INTERVIEW: Part II with Arjen Lucassen on Ayreon, Rock Operas, Vin Diesel, and Star Trek

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. 
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INTERVIEW: Arjen Lucassen on Ayreon, Past, Present, and Future – Part 1

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

DVD REVIEW: Ayreon – Electric Castle Live and Other Tales

Come with me now; be joyful. It is time to enter The Electric Castle!”

After the wild success of the Ayreon Universe shows in 2017, where an audience of international Ayreonauts was treated to a best-of selection of Ayreon’s most popular songs, the Poppodium 013 once again opened its gates to the gentle hordes in September of 2019. 2018 had seen the twenty-year anniversary and the re-mixed and -mastered version of Into The Electric Castle, and thus it was a logical step that this new live show centered around that album, a favourite of many. To the great thrill of not only the fans but the artists as well, Arjen managed to gather most of the cast members of the original album, and the most admirable substitutes for those who couldn’t make it. Continue reading

Ayreon – Into The Electric Castle (2018 re-issue)

If perchance you have never encountered this album before, here’s the concept: way back before the new millennium, the mad genius space hippie Arjen Lucassen brought together a lot of other exceptional instrumentalists and vocalists and made an album. On this album, some unknown entity has kidnapped a bunch of characters from various points in earth’s timeline and brought them together for what seems like the ultimate psychedelic escape room: the Electric Castle. Here, the characters are confronted with their culture’s beliefs around death, self, and the supernatural, all voiced by a phenomenal international cast, among which Sharon den Adel, Damian Wilson, and Fish. Continue reading

Ayreon Shares Video For “Across The Rainbow Bridge”

Ayreon is preparing a 20th-anniversary re-issue of Into The Electric Castle next month. The set was remixed and remastered by Arjen Lucassen himself and will be available on 3LP, 5-disc Earbook and Limited Edition Box Set on October 26th from Music Theories Recordings / Mascot Label Group. Continue reading

Ayreon – Ayreon Universe DVD

If you are familiar with Ayreon, you will probably know that these collaborative works of music are the brainchild of the somewhat reclusive Arjen Anthony Lucassen, and are rarely – if ever – performed live. September 2015 saw the presentation of The Theater Equation, four shows in which the album The Human Equation (Inside Out) was performed in its entirety in front of a live audience. While this was a successful endeavour, we had been assured for years that there would never be a live ‘best of’ performance of Ayreon. Continue reading

Ayreon’s Epic First Live Performance Coming Soon As A Concert DVD Release

Progressive rock genius Arjen Lucassen, under his guise as Ayreon performed for the first time ever last September in an all-star 3-day event at 013 Club in Tilburg, NL that was a show for the ages. Now that concert documenting one of the most important artists in progressive music is coming out on DVD as Ayreon Universe: The Best Of Ayreon Live on March 30th via Music Theories Recordings / Mascot Label Group. Watch the first video for ‘Everybody Dies’ from the collection now! Continue reading

Ayreon Releases A New Song Featuring Members Of Dream Theater, Epica, Blind Guardian And More!

Arjen Lucassen recently announced that the new Ayreon album, The Source, will be hitting stores on April 27th via Mascot Label Group. Continue reading

Ayreon – The Theater Equation

Ayreon- The Theater Equation ghostcultmag

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.

8.0/10

CHRIS TIPPELL

 

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Video: The Gentle Storm – The Storm (Live at Hedon Zwolle)

the gentle storm live

The Gentle Storm is streaming a live video for “The Storm,” filmed at their Hedon Zwolle show at April 3, 2015, which is streaming below. The project features Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon, Star One, Guilt Machine) and Anneke van Giersbergen (The Gathering, Devin Townsend Project) and released their debut album The Diary at the end of March via InsideOutMusic.

The tour dates and live band line-up are as follows:
Apr 22: Divan Du Monde – Paris (FR)
Apr 23: The Garage – London (UK)
Apr 24: The Musician – Leicester (UK)
Apr 25: The Roadhouse – Manchester (UK)
Apr 26: Prog-résiste Convention – Soignies (BE)
Jun 19: Dokk’em Open Air – Dokkum (NL)
Jun 20: Steengoed Festival – Willemsoord (NL)
Jun 21: Plaatpop – Bergen op Zoom (NL)
Jul 09: Masters of Rock – Vizovice (CZ)
Jul 10: Rockharz Open Air – Ballenstedt (DE)
Jul 12: Bospop – Weert (NL)
Jul 17: Night of the Prog Festival – Loreley (DE)
Jul 30 – Aug 01: Wacken Open Air – Wacken (DE)
Oct 17: FemME Festival – Eindhoven (NL)

The Gentle Storm live:
Anneke van Giersbergen (ex-The Gathering) – vocals
Merel Bechtold (Purest of Pain, MaYaN) – guitars
Ferry Duijsens (Anneke van Giersbergen, ex-Dreadlock Pussy) – guitars
Ed Warby (Hail of Bullets, Ayreon, ex-Gorefest) – drums
Johan van Stratum (Stream of Passion) – bass
Joost van den Broek (producer, ex-After Forever) – keyboards
Marcela Bovio (Stream of Passion) – background vocals

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