Netherlands, 1998, progressive metal / rock opera / progressive rock
Ayreon – Into the Electric Castle: A Space Opera: Regarded by most as Ayreon’s best album, this medieval space odyssey encapsulates the entire Forever mythology, of which the beginning of sentient life on Earth is but one small episode. The music here is beautiful, exciting, and engaging, but because it is earnest, it is often view by more jaded listeners as cheesy. It’s not, though, instead being a sci-fi rock opera sung by eight travelers from different periods of human history and by Forever, the super-intelligent communal alien entity who orchestrates this whole adventure. This album inspired my teenage daughters to run a D&D campaign based on it.