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WEBCounter by GOWEB    

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   AYREON
Actual Fantasy Revisited
2004
Inside Out
http://www.ayreon.com


rating: 4/5

1. Actual Fantasy
2. Abbey Of Synn
3. The Stranger From Within
4. Computer Eyes
5. Beyond The Last Horizon
6. Farside Of The World
7. Back On Planet Earth
8. Forevermore
9. The Dawn Of Man

Well, you don't have to like Arjen Anthony Lucassen but I am stunned again and again by that man! Due to the fact that all Ayreon albums are re-released by InsideOut Music, now it's "Actual Fantasy"'s turn, by the way, the least sold Ayreon record until now. And everybody who knows Arjen knows that he wouldn't just remaster the CD and throw it out again, but he worked a lot to make it even better without destroying the mood and the atmosphere. And according to that, "Actual Fantasy Revisited" is for sure the most lavish re-issue of all Ayreon albums. So drummer Ed Warby played all the drumparts again, for in the original version of 1996, Arjen used a drumcomputer. Also the basslines were re-recorded, done by Peter Vink. Only regarding the vocals, Arjen didn't change a thing...well, he sometimes used different takes, but all vocal lines were recorded in 1996 to be on that album. He simply didn't want to touch the work of Soeterboek, Edward Reekers, Okkie Huysdens and himself. And the last thing he did was re-arrange some keyboard- and guitar-parts, to make it sound more like today. And "Actual Fantasy Revisited" is a good record again because the feeling of the actual version is still kind of the same, and the production & sound is better than before. It simply sounds more up-to-date, not least because of the real drums used now.

But the real phenomenon is the fact that Arjen still can create these wonderful melodies, that can be heard here as well as on every other Ayreon- or Star One CD. "Abbey Of Sin", "Computer Eyes" or the fabulous "Beyond The Last Horizon" make my jaw drop. But nevertheless, it is nothing new actually, because Arjen always does that, no matter how often I listen to the songs!
Well, of course, the music hasn't become really better or worse because it still kind of is the same than eight or nine years ago, the album is still very dreamy and takes the listener's attention in its own way.
On a DVD, that is also part of the re-issue, there are several candies for the fans: The "Stranger From Within" video in 5.1 and 2.0-sound, a kind of "Making Of" from the recordings of the drums and bass and the different guitar-soundings, the original version of "Actual Fantasy" from 1996 and the new version in a 5.1-mix.
If that's not value for money, I don't know! BUY IT NOW!!! ;-)

submitted by Paddy 08.01.2005

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