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Ayreon - Into The Electric Castle CD (album) cover

INTO THE ELECTRIC CASTLE

Ayreon

 

Progressive Metal

4.12 | 546 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Brendan
3 stars The album 'Into the electric castle' by 'Ayreon' is very ambitious indeed. Now I'm not allowed to call this pretentious, so I will: This is one of the most PRETENTIOUS and ILL-SIGHTED and OVER-THE-TOP albums I ever head, if not taking the cake for those accolades.

Where are all those people who were so objective about 'Calling All Stations' and bands like 'Styx' and 'Kansas'? They've put on their "Rose Coloured Glasses" and become very Praise- Giving ;-)

I was a little surprised by the popularity of this band, as they sound more like a heavier version of AOR bands like Boston or Styx rather than sounding like the Prog classic, ala Yes, King Crimson. I don't care less about that, but was surprised at their sometimes AOR/classic rock sound.

The album is heavy hearted and DEADLY SERIOUS from beginning to end. Every song has the same arrangement, same feeling, similar melody. The songs all feel like the same song from beginning to end. There is no versatility, no diverstiy, no moment to let things 'light up', no change of pace. Nothing. Have you ever heard the cliche 'this is twice as long as it needs to be'. Well that definitely doesn't apply here. Not possibly true. This album is more like three times as long as it needs to be! Rugby matches last 80 minutes, Soccer matches last 90 minutes, but this album, clocking in at One hour and 44 minutes, is a full fourteen minutes longer than a soccer match! Now I'm not saying that albums shouldn't be long, I mean one of the greatest Prog albums ever, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, was close to 90 minutes wasn't it? But stylistically and sonically, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway was all over the board. This just goes along in the same tone from beginning to end. Loud Heavy Guitars, Catchartic vocals crying injustice, expressing pain, conveying confusion and unhappiness. This feeling pulsates and premeates through the music for the entire 'Hour AND three quartes'.

There is quite a lot of instrumental music, mostly heavy guitars, very little synths to speak of. There is the occasional synth solo but it's often not that high in the mix and often sounds like more than a passing nod to something that might have been done years before by someone like Tony Banks or Keith Emerson. Nothing original in the keyboards.

it doesn't help that every third song begins with Darth Vader like monologues. Even the Moody Blues kept their monologues down to one or two songs per album.

But I've overshot my criticism, really. Just a bit. This could well be a three-star album. Honestly, there are some really great tracks. In amongst everything there are good tracks with excellent vocal harmonies, good melodies, some rocking parts and some good playing. Definitely worth picking up if you like AOR and Kansas but also like harder edged music as well. Also sounds a bit like the band 'Presto Ballet' if you've heard of them then this is a bit similar.

In the end a good rocking album, but you will have to search through a lot of filler to find the good songs. I would gravitate towards the 2.5 stars rating rather than three.

Brendan | 3/5 |

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