Arjen Lucassen, the mastermind behind Ayreon, has been hard at work again. In this year full of turmoil and unexpected events, he has bestowed upon us a new multi-media project called Transitus (Mascot Label Group). You see, this is not merely an expertly composed progressive rock-opera with a cast of famous and talented performers. No, this time, we have a visual! Illustrated by Felix Vega, the 25-page comic complements the music and lyrics of the double album and gives the characters more personality.Continue reading
Ghost Cult scribe Lorraine Lysen caught up with the great Arjen Lucassen of Ayreon for a wide-ranging interview a few months ago. They chatted about The Electric Castle Live project, the visuals of Ayreon Universe live, working with John de Lancie, rock operas, concept albums, Vin Diesel, Star Trek TNG, upcoming new music, and much more.
Ghost Cult scribe Lorraine Lysen caught up with the great Arjen Lucassen of Ayreon for a wide-ranging interview a few months ago. They chatted about The Electric Castle Live project, his entire career, upcoming new music, and much more. Continue reading
2017 will be seen as a monumental year for both Arjen Anthony Lucassen and for Ayreon; the band and its fanatical fan base. Significantly it will mark the first live performances by Ayreon (and a very rare live appearance by the infamously shy and reclusive Lucassen), but also sees a brand new album that revisits the conceptual narrative of one of the band’s most beloved albums, 01011001 (InsideOut). Showing a return to the sci-fi storyline of said album, The Source (Mascot) in fact acts as a prequel piece, and is the most refined and strongest album they have released for some time. Continue reading
If there is one thing that cannot be denied about Arjen Anthony Lucassen, it’s that he has a very bold vision when it comes to his music and it’s presentation. In Ayreon in particular, he shows intricacy and complexity like very few others when it comes to layering, narrative and bombast. Perhaps less mind-boggling than much of his career, The Human Equation (InsideOut) certainly made up with its operatic feel and storyline. So much so it finally lent itself to a live offering (albeit still without the near reclusive Lucassen), of which The Theater Equation (InsideOut) showcases.
Rather than just a usual offering of a band performing live, The Theater Equation offers the album in a way it was meant to be, as a full performance. Thus much of the original cast reprise their roles, including James Labrie as main protagonist Me; albeit with some exceptions such as Anneke Van Giersbergen replacing Mikael Akerfeldt. Thankfully such replacements are hardly downgrades and perfectly encapsulate the feel of their adoptive characters and roles with aplomb. Alongside the strength of its vocal cast, musically this strikes an impressive balance between studio album quality and consistency with the feel and energy of the live arena. Together these elements give such an immersive and emotional performance through a detailed story that delves into many elements of the human psyche and emotional range, as well as the original album does through its narrative.
With the original album’s sheer length it wasn’t for the faint hearted per se, and as follows the live version will similarly mostly suit those who are already fans of Ayreon, or at least in tune with the world of prog. With the changes in vocal personnel however and the strength of the performance and lore, The Theater Equation makes this more than just a collectible for the diehards, but a piece that many will find worth in, in what is still one of Lucassen’s more accessible works in such a rich and deep catalogue.
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