Ayreon's first two breakthrough albums, The Final Experiment (1995) and Actual Fantasy Revisited (1996), will be released on vinyl for the first time in the summer of 2016. The brainchild of Arjen Lucassen (Vengeance, Stream of Passion, Guilt Machine, The Gentle Storm), Ayreon arose two decades ago when Lucassen was inspired to create rock-operas, in a time dominated by grunge and alternative rock, and the concept was unheard of.
Ayreon's albums are characterized by stark contrasts: fierce guitars segue into lighthearted mandolins, classic Hammonds collide with digital synths, and dark death grunts battle angelic Celtic voices. The rock opera's dramatic concepts range from fantasy to science fiction to the inner landscape of human emotion.
The original Actual Fantasy album was recorded with a digital drum computer and was released in 1996 as the follow-up to 1995 debut The Final Experiment. Argen remixed the album in 5.1 and had the drum sections re-recorded by Ed Warby (Gorefest, The 11th Hour, Hail of Bullets) in 2004 thus Actual Fantasy Revisited.