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Peacemaker's Music Recommendation - Ayreon's "Into the Electric Castle"


Here's where you'll find things that annoy me and things that I feel like ranting about.

Peacemaker's Music Recommendation - Ayreon's "Into the Electric Castle"

JJ Mortimer

Once in a while I like to suggest or recommend a piece of obscure/little known entertainment, often something specific that not everyone may like, in hopes of seeing who may know it.

I've owned the progressive rock album "Into the Electric Castle" from Ayreon (Dutch musician Arjen Lucassen's multi-decade group project) for twelve years, but never actually listened to the thing straight through, end-to-end with its 100-minute album length, until this week.

And holy shit. By sheer artistic prowess, epic storytelling, and a true operatic sensation, this album may very well be one of the most impressively-recorded, immaculately-instrumented pieces of work I've ever heard in the progressive rock genre.

I have to thank Michael Milbrett for turning me on to Ayreon so many years ago. For had I not known of them, I never would have rediscovered this album and currently be enjoying the living hell out of it.

Personal favorite songs on the album's story-based narrative (about people picked out of multiple eras of history to journey to the mysterious Electric Caste) are "Time Beyond Time" for Lucassen's closing guitars, "Across the Rainbow Bridge" for its almost Queensryche-era rock feeling, and "The Castle Hall" for its darkness and bass-rattling undertones.

If you're a fan of concept music, rock opera, and multi-layered compositions with a multitude of artists and instruments implemented to create a unique sound, check it out.  Listen to it with good sound, the bass turned up a little, and the lights turned out, with thoughts of the fantasy & science fiction of your childhood freely flowing through the mind.