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


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.13 | 1847 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence is the 6th album by US prog-metal legends Dream Theater, and the follow up to the masterpiece Metropolis Part 1: Scenes From a Memory. This album is notable as a detachment from the previous style of song writing that the band used and focuses more on the downside of life. This album is quite possibly the bands most experimental as it takes in a wide range of styles and tones in the album, whilst maintaining a more heavy metal sound than in previous albums.

The album opens up with its best song, The Glass Prison. This song is a heavy metal song on first appearance but beneath the surface it comprises of many twists and turns that make this a very interesting song. Of the first four tracks on the album it's the only one that doesn't sound too long and drawn out. As the song is split into three sections but is also parts 2,3 and 4 in Mike Portnoy's AA series that was started in The Mirror on Awake. Lyrically this is one of Portnoy's strongest songs, it's a shame that the series starts going down hill from here in subsequent albums.

From here on Blind Faith, Misunderstood and The Great Debate all give off their own unique character to the album but I feel that from each I think they could have cut a minute or two to make them really good songs. I was particularly impressed with the lyrics to The Great Debate. This song deals with stem cell research, and while the band make their opinion known, the background voices and the lyrics themselves make sure that its leaving it up to you to decide on where you lie in this debate. The first disc of the album closes off with the ballad Disappear. This song has a really great opening that I will never forget as it goes right through me every time I hear it, very spooky. It gets even spookier when the same passage appears in the middle of the song backed up by Petrucci's guitar. A great song.

The second disc is just one song, the title track Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence lasting a grand total of 42 minutes making it DT's longest song and an album in its own right! However, it doesn't actually work as a complete entity, each indavidual section is more of a song in its own right making this work more like a concept album than an epic. Unfortunately I find the way it goes from the all out heavy metal of The Test That Stumped Them All to the much softer Goodbye Kiss to be very abrupt and detrimental to the feel of the whole piece. Lyrically most of this disc is very week as well and this is unfortunate as it could have been so much better with were they were tacking this.

The only song on the second disc that really gets to me is Solitary Shell, the way it changes from 12 string acoustic to 7 string electric is..well electric. The lyrics also hold up better on this song than the rest and as a consequence Solitary Shell has stayed in my mind were the others have got nearly totally forgotten.

Musically there are times when this album is brilliant, like on The Glass Prison, Disappear and Solitary Shell and others were the band is a little lackluster, such as a the middle sections of Misunderstood and Blind Faith. I don't know how the writing style/ method of the band changed but its immediately noticeable that they are missing the input of John Myung. He's written some of their best songs like Learning To Live and Trial Of Tears but here has nothing. Thankfully his bass lines generally keep up to the usual standards that you expect of him, and the opening to The Glass Prison is really memorable. Its also quite clear on this album that Jordan Rudess is fitting in with the band perfectly, shown best by his interplay with Petrucci throughout. James LaBrie maintains the high standard of singing that he set on Scenes From A Memory and carry's high and low notes brilliantly without having to wail/scream as he did in Awake.

Overall its an interesting album by Dream Theater but not one of their best, some of the tracks are just a bit too long for there own good and the title track is very inconsistent musically, and barely a single track at all. I give this album 3.5 stars, as there is a lot to enjoy still but some parts that could be skipped, rounded down to 3 as its not great.

sleeper | 3/5 |


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