Image © 2001
On Universal Migrator, Arjen picks up the
thread in the 22nd century. More than a hundred years have
passed since the last world war destroyed all live on the
planet earth, in precisely the same manner as foretold by the
leading character Ayreon in the sixth century (from The
Final Experiment, the first Ayreon album). Colonists
were on Mars during that struggle, from where they observed
the annihilation of earth from a remote distance. For years
they were able to survive with the supplies they had brought
with them. But the stocks, now depleted and none of the
colonists have survived except the main figure of the Dream
Sequencer. The sole survivor, a child of one of the original
Mars colonists, he has never set foot on earth.
To make the tedious life at Mars a little more bearable,
clever technicians designed the Dream Sequencer, a machine that enables
them to travel back under hypnosis to their own childhood, and to lives
before that; their pre-incarnations. In this way the main figure
witnesses the first landing on the moon in 1969. he was a
standard-bearer in the famous Rembrandt picture The Night Watch
(17th century), he appears to be a reincarnation of Ayreon (6th
century), he was present when Stonehenge was built (2,300 BC)
and once, in the mists of time, he wsa the first (erect) human
being on earth (50,000 BC). His wanderings are musically
accompanied by mellow and atmospheric sounds.
On the previous Ayreon album, Into the Electric
Castle there's a distinct opera-like structure in which the
main figures react to one another within the same song. This time
Arjen opted for a different approach. Each and every male and
female singer has his or own song. As a result of this each new
figure has its own distinct character.
More Arjen Anthony Lucassen
Live On Earth
Flight Of The Migrator
The Dream Sequencer
Fate Of A Dreamer
(14 April 2001)
The latest project from Arjen Anthony Lucassen is a two album
Ayreon set entitled Universal Migrator. The first album,
entitled The Dream Sequencer (Transmission Records (Holland)
TM-019, 2000 and InsideOut Music America (USA) IOMACD 2015, 2000),
for the greater part contains subdued, atmospheric progressive
songs with female vocal contributions by a broad variety of
artists familiar to Musical Discoveries' readers. The second,
Flight of the Migrator (Transmission TM-020 and InsideOut
IOMA2016) is filled with pulverizing metal songs.
has its own concept and individual character and are natural
follow-ons to the two-CD Ayreon rock opera Into The Electric
Castle (Transmission TM-014, 1998). Further details on the
albums' concepts, characters and artist contributions are
readily available at Ayreon's
An album of rare alternative mixes and bonus tracks
emerged after the Universal Migrator set was released.
Entitled Ayreonauts Only (Transmission TM-027, 2001), the
eleven-track compact disc includes two tracks by Arjen with Astrid
van der Veen, a new and amazing female vocalist, with the track
"Cold Metal" being from his forthcoming Ambeon project. A review
of Ayreonauts Only and this new compact disc will be posted
A spacy narration by the machine opens The Dream
Sequencer album. With a running time exceeding 70 minutes,
richly produced with lush progressive arrangements, the album also
features stunning female vocal contributions. Floor Jansen
(After Forever [feature])
provides a lovely backing vocal supporting Johan Edlund
in "My House On Mars."
Lana Lane (feature)
sings the stunning progressive ballad "2084." The
lovely and highly memorable track "One Small Step" tells the
story of the first lunar landing; lead vocals are by Edward
Reekers and backing harmonies are by a choir comprised of the
album's female vocalists.
The instrumental melody in "The Shooting Company Of
Captain Frans B. Coco" is balanced between guitar and keyboard
parts. Beatlesque-style vocals by Mouse add a lovely texture to the
spacy texture of the track. Written by Erik Norlander, the
symphonic "Dragon On The Sea," with its lush keyboard arrangement
and stunning acoustic guitar part, is a 'classic' Lana Lane ballad.
Powerful vocals lead vocals soar well above the instrumentals in
the verses; the choruses are full of lush vocal harmonies.
"Temple Of The Cat" is very clearly one of the standout
tracks on the album. Sweetly sung by Jacqueline Govaert (from the
Dutch punk band Krezip) over an acoustically light keyboard orchestral
arrangement, vocal harmonies provide a lovely texture to the everso
sweet ballad. Arjen sings the lead vocal part on "Carried By The
Wind," a short but melodic progressive track featuring complimentary
guitar and keyboard work. Damian Wilson's powerful and evocative
vocals—typified by his former work with Landmarq, Threshold and
Ayreon—soar in the theatrical style ballad "And the Druids Turn To
Stone." Arjen's guitar solo mid-track and shimmering Hammond organ
parts are tremendous.
"The First Man on Earth" is sung by Neal Morse (Spock's Beard)
very much in a Beatlesque style with lush processional style
keyboards being complimented by acoustic and electric guitar.
Layers of harmony vocals by Rocket Scientist Mark McCrite add
texture in the track's choruses. Highly accessible and orchestral,
the epic track—complete with dramatic guitar and keyboard solos—is
certain to delight a broad range of audiences. The album concludes
with a gently dramatic—yet spacy—instrumental entitled "The Dream
The first collection of this new set from Ayreon is a
a superb song-based progressive rock masterwork and certainly is
fitting as the next installment from Mr Lucassen. Whilst only four
of the eleven tracks feature female vocalists, Arjen's passion for
their inclusion remains evident.
Check out the soundbites on the web. Worth a trans-Atlantic journey,
this album is certainly a must listen!