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


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.29 | 2817 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars This album is a worthwhile addition to any collection, but it falls well short of masterpiece status.

As other reviewers have noted, this is a concept album. It certainly is, in a most literal sense: you must listen to every song consecutively to decipher the story. By no means are all concept albums like this. Many others are aspects of an overall theme, and can be listened to in any order.

The story is the album's main problem: it is a non-linear story, which jumps about temporally, but is told in a linear fashion. This contributes to the feeling of confusion one feels on the first listen. Associated with this are the dreadfully overwritten lyrics. Good lyrics are subtle, but here DREAM THEATER are at their most embarrassingly trite. Important parts of the story are obscured, while obvious things are stated again and again - in junior-school poetry. I fail to see why a listener needs accompanying notes, and even then to have to refer to various internet sites to work out what the album's on about. I don't mind obscure lyrics if they're meant to be obscure; in this case, the problems lie with the band's inability to write good lyrics. This is not usually a problem for this band, as DREAM THEATER is not about lyrics; here, however, the concept depends on the lyrics. And the lyrics fail the concept badly.

James LaBrie is the other problem. As a trained singer, I can offer the opinion that LaBrie does have an excellent voice, but too much of this album forces him to sing above his register. He resorts to shouting, to 'force' his voice to the higher notes, a trend that mars the otherwise excellent 'A Change of Seasons'. He uses a series of tricks to get to the notes, most of which are even more obvious on DREAM THEATER'S live recordings.

That's a great deal of negatives for such a highly-rated album. But there are some positives. Putting aside the concept and the problematic singing, there are some outstanding compositions on this album. DREAM THEATER flex their progressive wings and, while not all tracks work, others such as 'Fatal Tragedy', 'Home' and particularly 'Finally Free' are magnificent. These three tracks presage the next two albums, which for me is the quintessential DREAM THEATER period.

Flawed, severely so in some areas, but the tragedy is not fatal. I can forgive an album a great deal if it delivers outstanding moments such as those this album brings.

russellk | 3/5 |


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