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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

Alitare
3 stars John Denver's ghost, or how Dream Theater to which a solo turn'd.

This used to be my favorite Dream Theater release, but as I listen to them more and more, I elevate toward their previous releases such as Images and Words, or Awake. Still, the concept is alright, and the playing is fantastic.

The musical ideas range form very good and expertly crafted, such as Strange Deja Vu, or the menacing Home, to run of the mill shred metal, Beyond This Life, or Dance of Eternity. True, the latter is quite the esoteric mash of technicality, but it isn't as focused as I would have preferred, and the technicality overshadows cohesion. But, I am beating a dead horse with a jackhammer.

Beginning with the soft Regression, the music has a certain enjoyable atmosphere to it. And this flows very well into the next song. I also feel a small Ayreon influence whereabouts within the album at small points, but this is far removed from that body of work. Again, Strange Deja Vu rocks hard, and maintains the quality unique material. Fatal Tragedy falters a bit, but is still quite enjoyable. Dream Theater don't add much diversity, though. Most songs, bar some very notable exceptions, sound rather plain in their "progressive meta" approach. That is to say built around complex riff structures and shred guitar solos, with a few keyboard moments interspersed between.

Then you have the attempted balladry. I like Through Her Eyes, but it is some erroneously forced material. The overall quality never dips too far as to be not listenable, however. Part two is commenced by the epic Home. This song is possibly the album highlight. The jarring eastern twinged riff, the complexities that are balanced with a defining and explored idea, and the tension built up make for a brilliant experience. I never said the material here is altogether bad. Far from it. This is certainly a solid release.

The Dance Of Eternity doesn't really do it for me. I like it, and the sheer brutal technicality of it all is ear popping, but I feel the musical ideas presented and executed within it are of mediocre quality. And that keyboard solo isn't my favorite. The Spirit Carries On is another seemingly half baked attempt at a ballad, to which the expected results arise. They don't succeed in pulling you in emotionally, and the stark contrast it presents, without contributing to the overall fluidity breaks cohesion and damages the already wavering atmosphere.

For all the guff I toss their way, they close the album with one hell of a bang. Finally Free is another contender for best album moment, as they bring back the mood and drama of the arching concept, wring it dry, and relay the sentiments onto you, the listener. Constructed as a cinematic song/effects experience, it is fundamentally ballad in style, but performed with dark grace. The closing twist is sure to bring up questions, and I enjoyed the execution.

For all the lumber fualts of the album, there is a treasure trove of worth while ideas present, and they are all more than competently brought to you by our good friends, Dream Theater. The album suffers from sparse musical composition diversity, weak ballad attempts, and the overzealous nature of both Petrucci and Portnoy. The band would go even farther into this direction on later releases, and a good portion of fans would hate them for it, but for now, this is a great album, and it is worth listening to.

Best Moment - Home/Finally Free+twist ending

Worst Moment - Any time the technicality overpowers the flow, and the ballad work

**** Scenic Stars

Alitare | 3/5 |

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