Updated: Aug 15, 2020
Areyon's new theatrical epic draws on ghost stories, sci fi and musical theatre
Ayreon will be releasing a brand-new sprawling and epic studio album ‘Transitus,’ on 25th September via Music Theories Recordings. The album will be available on 2CD, 2LP gatefold red transparent vinyl and a 48-page Earbook which includes 5 discs; 2CD album, 1CD instrumental versions, 1CD guide vocal versions, and a DVD with bonus footage which includes a behind the scenes video, a videoclip, trailer and a 5.1 audio and hi-def stereo mix of the album. The release will be accompanied by a 28-page graphic novel which will be included in the Earbook as well as the 2LP. The physical pre-order will launch on June 25, where digital will go live on July 16.
In 2017 Ayreon released ‘The Source,’ which revisited the ‘Forever/Planet Y’ saga, but now three years later it is time for something completely different…
“The year is 1884, these are dark, troubled times, fraught with greed, envy and prejudice…” begins our narrator and storyteller, Tom Baker…
‘Transitus’ is built around an entirely new story, not connected to the Ayreon universe although as always it does have some subtle links. The sci-fi theme makes way for a gothic ghost story set (partly) in the 19th century with elements of horror and the supernatural. It’s on a dark thunderous night where our story of Abby and Daniel begins.
From the mastermind of Dutch multi-instrumentalist Arjen Lucassen, Transitus is inspired by supernatural movies such as The Others, The Changeling and Ghost along with the music of soundtrack composers John Carpenter (Halloween), Ennio Morricone (Once upon a Time in the West) and Jerry Goldsmith (Omen). “And of course I revisited all my favourite rock operas such as JC Superstar, Tommy, War of the Worlds and the Wall,” Lucassen adds.
‘Transitus’ is narrated by one of the most iconic and recognizable voices in sci-fi history, most known from his eight-year stint as Doctor Who, Tom Baker. “I was looking for a real storyteller with a mature, deep, warm voice. As a kid, I was a huge Doctor Who fan and my favourite doctor was Tom Baker. I couldn’t believe my luck when he agreed to do it! We went to the UK to record him, and it was one of those unforgettable experiences.”
As with any Ayreon album, it is an explosive and expansive affair and features Tommy Karevik (Kamelot) as Daniel and Cammie Gilbert (Oceans of Slumber) as Abby. The all-star cast also features Simone Simons (Epica), Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), Joe Satriani, Marty Friedman, Johanne James (Threshold), Noa Gruman (Scardust), Marcela Bovio (MaYan), Caroline Westendorp (The Charm the Fury), Paul Manzi (Arena), Michael Mills (Toehider) and Amanda Somerville (Avantasia, Trilium) amongst many others.
“When I started this I just had no idea that it was going to take me this long! It took about 3 years from start to finish, and it pushed me out of my comfort zone musically and creatively. But I always need that challenge, the harder it is, the more fun for me to work on it!” comments Lucassen.
Through all the extravaganzas that flow through his discography, Transitus is Lucassen’s most ambitious work yet, “This is without a doubt the most cinematic and outrageous album I’ve ever done,” he affirms.
Continuing he adds; “I always start with finding singers first before I write the vocal parts, because I write the parts specifically for their vocal strengths. Because I was going for a theatrical feel for this album, this time I picked the singers not just because they are amazing singers, but because they had a certain charisma and were able to act. “
‘Transitus’ is accompanied by an amazing graphic novel drawn by the renowned artist Felix Vega. “Because Ayreon’s music is so visual, I’ve always wanted to do an Ayreon graphic novel/comic book,” he says.
Reflecting on the approach to ‘Transitus’ he says, “I love my last Ayreon album ‘The Source’. I often say that it sounds so much like Ayreon... if someone else would have released it I could have sued them for copyright infringement and won easily! But “our genre” is called progressive, which for me means breaking new ground and experimenting musically. So in the true prog spirit, I set out to try something entirely different than a “typical Ayreon,” I wanted to do something more theatrical, almost like a musical.“