Album review: AYREON – Transitus

AYREON - Transitus

Music Theories Recordings [Release date 25.09.20]

Ayreon’s latest album comes complete with the book and vinyl offerings accompanied by a 28 page graphic novel illustrated by Felix Vega. It’ll see Arjen Lucassen, Dutch songwriter, singer, musician and record producer, tackle a project that took 3 years to complete.

Lucassen: “When I started this I just had no idea that it was going to take me this long! It took about three 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! This is without a doubt the most cinematic and outrageous album I’ve ever done.”

The project sees him joined by a host of guests including former Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider, guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani, Epica’s Simone Simons, Kamelot’s Tommy Karevik, guitarist Marty Friedman and more – with former Doctor Who actor Tom Baker narrating.

The record will focus on a new story, a gothic ghost and love story, partially set in the 19th century in Transitus, which is between Heaven and Hell, with the lead characters being Abby and Daniel.

Tom Baker’s very atmospheric introduction sets the scene and I immediately wanted to listen to this in the dark, perfect accompaniment for an autumn evening in… Light the candles, pass me a glass of velvety red wine and tell me a doomed love story, where fate plays it’s hand.

As Tom intones this is not for the faint hearted and you should proceed at your own risk, it is operatic, dramatic and awesome with occasional moments that are quite soothing.

The use of guest vocalists to add richness and depth to the characters is pure genius, with Dee Snider perfect as Daniel’s Father as Tom Baker explains “this particular Father is not a man to be messed with. I think it’s a pity he was ever born…” Daniel himself asks “How can you be so twisted? (Sister) in “Get out! Now!”

From the Angel of Death advising “you got this” to the Statue (Mike Mills), all the guest vocalists are acting parts in this drama, this is pure musical theatre to my ears.

This is like listening to a musical audio book, a highly theatrical production supported by a cast of highly skilled musicians and vocalists. I’m not usually much of a fan of musical theatre, but this converted me. It’s rich and entrapping, I really enjoyed this. Recommended for an atmospheric autumnal or winter evening. ****

Review by Karen Clayton


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