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




Progressive Metal

3.63 | 469 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars It seems a shame that these two albums were sold separately at first, and I think that knowing the character and background from The Dream Sequencer makes the power of this one all the much greater. Only this way do we truly understand why the desperate colonist throws caution completely to the wind after he's hooked himself into a machine that interfaces directly with his brain...or why this journey is such an intense thrill to him--and most poignantly of all, we can only understand why he cares so deeply about trying to make the full journey to Earth successfully when we know what a desolate hellhole his most recent life has been.

Flight of the Migrator is the metal half of the Universal Migrator concept. While I truly do love the album, I admit I miss the absence of the softer parts in it more than I miss the absence of the harder parts in The Dream Sequencer. The resulting album has a bit of a tendency to sound like Symphony X in places (albeit with less complicated timing, and superior synthesizers). But then again, that may be because Symphony X's own Russell Allen and Michael Romeo appear on the first song with vocals!

The sound is distinct enough, though, and overall I'd characterize this disc as a bit more consistent, quality-wise, than The Dream Sequencer. No songs stick out as needing the axe, but to me it doesn't have quite as many real standouts, either. If I had to name favorites, the first, without question, would be "To the Quasar", whose weird, wicked rhythm in the second part is absolutely unforgettable. I never can resist cranking the volume as this section gets underway! After that, I'd name "To the Solar System", whose warped synth work is spine-chilling as the colonist begins to realize that the Dream Sequencer is on the edge of an imminent--and fatal--overload...yet in his desperation to reach Earth, he cannot and will not cut the journey short. After that, both "Into the Black Hole", which the previous reviewer described so well, and "Out of the White Hole" are the other two that really capture my attention. In stark contrast to "The Temple of the Cat" on The Dream Sequencer, the vocalist's accent on "Out of the White Hole" lends a wonderful, exotic allure to the track that I can't help but love.

I wouldn't call the other tracks forgettable by any means--they are good, solid songs to listen to and have some very nice work in them, but they just aren't quite as easy to remember separately and do blend together in my mind a bit. If I absolutely had to point to a "weak" song, I admit "The New Migrator" could perhaps have been improved on a bit by removing those drumrolls, which are a little bit too 2001: A Space Odyssey for my liking. Replacing that effect would've bumped this album's score up to a 4.5, because I feel that the concluding track of an album needs to be especially strong in order to leave the listener with the best impression possible. As it is, though, my suggestion is that unless you truly hate softer music, Flight of the Migrator is best when purchased and understood as part of the full Universal Migrator concept. By itself, some might find themselves wanting more--but along with The Dream Sequencer, this thing is pretty damn good, and well worth having around.

FloydWright | 4/5 |


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