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Dream Theater - The Astonishing CD (album) cover

THE ASTONISHING

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.37 | 710 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

juanvalverde
4 stars I think an album like this takes time to fully understand. At first glance it seems to be al over the place, much like lost concept albums), once you listen to a couple of times it starts making more and more sense. Its kind of cheesy here and there, but really, aside from The Wall and The Lamb, which isn't? For much of the first CD the only thing I could think of is how much it resembles The Final Cut from Pink Floyd and The Wall. It takes a lot of the way those albums work, even some of the sounds. One of the highlight in the first CD is Jordan Ruddess brilliant piano playing. The sound of the Steinway piano he used is amazing. The bad thing is that its a little bit overused, I would like more synths considering the theme. 20 songs in and there are several highlights: Dystopian Overture, The Gift of Music, A Better Life, Act of Faythe, A Life Left Behind and Ravenskill. The bad: too much use of the piano, too many ballads, some cheesy lyrics here and there and simply way too many songs. Feels all over the place at first but once you start understanding the lyrics you also start "getting it". On to the second disc...

The first two tracks of the second CD are rock solid, a little more of what I expected from a modern DT album, musicianship is up there. Moment of Betrayal is a very good DT song that fits in any album they've made. Heaven's Cove is a delightful piece, love the Genesis type chord progression and Steven Wilson like intro, very good and solid song, very fresh for DT. Hymn of a Thousand World ds is a very good song that feels kind of weird, it doesn't quite fit in; still good though. The violin and choir really stand out, I also like the Peter Gabrielish percussion. Final couple of songs are pretty good and sum up to finish the story on a high note.

After several listens and understanding the characters and lyrics I'm beggining to LOVE this album. Man they really outdid themselves with this. Even if the lyrics and story aren't that original, there is a message there and I like how the characters deliver it. Faythe, Gabriel, Arhys, Nafaryus, Arabelle, Evangeline, Daryus and Xander all collaborate to make this simple story a special one. If you read reviews that talk about a ROBOT REVOLUTION they clearly didn't read and understand the lyrics, there is nothing in the story that indicates this. Those reviews aren't complete! Beware. Story here is about the meaning of music in people's life, what new pop music is doing to people and how real inspiring music changes people in the right way. Nafaryus is the perfect example of this. Listen and understand the lyrics before concluding that its a bad story. Yes; its sometimes cheesy, but it does have a very special meaning in the end.

I think Dream Theater tried to do something really big here, they reached out and barely made it. It's by far their most ambicious album to date, now, that doesn't mean its great. The Astonishing turns out to be a great album. A little long, but I can now understand why it was made this way. They definitely thought of this as a live performance, can't wait!.

Much like The Lamb, there are a lot of small songs that their only reason for existence is to advance the story , also they use a lot of sounds and instruments that dont sound futuristic, but maybe thats the whole point of the stoey. Finally, Dream Theater have been known to take a little bit too much from their influences (Tool, Rush, Metallica, Muse). This time I think they listned to Pink Floyd's The Final Cut way too much. In the end though we get an enjoyable album with several highlights that tries to do way too much and is too cheesy for its own good. Its still DT though, and I do love cheese.

I'll give it an 9.0 out of 10.0.

juanvalverde | 4/5 |

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