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Dream Theater - Distance over Time CD (album) cover

DISTANCE OVER TIME

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.71 | 358 ratings

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proghaven
3 stars My congrats, Dream Theater still keeps slipping! 'The same old sun' in the prog metal sky... In essence, Distance Over Time was first released back in 2007. Under the title Systematic Chaos, yep yep. Since then, Distance Over Time was reissued three times under different titles (Black Clouds & Silver Linings, A Dramatic Turn Of Events, Dream Theater...). And finally, please find it re-released again, this time under its current title. (The Astonishing was not so self-repetitive, though too long and boring, almost impossible to listen entirely.)

Dream Theater is one of the strangest and most intriguing phenomena in current 'serious' music. Incredibly high rated, but... I like very much a mate's opinion: 'Well, as for their musicianship... Academicians! Really, academicians!.. But nothing to sob over. Nothing! You see? Go in one ear and out the other. Great music - and nothing memorable. How can it be?!'. What to say? I fully agree. Even in their triumphant 1990s and early 2000s... Indeed, there was an era of magic fly in their long creative life. Awake, A Change Of Seasons suite, Falling Into Infinity (simplified and unusual), Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence, Train Of Thought... This was a time when they flew really high. But it ended up with Octavarium. And even from that splendid era, no memorable track can be mentioned. At least I can't.

By the way, there's a popular myth linked with Dream Theater: they are believed to be founders of prog metal. This myth is smashed by a simple fact: the year 1983 was not after the year 1989 but before it. What should be called progressive metal? A combination of metal sound and prog sophistication, refinement and conceptuality? Then sorry. The first album in the world which met this requirement was released in 1983. Six years before the debut release by Dream Theater and even two years before the formation of Dream Theater. That album was The Plague by Demon. Yes in 1979-1982 Demon was just a NWOBM band, and yes since 2005 they are just gray-haired contemporary hard rockers with occasional prog elements. But in 1983-2001 Demon was a real prog metal band. The first prog metal band in human history.

Nevertheless, most of prog metal bands more or less imitate Dream Theater, even such talented artists as Eternity X, Symphony X, Redemption, Rhapsody, Skylark and even Greyhaven. What we see in the global prog metal scene since 1980s? Four clearly distinguished directions. Number one: prog metal of the Demon type. Founder? Demon. Followers? No follower. Number two: the founder is Italian Presence, the followers are nobody. Number three: Fates Warning and others. Who are those others? Approx a dozen of artists, including really essential like Mekong Delta and Pain Of Salvation.

And the direction number four: the leader is Dream Theater, successors are HUNDREDS. Or maybe even thousands. I remember that in early 2000s I counted about 150 Brazilian prog metal bands of that kind in the PRW sale list! Looks like almost every artist who's into prog metal wants to be similar to Dream Theater. Of course this credo is somewhat useful for a musician, because 'being like Dream Theater' first of all means 'being instant virtuosi'. In other words, even slavish imitation of Dream Theater is good craft for an instrumentalist. But the same thing makes prog metal in toto quite monotonous. Herds of academicians and quasi academicians, but no track to sob over. So, Dream Theater's influence upon the global prog metal scene is in some sense corrupting, ha ha.

They entered the year 2019 at their zenith, powerful and influential as never before. And they made another clone of the same endless flawless post-Octavarium album without face and essence. Only two tracks contain fresh ideas. Both were introduced to the public long before the album release date, as promo videos. Dream Theater are excellent merchants and know how to show it to good effect. They really chose the best two tracks from their new album to promote it.

proghaven | 3/5 |

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