Reviewed: November, 2020
Released: 2020, Music Theories Recording
This is the best Ayreon album I’ve heard in a long time. THE SOURCE, from 2017 was a really nice return to a heavier, less progressive sound. This time Ayreon go even further one step back farther towards Metal and it is great
TRANSITUS is remarkable in the deep Ayreon catalogue for a number of reasons. As one might expect it is a large and long double album concept story. After nine concept albums, did we think he was going to change now? The story is the key. This time, he stepped away of the metaphysical worlds of many of his other time-traveling stories; and shifted into previously unexplored thematic territory. TRANSITUS is a classic, gothic horror story set in 1883 and 1884, the Victorian era, set in what I am assuming England, but it doesn’t explicitly say that. Of course there is a little bit of, shall we say, inter-dimensional/time traveling shenanigans, it would be an Ayreon album without them, but these scenes are less, inter-stellar madness and more creepy vision of the past.
Another big advantage I felt was that Lucassen employed a real narrator this time. And not just any deep-voiced fellow he actually got Tom Baker…yes, Dr. Who narrated this album! I will admit many of the Ayreon albums have a convoluted storyline but this time almost every single song has an excellent piece of elegant narration, which really helps to bring the story to life. It is a tragic tale of love, loss and betrayal and other universal concepts.
The story is about the main character voiced by Tommy Karevik of Kamelot fame, who has an affair with the maid, Abby played by Cammie Gilbert. Daniel has brought shame to the noble house and gets excommunicated by his angry father, who is played with authenticity and menace by Dee Snider. As with all of Ayreon release there is a ton of guest stars , members of Epica, Stream Of Passion , Trillium, Threshold, Arena and even Mr. Joe Satriani and Mr. Marty Friedman drop by for a guest solo.
Musically, TRANSITUS crosses over very slightly from a traditional ‘concept’ album to Metallic Rock Opera, there is a bit of a difference, albeit it a subtle one. The album is also a bit streamline only coming in at 80 minutes, some Ayreon albums have cracked the two hour mark, so this one seems a bit more compact. The album is loaded with sound effects, symphonic elements, orchestration, and the aforementioned narration is the icing on the cake. Atmospheric and heavy, this is one of my favourite Ayreon albums in a while.
If you have shied away from Ayreon in recent years because of the enormity of the scale of the various albums, or the complex time-traveling plots don’t appeal to you, the slightly less-epic, TRANSITUS is a great introduction or re-introduction to the band. For longtime fans like me, it is wonderful to see that the band can still expand and grow, even if it means shrinking this time, and provide top-notch entertainment.
Daniel’s Descent into Transitus
Listen to My Story
Two Worlds Now One
Talk of the Town
Dumb Piece of Rock
Get Out! Now!
Seven Days, Seven Nights
Condemned Without a Trial
Hopelessly Slipping Away
This Human Equation
Message from Beyond
She Is Innocent
Your Story Is Over!
Abby in Transitus
The Great Beyond
Arjen Lucassen-Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards
Tommy Karevik-Vocals [as Daniel]
Came Gilbert-Vocals [as Abby]
Amanda Somerville-Vocals [as Lavinia]
Dee Snider-Vocals [as The Father]
Marcela Bovid-Vocals [as Fury, Servant, Villager]
Simone Simons-Vocals [as The Angel of Death]
Johanne James-Vocals [as Abraham]
Michael Mills-Vocals [as The Statue]
Paul Manzi-Vocals [as Henry]
Joost van den Broek-Hammond organ, Piano
Jeroen Goossens-Wind instruments
Patty Gurdy-Hurdy Gurdy
Jan Willem Ketelaers-Vocals [as Villager]
Wilmer Waarbroek-Vocals (additional) [as Villager]
Will Shaw-Vocals (additional) [as Villager]
Marian Welman-Vocals (additional) [as Villager]
Lisette van den Berg-Vocals (additional) [as Villager]
Caroline Westendorp-Vocals [as Fury, Servant, Villager]
Juan van Emmerloot-Drums