24 March 2008

Another new Ayreon release...this time with Avantasia

On January 25, 2008 the rock operas of Arjen Lucassen and Tobias Sammet, respectively Ayreon’s 01011001 and Avantasia’s The Scarecrow, were released simultaneously. The music press, always eager for a story, called this event the ‘Clash of the Titans’, gleefully portraying the two musicians as bitter rivals and urging each to comment on the other in countless interviews. There was much speculation about which album would be more successful, but upon release both albums immediately charted in several countries around the world.

When asked about the so-called rivalry, Arjen explains: “I’d not yet even heard Tobias’s album, but when I found out he’d managed to get my all-time favourite artist Alice Cooper to guest on The Scarecrow, I totally freaked out and sent a hate-mail to Tobias’s MySpace. Fortunately, he never received it”. Coincidentally however, Tobias, who was fed up with having to talk about Arjen in interviews, grudgingly decided it was time to get acquainted. He emailed Arjen, and in the stream of email and insults that followed “it turned out that Tobias hated me just as much for having got Bruce Dickinson to guest on an Ayreon album, haha!” Arjen explains. Despite their mutual hatred, the two musicians eventually hatched a plan to put some fuel on the fire created by the press by doing the unthinkable: recording a song together. The result is a mind-blowing over-the-top cover version of "Elected," the original version of which was a big hit for Alice Cooper back in 1973.

The song "Elected" will be featured on a 4-track EP released by Inside Out Music/SPV (release dates: 25 April for Germany/Austria/Switzerland; 28 April for Europe). The 3 other tracks featured on the EP are an acoustic live radio session of the 01011001 track "E=MC2" with Marjan Welman on vocals, "Ride the Comet" taken from the album 01011001, and a touching piano-only version of the Human Equation track "Day Six: Childhood" featuring Joost van den Broek and Marjan Welman.

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