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Dream Theater - Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.13 | 2011 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Dream Theater's 2002 release "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" is quite overlooked. This maybe because of the big sucess Dream Theater had with it's 1999 "Metropolis Part II: Scenes From a Memory". Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence combines the best of Dream Theater's new expermental and technical side with the old melodies that touched us so much.

The first disc is decidedly more experimental. Starting off with "The Glass Prison", Dream Theater opens up with a short bass melody from Myung to set up the tune. Later the whole band kicks in. This song for the most part is more insturmental. One thing that i really liked on this track was the use of Mike Portnoy's vocal skills. Throughout the first and second movements of the tune, Portnoy and LaBrie give great contrast to each others vocals. This is something that i find to be particularly unique throughout this entire album. For once Dream Theater has been more experimental with vocals. There isn't much else to say about the insturmentals on this track other than they are nothing short of the typical Dream Theater brilliance. Some of the traded solos before the third movement are some of the finest works I've heard from Petrucci and Rudess.

There isn't too much to say about the albums second track "Blind Faith". The song has an interesting flow to it, and the solos are quite technical in a more subtle way than most Dream Theater fans are used to. Myung really makes this track special with the numerous bass fills he does throughout the tune. This song is also a really good mix of hard and soft, i see more elements of the old rather than the new Dream Theater in this tune.

The third track "Misunderstood" is something to write home about. This track is highly creative considering it's simplicity. The orchestral synths used by Jordan Rudess here are quite something. I've searched the album credits and i'm shocked to see that there are no credits for an orchestra or at least a cellist. Rudess has his orchestral synths sounding top quality all throughout this album. The chord changes are quite moving here as well. I don't want to sound all power metal by saying they are nothing short of epic, but i find these chord changes to be nothing but epic, powerful, inspiring, and grandiose. Solos are not a highlight here, but the effects used at the end are quite different from anything Dream Theater has done in the past as they continue to put more and more creativity into this album.

The fourth track "The Great Debate" will be a future staple in Dream Theater's discography. The track opens and closes will sound samples over one of the world's great debates (if that lingo is appropriate here), the stem cell issue. The song is masterful lyrically because it never takes a deliberate side. The issue is properly presented and any user can decide their own opinion on the issue. There is no preaching at all here. The insturmentals are spectacular here. This song blends the amazing musical execution of Dream Theater with the rythmic creativity of Tool. Once again we have more experimentation from Dream Theater. John Myung does an excellent job holding the tune togethor throughout fourteen minutes of tacets from all members of the band. He is the only member who plays constantly throughout the song.

The fifth track "Disappear" showcases yet another side from the band. This track is dark. Dream Theater is a band that can showcase many moods and emotion, but i must say this is the darkest sounding track I've heard from them. The tune is entirely soft with the overtones of eerie keyboards from Jordan Rudess. James LaBrie does a plausible performance on this tracks where he sounds as dark as he ever will. LaBrie is never a singer that I thought of as one who sung too much, but here his vocals are perfectly placed, something that rarely happens anymore. This track is another winnner.

At last we come to the forty-two minute epic "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence". This song is the definition of a masterpiece. The overture intro has excellent orchestration performed by Jordan Rudess on his Kurzweil. About to Crash is LaBrie's first appearence on the second disc, and what a way he entered. This is one of the better performances by James LaBrie on this album. His vocals are clear and clean. War Inside My Head is an average tune on it's own, but it sets up The Test That Stumpted Them All great. This forty- two minute epic is really one song, not a collection of eight. The Test That Stumpted Them All is one hell of a chop buster for any musician. The skill rythmically and soloistically is seldomly surpassed by Dream Theater. Goodnight Kiss is not much of a song, but the solo at the end by Petrucci is briliant. The flow is incredibly relaxed and controlled. This solo sounds much more improvised than composed because of Petrucci's excellent articulations. Solitary Shell is more a throwback to the prog rock roots of Dream Theater. The biggest influence here is Yes. At the end of the tune we have to tracks (About To Crash (Reprise) and Losing Time), which fit perfectly. Not that the other tunes don't have an excellent flow, but the link is unusually strong here. About To Crash (Reprise) features more tempo changes than previous songs on the album, and Losing Time loses some of the authenticity of earlier tracks, but makes the tune sound nothing short of grandiose. This will always be my favorite Dream Theater song. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence is perfection from the opening note of the Overture to the final chord of Losing Time.

The production on this album is typical for Dream Theater. The drums are powerful and deep. The guitars are thick and distorted while still retaing great clarity. The bass is boomy but not overpowering. The vocals are clearly harmonized. The keyboards are something to write home about. Rudess stays away from the typical analog sounds of so many progressive keyboardists today in favor of the two extreme of digital and of more authentic sounding insturments that mix will with his great orchestral synths. Production is great, but not unique.

AtLossForWords | 5/5 |


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