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Dream Theater - Wither CD (album) cover

WITHER

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.21 | 85 ratings

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baz91
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I can't help but cringe a little inside when I hear Dream Theater are releasing a single or an EP. An established band like this should have enough artistic integrity to be able to release albums without the need for singles, like Led Zeppelin in the 1970s. However, this 29 minute single is not just the money grabbing opportunist device that it seems to be.

There are three different versions of Wither, the shortest (and consequently most commercial) track from the bands' tenth album 'Black Clouds & Silver Linings'. The first of these is the album version. I've always quite liked this track. It may be poppy and have one of the shortest instrumentals in Dream Theater history, but it's a lovely tune with singable lyrics. The best part is obviously JP's guitar solo, which is clearly influenced by the solo in Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.

The second version of the song includes just a piano as a backdrop to James LaBrie's voice. This is actually quite a sweet version of the track, and a very intersting listen.

The third version is the JP Vocal Demo, which actually isn't a demo at all. It's just the same track but with the songwriter's voice over the top. Unfortunately, it's quite clear that Petrucci has auto tuned his voice and hence this version feels inferior.

The last track on the EP is surprisingly good! The Best of Times, also taken from 'Black Clouds & Silver Linings' is presented here with Mike Portnoy's vocals in place of LaBrie's. Since this is Portnoy's song about his father's death, his vocal presence feels appropriate but his singing voice is actually quite good. Rather than try and adopt LaBrie's high pitched vocal style, he instead chooses to sing in a tone closer to speaking level. The funny thing is, he only sings for less than 6 minutes on this 13 minute song meaning that most of the track is exactly the same as it is on the album. Nonetheless, this version is superior to the album version because Portnoy's lyrics seem to have more meaning whilst sung by himself, making this a more poignant track.

I severely dislike download-only singles and EPs as I am the sort of person who likes hard copies of all my music. However, this is not such a bad investment, even if the only killer track is The Best of Times. This track seems so important that it should have appeared on the album itself, if not one of the bonus tracks. A curiosity worth exploring!

baz91 | 3/5 |

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