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Dream Theater - Falling Into Infinity: Demos 1996-1997 [Official Bootleg] CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.07 | 78 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Potential...

With demos like these, 'Falling Into Infinity' had the potential to be the greatest Dream Theater album. Sadly, the castrated label-influenced final version simply does not share the glory of it's demos. Dream Theater had been sitting on the fence waiting to record this album for three years, and in this time, they had developed enough songs to fill up two discs! However, the label rejected the idea of releasing a double disc album, and the group had to pick and choose which songs to put on the record.

With this official bootleg release, fans could at long last hear the songs as they were meant to be heard. This is without a doubt the best of these releases, because of all the alternate and unreleased songs. All of the tracks from the album are on here, in their original demo form. Some of them aren't very different at all, e.g. Just Let Me Breathe, Peruvian Skies, Trial of Tears and New Millenium. It's interesting to note how similar the instrumentals are in these cases, as it shows just how much care Dream Theater take in writing them. Instrumentals like Deep In Heaven which sound like improvisation on the commercial release, actually sound exactly the same in the demos, proving that there is nothing improvised about them.

Some have subtle differences, like alternate lyrics, or an extra verse or bridge section, e.g. Anna Lee, Hollow Years, and Lines In The Sand. Whilst these versions are interesting, the final outcome seems to be better, as the verses seem out of place.

The remaining songs are radically different to the commercial version, these being Take Away My Pain, Burning My Soul and You Or Me. Take Away My Pain has a harder rock feel to it, making the song sound really intense, rather than mediocre, as it does on the album. Burning My Soul is transformed into a fully-fledged prog rock song, incorporating the Hell's Kitchen instrumental into it. There is also a really complex heavy introduction that makes the song more exciting to listen to. You Or Me is the original version of You Not Me. The main difference here is the chorus, which is extremely different from and far superior to the album version. There is also an extended, fully realised funky instrumental. Each of these tracks sound far better on the album.

The unreleased songs are fantastic too. Raise The Knife is a long proggy track with a complex structure, and an amazing instrumental, featuring one of Petrucci's best guitar solos. Where Are You Now? has a cheesy introduction but gets better as the song goes on. The Way It Used To Be is quite an odd track, and probably best that they kept it off the record, but still fun nonetheless. Cover My Eyes is an odd DT track, as there is nothing progressive about it at all, abd instead just sounds like a normal rock song. Speak To Me is a well paced track, with a brilliant chorus section and guitar solo. I have a real soft spot for it.

The strangest thing on the disc is the infamous Metropolis: Pt 2, a 20-minute track that would complete the Metropolis suite in about the same time that Hemispheres completes the Cygnus X-1 suite. While there is 20 minutes of seemingly brilliant prog music here, it is obviously lacking lyrics, and without lyrics this is a very confusing piece of music indeed. Unfortunately, the original idea was never developed beyond this stage, and was instead adapted and expanded to form the next studio album. Most of Overture 1928, The Dance Of Eternity and One Last Time can be heard, which is a boon for any keen Dream Theater fan. As interesting and as complex as this 20 minute track is, I don't think it holds up by itself. Lyrics would make it far more listenable.

If you're keen on Dream Theater, and want to know more about their history, this is definitely the place to start. This compilation will help you appreciate the oft-underrated album that is Falling Into Infinity. You might even find yourself replacing the studio versions of FII songs on your iPod with these versions! I absolutely love this compilation, and had Falling Into Infinity sounded like this, I would have given it 5 stars.

baz91 | 5/5 |


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