Album Reviews

Dream Theater – Dream Theater Review

dreamtheater_cover

Released by: Roadrunner Records

Release Date: Out Now!!!

Genre: Progressive Metal

Links: http://www.dreamtheater.net/

 

Line Up:

John Petrucci – guitars

John Myung – bass

James LaBrie – vocals

Jordan Rudess – keyboards

Mike Mangini – percussion

 

Tracklist:

1. FALSE AWAKENING SUITE

i. Sleep Paralysis

ii. Night Terrors

iii. Lucid Dream

2. THE ENEMY INSIDE

3. THE LOOKING GLASS

4. ENIGMA MACHINE

5. THE BIGGER PICTURE

6. BEHIND THE VEIL

7. SURRENDER TO REASON

8. ALONG FOR THE RIDE

9. ILLUMINATION THEORY

i. Paradoxe de la Lumière Noire

ii. Live, Die, Kill

iii. The Embracing Circle

iv. The Pursuit of Truth

v. Surrender, Trust & Passion

 

As soon as the brand new self titled album from Dream Theater started, I knew that it was going to blow me away. Call it intuition, but there was something about the “False Awakening Suite” that just immediately prepared me for the masterpiece I was about to take in. It didn’t truly sink in until I got to “The Looking Glass” that I was very likely listening to the best album in Dream Theater’s catalog. I had already heard “The Enemy Within” and realized that it was up to their usual abilities so I needed to hear the next song to verify my belief.

How is it a band that has been around as long as DT can keep topping their selves’ album after album? I understand that they had a few moments here and there that some fans view as bleak points on their horizon, but for every “miss” over time those albums have managed to change people’s minds. Of course I admit that there is very little that the band can do that would disappoint me. I mean, it’s not like they’re going to lose an integral member of the band seen as “the face” or anything like that right? Oh yeah, that’s right, they already did that and STILL released one of the best albums they had done in a long time with A Dramatic Turn of Events. Trust me, other than a handful of drummers, I tend not to get too bent out of shape if a band loses theirs, but Mike Portnoy is not your average drummer. Then again neither is Mike Mangini, the more than capable replacement. On the last album the majority of the drum parts were provided by the other members as I understand it so he didn’t truly get to shine as much as he is on Dream Theater. There’s been some talk on the Internet making disparaging comments about his snare sound. I freely admit, I’m not a drummer, but I hear nothing that bothers my ears at all about Mangini’s drum sound. I was expecting to hear Lars Ulrich via St Anger level of shit sound. Personally, and this is coming from a lifelong Portnoy fan and supporter, I think Mangini’s sound adds an extra level of heavy to the music, and the accents and runs he does are pretty phenomenal.

As I listened to this album a total of 6 times in a row, numerous things jumped out at men. For starters, John Petrucci is on top of his game. Not that he has been anything other than amazing prior, his playing is on fire on Dream Theater. Between incredibly smoking solo’s to heavy, in-your-face riffs he covers all the bases. The other John of the band, bassist John Myung, is more upfront with his playing than in recent years. His compliments to what is going on in the song deserve to be heard and it’s about time he get his volume pumped up a bit more. Something else I noticed more than ever on this album was that they’re paying more homage to their influences more than usual. There’s very obviously a Rush influence cropping up, in particular on “The Looking Glass” and “Surrender To Reason.” There are certain guitar passage’s that are very Lifeson like, which stands to reason as Alex is a tremendous influence on Petrucci. Two other influences that cropped up to my ears were Styx and ELP, obviously both hearkening to the keyboard sound provided by the amazing Jordan Rudess. Last, and certainly not least, is the ever amazing James Labrie. Just as I prophesized on my review of his new solo album, I knew that with as awesome as it was it meant that Dream Theater’s next release was going to be incredible. His voice sounds more relaxed and passionate than it has in ages.

For anyone that claims that Dream Theater is incapable of writing good songs are sadly mistaken. Sure, not everyone enjoys progressive music with its complex passages, but the one thing that has always attracted me to this band is their ability to write within the genre yet put so much emotion into their songs. Sometimes they will allow themselves the chance to stray into area’s that shine their abilities, but especially on the last couple of albums they have been able to shine without having the song suffer. For me there isn’t a bad song on this album. However if I were to select my absolute favorite, most stand out track, I’d have to give it to either “The Bigger Picture” or the epic album closer “Illumination Theory.” Both songs are diametrically opposed to each other: “The Bigger Picture” is a straight song whereas “Illumination Theory” is this album’s “Octavarium.” Both tracks are the perfect representations of what makes the band Dream Theater so incredible, and demonstrate why the album Dream Theater is very likely the best album the band has ever recorded.

 

 

Written by Chris Martin

Ratings    Chris    10/10

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