Sunday, March 6, 2022

Ayreon - Into the Electric Castle (1998)

Ayreon - Into the Electric Castle (1998)

Tracklist front / back album covers

Disc one
1. "Welcome to the New Dimension"   3:05

2. "Isis and Osiris"   11:11
I. "Let the Journey Begin"
II. "The Hall of Isis and Osiris"
III. "Strange Constellations"
IV. "Reprise

3. "Amazing Flight"   10:15
I. "Amazing Flight in Space"
II. "Stardance"
III. "Flying Colours

4. "Time Beyond Time" 6:05

5. "The Decision Tree (We're Alive)"   6:24

6. "Tunnel of Light"   4:05

7. "Across the Rainbow Bridge"   6:20

Total length:   47:25

Disc two
1. "The Garden of Emotions"   9:40
I. "All in the Garden of Emotions"
II. "Voices in the Sky"
III. "The Aggression Factor

2. "Valley of the Queens"   2:25

3. "The Castle Hall"   5:49

4. "Tower of Hope"   4:54

5. "Cosmic Fusion"   7:27
I. "Soar on the Breeze"
II. "Death's Grunt"
III. "The Passing of an Eagle

6. "The Mirror Maze"   6:34
I. "Inside the Mirror Maze"
II. "Through the Mirror

7. "Evil Devolution"   6:31

8. "The Two Gates"   6:28

9. ""Forever" of the Stars"   2:02

10. "Another Time, Another Space"   5:20

Total length:   57:10

Ayreon Band Members / Musicians

Edwin Balogh – Roman

Sharon den Adel – Indian

Jay van Feggelen – Barbarian

Fish – Highlander

Anneke van Giersbergen – Egyptian

Arjen Anthony Lucassen – Hippie

Edward Reekers – Futureman

Damian Wilson – Knight

Robert Westerholt and George Oosthoek – Death

Peter Daltrey – the Voice

Arjen Anthony Lucassen – producing, mixing

Oscar Holleman – mixing

John van den Oetelaar – layout and image handling

Thomas Ewerhard – additional layout for the special edition

Jef Bertels – cover art and all other paintings

Peter van 't Riet – mastering

John Verheijen – scanning

Arjen Anthony Lucassen – all electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin, bass, minimoog, mellotron and keyboards

Ed Warby – drums

Roland Bakker – hammonds

Robby Valentine – all pianos, synth solos on "Isis and Osiris, I. Let The Journey Begin", "Amazing Flight, I. Amazing Flight in Space", and "Tower of Hope", Mellotron "The Mirror Maze, I. Inside the Mirror Maze"

Ernő Oláh – violins

Taco Kooistra – cellos

Jack Pisters – sitar

Rene Merkelbach – synth solos on "The Decision Tree (We're Alive)" and "Evil Devolution" and harpsichord on "Valley of the Queens"

Clive Nolan – synth solos on "Amazing Flight, III. Flying Colours"

Ton Scherpenzeel – synth solos on "Cosmic Fusion, III. The Passing of an Eagle"

Thijs van Leer – flute on "Amazing Flight, III. Flying Colours", "Time Beyond Time", "Valley of the Queens", and "The Castle Hall"

Into the Electric Castle – A Space Opera is the 3rd album of the progressive metal project Ayreon by Dutch songwriter, producer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Arjen Anthony Lucassen. Released in 1998, it was the band's first double album.

Like most Ayreon albums, it is a concept album taking place in the same fictional universe as Ayreon's first album The Final Experiment. Into the Electric Castle follows eight characters from different locations and time periods, who inexplicably find themselves in a strange place where they follow a mysterious voice to reach the Electric Castle to survive. Each character, made bombastically flamboyant with influence from B movies, is voiced by a different singer. Into the Electric Castle is the first collaboration between Lucassen and Ed Warby, who has since become Lucassen's most regular collaborator, playing drums on every following Ayreon album except Universal Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer and Transitus and on most of his other projects.

The album was a commercial success and received overwhelmingly positive reviews from music critics. Lucassen released a remixed version of the album in 2018, followed by a live album featuring a full live performance of the album, titled Electric Castle Live and Other Tales, in 2020.

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