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Dream Theater - Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.13 | 1849 ratings

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Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
5 stars Symphonic Dream Theater!

Here we have a widely considered Dream Theater masterpiece. Now for Dream Theater to achieve a widely synonymously high rating is (sadly) quite rare. From that, you can infer that Dream Theater's only double studio album is quite the beast of an album. Comprised of only 6 tracks, 5 on disc one and the all together 1 on disc 2, the disc is a sea of symphonic progressive metal. Oddly enough, if the progressive failure of Falling into Infinity hadn't occurred, neither would have this album (or its studio predecessor). When Dream Theater went back into the studio in 1997, they were kept under a watchful eye by a producer who had a commercial breakthrough in mind. He thwarted Dream Theater's idea of having a double album named Falling Into Infinity, where there would be a significantly different Falling into Infinity disc 1, then an entire disc 2 dedicated to an epic 20-30 minute long Metropolis Part 2. To compensate for their desire for a double album, Dream Theater composed Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, a massive 42 minute long track to occupy an entire disc of an album. Along with this, they wrote 5 other, quite incredible, tracks to occupy the first disc. And now, we have Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence.

The Glass Prison is the quintessential technical Dream Theater song. Easily one of my favorite tracks by the band, the overall smack-in-the-face technicality and brutality of the track continues to astonish me to this day. The main reason for this: those damn arpeggios. Petrucci has really outdone himself on this one. The incredible speed, agility, and technique needed to play the part is just astounding. Also, away from the crazy guitar part, the lyrical theme is great. With this track, Portnoy begins his story of the Alcoholic Anonymous program he went through. The symbolism of the glass prison he was locked in is incredible. All together, the song presents a killer package of incredible musicianship, fantastic lyrical value, and just an overall great track!

Blind Faith is a great track, but I was never really able to get into it as much as The Glass Prison. The real high points of this album are LaBrie's incredible melodies that really make the song soar. I think any song titled or themed Blind Faith is great lyrically, and this song is no different. The instrumental section is great, with some really nice soling done by all the guys. Other than that, I really don't have very much to say about the track, other than that it's great, but can't really stand up next to the Glass Prison.

Misunderstood is purely fantastic. Melancholy and somber for most of the way, the song just kills in every way. Lyrically, the song is great, talking about how ironic society and its flaws are. Musically, the song is perfectly haunting and somber. Although the instrumental/experimental section at the end of the song is quite odd and out of sorts, it puts out a poignant message?Dream Theater is not all prog metal all the time. Dream Theater can stretch their style in whatever way they see necessary!

The Great Debate is another out-of-sorts Dream Theater song. I mean, the band makes a direct reference to George Bush! Gasp! Even with the cultural references, the song is a great song. Great polyrhythmic moments, and some great experimental vocal and instrumental passages pepper this track in fantastic ways. On this disc one can see that Dream Theater is really experimenting with a great many sounds. This song is still a rockin' Dream Theater song, but it also gives a breath of fresh air in the creativity department.

Disappear is the only weak track on the album. Yea it's alright, but it's not spectacular in the least. The music is very melancholy and slow, more like a post-rock song than anything else. The symphonic sounding keyboards are modulated into oblivion. Overall, this track just isn't very good.

Here we have it, kids, the longest damn track Dream Theater has ever written, broken into 8 parts so we fans don't claw our faces off trying to find the best part. Now some people will try to say Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence is eight separate tracks, but they're wrong. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence is one giant 42 minute track of purely epic proportions. This song really flexes Dream Theater's symphonic muscles, especially with Rudess' 6 minute symphonic overture composed entirely by him and preformed by him on his great keyboard (of course live they have a massive orchestra to do the work for him). Dream Theater has noted many times that this song has a great many obvious influences, such as Kansas (as heard in the riff sounding oddly similar to The Wall), Pantera (The Test that Stumped Them All), and others. The track overall is just wonderful. Each part has a very special story along with it, following the concept of the whole track. Each part details the story of someone who has a metal disability, whether it's bipolar disease (About to Crash), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (War in My Head), Schizophrenia (Test that Stumped them All), Autism (Solitary Shell), or others. Musically, the song is pure genius, with soft sweeping majestic passages of beauty, crushingly heavy metal sections, somber and beautiful sections, symphonic sections, vocal sections, instrumental sections, pretty much everything that progressive music is made of can be found within this absolutely massive track. Overall, this song is one of the best Dream Theater tracks out there, right up there with Metropolis, A Change of Seasons, or Octavarium!

ALBUM OVERALL: For some reason, it's difficult for Dream Theater to get a widely-considered masterpiece out. With Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, they did it. Appealing not only to the many metal fans the band has, the album also has a great symphonic appeal also. Every song on the album, even they are a little weak, has a certain charm and creativity that in some ways has been lost on Dream Theater's music. Sadly, many people call Dream Theater's music a stale and too traditional Progressive Metal, but what they fail to realize is that Dream Theater essentially invented that Progressive Metal sound. 5 stars.

Andy Webb | 5/5 |


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