Ayreon albums are usually large-scale concept epics and sometimes rock operas and on the later albums, used different vocalists for each character in the story.
Drummer Gerard Haitsma of the band- Bodine, called Arjen Lucassen and after an audition as a singer, convinced the band to use him as a second guitarist in addition to Rheno Xeros. Bodine moved into a heavy metal and in 1984 after a numer of albums, Bodine split up.
In the 1990's, after a solo career and a stint with Vengeance, Dutch multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Arjen Anthony Lucassen, formed Ayreon in 1994 and released its first album, `The Final Experiment,' then followed up with `Actual Fantasy,' Both were European hits.
In 1996. Ayreon not only became more elaborate, Lucassen involved a huge cast of collaborators and guest musicians that change from project to project.
`Into the Electric Castle,' released in 1998, is an upbeat two-disc epic sci-fi concept work spanning and featuring guests like ex-Marillion singer Fish, Damian Wilson (Landmarq), and Clive Nolan. Lucassen explained about the mega-produced epic CD: "The characters are blown out of proportions quite a bit. To inspire myself I rented a few B-movies to check out how Romans, Barbarians and Egyptians were stereotyped in those years. I like this tongue in cheek-thing, although I take the music itself very seriously." Lucassen used a lot of analog instruments on the album, giving the songs a warm, instantly recognizable non-digital sound.
The year 2000 produced `Universal Migrator,' another double-disc set issued separately under the subtitles `Part I: The Dream Sequencer' and `Part II: Flight of the Migrator,' featured guest performers such as: Tiamat's Johan Edlund and Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson, Rocket Scientist's Erik Norlander and ex-Gorefest drummer Ed Warby.
In the beginning of 2001 Arjen Lucassen created an ambient album, based on Ayreon songs, with a stunning vocalist, 14 year young Astrid van der Veen.
Ayreon proves to be extremely successful in Japan and Europe. The profit from the first Ayreon album enabled Lucassen to build a complete studio.