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Dream Theater - Dream Theater CD (album) cover

DREAM THEATER

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.42 | 505 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

arcane-beautiful
4 stars Oddly enough, this is my first time ever reviewing a Dream Theater album. Which is odd, because I have been a massive fan of this band for 10 years now. In fact, if it weren't for this band, I would never have started to play guitar. I wouldn't have discovered the wonderful world of progressive music. So...here we go...

After a return to form with their last album "A Dramatic Turn Of Events", this new album, a self titled 13th studio affair is pretty much a taster of what's to come for the band in the future. So how does it hold up, Well...its a mixed bag really. Much like every Dream Theater album (except for the classics obviously).

Mangini's drumming, which is pretty much the hook for the album is pretty impressive. I've always been in love with this guys technique and ability. It is odd not hearing Portnoy's sound (dugga dugga dugga as I like to call it), but I do like a new spice added to an old broth. James' vocals are also show a pretty noticeable change, with his vocals sounding a lot more comfortable than on previous releases. And with his solo album doing so well, this guy is probably on top of the world at the moment (with his facebombing beard...and a beautiful beard it is).

Mix wise, this album is a lot better. This time the guitar sound isn't too overbearing, and finally...the bass can be heard. John Myung is one of the best players on the planet, yet his bass sound over the past album has almost been inaudible. Good to hear the funk put back in the band again.

And as usual Petrucci and Rudess sound amazing...but they always do. Damn those wizards.

The album's opener "False Awakening Suite" is the band's attempt at creating opening music for their tours. In many ways it reminds me of a Symphony X instrumental, with the intro to "Paradise Lost" coming to mind. A nice little composition with some pretty cool riffs and bombastic uses of orchestration.

The lead single "The Enemy Inside" is one of the best introduction songs these guys have released since "Constant Motion." With a rather heavier approach to the bands sound with some modern metal influences, with the use of discords and stuff, the band show a more modern sound. Lyrically the song deals with the topic of post traumatic stress disorder, and I have to admit, it does have some good lyrical moments.

"The Looking Glass" is probably one of my favourite songs on the album. Now, I will admit, the main riff is pretty much a Rush rip off (maybe a tribute, just to be nice), but as the song goes on, it does move in to rather more beautiful territories. The lyrics deal with fame and are aimed at people who get fame from no work and stuff. I have to admit, some of the lyrics and lines I'm pretty impressed by.

In all of Dream Theater's albums and career, I have never heard what I would describe as a 'filler track'...but I'm afraid that I finally have found one. "Behind The Veil" pretty much just sounds like certain sounds heard on this album meshed together. The chorus is rather weak but there is some rather good moments throughout it.

The album's final track "Illumination Theory" is the album's longest track, being just under 20 minutes (with a hidden Easter egg at the end). In many ways this track reminds me of "The Count Of Tuscany," except the opposite. On "The Count Of Tuscany", I really didn't like the metal bits and favoured the softer bits. But, the metal bits on this song I absolutely love, mainly because it reminds me of a more classic style of metal. The softer moments on this are rather good, but the most oddest bit would be the middle part of the song. It does sound nice and al, it just comes from nowhere. The ending Easter egg is also pretty cool and rather beautiful...and if this was the start of the next album, it would be a pretty cool idea.

In conclusion, this album reminds me of the way I felt when I listened to Rush's "Clockwork Angels". A good album, a return to form, joyous music...but still not 100% rubbing me the right way. By far not their best and by far not their worst, this is a pretty decent affair. Their ain't no instant classics on this album, but there is some pretty decent minor experiments cropping up now and then. In all fairness, James' solo album is in fact a way more enjoyable affair...which I know is a very odd thing to say, but...it makes sense. At the end of the day, Dream Theater have become the new Rush. They will always excel with their talent, always impress with their old and new material and to this day are one of the biggest cult bands on the planet. So really nothing I can say will dampen their already perfect image. Good on ya lads!

arcane-beautiful | 4/5 |

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