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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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3 stars Flight of the Migrator is the sequel to The Dream Sequencer making up a 2-CD set known as The Universal Migrator. I mention in detail the reasons why I don't care much for the way this set was packaged or even structured in my review of The Dream Sequencer. Basically, The Dream Sequencer is full of spacey prog rock and Flight of the Migrator is heavier prog metal. Arjen Anthony Lucassen did it this way to apparently satisfy his two core Ayreon fan camps: progheads and metalheads. A ridiculous marketing scheme that ruins the fluidity of this somewhat exceptional sci-fi concept. Both of these albums were eventually reissued in one package in 2004, but that doesn't help the fact that the two parts have distinct musical differences making the whole project inconsistent.

On it's own, I like The Dream Sequencer better than Flight of the Migrator, giving it four stars in my review. Flight of the Migrator's storyline is a continuation of The Dream Sequencer, but doesn't move in a sequential movement backwards in time. Instead, our last surviving human, a Martian colonist, uses the Dream Sequencer machine to travel back in time to before the Big Bang, where he eventually witnesses the birth of the Universal Migrator (Dawn of a Million Souls). The colonist then travels the universe in search of Earth and thus we have a group of songs documenting this journey containing numerous astrophysical terms (Journey on the Waves of Time, To the Quasar, Into the Black Hole, Through the Wormhole, Out the White Hole, To the Solar System). Lucassen also makes references to astronomical objects like quasar 3C273, the Andromeda galaxy (M31), and some fictional ones like Planet Y. Eventually, the colonist dies as the oxygen on Mars dissipates and the Dream Sequencer machine overheats. In the last song, The New Migrator, the colonist's soul is told by the Old Migrator that he is the New Migrator with a new mission in the universe, whatever that might be. Lucassen clearly put a lot of thought into this and although it seems like there's a lot of science in this, you have to keep in mind that it's just science fiction (more like the 1950s and 1960s fictional works that were at best laughable in their use of hard science).

I'm more of a symphonic prog/neo prog fan, so prog metal is not my forte. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the music on this album very much, but because of its harsher tones, it did not impress me as much as The Dream Sequencer. Like the previous album, it's loaded with guests including Clive Nolan (Arena), Erik Norlander (Rocket Scientists), Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), Michael Romeo and Russell Allen (Symphony X), Gary Wehrkamp (Shadow Gallery), Keiko Kumagai (Ars Nova), Lana Lane and countless others. You'd think with a line-up like that, the result would be something fantastic. I'm left scratching my head because all I can give this is three stars, primarily because I'm not into prog metal much (although I love some of Therion's stuff), the concept seems to wander a bit, and it doesn't attract my attention as much as other Ayreon albums.

If you don't like prog metal, than by all means don't get this. However, if you have enjoyed Ayreon's other stuff, this album should not present a problem for you as it isn't as harsh as some metal bands can be and has a good deal of synthesizer work to balance out the sound. Besides, if you bought The Dream Sequencer, you'll probably want to know how this story ends. Otherwise, I would recommend getting the 2004 combined release. Three stars. Good, but not really essential.

progaardvark | 3/5 |


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