Dream Theater – Dream Theater

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/ Label: Roadrunner Records

Band Line Up:

Vocals: James Labrie
Guitar: John Petrucci
Bass: John Myang
Keyboard: Jordan Rudess:
Drums: Mike Mangini

Track listing:

1. False Suite Awakening
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

Review:

The twelve record by progressive metal pioneers Dream Theater is the second record to feature since the shocking departure of their former Drummer Mike Portnoy. Some loyalists of the band have become divided in their opinion upon the direction of the previous release A Dramatic Turn of Events and it would seem that this new self titled release is about to do the same.

Without going into a track by track synopsis of what the record entails (due to the sheer amount of ground covered) it’s safe to say that they most certainly haven’t lost their edge or released a weak album to date. Within the early stages of ‘False Awakening Suite’ and ‘The Enemy Inside’ fans are reminded of some the band’s heavier material from albums such as Train of Thought. The gritty metallic riffs and relentless pounding from the drums certainly sets things of to an exhilarating start. The mid section divulges the more progressive and ecstatic clash of instrumentation which barges into an all free style of drums and symphonic layering.

The problem that a lot of fans may find is that the bulk of the record is comprised with slightly less experimentation beyond this. Dream Theater have certainly gone for a more focused song structures, such as the infectious groove of ‘The Looking Glass’ and the stadium filler guitars of ‘Surrender to Reason’ with its proggy undertones.

Things do however end on an all out high with ’Illumination Theory’, which in many respects redeems the formulaic pace of the earlier tracks. It comes with plenty of time signature changes, complex drumming and plenty of experimental piano led melodies. Around half way through, the track disperses into a classical terrain which is something I haven’t heard from these guys before. What’s more it felt like a natural progression as the classical score weaves through seamlessly in its cinematic wake. The final third of the track kicks back in with some face melting solos from John Petrucci, lamenting his ever prominent ability to drop jaws before scaling into a well written crescendo to top everything off.

The record did have a couple of minor lows flaws. Firstly, the vocals at times didn’t really fit the tonality of the songs and there seemed to be an over pronunciation of in the vocals that felt strained to listen to at certain junctures. ’Behind The Veil’ also felt somewhat dull and lifeless and should have been built upon.

Bottom line, this was by far a worthy record for a band who have been releasing music for over 25 years. It is by no means their most progressive or heaviest material, so if your looking for either you may find it a disappointing spin. However, this offering does have more cohesion and feels like a more mature record in that doesn’t meander down strung out solos or instrumental suspense for too long. Instead there is a stronger sense of immediacy and songs that feel more punchy at their delivery. One thing is for sure, these guys don’t show any signs of relenting their signature sound that has transcended the years and stood the test of the time when pulling something new out of the bag and it is on that merit alone that still make them a powerful force within modern music.

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