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Combining his wildest science fiction fantasies and his most extravagant prog-rock compositions, Dutch heavy metal hero Arjen Lucassen found a niche creating rock operas. Originally making his name in the 1980s as guitarist in the raging metal act Vengeance, Lucassen turned solo in the mid-'90s, but his debut 'Pools of Sorrow, Waves of Joy' failed to achieve success. Forced to throw everything he had into follow-up 'Ayreon: The Final Experiment', he created a theatrical piece set in a dystopian future with time travelling minstrels and interplanetary wars. Its grand, experimental, mystical dramatics earned Lucassen a cult fan base and, because the album was originally released without artist credits, Ayreon accidentally became the band name of the project.

Continuing to use the metal-opera template, Lucassen created new storylines and universes and recruited a cast of musicians and singers, including Fish from Marillion, Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden and Sharon den Adel from Within Temptation to feature on his albums 'Into the Electric Castle' and 'Universal Migrator'. As his reputation grew, so too did the ambition of his ideas and the complexity of his worlds and by 2008 his seventh album '010110011' was full of conspiracy theories and dark psychological threads and concluded the storylines of his previous work.

Suffering with depression and living alone after his divorce, Lucassen became reclusive, reportedly spending most of his days watching science fiction movies. He switched his attention to side projects Guilt Machine and Star One, but returned after five years to Ayreon and, with girlfriend Lori Linstruth, created a new story narrative around which his 2013 'The Theory of Everything' album centres. In 2017 he was back again with another sci-fi rock opera 'The Source', returning to some of his old storyline themes.

Artist biography compiled by BDS/West 10. All rights reserved