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Special music, but not for everyone - 88%

arkbath, December 6th, 2004

Well, to the date I really don’t know why I bought this album. The cover just attracted me, but I haven’t heard about Arjen Lucassen, neither Ayreon. Maybe the words “space opera” were the trigger for buying an album from an artist unknown for me. The only thing clear is that Into the Electric Castle is something different special. It’s not music for everyone, I must say, and for the first times I listened to the album I really couldn’t like it or understand it, and then I realized that you must be in certain mood to listen to this album from beginning to the end in just one session. And after that I liked the album, but only in a few and special occasions. Lucassen can be taken as a musical genius, but I think his music is for musicians, that’s why no everyone can get it. Metalheads may push the stop button from the very beginning, prog-lovers may give Lucassen a little chance… but it doesn’t matters, let’s talk about the music…

With Into the Electric Castle, Arjen Lucassen succeeds in transmitting the essence of the characters along with the musical parts that involve them, and the selection of the voice for each one was interesting. I really didn’t know the singers before listening to this album, except for Anneke and Sharon, but everyone does a great job. The musicians all fit perfectly in each song. They are too many, so I can’t mention all of them… The guitar works are delivered by Lucassen himself, and I think part of the highlights of the album is driven by the guitar riffs and solos. The drums sound just the way they must sound according to the style of the song, and the innumerable synth sections give the special atmospheres, without forgetting the solos and duels between the guitars and the synths. One point that deserves a special mention is the fact that the instrumental parts are just great (pay special attention to Amazing Flight and Cosmic Fusion), they’re not metal, not rock, not prog, but a strange fusion of them that I can’t describe. You must listen to it.

I didn’t want to talk of each song separately because Into the Electric Castle is one concept and the disadvantage of this is that sometimes one song loses its meaning when it’s alone, and lyrically (not musically) that’s the problem with this album and many others. As a complete album is a good choice if you want something extremely different that needs a lot of listening before getting it. But don’t get confused, it’s great music, with a great concept, unfortunately misunderstood by many people.