AYREON is the flagship musical project of the Dutch composer and multi-instrumentalist Arjen Anthony Lucassen.
Ten years with hardrock band Vengeance brought Lucassen approval in Europe, Japan and the US. When he started writing and recording on his own in the early 1990s, it was with funding from a Japanese record label that got the ball rolling.
The Final Experiment was Ayreon’s first album, released in the Netherlands in 1995 by the start-up label Transmission Records.
This record set the tone for his project — intricate sci-fi/fantasy storytelling and timeless progressive rock featuring an extraoridinary line-up of the world’s best vocalists and musicians.
The follow-up to the first album was Actual Fantasy (1996) — this turned out to be a relatively modest production, but the fantastic reception of these first Ayreon albums lured prog and rock superstars into the AYREON universe. Famous singers and instrumentalists soon lined up up to participate.
Besides Lucassen himself, virtuoso drummer Ed Warby (of Gorefest, Hail of Bullets, The 11th Hour) is the only other constant member of Ayreon.
When RAW RAMP reviewed the 2013 concept album “The Theory of Everything” with characters played by John Wetton, Marco Hietala, Cristina Scabbia and Tommy Karevik. And with guest musicians such as Rick Wakeman, Steve Hackett, Keith Emerson and Jordan Rudess, we said the album possessed “ Skirls and whipped beats but amid these there is a sense of completeness, cohesion and unity…”
Mascot Label Group has now announced the signing of Ayreon.
“At first I didn’t feel the urge to change labels.” Said Lucassen “But in the back of my mind was the feeling that I really liked the atmosphere and the people at Mascot. This Dutch company, close by, just felt good…”
The Ayreon catalog, comprising seven studio albums, has been released on various digital platforms and is available now.