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Dream Theater - Falling Into Infinity: Demos 1996-1997 [Official Bootleg] CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.07 | 78 ratings

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4 stars As Mike Portnoy tells in the linear notes for this YtseJam record release: this is Falling Into Infinity as the band originally envisioned it. And I love it.

I am one of the people who could mildly tolerate the commercial release of FII, with it's few stand-out titles including Hell's Kitchen and New Millennium, but for the most part I found the unfortunately highly-edited and main-stream tracks to be utter trash (compared to the rest of DT's work).

Enter the demos.

Upon my first listen-through, I was dumbfounded. The album in all its original glory is just... beautiful. While New Millennium, Trial of Tears, and to a lesser extent Peruvian Skies and Anna Lee, are more-or-less the same as in the commercial release (all of which I considered to be amongst the better tracks on that release of FII anyway), all of the other tracks from the commercial FII are... different. And SO much better. They are all so much more faithful to the Dream Theater style; Burning My Soul, one of my most disliked tracks on the commercial FII, has shot up to one of my all-time favorites with the orgasmic integration of what became the Hell's Kitchen into the song as the main melody and the lack of that strange and annoying robot voice distortion. Lines in the Sand, similarly, has those bizarre and totally out-of-place funk-rock-esque back-up vocals scaled back to just normal singing by LaBrie (which sounds FAR better in my opinion), as well as what I feel is a much stronger overall sound as opposed to the highly edited commercial version of the song. We also get to hear You or Me before it became You not Me at the hands of Desmond Child, which again I find to be just much stronger in it's originally conceived form. Take Away My Pain manages to rank up there with the other great ballads from this album now as well without the strangely inappropriate calypso melody and with many of the original, much stronger lyrics. The same story applies to most of the other songs: they're just better.

Amongst other things the demos also offer a plethora of other songs that weren't released on FII, such as the excellent Raise the Knife and The Way It Used To Be, to the enjoyable Rock'n'Roll feel of Cover My Eyes, to the mediocre (but thankfully ONLY track on the entire set of demos which I feel to be a disappointment) Speak To Me.

Of course, the demos also contain a live-rehearsal version of the original Metropolis Pt.2 epic, which while a little underwhelming, I still found to be a nice, and most definitely insightful listen. It lacks any vocals at all, because the song was scrapped by the producer before the lyrics were written, leaving a lot of the song feeling kind of empty in places where it was obvious vocals were supposed to be added. The song starts with the powerful overture that became Overture 1928 on Scenes From A Memory, but for the most part the most gripping and cohesive sections are recognizable as having been passed onto tracks in SFAM. The middle of the track seems to become a bit "lost", losing that Metropolis riff and overall "feel", and just generally sounding almost more like a jam like you'd expect from a Liquid Tension Experiment instrumental, but, dare I say, less technical. That aside, Mp.2 is still a nice listen, if you can ignore the fact that a lot of it doesn't really sound like a Metropolis-based track.

I cannot recommend this release any more to fellow Dream Theater fans (YtseJammers! :D)! It is such a shame that the demos are only available through the YtseJam Records site, because in full honesty, I find the demos to be superior to the commercial FII in every way (minus the lack of Hell's Kitchen) - to the extent that I have just written a mini-essay on the them (700 words and counting!). The music quality is virtually regular album quality, so no qualms there. I'm even considering trying to start a movement to get these demos a regular commercial release simply because of how much better they are than FII (in which case surely it would be preferably for DT to promote the demos, not the original commercial release!?).

Buy it. Now.

yambs | 4/5 |


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