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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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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars On the brink of a change of style in their career, Dream Theater reflects on where they've been.

Released between one of their best and one of their worst received albums, people may have some reservations about this splendid little disc. The epic that comprises the entirety of the studio segment of this EP was written back in the band's Images & Words days, but held back from the album when they ran out of room for it. Here A Change Of Seasons finally finds a home on its own disc, and it stands now as a gateway between what was, and what would come. The band's keyboard player and large contributor, Kevin Moore, left the band during the tour for their renowned masterpiece Awake, where a young Derek Sherinian would become his replacement for the next studio offering Falling Into Infinity, but this is his first studio recording with the band. Moore's presence is missed, but not as strongly as it would be in the near future, this is likely because he was around when this song was originally conceived as it maintains the dark, atmospheric tones that Dream Theater would loose with him.

The epic itself is often considered Dream Theater's all time best composition. It's also one of the few songs along with Octavarium, Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence and In The Presence Of Enemies to reach the ''side long'' mark of over 20-minutes, and they do the title proud. With lush soundscapes, raking climaxes, soaring solos and a wonderfully climatic conclusion this is sure to please the symphonic prog lovers, while being heavy enough to get the head-bangers banging. Lord only knows what people would think of either of the previous 2 albums had this song been attached to either of them, there would probably be quotes in other reviews saying things like, ''so much win!''

The rest of the album is a group of live covers and live cover medleys. Dream Theater decided to do a club tour and just play cover songs, what's presented here are a selection of them. While after watching the 5 Years In A Livetime dvd it's disappointing to see that they covered Yes's Starship Trooper with Steve Howe, but didn't but it on this disc. Still, there's a wonderful collection of songs, most of which do justice to the originals. Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding may not have Elton John's serene vocal section on it, but Sherinian pays due care to the piano and keyboard parts, the rest of the band takes the song to it's heaviness limit without ever pushing it over the edge. Deep Purple's Perfect Strangers is probably not the standout performance of the album, but it shows some interesting things that James LaBrie can do with his voice and the reincarnated riff from the song makes a mean show. The Led Zeppelin medley takes advantage of all the greatest songs of later Zeppelin's career. It starts with The Rover and moves into the best song from Presence, Achilles Last Stand, Page's deadly riff echoing throughout. James isn't able to reach Plant-like notes on The Song Remains The Same, but he adds his own unique spin to it.

The Big Medley is quite impressive. This one goes through a multitude of songs starting with Pink Floyd's In The Flesh and moves through everything and the kitchen sink, the standouts of which are likely the chorus section of Turn It On Again, courtesy of Genesis and the Wayne's World-head banging section of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. It would be hard to comment on the originality of any of these tunes being that they're covers, but the segues and fresh spins on all the songs make for a great live listen.

At 57-minutes, this EP could easily be considered a full blown album. For people who don't want to listen to the live covers, just turn off the album after the epic. People who don't want to hear the epic can just skip over to the live stuff. If you think the live stuff brings the album's value down then you're obviously crazy since the album is incredibly cheap being that it's priced as an EP (in Canada anyways), just consider it bonus material strapped on to the end of the album, if anything. Dream Theater fans will love this little gem and will especially appreciate the epic cut - think of it as an extension to Images & Words. For everyone else, this is still a great addition to any collection as an album which has inspired many listeners to listen to more prog over the course of its existence. 4 stars, a rare rating for an EP, but this one deserves it.

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |


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