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Dream Theater - Falling Into Infinity CD (album) cover

FALLING INTO INFINITY

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.33 | 1114 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Marc Baum
Prog Reviewer
4 stars After the masterpiece that was "Awake" and Kevin Moore was an important part of that, they must take the decision of him to go after that record. They decided to recruit Derek Sherinian to replace him (even he couldn't reach his phenomenal virtuosity) and they rerecorded their Majesty-classic "A Change Of Seasons" which was a highly acclaimed present for their fans. After that they began to work on their new full-lenght record "Falling Into Infinity, but they had big trouble after the composing of it with their record company. The new atlantic label bosses watched on the list with sold records in America and freezed the budget for the their new record. Now Portnoy & co. started a march through the label-offices of their record company to show diverse label-managers, who they are, which music they make and that the new release is already long awaited in Japan, Netherlands or Germany. The crux: Dream Theater signed a worldwide guilty deal, which forbids them, to get self-managed and release their new record outside of God's own country without acception of the New Yorker main-quartier. So DT started an own tour in spring '97, to present the fans a part of their new material live. Back in the States, they must accept a diverse compromises, to don't miss the train in front of their noses completely. One compromise was, that they accepted the wish of their label to recruit producer Kevin Shirley, who made himself a name as producer of bands like Bon Jovi and Aerosmith, who's exercise was to win the American market back in the sence of the company, that finally takes this album some edges and some inspired surprising moments, which was a reason for big discussions in European and Asian fanbase-quartiers and rumbled on DT's image as revolutionary pioneers of the prog scene in the 90's. Beside all these problematic relationships, "Falliing Into Infinity" is really a strong effort, but can't stand any qualitative match with one of their past material. But there's enough to discover there in the end, so let's take a look on the tracks here, which is the most important:

"New Millenium" begins with a keyboard intro and with a underlined glockenspiel, 'til the bass part by John Myung breaks it and the song slowly builds up in a Rush-inspired part after one minute. The sitar part after close two minutes sounds well and James LaBrie's voice fits perfectly to the mood. The refrain is a good one and is shoutable at live concerts. A good live song though and a good start for the record. I only wished more surprising moments on here, but it's really a solid DT-song in a Rush-inspired style (especially the guitar work of John Petrucci. (Track rating: 8/10 points)

"You Not Me" would be a good radio single, with a haunting refrain and good keys of Derek Sherinian, who clearly uses a simplier style than Kevin Moore, but his playing fits to the simplier work on here. It's an accesible song, but if you search for complexity, look elsewhere, this is a more mainstream-oriented one. I really like it though. (Track rating: 7.5/10 points)

"Peruvian Skies" is one of my favourite tracks on here. This song is very atmospheric and moody in the first part and is getting heavier throughout the song. The refrain is memorable and dreamy, perfect song for Dream Theater and with very flexible instrumental parts. This is a song, which is unusual and somehow something special. The guitar solo of Petrucci is absolutely haunting and grateful, with nice underlined keys of Sherinian. James LaBrie's vocals are also great, like Portnoy's drumming. Excellent! (Track rating: 9.5/10 points)

"Hollow Years" turns down the heaviness of the previous track and is a nice acoustic ballad, which also got a well made video clip. This may be poppy at times, but is a well warm place to relax and I really like it. Not progressive at all, but enjoyable and with a strong refrain. Nice, just nice. (Track rating: 8/10 points)

"Burning My Soul" turns up the volume of the previous song and is a heavy DT-smasher in the style of "Pull Me Under", even not as good as and less progressive. An excellent live track, with an shoutable chorus. For fans found food, for non-fans even not. This is more solid heavy metal with a prog edge and more solid average in a compositional sence, it's enjoyable though, if this is your taste. (Track rating: 7/10 points)

"Hell's Kitchen" marks the instrumental piece of the record and is in an equal brilliant instrumentation like the phenomenal "Erotomania" from AWAKE, with beautiful acoustic and lead guitar by master John Petrucci. The synth-keys of Jordan Rudess are the quintessential underlines which make this one so workable. After three minutes they more and more push themselves forward in a complex jam, that's what the instrumental brilliance of DT is all about, so this is really an excellent istrumental. Maybe not as brilliant as "Erotomania" but close. (Track rating: 9/10 points)

"Lines In The Sand": The name of the second longest piece on the album and with a guest appearence by Doug Pinnick of King's X who sings here together with James in the refrain. For a DT-long track this it got a more unusual style. It's bluesy and hard rockin', with a nice quiet part, which contains a great guitar solo by Petrucci and nice piano playing. This is a strong lengthier track on the album, which is getting better and better in the ending part. An definitive highlight of the album! (Track rating: 9/10 points)

"Taking Away My Pain": A ballad, which is dedicated to John E. Petrucci and like a big part on here written by John Petrucci. This is a song about letting a loved one go, at this point John's dad. It's a moving piece and John wrotes all his inner feelings about it on here. This is very personal, so I don't want to discuss about the song in particular, which isn't really progressive, just a personnal piece by the compositional motor and lyrical heart of the band. (Track rating: 8/10 points)

"Just Let Me Breathe" was written by Mike Portnoy, you hear this in the style of it. It's heavy and straight, with a groovy guitar by John Petrucci, pounding bass and cool vocals by James LaBrie, who sings here a bit like James Hetfield of Metallica, not as clear as on "The Glass Prison" but you still can hear the influence, specially when he shouts "Yeah!". For metal-heads a funny thing, but for prog-heads? A matter of taste. This song is good though, but nothing really special. (Track rating: 7.5/10 points)

"Anna Lee": Dream Theater are strong in writing ballads and "Anna Lee" is another good example. The piano is simple but works pretty well on here, James sings with full emotion, he also wrote the lyrics for it. The song is about holding together and the fear to live alone. A nice one and the best slow song of the record IMO. (Track rating: 8.5/10 points)

"Trial Of Tears": The longest track of the record and closer to the album is seperated in three parts, which belong together in musical and lyrical aspect. The only song on here, which was written by John Myung is about spending life in New York City, with all it's dark sides and lightful. The whole band works very well together on here, they play the ball to each other and any single one brings a perfect work on this. All five musicians end the record in one greatful final, even it's more a solid lengthy track by Dream Theater than an really outstanding. (Track rating: 8.5/10 points)

All in all is left to say, that "Falling Into Infinity" was DTs least acclaimed record to date, but they once more did a great job, because they didn't repeated themselves. The record got it's best moments, when John Petrucci brings on his strong solo parts, the band jams together in great complexer parts and in the quieter moments. The production on here is a step backwards from the powerful sound of the both previous studio records, but this release is better, than some fans and press say it is. Recommended to fans of 80's Rush and people, who just want great music in their collection, even it's not highly acclaimed.

Record rating: 8 + 7.5 + 9.5 + 8 + 7 + 9 + 9 + 8 + 7.5 + 8.5 + 8.5 = 90.5 / 11 tracks = 8.227272727 points = 83 % on MPV scale = 8/10 points = 4/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Excellent addition to any prog music collection

Marc Baum | 4/5 |

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