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Dream Theater - Falling Into Infinity CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.32 | 1450 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars It was inevitable that this group would get cut under the knife eventually.

After the "changing of the guard", so to speak, at Eastwest, Dream Theater wasn't really proud of the beast they had created with "Awake", so they wanted to remain a progressive rock band, not necessarily a metal band, so the record label decided to help them, only them.

Instead of creating a prog rock album, they wanted a commercial album from the quintet, to which they really didn't want to, but eventually had to succumb to the pressure.

So...where to begin?

"New Millennium" was one of the few tracks to avoid butchering. Not exactly a prog epic, it's a standard 8 minute track that featured catchy lyrics and choruses from LaBrie and, of course, was the full length debut of Derek Sherinian, who replaced Kevin Moore who contributed in the band's darker atmosphere, which they were hoping to remove from this album.

Well, they did that all right, in return for one big fat synth squeal.

"You Not Me" will go down in history as the ultimate progressive metal casualty. Originally "You Or Me", 2 valuable minutes were cut, as well as the song "Raise The Knife" (with an excerpt of the latter in the final version of the former here). Hey, when your record label hires Desmond Child to help write a song for a band that doesn't even know who you are, you know you're in for a world of pain.

"Peruvian Skies" is a favorite of mine, as it's a slow song that moves from 4/4 to 3/4 in the chorus and picks up the heavy meter at the end. Of course, after heavy guitars, it's gotta be followed by a sad-sack song in "Hollow Years". It would be a decent song if it was the only one of it's kind on here, but obviously during the circumstances, that didn't happen.

"Burning My Soul > Hell's Kitchen" is the best song off the album, by far. I'm still having a hard time whether I prefer this version (with the 2 songs split) or the demo version (with both sections merged together). Both are great, simply because it balances the heaviness from "Awake" with the balance and beauty of "Images & Words".

The whole song is even better segue-ing into "Lines In The Sand", as this is another great track off this record. Catchy lyrics and complex rhythms follow "Burning My Soul > Hell's Kitchen"'s footsteps by taking a few pages from "Images & Words", even if Derek Sherinian's solo made my ears bleed.

"Take Away My Pain", "Just Let Me Breath" and "Anna Lee" are all commercial songs attempting to appeal to the radio listener. Even though "Just Let Me Breath" is a bit heavier than "Take Away My Pain" and "Anna Lee" (as both are ballads), it doesn't really live up to Dream Theater's standards. Not even "Trial Of Tears" made the fall to the bottom better. It's really just a long, extended ballad.

Positives: "Burning My Soul > Hell's Kitchen > Lines In The Sand". The three best songs remotely related to progressive metal and prog rock in general.

Negatives: Pretty much every other song, not to mention Sherinian's performance. DT has a knack of waiting for new members to shine immediately since this keyboard fiasco. I love Sherinian's solo works, but this was just a bad time for him to make his start...and then get "das boot".

Verdict: It's not my favorite DT album, but I still have it, simply because it has it's moments, but it's not exactly a disc to introduce to people who love DT's later material.

Wicket | 3/5 |


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