Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Recently listened to: Ayreon: Into the Electric Castle

I really haven't been posting enough. I've basically been sick continuously since December 21st, which has left me in a disinterested state.

I'm not exactly better yet either, but it really seems like time to write something. So, what better than a new review?

I got a couple new CDs for Christmas. Ayreon: Into the Electric Castle is one of them. I had been reading many good reviews of it around the web and decided to request it for Christmas, and have been listening to it pretty much continuously since I got it. It really is very good, essentially a rock opera, but the musical style is all over the place, even within a single song, ranging from light flute passages, to lots of synth stuff, to some pretty heavy rock stuff.

To sum up the story (and yea, there be spoilers here, but who really cares about spoilers in music): Eight people from various points in time (an Egyptian, Indian, Barbarian, Roman, Knight, Highlander, Hippie and a man from the future) are plucked from their proper time and made to go through several trials in some "time beyond time, space beyond space." Basically they must journey through a tunnel of light, across a rainbow bridge, through the Garden of Emotions, enter the Electric Castle, pass through the Castle Hall, the Tower of Hope, through the Mirror Maze, glimpse a future where men and machines merge and emotions are lost, and finally choose from one of two gates to return to their own time. Only half of them reach the exit, at which time their "guide" through the journey reveals that it or its race are responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs to populate the Earth with humans in order to experience their emotions, which were lost to them eons ago.

While this is all somewhat bizarre and implausible, there really isn't enough science fiction rock opera in my opinion, so we'll let that slide. No, really. Me, whiner at all things slightly ridiculous is letting it slide. It's that good.

Really, despite the plot being a bit out there, seeing the different characters respond to their environment and each other is pretty cool. The Egyptian, Roman and Highlander think they're in the afterlife, the Indian thinks it's a spiritual journey, the Knight thinks he's been sent on a quest for the Holy Grail, the Barbarian thinks he's on some quest to rid the place of a curse, the Hippie thinks he's stoned, and the Futureman thinks it's some sort of virtual world. Their perceptions ultimately decide who is able to survive, and who loses hope, falls behind the others, or makes bad choices.

OK, that's all I can manage to write right now. You can listen to some of the music here if you are so inclined.

No comments: