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Dream Theater - Wither CD (album) cover

WITHER

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.22 | 81 ratings

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Rune2000
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
4 stars A nice EP with a big surprise towards the end!

I rarely review EP's especially ones released by well established acts like Dream Theater, but this is one of those exceptions that I just cannot overlook. When I initially saw the EP on Spotify it didn't exactly struck me as anything worth checking out but I still decided to give the second track, Wither (Piano Version), a go out of pure curiosity of how much it would differ from the original.

It's safe to say that this five minute track felt pretty underwhelming and I actually began searching for new music to add to my playlist when, all of a sudden, the third track started playing. The vocals didn't sound like James LaBrie and that's went it dawned on me that JP Vocal Version was in fact referring to John Petrucci on vocals! I have to honestly say that I was completely mesmerized by his vocal performance since it brought completely different energy to the composition that actually made it better than what I'm used to.

Please don't get me wrong, I'm hardly one of the people who dislikes James LaBrie. He definitely had his share of ups and downs in terms of live performances over the years, but always managed to deliver solid performances on the studio material. John Petrucci's voice just has a completely different ring to it that I, surprisingly enough, find very appealing here. There does seem to be a few effects added to his voice on the track but they don't bother me too much as long as it doesn't sound completely artificial and that's not the case here. Little did I know, the biggest surprise was still to come!

I wasn't actually all that interested in hearing an early demo of The Best Of Times since I'm pretty familiar with Mike Portnoy's vocal delivery but this final track was something else! Let me start by saying that this is not a demo by any means; it's the complete version of the track sounding almost exactly like the final version that made it to the record. But Portnoy definitely brings the overall performance up a notch with his vocal performance! He makes the wise decision of not trying to imitate LaBrie's high pitch vocals and really brings the vocals down to the level that sound really sincere for such an emotionally charged song. The fact that the studio album version of the track always annoyed me a little due to the over the top vocal delivery is completely remedied here, which comes as a completely bliss to my ears.

Is this EP worth to get for the three performances of Wither? No, not really. John Petrucci on vocals is a great experience but it only barely scratches the price of admission. The Best Of Times, on the other hand, is what makes this EP an almost essential piece of Dream Theater discography that more people should get acquainted with. Highly recommended!

***** star songs: The Best Of Times (Mike Portnoy Vocal Demo) (13:06)

**** star songs: Wither (5:26) Wither (John Petrucci Vocal Demo) (5:26)

*** star songs: Wither (Piano Version) (5:09)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |

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