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DREAM THEATER

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.44 | 479 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Kassimatis
4 stars A Taste of Majesty

Dream Theater introduced me to progressive rock some seven years ago and touched me with their passion for music, intricate virtuosity, spiritual awareness and gorgeous memorable melody. Since then I have become acquainted with the canon of prog, and for that I am ever grateful to both the band and the prog archives! To love life and good music, I believe, go hand in hand =)

I honestly didn't believe that the band could pull off another strong, passion-filled album since the decline of inspiration from "Systematic Chaos" onward. For me, this was the most enjoyable listening experience to fresh Dream Theater material for a long time!

"A Dramatic Turn of Events" (ADTOE) was a good album and caught my interest, but it frustrated me because the brilliant moments were just a bit too contaminated with either sub par vocals or cheese. What I mean was, unlike a fully coherent master-crafted "Metropolis pt I", "Outcry " for example, contained noticeable flaws. I repeatedly spin the gorgeous "Beneath the Surface" but get stuck in the middle of "Bridges in the Sky" and "Lost Not Forgotten". When I heard "Breaking All Illusions" I enjoyed it very much and was reminded of the eternal "Learning To Live". So a good but patchy album.

Let's take a moment and remember that we are prog critics - and that means that the longer the track length the harder the band must work to impress us. Even fifteen seconds of cheese can ruin an 8 minute track. To compose a flawless "song" is all the more difficult. Prog lovers also expect greater creativity and sophistication than other kinds of music lovers. With that, I wish to express my utmost respect for any successful prog act, even if the mind-shattering brilliance lasts for only one or two albums (thinking of acts like The Mars Volta, Anglagard, maudlin of the Well etc to date). So, considering that the band have already blown us away with over five albums worth of brilliant material and some stunning live albums, I wish to view this self titled album with both measured gratitude and a critical ear.

Why is "Dream Theater" a better addition to the band's discography over the previous release, and IMHO better than much of the 2000s material? The compositions come closer to that clean master crafting that is present in the band's genre-defining albums. To add to their reignited passion, and a return to their proggy roots (both entered in ADTOE), you have an album filled with anthems. This is the key word I want to use. I find myself often happily singing this album between spins, in the same way that I might love to spontaneously burst into song with "Voices", "Wait for Sleep", "Solitary Shell" or "Octavarium" at any given time =)

The notable anthems are "Surrender to Reason", "Behind the Veil", "The Bigger Picture", and "The Looking Glass". The instrumentals are also very pleasing.

I was quite unhappy with the shortcoming of the epic. It has great moments, but is hopelessly incoherent and quite uninspiring. Unfortunately, I don't wish to repeat it that often. Re-enter the cheese. And I even welcome those anger filled screeches, and symphonic interludes! Let "Octavarium" and "A Change of Seasons" reverberate long into the future of prog, but sadly, not this one.

I often feel that mentoring young talent is probably a soul fulfilling role for talented musicians at this stage in their life. Trying to be 21 again is probably not the way to go, and honestly why should one feel ashamed of that? It's not like this band have to prove any more or give any more than what they have already given. I feel that sometimes, in its worship of youth, our culture fails to capitalise on the wisdom and dignity that age (should) bring.

I say with joy and confidence, with these well crafted memorable anthems that enter the stage - even 21 years after "Images and Words" - that this is an excellent disc to add to your prog collection.

Rock on DT !

Kassimatis | 4/5 |

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