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Dream Theater - Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes from a Memory CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.31 | 3244 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars The time has finally arrived for me to say what I want to say about this album, Dream Theater's magnum opus, Metropolis Part 2. I wanted to let off reviewing this for a little while after I became a collaborator so to fend off the accusations that I might be a "Dream Theater" fanboy, someone that would rate everything they did a 5 blindly out of pure crazed lunacy for "the greatest band on earth ever YEAH!"

So, as is obvious now, I am NOT one of these crazed fans. However, I do recognize Dream Theater as being the best Prog Metal band on earth. BIG difference. Personally, I don't think bands like Symphony X and Shadow Gallery can even compare. Dream Theater has accomplished more in terms of music than any other ProgMet bands can or ever will do.

Now, for this album itself. I'm stating right here that this album is most likely in the top ten albums ever made. I have no shame in saying this. Also, understand that my main focus and love in terms of prog is symphonic prog, not metal! Yet, I feel that when you mention Close to the Edge, Thick as a Brick, Brain Salad Surgery, and all the rest of the prog works of everlasting art, this absolutely must be mentioned along side of them.

You can talk about the band's playing instrumentally all you want to. It's my personal belief that Mike Portnoy is the best drummer on earth as of right now. I don't say this because he is absolutely insane technically. That, of course, has something to do with it, but it's also because he can be very tasteful when needed. Petrucci is technically brilliant as well, and Rudess is the most brilliant keyboardist on earth right now too. Pattern forming? Myung's bass is also as good as you get, even though it could probably be a little louder at points. Finally, guys, stop knocking LaBrie. Yes, his voice can get, well, iffy, when they are live, but in the studio, he's fantastic.

As a five part whole, the saying "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" applies to the max. Dream Theater is the tightest group to ever exist. As my cousin once said, "You kinda get angry after you listen to them. You say 'Ah, how can they actually be that good?' ". Their music can get incredibly complex, but it sounds like one person doing five different things, not five DIFFERENT people doing DIFFERENT things at the EXACT same time, PERFECTION.

However, I do not think this is a masterpiece because of the band's playing. Sure, that helps. But it's mainly due to the pure feeling and sheer overwhelming quality it delivers. In terms of songwriting, Dream Theater cannot be beat, and they know how to tell a story, if you haven't already guessed this is a concept album, what with the Acts and Scenes.

Act I Scene I: Regression - The simple clock ticking opens up the album, and while the hypnotherapist speaks, you can hear a woman in the background, and it foreshadows the rest of the album to come. Gradually, Petrucci's acoustic guitar enters, washing away the hypnotherapist, and LaBrie helps immerse the listener and the main character in his memories. This is how you open a concept album.

Act I Scene II: 1) Overture 1928 - Off we go. Instrumental song that packs everything one would come to expect from Dream Theater plus more. It also introduces some of the themes that show up later throughout the album. Everything is woven in brilliantly. Then, 2) Strange Deja Vu - Same concepts of Overture 1928, plus LaBrie and more. It gives the listener his/her first real inkling as to where this album can truly go with all 5 members in full swing.

Act I Scene III: 1) Through My Words - Very short piano intro with singing and few other elements. Absolutely perfect to calm down the album, even only for about a minute, before it kicks back in again. Get ready, because then 2) Fatal Tragedy - Whoa. It could be the best song on this album. And that would be saying something. It proves that emotion can also be delivered with Dream Theater music. I'm trying to find a word to use other than "brilliant" to use on this album, and I simply cannot.

Act I Scene IV: Beyond This Life - The 5/4 intro gives little hint to what follows. The lyrics here are from a newstory, and it is actually pulled off very well. As with Fatal Tragedy, there are unbelievable keyboard and guitar solos. This song is just pure cool. It's also very good as one of the longer songs on the album.

Act I Scene V: Through Her Eyes - Way way way too many people attack this song. Yes, it's much slower and features female vocals, but that does not mean that it is sappy or bad at all. In fact, I find it to be a very touching song that does well in ending the first half of the album.

Act II Scene VI: Home - The longest song on the album, and surely does not disappoint. It has a slightly Middle Eastern feel to it at points, and overall the effect works. It shows a span of Dream Theater's work. Surely, this album couldn't get better. Right.

Act II Scene VII: 1) The Dance of Eternity - Instrumental, and absolutely insane instrumental at that. It brings back Overture 1928, and then goes in a whole new direction, with every type of solo. The standout solo (for me, that is): the ragtime piano solo. Rudess knows how to play, and this shows that his solos aren't just measures of 64th notes (also listen to the piano solo in the Solitary Shell section of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence). 2) One Last Time - The album is coming to a close, and this starts the ending, full of emotion. LaBrie is indeed fantastic here. This is probably a standout track for him. Then again, every song is.

Act II Scene VIII: The Spirit Carries On - Wow. Maybe even more emotion than One Last Time. Here, everything has been brought full circle. Everything comes back here, and the culmination is complete. It might have received my vote for best album closer ever, if it was in fact the end of the album, and if there wasn't another even better closer, which luckily is in fact on this album.

Act II Scene IX: Finally Free - Remember how I said that Dream Theater knows how to open a concept album? Well, this proves that they are even better with closers? This also has the good chance of being the best song on the album. Absolutely incredible. It singlehandedly takes the album in a new direction (in a good way, mind you), and it is also extremely cool, and is also extremely emotional, all at the same time. The middle section with the, well, event going on (I don't want to ruin it) is phenomenal, made even better with the addition of the hypnotherapist saying "Open your eyes, Nicholas" in a very frightening way. Then, of course, he says it again, and after a short yelp, the needle leaps off the record.

Suppose you are a casual prog fan. You know, you have one or two Yes albums, a Genesis album, and a Pink Floyd album. Well, regardless, you should still have this. Let's go one further. Suppose you like music. You know, you have some Led Zeppelin, maybe some other bands. Well, regardless, you should still have this. This album is that good, that everyone should have heard it. I do not think that it is the greatest album ever made (a status that can never be fully realized for any album at all), but it's up there. 5/5 stars.

Yanns | 5/5 |


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