From Academic Kids

Ayreon is a Dutch music project by Arjen Anthony Lucassen. Ayreon has an original musical style which derives mostly from heavy metal and progressive rock, but combines them with different genres to form what some call a completely new style of music.

Ayreon's music is characterized by the combination of mellow rock and metal, often within the same songs. Use of rare instruments to support the more conventional rock instruments is common for Ayreon. Arjen Lucassen writes, sings and plays instruments on all of the Ayreon albums, alongside many guest musicians.



The first Ayreon CD, released in 1995, is The Final Experiment, a story of a man in 6th century Britain, the minstrel Ayreon. Perhaps because he has been blind since birth, Ayreon has a sixth sense that allows him to receive messages from scientists in the year 2084, when humankind has almost destroyed itself in a final great war. The album features thirteen singers and seven instrumentalists, most of them Dutch. The Final Experiment is often mentioned as one of the first metal operas and a reviver of the rock opera genre. The album was originally titled Ayreon: The Final Experiment, with the artist listed as Arjen Lucassen, but upon re-release, the title was changed to The Final Experiment, and the artist was changed to Ayreon.

Actual Fantasy from 1996 is the only Ayreon album without a continuous story. With its individual fantasy stories, it can still be considered a concept album, though. There are only three singers and three instrumentalists on Actual Fantasy. Themes inspired by songs on this album can be found on later Ayreon releases, most particularly The Universal Migrator.

Into the Electric Castle - A Space Opera (1998) followed. The double album is a story of eight people from different eras of humankind, locked together in an unusual "place of no-time and no-space". There, a mysterious voice talks to them, guiding them on their dangerous quest to find a way home through the Electric Castle. This story is told in psychedelic rock by eight singers, each playing a role of a single character, and eleven instrumentalists.

The twin album The Universal Migrator (2000) features a science fiction story of the last human alive, living in a colony on Mars. In the story of the first CD, Universal Migrator, Pt. 1: The Dream Sequencer, he begins a trip back in time to flashbacks of different peoples' memories during human history (memories he apparently lived in his past lives), using a device called Dream Sequencer. This first album consists of soft, atmospheric progressive rock. Later, he "pre-incarnates" further back, all the way to the big bang in the heavy second album, Universal Migrator, Pt. 2: Flight of the Migrator. Again, both of these albums have about ten singers supported by many instrumentalists. One of the album's guests was Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, who made an appearance on Flight of the Migrator.

The latest Ayreon release is The Human Equation, released in 2004. As on Into the Electric Castle, there are several singers, each playing their own role. With The Human Equation, Ayreon turned away from the usual science fiction and fantasy themes with a story taking place inside the head of a man lying comatose in a hospital bed after a bizarre car accident in broad daylight, with no other cars in sight. His emotions become personified and begin to take him through various incidents in his life.

Starting in 2004, Arjen began rereleasing his Ayreon catalog, with enhancements ranging from basic (The Universal Migrator, issued as a two-disc set instead of two separate albums) to drastic (Actual Fantasy, "Revisited" with completely re-recorded drums, bass, synth and flute). In 2005, to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Ayreon, The Final Experiment was reissued with a bonus semi-acoustic disc.


See also

Related genres:

Other bands and projects by Arjen Anthony Lucassen:

Bands Arjen has been a member of:

External links

fr:Ayreon is:Ayreon pl:Ayreon fi:Ayreon nl:Ayreon


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