AYREON — Universal Migrator, Part 1: The Dream Sequencer (review)

AYREON — Universal Migrator, Part 1: The Dream Sequencer album cover Album · 2000 · Non-Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
2.5/5 ·
I'm a fan of much of Arjen Lucassen's work, particularly the more recent Ayreon projects. This is the fourth but turns out to be one of my least favourite in the series. It's certainly not a bad album, there are moments where I quite enjoy it but there's too many keyboard sequencers used for my tastes for starters. Prog Metal?.....well you wont find much metal here which in itself is not a problem but I found myself wishing this album would take off occasionally, overall being a fairly laid back plodding affair.

Pink Floyd influences abound, none more so than on The Dream Sequencer which comes across like a Shine on You Crazy Diamond for the new millennium; much of Lucassen's guitar solos here are going for that Dave Gilmour vibe.

Two of the best tracks feature Lana Lane on vocals. 2084 and Dragon On The Sea both have decent melodies and Lane's powerful voice help breath life into tracks which in lesser hands may have blended in with much of the rest.

Another criticism is some of the tracks drag on a bit too long. Don't get me wrong, I love long tracks but to keep interest they need more changes and plenty of dynamics which are lacking in the main here, the songs being structurally simple. It's difficult to stay interested as the album heads towards the end but And The Druids Turn To Stone turns out to be a late highlight featuring Damien Wilson (of Threshold and Landmarq fame) on vocals and some Hammond Organ, much better than those bleeping sequencers which no doubt give the desired futuristic spacey vibe but unless used as minor support soon get on my nerves.

Overall then this album is a little dull with a few good moments. Incidently, if you have not already noticed, this is the companion album to part 2 of The Universal Migrator, Flight of the Migrator, both albums being available now as a double disc set. No doubt it was Lucassen's intention to keep this one more on the mellow side as a contrast to the heavier part 2 which I find more enjoyable but I may have enjoyed this one more if it could have been mixed up with some of the heavier aspects of it's follow up, obviously without destroying the flow of the concept. Just a few rocking moments would have given a lift to an album that's a bit too long and one dimensional to retain my interest. Okay but far from essential so just about worth 2 1/2 stars.
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