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Dream Theater - Master Of Puppets CD (album) cover

MASTER OF PUPPETS

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

1.90 | 89 ratings

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1 stars Clearly a bit of fun for a band who are more than up to the task of playing the notes of one of the most important albums in Prog Metal's history, but a complete waste of time and money even for the curious.

The problem?

While the notes are rendered perfectly and with precision, with notable exceptions that I'll cover below, the two main issues are timbre (the sounds made by the individual performers that necessarily combine to make up the whole, and overall style. There also remains the small detail of the production - but that can be overlooked, since it is the performance and ultimately the music itself that matters most.

The performance starts off well enough - the anticipation and excitement in the crowd is practically tangible as the familiar opening chords to Battery ring out. The sound here is accurate, and not much is lost in the initial bars as every note falls into place. I find the crowd's echoing of the melody line annoying though.

When the big power chords kick in and the main riff gallops away, you can tell that this is not Metallica; Despite the additional speed, the energy is not present and you can feel the band holding back from wanting to decorate riffs that require no decoration. As has been mentioned, the vocals completely lack the power of Hetfield, but, which has not been mentioned, the guitar flurries and solos are thrown away and ignored in some places, as if Petrucci feels he can improve on Hammet's near-perfect originals, or that they somehow don't matter - or are too difficult, maybe... I'd suspect he just hasn't really practiced.

On to the title track, and the tempo has changed - Dream Theater obviously feel unable to play this one at speed - you can hear Petrucci struggling with the riffs, and the little guitar fanfare that heralds the first verse is lost in the mush - and I'm not talking about the production. The bass runs at the end of the chorus are similarly thrown away and smudged. On the whole the riffs sound smudged and under rehearsed, and the piece really drags.

Oddly, the tempo is slowed again for the quasi-classical mid section, which is painfully and uneccesarily harmonised - and a number of slips from Petrucci bring a cringe or two.

Issues with the accenting after this section ruin the powerful bridge to the second solo, which Petrucci begins well, but goes off into his own little world for a while and loses Hammett's original logic and flow. The ensuing bridge has further timing issues - and here is almost where the review ends as I cringe under the table at the dreadful intonation issues in Labrie's voice.

Just too painful.

The question remains; Why?

Why cover an entire album - or even a single song - if you have nothing to add to it?

If it's a tribute, and for sale to fans, why not do it properly - polish out the mistakes in the studio and address the appalling production issues.

If the songs were obscure, then that would be a different matter - bringing overlooked music back to life is something Metallica were great at.

Dream Theater add nothing to this great work, instead turning it to meaningless sludge.

"Sanitarium" is the last track I'll investigate, as I have noticed snippets of this track inherent in much of Dream Theater's early material - so it's clearly a song that's inspired them tremendously.

However, there is nothing much to remark on that hasn't been said about the earlier tracks. Labrie demolishes the vocal line, Petrucci drags slightly in the chunking riffs after the second verse, and the solo is completely thrown away - honestly it's like seeing a road accident.

You know you shouldn't really be looking because you know you won't like what you see, but the horrific fascination proves too strong.

Fortunately, Petrucci's awful interpretation of Hammet's carefully constructed solo has me reaching for the off button before I can bear witness to much more of this carnage.

I can only wish that the wildly enthusiastic cheering from the audience was sarcastic.

No.

I didn't like it.

Not even a little bit.

:o)

Certif1ed | 1/5 |

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