Ayreon Preview 'Electric Castle Live' Concert Film with "Amazing Flight" (premiere)

Photo: Bert Treep / Courtesy of the artist

Dutch progressive metal maestro Arjen Anthony Lucassen takes us on a stellar journey with "Amazing Flight" from the upcoming live performance of his third—and possibly best—Ayreon voyage to date.

For the past 25 years, Dutch composer/vocalist/songwriter Arjen Anthony Lucassen has reigned as one of the most consistent and distinguished named in progressive metal. Essentially, he produces wildly ambitious, sundry, and mesmeric rock operas with the help of some truly revered genre musicians and singers. While virtually all of his projects are exceptional, it's his longest and most prolific one—Ayreon—that towers above the rest. Specifically, his third sequence under the moniker, 1998's Into the Electric Castle, was a true game-changer, which is why it's still considered his magnum opus by many diehard devotees.

On April 10th, Lucassen will release a brand-new live performance of the album (and bonus material), entitled Electric Castle Live and Other Tales, on Music Theories Recordings. (It follows the 20th anniversary remix of Into the Electric Castle that was issued in 2018.) To help tide us over until then, he's just unveiled a video for the record's third (and likely best) track, "Amazing Flight". With camerawork and visuals that match the splendor of the music, it's an incredible performance that reveals why Electric Castle Live and Other Tales just might be the superlative live Ayreon release thus far.

In a nutshell, the LP ties into the larger Ayreon storyline by revolving around eight strangers brought together by the saga's primary recurring character—Forever of the Stars—to embark on a mythical quest. As for Electric Castle Live and Other Tales, it was recorded over four nights at Tilburg's 013 venue in September 2019; aside from playing the entire album, Lucassen and company also delve into one track from each of his side projects (The Gentle Storm, Ambeon, Stream of Passion, Star One, etc.), plus a cover of "Kayleigh" from Marillion's seminal Misplaced Childhood. Naturally, it features many people who played on the original record, such as flutist Thijs van Leer (Focus) and singers Fish (ex-Marillion, solo), Damian Wilson (Headspace, ex-Threshold), and Anneke van Giersbergen (Devin Townsend, VUUR). Also appearing are Epica vocalist Simone Simons, MaYan vocalist Marcela Bovio, and After Forever keyboardist Joost van den Broek.

Of the "Amazing Flight" segment, Lucassen says this "is the final preview from Electric Castle Live. Are you ready for this 'Amazing Flight in Space'? Just watch this cool hippie dude (me) wipe the floor with that uncool Barbarian! And what a band! Oh, and here's some friendly advice for you parents out there: please tell your kids not to follow the bad example of this crazy hippie and his naughty water-pipe!"

Take a look at "Amazing Flight" for yourself and see if it doesn't transport you to a wonderful new world, too. Also, be sure to pre-order Electric Castle Live and Other Tales here. It's available in many different formats, such as a standard CD+DVD set, a Blu-ray digipack, and even a lavish deluxe edition housed in a wooden case.





12 Essential Kate Bush Songs

While Kate Bush is a national treasure in the UK, American listeners don't know her as well. The following 12 songs capture her irrepressible spirit.


Tatsuya Nakatani and Shane Parish Replace Form with Risk on 'Interactivity'

The more any notions of preconceived musicality are flicked to the curb, the more absorbing Tatsuya Nakatani and Shane Parish's Interactivity gets.


Martin Green's Junkshop Yields the Gritty, Weird Story of Britpop Wannabes

Featuring a litany of otherwise-forgotten budget bin purchases, Martin Green's two-disc overview of coulda-been Britpop contenders knows little of genre confines, making for a fun historical detour if nothing else.


Haux Compellingly Explores Pain via 'Violence in a Quiet Mind'

By returning to defined moments of pain and struggle, Haux cultivates breathtaking music built on quiet, albeit intense, anguish.


'Stratoplay' Revels in the Delicious New Wave of the Revillos

Cherry Red Records' six-disc Revillos compilation, Stratoplay, successfully charts the convoluted history of Scottish new wave sensations.


Rising Young Jazz Pianist Micah Thomas Debuts with 'Tide'

Micah Thomas' Tide is the debut of a young jazz pianist who is comfortable and fluent in a "new mainstream": abstraction as well as tonality, freedom as well as technical complexity.


Why Australia's Alice Ivy Doesn't Want to Sleep

Alice Ivy walks a fine line between chillwave cool and Big Beat freakouts, and her 2018 debut record was an electropop wonder. Now, in the middle of a pandemic, she tries to keep the good vibes going with a new record decked out in endless collaborations.


Five Women Who Fought the Patriarchy

Whether one chooses to read Square Haunting for the sketches of the five fascinating women, or to understand how misogyny and patriarchy constricted intellectual and public life in the period, Francesca Wade's book is a superb achievement.


Director Denis Côté on Making Film Fearlessly

In this interview with PopMatters, director Denis Côté recalls 2010's Curling (now on Blu-Ray) discusses film as a "creative experiment in time", and making films for an audience excited by the idea of filling in playful narrative gaps.


Learning to Take a Picture: An Interview With Inara George

Inara George is unafraid to explore life's more difficult and tender moments. Discussion of her latest music, The Youth of Angst, leads to stories of working with Van Dyke Parks and getting David Lee Roth's musical approval.


Country Westerns Bask in an Unparalleled Sound and Energy on Their Debut

Country Westerns are intent on rejecting assumptions about a band from Nashville while basking in an unparalleled sound and energy.


Rediscovering Japanese Director Tomu Uchida

A world-class filmmaker of diverse styles, we take a look at Tomu Uchida's very different Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji and The Mad Fox.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.