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Ayreon - The Universal Migrator part one: The Dream Sequencer CD (album) cover

THE UNIVERSAL MIGRATOR PART ONE: THE DREAM SEQUENCER

Ayreon

 

Progressive Metal

3.58 | 354 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Alitare
4 stars Ayreon and the giant Pink (Floyd).

Ayreon is a project that has been very enduring. Arjen has accomplished a lot for progressive music, lately, and his very wide scope of musical ideas have been a gift to us lovers of all that is progressive. He and his staggeringly large array of guest musician assistants do their part in each release to give an always solid product.

The Dream Sequencer is no different. It is part one in a two part concept dealing with time/space travel, and the end of the human race coalescing a final meager existence on mars. The lyrics are fairly depressing and war-riddled. The themes are encompassing, and adds quite a personal identity and atmosphere as a cohesive album.

The quality of the album rarely slips, and it features Ayreon at it's least expected path. Atmospheric instrumental prominence in rock opera format, which is strange, yet very enjoyable. Dream Sequencer begins icily with ethereal effects. My House On Mars has the bleakest and possibly most emotionally impacting vocal performance as the almost lethargic passages are carried along by vivid and stark musical sections and solos.

The reliance on the keyboard is not an unfamiliar path for Ayreon, but here it is an absolute highlight. This is usually paired together with hypnotic singing and interesting acoustic elements to build a very tasteful atmosphere. It is no surprise, as Ayreon has never had a problem building a powerful atmosphere. 2084 illustrates vividly the dark and entrancing capabilities of Lana Lane as she narrates the end of Earthen existence.

One Small Step doesn't lighten the tone by very much. Haunting passages are interspersed with skillful singing. As the songs tend to be a bit more straight forward than previous efforts, this has allowed the music to not only branch out into very psychedelic approaches, but has also allowed for a very fine amount of attention payed to melodies. This is highly evident in such tracks like Shooting Company. The guitar wails woefully and wonderfully.

The songwriting is of the standard high quality, but this is not to say ever track is an absolute masterpiece. While I consider the first half of the album to be fairly flawless, things begin to slowly drop from there. Dragon Of The Sea, while retaining the basic elements of the album as a whole, seems to plod on without a rousing effect through most of its mediocre meandering, but it does hold a solid crunch. Temple Of The Cat is the most overtly simplistic song, with warm vocal accompaniment, it feels out of place, even if the vocal hooks are a treat.

Carried By The Wind is quite reminiscent of Ayreon's first album, and adds well to the multi-album overarching storyline, as it revisits almost verbatim from The Final Experiment. It is a short and sweet glimpse before the album picks up drastically. Pushing farther back into the warmness of guitars and tranquility, And The Druids Turned To Stone is the brightest and most "cozy" song. The acoustic playing has the general spotlight.

Time falls farther back, and the story progresses. Just as there are many moments of sheer brilliance on the album, there is also a few moments of mediocrity and weakness, mainly within the somewhat repetitive nature of the songs, and the at times pointlessly drifting instrumental movements. But, this definitely doesn't keep one from enjoying the many beautiful and colorful melodies present. The First Man On Earth has the most powerfully constructed melodies, and serves to be a strong cohesion of all of the main ideas utilized previously within the album. Everything is closed with the short title track reprise.

Ayreon's strongest single disc affair is realized in the atmospheric and mood driven Dream Sequencer. The emotional recurrence is solid, the musicianship never drops to unoriginal technical displays, and rarely ever seeps into bland meandering. The vocals are quite enjoyable, and the melodies are downright pristine! Nothing herein truly disappoints, and the disc is only brought down by the slight repetition and instances of "generic" guitar soloing. The Pink Floyd influence is undeniable, and the mood is fantastic, making this a highly recommended album.

Best Moment - Most of the First half.

Worst Moment - Dragon Of The Sea/Temple Of The Cat

**** Dreaming Stars

Alitare | 4/5 |

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