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Dream Theater - Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes from a Memory CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.31 | 3134 ratings

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The Prognaut
Prog Reviewer
4 stars A true masterpiece. Definitely, this album reached the unthinkable heights of lyrical togetherness, conquered the undeniable virtuosity on its instrumentation and tracked down the sense of perfection merely off limits. Only a couple of years had to go by before it became a point of departure within the pages of Metal Progressive Rock. I'm pretty sure any time you're asked to list down your top five metal prog records, "Scenes From a Memory" will pop inside your mind irremediably. Also, this clean piece of work represents not only committed improvement but extreme awareness. DREAM THEATER certainly surpassed all the possible boundaries and created their ultimate production. It shows conciseness, a renewed style, complete precision and a spirit of its own. The band managed to pull off the impossible by completing chapter one of the "Metropolis" experience condensed through "Images and Words", creating a conceptual sequence that far beyond from being a titanic task of putting together jigsaw pieces one after the other, it reveals this kind of unspoken creativity and imagination that had never been unmasked in previous releases until "Scenes From a Memory" saw the light for the first time.

The album is divided in two acts and nine scenes. First half is as introductory as laconic. It represents the powerful side of the album, that takes right on after the hypnotic prologue in the voice of James LaBRIE, who by the way, I never perceived as devoted to his inner growth like I did in here. Quite convincing I must say. Thus, by experimenting several changes of costumes throughout five different characters, the Canadian front man leads our senses all along the nine scenes in a paused yet anguishing way. The voices, the impersonations, the ambition to display unleashing strength and passion, they all match perfectly to the music and that's what I call dedication. I still don't digest LaBRIE's particular way to perform behind the microphone entirely, but this time the argumentation is well justified. Up to scene five, the tracks run devouringly neat and yet they get to strike fiercely inside your ears, plagued of ease, compassed keyboards, rhythmic and crunchy guitar interludes and of course, thunderous drum beating by Mike PORTNOY. All in all, there's this piece right at the end of act one I don't appreciate completely, which is "Through Her Eyes". The track is just way too mellow, almost intolerable to conceive within the depths of this album, but I think the total running time needed a "missing you" break to take on the ride to come in act two.

And so, act two. Personally, the latter half of the album is better arranged and explained, musically and lyrically. The closing section to "Scenes From a Memory" is totally cathartic, is evidently detached from act one no matter if what we're handling here is a concept album. Firstly, there's this sort of implosion taken away by James LaBRIE along the strident guitar of virtuoso John PETRUCCI. The fact of distilling such powerfulness through the strings of that guitar, forced LaBRIE somehow to measure up to a level of commitment and ravishing composure. Secondly, and clutched tight to that remarkable fact, the performance of Jordan RUDESS on keyboards is exceptional. Under my personal appreciation, he's the best keyboardist (and choir conductor) the band ever lined-up. He managed to easily override Kevin MOORE and Derek SHERINIAN despite the "Images and Words" and "A Change of Seasons" experiences by perfecting a depurated technique that made him set off the rest immediately. Just relate to scene seven, "The Dance of Eternity" / "One Last Time"; just for starters and if you don't take my word on this matter.

By flowing from present to past in its conception, "Scenes From a Memory" is unarguably the band's finest piece of work in my opinion. Devotedly crafted, outrageously executed and exceptionally intertwined. Maybe to many compliments in few lines, but believe me, they are insufficient to describe the quality of this Prog Metal milestone. Mesmerizing, captivating, representative. DREAM THEATER at its best!

The Prognaut | 4/5 |


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