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This week's round-up: New music from Ayreon, Apocalyptica and Susan Santos

Underwater Worlds, a classical spin on Metallica and some smooth blues rock

Ayreon 'The Day The World Breaks Down'

Ayreon reveals the spectacular live video for "The Day The World Breaks Down" which features an enormous singing cast of Damian Wilson, Daniel Gildenlow, Jan Willem Ketelaers, Simone Simons, Maggy Luyten, Jaycee, Hansi Kürsch, Mike Mills, Tom Englund, Anneke van Giersbergen, Marcela Bovio and Irene Jansen.

An Ayreon live event is a monumental occasion where the highest-calibre musicians and an enormous production come together to forge a bombastic spectacle.

Talking about the song, Arjen Lucassen says, "Finally… on my birthday… here is the 2nd videoclip from the Ayreon ‘Live Beneath The Waves’ DVD/BluRay! I picked the song The Day That The World Breaks Down because firstly it’s one of my favorites and secondly it features many of the talented singers. We never thought we could pull this complicated song off in a live setting, but seems like we did it! Let me know if you agree… enjoy."

In September 2023, Arjen Lucassen's '01011001 - Live Beneath the Waves' sold out five performances at Poppodium 013 in Tilburg, The Netherlands. Today, Ayreon is excited to announce the release of this concert on 3LP, 2CD+DVD, Blu-ray, Earbook, and digital formats on 17 May, through Music Theories Recordings / Mascot Label Group. Indulge in a taster with the first live video of "The Sixth Extinction" HERE.

You can pre-order '01011001 - Live Beneath the Waves' here.

This live production, based on the critically acclaimed 2008 concept album '01011001,' was performed in its entirety, followed by a number of encore songs. The stage came alive with an imposing backdrop, LED screens showcasing fantastic visuals, lasers, pyrotechnics, special effects, and a unique live surround sound experience – a setup that would be at home on Broadway or London's West End.

Ayreon mastermind Arjen Lucassen, alongside keyboardist Joost van den Broek, assembled a remarkable lineup, featuring many original cast members from the 01011001 album and various special guests such as Simone Simons (Epica), Damian Wilson (Threshold), Anneke van Giersbergen, Jonas Renkse (Katatonia), Tom Englund (Evergrey), Daniel Gildenlow (Pain of Salvation), Marcela Bovio (MaYan), Brittney Slayes (Unleash the Archers), Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian), John Jaycee Cuijpers (Praying Mantis), Maggy Luyten (Beautiful Sin), Michael Mills (Toehider) and Wudstik, among other incredible musicians. 

The band featured top instrumentalists from the genre - Ed Warby (Drums), Johan van Stratum (Bass), Timo Somers (Guitar), Marcel Coenen (Guitar), Joost Van Den Broek (Keyboards) and more. The enigmatic Lucassen himself made an appearance, marking this as the largest cast in Ayreon's live show history, which is no mean feat. 'Live Beneath the Waves' vividly brings to life the water planet Y, immersing audiences in this technological underwater world.

- 'The Unforgiven II'

APOCALYPTICA are thrilled to release the second single from Apocalyptica Plays Metallica, Vol. 2 – the hotly-anticipated sequel to their legendary debut record. 'The Unforgiven II' falls hot on the heels of first single 'The Four Horsemen', featuring Metallica’s very own bassist Rob Trujllo.

“We wanted to balance what we were doing between old and new,” says lead cellist Perttu Kivilaakso. “'The Unforgiven II' has such beautiful melodies and the lyrics are great, too! I loved the fact that we’ve been able to bind this record and our first record together in this way."

Apocalyptica Plays Metallica Vol. 2 will continue the journey that began in 1996 when cellists from Helsinki’s world-renowned Sibelius Academy played symphonic tribute to the biggest of the big four – heavy metal titans Metallica. For their ninth record the classically-minded dynamos are returning to their roots to bring a legendary story full circle. It also features a host of surprises beginning with a unique collaboration. Second single 'The Unforgiven II', taken from Metallica’s 1997 album Reload is a stunning reimagining of a cast-iron classic, setting the scene for a compendium of deep cuts and brilliant highlights spanning Metallica’s staggering 40 year career, and there are more surprises to come.

Founding band-leader Eicca Toppinen comments:

“It’s the coolest thing. We didn’t push - it was offered. We played the first album live and it was so much more fun and exciting than we expected, so we got the idea to do something like the first album, but we couldn’t do it in exactly the same way – we needed to challenge ourselves and bring a totally new perspective to the original energy and emotion of Metallica.”

Lead cellist Perttu Kivilaakso adds: “We’ve been talking about making another Metallica album for around 20 years, as there were still so many great songs we wanted to play! We waited for the perfect moment to do it. Thinking of that teenage me who is now getting to play his favourite tracks gives me goosebumps!"

Susan Santos - 'So Long'

Today, Blues rock guitar sensation, Susan Santos celebrates the release of her new studio album Sonora with her new single “So Long.”

Sonora is Santos’ sixth studio album. The album title encapsulates the overall vibe that permeates throughout the eight songs. Although each of the album tracks vary in style, they all share a common thread – the desert. Sonora is the first that that Santos fully identities in more ways than one. The album is diverse and encompasses guitar styles that ranges from Western to psychedelia.

Sonora was recorded at Black Betty Studios in Madrid, and produced by Santos and Jose Nortes. All songs. composed by Susan Santos, were recorded as a trio featuring David Salvador (bass) and Juli El Lento (drums). Santos sang lead vocals and played electric, baritone, and acoustic guitars, banjo, and theremin.

Sonora is the album of the desert, and the desert people. The songs tell stories ranging from survival, thirst, outlaws, escape, and freedom against a backdrop of scorpions, lizards, and roadrunners. Before listening, it is highly recommended to embark on your road journey with a full tank, and don’t pick up any hitchhikers.

Based in Madrid, Susan Santos is a passionate, self-taught left-hand guitarist. She writes her own songs that reflect her signature blend of rhythm and textures. She is a creative force in the guitar world, and a truly unique artist in her own right.

The gifted Spanish guitarist and singer songwriter has spent years performing in famous establishments and venues, and numerous festivals throughout Europe, Mexico, and America.

She has shared the stage with ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and won “Best Musician Performance” at the 2018 European Blues Awards, and “Best Female Album” at the 2019 LA Critics’ Awards.





Lahti, Finland



Bilbao, Spain



Cornwall, UK



Carlisle, UK

Photo credits: APOCALYPTICA - Riki Murto, Susan Santos - Juan Pérez-Fajardo


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