Ayreon – Into the electric castle (20th anniversary reissue)


Reviewed by:
On 3 October 2018
Last modified:3 October 2018


An already superb album has been enhanced with this excellent remix

“Into the electric castle” was the third Ayreon album and was released way back in 1998. Now 20 years on, it’s being reissued including being released on vinyl for the first time. Ayreon mastermind Arjen Lucassen isnt the type of person who’d be content with just re-releasing something so he found the original ADAT tapes from the original recordings and after importing them to his computer he’s spent two months remixing it song by song. As well as doing that, he’s also created a 5.1 format version so fans can hear it how they’ve never heard it before.

It’s being made available in multiple formats – CD, MP3, Vinyl etc. The 20th Anniversary Limited Edition Box Set of ‘Into The Electric Castle’ will include a framed 3D-sculptured version of the cover, 4 CDs (20th Anniversary Remix + 20th Anniversary Remix Instrumentals), 1 DVD (5.1 Remix + Documentaries) and 3 LPs on exclusive gold marbled vinyl (original mix) + download card for the 20th Anniversary Remix plus a certificate of authenticity, signed by ArjenLucassen. The gold marble vinyl is only available in this box, and won’t be available separately. There will also be a 20th Anniversary Deluxe Earbook which contains a hardcover book with archive photos, lyrics and new liner notes, 4 CDs and 1 DVD. Also available is ‘Into The Electric Castle’ as 3LP 180 gram vinyl (original mix) + download card for the remixed and remastered recordings. All pre-orders will be signed by Arjen Lucassen.

The original album was like all Ayreon’s albums, an amazing release and featured a cast of talented singers and musicians – in this case they included Fish, Sharon den Adel, Damian Wilson, Edwards Reekers, Anneke van Giersbergen and Jay van Feggelen.

I love the original release so I was curious to see how the new reissue would sound – would there be a noticeable difference, or would it be such tiny differences that the average listener wouldnt notice the changes? Well I think the difference is noticeable – the newer version really is so much better. It’s been beautifully done.

To coincide with the release of the reissued album, Arjen Lucassen announced that he’s planned more live shows – this time it’s a run of 4 shows in Tilburg where they’ll be playing the “Into the electric castle” album. Since the original Ayreon shows a couple of years ago were stunningly good and featured an incredible cast then these shows are something to look forward to.
“The Ayreon Universe shows were such a fantastic experience for everyone involved, and I’ve had loads of requests for more live shows, so we have decided to perform the entire Electric Castle album live in 2019, again in the venue 013!” says Arjen. “Because it’s the 20th anniversary of the album and it’s just been re-mixed and re-released, we figured this is the perfect moment to do this.”

Special guests for the shows are: Simone Simons (Epica), Mark Jansen (Mayan), John Jaycee Cuijpers (Praying Mantis), Marcela Bovio (Mayan), Dianne van Giersbergen (Ex Libris), Jan Willem Ketelaars…plus an extra special guest ‘to be announced’.
Instrumentalists: Johan van Stratum (VUUR), Joost van den Broek, Marcel Singor (Kayak), Ferry Duijsens (VUUR), Bob Wijtsma (Ex Libris), Ben Mathot.
Dates: Friday September 13, Saturday September 14, Sunday September 15 (2 shows)
Location: Poppodium 013 Tilburg, The Netherlands
Ticket sales for all shows start on Friday, October 26 at 10:00 CEST via the websites of Arjen Lucassen (www.ayreon.com/live), the venue 013, and Ticketmaster.

In general I’m not a huge fan of reissues unless they offer something new such as bonus tracks, or are a noticeable improvement on the original release. Happily the remix means that this reissue sounds fantastic and the reissue is definitely worth buying for Ayreon fans – I’ve already ordered my copy.

Track listing:

1. Welcome To The New Dimension
2. Isis And Osiris
3. Amazing Flight
4. Time Beyond Time
5. The Decision Tree (We’re Alive)
6. Tunnel Of Light
7. Across The Rainbow Bridge
8. The Garden Of Emotions
9. Valley Of The Queens
10. The Castle Hall
11. Tower Of Hope
12. Cosmic Fusion
13. The Mirror Maze
14. Evil Devolution
15. The Two Gates
16. Forever Of The Stars
17. Another Time Another Space

An already superb album has been enhanced with this excellent remix

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.