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Ayreon - Universal Migrator, Part 1: The Dream Sequencer CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.61 | 450 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars After the huge breakthough of Into the Electric Castle, Arjen Lucassen was the toast of metal magazines and a prog metal luminary. The time came to release a follow-up, and Arjen aimed high. This time, the concept revoloves around the last surviving colonist on Mars. He is out of food and water and con expect none from Earth becasue all life there was wiped out by wars by 2084. To ease his suffering, the colonist uses the Dream Sequencer, a device that can transport your mind through time. It isn't a time machine, but rather a sort of historical hologram that places the user in various points of history. The colonist decides to travel back to man's beginning, stopping at key historical moments along the way. First, he vists his childhood, then the anihilation of Earth, the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, the age of exploration, all the way back to the first ape to stand and become man.

This is only half the story, on the next disc, the colonist travels to the beginning of time itself. As with other Ayreon albums, Arjen links them with little threads. In Carried By the Wind, we see the first incarnation of the mistrel Ayreon who appears on Final Experiment. I'll save the other threads for the other half of the story.

This album, as well as its conclusion, is enjoyable, but several things derail it from the success of ItEC. First, rather than use his splendid vocalists in a grandiouse union, he gives each vocalist one song, while some have backing vocals on others. I admire Arjen for not wanting to repeat himself, but the joint effort of vocalists is what makes Ayreon great. The concept stretches at times. Also, I feel that the only reason he wrote The Shooting Company Of Captain Frans B Cocq is because he's Dutch. Then he writes a song about Francis Bacon and Queen Elizabeth. He wasted an opportunity there. Why devote two songs to the same period of history. He could have done a song for the Romans or the Greeks, two glaring ommisions from a journey through key historical moments. Another point of contention is his decision to split up his prog aspects and his metal aspects. Human Equation and ItEC are classics because they synthesize prog and metal in a unique way. By separating them, you take away the originality of Ayreon.

Arjen really shouldn't have released part 1 and 2 separately, since the message of the album is almost entirely on part 2. He later amended this mistake by packing the two into one purchase. I recommend getting that as opposed to one of these, otherwise you'll miss the story. Things would improve slightly with part 2, but at the expense of his progginess.

Grade: C

1800iareyay | 3/5 |


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