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


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.13 | 1849 ratings

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Mr. Mustard
5 stars One would think it would be impossible to follow up after the amazing Scenes From A Memory, but Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence does that and more, pushing the Dream Theater sound to new levels. The album is definitely Dream Theater's most experimental effort. They incorporate alternative into their sound, they use different and interesting techniques (see guitar solo on Misunderstood), and also approach a few songs with a more metal approach (Glass Prison). Every musician is at their peak here, especially Jordan, whose contribution to this album makes it as great as it is.

The album kicks off with the great 'Glass Prison,' which is part one of the 12-step suite. The song represents Dream Theater at their heaviest, with loud and deep metal riffs and pounding drums. Petrucci is really good here, as is Portnoy. Rudess also adds some subtle touches with his keys, but unfortunately, besides the opening riff, Myung's bass is mostly drowned out by the guitar. This would become a trend in later albums as Dream Theater explores the more metal side of prog. Nonetheless, this remains one of Dream Theater's best songs.

'Blind Faith' is a slightly more commercial song with an alternative feel. For whatever reason, it works. The song still does have a Dream Theater sound, especially in the middle where Rudess and Petrucci have another solo battle.

'Misunderstood' is perhaps Dream Theater's most experimental song. It opens with some slower melancholic singing from LaBrie and eventually transforms into another Alternative feel before going into a 'She's So Heavy' like riff accompanied by Jordan's haunting keys. Petrucci uses a technique similar to George Harrison in I'm Only Sleeping by reversing an original solo and learning to play that. The last two minutes is a bunch of guitar screeching that gives a rather uneasy feeling.

'The Great Debate' has an epic intro filled with samples of people talking about stem cell research over a gritty Myung bass line. The buildup is great and features some of chaotic drumming before settling into a nice heavy riff. I would easily consider this one of Mike Portnoy's best drumming exhibitions, and Petrucci's solo at ten minutes in is also one of his best. The song is as Dream Theater as you can get, but also reminds me of both tool and Liquid Tension Experiment.

'Disappear' is a unique song with lyrics by James LaBrie. It has the similar sound the group was experimenting with in this album, but is much darker and more melancholic. LaBrie does an amazing job here and it is one of the few slower songs that I really like. If the first disc was Experimental, then the second disc is pure Dream Theater at the core.

Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence is perhaps the best music Dream Theater has ever done. I don't consider it song per say, but rather a bunch of smaller songs that form a suite. Song or not, it belongs to Jordan; his piano and keyboard are all over it and really gives it a nice prog feel.

The suite starts off with the lovely 'Overture,' which is Dream Theater experimenting with a more orchestral sound they would later explore more in Octavarium. The sound is very dramatic and warm, but really like nothing else Dream Theater has done.

The Overture segues beautifully into 'About to Crash,' a fun song with an uplifting vide despite the rather depressing lyrics covering bipolar disorder.

'War Inside My Head' and 'The Test That Stumped' Them All are about Shell Shock and Schizophrenia, respectively. The two are the more metal sounding songs of the suite.

'Goodnight Kiss' is a nice slower song with a strong Pink Floyd vibe, especially with John Petrucci's solo, which I believe remains to be the best he's ever done. The song is very melancholic and perhaps the saddest song Dream Theater has done as well, and is evidence that they aren't this overly technical band which lacks emotion.

'Solitary Shell' is probably my favorite song of the suite. The main melody on acoustic guitar is dangerously close to Solsbury Hill (both are in 7/4), but Jordan's piano melody makes it unique. The instrumental part about four minutes in is pure Dream Theater and is led, again, by Jordan's keys. Myung's bass can also be heard throughout the song which is always nice.

A reprise of 'About to Crash' is the next song. It has some different instrumental parts but mostly draws from the other songs.

The ending is the dramatic 'Losing Time/Grand Finale' which concludes the suite by referencing the other song lyrics. It's a beautiful ending to a beautiful album.

Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence remains one of my favorite Dream Theater records and is one of their best along with Images, Awake, and Scenes. Unfortunately, they will never reach this point of artistic creativity with any of their albums again, but will stick with the more comfortable Dream Theater sound.


Mr. Mustard | 5/5 |


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