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Band Photo: Ayreon (?)

Formed: 1994
From: Netherlands
Last Known Status: Active

Background

Ayreon is a project by Dutch composer and musician Arjen Anthony Lucassen. Ayreon's musical style derives mostly from heavy metal and progressive rock, but combines them with genres like folk, classical and electronica to form what some call a completely new style of music. The majority of Ayreon's albums are dubbed "rock operas" because the albums contain complex storylines featuring a host of characters, each represented by a unique vocalist.

Latest Ayreon News

Below is our complete Ayreon news coverage, including columns and articles pertaining to the band. Some articles listed may be indirectly related, such as side projects of the band members, etc.

Note: We began associating news directly with bands in late 2003. Therefore, earlier band news may not be listed on this page.

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Ayreon "Actual Fantasy Revisited" Release Dates

Ayreon's "Actual Fantasy: Revisited" is now completely finished. Since this release is an audio CD with a bonus DVD, there are two different versions. (It is a region free DVD, but there are two formats.)

Release dates are as follows:

PAL
Netherlands: November 25, 2004
Rest of Europe: December 6, 2004

NTSC
Through Plato.nl: December 6, 2004 (tentative)
USA/Canada: January 11, 2005

You can pre-order the album through Plato. Please note the different release dates of the PAL and NTSC versions. You can already purchase the PAL edition of the new album at the Mega Record and CD fair in Utrecht from Millennium Records on November 20. Arjen will be signing at the stand, and perform at the terrace of the Fair with Robert Soeterboek and Peter Vink.

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Ayreon "Actual Fantasy Revisited" Trailer

By now most of you know that a trailer is the ultimate way for fans to get a first glimpse at what's has been happening behind the scenes of a new release.

And as far as we are all concerned, "Actual Fantasy: Revisited" in a way is indeed a new album. Arjen is very proud of the results of the 5.1 mix he just finished and can't wait for fans to hear his music coming from all corners of a room: the way music should be heard.

The trailer can be downloaded at this location (Windows Media only).

The album will feature both a CD and a bonus DVD. The CD contains the 2004 recording. And the DVD will feature the 5.1 mix of this recording as well as the original 1996 version of Actual Fantasy. There is also a featurette on the 2004 recording process. The album is due out by the end of this year.

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Ayreon Actual Fantasy Album To Be Re-Recorded

Ayreon, the brainchild of Dutch guitarist Arjen Lucassen (ex-Bodine, Vengence), are planning on reissuing their second album, "Actual Fantasy".

"Arjen wanted to experiment with releasing his music as a 5.1 surround remix, and 'Actual Fantasy' — a little bit of a 'forgotten' album in the Ayreon collection — is sonically and electronically the most extreme release," reads a posting on the group's web site. "Furthermore it is hailed by many fellow musicians as their favorite Ayreon release.

"In order for Arjen to make this 5.1 surround remix, he needed to piece together all recordings and to separate the parts that had been 'glued together' in the studio at the time of the recording... This meant re-recording some parts as well.

"Well, once he knew he had to go through all that trouble... why not immediately re-record that what was an 'ear-sore' for Arjen all along? The drums! The drums on 'Actual Fantasy' are generated by a drum computer, which bothers Arjen to this day! And... well... why stop there and really make it truly challenging and exciting project?

"For this purpose Ayreon drummer extraordinaire Ed Warby will enter the studio next week to record drums for the 'Actual Fantasy' re-issue. After this, Star One bassist Peter Vink will replay all bass guitar, and Arjen will re-record nearly all guitar and keyboard parts, and then rework the vocal performances — essentially making this album a new Ayreon release of sorts.

"The new and improved 'Actual Fantasy' (including the 5.1 remix) won't hit stores until early 2005. After this release, 'The Final Experiment' re-issue with some special added elements, will be released soon after that!

"The re-issue of 'The Universal Migrator Part 1 & 2' is already in stores everywhere and the next re-issue by the InsideOut label is already on our doorstep. The long-awaited 'Into the Electric Castle', Ayreon's best seller double album, will be available (again) in stores on September 27th, 2004 in Europe, and October 12th, 2004 in the United States.

"The re-issue features revamped artwork and also linernotes written by Arjen.

"On top of this, the release comes with two CD-ROM tracks (Quicktime movie), one on each disc, in which Arjen tells you about what went into making this stellar album.

"Among other things, you get to hear stand-alone vocal performances of each of the vocalists as well as some instrumentalist sections. Total duration of the CD-ROM tracks is 30 minutes!"

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Old Ayreon Albums To Be Re-issued

For Ayreon fans the first news is the re-issues of the old Ayreon albums by InsideOut. One re-issue is already available in stores. The Universal Migrator Part 1 & Part 2 are no longer sold seperately, but as a special double CD edition for a single CD price. Check your stores now! Next re-issue will be "Into the Electric Castle" with a bonus multi-media file and improved artwork.

As a sidenote: a third single is to be released early fall, 2004.

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Secret Extras On New Ayreon Single "Loser"

The new ‘"Loser" single – taken from "The Human Equation" – features a special code that can be used to access a secret page on the official Ayreon website. Plug in the code here and you will find the following extras:
- an early demo version of ‘Loser’ sung by Ayreon mastermind Arjen Lucassen, done in one take with a drum computer. No digeridoo, no Devin Townsend, no solos.
- a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the "Loser" video
- a new competition from record label InsideOut
- a short interview with Lucassen explaing the hows aned whys of the new single.

Sorry, you'll have to buy the single to find out what the secret code is. The page will be active until September 1st.

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Ayreon To Re-Release Early CDs

On July 26th 2004, a re-issue of the Ayreon albums "The Universal Migrator Part 1 and 2" will become available in stores.

The Ayreon project moved to a new label InsideOut, and all albums, which have been sold out and very hard to find, are going to be released by InsideOut. The albums are re-issued in reverse order, starting with the Universal Migrator albums first released in 2000.

Initially, Arjen believed there were two distinct group of fans, the prog and the metal lovers, and so he decided to release two albums - one for each catagory without obligating fans of one genre to buy the other, resulting in the atmospheric Dream Sequencer, and the heavy Flight of the Migrator.

However, time proved Arjen wrong - the line between prog and metal is quite blurry. Nearly equal amounts of the albums were sold, and from the many emails Arjen received from his fans, he found out that each loved both albums.

And so, for this re-issue Arjen and the label decided to join the albums in a Special Edition - but for the price of a single album. The 2-in-1 version contains extra liner notes by Arjen, but do not contain bonus tracks as Arjen believes that would be unfair to fans for such a recent release.

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Tony Martin Asked Lucassen For £20K

Former BLACK SABBATH vocalist TONY MARTIN, who appeared on such albums as The Headless Cross and Tyr , proved a bit out of ARJEN ANTHONY LUCASSEN's price range when approached for the new AYREON project, The Human Condition . Lucassen, who has made a name for himself with his robust operatic metal releases, explains how he filters out vocalists for his projects, "As soon as I get a feeling it's about money, it’s over. It shouldn’t be about money. Like Tony Martin. The first thing he said was, 'You’d better have a big wallet.' He wanted 20,000 pounds for one song. So I passed."

Lucassen has worked with Bruce Dickinson, James La Brie, Ralph Scheepers and countless other name metal vocalists. Yet he has not landed his hero to appear on one of his metal operas as of yet, "My all-time hero, ALICE COOPER. I’d love to work with him, but haven’t been able to work it out."

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Ayreon Post Cover Artwork Online

AYREON, the brainchild of Dutch guitarist Arjen Lucassen (ex-BODINE, VENGEANCE), have posted the cover artwork for the Limited Deluxe edition of their latest CD, Ayreon: The Human Equation here

"Ayreon: The Human Equation" is due in Europe on May 24 through InsideOut Music. The U.S. will receive the album one day later (May 25). Release dates for other countries will follow shortly. A single containing the radio edit of the song "Day Eleven: Love" plus the full album track "Day Two: Isolation" will precede the album.

In other news, AYREON have announced the "The Human Equation pre-release party" on Sunday, April 18, from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. at Stairway to Heaven in Utrecht, the Netherlands. "There will be a special preview of the album, a showing 'Behind the Scenes' documentary from 'The Human Equation' bonus DVD," according to a post on AYREON's web site. "You can buy the single and all sorts of other stuff before it hits the stores and pre-order the album on the spot!"

Also on the Lucassen-related front, Arjen has agreed to perform "Valley of the Queens" (which originally appeared on AYREON's 1998 release, "Into the Electric Castle") once more with sisters Floor (AFTER FOREVER) and Irene Jansen (KARMA) live. This performance will be part of Floor Jansen's graduation project for the Rock Academy, as she will be the support act for AFTER FOREVER on April 17 at 013 in Tilburg.

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Ayreon Sign With Inside Out Records

AYREON, the brainchild of Dutch guitarist Arjen Lucassen (ex-BODINE, VENGEANCE), have inked a new deal with Inside Out Records. Lucassen's first release for Inside Out under the AYREON banner will be the band's much-anticipated new CD, "The Human Equation", tentatively due in May.

In other news, URIAH HEEP's Ken Hensley and IQ keyboardist Martin Orford have both been recruited to appear on the upcoming album. "Ken was asked if he could give a killer Hammond performance, and he delivered in true URIAH HEEP form," reads a posting on Lucassen's web site.

As previously reported, "The Human Equation" will feature guest appearances by a number of world-class singers, including James LaBrie (DREAM THEATER), Mikael Åkerfeldt (OPETH), Devin Townsend (STRAPPING YOUNG LAD), Devon Graves (a.k.a. Buddy Lackey, DEAD SOUL TRIBE, ex-PSYCHOTIC WALTZ), Magnus Ekwall (THE QUILL), Heather Findlay (MOSTLY AUTUMN), Eric Clayton (SAVIOUR MACHINE) and Mike Baker (SHADOW GALLERY).

A short preview "The Human Equation" is currently available online in Windows Media format at this location.

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