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Dream Theater - Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory CD (album) cover

METROPOLIS PART 2: SCENES FROM A MEMORY

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

4.29 | 2082 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

topofsm
2 stars This is not only Dream Theater's most overrated release, nor is it prog metal's most overrated release. Metropolis Pt. II: Scenes From a Memory may be the most overrated album in all of prog, period.

Could it be because it's a concept album that many beleive it could be the greatest musical achievement of all time? Or could it simply be because it was Dream Theater's "comeback" album after the release that dissapointed many fans: Falling Into Infinity. Whatever the reason, musically this album has very little going for it. If anything, Scenes From a Memory is just standard modern prog rock, there really isn't anything fresh about it.

The overall sound of the album is pretty cheesy. This is mostly a prog album, there are very few 'metal' elements in this album. The synths and piano are drawn to the front, and John Petrucci's guitar is rarely distorted, giving the album a largely melodic feel. Labrie's vocals are probably the most prominent in this album than any before, though that probably isn't a good thing, since it gives attention to some of the cheesiest singing Dream Theater ever pulled out of their bag along with some pretty awful lyrics. Let it be noted the concept in the lyrics is nothing special, it is a pretty standard story about love, betrayal, and murder. Also mixed into the album are soundclips, which don't do a whole lot to enhance the music.

There are good points of the album, though. Overture 1928 is an excellent intro and gives a great showing of the themes that occur in the rest of the album. Also a killer entry to the album is the lengthy "Home", containing heavier riffs than the rest of the album and an interesting Phrygian modal hook. "Home" is also notable for reviving the melodies from "Metropolis Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper" and integrating them into a darker heavier song. Using reocurring themes is something Dream Theater has almost always been good at.

However, other than those two songs, the album has little going for it. "Fatal Tragedy" starts off promising enough, but the refrains are incredibly generic melodies and contain completely pointless time signature changes. "Beyond This Life", although energetic takes forever to get the point across in the verses, and the obligatory noodly instrumental section is nothing but a whirligig of weird synth and guitar solos a la Petrucci and Rudess. "The Dance of Eternity" has the potential to either make fans adore it with it's insanely complex playing, or absolutely despise it with the complete over-the-top technicality. There is even blatant generic pop music on the album: the songs "Through Her Eyes" and "The Spirit Carries On" (though the latter does contain an excellent guitar solo). Dream Theater doesn't even bother to come up with a decent closer, because "Finally Free" is a mishmash of soundclips and lyrics thrown together so the ending of the story would make sense, ending up in a complete anticlimax.

There you have it. Scenes is nothing but standard Dream Theater. While it does have an interesting flow through the concept, and more than a few good moments, they hardly make up for the complete cheesyness and the negative side of when Dream Theater goes too far technicality-wise. Dream Theater fans will of course get it, and new fans of modern prog may get it, though they should keep in mind that it may not be the masterpiece many consider it.

topofsm | 2/5 |

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