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



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4 stars At last, a dutch symphonic act, fit to rival any of its angloid colleagues! Especially the first half of the album is top-notch sympho-metal. Minor drawback is some of the later tracks tend to be a bit overstretched in my opinion. A masterful pair of albums though!
Report this review (#1211)
Posted Thursday, November 6, 2003 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A "heavy progressive adventure"

You know what to expect with Ayreon, and if that's what you enjoy this album certainly does not disappoint. Part 1 of "The flight of the migrator" is "melodic and atmospheric", while part 2 (this album), is a "heavy progressive adventure".

There are a plethora of guest singers and musicians, including Bruce Dickinson and Clive Nolan on "Into the black hole", but the sound and feel remain very much Ayreon. The list of bands supplying guests gives more than a hint of what to expect, including as it does Symphony X, Arena, Helloween, Iron Maiden, Stratovarius, and Rhapsody (check out Rhapsody for some wonderful Operatic/Symphonic metal).

There is still plenty of melodic, and indeed accessible rock on part 2 though, "Dawn of a million souls" for example has an anthemic chorus backed by heavy keyboards and orchestration. The usual space and time themes prevail throughout, with more synthesiser, organ and guitar solos than most bands manage in their entire existence. There's an excitement and good feeling to the music which gives this concept album a lasting appeal.

More melodic metal than progressive rock, this album is nonetheless, worthy of your attention.

Report this review (#1214)
Posted Tuesday, May 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hey ! what a Dream team of Vocalists and instrumentalists!.

- Arjen Lucassen / electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitar, analogue synthesizers, Hammond, Mellotron and additional keyboards - Erik Norlander / analogue synthesizers, piano, vocoder, Hammond and additional keyboards - Ed Warby (Gorefest, ex-Elegy) / drums Guitar solos: - Arjen Lucassen on 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 - Michael Romeo (Symphony X) on 2 - Oscar Holleman 2nd solo on 4 - Gary Wehrkamp (Shadow Gallery) on 6 Keyboard solos : - Erik Norlander (Rocket Scientists, Lana Lane) on 1, 3 (Hammond solo), 4, 5, 7 - Rene Merkelbach last solo on 4 - Clive Nolan (Arena, Pendragon) 2nd synth solo on 5 - Gary Wehrkamp on 6 - Keiko Kumagai (Ars Nova) on 9 (+ Hammond solo) Singers: - Russel Allen (Symphony X) on 2 - Ralf Scheepers (ex-Gamma Ray, Primal Fear) on 3 - Andi Deris (Helloween) on 4 - Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) on 5 - Fabio Leone (Rhapsody) on 7 - Timo Kotipelto (Stratovarius) on 7 - Robert Soeterboek (Ayreon) on 8 - Ian Parry (Vengeance, Elegy) on 9 Backing vocals: - Damion Wilson on 2 - Lana Lane on 4, 5, 6, 9 and narration on 1

can we say anything else?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This record is an amazing space crusade of well knowing talents from the heavy metal and prog scene that combines styles like rock,metal,heavymetal,athmosferic,symphonic ,electronic & prog music .

my fav tracks:

Dawn of a million souls -no doubt- is one of the Ayreon `s masterpieces that incluides Russell Allen , Michael Romeo (virtuoso&emotional&emotive guitarist),plus Damian Wilson on Backing vocals! .Here we have a metal/symphonic stuff that starts with a minimalistic brass secction followed by a smashing guitar riff ,rock band and stings that fits an Epic intro that continues with an inspirated Ruseell Allen `s Strofa , an amazing Chorus , strofa- chorus and a very introspective part of Rusell that sings-" is this real or its just a fantasy..what awaits me now at the end of this day"-that introduces a "rock /Whammy/ virtuoso solo" with so much feeling from the hands of Michael Romeo that gets the song to a point even higher to the re-exposition of the chorus and symphonic stuff! yeah!.

Out Of The White Hole . I think that Timo Kotipelto fits perfectly between hammond , and hard rock -progressive stuff! he should be convocated for another ayreon album.this song was made for this guy . his incredible voice range , technique and nice "timbre" make this song great !! ;-) obviously never getting apart the brilliant work of Arjen and mr. Norlander on the creation ,solos and keys.this song is really colorful and heavy. feels like a seventies scene song but with the heavieness and prog touch of this days :-).

Out Of The White Hole. if you like the beatles this song will blow your subconscious. the songs captures the whole macabre-tetric-siniester and uncertainly athmosfere of The beatle`s song "i want you(she is so heavy) " in the intro and outro with the strings&brass ensamble almost invocating the same progression of chords and cadences plus the voice of Bruce and Lana that adds an "endless agony". So heavy, So athmospheric and so Dramatic and tetrical track.

Report this review (#1215)
Posted Tuesday, June 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#1218)
Posted Wednesday, December 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ayreon's music shares with wine one similarity: they get better when they've aged. Which means that, as time goes by, Ayreon's getting higher, more subtle and less pedal to the floor. He had many talent climax such as Electric Castle, Ambeon, Star One and mostly: Human Equation. Humaqn Equation was the pinnacle of his story telling, the best compositions including the power of Electric Castle and the soft folkish texture of Ambeon. A great blend of this and that.

When I listen to the Flight of the Migrator I immediately get the feeling that the best is to come for Ayreon. First, this record have just pure metal power and very few breaks. It's really big metal stuff. A big meaty meal, and a nightmare for vegetarians who likes quieter parts and more color into their plates. Just listening to Into the Black Hole gives you a good idea where he wants to be....INTO the damn thing! It's basically infernal, heavy, heavy material. But he embellished the whole thing with the ususal superior keyboard work with cool spacey effects and robotic voice. The Migrator device is a really cool idea, as the computer has a cool 'On Star' effect. And some credit has to be given to the constant high level quality in the vocal performance. Track 2, 3 and 5 are very well crafted, despite no real surprises and the catchy choruses are more than welcome. Am always glad to chant out loud: "What a show! Behold! At a Dawn of a Million Souls!" Wait 'till you hear it. Great stuff.

Overall, it's a record quite even. No major faults. Not much filling. But once again, the songs aren't gripping to your inner feelings or gut bruising like in Human Equation. The songs are well done, but few part from the herd. It's basically Ayreon: furious energy, incredible musicanship, crazy ideas but maybe too musically orgiac (read hairy metal Iron Maiden cliché) for many.

Defintely worthy of your attention. If you're looking for a single cd album to have a taste of the crazy sci-fi world of Ayreon, this could be a good choice.

Report this review (#1220)
Posted Monday, February 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars YOOOHAAA...!! What an excellent album man .!! Yeah, it's rocking! It's inspiring! It kicks adrenalin to explode! Hmm .. it's a logical act that I key in this review right after reviewing the part One as conceptually these two albums should have been released as one set as colleague collaborator FloydWright has put it. Lucky that I purchased the Special Ed package where the two have been married into one unity with beautiful package. At first issue, I did not purchase it because various comments from friends about these two albums. One crowd said "it's too metal" commented those who adore prog while the other crowd said "it's too mellow" commented those metal mania. So I got confused. And at the time it was only in the form of cassette. Patience pays off. And now, I love the CD package - it has beautiful sleeve cover wrapped with cardboard at the outset (I haven't even removed the plastic that wraps the jewel, to maintain eternity .. Prog collection is a precious set for me; it's like the rings in Tolkien's story - in different context, of course.)

Chaos (5:10), as part one opening, it begins with a short narrative in futuristic style followed with the blast of power metal music with high driving rhythm and fast tempo reminiscent of Yngwie Malmsteen (uhm . I have been listening to many kinds of music so whenever I listen to something I can "associate" the style with others. Btw, for those who love metal must have known who Yngwie is.). This track has a powerful, speedy and skillful guitar work that leads the melody of this instrumental track with stunning and punchy keyboard work. It's trusly an adrenalin exploder track man! It's so uplifting, especially after listening to Part One which is much more mellower. [****]

Dawn Of Million Souls (7:45) opens with a marching style keyboard sound that reminds me to the nuance of ELP's "Fanfare for the Common Man". Organ sound enters the music altogether with drum rolls. I like the organ sound like this (sorry, I cannot emulate or give a precise description). The music flows with guitar riffs and organ as main rhythm augmented with light orchestra. I play this LOUDly and I really enjoy the sound. The vocal quality of Symphony X's Sir Russel Allen reminds me to the voice of David Coverdale of Deep Purple. This track has a wonderful orchestra outfit in the middle followed with stunning guitar solo in classic rock style. Wow man! [*****].

Journey On The Waves Of Time (5:47) continues with previous track's nuance with punchy organ / keyboard sounds featuring Ralf Scheepers (ex- Gamma Ray) vocal in high register notes. It's an uplifting track with relatively fast tempo style but without speedy double pedal bass drum typical in power metal vein. In the middle of the track, there is a nice passage that demonstrates stunning organ / keyboard solo. Structurally, it's a straight forward track with no major tempo change. [****]

To The Quasar (8:42) is a track that opens mellower track compared to previous tracks. The acoustic guitar dominates the rhythm section augmented with keyboard featuring the voice of Andi Deris of Helloween (the power metal pioneer). The music is composed in ambient style with some distant vocal. Approximately in the middle of the track, the music moves into a metal style with hard driving rhythm and riffs. It has great keyboard solo continued with stunning guitar solo. It concludes with wonderful organ sounds! [****]

Into The Black Hole (10:25) starts off with an ambient style that depicts heavy winds and long sustain keyboard sound followed with the blast of music in medium tempo and orchesrtral arrangement. It turns into quieter passage nicely, continued with the vocal line of Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden). He sings powerfully starting with low register notes and increases it with the passage of music especially after the entrance of music plus orchestra. Keyboard sound at the back provides a nice crusade of space music. This song has a beautiful guitar riffs and solo. I think this song has a marvelous orchestration. Some violin sounds remind me to Kansas music. There is also an excellent heavy guitar riffs in the middle followed with floating keyboard solo. Oh my God! What a great composition! [*****]

Through The Wormhole (6:05) is a fast tempo track with hard driving rhythm augmented with organ sounds featuring the voice of Fabio Leone (Rhapsody). It's a straight forward track in power metal style. [*** ½]

Out Of The White Hole (7:11) begins beautifully with punchy keyboard work in medium/fast tempo style featuring Timo Kotipelto (Stratovarius) on vocal. The track contains keyboard solo that reminds me to Rick Wakeman style. In the middle of the track, the guitar riffs sound heavier followed with keyboard solo, continued beautifully with guitar solo. The mood is uplifting. The ending part contains an excellent combination of keyboard and guitar work with different style of music compared to the beginning part.[****]

To The Solar System (6:11) has an ambient intro with guitar work at background followed with vocal line in low register notes by Robert Soeterboek. The music turns louder with more obvious guitar riffs and keyboard work in medium/fast tempo style. [*** ½]

The New Migrator concludes the album with a fast speed music combining skillful performance of the musicians involved, featuring vocals by Ian Parry (Vengeance, Elegy). This is the kind of music that would music that might favor metal fans especially with its speed and excellent melody. I enjoy the guitar solo and its overall composition. It ends up with a drum / percussion that sounds like timpani. [****]


It's a grandiose project by A A Lucassen. I'd prefer this part two compared to part one for the following reasons: 1. It has more variations in style, 2. Beautifully composed. It's probably that I have more metal blood than mellow style music, I think. I recommend you to buy the Special Edition package that contains part one and two as double CD album. Overall rating is 4+ out of 5 stars. Recommended. Keep on proggin' ..!!!

Progressively yours,


Report this review (#1223)
Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As I said in my review of The Dream Sequencer, this is the part of the concept piece where the fun begins. This is where you get to hear the metal edge, the rip and roar of Ayreon. Again, the vocalists are an eclectic bunch, from Bruce Dickinson to Russell Allen, every vocalist does a phenomenal job on their track. The guitar work on this part of the album is also a lot more impressive than on Part One. Where Part One was a lot more mellow, and let the keyboards do the work. This is where Arjen cuts loose, showing no mercy to the strings he abuses. With all the metal, though, you still are visited by the persistant keyboards, giving the album a symphonic edge.

The highlight of this Part is Into the Black Hole. Here, Dickinson cuts loose on some Classic Maiden vocals, and Lucassen plays some incredible guitar. Not to mention the rest of the musicians, who do a great job on every track. The song, begins slowly, but soon evolves into a metal masterpiece, with solos coming all over the place. It really is the "Arjen Lucassen shows off his guitar skills" moment on the album. Other tracks worth mentioning are To the Quasar and Out of the White Hole (which features a reference from Into the Electric Castle in the Planet Y section).

Overall, this Part of the concept piece is a lot better than the first half. It really seems more coherent and there are not as many dry spots. I highly recommend that you buy this album, provided that you have listened to either The Human Equation or Into the Electric Castle, it truly is a great piece. I'm glad I bought it when I did. 4.5/5

Report this review (#1224)
Posted Saturday, May 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I don't know why people worship the second part of "Universal Migrator". I know it's heavier than the previous part. But NOT heavy enough to compare it with Dream Theater or Angra. I think there's nothing surprising here. The songs go this and that like other most power metal style. The hammond organ sound gives a little bit classic rock feel. When I listened to "Into The Black Hole" where most reviewers love I found that Mr. Dickinson is - as always - very very good! He's the God, man! But I think the song itself is weak. I don't know.. Overall, this album is average, not as strong as Human Equation. I prefer The Part 1: Dream Sequencer than this. I think Dream Sequencer has a different feel from most of Ayreon's songs. But if you're a big fan of Arjen Lucassen, especially his Ayreon project, you must have this album.
Report this review (#1225)
Posted Friday, May 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars There are no weak songs on this album. The solos are lengthy, but never directionless. However, the whole package does take some time to grow on you. I give it 3 stars, but you might want to add a star if you're a "metalhead".

If you're not a musician, you might indeed find some passages boring and repetitive. It might have

something to do with the fact that many songs contain solos by different artists. If you don't know these artists, you might not recognize the "change of artist". All of the solos are beautiful and relevant - melody in favor of technique and "noodling".

For those that prefer more progressive stuff and a little less metal, I recommend Into the Electric Castle. This is the essence of Ayreon, even more so than The Human Equation. Both are masterpieces, but Into the Electric Castle is more over the top, which really is one of the key aspects of Ayreon. Consider this album as a short "journey" into the heavier realms, only to be topped a few years later by Lucassen's Star One.

Report this review (#1226)
Posted Friday, May 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Universal Migrator part 2: Flight Of The Migrator

The second CD of "The Universal Migrator" continues the story of the last man alive on Mars as he decides to venture back further in time.

In an interview Arjen explains that he released the two albums separately at first because he thought that he would have fans that appealed to the "mellow side" and other fans that were more interested in his "metal side". Afterwards he admits that this was not the right choice because Ayreon's fans would buy both albums instantly. Therefore he decided to re-issue the album as a double album named "The Universal Migrator" on his new label Insideout. I am glad he did this because both albums are really worth it and it is the same concept that starts of at disc one and continues into disc two, even though the styles of both discs are very different.

"The Universal Migrator part II" continues the story of the last man alive on Mars as he decides to venture further back in time. He wants to go all the way back to the time right before the universe was created, a time when there was nothing but chaos. The Colonist witnesses the big bang and the creation of the first soul: The Universal Migrator. This soul divides in various new souls that each go in search of planets they can inhabit. This is how they bring life to various planets and start different civilizations.

In the Dream Sequencer program the Colonist follows the soul that is headed for earth. On his long journey through space, he passes astronomical manifestations such as quasars, pulsars, supernovas, black holes, and wormholes. He finally enters the solar system, but the DS program goes on overload. The Colonist should never have ventured that far back in time. The Dream Sequencer is desperately trying to wake the Colonist from his deep state of hypnoses, but it is too late; the Colonist dies in the machine. Then the Migrator speaks to him without words: "Eternity lies before you. You are the new Migrator!"

Personally I like the entire album because of the concept and I don't think it would do the album any good to review song by song. This album you have to put in your CD- player and play it from beginning to end without skipping, changing the volume or playing it "random". (I still wonder why manufacturers invented this horrible function, just like programming). But if I would have to mention my personal highlights they would probably be "Dawn Of A Million Souls" (vocals by Sir Russell Allen of Symphony X) and "Into The Black Hole". Especially Arjen's fine guitar riffs on "Into The Black Hole" will be stuck in your head for days after you have played this song.

The Universal Migrator part 2: Flight Of The Migrator: 4.5 stars

Report this review (#44441)
Posted Saturday, August 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The sequel to The Dream Sequencer, Universal Migrator II: Flight of the Migrator is a winner as well. This is the metal equivalent to the neo-prog centered Dream Sequencer.

Once again we have a focal point of vocalists. The all-star class showcases Russell Allen, Timo Kotipelto, Fabio Lione, Bruce Dickinson, and Ian Parry. This disc uses decidely more Power Metal vocalists then Progressive, but every vocalist connects with his song as well as any vocalist could ever have done.

Musically, this album has more virtuosity than The Dream Sequencer. Mike Romeo, Gary Wehrkamp, and Oscar Holleman are used as guest soloist doing some of the most remarkable guitar work in the Ayreon project. The orchestra assemble by Arjen really stands out on some songs like "Dawn of a Million Souls". The album is epic and variant. Lucassen's ability to write catchy melodies comes out even more on this album.

The production is once again phoenomenal. Ed Warby's drums sound absolutely brilliant with rich, clear, and puncy tone. Lucassen's electric guitars sound fantastic with more crunch than The Dream Sequencer. Erik Norlander uses the most amazing analog synth sounds i have ever heard. This is a rare occaison that i will praise the use of analog synths over the Jordan Rudess popularized digital synths.

Report this review (#56052)
Posted Saturday, November 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Well when I see so many enthousiastic reviews about this album I feel pretty perplexed. In my opinion there's nothing really incredible here, many many great talents but nothing special. Most of the songs are good but not terrific and sometimes repetitive. I'm a bit disappointed about it cos I didn't know Ayreon before and looking to the reviews brought a lot of hopes in this. In the same style, Symphony X's Oddissey or Andromeda's Extension... are really better. Maybe I will try with another album...
Report this review (#59819)
Posted Friday, December 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tristan Mulders
3 stars Ayreon - The universal Migrator Part Two: Flight of the Migrator

For starters I must say that this is a quite amusing CD to listen to, but not the most original album available.

This album is easily recognizable as an Ayreon album. It is semi-complex (trying to be complex when not necessarily) and it features typical keyboard sounds. Compared to its counterpart "The Dream Sequencer" I think this is far more technically and more heavy, but that's already mentioned on the back of the disc's artwork.

What caught my eye with this CD was the impressive list of collaborators: Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), Erik Norlander, Clive Nolan, Lana Lane, among others. This list sure looked promising, but the overall product sounds a bit too "smooth" for me; it sounds over-produced to my ears.

Enough about the (too) technicality of the music, this album does have its positive sides. One of those are the vocals. Most of the times the various vocals are well sung and I can appreciate this above the instrumentation.

And though you might have noticed that I am not a huge fan of the instrumentation on Ayreon albums (the only one that I consider to be great is "The Human Equation"), I must admit that there are some nice parts included. For instance, there are some medieval sounding keyboards in track #3 (Journey on the Waves of Time), I absolutely adore the start of the second section of the song To the Quasar and this song also features a very nice keyboard solo performed by Rene Merkelbach towards the end I must say and the last guitar solo in this song is also amazing!

Also the whole of track #5 (Into the Black Hole) is simply stunning and I like the introduction of track #8 ( To the Solar System) and the weird ending of this song is also very anti-relaxed.

Albeit there are some nice parts in this album, I would not recommend it as something essential. If you can get your hands on it for a nice price (I bought it for 7?), I'd say go for it, but otherwise. leave it be.

Report this review (#61612)
Posted Sunday, December 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ayreon, Flight of The Migrator. Little after when I purchased Ayreon's Human Equation, my big bro got these Universal Migrator albums both in the same package. I must say I like them, not as much as Human Equation, but still very much. I enjoy listening to both, and like both equally, because they are both better than the other in their own way. This one is progressive metal, altough I would say that Ayreon is not progressive music. But it has something, it's not that clear to decide. Trying to figure it out while moving to invidual songs:

'Chaos' is the opener of the album. Very fine opener. It is very powerful and fast track. It is supposed to describe the big bang if I remember correctly. I love the drumming and little drum solos in the middle of the song. Guitarring is very good as well. 'Dawn of Million Souls' is the next track. It starts with a keyboard, which is trying to sound very epic, and partly succeeds. Then comes guitars and a nice metal riff. Vocals on this track are sung by Russel Allen, and I think he does a great job. I like his clear, powerful voice. The next song is 'Journey on the Waves of Time' with Ralf Scheepers. Good job by him and pretty good song by Arjen. The keyboard melody and the guitars are fine and vocals are good. Decent track. Moving to 'To the Quasar' with Andreas Deris. I love his voice, it is so unique. And he doesn't fail me on this one. Very good track, one of my favourites of the album. The a) part is very laid back and easy goin'. An orchesteral transition to the b) part, which starts with good, basic metal riff. The song flows at its end, where there are fine solos by guitar. Very good track. Then comes 'Into the Black Hole' with Dickinson. My least favourite track in the album. I like his voice, I like the music, and I like the very slow, and very heavy riff at the middle, but the song is just too long compared to the music in it. Arjen could've made far better song. A 6 minute long song with the same music and perhaps the same lyrics could be possible, and I think much better. Maybe trying to make this song very epic, but that fails for me. 'Through the Wormhole' and 'Out of the White Hole' are fine tracks, but not as clearly stuffed in my brains than the rest. Good work by Fabio Leone and Timo Kotipelto. Both are fine Ayreon tracks, speedy metal songs and fit the album. 'The Solar System' is good track. Starts with kind of ambient guitarring. The rest of the song is good, metal riffs and rhythms, basic stuff of this album. The final track 'The New Migrator' is good track, with nice horrory intro. Good speedy metal track with nice guitar solo and fine work by Ian Parry.

All in all, this is a good melodic metal album with a slight progressive edge. There aren't bad songs, only one disappointment (Into the Blackhole) and all the singers did very good job. I like this album very much, but if you are not Ayreon fan, you should try something else first, like The Human Equation. This album is not essential: a masterpiece of progessive music, and not an excellent addition to any prog music collection, but I say that the album is good, but non-essential.

Report this review (#80901)
Posted Sunday, June 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The second part is completely different in this occasion the Colonizador is involved in the final trip since I oxygenate that it reduces to him already is insufficient so that lives, single reduces the sufficient thing for some then moments makes the decision to beyond make the trip of the time of the man at the beginning of everything even of the time, for this trip with progressive a metallic sound set the standard to us for a full trip of density beginning with the theory of the BigBan and continuing with the creation of black holes and stars, to finish with the formation of the Solar System and the trip finishes with the integration of the Conqueror to the final conquest the death, impressive work and perhaps the final work of level that Arjen could develop in this case if there are more hands in the creation of the music, unexpected but pleasant characteristics that I am pleased more, although it wanted to continue with the gust of wind obtained with a sequel specialized in the metal but it does not obtain the level of this, some things that one considers insurmountable with time reaffirms that me said my Edgar friend to it and in this case I believe that it is thus, all conceptual work must be listened to like one, this work complements that tranquillity of part one and magnifies the sound of part two.
Report this review (#88674)
Posted Friday, September 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Second part to Universal Migrator, Flight of the Migrator takes improvement over DS, the album is harder and also more musically enjoyable. Singers from Symphony X, Iron Maiden, and Stratovarius all sing for Arjen and do a good job. Pretty much every song on this album is one I love, escpiecally Into the Dark Whole and Journey on the Waves of Time. The entire album is incredible marking my heavy enjoyment with Arjens work. Give it a listen and love it! Yay, 5/5 this is definiatly a masterpiece in my eyes.
Report this review (#92701)
Posted Saturday, September 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Great album...

Without doubt this is one of the best albums in Ayreon's career, totally enjoyable, with good songs and others absolutely awesome, the work contains different influences specially from psychedelic/space rock (bands like Pink Floyd and Hawkwind among others) also is near to classic rock influence (in a Led Zeppelin way, maybe) and of course the heavy metal is present in all sounds of this one. Great singers have been called to be part of this project such as; Russel Allen, Ralf Scheepers, Bruce Dickinson and Ian Perry and others.

I would like to mention some track that I like from this album:

Chaos: (intro), in my opinion is possibly one of two or three best track of the album, an exercise of technique and power. Amazing track to open an excelent work!!!

To The Quasar: a mix of progressive rock and a little bit of psychedelic sounds, but in a present context, good song.

Into The Black Hole: I'm going to say three words to express all sensations from this song: Bruce Dickinson's performance... wow, this guy sold his soul to the devil to have that voice.

and possibly the last one... The New Migrator, very good ending track and express the end of the story in a good way, good performance by Ian Parry.

The universal migrator Part II: flight of the migrator not only is one of my favourites Aeryon's albums, but also one of the most enjoyables works of progressive metal that I heard until now.

This album is maybe along with "The Human Equation", Ayreon's albums that I've joined more.

By: Epsilon

Report this review (#93388)
Posted Wednesday, October 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Concluding the story of the Universal Migrator with even more special guests including Bruce Dickinson. Once again there is a wide range of styles mixed together on the album, and put together brilliantly. Arjen Lucassen has once again shown how good he is at interpretting stories through music. Of the two parts it's hard to pick the better but I think I preffer part 1 just. Part 2 lacks that edge which was achieved in the build up of part 1. Still look at this as a double disc for which both parts are essential to get the whole picture, and then enjoy it.
Report this review (#100338)
Posted Saturday, November 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars As the title suggests this is the second part to Arjen Lucassen's Concept album that takes you on a trip through time and, now more importantly, space. This album can be taken in two ways, the first is as a continuation of were The Dream Sequencer left off (at The First Man On Earth, sung by Neal Morse), or as a single album in its own right. Witch ever way you see it, the story works for both.

One thing noticed straight away on this album is that there are far more guest musicians performing her than on the first part of Universal Migrator, and that many of them contribute many very strong solos throughout the album. This is the kind of stuff that Lucassen excels at and its shown that none of the compositions on this album can be considered weak. Lucassen has a firm grasp of how to make a metal song move from the lighter parts to very heavy riffing with maximum effect utilising guitars, bass and keyboards (especially with the strings courtesy of Peter Siedlach) to big effect. One big difference in Lucassen's own performance on this disc is that his style of playing bass is much more suited to metal than the lighter rock that was prevalent on part 1. Rather than being just adequate at assisting the drums at holding down the rhythm section, his bass playing really comes alive and augments the effect of the guitars without ever loosing perspective as a rhythm instrument. His guitar and keyboard solos are pretty good as well.

Of all the guest musicians that show up here, and supply a whole host of solos, its Symphony X guitarist and song writer/composer Michael Romeo that really stands out. He has a very distinct style of guitar play and when his solo kicks in on Dawn of a Million Souls, you can instantly tell that its him. The solo itself is performed flawlessly and really hits home as a very good performance without sounding out of place against Lucassen's guitar work. Of the other musicians that guest here, none of them really stands out as having a unique sound in the same way that Romeo does but they all supply very well executed solos.

From the guest singers you get a typical cast of metal singers that include Iron Maidens Bruce Dickinson and Symphony X's Russell Allen, among others. These two actually give the best vocal performances that really hit home as good singers. Amongst the others many of them can really help the dark atmosphere and lyrics of this album, most noticeably Andi Deris and Ralf Scheepers, but without really sounding like they are really adding something to the album themselves (with the exception of the previously mentioned pair).

The big weakness of this album, though, is clearly the lyrics and even the concept itself. The lyrics are amongst the cheesiest I have ever had the misfortune to hear, only partially saved by some good to great singing, but not totally. The concept itself, though, is just terrible. The idea of a man's soul some how travelling back to the dawn of time following the Universal Migrator is cringworthy to say the least.

This album is generally a very good effort, with Dawn of a Million Souls and To the Quasar being the stand out songs on this album that really give it character. Of the other songs I can honestly say that none of them are weak but the album never gives the overall feel that this is something special that you are listening to. Also, if you detest these Sci-Fi adventure in music, avoid! Overall a very solid album and a worth wile listen for any prog metal fan, as long as you don't pay too much attention to the ridiculous lyrics and concept, 3 stars. However I would recommend that you buy the Inside Out re-issue special edition that contains both parts 1&2 in a double disc release.

Report this review (#101508)
Posted Sunday, December 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Flight of the Migrator is the heavy twin of the soft and melodic Dream Sequencer. Though this is the superior album, it's less proggy than part 1. First off, the vocalist selection on this disc may be my favorite, even beating out the stunning ensemble on Human Equation. It even beats out Neal Morse and Damian Wilson on the last album. Bruce Dickinson, Russel Allen, Ralf Scheepers, Andi Deris, it's a metalhead's dream! However, as with part 1, each vocalist gets one song rather than working as a team. The message of the concept is defined with this release: Where did man come from?

Where Part 1 had only two standouts (2084 and Carried By the Wind), this album is fairly strong. Into the Black Hole, The New Migrator, Dawn of a Million Souls, and To the Quasar are killer, but the album as a whole falls flat. At the end of Part 1, the colonist had witnessed the birth of man. Part 2 opens with the colonist reactivating the dream sequencer to travel back to the beginning of time. He witnesses the Big Bang, and discovers that from the explosion a number of flying objects called migrators are born to seed life in the universe. The colonist follows the migrator bound for Earth.

As with all Ayreon releases, there are links ot past and future works. Part 1 introduces the first incarnation of Ayreon. This time, the colonist, following the migrator, flies past Planet Y, the planet of Forever from Into the Electric Castle. Also, Arjen has hinted that the colonist is the Futureman from ItEC.

Flight of the Migrator has a fair share of prog, but not nearly as much on THE or ItEC. It's superior to part 1, but not by a lot. Fans of Ayreon should own Parts 1 and 2, and Arjen realized his error and packaged the two together so now it's easy to get both.

Grade: C+

Report this review (#104881)
Posted Friday, December 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars Changing gears completely, Arjen throws down a monstrous sci-fi gauntlet in his intense opening track, letting the listener will know that this is going to be a very different sequel to its predecessor.

The songs, the playing, the vocals, are all metal-- more metal than any previous Ayreon album, and sound exceptionally appropriate. As a result, the groups playing is elevated to lightning speed and proficiency, with dazzling lead playing and solos throughout. The singers carry the cosmic lyrics well, usually in a high and operatic timbre suitable to the sound of the instrumentalists. And while the songs are all heavy, there is a welcome mix of atmospheric interludes to soften up the album as a whole.

There is very little to criticize here, and one's enjoyment of "Flight of the Migrator" will ultimately come down to a matter of taste. For my own part (the part that likes metal), I rank this one higher than its counterpart, and as a fine purchase for anyone who enjoys blistering prog-metal. Not as good as those band's which specialize in sci-fi metal (like Pagan's Mind, for instance), but still high quality.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Report this review (#119099)
Posted Friday, April 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars If you were to assemble a team of the best linguists in the world and instruct them to go through a children's book, having them replace each word they come across with the most complicated, obscure, esoteric synonym they can think of, the end result would be pretty stunning. It would be immensely complicated and appear to be an intricate work of literature. However, despite all the smoke and mirrors and pretty effects, it would still have no substance. That's how I think of Flight Of The Migrator. Arjen assembles the best musicians one could find. They certainly pull out all the tricks of the trade, all the technical mastery, but I see no substance. Everything I hate about prog-metal is put on display here, and nothing I like of it can be found. I can honestly say I find no melody, no hook, no moment that I can enjoy.

From the moment I heard this album I've shared the same sentiment. I've tried many times to find what other reviewers have, but to no avail. I can't even foresee fans of Ayreon in love with albums like The Electric Castle and The Human Equation liking this. The composition, sensibility, and subtlety that Arjen exhibits on those albums is completely absent. Only the pyrotechnics remain and they're alone and amplified one thousand fold. I hate to give any album one star, but I see no redeeming qualities to allow me the luxury of granting two.

Report this review (#128046)
Posted Tuesday, July 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the second leg of the concept of "The Universal Migrator". The hero willing to go even further back in time, which will lead to his death.

If you exclude these narrated vocals during the opener "Chaos", this song is extremely powerful. A great start indeed. I was kind of sceptic before having listened to this part of this CD-suite since Arjen warned the fans that in order to please both prog and metal ones, this "''Flight of the Migrator'' part would be more on the metal edge than the first leg "The Dream Sequencer".

"Dawn of a Million Souls" holds this Floydian flavour already very much noticeable on "One Small Step" available in the "''The Dream Sequencer''. OK, "The Quasar" is probably on the harder edge of "Ayreon" repertoire and at times close to "Dream Theater" but vocals remains melodic and keys very powerful.

One of the best song of this leg from the is "Into The Black Hole". Great riff and gorgeous keys. On the HEAVY side of his work indeed. This isn't jelly by no means. But still, the melodic side is not forgotten either. A highlight.

My favourite song of this album is "Out Of The White Hole". A fantastic guitar work is to noticed (but Arjen is VERY skilled). The closing number is the most energetic one of the whole (double?) album. A fantastic way to say goodbye and one of my fave of the band so far.

As for his previous works, I am not charmed with the "concept". These sci-fi themes sounds rather thin to my ears. One recommendation while you listen to this album : play it LOUD.

There is no weak song here. To my big surprise, it is my fave "Ayreon" (partial) album so far. I have moderately appreciated this band prior to this album, but I am impressed with this one.

Four stars.

Report this review (#154731)
Posted Saturday, December 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#161286)
Posted Friday, February 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Dream Sequencer System: O~N~L~I~N~E

Are you sure you want to continue?

A note before we blast off into space. More of a question, really. Are intrigued by an interstellar story played by one of progressive Metal's highest regarded virtuosos, while many of metal's best singers join along for the ride? Do you want to know what it would sound like traveling through space in a rocket built out of European Power Metal and fueled by pure prog?

If not, then disregard this review and pretend you never saw it. But if you are then drink the fluid from the vessel at the left terminal and let's go.

Obviously, Ayreon's style of space operas is only going to appeal to those who really love everything about it. This album especially is a very acquired taste. The Universal Migrator part two: Flight of the Migrator is the second of two albums released on the same day by the band, the concept being this: Two albums each epitomizing one side of Ayreon's music to truly satisfy both sides of the coin that is their audience. Part one was aimed at the Prog-heads. Very Floydian in feel with it's pressing synths and intricate guitars that means that part two must be aimed at the metalers.

And after a short introduction from the Migrator system it becomes very clear that this is the metal disc. Chaos opens the album with a blinding guitar solo to showcase Arjen Lucassen's talent at playing speed guitar. Of course it's not long (and unfortunately so) that the intro comes to an end. And then, what's this? Dawn Of A Million Souls opens up with power... and I mean POWER as some very appealing synths come in and press the song along with a well done choir of voices at the chorus to push the point across further.

Of course, what really helps this particular album is the fact that it has one of Ayreon's best all-star casts. Since this is the album where Arjen really focused on the metal side of things he really pulled no stops in getting all the best of the best to play on this one. Unlike previous albums were each singer voiced a character in the story on the two albums of Migration each have a singer per song. Ralf Scheepers (ex-Gamma Ray) gives voice to the melodic Journey On The Waves Of Time given life once more by excellent synths and heavy guitars and a demanding drum beat. Ralf's voice has always been a bit quirky and here the song seems very tailored to suit that quirk by turning it less quirky and more outer worldly. Andi Deris (ex-Pink Cream 69, Helloween) gives life to the extraordinary To The Quasar which starts with a lot of vocal parts but eventually fades him out in favor of Arjen's guitar wizardry. Timo Kotipelto (Stratovarius) also gets to make an appearance, lending his voice to Out Of The White Hole a track which ties the album's story to previous albums like Into The Electric Castle and future albums such as 01011001.

Then we get to the master. Into The Black Hole is probably the biggest standout on the album thanks to it's tone about as dark as a black hole. It opens with those wonderful synths before slowing down to let in the voice. And who else to voice a track like this than the master of modern art metal - Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden, solo) joins the fray and adds his incredibly emotional vocals to this stellar track. Familiar more to his solo efforts such as The Chemical Wedding than Iron Maiden, this song makes incredible use of his vocals. Excellent.

The rest of the songs are just as good. Strong, heavy and melodic with a beat that evokes headbanging while keeping a melody that's hum-able and pleasant. I won't spoil the end of the story for anyone interested, but the album certainly builds up to it, and in a very good way.

Hestiant to give this one a perfect 5, this is certainly a wonderful album which deserves a spin or several. The reason I have to dock a mark is simply this - As stated before, this really is an acquired taste. You'll either love it or hate it, but that was to be expected on a pair of albums each holding an element of a musician who is very diverse. Prog metal fans should add a star to my rating while prog-metal avoiders should take off another star. Excellent album for those who like to travel through space. 4 stars!

Report this review (#168262)
Posted Monday, April 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars The heavier of the two Universal Migrator albums. I like them both, if I listen to one too much, I miss listening the other. The Dream Sequencer has more melodic and relax ambience but there is nothing like listening Flight of the Migrator for the heavy, fast and bombastic arrangement. This album, like other albums by Ayreon, uses the same formula, performed by different singers and instrumentalists. The difference comes up in the duty of the guest singers. In Universal Migrator, each guest singer has a song to sing not a character to perform like in the other Ayreon's albums.

The album start with short narration by Lana Lange then blast into fast instrumentals combining guitar riff, keyboard, incredible drum and bass work, Chaos, each instrument has its moment to shine in this opening track. Dawn of a Million Souls is the next, sung by Symphony X vocalist, Russel Allen. I really like the choir-sound like creates by keyboard during intro or interlude after the first chorus. Also there's a slow moment featuring only keyboard and Russel Allen vocals before we get blistering guitar solo by Michael Romeo.

Journey on the Waves of Time, opened by keyboard sound and has a nice bass work in the middle of the track, sung by Ralf Scheeper of Primal Fear. I like the desperate keyboard sound during the chorus. Next we have a song by Andy Deris of Helloween, to the Quasar. Musically this song divided into two parts, the first is driven by acoustic guitar accompanied by keyboard in the background and Andy sing in medium register note. The second is more rocking and has a flowing keyboard and guitar interlude before entering the vocals part. It's one of my favorite tracks of the album.

Into the Black Hole is the longest track, 10+ minutes, sung by Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden with his powerful voice. This track is divided into 3 parts. The first part, the Eye of the Universe, is slow pace track opened by heavy machine sound, afterward shift to heavy guitar riff and keyboard and then enter to vocal part with keyboard and whispering guitar sound in the background. The second part, Halo of Darkness, is faster part with beautiful guitar solo at the beginning, and this part is driven by heavy guitar riff. The third part, the Final Door, is pretty much same as the first part, except for the keyboard solo near the end of the track. Overall, it's a massive, heavy and long track. It's as dark as the Black Hole.

Through the Wormhole is an energetic track, sung by Fabio Lione of Rhapsody. The part I like most of this track is the guitar solo and keyboard in the middle played by Gary Wehrkamp. Next we have Out of White Hole, the vocal part delivered by Timo Kotipelto of Stratovarius. This track also divided into 3 parts. The interlude between part 1 and 2 is the moment I like most with its cool keyboard solo, flowing guitar solo and dynamic drumming.

To the Solar System is slow pace at the beginning with vocal part sung in low registered note by Robert Soeterboek but it gets heavier and faster afterward. The last track is the New Migrator, opened by nice drumming and keyboard solo by Keiko Kumagai of Ars Nova before it blast into faster part with heavy drumming, guitar, bass and keyboard works.

Universal Migrator Part 2: Flight of the Migrator is very good album and a great addition for your progressive rock collection. Each tack has its own identity and will be more pleased your ears if you listen as a whole from beginning till the end, it has a cohesive flow. Please check Universal Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer for slower and more melodious songs as a comparison and judge it for your self. maXmuri - Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Report this review (#171085)
Posted Thursday, May 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Flight Of The Migrator' - Ayreon (6/10)

This is a very cool, very psychedelic album. Theres a real feeling of travelling through space, and Arjen puts to use many cool effects. The musicianship on the album is also great. The intense instrumental opener 'Chaos' is probably the most technical effort Ayreon has ever done, and ever will do. Arjen even said himself that he needed to practice his guitar a few months before mastering the song! There are some great singers on this singer, most notably Fabio Leone (of Rhapsody Of Fire) and Bruce Dickenson (hailing from Iron Maiden fame.) The singers are for the most part used very well.

But why only 3 stars?

The album feels very one tracked; stuck to a single sound. It can get boring after an album, and from an artist like Ayreon, I'm really expecting more. Musically, it doesn't compare to the other albums in Ayreon's discography. This album's counterpart, 'The Dream Sequencer' highly overshadowed this release in terms of quality, but I can certainly see why someone would love this album. It's just not for me... Theres a real emotional lack to the musical craft, and while some songs really work well, others like the Dickenson track 'Into The Black Hole' can get really boring, and hurt the album.

The songwriting is good, and the atmospherics are FANTASTIC and are probably the album's high point. I just have never found a great amount of enjoyment in this album. There's nothing wrong with it, but besides 'Chaos,' there really aren't that many moments that stand out on this album.

Well done, but Ayreon's done much, much better.

Report this review (#205310)
Posted Tuesday, March 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Flight of the Migrator is part 2 of the Universal Migrator story. The first part is titled the Dream Sequencer and follows the protagonist back in time all the way to the time of the First Man on Earth. This album continues the story and follows the protagonist as he takes a crazy journey through space. The first album is more melodic and atmospheric, while this album is heavier and more metal. The intent was to showcase the two different sides to Arjen Lucassen's music. What results are two albums at two extremes. I don't think the approach quite works because it is the blending of the two components that makes Ayreon albums so special. This album is the obvious better one out of the two, and provides the listener with one crazy, heavy, progressive metal adventure through space- a concept I feel that fits this music brilliantly. This is a brilliant album without a dull moment. There isn't much more I can say.

"Chaos" starts the album with exactly what the title promises. The migrator's robotic voice comes on and warns the protagonist that "no colonist has ever re-incarnated back this far before. Are you sure you want to continue?" and with that, the album kicks into high gear with a powerful progressive metal instrumental that is the perfect start to the journey at hand. "Dawn of a Million Souls" is a wonderful song, perhaps my favorite of the whole album, that gives Symphony X singer, Russel Allen, a chance to shine. There are some wonderful keyboard string sounds and an incredible guitar solo. From there the album chugs along at the same high quality with amazing vocal performances from all involved, and incredible keyboard and guitar solos from a variety of guests. I love the organ solo in the middle of "Journey On the Waves of Time", the acoustic guitar that starts "To The Quasar", the punchy keybards on "Out of the White Hole", and the grand finale of "The New Migrator".

this album accomplishes what it sets out to do- take the listener on a heavy journey that is never boring. This album is consistent and gets me head-banging along to the music. It is a fantastic album that I enjoy each time I play it. Arjen succeeded more here than with part one because it makes for a disc free of atmospheric passages that can tend to drag on. This is simply a powerhouse of a record that never lets up. This is highly recommended, and just shy of the five star tag.

Report this review (#227478)
Posted Saturday, July 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars Universal Migrator is an intriguing concept epic album from the masterful Ayreon project. As usual this Cd features incredible vocal performances from all involved and has some low lights and some highlights but it all blends seamlessly into one great package.

I purchased this with the special 2 CD package with part one and 2 together and when heard together this is the stronger of the 2. Heavier and featuring blistering compositions such as the magnifique 'Into the Black Hole' - Bruce Dickinson's contribution. Chaos is also a strong track that rings of the best Ayreon has produced. 'Dawn of a Million Souls' features Sympony X singer and is absolutely brilliant.

CD 2 features the second part to the saga and this is where the double album really takes off if you have that version. It is a much heavier album and features great chunky riffs and soaring lead guitar solos. There are some very riff heavy tracks and these are balanced by quieter moments. The booklet for both CDs is colourful and features iconic imagery. The sprawling concept is bookended on both CDs with the computer program effects. Overall I recommend getting hold of the double CD version that features parts 1 and 2 as it adds incredible depth to the concept. Part 2 is definitely the best in terms of a metal sound and great melodies throughout but they are both part of the whole and one cannot really exist without the other. The album is not as good as 'The Human Equation' but it certainly is one of the best Ayreon CDs. 4 stars.

Report this review (#228545)
Posted Sunday, July 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Story-wise, this is the sequel to the Dream Sequencer. Music-wise, it aint so much. These two albums are completely different. The Dream Sequencer, which I consider a masterpiece of progressive music, was a perfectly composed and orchestrated atmospheric and ambient work, whilst Flight of the Migrator, a very good album on its own, is a symphonic journey into heavy metal prog music.

The compositions and melodies on the Dream Sequencer were so beguiling that they perhaps set the bar too high for Flight of the Migrator. Still, even though the melodical support is not as strong, it is still pretty decent, and of course the energy level now booms to stratospheric heights.

Like The Dream Sequencer, Flight of the Migrator opens with an instrumental track that sets the record straight right from the start. It then moves to one of the best two tracks of this album, Dawn of a Million Souls. An incredibly catchy chorus, fully symphonic as it is backed by chord instruments effects, and overall a near-perfect composition. I can hardly imagine anyone disliking this song.

My favourite track would although be Into the Black Hole, notably featuring Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson on vocals and Arena's Clive Nolan on keyboards. The end result is jaw-dropping. This is the most mellow song of the album, but still has a heavy feeling to it. Slowly builds into an incredible finale. Cunning.

The other tracks are nicely crafted too overall but I feel they lack a strong melodical support, except perhaps for the closer, The New Migrator, another excellent one.

I although have no doubt that this is an excellent album, nicely blending metal with symphonic elements and melodical support. Recommended. Just do not expect a lyrical support as strong as the story told on the Dream Sequencer though.

Report this review (#241434)
Posted Friday, September 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ayreon's second part of the Universal migrator - Flight of the migrator is released same year, 2000 and recived some good to very good comments around the world. This part is heavier, is rougher is way better then the first part who was more towards melancholic and mellow side of prog metal. Again an impressive line up and guest musicians from diverse genres, from heavy metal like Andi Deris from Helloween or Bruce Dickinson, Gary Wehrkamp from Shadow Gallery, Michael Romeo from Symphony X, some neo prog gods aswell featuring here, etc. On this album the music is much more choesive, here is more speed on instrumentsl passages, more keyboards arrangements, the pieces are more energic and gives a more precise feeling over musicians prestation. The constant quality of every piece is clear on this album, not a weak moments and each musician involved here did a great job, each one go hand in hand with the other, and the whole album sound very tight and without living any trace of flat sound or strange atmosphere. The sound is bombastic with some very strong instrumental passages like on Into the black hole where Bruce Dickinson has the main role, but aswell Lucassen sand Erik Norlander did a fabulous job, living the listner to say that Ayreon really done it with this part. On some parts Ayreon toying with rock, the progressive metal elements are melted very good with some rough edged rock moments like on Through The Wormhole with Fabio Leone from Rhapsody fame and Shadow Gallery guitarist Gary Wehrkamp showing his true talent. So this part two of the UNiversal migrator is much more diverse and stronger in concept, the strengh of the instrumental moments and bombastic atmosphere give to Ayreon a special status in prog metal field. Solid performance, solid pieces, solid album, solid sound, 4 solid stars for sure and better then previous part by far.

Report this review (#255509)
Posted Thursday, December 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Flight of the Migrator is an amazing album, as is always in Ayreon!

Being a direct sequel to the first part, it continues the story of the Martian colonist and his adventure in the Dream Sequencer. However, this time he goes beyond his existence on planet earth and blasts into cosmic proportions. As with the first part, I believe that the story is much less exciting than the ones in Electric Castle and Final Experiment, mainly because they do not feature characters and a specific plotline, but rather focus on one character in a lonely journey through time and space. Nevertheless this album doesn't really have an amazing story, but it makes up for that in its cosmic lyrics which deal with astranomical phenomena. As a sci fi nerd, that is a total plus for me.

Overall the story follows the colonist, now an energy being out of his physical body, who flows with the great Migrator Soul and lives its life before his own soul was spread out of it on planet earth.

This album is for the heavy metal fans of Ayreon, and features many heavy progressive metal parts with classical instruments interwoven in. Singers sing on their own songs, narrating the experience of the Colonist.

Much of this album sounds very Star One-esque, in that it's heavy progressive metal with space imagery. It's a great album and I recommend both this and the first part to anyone.

Report this review (#257321)
Posted Tuesday, December 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
2 stars Let me start off by saying that I only listened to this album because I was a little intrigued by the previous albums concept, although musically it was somewhat underwhelming.

Part two of The Universal Migrator-series managed not to fulfill what little expectations I had towards this release. The concept shifted into an entirely different story which in a way reminded me of my disappointment after hearing Cygnus X-1 Book II and complaining that the story had nothing to do with the first part of this promising Rush epic!

But that's not even the worst part of it all because the songwriting on Flight of the Migrator has taken a turn for the worse. Besides the first two tracks that are quite promising the rest of the compositions are mostly fillers that are only here to keep the concept afloat. This is truly a pity since I was really looking forward to an epic conclusion to this two part concept.

**** star songs: Choas (5:10) Dawn Of Million Souls (7:45)

*** star songs: Journey On The Waves Of Time (5:47) To The Quasar (8:42) Into The Black Hole (10:25) Through The Wormhole (6:05) Out Of The White Hole (7:11) To The Solar System (6:11) The New Migrator (8:15)

Report this review (#259975)
Posted Friday, January 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
2 stars Flight of The Migrator goes together with the preceding The Dream Sequencer, two albums from the same year, shedding an entirely different light on all things Ayreon. Where the first was laid-back and atmospheric, this one is a dazzling array of notes.

The album opens with a piece that easily proves everything that is wrong about prog. But it must be meant as a joke right? Taking it seriously cast dark shadows on my mood. Dawn of a Million Souls is a bit better, especially the ELP styled Hammond organ that presents the main theme is fun. The pompous chorus has me running for shelter though. Journey on the Waves of Time is quite catchy but also this one can't be meant seriously now can it? The first track that deserves some praising accolades is To The Quaser, a slab of enchanting space metal that Arjen Lucassen would further explore on his Star One project. The remaining tracks are all way too overblown to remain fun.

Ayreon is a too sympathetic endeavour to be angry at, so the 2 stars are meant with the best intentions. It's professional and well played and fans will probably dig it, but it's hardly the kind of music that I would choose to represent prog with. Actually, if someone would ask me for a sample of prog, this would be one of the last albums I'd take out of my cabinet.

Report this review (#262410)
Posted Monday, January 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars The 2nd CD of 2000 and the 2nd part of the "Dream Sequencer", the first CD was not progressive metal - more of an electronic pink-floyd effort - however this CD is far more into prog-metal territory - with heavy riffs and technical hammer-on guitar solo's all over the shop. There are also plenty of keyboards, some hammond organ (that didn't feature much on the other CD) and lots of neat and tidy moog solos. The opening track is speedy and technical whizzer with a nice technical guitar solo with keyboards darting in and out - a good start. The last track,"Sleeper awake" is also a winner with me and a good end to a muscial trip through space and time. In parts this reminds me a bit of Saga especially track 6 and Genesis is to be heard in track 4. Plenty of bombastic chords and nice singing keep my interest through the whole of the CD, nothing here to bore or get too weird - so very listenable like all the Ayreon I have lent an ear to so far ! Is this an essential CD to have in your collection ? In prog-metal terms, perhaps not but for another CD you can play and lose yourself into the black-hole- most definately YES - so for me 5 stars....
Report this review (#268686)
Posted Saturday, February 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars I have the special edition which contains both "Universal Migrator" discs the way it should have originally been released. It's interesting in the center of the liner notes to see the lineup of guests side by side for both discs. It's not hard to figure out that this "Part II" version will be the heaviest one. Just check out the singers on here, that's all you need to do.This is a good album, in fact it's better than I thought it would be. It rocks pretty hard and we get a Power-Metal flavour popping up a few times.

"Chaos" opens the proceedings with spoken words which tells us what's going on in the story here. It kicks in heavily to the end. "Dawn Of A Million Souls" has some nasty organ 30 seconds in and it returns later on as well. Some orchestral-like moments here too. Nice guitar from Michael Romeo before 5 minutes. "Journey On The Waves Of Time" is probably my favourite vocally with Ralf (GAMMA RAY, PRIMAL FEAR) doing the honours. Violin to start and some great organ 3 1/2 minutes in. "To The Quasar" does nothing for me for the first 3 1/2 minutes then it changes to a heavier sound.

"Into The Black Hole" opens with mellotron and synths. It's dark as Dickinson comes in vocally. The heaviness comes and goes. The best part is 4 minutes in. Some crazy synths late. "Through The Wormhole" opens with synths before it turns heavy. Vocals join in.The tempo picks up before 2 minutes. It's okay. The guitar from Wehrkamp is excellent after 3 1/2 minutes. "Out Of The White Hole" is a good tune where the heaviness comes and goes. Some good contrasts here. "To The Solar System" kicks in at 2 minutes thankfully. A good rhythm to this one. "The New Migrator" is orchestral-like to start. It kicks in before 2 minutes to a powerful rhythm. Vocals too.

Well I prefer "Part I" of this two disc recording, but there's enough here to make it a set worth owning. I'll give this disc 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#294300)
Posted Thursday, August 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ok, second part, the metal side.

In the last review when I said I would pick a favourite, I'm sad to say, that I slightly prefer the first part. I know this is almost blasphemous coming from quite a big metal fan, but to be honest, I thought the material and atmosphere just beat this album by a hair.

I though the line up of vocalists was better this time around and their wasn't any songs that I disliked, but it's one of those weird decisions that doesn't make sense, and to be honest it was a bit of a head scratcher.

Concept wise, the story goes beyond space and time, to the beginning of the universe, and the amazing Ayreon sound really does bring forth quite a bright imagination.

1. Chaos - Introduction, bit like the intro of the last album.Amazing progressive metal instrumental. Mesmerizing. 10/10

2. Dawn Of A Million Souls - Wow, what amazing vocals. The chorus is one of the best Ayreon chorus' I have ever heard. 10/10

3. Journey On The Waves Of Time - Some odd but cool arrangements. Killer vocals. 8/10

4. To The Quasar - The first part is pretty cool and well done. The main riff in the 2nd part is mammothly heavy. The chorus is pure cheese. 9/10

5. Into The Black Hole - How the hell did Arjen get Bruce Dickinson. We'll never know really. Quite dramatic. Great vocal performance. 9/10

6. Through The Wormhole - Musically it sounds like Steve Vai. Pretty cool vocals, although Fabian can do way better. 8/10

7. Out Of The White Hole - Great chorus and some kick ass guitar and organ work. Great vocals from Timo. 10/10

8. To The Solar System - Nice wee chorus, but a wee bit forgetful. 8/10

9. The New Migrator - Pretty epic ending. Great vocals and some kick ass riffs. 9/10

CONCLUSION: 2 albums are great, but this one is just a wee bit weaker. Both are worth the price, especially because you get 2 for the price of one, imagine that.

Report this review (#307943)
Posted Tuesday, November 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars As I mentioned in my review of the other half of this divided double album, this one is the more metal side of the Universal Migrator concept - but, as with the first one, I feel that overall the experience would be improved had Arjen Lucassen trimmed down the songs to the absolute best ones so that he could put out a single really great album with proggy and metal moments in balance. You may slightly prefer this one if you prefer the metal side of Ayreon, but for my part I think it suffers just as much from filler as its other half.
Report this review (#640305)
Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Two sides of the same coin?

Flight Of The Migrator is the second out of the two Universal Migrator albums. While the first part was a Psychedelic/Space Rock experience with hardly a trace of Metal, this second part is a full on Metal album (a mix of Neo-Classical Metal, Power Metal, New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and Progressive Metal with traces of Neo-Prog). Even though the two Universal Migrator albums are musically quite different from each other they are thematically connected (and they were subsequently released together as a 2CD package). Again, though they are different musically, they do share many characteristics with each other as well as with the two albums that Arjen Lucassen released under the name of Star One. In my personal opinion, these four albums are definitely among Lucassen's better efforts and as such they are much preferred over some of his overrated and often overblown Rock Operas.

Arjen Lucassen always indulged freely in the worst clichés and stereotypes not only of the musical genres of Progressive Rock and Metal, but also of the literary genres of Fantasy and Science Fiction. The Universal Migrator albums are no exception, but it is bearable here. Like on Universal Migrator part 1, this second part too shows more restraint in terms of the number of vocalists and diverse musical styles. As I said above this mixes different Metal styles, but it wisely avoids the bombastic Rock Opera format that plagued other Ayreon albums. It does tell a story, but the vocalists are not assigned roles to play as such which I found more than a bit cheesy on Into The Electric Castle and The Human Equation. Here Arjen wisely avoids letting the storytelling take over the music. The almost complete absence of narration and sung or spoken dialogue here helps to lower the cheese-factor significantly and bring focus back to the music itself.

The material is relatively strong and very melodic, but compared to the best albums by the bands from which Arjen gathered his all-star cast of vocalists and instrumentalists - Symphony X, Shadow Gallery, Arena, Pendragon, Iron Maiden, Rhapsody (Of Fire), and more - Flight Of The Migrator (or any other Ayreon album) does not come anywhere remotely near their quality.

Recommended in addition to Dream Sequencer, but is more likely to impress Metal fans than Prog fans

Report this review (#750781)
Posted Tuesday, May 8, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars In the early days of my Ayreon endeavors The Dream Sequencer was by far my favourite album of the Universal Migrator duo, while I could not really get into Flight of the Migrator. It may have been too much non-stop heavy riffs thrown at me at once, a compact sound matt impossible to take in and sort out on a few listens. It took a while but after putting the disc on every once in a while for several years, progressively (in several meanings, obviously) it grew and eventually the melodies started to fall into place in my head, and my head accordingly started to dig. These days I regard Flight of the Migrator as one of Arjen's prime compositions. My experience is that this album may require time, patience and extended faith (numerous listens despite it does not makes sense, that is) before substantial appreciation develops.

The music can be described as majestic progressive space-themed metal with very few quiet moments. Melodies are driven by endless catchy guitar riffs, but the keyboard and deep bass layers essentially contribute to the rich, saturated collective sound that I relish so much. The very varied vocals throughout are not standing out, but are still outstanding (if you can recognize that difference) and are very well chosen to suite the bumpy musical landscapes. The cosmic lyrics eminently crown the associations obtained from the music.

All tracks are compelling without exceptions, with Chaos as an especially noteworthy moment. For me progressive metal does not get much better than this. This album is very similar to the progressive space metal side project called Arjen Anthony Lucassen's Star One, which is also highly recommended.

Report this review (#1288178)
Posted Sunday, October 5, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Review Nº 137

'The Universal Migrator Part Two: Flight Of The Migrator' is the fifth album of Ayreon, the musical project of the Dutch songwriter, producer, singer and multi-instrumentalist Arjen Anthony Lucassen and was released in 2000. The line up on the album is Arjen Lucassen, Ed Warby, Lana Lane, Russel Allen, Damian Wilson, Ralf Scheepers, Andi Deris, Bruce Dickinson, Fabio Lione, Timo Kotipetto, Robert Soeterboek, Ian Parry, Erik Norlander, Michael Romeo, Oscar Holleman, Gary Wehrkamp, Rene Merkelbach, Clive Nolan, Keiko Kumagai and Peter Siedlach.

'Flight Of The Migrator' represents the second part of 'The Universal Migrator', with the first part named 'The Universal Migrator Part One: 'The Dream Sequencer'. 'Flight Of The Migrator' contrasts with its counterpart, featuring a musical atmospheric feeling much heavier and with a very powerful guitar driven metal feel. Both albums were released simultaneously, but separately. He believed his fans would be fundamentally divided into two groups, prog or heavy metal fans. 'The Dream Sequencer' was to the prog enthusiasts and 'Flight Of The Migrator' to the metal fans.

'Flight Of The Migrator' is an album with another significance in Lucassen's almost 25 years long musical career. This is Ayreon's breakthrough album in the progressive metal style, especially because of its unimaginable line up of vocalists. Some of these singers are Russel Allen from Symphony X, Damian Wilson from both previous Ayreon's albums and Threshold, Ralf Scheepers from Primal Fear, Andi Deris from Helloween, Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden and Timo Kotipelto from Stratovarius. The list of musicians on the album is equally impressive with Erik Norlander and Clive Nolan on keyboards, Michael Romeo of Symphony X and Gary Wehrkamp of Shadow Gallery on guitars, and the long time drummer and friend of Arjen, Ed Warby. Needless to say that the progressive rock community was taken by storm when they heard the involvement of all these talented musicians, and thus, 5 years after its inception, Ayreon finally made its name known throughout the world. I really believe that there are some really amazing moments here.

Lyrically, 'Flight Of The Migrator' continues the story of the final living human being, the colonist on Mars, and his decision to go even further back in time. Using the Dream Sequencer machine, he travels just before the Universe was formed, even before the Big Bang explosion that creates the entire Universe. So, he observes the creation of the first soul, the Universal Migrator. It was from that soul that all the others were formed. He follows the soul as it travels through countless astronomical entities, such as quasars, pulsars, supernovas and black holes, and finally he came directly towards our Solar System. The colonist's ambitious by time travelling with the Dream Sequencer, resulted in his death. However, his eternal self receives a message from the Universal Migrator, that he is now the new Migrator.

Musically, 'Flight Of The Migrator' sounds very different from its first counterpart, 'The Dream Sequencer'. As I wrote before, when he was composing 'The Universal Migrator', Lucassen decided to make these twin albums separately, the metal and the non metal albums. Despite this is the metal part of 'The Universal Migrator' there are a lot of many other influences on it like rock and progressive rock, and there's also some power metal in almost every track. It can be confirmed by the list of guest singers when you can see the names of some of the best and most recognized heavy prog metal vocalists of our days. The music reminds mostly of Star One, another musical project of Arjen. The songs in here have actual variety, with beats and rhythms, and interesting instrumental working and all of that high-class stuff that makes an album actually interesting to listen to. The increase in both overall tempo and variety in sounds, there's a lot more guitar work and interesting keyboard arrangements on this album, makes the album an actual treat to listen to and firmly establish Ayreon as progressive metal, instead of the more melodious progressive rock, as Part I was.

Conclusion: With 'Flight Of The Migrator', Lucassen concluded 'The Universal Migrator' project, with the heaviest part of the concept. When I say heavy, I mean heavy by Ayreon's standards, especially if we compared it with the first part 'The Dream Sequencer', this is really a heavy album. However and in reality, Lucassen's music has never been about being musically heavy. He has always strived for making great compositions and beautiful melodies to the highly creative concepts he comes up with. Anyway, 'Flight Of The Migrator' has great compositions and solid performances all around. It still is a very solid release overall with some killer moments, both, musically and lyrically. All tracks are compelling without exceptions and 'Flight Of The Migrator' is very similar to Lucassen's progressive space metal side project Star One, which is also very highly recommended. So, this is a great album and I recommend it to everyone. If you aren't yet a progressive metal fan and you want to start listening to progressive metal music, 'Flight Of The Migrator' can certainly be a great starting point, or Ayreon or any other Lucassen's projects, in general.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#1787842)
Posted Wednesday, September 27, 2017 | Review Permalink
3 stars Impressive line-up with memorable vocal performances and no instrumentation lagging behind, that is another output by Ayreon.

The heavier companion of Part 1 also has interesting singers to offer, Russell Allen from Symphony X among others. Michael Romeo steps in one of the guitar solos. Excellent vocal perfomance comes from for me unknown Ralf Scheepers in "Journey On The Waves Of Time" who has a high-pitched vocal and scream. Bruce Dickinson let hear his classic vocal in the slow and ultra heavy "Into the black hole" with a splendid rich analogue synth solo. "Chaos" is a packed instrumental ouverture with brilliant guitar soloing by Lucassen. I still prefer Migrator 1 due to better melodies.

Report this review (#2271313)
Posted Saturday, October 19, 2019 | Review Permalink

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