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Ayreon - Universal Migrator Part I & II CD (album) cover

UNIVERSAL MIGRATOR PART I & II

Ayreon

 

Progressive Metal

4.18 | 62 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nš 138

'The Universal Migrator, Pts. 1-2' is a compilation of Ayreon, the musical project by the Dutch songwriter, producer, singer and multi-instrumentalist Arjen Anthony Lucassen and was released in 2004. It comprises two albums, 'The Dream Sequencer' and 'Flight Of The Migrator', in only a single package.

The line up of both albums has vocalists and instrumentalists. 'The Dream Sequencer': vocalists ' Lana Lane, Johan Edlund, Floor Jansen, Edward Reekers, Mouse, Jacqueline Govaert, Arjen Lucassen, Damian Wilson, Neal Morse, Mark McCrite. Instrumentalists ' Arjen Lucassen, Rob Snijders, Erik Norlander, Clive Nolan, Peter Siedlach. 'Fligh Of The Migrator': vocalists ' Lana Lane, Russel Allen, Damian Wilson, Ralf Scheepers, Andi Deris, Bruce Dickinson, Fabio Lione, Timo Kotipetto, Robert Soeterboek, Ian Parry. Instrumentalists ' Arjen Lucassen, Ed Warby, Erik Norlander, Michael Romeo, Oscar Holleman, Gary Wehrkamp, Rene Merkelbach, Clive Nolan, Keiko Kumagai, Peter Siedlach.

This is, in my humble opinion, the really and better way to listen to and really appreciate and enjoy this great conceptual musical project. 'The Universal Migrator' had enough content to form a double CD studio album. However, Lucassen decided to sell each CD as two separate releases. Why? Because he thought his fans would be fundamentally divided into two groups, the progressive rock fans and the heavy metal fans. So, 'The Dream Sequencer' was meant more to appeal to the firsts and 'Flight Of The Migrator' more to the seconds. However, to his surprise fans bought and loved both albums, equally. So, he finely decided to release, in 2004, the entire project only in one double CD.

To 'The Universal Migrator', Lucassen made some changes to his previous composition process. He decided to have each vocalist only singing one track, as opposed to almost all rock opera albums where the singers making duets, which is normally used on his albums. For this project Lucassen choose a very impressive group of artists. So, we have Neal Morse (ex-Spock's Beard), Clive Nolan (Arena and Pendragon), Damian Wilson (Threshold), Erik Norlander (Rocket Scientists), Floor Jansen (Nightwish, After Forever and ReVamp), Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), Gary Wehrkamp (Shadow Gallery), Johan Edlund (Tiamat), Edward Reekers (Kayak), Jacqueline Govaert (Krezip), Andi Deris 'Helloween', Ralf Scheepers (Gamma Ray and Primal Fear), Ian Parry (Elegy), Fabio Lione (Rhapsody), Timo Kotipelto (Stratovarius), Keiko Kumagai (Ars Nova), Lana Lane, Rob Snijders and Ed Warby (Gorefest and Elegy).

Lyrically and conceptually, 'The Dream Sequencer' has the dark undertones of a man trying to escape the reality of his own death, but the separate songs, each of them, tell a story all their own. On 'Flight Of The Migrator' we visit the planet of an old friend or foe. With these two new studio albums, Lucassen continues creating a universe all of his own, inviting us to join to him in the fun. The two albums have very different characteristics but have only a single concept.

Musically, the first album consists of an atmospheric, often orchestral, ambient variety of progressive rock music, dominated primarily by brilliant melodies. The compositions usually have an ambient light electronic beat, which I've noticed is a signature in all Ayreon's music. This may come as a surprise for many of progressive music enthusiasts and many may shy away from the ambient aspects of the music, but I say that it's a very innovative take on the progressive music universe, and can act to the advantage of the individual songs to open minded listeners. The second disc is the heavy, metallic part of the second album set. Progressive metal lovers find familiarity in the fast solos and riffs true to metal's reputation. This isn't to say that it's just another CD of straightforward metal album, because coming from Ayreon. There's the transcendental creativity that makes it such a novel work of art. Still prevailing from the former album are the ambient and electronic approaches, and the heavy but welcome synthesizers are again part of the sound. The orchestral touches are not discarded, and contribute to the epic of the story and the songs, too.

Conclusion: 'The Universal Migrator' parts one and two in only one package are really the better way to enjoy this conceptual project. It features incredible vocal performances and amazing instrumental playing from all involved, which is a usual trademark of all Ayreon's works. Fans of various genres should listen to this album and all of Ayreon's music to bring themselves to a more adventurous approach toward rock and metal, in the progressive side. 'The Universal Migrator' is a fantastic album that combines perfectly well Lucassen's soft and melodic side with his more heavy side. With this album, Lucassen proves that he is one of the best and most complete artists in the progressive music world, and one of the most versatile composers. He also confirms his capacity to convince some of the best musicians to work with him. I real believe this album will satisfy completely all followers of good music of any progressive genre.

P.S.: If you need more detailed information about both albums, you can see more in my individual reviews of them.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |

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