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Ayreon - Universal Migrator, Part 2: Flight Of The Migrator CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.63 | 478 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars As the title suggests this is the second part to Arjen Lucassen's Concept album that takes you on a trip through time and, now more importantly, space. This album can be taken in two ways, the first is as a continuation of were The Dream Sequencer left off (at The First Man On Earth, sung by Neal Morse), or as a single album in its own right. Witch ever way you see it, the story works for both.

One thing noticed straight away on this album is that there are far more guest musicians performing her than on the first part of Universal Migrator, and that many of them contribute many very strong solos throughout the album. This is the kind of stuff that Lucassen excels at and its shown that none of the compositions on this album can be considered weak. Lucassen has a firm grasp of how to make a metal song move from the lighter parts to very heavy riffing with maximum effect utilising guitars, bass and keyboards (especially with the strings courtesy of Peter Siedlach) to big effect. One big difference in Lucassen's own performance on this disc is that his style of playing bass is much more suited to metal than the lighter rock that was prevalent on part 1. Rather than being just adequate at assisting the drums at holding down the rhythm section, his bass playing really comes alive and augments the effect of the guitars without ever loosing perspective as a rhythm instrument. His guitar and keyboard solos are pretty good as well.

Of all the guest musicians that show up here, and supply a whole host of solos, its Symphony X guitarist and song writer/composer Michael Romeo that really stands out. He has a very distinct style of guitar play and when his solo kicks in on Dawn of a Million Souls, you can instantly tell that its him. The solo itself is performed flawlessly and really hits home as a very good performance without sounding out of place against Lucassen's guitar work. Of the other musicians that guest here, none of them really stands out as having a unique sound in the same way that Romeo does but they all supply very well executed solos.

From the guest singers you get a typical cast of metal singers that include Iron Maidens Bruce Dickinson and Symphony X's Russell Allen, among others. These two actually give the best vocal performances that really hit home as good singers. Amongst the others many of them can really help the dark atmosphere and lyrics of this album, most noticeably Andi Deris and Ralf Scheepers, but without really sounding like they are really adding something to the album themselves (with the exception of the previously mentioned pair).

The big weakness of this album, though, is clearly the lyrics and even the concept itself. The lyrics are amongst the cheesiest I have ever had the misfortune to hear, only partially saved by some good to great singing, but not totally. The concept itself, though, is just terrible. The idea of a man's soul some how travelling back to the dawn of time following the Universal Migrator is cringworthy to say the least.

This album is generally a very good effort, with Dawn of a Million Souls and To the Quasar being the stand out songs on this album that really give it character. Of the other songs I can honestly say that none of them are weak but the album never gives the overall feel that this is something special that you are listening to. Also, if you detest these Sci-Fi adventure in music, avoid! Overall a very solid album and a worth wile listen for any prog metal fan, as long as you don't pay too much attention to the ridiculous lyrics and concept, 3 stars. However I would recommend that you buy the Inside Out re-issue special edition that contains both parts 1&2 in a double disc release.

sleeper | 3/5 |


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