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Dream Theater - Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes from a Memory CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.30 | 3109 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Scenes From a Memory, the crowning diadem of progressive metal. 71% of listenters submit a perfect five star rating according to prog Never has a progressive metal album been so well recieved by so many people. The album despite it's amazing acclaim is actually one of the most polarizing of the genre.

Scenes From a Memory was the most unique and technically impressive of Dream Theater's catalogue at the time of it's release. The addition of keyboardist Jordan Rudess brought an entire new dimension to the band. This was also the band's first album produced by John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy, so the tonality of this album is considerably different from that of previous producers like Kevin Shirley and Dave Prator.

Scenes From a Memory is Dream Theater's most promoted work. The album is a conceptual sequel to an earlier song Metropolis Part I, and is also supported with it's own DVD consisting of the entire set and a live cd. Scenes From a Memory was not only a great success, but the most important success considering the bands mainstream swing with their previous release Falling Into Infinity. Dream Theater had to make another big splash with this album, and they succeeded in doing just that.

As I mentioned earlier the album is a concept sequel to a previous song, Metropolis Part I. Metropolis Part II: Scenes From a Memory clarifys the concept of the song along with adding characters. The concept is of three individuals Victoria, Edward Baynes (The Miracle), and Julian Baynes (The Sleeper). Victoria is killed by Edward after falling in love with his brother Julian. The twins share the same mind, so it was no mystery to Edward. Two other characters Nicholas and a hypnotherapist discover Nicholas true character through the past of Victoria. In short it is discovered at the end of the album Nicholas is the reincarnation of Victoria and the hypnotherapist is that of Edward. The concept jumps between past and present. Dream Theater was quite creative with this using time changes throughout each song and stating the album with the end of the concept.

The album itself is a little of everything. There's hot metal guitar leads, heavy metal rythymns, bluesy solo licks, rich harmonized vocal performances, mind-blowing bass techniques, and in your face drum fills. Dream Theater is the pinnacle of combing great melodic sense with amazing technique. The atmosphere constantly shifts between darker and lighter settings with plenty of variation.

Mike Portnoy delivers an absolutely wild performance. From the opening drum beats of Overture 1928 to the final drum solo of Finally Free Portnoy is dead on the beat playing the most precise fills. The solo in Finally Free is amazing, it features not only a great degree of skill, but also a lot of feel and emotion which is very hard to communcate through drums. Portnoy's job of holding down the rythymn of "Home" is quite impressive as well with all of the intricate rythymns flowing between the drums, guitar, and bass. Portnoy's performance on Scences From a Memory is nothing but legendary.

John Petrucci also gives an excellent performance in a variety of ways. The solos "Home" and "Fatal Tragedy" are examples of some of the best shred techniques in the genre, but Petrucci is also able to impress with slower bluesier solos in songs like "Through Her Eyes" and "The Spirit Carries On". " Petrucci also lays down some of the tightest takes on ryhtymn guitars. There's no mudded space in the guitar mix on this album.

Jordan Rudess is a keyboard wizard. He is able to showcase amazing piano and keyboard skills. Rudess makes effective use of the entire range of the keyboad. He also digs out some of the most inventive and creative keyboard tones in the genre. Rudess synth technology is top notch.

John Myung can groove, but on this album his parts are even tighter than before. The work althroughout the instrumental opus "Dance of Eternity" is mind-blowing. Myung plays in a variety of positions up and down the neck in a variety of keys, showcases excellent tapping skills, and solos with precision. Wait, I forgot to mention Myung's excellent rythymnic sense. The man anticipates mutes and melodies in "The Spirit Carries On" with great ease. He also pulls out a fretless six-string bass for "Through Her Eyes" displaying a tasteful and difficult bass fills throughout the song. His performance alone is worth more than five stars.

James LaBrie, one of the most contreversial vocalist in prog metal nails his parts. The vocal harmonies are excellent on this album. LaBrie sings clearly and enunciates precisely. LaBrie never falls off key or out of tune, this vocal performance matches the technical precision of the instrumentalist supporting it.

I'm not done yet, I still have to talk about the production. Dream Theater's Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci produce this album, eliminating the buffer of a producer. Portnoy and Petrucci engineer this album to the band's strengths. Everything is crystal clear. The drums have excellent reverb, but never ringing out too long into the next beat, a true work of art with the cymbals. The bass is punchy and balanced, with prescence in a variety of ranges. The guitars are light and never overpower the band. The vocals are rich and sustained. The keyboards are amazing. The synth sounds are refreshing and creative breaking away from all cliche's of the genre's keyboards. The production matches the perfection of the album.

You're not asking me to rate this are you?

AtLossForWords | 5/5 |


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