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Dream Theater - A Change Of Seasons CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.68 | 677 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars DREAM THEATER took their time with the title track, having played it live for years before finally committing it to the studio, and boy, does it show. Playing their instruments comes easily to these lads, whilst songwriting does not. This CD tells the entire story of DREAM THEATER in my opinion: the outstanding musicianship, the opportunities missed, their almost slavish devotion to the bands of the past, and their ultimately fruitless search for their own voice.

So how on earth can this be rated an essential purchase for all prog-lovers? Because the title track is one of the very best epic songs ever written. Every part, every note of this symphonic metal masterpiece earns its keep. No outrageous, tension-killing soloing. A real sense of the dramatic. A great story to tell, and (finally) some polished lyrics. Truly outstanding instrumental passages: witness the four minute prelude before the singing begins. Outrageous riffage (such as the riffs at the ten-minute mark). And moments of mind-melting genius, where everything comes together, such as 'Another World' (beginning after 13 minutes). Straightforward progressive rock at its absolute peak. Not to everyone's taste, but you must at least give it a listen.

Is it perfect? No. LaBrie persists with shouting his high notes, which mars the end of 'Another World' and also the climax of the entire song. But unlike Peter Gabriel's rough finish to 'Supper's Ready', this from LaBrie's otherwise clean voice really detracts from what ought to be a spine-tingling moment. Nevertheless, the highest praise I can give this epic is that you forget it's being played by virtuosos, and find yourself getting lost in the music.

So, five stars for that, and there seems to be general agreement that this epic deserves all the accolades heaped upon it.

Now, the rest of the album. It seems an odd decision to issue the title track without other studio compositions to surround it, and here we see the gremlins bedevilling DREAM THEATER have their way. They simply didn't realise what they had here in the title track, and threw it away. Oh dear.

Not that there's anything wrong with the cover material which makes up the rest of the album. It's all entertaining; they do a credible - in some cases, more than credible - job. Petrucci gives 'Achilles' Last Stand' his full attention, for example, and makes a monster of an already outstanding guitar piece.

I refuse to let the rest of this material detract from 23 minutes of the best progressive metal music I've heard in a long time. The covers do not make it any less essential for you to hear 'A Change of Seasons'.

russellk | 5/5 |


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