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Ayreon - Ayreonauts Only CD (album) cover

AYREONAUTS ONLY

Ayreon

Progressive Metal


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3 stars As the album says, "Ayreonauts Only". It will probably only appeal to various Ayreon fans around the world. If you like other bands better, that's fine. You can probably do without this album, I guess. Me? I'm an Ayreonaut...so here goes.

"Into The Black Hole" on this album is sung not by Bruce Dickinson, but Damian Wilson and Lana Lane. Damian is easily my favorite vocalist, thus whenever I play this song, it's always this version, rather than Bruce's.

"Out of the White Hole" is sung by Arjen's old buddy Robert Soeterboek. His voice isn't bad, but it sounds rather rough compared to the original.

"Through The Wormhole" is sung by Elegy's Ian Parry this time. I like the song of this one better than Flight of the Migrator's one, though the song itself is one of my least favorites on that album.

"Carpe Diem" is a home demo from '92 that would later become "Chaos", the opener of Flight of the Migrator. It's funny to hear how it started off, but not overly interesting otherwise.

"Temple of the Cat" is an acoustic version sung by Astrid van der Veen, who also sings on the Ambeon albums, as well as with theEndorphins. I don't really listen to either version of the song (the Dream Sequencer one is sung by Jaqueline from Krezip), but both are good in my opinion, from what I've heard.

"Original Hippie's Amazing Trip" is a medley of a few parts the Arjen sings on Into The Electric Castle as the "Hippie", including "Amazing Flight", "The Garden of Emotions", and "The Mirror Maze" The vocals are now done by Mouse, whoever that is. I like Arjen's vocals better...though he'd likely disagree with me on that one, lol.

"Beyond The Last Horizon" is a complete more guitar-oriented remake of this Actual Fantasy song. It's quite nice and different enough to catch my interest, though this one sounds more hardrocky and fun, while I prefer the deep and dark electronic/vocal style of the original.

"Charm of the Seer" is a '94 home demo, which is sung by Arjen himself. It's a bit unpolished and careful, but it's fun to hear the roots of this song nonetheless.

"Eyes of Time" is sung by Leon Goewie (Vengeance) this time, and oh brother, he screams more than he sings. I don't like this version at all. I prefer the original, or Damian's on STAR ONE's "Live on Earth".

"Nature's Dance" is yet another '94 home demo sng by Arjen himself. Unlike Charm of the Seer, he does use a vocoder in this song, like he does on albums like Into The Electric Castle. More polished, and nice to hear how it all started.

"Cold Metal" is a preview to AMBEON, Arjen's new project at the time. It sounds very similar to the Fate of a Dreamer version, though with Jolanda Verduijn (now Jolanda Lucassen!) on bass. Overall, it was nice at the time, but when you have the Ambeon album yourself, this becomes a little obsolete.

So...um...conclusion? Well, this album is rather old and hasn't been re-released along with the others, so it's become a gem of kinds. Ayreonauts will like this, probably, but if you're not that concerned with Ayreon, you're better off buying the original albums. The material itself is quite interesting, so that's why I give it 3 stars. It's good, but probably not essential for everyone. It's for fans, mostly.

Yours, Tailscent

Report this review (#89004)
Posted Tuesday, September 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I am not very keen on such offerings. Demo versions, unreleased "acoustic" ones, some other vocalists in charge on studio tracks are more a fan's trap than anything else IMO.

One has to acknowledge that "Ayreon" is faithful to its fans. It is specifically mentioned that this album is NOT a new album.

The usual fan wouldn't be disappointed with this limited edition album. Some classic "Ayreon" songs are revisited and not for the worse I must say.

The aspect I like the least is that most of the songs comes from Arjen's last offering "The Universal Migrator" (being from "The Dream Sequencer" or the "Flight Migrator" parts). To have released this type of remixes the very same year of the original release is rather annoying and I just DISLIKE this marketing approach.

Musically, this is very much more related to metal than "The Final Experiment" for instance. Most of the songs are very pleasant but on the harder edge. Just skip the prog attribute in the combined prog-metal wording. Unless that you believe that if as soon as you hear some keyboards, the music played is automatically prog to your ears. But this is not my case.

Great vocals as usual of course. But that's a huge invention of Lucas. To have great guest vocalists on his albums. It is also interesting to know that some songs released in 2000 were already in gestation as soon as 1992 ("Chaos" or "Carpe Diem" here). This is a great instrumental and the whole of Arjen's virtuosity is featured.

In terms of interesting discoveries, the same applies to "The Charm of the Seer" and "Nature's Dance" presented in their 1994 "home studio" versions and both available on "The Final Experiment". Even the acoustic equivalent of "Temple Of The Cat" is very pleasant. Very much "Mostly Autumn" oriented.

This remix album from the several "Ayreon" offerings is a good effort. Might well be a good entry point if you would like to discover this artist.

Three stars although the commercial approach is rather suspect, but his only reflects my humble and honest opinion.

Report this review (#153347)
Posted Saturday, December 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
progaardvark
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars As the title suggests, Ayreonauts Only was only intended for the die-hard Ayreon fan. It contains demos and alternate versions of songs from the Universal Migrator albums. In addition, the last track was a preview song off of Arjen Anthony Lucassen's then-upcoming project called Ambeon. Many of the songs feature different singers than on their corresponding originals.

Guest vocalists include Lana Lane, Damian Wilson, Robert Soeterboek, Ian Parry, Mouse, Gary Hughes, and Leon Goewie, among others. At the time this was released, the most important guest singer to watch out for was Astrid van der Veen. At age 14, she stunned the prog world with her beautiful voice with the Ambeon project release of Fate of a Dreamer the following year. She makes a guest appearance singing an acoustic version of Temple of the Cat and the aforementioned final track called Cold Metal. Cold Metal would appear on the Fate of a Dreamer album and also be released as a single.

Overall, Ayreon fans will love this. However, for everyone else, it is recommended to start with Into the Electric Castle and then other studio efforts. If you get hooked on those, only then should Ayreonauts Only be sought out. Two stars. Collectors and fans only.

Report this review (#161750)
Posted Thursday, February 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
2 stars A tourist trap of unreleased material, demos and whatnot, this one reads like it is, 'for Ayreonauts only', and definitely not for the newcomer to the band. It is interesting and that pretty much sums up this enitre backlog of rarities and unreleased tracks that could have remained unreleased. None of the tracks are as polished or delightful as the original, some not even a pale imitation, with guest artists sadly absent.

But it is what it is and any fan would go crazy for new versions of Into the Black Hole, Out of the White Hole and Through the Wormhole, certainly captivating music without the effects or multilayered instrumentation. Original Hippie's Amazing Trip is a curiosity as is Eyes of Time, but nothing worth bottling here. Nature's Dance is a quick short sharp shock of prog and the compilation ends with a 7 minute Ambeon: Cold Metal. The whole album left me cold and this is truly something that the super fan, who must get every Ayreon release, would only enjoy.

Report this review (#285435)
Posted Monday, June 7, 2010 | Review Permalink

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