Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “Valley of the Queens” — Ayreon (1998)

My journey’s over
I’m standing on the edge
And close my eyes
To this world of lies

My will is broken
It’s the end of all my dreams
My soul yearns
For the Valley of the Queens…

As I have previously mentioned, I could choose any one of too many amazing Ayreon songs for our Halloween playlist and each would make a pretty fine selection. Of course that would make for a pretty lopsided list and we here at Hokeycorps Industries Limited (still entirely fictitious) strive for infinite diversity and inclusion and all that fun stuff.

But then again, I couldn’t resist including Valley of the Queens because it’s fantastical and exotic and sad and beautiful, and that utterly merits inclusion.

A brief bit of history: originally known as Ta-Set-Neferu, the Valley of the Queens was an ancient burial place for the Pharoahs’ wives. It is for this final resting place that a young Egyptian Queen is yearning after she has lost her entire will to live. This all occurs in Ayreon’s 1998 concept album Into The Electric Castle, in which eight characters are plucked out of different times and locations by a mysterious alien entity in order to study their emotional responses.

I won’t go into much more detail about the album — it’s an amazing record, so go check it out and see where that journey takes you — but the Egyptian Queen’s resignation to her own death is one of the album’s most powerful and touching moments.

Any version of Valley of the Queens would do nicely. Anneke van Giersbergen provides an amazing vocal performance on the studio version, but I really love the live track from the 2018 Ayreon Universe Live album, in which she is joined in harmony by Floor Jansen and Marcela Bovio.

My search has ended
My name is carved in stone
On the temple wall
Beyond Osiris’ hall

No holy sunrays
Will light my tomb of dreams
I won’t return
From the Valley of the Queens…

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