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




Progressive Metal

3.61 | 453 ratings

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4 stars I am torn between 4 and 3.5 stars for this one. It has some really good and interesting songs like the Johan Edlund-led "My House on Mars", which is definitely one of the best Ayreon songs, then "The Shooting Company of Captain Frans B. Cocq", "Carried by the Wind" and the lovely "The Druids Turned to Stone", sung wonderfully by Damian Wilson. The downsides are the incredibly annoying singing of Lana Lane on "Dragon on the Sea" and the ridiculous melody of "Temple of the Cat", as well as the tasteless "First Man on Earth", with a rephrain that reminds you of Duran Duran or Spandau Ballet (is that a bad thing you ask? Of course it is, on an Ayreon album!).

Lana Lane is a mystery. First she delivers a solid, emotional performance on the equally solid "2084". And then she massacres the aforementioned "Dragon on the Sea" with her unbearably high-pitched vocal. Other singers do well on their songs, especially Wilson and Mouse who sings "The Shooting Company". When it comes to THE MAN himself, his playing and arranging skills are unquestionable. Also as lyricist he aims high, sometimes he falls flat and sometimes succeeds. He is supported by a team of skilled musicians such as Erik Norlander on keyboards and Ed Warby on drums. Norlander turns in a few nice solos, but it's mainly Arjen Lucassen who shines in that department. His Gilmour-esque solo on the opening title track instrumental is the best proof of what he is capable of as guitarist. He would again prove himself on the next two albums, both as guitarist and keyboard player. His bass playing is also very good.

So to sum this up, "Dream Sequencer" is quite a challenging listen and it can be frustrating when all tracks are not of the same standard, but still there is enough excellent material here to satisfy all progheads and Ayreon fans. Not as good as The Human Equation, but not too far behind either.

Aranarth | 4/5 |


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