Ayreon - UNIVERSAL MIGRATOR PART 1: THE DREAM SEQUENCER Inside Out Music - 2000 /images/covers/ayreon_dream.gif I must admit that I had no idea what kind of album I was getting when I received this in the mail. I bought it because it was being described as one of the best albums of the year (as well as Part 2: Flight of the Migrator). Ayreon is the band fronted by Arjen Anthony Lucassen and he recruited many of the top names in metal today to participate in the Universal Migrator albums. In this album, you will find such names as Neal Morse of Spock's Beard, Lana Lane, Erik Norlander & Edward Reekers just to name a few. Conceptually these albums are about the last Mars colonist in the 22nd century. This lone colonist has decided to spend his last days inside the "recreation machine" known as the Dream Sequencer. The colonist selects the Universal Migrator program and we are off into an amazing musical journey through space and time. Musically the first thing that popped into my mind while I was listening to this album is Pink Floyd. It has many of the elements of Floyd, but it is enhanced into 90's style music with its wide array of beautiful and tranquil vocals, layered synths, & sweet melodies. The album is also enhanced by its wide array of singers, whom all add their distinctive style to the music. Johan Edlund appears on "My House on Mars" and he is the reason that this song is my favorite from the album. He has a very unique voice that adds to the lyrical theme of loneliness of the song. Other standouts are Edward Reekers on "One Small Step", Damian Wilson on "And the Druids turn to Stone", Lana Lane on "Dragon on the Sea" and Neal Morse on "The First Man on Earth". I should point out Arjen also sings on one of the songs (Carried by the Wind) and I definitely hope he sings more on his projects because he has a great gloomy and tranquil singing style to add to his wide array of talents. The majority of the songs are in the 7-minute range so I know that this album is not for everyone, especially the die-hard metal fan. But if you are a fan of progressive music and are looking to add to your collection I highly recommend this album. Your collection will be incomplete without this gem.