Ayreon

Universal Migrator, Pt. 2: Flight of the Universal Migrator

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Flight of the Migrator represents the second of the separately issued, two-part science fiction-based Universal Migrator CDs. Once again, multi-instrumentalist Arjen Anthony Lucassen employs a multinational aggregation of vocalists and keyboardists to supplement his existential visions. And while the excellent Part I: The Dream Sequencer is primarily an ambient/electronic progressive rock-based outing, Part II of this series figuratively takes the willing listener back to the beginning of time, as the hard-edged prog/metallic stylizations parallel a stewing universe, i.e., "The Big Bang." Throughout this affair, the music contrasts the expertly crafted dreamscapes witnessed on Part I as the musicians expound upon rapid unison choruses, shifty time signatures, and synth-led themes. The piece titled "Journey on the Waves of Time" boasts a memorably melodic hook thanks to Erik Norlander's meaty analog synthesizers as the overall vibe might rekindle notions of a typical Emerson, Lake & Palmer motif, although Ralf Scheepers icy, high-pitched vocals detract from the melodious effect. The band also utilizes strings and electro-acoustic interludes to counterbalance some of the high-impact proceedings amid Lucassen's penetrating and often blistering lines performed on electric guitar. Overall, Flight of the Migrator is a noteworthy release for the year 2000 yet some of these pieces are slightly amorphous in scope and fail to sustain any lasting degree of interest. However, Lucassen's applied concepts and compositional acumen fare much better on the highly recommended The Dream Sequencer.

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