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DREAM THEATER

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.44 | 524 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ProgShine
2 stars Every new Dream Theater album there's a rain of reviews everywhere. 90% of them are separated into 2 categories: The Fanatics and The Haters. The first one forget everything else give it 5 stars and only focus on the fact this is their favorite band and this is their best album ever. The second will not listen the album with attention, give it 2 stars and call it the worst (once again).

I don't like fanatics and I hate the haters, so...

I always liked DT besides not liking their earlier albums, my favorites will always be Scenes and Six Degrees. I was avoiding to listen the new album (the same as the latest one) just because the facts I mentioned before, I was waiting for things 'cool down' a bit. Well yesterday I feel like listening, so, here's what I think.

Yes, it is a downhill for the band, but I wasn't expecting anything anyway since I thought exactly the same about A Dramatic Turn Of Events (2011) but thing in DT HQs are getting REALLY dull and they're taking everything for granted.

When Mike Portnoy was on board he was a big driving force for the band together with John Petrucci, they were sharing lyrics and producer seat, now the guitarrist is alone, and that's not good. To begin with, Petrucci lyrics are horrible most of the time and he seems to be writing for teenagers, and I think he is, intentionally, to 'get' this audience. On the producer side Petrucci pretty much ignores everything but the guitars. Yeah, DT was always guitars and drums, but now only guitars matter. John Myung is said by many to have a voice now... where? On the 20 seconds per song he appears? Usually MYung is just... not there, then out of nowhere his bass will appear for 15 or 20 seconds and then they are gone again. Mike Mangini had a hard time filling some big shoes and he does pretty well, but the sounds of the drums... why? Sometimes it even looks like some electronic kit because of the effects. Petrucci is a very good player, will always be, and he can write some good songs and riffs, but he just can't play the acoustic, and he tries twice on Dream Theater (2013), both times looks like a robot playing. I have never liked James LaBrie voice but I do think it fits the band's sound, but here... LaBrie is soul-less in pretty much everywhere, as if tired or just plain bored, no nice hooks no memorable singing lines. He seems to be happier on his solo project but DT is a safe job, so he stays. My surprise for the album is Jordan Rudess, always disliked his style and always thought he was the weak link of the chain. Despite the fact he uses that kind of Power Metal/Gothic Metal cheap choir keyboards in some moments he pretty much did very well along the album and have more variety in his keyboards sounds.

Now, the songs... they're weak, VERY weak. You know you have a big problem when your best songs are the single 'The Enemy Inside' and the instrumental 'Enigma Machine'. 'False Awakening Suite' is nothing but the worst piece I've heard and it should never be allowed on the record. 'The Looking Glass' is an unexplicable AOR track that sees the band playing some 80's kind of hair metal, at least here you can hear Myung. 'The Bigger Picture, as I mentioned before, sees Mangini playing a drum that looks like an electronic one.

Now, the big suite'Illumination Theory', an 'epic' with over 22 minutes. Well, let me tell you something, this 'epic' has nothing more nothing less than around 14 minutes long indeed and it is a shame for a band like DT to use this kind of trick just to have a longer piece on the album. 22 minutes, less 2 minutes of 'nature and illumination sounds' = 20, right after that less 4 minutes of a really nice orchestral bit but that is COMPLETELY out of place (it could have been used as the intro though) = 16 minutes. Then, before the 20th minute mark the song is over, 20 seconds of silence and then... an inexplicable piano (with a guitar on the background) jam for 2 minutes = 14 minutes of real music...

I said something on my SW review some time ago that fits here completely: DT are great selers, and it shows on this album. They sell their fans a apretty box but empty inside and the worst part is that the bans buy it with a smile. Just this time not even the box is pretty...

ProgShine | 2/5 |

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