|Mascot Label Group is proud to announce the signing of Ayreon, the highly acclaimed project from singer / songwriter / multi-instrumentalist / record producer Arjen Lucassen. The Ayreon catalog, comprising seven studio albums, will be re-released on various digital platforms on April 22nd.
Ayreon is in a class of its own. You might call Lucassen’s Ayreon studio albums “rock operas.” Or, to be more precise, you may prefer a description like, “ambitious studio projects combining progressive rock, metal, and folk over intricate storylines, brought to life by countless famous guest singers from all over the world.” But no matter how you categorize it, the Ayreon album collection offers highly creative rock music with a quality in composition and production rarely heard in the last twenty years. The Final Experiment was Ayreon’s first album, released in the Netherlands in 1995 by start-up label Transmission Records. It set the tone for the project, with intricate sci-fi/fantasy storytelling and timeless progressive rock featuring a line-up of world class vocalists and musicians, including Barry Hay (Golden Earring), Jan-Chris de Koeijer (Gorefest), and Kingdom Come’s Lenny Wolf.
The follow-up, Actual Fantasy (1996), turned out to be a relatively modest production, but the phenomenal reception of these first Ayreon albums exposed Lucassen to world-famous singers and instrumentalists like Fish (Marillion), Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), Devin Townsend, James LaBrie (Dream Theater), Neal Morse (Flying Colors, Spock’s Beard), Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil), John Wetton (King Crimson, Asia), Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth, Bloodbath), Ty Tabor (King’s X, The Jelly Jam), Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Michael Romeo and Russell Allen (Symphony X), Steve Hackett (Genesis), Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Alice Cooper), Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), and Rick Wakeman (Yes). Besides Lucassen himself, virtuoso drummer Ed Warby (Gorefest, Hail of Bullets, The 11th Hour) is the only other constant member of Ayreon.
Into The Electric Castle was released to critical acclaim in 1998, and the album went on to sell over 100.000 copies. The twin albums Universal Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer and Universal Migrator Part 2: Flight of the Migrator (2000) proved that Lucassen was not afraid to take Ayreon to yet another level of larger-than-life creativity. With The Human Equation (2004), Lucassen turned away from his earlier sci-fi themes to explore the realm of human emotions. The Human Equation was adapted for stage and performed in 2015 by a cast that included almost everybody from the original album. In 2007, Arjen returned to the sci-fi concept and linked all of the previous Ayreon albums together, musically as well as lyrically, on 01011001. The album features no less than 17 vocalists.
Arjen Lucassen and Mascot Label Group CEO Ed van Zijl go back twenty years. Ed was doing business out of his one-man office when Arjen showed up on his doorstep, with Ayreon’s debut album The Final Experiment in hand. They didn’t ink a deal that day, but both parties are extremely pleased to say that as of 2016, Music Theories Recordings (part of Mascot Label Group) is Ayreon’s new home.
Ayreon studio albums on Music Theories Recordings:
The Final Experiment
Into the Electric Castle
Universal Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer
Universal Migrator Part 2: Flight of the Migrator
The Human Equation