AYREON – ‘Transitus’ (2020)


Mascot Label Group

Review by Warren Mayocchi

“These are dark troubled times…this tale is not for faint of heart…you may now proceed, but at your own risk”. With a warning and instrumental beginning so begins the new album from Ayreon – Transitus. The opening track is named “Fantum Horrificum”, loosely translated as dreadful phantom. In the brief section toward the end of the opener we hear one of the main characters, Abby, admit to murder most mysterious. Her apparent victim, Daniel picks up the story in the second song, “Daniel’s Descent into Transitus”. Thus we discover the nature of the album title, it is the limbo between life and the great beyond.

It should be apparent by now we are listening to musical theatre. There is a star studded list of guest artists, the most obvious of which is Tom Baker (yes, he of Doctor Who fame). Tom Baker is a consistent companion across most tracks as the narrator of the story. Anyone familiar with this expressive actor will know he is an excellent choice and shines throughout Transitus. There a many characters in this story and each has a phenomenal vocalist to give voice to their time in the spotlight. This is a musical story and as such I will not delve into spoilers, as per the album name there is a touch of the supernatural in a tale set in a romantic Victorian era.

For the people who have managed to live without encountering Ayreon, think of classic rock operas like Tommy (The Who), The Wall (Pink Floyd), Jesus Christ Superstar (Lloyd-Webber and Rice), and perhaps more recently the popular Hamilton (Miranda). With these albums as a reference point it should be clear the whole product should be consumed for maximum appreciation. Though it spans multiple volumes (in terms of vinyl or compact disc), it is not overly long at eighty minutes. Only four of the twenty-two songs break five minutes and about half are three minutes or less in duration. There are music videos for some of these songs, but I would recommend hearing the album and knowing the story before watching them. They are better viewed with good knowledge of the story, and contain spoilers for the ones who pay attention. Should you wish to sample the album, by all means proceed, you can watch “Talk Of The Town”, “Get Out! Now!”, “This Human Equation”, or “Hopelessly Slipping Away”. Each video gives a different style which you should expect with the number of artists on this album, but you should at least watch “Get Out! Now!” at least once in your life, it is a fantastic romp. A better introduction will be the Transitus Album Trailer – you get an introduction to the characters and the general style without the spoilers of the prior complete songs.

With a stunning breadth of talent on show here, a fabulous storyteller maintaining momentum, Transitus is a magnificent experience full of fun. I would go see this group of artists perform “Transitus” on stage without question. However, there are so many people involved it is not a likely event, so we are given a gift with Transitus to be able to listen to a truly joyful gathering of incredible artists.

Rating – 85/100


CD 1:
01. Fatum Horrificum
Daniel And Abby
02. Daniel’s Descent Into Transitus
03. Listen To My Story
04. Two Worlds Of No One
05. Talk Of The Town
06. Old Friend
07. Dumb Piece Of Rock
08. Get Out! Now!
09. Seven Days, Seven Nights

CD 2:
01. Condemned Without A Trial
02. Daniel’s Funeral
03. Hopelessly Slipping Away
04. This Human Equation
05. Henry’s Plot
06. Message From Beyond
07. Daniel’s Vision
08. She Is Innocent
09. Lavinia’s Confession
10. Inferno
11. Your Story Is Over!
12. Abby In Transitus
13. The Great Beyond

Ayreon Online:



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