Like his previous Ayreon and Star One titles, Maestro Arjen Lucassen has once again assembled an all-star cast. The Universal Migrator features guest appearances from Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), Michael Romeo and Russel Allen (Symphony X), Fabio Lione (Rhapsody), Timo Kotipelto (Stratovarius), and Neal Morse (ex Spock's Beard) among many others.
Universal Migrator Limited Edition
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The Dream Sequencer was originally released in 2000 by Transmission Records as a single CD release but in the back of the CD it was clearly mentioned that it was the first part of a double album. This is Arjen's song-oriented and melodic approach to an atmospheric journey through time and space. I'll be honest; over the 4 years I've owned this disc, I've never paid much attention to the concept but the thing still struck me as deeply moving and emotional on a lyrical aspect.
I like this disc better than Flight of the Migrator because it features some of the 'most fitting' singers Arjen has ever worked with. It was a good insight on what singers like Johan Edlund and Neal Morse are capable of if they partake in such projects. Unlike the other Ayreon releases, each song on the Universal Migrator records features a single singer except for occasional back-ups and it's this what makes The Dream Sequencer so beautiful. After the heavily atmospheric intro layered with depths of emotion on the title track, we're introduced to "My House on Mars" sung by Johan Edlund of Tiamat fame. Edlund's vocal delivery is one of the finest on the entire disc; he possesses a low, melancholic voice similar to Dan Swano's singing on the Star One project. Also, both Arjen and Edlund being big Pink Floyd fans, their collaboration in the songwriting is perfect. While Edlund wrote his own vocal melodies, Arjen came up with the lyrics.Read more ›
The first disc is the progressive rock side, and its flowing, spacey tunes coupled with the equally cosmic theme gives off the distinctive air of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. While i love Pink Floyd and was amazed by disc one, i was itching to get to disc 2, which, in all honesty, was a tad weaker.
Despite this, disc 2 was still captivating, starting off strong, continuting a general metal feel in the middle, though nothing my jaded ears hadn't herd before. But If one is truly absorbed by the music at this point, the 50 seconds before the booming finale are legitimately terrifying. I don't wish to spoil it, but suffice to say that little in the world is scarier than a digitized voice breaking one's calm, announcing one's quickly oncoming demise.
Overall, this album is a powerful, moving experience.
This one takes you backward through time and memory in part one and then forward through space-time in part two. I really like this album, but I prefer The Human Equation, 01011001, and The Theory of Everything more because the storytelling in those albums is a little stronger.
Still a wonderful piece of the canon, if you have The Final Experiment and 01011001, this one fits nicely between those 2.
Instead of multiple singers per song, Arjen has one main singer per song. This is where it goes wrong. The singing styles and sometimes the mixes are different enough that it is uneven, especially on the Universal Migrator CD. The guitar and keyboard are still good, however. Russel Allen sings Dawn of a MIllion Souls, which is my favorite song on this CD. Russel is one of my favorite singers and Symphony X is one of my top three fave bands, so it sets a standard that leaves me somewhat disappointed afterward.
This review and my opinion are actually my own fault because I started my Ayreon fixation with the new Human Equation, which is absolutely amazing (except for one song) and Star One Live. The Star One Live CD has live versions of Dawn of a Million Souls and Into the Black Hole, easily the two best songs on this set. The live versions are slightly faster and more intense and Dawn of a Million Souls has a slightly different arrangement. The keyboard and guitar intro to Dawn of a Million Souls is inspired and awesome on both versions, but I like the live version better.
The first disc "Dreamsequencer" is the softer of the 2. There are lots of 70's influenced prog rock elements taken from such bands as the Beatles (late) and Pink Floyd but all basically kept at a very spacey level. While his latest album "Human Equation" he takes more of a diverse approach including all influences from Prog Metal, Hardcore, Celtic, Folk, 70's Prog Rock, this album is more of an abundance of synthesizer melodies, atmospheres and effects as tied well w/ the futuristic, intergalactic storyline. The music is very atmospheric, and not really about instantly catchy moments but more of stretched out melodies from the use of vocals as well as instrumentals. The opening instrumental isn't all that big a deal but the first real track "My House on Mars" is an incredible song, w/ it's beautiful futuristic main guitar lead and swapped vocal chorus is a track that'll be repeated over and over. Other great songs are the Beatles influenced "The First Man on Earth" and female sung "Temple of the Cat.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent album, I was just waiting to have this CD in "physic format"Published 2 months ago by Jaime Lopez Mendez
Check track one on second CD. Hard progressive rock/metal. Cheesy. Amazing. Science Fiction.Published on March 19, 2014 by Kevin Finn
Arjen thought his audience was two different groups: Prog rock fans and metal fans. For The Universal Migrator, he made a prog rock album (part 1) and a metal album (part 2). Read morePublished on May 21, 2011 by Reviewer Of Things I like
This is different from most Ayreon projects in that it is not a rock-opera format. There is no story nor is there any characters per'se. Read morePublished on April 27, 2011 by todd
Arjen Lucassen's Ayreon has long been one of those projects that brings together the best artists from bands around the world and gives them an outlet for one cohesive story that... Read morePublished on August 22, 2010 by G. Harms