Universal Religion: Chapter 5

by: Armin Van Buuren

Recorded live at Ibiza super-club Space, Dutch trance pioneer Armin Van Buuren's fifth instalment of his Universal Religion compilation series features 28 pulsating club anthems, twice as many as its 2009 predecessor. This expansive track-list allows Van Buuren himself to showcase his talents on a wider scale, whether as an artist, on the harder-edged collaboration with Ferry Corsten ("Brute") and the twitchy acidic techno of "Stellar" (recorded under the guise of Gaia), or as a remixer on the blissful etherealness of Hannah's "Falling Away" and the shimmering frenetic trance-pop of Emma Hewitt's "Colours." But like the contributions from fellow superstar DJs Paul Oakenfold ("Full Moon Party") and BT ("Tomahawk"), they're the kind of generic offerings which could be knocked out in his sleep. The album's more inventive moments are provided elsewhere, whether it's Shogun's "Space Odyssey," which reflects its title with its NASA control center-style samples and rocket-launching hooks, the more progressive trance of Dennis Shepherd's "Fallen Angel" and Dakoka/Markus Schulz's "Terrace 5 a.m." or Andrew Bayer's warm-layered Deadmau5-esque "Counting The Points." Universal Religion Chapter Five's lengthy running time suggests 2011 has been a vintage year for trance music, but despite a couple of potential future classics, it evokes the feel of a party that has gone on just a little too long. ~ Jon O'Brien

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