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Dream Theater - Stargazer CD (album) cover

STARGAZER

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.07 | 68 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

russellk
Prog Reviewer
1 stars It's always a sad moment when one rates a band one loves with a single star. But if there was ever a release that deserved the description 'poor', it is this release.

Ironically, this cover version is played reasonably competently. The problem with the song is that the original is one of the highlights of rock music. A remake should offer something extra, should take the original to a new place. I offer TOOL's excellent reinterpretation of LED ZEPPELIN's 'No Quarter' as a case in point. Substantially different to the original, it brings TOOL's unique sound and makes something of the track the original band never thought of doing.

DREAM THEATER's version of 'Stargazer' is, unfortunately, the sound of lesser men aping the gods. I have always wondered at this talented band's judgement: latterly I have come to believe they have taken the wrong path since 'Train Of Thought', with their outstanding progressive tendencies taking second place to power metal. The choice of 'Stargazer' is fatally flawed. RONNIE JAMES DIO had a superb operatic voice, bleeding emotion, eminently suited to a song like 'Stargazer'. JAMES LABRIE's voice is simply not up to the challenge, not by the length of the straight. Listening to him shape his vowels so he can hit the notes (an old singing trick) is just sad. 'When do we layve? I belayve!' he sings. He slides into his notes, barely hitting the mark for perhaps a quarter of their duration.Worse, the song has been transposed downwards just to fit into LABRIE's diminishing range, and it deflates the performance, stealing the energy from it, making it sound more like a dirge than a drama. And the dreadful affectation 'We built a tower of stone-ah' isn't helping any. And at the end - oh, how could he do it - he copies almost exactly DIO's dramatic extemporaneous singing. Why not come up with his own interpretation? PETRUCCI plays a solo of sorts, but it has none of the feeling RICHIE BLACKMORE gave it, and it is, after all, one of the best solos of all time. MYUNG and RUDESS are presumably there. I've listened to the original maybe a hundred times - in fact, I'm presenting a scholarly paper next week at a conference in which I will discuss it and play it in its entirety - and never, not once, have I drifted off during the song. It happened during my second listen to the DREAM THEATER version.

This was a mistake. DREAM THEATER are capable of so much more. This sort of material dilutes the brand. Worth one listen and that's it.

russellk | 1/5 |

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