The new Ayreon album, ‘Transitus’, has been announced today by Dutch multi-instrumentalist Arjen Lucassen and it promises to be one of the most epic packages Ayreon have ever put together.
‘Transitus’ is built around a new story and, while not connected to the Ayreon universe, there are subtle links. The piece is around a Gothic ghost story, set partly in the 19th Century. This story of Abby (played by Cammie Gilbert from Oceans of Slumber) and Daniel (played by Tommy Karevik of Kamelot) also takes in elements of horror and the supernatural.
The unmistakeable voice of former Dr Who, Tom Baker, opens the story: “The year is 1884, these are dark, troubled times, fraught with greed, envy and prejudice…”
As for the choice of Baker, Arjen Lucassen told MetalTalk: “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.”
Lucassen has assembled a cast for ‘Transitus’ which includes 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) and more.
Lucassen continues: “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. 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.
“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.”
Release on 25 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 package.
The physical pre-order will launch on June 25, where digital will go live on July 16.