Ayreon - _Universal Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer_
(Transmission Records, 2000)
by: Chris Flaaten (8 out of 10)
As the title of this album indicates, this is the first part of a two-CD set, the second being _The Flight of the Migrator_. While the second half of the set features heavy rock and progressive metal, the first part consists of song-oriented and atmospheric, almost dreamy, progressive rock. Both have been written in full by Ayreon mastermind Arjen Lucassen and as always he has a horde of guest vocalists along with him: Johan Edlund, Neal Morse and Lana Lane, to name a few. The first instrumental introduces us to the Dream Sequencer, a machine that takes the user on a dream journey back in time. We fly from the 21st century to the first man on Earth, stopping by everything from the moonlanding in '69 to the Mayans. The music lets us participate properly in this dream. Lucassen's and fellow prog rocker Erik Norlander's synths create an atmosphere that is just uncanny. This is soothing, relaxing music at its best. Some melodies might seem odd at first, as if taken from late '80s arcade games, but it doesn't take many spins to thoroughly enjoy the wholeness of this album. A must for those interested in prog rock and all of you who, like me, weren't at all disappointed by Tiamat's amazing _A Deeper Kind of Slumber_.

(article published 12/8/2000)

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