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Dream Theater - Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory CD (album) cover

METROPOLIS PART 2: SCENES FROM A MEMORY

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

4.28 | 2171 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

SoundsofSeasons
Prog Reviewer
4 stars edit:EDIT: 3/8/2007: O.K. seriously, this is the third time i've re-(re)-written this review... I'm thinking at this point i just WISH I could call this a masterpiece.

...but sadly its SO FREIKING CLOSE but a few things just hold it back from perfection, and in fact, if i didn't have this album for so long, id probably consider this a masterpiece. I did even, for the longest time, but really it's because i forgave its flaws too much, cause i liked it so much. Now-a-days I still really like it, but because i'm so familiar with it, its flaws really expose themself to me. You know what... why don't I just list the positives and negatives...

The GOOD

-Musicianship is astounding... but you knew that already, this is Dream Theater. The alumni of the Berkley school of music. These guys know their stuff.

-Production is great, and as a concept album, it gives you those little theatrical extras (the screams, the gun shots, the tape recorder in the beginning [for better or worse].)

-The Jams, although possibly overextended a bit, are mind-bending and really rock hard thanks to the jazziness, which I happen to like a lot.

-The Lyrics are very simple and at times you will be shouting them out yourself, you'll become very familiar with them.

The BAD

-Musicianship Well... the musicanship is astounding from everyone except James LaBrie, the vocalist. He honestly tries to be more than he is. Yah he is a trained vocalist, but realistically, he can go from very good to embarrassingly annoying in just one song. He tries to hit notes he just can't without screaming, and at that point, he is holding on for his life. He has his moments, and he is talented to a certain extent, but he doesn't know when enough is enough... he isn't as good as he thinks he is. If you want to hear a vocalist in the Prog-Metal genre that really IS that good, try Daniel Gildenlow from Pain of Salvation... now THAT GUY might actually make your jaw drop.

-Production remember how i said, [for better or worse] about the tape recorder track in the beginning of the album? Well, thats because, some of the theatrical extras actually detract from the album, and could be considered almost pointless or laughable.

-The Jams I don't use this word often or lightly, but in this case it is rather negative... the jams become OVER-INDULGENT. Yes, these elite few musicians are fantastic, but the jams really are too long and too much. Most of the time a 10+ minute song could have been cut down by 2-4 minutes by just ending certain jam phrases earlier. If their jams kept having new ideas every 15-20 seconds then i would have no problem with this, in fact I would be amazed. An album that is short (or rather condenced), because they do this well, is Unquestionable Presence by Athiest... in that album they only stay on a single idea for a very short amount of time, and change time signatures so quickly and fluidly it'll leave you wondering where the hell you are, like your strapped in a high velocity rollercoaster with loops and backward drops.

The Lyrics- O.K. so i said they are simple, and thats a good thing, as it's easy to understand where the simplistic story is going. But at the same time... sometimes they are so simple that they are like a middle school student wrote them during lunch on a napkin. Maybe im being a bit harsh, considering this is the Prog-Metal genre, which is notorious for its sub-par lyrics, but honestly... "In loving memory of a child. So innocent eyes open wide. I felt so empty as i cried. Like part of me had died." All sung in a disgustingly aching whine by LaBrie and, "I used to be frightened of dying. I used to think death was the end. But that was before, I`m not scared anymore, I know that my soul will transcend." I mean COME ON... could you pass the cheese please?!?!

So, this is an album that is partly amazing due to it's musicians and high-quality concept album, but its held back by a sub-par vocalist, a lack of discipline, and being overlong.

Scenes from a Memory may not be a Masterpiece as a whole, but large parts of it are. It is absoutely an essential listen, however, for any prog fan. It will probably take multiple listens to hear everything... unfortunately this will expose its weaknesses, but at the same time the positives will become apparent as well.

SoundsofSeasons | 4/5 |

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