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Dream Theater - Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory CD (album) cover

METROPOLIS PART 2: SCENES FROM A MEMORY

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

4.29 | 2090 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

lazland
Prog Reviewer
4 stars A band that people either love or hate, there really is no middle ground for this lot at all, at least if the comments they attract on this and other sites are to be believed. I take a far more pragmatic view. I like Dream Theater, I acknowledge their importance in terms of attracting many new fans to the prog field, and, say what you like about them, nobody could possibly doubt their musical prowess technically.

This is, of course, their highest rated album on the site, and the one generally acknowledged as their masterpiece. I can see why. My only other DT review was for Systematic Chaos, which I felt was far too much of a "metal by numbers" album to qualify as an excellent prog album. More than one person wrote to me afterwards suggesting that, to redress the balance, I should really review an album that did not attract such a statement.

Well, this one certainly passes the test. It is, of course, very heavy and metal in places. After all, this band were at the forefront of this particular sub genre. It does, however, in parts, bring to the fore, in a very welcome way, the band's obvious progressive symphonic influences and loves.

The one thing I will say is that I cannot, for the life of me, understand the criticism brought against James LaBrie's vocals. I think his performance here is superb, and, indeed, I enjoy listening to him on the relatively rare occasions I revisit this band's music. Equally comfortable with the "traditional" metal vocals as he is on the more gentle tracks, this is a strong, accomplished performance. For no better example of the way he manages to combine both, listen to Beyond This Life, and his performance on Strange Deja Vu is staggeringly good.

New boy is Jordan Rudess on keyboards, and the stability and quality he brings to the band as compared to predecessor albums is instant and clear.

Elsewhere, the rhythm section is particularly strong, pounding the album along, and Petrucci is his usual efficient self on guitar.

There are many highlights on this album. I especially love Through Her Eyes, a gentle delicate ballad, with exceptional vocal and musical performances, alongside a very solid female vocal. The longest of the epics, Home, completely changes the mood after a deceptively quiet start, and fairly thunders along. It is, by the way, metal of a quality that equals the best of any of the classic acts. Having said that, there are more than enough symphonic nods to the likes of Yes included in this track to keep the prog purists very happy.

This is, however, an album to be listened to and enjoyed as a whole, as with all the best concept albums. taking one or two tracks out of the sequence completely destroys its effect.

The concept itself is an interesting story of a man living a previous life through the still popular method of regression therapy. I like it, mainly because its a subject I have always been fascinated with, but I would also make the point to those who state it as being a bit silly that you could apply this to almost any concept album really.

This is an excellent album, of that there is no question. Having been a long standing fan of classic metal, I am reticent to place it within the masterpiece category, but it really isn't that far off. If you are reading this, and have tended to stay away from the band for whatever reason, I would recommend that you get this. There is certainly more than enough here for fans of classic heavy rock, heavy and symphonic prog to thoroughly enjoy.

Four stars. An excellent addition to any prog rock collection.

lazland | 4/5 |

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