Frequent readers of this website may have noticed that I really like (admire) Arjen Lucassen's prog rock work. Ayreon albums like: Into The Electric Castle (1998), Universal Migrator (2000), The Human Equation (2004) and The Theory Of Everything (2013, see review) belong to my favourite prog rock albums of all times. So, I was really looking forward to this new Ayreon work but after listening to Transitus in its entirety for the first time I was rather disappointed...
After a couple of more spins of Transitus I still did not quite “get” this new album as I thought that I heard nothing new and it definitely was not living up to the high standards of other Ayreon albums; yes, I know, sad but true.... And although the list of musicians for Transitus is again overwhelming - Tommy Karevik, Simone Simons, Dee Snider, Paul Manzi, Johanne James, Marcela Bovio and last but not least, two magical guitar pickers Joe Satriani and Marty Friedman - the music is rather predictable and a lot of melodies and vocal parts sound too much alike and can be heard on other Ayreon albums...
Of course, it is hard to come up with new and original musical ideas, but Lucassen seems to have trouble finding and composing new musical elements in his rather complex music. In my opinion Transitus is a real rock opera with good music and Tommy Kaverik (Kamelot) and Paul Manzi (ex-Arena) as the vocal stars, but it cannot “compete” with older Ayreon albums, although Satch and Friedman did excellent guitar jobs!
Conclusion: Transitus is by no means a bad album and you can enjoy a lot of great typical Ayreon musical highlights but compared to his other work this one is too predictable and not original enough to really end up in my top 10 albums of the year 2020.
*** Martien Koolen (edited by Dave Smith)
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