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Dream Theater - Falling Into Infinity CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.32 | 1448 ratings

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The Quiet One
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Falling into Tranquility....

This was my 3rd acquisition from the masters of Prog Metal, already had Octavarium and Images & Words(each with a different keyboardist). I noticed the obvious changes in style with each keyboardist, while maybe not necessarily because of the keyboardist influence: with Kevin Moore(I&W) 90's classic sound Prog Metal with a abundant synths and keys, a bit more melodic making the music lighter, but still it's complex enough; with Jordan Rudess(Octavarium) the music is heavier, less melodic and features un-inspired compositions, no traces of their early sound; finally with Derek Sherinian the music is a bit more accessible due to the restrain of technical wizardry and due to the less amount of heaviness, however there are moments of brilliancy due to Derek's versatility incorporating jazzy touches in ocassions, giving a more eclectic sound, unfortunately his presence is way more subtle compared to Kevin's presence.

To enter in more details of the sound in this album, the softer sound is product of John Petrucci's subtle notes in the calm moments and a wider range of styles included in his playing, which is something very un-typical for John, well for shredders actually. Also Mike Portnoy's fierceful drumming is almost gone, he's way more diverse and has a fantastic style on this one, using a lot the hi-hat, very un-typical for him too. John Myung's bass playing is still top-notch here and far more audible than in future records, while James deivers his best performance with a perfect balance knowing exactly when to use his high-pitched voice and when not, unlike in Images & Words. Now to the songs:

The album opens up with New Millenium featuring a good variation of riffs and moods. The composition is definitely on par with their early works, while the sound/style, like I mentioned before is not really it. New Millenium incorporates some grunge elements in which you can definitely hear influences like Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam. There are also soft parts with some groovy guitar touches, very unlike John's playing. As a whole, for me it's an excellent Prog song, in spite of being a bit uneven for the Prog style of DT.

Peruvian Skies is another great tune in which the song's first half is calm, though not cheerfully(typical Metal or even Grunge), somewhat in the style of Rooster by Alice in Chains, which incorporates the subtle and atmospheric notes from John's guitar which I mentioned earlier, as well as some chilling notes from Derek's keyboards. While the second half is in the style of Metallica's Enter Sandman, with a heavy riff and James' powerful voice making this song in the end rock pretty hard in a great way.

Hell's Kitchen is definitely a must for Drean Theater fans. A rockin' instrumental with an excellent emotional guitar solo, with simply killer drumming backing up. Simply stunning.

This is followed by the excellent, unfortunately overlooked, Lines in the Sand. The composition is on par with almost any song from Images & Words, plus the musicianship is at it's best, with heavy guitar riffs from John plus a gentle guitar solo making this song really incredible. Derek is playing three different types of keyboards, each for different moments; the synths for the classic faster passages; the organ to follow the heavy riffs; finally the piano for the gentle parts, even adding his jazz leanings ala Corea in a superb instrumental bit. The vocal duties are done greatly, plus the addition of Dough Pinnick(King's X fame) in the chorus' giving a heavier sound. Astonishing, probably Dream Theater's finest hour on the song-writing abilities, which in general are lackluster.

To end up this album, Dream Theater brought another very impressive tune, with the same potential as Lines in the Sand. This one is Trial of Tears, "the Learning to Live version of Derek Sherinian", simply jaw dropping. The three parts flow perfectly with the second part being the most impressive with tremendous bass playing, a very well-done shred guitar solo and finally the jaw-dropping synth solo by Derek. An excellent song to introduce the band, while not being heavy as hell, you got all the best elements that make Dream Theater.

Now to the less-progressive stuff: These are the rest of the songs, which are the main reason for fans to dislike the album or tag it as a "sell-out" album. They're definitely more simple-headed but that doesn't mean they're bad. Three of them compromise the grunge/straight-forward metal feel, Burning my Soul and Just Let Me Breathe, both feature great riffs and indeed they rock pretty hard. Then there's also You Not Me, while the style of it is in the vein of the two previous, quite heavy-driven, the lyrics and the way of expressing them are way too cheesy for a heavy tune, sincerely it's the only song I (would) skip from the album.

Then there are the softer tunes which I find the addition of them to be a great way to make the album more diverse and easier to digest. These are Hollow Years, Anna Lee and Take Away my Pain. The latter is the most pop-headed, nonetheless it is very well performed, just like the other two. The other two are quite highlights to tell you the truth; Hollow Years being a great acoustic tune, with some very beatiful chords and vocals, while Anna Lee is more of a ballad ala The Answer Lies Within from Octavarium, however Anna Lee manages to really move me, with some wonderful piano work and fascinating vocals from James, even though they're up in the sky in tone, it's really beautiful, something that The Answer Lies Within was lacking. By the way, Images & Words and Awake also feature these type of songs, so I'm really not sure why fans bash these lovely tunes. The Silent Man and Surrounded, anyone?

While some may state that this album was a contract obligation, true or not, I think this album really shows another side of the band which demonstrates that they don't have to play ultra-complex to make a great song. In here they show that they can still make Prog music while not going very heavy neither being ultra-complex and of course not ripping-off some other bands' styles, just efficiency and elaboration is necessary.

Excellent Modern Prog Rock album.

The Quiet One | 4/5 |


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