Monday, November 2, 2009

Ayreon - "Into the Electric Castle"

Ayreon - Into the Electric Castle
1998, InsideOut

Disc One:
1. Welcome to the New Dimension
2. Isis and Osiris
a. Let the Journey Begin
b. The Hall of Isis and Osiris
c. Strange Constellations
d. Reprise
3. Amazing Flight
a. Amazing Flight in Space
b. Stardance
c. Flying Colours
4. Time Beyond Time
5. The Decision Tree (We're Alive)
6. Tunnel of Light
7. Across the Rainbow Bridge

Disc Two:
1. The Garden of Emotions
a. In the Garden of Emotions
b. Voices in the Sky
c. The Aggression Factor
2. Valley of the Queens
3. The Castle Hall
4. The Tower of Hope
5. Cosmic Fusion
a. I Soar on the Breeze
b. Death's Grunt
c. The Passing of an Eagle
6. The Mirror Maze
a. Inside the Mirror Maze
b. Through the Mirror
7. Evil Devolution
8. The Two Gates
9. Forever of the Stars
10. Another Time, Another Space

Okay... now this is Ayreon! If you want an album that encapsulates everything that's awesome about the band, this would be it. It is the very definition of progressive metal/rock music. There's heavy parts, slow melodic parts, celtic parts, psychedelic Pink Floyd-y parts - this disc has it all. "The Passing of an Eagle" almost sounds like something out of an old 60's spy movie! What I love is that all this "progressiveness" is built around some solid hooks. There's always a refrain or music interlude that will catch your interest. Not to mention we've got some heavy hitters in the vocal department too. My favorites being Fish, Damien Wilson (ex-Threshold), and the delightful Anneke Van Giersbergen. The music really and truly takes you on an adventure. Arjen goes back to the epic story here too which involves eight stereotype personalities dragged through time and tasked with reaching the titular Electric Castle. I honestly cannot recommend this disc enough!

Useless Fact: My copy is the InsideOut rerelease which is supposed to have some extra content on one of the discs but I was never able to access it. I wonder what happened?

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