actual Fantasy Revisited (2004)
Ayreon - The Final Experiment - Special Edition (2005)
Ayreon - 01011001 (2008)
Ayreon - Timeline (2008)
Arjen Lucassen's Guilt Machine - Arjen Lucassen's Guilt Machine (2009)
Arjen Anthony Lucassen's Star One - Victims Of The Modern Age (2010)
Arjen Anthony Lucassen - Lost In The New Real (2012)
Ayreon - The Theory Of Everything (2013)
Ayreon - The Theater Equation (CD/DVD) (2016)
Ayreon - The Source (CD/DVD) (2017)
Ayreon - Ayreon Universe - Best Of Ayreon Live (2018)

Ayreon - The Theater Equation (BR) (2016) Ayreon - Ayreon Universe - Best Of Ayreon Live (DVD/BR) (2018)

Genre: Symphonic Prog

Origin NL

Added: November 28th 2004
Reviewer: Keith "Muzikman" Hannaleck
Artist website: www.ayreon.com
Hits: 1391
Language: english


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