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Dream Theater - Falling Into Infinity CD (album) cover

FALLING INTO INFINITY

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.32 | 1144 ratings

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Moatilliatta
Prog Reviewer
3 stars After two excellent full-lengths, Dream Theater were struck by the loss of Kevin Moore. With the release of A Change of Seasons, Dream Theater fans should have had their faith and hope retained/restored. New keyboardist Derek Sherinian put on a good performance in what remains to be the band's finest piece, though he had no part in the writing (it was written originally for Images and Words, and oh what an album that would have been, though I quite like how things turned out). With their first full-length excursion post-Moore, what was the outcome? Certainly nothing anyone could have predicted. We have an odd change in direction. 1997's Falling in Infinity turned out to be a more simplistic, poppy (theoretically) record. A strong dose of neo-prog is also apparent, and that's not to say the metal isn't here; there is plenty of metal, it's just more commercially formatted, and with that being combind with the overall simplicity, we find Dream Theater sounded more similar to their origins than ever before. That is of course, when they're playing heavy; a few ballads appear on this one.

While all of that sounds bad, Dream Theater still manage to make half of this album very good. "New Millenium" opens the album with a sound unlike anything we've ever heard from this band. It's atmospheric and catchy, but it's not trite. The song traverses through this atmospheric, slightly jazz stuff and a heavy set of verses and choruses over the course of eitht minutes. The following tune "You Not Me" is the first sign of weakness we've seen from the band since their debut, which never even stooped to this level of commericalism musically speaking. It is, in short, a pop-metal song not even worth being on the radio. The next piece Dream Theater is back to themselves as "Peruvian Skies" is an excellent mini-epic. A very powerful song. The next track, "Hollow Years," is the first of three ballads, and it is actually a good one. I suppose the closest thing the group has come to this is "The Silent Man," which showed that they were capable of writing a simple, soft ballad. This one has a particularly nice riff on which the song finds its foundation. This song is amplified even more when it becomes a nine-minute live piece (as seen on the Budokan DVD), but they kept it short and sweet here, and it is still a good tune. The next song, "Burning My Soul" seems a bit shallow to me, it has no real substance and is just a heavy, headbangng type song. It's softer compliment, "Hell's Kitchen" really turns it around though. It is a beautiful instrumental piece, and is actually the msot complex piece on the whole album, despite it's mood and length. The next song is one of two epics. Both of which are great. It is followed by the second ballad, "Take Away My Pain," a song John Petrucci wrote for his deceased father for that I must respect this tune, but in reality, it is a boring new-wave kind of song. "Just Let Me Breathe" is similar to "Burning My Soul" as it is a more straightforward rocker, but this one actually has a fun riff and instrumental section to make it worth listening to. "Anna Lee" is the final ballad, and is between the first two in terms of quality. A pleasant song. The final track is the second of the epics, and man is it a good one. Easily the best track on the album. It has a sound unlike anything they've done (as can be said about most of this album), and has one of the best solo sections the group has ever performed.

Apparently Dream Theater had a lot of stress putting this one together, with added pressure from the label and all, hence the overall more commercial feel to this one. The one good thing to come from the label's influence was that the band did not write the 25-minute epic they were planning to write - an epic that was to be Metropolis Part 2 - and that is something to be thankful for. We have seven strong-excellent songs, and four poor songs. This one is still worth getting based on the strength of tracks 1, 3, 6, 7 and 11. Sherinian would not end up working out, and to suceed him would be the one to send the band into territories never before explored by these guys, and abounding, unprecedented quality would come from this musical force.

Moatilliatta | 3/5 |

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