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Dream Theater - A Change Of Seasons CD (album) cover


Dream Theater

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4 stars Wow! This song was written to be in "Images And Words" but at the last time they didn't record it... What a pity! This EP is a good EP, but only for the 3 first songs, if they recorded the songs from the medlyes in their integral version I would put a 5 stars rating!
Report this review (#11478)
Posted Wednesday, February 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars "I`d rather people say we`re a heavy rock band with progressive elements.That to me would be more accurate." - James LaBrie, vocalist

And it is. But first, who is this Dream Theater band? Where did they come from? Don`t hear them being promoted in the audio, visual, or printed media. Been around for 20 years? So far sounds like something that I will like. Time for further investigation. Nothing about them in any record guide including the latest edition of The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock. Time to resort to a lesson I learned from a cildhood book called Green Eggs and Ham. I head down to the local record store and say to the clerk, "show me the way to this Dream Theater band son, I`d like to try some." " Right this way Sir, metal section." " Metal section? Thought these guys were supposed to be a prog band?" I say, elliciting a strange kook from the kid as if I had just arrived from another dimension. " Never mind, just show me the way my good son." I pick the one with the blue cover, The one with the kid on the beach. Wait a sec. Kid in the snow. Change Of Seasons? I double check to make sure that this is not a Marillion album which has been mis-shelved. No. Dream Theater heavy metal band. Oh yeah, with progressive elements. Hmmm... looks interesting. 23 minute "suite" track in 7 parts. Wait a minute here. Funeral For A friend? Perfect Strangers? The Rover? This is beginning to sound familiar. What`s this? In The Flesh, Bohemian Rhapsody, Carry On My Wayward son, Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin' and Turn It On Again all in one medley. Impossible. I`d like to see them pull this off without a hitch. They do. You would swear they had the sheet music in front of them complete with guitar tabs. Vocalist Labrie immediately reminds me of Bruce Dickinson. Wonder what he could do with Filght Of Icarus? Gotta hear that "suite" track. Nice melodic intro with acoustic guitar and voice. Crimson Sunrise. Good build up. Here come the keyboards and..... the head banging guitar. I was waiting for that. Great instrumental mid-section. lots of abrupt changes, even little section with some jazz-like phrasings. Thesecats can write and play in unusual time metres. More than obvious that they took their musical cues from a variety of styles just like the prog bands of old. The heavy aspect might be a little overbearing at first but one must come to terms with this in order to put the work in proper perspective. "Suite" track Change Of Seasons returns to original theme and resolves itself. Crimson Sunset. Brilliantly executed game ,set & match rock suite! Excellent recording showcasing Dream Theater in many elements concluding with the testimonial Big Medley which Appropriately signs off with Turn It On Again from Genesis. And I will. Highly rcomended disc from a multi talented "heavy rock band with progressive elements. PAY LOUD!

Report this review (#11477)
Posted Tuesday, March 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This record shows one of the best pieces of music ever written, perhaps, the idea of a heavy band meeting the prog universe is fullfiled with good taste in here, the 23 minutes of the main song worth the album; the live acts as a tribute, sound a little bit like a bar playing, funny but no emotive, in any case, this record must be bought for 2 reasons: 1. is a hell of a band 2. is a hell of a song enjoy
Report this review (#11483)
Posted Thursday, April 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Hey man, how much for this cd?... What, 8 dollars?! Ka-chink, thank you very much, please come again. Wow, unexpensive and juicy record. I'm not a fan of prog metal but since a good song is always a good song, A Change of Season is a Dream Theater classic track. The first 2 minutes are absolutely gorgeous, classical guitar by Petrucci. The song progresses to many good peaks.

One thing: they have a great (japanese?) bass player but too bad he sounds muffled. I don't know what type of sound they are looking for (throughout every album thought) with a bass that choked. Dream Theater, as always, are 5 guys who can't stand each other in life (Myung told us) but creates average-good metal prog. The influence of Rush and Genesis are obvious on the first albums 'till this one. Many 'Tony Banks' keyboards stuff is recognizable on the record. If you're a big fan, you'll probably appreciate the covers. Some are fun like the one of Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin.

I know proggers who only swears by them. Not good. You miss a lot of great metal prog from elsewhere (try Ayreon). They are great musicians but they are not flawless nor invincible. You get fed up easily (shorts-too-tight-voice, huge double-pedal drum, hit-hat frenzyness).

Supremacy in technics.

Report this review (#11479)
Posted Friday, April 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
The Prognaut
3 stars Same day, I got both "Images and Words" and "A Change of Seasons", and for the obvious reasons I described in my review on the band's second album, I found this production somewhat more pleasant to listen to. Getting these CDs the same evening also got me into serious thinking and gave me some serious work to go through. Firstly, it was the suitable moment for me to compare the instrumentations displayed separately and the improvements made in both albums, and secondly, the quality of the brand new sound the band was proposing with the addition of Derek SHERINIAN on keyboards, having no better excuse to prove he could measure up to Kevin MOORE but to perform elegantly all along the 23 minute lasting epical suite self-titled "A Change of Season", a revealing VII episodes track originally written back in 1989 along with "Metropolis - Pt. 1" which was intended to be included in "Images and Words" that shows off the well written lyrical execution by Mike PORTNOY; and on the original recordings by Sir Elton JOHN, DEEP PURPLE, LED ZEPPELIN and PINK FLOYD just to name a few. Eventually, I appreciated this album most over "Images and Words" due its innovations and the overcome challenges of covering classics from the past, thing that could've came in quite handy in the beginnings of the band but that somehow worked out perfectly here; and mostly because it's has got more metal arrangements and acoustic interludes that suit the album excellently in my appreciation.

From beginning to end, the album is committed to follow up a trendy line so plagued of refined guitar riffs, compassed drum beats and keyboards obviously setting off more that in previous releases like in "Funeral for a Friend" / "Love Lies Bleeding". Still, no matter the parameters of comparison I used, I couldn't tell the improves -if they ever existed- in LaBRIE's voice from the advanced works put into his musical growth in "Falling Into Infinity" (my first DREAM THEATER CD) or even in "Awake"; and I won't put my finger off that line, his voice doesn't belong to prog metal genre or any other whatsoever. Apart from the shortcomings, it was nice to found out that the band worked with some great artist such as Steve HOGARTH (not him) and Steve ROTHERY of MARILLION (but he), Barney GREENWAY of NAPALM DEATH, Bruce DICKINSON and Steve HOWE to pull off the "Uncovered" show in the end.

So here's my two cents: the album contains spectacular, mind-blowing moments like the 23 minute opening suite or the improvements made to the whole instrumentation, thing that's quite remarkable. But, in the other hand, you may find the fact of the "covers" and the issue regarding the new keyboardist unappealing, so it's indeed your call. So what's it gonna be? Great album, astonishing band and provocative suspicions to figure out DREAM THEATER all over again for almost one hour of music.

Report this review (#11489)
Posted Tuesday, July 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Watching and listening to the track "A Change of Seasons" which was played by a local band named The Miracle at Barbados Cafe, Jakarta in an event called "Dream Theater Nite" last week reminds me back in 1995 when I was stunned for the first time with the song. For the first time Dream Theater created a 26 minutes of epic! It's an excellent masterpiece! The melody, the progression, the structure, the composition, anything you name it, it's all amazing! The rest of the album is their covers of some old classics which the complete version appears on their bootleg cd "Uncovered". Back again with the song "ACoS", I'm amazed The Miracle, the imitator of DT, could deliver it perfectly. They also perfectly played other DT classics. Gosh, it makes me desperately want DT playing in Jakarta. Oh, DREAM THEATER... when will you come to our city and make our dream comes true???
Report this review (#11490)
Posted Monday, August 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Only the title track deserves four stars. A remarcable suite full of nice melodies, heavy- metal passages and amazing skill. The live cover section is presented as "bonus tracks", and if you take them as that, you'll be pleased hearing favourites tunes of Led Zep, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Queen, Dixie Dregs or Deep Purple. A good way to get in this excellent heavy metal prog rock oriented band. If you like this one, don't miss Images & Words or Scenes From A Memory. If you don't, don't even bother with anything else of DT.
Report this review (#11492)
Posted Friday, August 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
Tristan Mulders
2 stars Dream Theater - A Change of Seasons

A Change of Seasons is in fact a small EP featuring one studio song and a whole lot of live cover songs. Only buy this one if you can get hold of it very cheap.

The album comprises one massive epic track lasting an average twenty-four minutes and this is Dream Theater at their best. A Change of Seasons consists of seven sections all good running together. There is a nice variety of soundscapes; parts are very ambient and atmospheric, like for instance the opening- and ending sequence. Others are fairly heavy and feature nice metal guitar riffs.

Unfortunately, the other half of this EP is nowhere as good as the opening song. The live covers are nice to listen to the first few listens, but after a while you tend to put this disc on a shelf and never listen to it again. at least so it has happened to me.

I just wished they had included this song as an extra to their 1994 "Awake" album. It would fit in great.

Report this review (#11494)
Posted Tuesday, September 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is the second DREAM THEATER album I bought. It's title song is a very good prog epic, but the rest is a bit lacking.

The title track begins with the "Crimson Sunrise" movement, some of the best instrumentation this side of 1990; then it's "Innocence" also good. Some people complain about James Labrie's vocals, but I really don't mind (except for some occaisional piercing screams that get on your nerves...luckily he cuts it out in "Scenes from a Memory" and "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence"). Then it's on to "Carpe Diem," an okay part that gets good near the end with its fall-type sounds; the "Winters" instrumental is good, but not exceptional; then "Another World" drags in, and while it moves the story, it does not move the listener as it is the lowest point of the song. The song compensates, however, with the "Summer" movement with its excellent bass and heat theme; finally the song closes with "Crimson Sunset," my favorite of the parts with lyrics.

The live parts are okay, except that I've never listened to Elton JOHN or DEEP PURPLE. The LED ZEPPELIN medley is okay, but not nostalgic because although I sometimes listen to ZEPPELIN I have never heard these songs. My favorite of the live section is the Big Medley with its PINK FLOYD, KANSAS, QUEEN and other covers. Those songs I have heard! And they cover them great! Overall, this album is a good buy if you want to get into DREAM THEATER and can tolerate some metal...and Labrie's vocals.

Report this review (#11496)
Posted Saturday, September 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars I just can not see how a real big prog/metalband like Dream Theater is getting away with this album. After Images and Words and Awake you would expect another great album with a newing sound like the other two albums have. Instead of that we are getting an album with only two (2!) new songs on it. Okay, there's a new song of about 23 minutes and although it is a really great song, it is still just one new song. The other 34 minutes the album lasts is filled with no surprising covers from Elton John (okay, that i didn't expect), Led Zeppelin and other bands like Pink Floyd and Queen. There is also a track named perfect strangers but this song is not worth mentioning because of the poor vocals and it is also not on a good place on this album. James LaBrie is simply a poor singer next to the guitar and drum violence Dream Theater stands for, although he is doing a great job on the newest album of Ayreon. But for instance when he tries to pull of the high screams of Robert Plant in the Led Zeppelin medley it seems he thinks he can actually make it... but he doesn't. John Petrucci is doing a great job though, i think he really ads something in "achilles last stand". Overall i would really not recommend this album to anybody, which is a shame because the titeltrack is really a great piece of work. Just buy the original Led Zeppelin and Elton John and other bands albums because this album is not worth it thanks to the James LaBrie vocals for one. Thank you for reading
Report this review (#11497)
Posted Sunday, September 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is quite puzzling. Is it a studio album? a covers album? an EP? A live album? A Rarities album? i guess its all of those things. I dont think Dream Theater were intending this to be a proper studio album as it only featues one track that they have written. I see this as a random album which manages to include the epic title track, along with some live covers medleys for the fans and to settle the new keyboardist, Derek Sherinian, into the band before his first major studio effort.

"A Change of Seasons" is probably one of the best proggresive pieces i have ever heard. This is pure prog and pure dream theater. Dream Theater have always been able to show off their amazing talent and musical ability flawlessly with their studio albums but this time they have managed to fit in everything that is dream theater into one 23 minute epic track full of James Labries incredible vocals that change to fit the mood of the music, Labries epic guitar riffs and solos whether he is using the acoustic or electric and some kick ass drum work, bass work and rather excellent keyboard solos and pieces throughout. Derek Sherinian obviously fits in well with this band.

I would definetly, definetly say that if this album only had that one track it would still be a masterpiece, but no, there's more. An additional half hour of classic covers played live and rather excellently. Even if you may not be an Elton John, Queen, Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd fan you will still love what the band have produced here, and if you are fans of those you will probably enjoy it even more. Dream Theater probably arent trying to outdo the originals of this songs, but just provide entertaining, pleasing and musically tremendous pieces. This album is just excellent every way you look at it. I will only give this 4 stars on the account that it not a full studio piece and obviously not as good as stuff like scenes from a memory, train of thought and images of words etc, yet it is a bloody masterpiece of a record.

Report this review (#11498)
Posted Wednesday, September 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
1 stars This record leaves me perplex : so pretentious by trying in the 80 es to imitate the long pieces that were trully inventive in the early 70es, stupid adolescent vocals (nothing good from the vocalist too), exercices in vituosity (sure, they're all good, but do they achieve to create real emotion ?) And what to think about the filling of the album with covers ? What's the use of playing a Led Zep medley exactly in the Led Zep way ? To cover Pink Floyd as if the aim was to be a perfect clone of PF ? Nothing to comment on Elton John cover... Pure technique, no music.
Report this review (#11501)
Posted Tuesday, November 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars Since i couldnt get enough of The Odyssey by Symphony X at the time, the long title track alone made me purchase this one. I didnt even know about the covers hidden inside, the only thing that interested me was the epic intro. At first i just couldnt grab it. It seemed so...stereotypical. But later on it feelt almost as alive as Awake, this song really grows on you I tell you. And for once LaBries vocals feelt natural and the lyrics were quiet good aswell, but what can you expect from an 6 years (I think) old project. And then there were Elton John. I must say I was pleasently surprised by the instrumental very soothing, but in the end it seems like a waste of material to put an excellent song along with covers that isnt refreshing in any way altough are quiet good. But why hear them again when the originals are so much better. However it is a good way to spend two dollar.
Report this review (#11505)
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars A Change Of Seasons is one of the most brilliant prog epics ever written! Seriously...never a lacking moment, and rich with emotion. Think about this CD only in terms of the DT original, with the live stuff serving as bonus tracks. Five stars all the way. Mike Portnoy wrote some really strong lyrics, and the playing is very melodic throughout. IMO, A Change Of Seasons is DT's greatest accomplishment. You need to hear this song!
Report this review (#11506)
Posted Friday, February 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars The opening suite is a great review of many musical climates, you can't get bored even for a minute. I must say that I'm not annoyed by Sherrinian's play, eveen though some listeners consider him as the worst DT keyboardist. Live recordings show great instrumental skills of all DT members - and that's all. They sound quite like originals. If it was only a mini album with title suite, I'd give it four stars. Listened together these two parts of record don' match.
Report this review (#11509)
Posted Friday, April 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars When I first heard about the concept of prog-metal I was pretty intrigued. After all I loved classic prog as well as some 80s metal bands like Iron Maiden, Mercyful Fate and Queensyche (all of whom had their progressive moments). So it was that I came to Dream Theater with great expectations. But somehow, despite giving the band not one, not two, but three chances I have never fallen under its spell.

I've been told that Images And Words is the album that would most suit my tastes, and in hindsight I realised that it might have been a mistake to start off with A Change Of Seasons. Not because of the 23-minute long title track which is still my favourite DT song, but because the second half of this album sees DT churn out dull live covers of classics by Elton John, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Kansas, Queen, Journey, Dixie Dregs and Genesis. I'm not really a fan of uninventive covers, nor of live recordings, so this segment was never likely to appeal much to me. I found the technically skilled playing to be lifeless and turgid, and it's probably partly to blame for my word association problem when it comes to this band ... Dream Theater = Boring.

Going back to the epic seven part title track, it was pretty much everything I'd hoped for. The Crimson Sunrise was delicate and beautiful, Innocence was melodic powerhouse metal, Carpe Diem had stong acoustic guitar work from Petrucci and powerful vocals from James LaBrie, The Darkest Of Winter saw the whole band at the top of its game, Another World is another really strong melodic section, and while The Inevitable Summer does contain some metal cliches, it ain't half bad and the closing section The Crimson Sunset does a fair job of wrapping things up. The whole epic is one of the greatest bits of prog-metal I've ever heard. If I'd have a complaint it was that keyboardist Derek Sherinan spent too much time in the background, only emerging briefly during The Darkest Of Winter.

This album has always left me with mixed feelings and I've rarely been able to sit through the live portion of it. If everything was as good as the title track, I would have made this a 4-star affair ... as it is, it's seated in the lowly 2-star section. ... 43% on the MPV scale

Report this review (#11513)
Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One of their best epics, a mood shifting and unique progressive journey and their first recording featuring Derek Shernian on keyboards replcing Kevin Moore after his depature. This one was written back in 1989, right after the release of their debut album and was planned to be included on "Images & Words", but it didn't (because of the lenght?), The song clocks in at 23 minutes but it's never dull and perhaps their finest moment after their brilliant "Images & Words" and "Awake" releases. However, the rest of this EP is cover songs. Not bad cover songs, in fact, these are very good, though I find'em a bit boring overall and doesn't really suit following the masterful title track, therefore the three star rating. But I strongly recommend it nevertheless, but mostly because of the title track. The cover songs are mostly fan material in my book.
Report this review (#36543)
Posted Wednesday, June 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not 5 star because just the suit A Change of Season is the only good thing of this album, the rest, i don't even listen it, so, if DT would have done a full album instead of a half album, maybe it would be one of the best album of DT, but they didn't.

So, let's go o talk about the good part: the song with the name of the album. A change of season is a song talking about the life, when you are young, old, dead, etc., that's why the name, the lyrics aren't why i rate an album: i don't care about the message, i care about the music, if i'd care about the message, Intillimani would never be in my musical box. The sound of the album y a fresh music with complex textures sometimes and changing a lot of tune, rhythm and texture during the whole 24 minutes, with some instrumentals parts, a lot of instrumental part indeed, rich in sound a power, the non-instrumental parts are also good, and varying the emotion of LaBrie making a great couple with the instruments in those moments.

A really great song at the beginning, but the rest, to forget.

Report this review (#38599)
Posted Tuesday, July 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The title song "Change of season" is the most pleasing Dream theater composition I have yet heard, though I admit I have not immersed myself deeply to their discography. This long song skims pleasantly through energetic instrumental passages and shows great talent on compositional decisions, instrumental virtuosity and thoughtfulness with arrangements. Many classic progressive rock groups I have listened more have often managed to gain fame with much poorer long compositions. The Live performances also present nicely the idols of the players, but also reveal some elements which have caused this group not to grow as my own personal favorite. But I'm certain there is place for this kind of commercial heavy rock with artistic flavors. Maybe lesser pressures of making money would have allowed them to venture more personal directions, but it is also possible I just can't see the honesty they have practiced on their career.
Report this review (#38924)
Posted Saturday, July 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I love this album! I had heard the 23 minute epic, 'A Change of Seasons' before I purchased it, and it was one of the main reasons that I did so. It starts off slow, with a nice accoustic intro by John Pettruci, and it then goes into a heavy guitar riff. The song continues with many different styles of music that somehow fit together to make an awesome song, which sounds amazing live by the way.

One of my favourite things about this song is that there is a real story behind the vocals, the story of the "many phases of a reminiscing man's life". ( The title, in my opinion, fits this song PERFECTLY. I also love how the song actually flows naturally from part to part, and is not just a random assortment of music. It is truly a masterpiece of not only progressive music, but music in general.

In 'A Change of Seasons', every instrument seemed to have it's place. There was not one point in the song where one instrument was trying to overpower another. It just proved how a band has to have amazing chemistry to be truly great! Throughout the song, you will hear riffs that were played earlier in the song, but with a slight twist, or played on a different instrument, coming back in at certain points.

Some have argued that the song is only good because it was meant for Dream Theater's first album, "Images and Words" (1989), but was kept unreleased until 1995, when Dream Theater released this amazing EP? 'A Change of Seasons'. I don't agree. This gave the band 6 more years to perfect the song (and perfect it they did!), and there is nothing at all wrong with that.

Aside from the feature song, Dream Theater did an excellent job on the live covers of some Classic Rock masterpieces. Being a Classic Rock fan myself, I didn't think of them as "ruining the songs" or "performing them better than the orginals". Dream Theater simply reinacted these songs, but did it very well. Like the featured song, 'A Change of Seasons', the medleys of Classic Rock songs that Dream Theater performed flowed naturally.

I would definitely reccomend this album to any fan of Classic Rock, Progressive Rock, Metal, or anybody really. I'd say that if you aren't already into Progressive Music, 'A Change of Seasons' will probably help you find your way there! So now, you should all stop reading this and go out and buy 'A Change of Seasons', definitely worth the price, and definitely deserving of five stars!

Report this review (#40377)
Posted Tuesday, July 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars ok this 20 mn something epic song is just very good. it been composed about the same time as iaw when, you know, kevin was still an actif member... obviously re-ochestred and arranged by the gang at the time(sherinian). this song is very well composed and it seems that is one of the most well balance song of the band, you can hear perfectly every instrument and everybody get is space without walking on each others. the cohesion drum/bass is amazing and mike sound like never b4/after. myung is even playing some guitar on this one (takamine if i remember) and never re-edit that with the band. it is also a very difficult song to play and if you got the scenes from... dvd you can hear that the band struggle a little with this one(obviously they ve been playing the all scenes album just before and it might justify that) anyway this is a very good album and i think it could take place in any good prog collection, of course as soon as you re not avoiding metal-prog from prog... the second part is a reprise set played in england at ronny scott (wich one is a very good venue here in london some of the most valuable jazz is taking place there) and the band sound more than acceptable especially when you remember how all this songs used to be played live by their own composer so on that one i think its all good. for tha rest just buy or donwload the album and enjoy....
Report this review (#40406)
Posted Tuesday, July 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album has a 5 star song and a lot of covers of 70s songs which can be seen as filler. I feel this album just as I feel with Tarkus and Meddle : a great song that stands alone with not as good material. Unfortunately, the Great Kevin Moore has left the band, making this album less impressive on keyboards.

1. A Change of Seasons 10/10 : This is a Great epic, and my favourite Dream Theater song of all times! Describing this song step by step would take me 3 paragraphs, so I would rather explain as a whole how it is. It mixes the acoustic beauty of Petrucci, the heartfelt vocals of LaBrie, The heaviness of Awake, the virtuosity of Dream Theater, and the epic nature of Scarred/Learning to Live. It is a Heavy Metal Classic.

2. Elton John Medley 9.5/10 : Hearing the progressive rock song of Elton John boosted with the virtuosity of Dream Theater is a dream come true. You have to hear the piano playing here.

3. Perfect Strangers 6/10 : this is a cover of a Deep Purple song.

4. Led Zeppelin Medley 5.5/10 : Ok, I know that Dream Theater are great musicians, but I do not thing they should touch the Great Led Zeppelin and put it in an album. The cover doesn't do justice to the great musicianship and singing of Led Zeppelin.

5. The Big Medley 7.5/10 : This is a very interesting cover medley of good pieces. I love their version of In The Flesh and Carry one wayward son. The rest of the covers are done faithfully similar to the originals and are good. What is impressing in this medley is that the pieces flow really well one from the other.

Overall, I think the title track is worth the money alone, and the covers are interesting listens, but not music that you would like to listen everytime you spin the CD.

My Grade : B+

Report this review (#41915)
Posted Sunday, August 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album/EP is essential for the song A Change of Season, but unfortunately that is the only thing it is good for. Forget the other tracks on this disc if you plan to purchase it, only think of the one 24 minute song that is on it. That song deserves 5 stars, it is some of the best work DT has done. The other tracks saddly are just filler. With that being said I gave it a 4. The song is so good it makes up for the rest of the disc.
Report this review (#43494)
Posted Saturday, August 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is the first dream theater album I heard this summer. My father went crazy with the title song, and since wo travel together all the time I had the chance to hear it a LOT of times.

Ireally did not know what to expect as it is described differently wiewing your point of view on the band and the prog metal style. I am a newbie in prog metal, so really i just listened to the music.

The title track starts off wonderfully. The guitar passage is excellent and really I tought ''boy am I gonna love Dream Theater''. Well, the rest of the song doen not match its overture. It has its moments, but most of the time, it is wether a showcase of the members talent of forced emotion.

John Petrucci impressed me with his skills and technique , and really he backs up the reputation he has on this album.

Mike Portnoy is a great drummer, but on this particular song it seems he has only one drum beat and repeats it with some difference all over the song. But nonethless he adds a lot to the music and the overall song.

John Myung passed too much time practicing and not enough time listening. He does play fast, but that's it. As a bassist myself, Iusually expect 2 things from great bassists: that ''oomph'' that you add to a song and a great sens of melody through your rythms. Myung forgot all about that. He adds nothing to a song, and mosty sounds flat. The keyboardist is average and mostly is a texture one wich is good when you ha ve a petrucci at the front.

Labrie... he tries too much. The boy has skills, but most of the time he tries too much to push his moments into emotive and touching ones, wich he fails completely. except a couple of times. Also at times he seems out of place in a metal band.

The song iteself is more or less prgressive, maybe more metal with progressive aspirations. A good song, not a great, even less a masterpiece.

The rest of the album contains tribute to 70's bands. What I remarked and maybe someone said it before me I don't know, but they don't seem to have chosen the more progressive songs from the band's repertoire: Pink Floyd, Deep Purple(they could have taken April for example), Kansas, Queen, etc.

All in all, this is an enjoyable piece of music, but that's it. Not that progressive, mostly downstream rock. i can't give more to a sole song wich I find really average in the prog world. 2/5

Report this review (#43729)
Posted Sunday, August 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This, of course, is not a proper studio album -- even if it had intended to be. Of the five tracks, there's only one that is originally composed by the band. The remainder tracks are live cover songs recorded from the band's gig at a jazz club in London.

The band's original track, the 23-minute title track, is actually this album is all about. It's an impressive seven-part epic. Started with a strong acoustic guitar arpeggio, this is basically a composition with the heavy sound similar to the previous album, "Awake". The difference, and what makes it better, is here the band bring and blend varied style delivered with complex instrumental arrangements and fired throughout by jaw- dropping playing. James LaBrie (vocals) as well as the new keyboardist Derek Sherinian add their signature characters at their best.

The cover songs could have been a tremendous treat -- I guess they were for those present when they were performed. The materials include Elton John's "Love Lies Bleeding", Deep Purple's "Perfect Strangers", Led Zeppelin's "Achilles Last Stand", Pink Floyd's "In the Flesh" and Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody". But putting them in the same package with one of the greatest pieces of music in the progressive rock territory, taking more than half of the total playing time, clearly is a self-indulgence luxury, if not a lack of direction effort.

As stated in the sleeve note, this is indeed something to cheer up fans until the band released their next full length album. Great, but not perfect.

Report this review (#43859)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I enjoyed this record fairly well. Of the 2 studio albums with Derek Sherinian playing the keyboards this is the best, he adds a nice touch to the proceddings, Petrrucci is amazing as always, the covers are interesting if not great. The only problem I have with this record is that James LaBrie`s vocals start to decline from the great singing ability he had on Awake and Images and Words. Good album but if you are just a casual fan i would stick to Awake or Images and Words.
Report this review (#53909)
Posted Saturday, October 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Like the reviews before mine have suggested, you can pretty much cut this into two pieces. The title track and the covers.

The title track: To say the least, this is a piece of magic. All seven sections are fantastic in nearly every way. It's a thing of beauty. At a time of 23:06, it finds itself in some pretty elite company, such as tracks like CTTE, KE9 and SOYCD.

The covers: I wish they would've chosen better Floyd, Genesis and Deep Purple songs, as well as included the nice Yes medley with Steve Howe and maybe skipped Journey... but I can't complain. These are some nice covers and overall, they sound pretty cohesive. Nothing to write home about, though. Better covers can be found on some of their rare stuff (such as the medley on Precious Things and the Number of the Beast cover).

While the weight of the title track alone nearly carries it to a perfect rating, I can't quite go that high for this release. This is a must for prog metal fans, though.

Report this review (#56347)
Posted Monday, November 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
4 stars Seasons are changing from time to time ...

'A Change Of Seasons' is something special because it is consisting of one studio track (left unreleased from the IMAGES AND WORDS recordings) and the rest are cover live songs. There are different points of view about this album and that's not unusual.

Discussions about the musical ability of this guys are not necessary - they are belonging without a doubt to the best of what the progressive rock genre offers. What some people may miss is the clear prog metal orientation. The reason is DT interprets some rock and pop songs in their own special way. The bands plays with more transitions to hard/heavy rock in the same vein as the following 'Falling Into Infinity'.

The title song is a good but not spectacular one - offering all the wellknown qualities of DREAM THEATER. 24 minutes with the complete range from ballad to hightempo rock music, arranged with great variety.

What I'm happy about are the following live medleys. A surprising mix of songs from Elton John to Led Zeppelin which they like or are playing a special role for them - don't know - the same to me. As you can hear it's a great pleasure for them to play the songs. The sound quality of the recordings is brilliant - crystal clear. For me it's working- impressive. I recommend this one because you can listen to another DT band as usual.

Report this review (#66861)
Posted Thursday, January 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Perusing a local music shop one afternoon, a certain name caught my attention. Dream Theater. I had heard recommendations from friends that I would enjoy the band immensly yet I was still reluctant to try them out. I had heard bits and pieces of songs here and there, but was still unfamiliar with the band. Here I stood with a choice. Should I spend the $14.50 on "A Change of Seasons", the cheapest of the bunch, or save myself some money for lunch at Taco Bell? Reluctantly, I grabbed the disc and skipped my meal. In turn I was not dissapointed. The opening track, a twenty-three minute epic immediately had me floored. The song was composed with the greatest of care, moving through hard metal passages, instrumental breaks, and soft acoustic passages all which flow together without boring the listener. Many times long songs tend to falter under their own weight, seemingly drifting on and on without end. "Seasons" however displayed appropiate reserve and range to keep interest. Since becoming familiar with Dream Theater, Petrucci can sometimes shred without end (Train of Thought anyone?) picking speed over lyricism. Happily, that is not the case here. The solos are fast when they need to be, melodic when necessary, and never dissapoint. Compared to other Dream Theater albums, LaBrie's vocals are at the top of their game. Sherinian proves demonstrates he is a worthy keyboard player and Myung and Portnoy keep up the good work. The lyrical content, a story of the change of a mans life in relation to the change of seasons, works immensly well with the music, drawing out the pure emotion put into portnoy's words. However, the covers that dominate this album are a bit of a dissapointment. With such an excellent opening, I expected more. Granted they would be have been more entertaining had I been to that show, they just seemed out of place. They are not bad covers, but nothing particularly stands out. 'seasons' was initially meant to be released with the bands "Images and Words" album, my personal favorite, and would have felt more at home rather than the grouping with mediocre cover songs. Still, "Seasons" demonstrates some of Dream Theaters best work, and the song alone is worth the cost of the album. Highly Recommended.
Report this review (#68734)
Posted Wednesday, February 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The first Dream Theater studio effort to feature Derek Sherinian was A Change of Seasons. And this album isn't even all studio. It's half studio, half cover tracks. Petrucci, Myung, Portnoy, and Sherinian offer up a musical onslaught of technicality and shredding power. LaBrie offers some nice, though sometimes annoying, vocal performances and delivers Portnoy's lyrics with precision and emotion. The Rony Scott's covers are varied and they add a more home-grown feel to the album. There are some real gems that they pull out here (but they decided to leave out Easter w/ Steve Hogarth and Steve Rothery).

A Change of Seasons is the alpha-studio song on the album. It began life in the late 80's as a song the group was working on and tried to get on Images & Words, but that failed. The lyrics and themes depicted in the song give a feeling of carpe diem, or seize the day, and live life to the fullest with no regrets. The 7-string arpeggios in the beginning are inventive and give light to later sections of the album. The heavy breakdown before the vocals arrive is one of the best Dream Theater has ever concocted. Petrucci's riffing on this album is very similar to that of Alex Lifeson and Steve Rothery, with odd phrasing and chordal techniques. The instrumental sections in the middle are inventive and keep the listener on edge with solos from essentially everybody. Overall, this is an okay song studio-wise, but live it is a whole other monster that totally surpasses everything in this song.

The other half of the album is cover songs, the best of which is The Big Medley, which contains excerpts from such artists as Pink Floyd, Kansas, Queen, Genesis, The Dixie Dregs, and Journey. The playing on these songs are superb and give a DT edge to old classics. It's a shame though that they didn't include the Steve Howe Yes medley or Easter (with Steve Hogarth and Steve Rothery of Marillion), these songs are a lot stronger than the other songs represented on the album.

Overall, I feel that this, along with When Dream and Day Unite, are the weakest Dream Theater albums to date. There are some great ideas and performances on this album, but it feels too rushed and the whole thing could have been done a lot better. 2.5/5.

Report this review (#72521)
Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars As a sort of present to the fans, Dream Theater released a studio version of their 23 minute "epic", "A Change of Seasons", and slapped on some live cover versions of classic rock tunes recorded at a special show in Japan. This album was the first album to feature new keyboardist Derek Sherinian. A Change of Seasons is a reasonably good song in musical terms (if a bit dark and grim), with the return of the 7-string electric guitar featured in Awake, and some nice passages utilizing airy textures and wacky jazzy interludes. However, the lyrics, well, suck, with not one, but two uses of the old cliche about "holding in with all of my might". Ugh. Well, at least the music is good. The covers range from awesome (Deep Purple's "Perfect Strangers" is delivered with surprising panache and dramatic effect) to embarassing (the Led Zeppelin medley somehow slipped by the "silly vocal overkill" police). I guess the good and bad parts of this album cancel each other out, making it an Even Steven.
Report this review (#74994)
Posted Saturday, April 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars A Change Of Season

A Change Of Season is more like an "Extended Play" than a CD or an album. Just for quick review, for you who don't know what an Extended Play is and I am sure most of you have know this, Extended Play is a recorded material which is too short to be called single but too long to be called an album. Furthermore, for me, and Extended Play is very identical with progressive music.

Anyway, A Change Of Season is an Extended Play which made just a year after the album Awake in 1994. In this year, Derek Sherenian holds the keyboard section of Dream Theater. The album consists of a somewhat-very-long song, which has the same title with the Extended Play title, A Change Of Season. The song itself can be divided in to seven parts which you can see on top of the page. The other songs are medleys taken from Elton John's songs, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Kansas, Queen, Journey, Dixie Dregs and last but not least, Genesis.

The main song, A Change Of Season for me is one of Dream Theater best songs. I have been looking for the best comparison with A Change Of Season and I have decided the song Octavarium is pretty much the same with A Change Of Season. The length is about 20+ minutes and is divided in sections, however, Octavarium is divided in to 5 section. One other thing in common is the composition of the song, which has the idea of "repeating", or back to the start. Notice in the seventh part or the last section in A Change Of Season, the title is The Crimson Sunset, and the best part is, the riffs in The Crimson Sunset has the same character as the riffs in The Crimson Sunrise. As an illustration, the last lyric in Octavarium is like this, "A perfect sphere, colliding with the fate, this story ends where it began."

Well the song started with The Crimson Sunrise, which is an instrumental part. Notice there is a section is The Crimson Sunrise which is pretty much the same with Erotomania riffs in Awake. After that, the next part is Innocence Faded, when James LaBrie started to sing. Next, Carpe Diem, which means seize the day. And in this part, there are words exactly the same as the meaning of Carpe Diem, Seize The Day. The last part of Carpe Diem is more into heavy rock. After that, another instrumental part, The Darkest Of Winters. For me, the instrumental part is absolutely great, the combination of progressive guitar and keyboard solo with odd time signature from the drums section, but once again, the bass line is not very dominant. The next part is Another World, which has LaBrie's vocal again. Uh I have been waiting for this, the instrumental part of The Inevitable Summer is the best part. Just like other Dream Theater songs, John Petrucci is always add a deep feeling through his guitar solo, maybe its not a really hard and heavy solo, but the selection of tones give me (and I hope you feel it too!) a deep feeling. Then the song was ended with The Crimson Sunset.

As for the medleys, I can't say anything as those songs are not Dream Theater songs, but just as a tribute to the artists mentioned above. Overall impression, great! Timur Imam Nugroho - Indonesia

Report this review (#78402)
Posted Tuesday, May 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of the best songs written by Dream Theater is A Change Of Seasons. In mood it is similar and would fit to Images and Words, like it was meant to be in the beginning. But I believe it was for the best that it was cut out. The song definately had made progress afterward until it was put on disc. A very proggy and for me enjoyably complex song. The rest of the album holds a good concert in a cafe. Dream Theater play on that gig the music that influenced them, the music of their youth maybe but in a Dream Theater key. Elton John, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Queen and some others. Normally I don't like like listening to music by Elton John or these others but on this album it is thoroughly enjoyable.

An excellent album.

Report this review (#82317)
Posted Friday, June 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is full of cover tracks and medleys... I think they're good covers on the songs they do (specially the big medley), but the highlite of this album is definitely the main track 'a change of seasons'... This song is a great listening experience for metalheads and proggers in general... I find the intro amazing specially when the keyboards come in with that gentle sound that compliments petrucci's reverberated guitar... when the main riff finally kicks off you get the feeling that its gonna be an amazing journey and I think it actually is each time I hear that song... The song has quite some great instrumental moments as well as deep singing and intricate rythms and time changes.. that's one of the things these guys are very good at.. A lot of people find octavarium a better song than this one but I personally don't agree with that... The ending is also very good even though La Brie's singing is a bit annoying... I find this track to be a wonderfully achieved effort by one of my favorite bands and really consider it a masterpiece of prog... 5 stars
Report this review (#82963)
Posted Thursday, July 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars One of the best song's Dream Theater has recorded. It is also probably one of their most tasteful, which is saying something for this band. It is a very well done song, and unlike some of their other work, you can tell that they actually put "work" into the project. It is very enjoyable and will remind you of many other bands, Led Zepplin for one.

Unfortunately, the band couldn't follow this up with some other great material. We have some very "teched up" versions of classic songs, really unnecessary in my opinion. While it's not as awful as the Master of Puppets cover, its something I and most people just skip, because frankly, the originals are still much better.

ACoS is one of the better DT songs, but not enough to save the rest of the albums uselessness.

Report this review (#84651)
Posted Monday, July 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Like most reviews before mine I agree that the song "A change of Seasons" is indeed a classic. The way the song begins with youth and ends in old age, like the change of the seasons. It´s a great composition and Portnoy has written some excellent lyrics.

The remainder of the album is cover songs, some they pull off well and some they don´t. The Elton John and Led Zeppelin covers are very well done. Their version of "Perfect Strangers" doesn´t work at all, the keyboards sound terrible in the beginning and La Brie goes too over the top in his Gillan imitation. The guitar solo is nothing like the original as well. "Carry on Wayward Son" is speeded up and this just spoils it completely.( If you really want to hear a good cover, try Yngwie Malmsteen´s cover of this song)

But this gets four stars for the title track alone, which is probably their greatest song to date.

Report this review (#84712)
Posted Monday, July 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Why don't most people realize that tracks 2-5 are BONUSES. The only considered track on here should be the title track. The "additional seasonings" here are just bonuses thrown on there for the fans. They were not written or performed for the sake of this record, nor were they mixed or mastered accordingly. The band figured that they had some extra space, so they'd just throw those in there too. You'd be paying the same price for it anyway, why not add on some extra stuff? Even if you don't like them, it is an interesting listen if only once, and entirely negligible when considring the albums score.

That having been said, "A Change of Seasons" is a marvelous composition. It's filled with great riffs, melodies, musicianship, emotions, etc. Everything you would expect from Dream Theater. And critics who claim some of their work (and in my opinion, wrongfully so) "mindless shredding," among other phrases, can hardly even use that against them here. Most of what you hear abstains from the shredding and face melting riffs. There's still plenty of high speeds and complexities here, but it's more contained and group oriented, as opposed to trade off solos and unisions. It is a work that deserves the highest [musical] praise. I need not say more. Highest recommendation from me.

Disregard the bonus tracks if you don't like them. This really ought to be in your collecection, regardless of your general preference. There's a lot to get out of this.

Report this review (#84728)
Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Kevin Moore departed after "Awake" for supposed musical differences but DT didn't really waste time in finding someone to fill his shoes. In comes Derek Sherinian, still working as a hired gun on "A Change of Seasons" (ACOS for short), but doing a great job nonetheless. I don't know to which extent he was able to give his own input to the composition but his parts seem fitting and interesting albeit shy.

But anyway, what we have here, considering the title track only, this is a 23 minute epic which was supposed to be included in the band's sophomore album, "Images & Words", but for one reason or another didn't quite make it. So, in order to bridge the two year gap between "Awake" and whatever the next full-length would be, DT finally got the chance to record this monster of a track after having played it in one incarnation or another on a couple of live shows.

I'm gonna stick my neck out and claim that ACOS is quite simply the best DT composition ever. Even if on their latest album, "Octavarium", they again forayed into epic territory, I don't think they ever achieved such dizzy heights again (not saying they won't do it again). The track is divided in seven parts, a couple of those instrumental, and together they are quite a journey. Worth the five star rating just by itself both because this is really the only "real" track on this EP and because I think this can well be the very definition of what progressive metal *really* means. Personally, I'm glad this got released separately and not included in "Images & Words". It really stands on its own like it should.

As for the other tracks, more often that not I hear people dissing them. Whether that is because one of them is originally from Elton John or something else I don't know. All I can say is that these are bonus tracks - some people better brush up on the concept of "bonus" - and how someone (especially progheads) can dislike great covers of songs from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Genesis or Queen is way beyond me.

For me, again, absolutely quintessential. The very definition of the progressive metal sub genre.

Report this review (#84753)
Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars After discovering Dream Theater with Images in Words back in 1992 I pretty much lost touch with the band for almost five years. Since the band received virtually no airplay and little media attention they had completely fallen off my musical radar. It wasn't until 1996 when I first got connected to the Internet and a Queensryche Newsgroup that the band came on my radar again. That's because DT vs. QR was a regular topic on the newsgroup and I became aware of the (perceived) similarities between the two bands. Thus in 1997 I found myself scrounging through the used CD sections of a local music store and stumbled across A Change of Seasons. I had never heard of the disc but checked it out. The 23-minute title track kinda scared me (I imagined yet more self-indulgent, excessive solos like those found on IandW) but I was VERY interested in the live cover tunes. While I sometimes dismiss 70's arena rock the fact is I grew up on that stuff. Kansas, Styx, Journey, Queen along with other big names of the day like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd were bands that filled my record collection. I thought it'd be interesting to see how DT's versions of their songs sounded plus the used disc was only $5 so after a five year wait I finally made my second DT purchase. It's funny how in seeking one thing you often discover something else that's more wonderful than that which you were originally seeking. ACoS is exactly that. I can remember popping that disc in my player and hearing the acoustic guitar intro and throughout my first listen of the 23-minute opus thinking "This is awesome". I absolutely knew from that first listen that this was one of the all-time great concept pieces, in a league with 2112, The Wall and Operation:Mindcrime. Not forgetting why I bought the disc in the first place, I also enjoyed the live versions of some of my teen-age favorites. But it was the title-track that had me putting the disc in my player over and over and over and over again. There's no doubt that the song I listened to the most throughout the Spring and Summer of '97 was ACoS. I was absolutely blown away by every part of the song. The incredible musicianship, time changes and transitions. The complex arrangement, building tensions and frenetic releases. The impassioned vocals, compelling story and moody tones. All wrapped in an ambitious and visionary concept that will no doubt withstand the test of time. A Change of Seasons sets a musical standard that all future "progressive" bands will be compared. Like all great epic works it's hard to single out high points. My favorite section is Another World; I love the underlying dark tones, passionate vocals and powerful lyrics. LaBrie's vocals perfectly transition into Petrucci's emotional guitar solo and back again. I also love the start-stop musical delivery while LaBrie belts out "I'm sick of all you hypocrites, holding me at bay". The way Petrucci's guitar enters when LaBrie sings "I was blinded by a paradise" is PERFECT, sounding like an auditory beam of sunshine. My second favorite section is The Darkest of Winters; simply put my favorite instrumental section of all-time. I'm not a huge fan of overly-long instrumentals but this one works perfectly. The band moves from one section to the next flawlessly, with natural transitions. Tension frequently builds and is expertly released (such as Petrucci's soaring phase-shifted guitar section). The most amazing part, however, is how each band member is absolutely tearing their instrument apart while still working within the framework of the overall piece. The superfast guitar/keyboard/bass runs near the end are the best evidence of this. Finally, one of those combos soars to conclude the piece, then perfectly transitions into Another World. An absolutely scintillating piece from beginning to end. While those are my favorite sections, I thoroughly enjoy every part of ACoS. The intro, from the opening acoustic chords to the transition into Innocence, is one of my all-time favorites (right up there with the opening from QR's Mindcrime). Innocence and Carpe Diem work perfectly together, with the samples nicely filling out some of the song's themes. Finally, the closer, The Crimson Sunset, provides a suitably draining conclusion. The buildup and sustained energy of the final passages are exactly the kind of closure an epic song of this nature demands; without a truly great ending the song could not be rated as a 10. The only (slight) area of weakness is the instrumental section "The Inevitable Summer". While it's still very good it's not quite up to the standard maintained throughout the rest of the song. The fact the band changed that section when they played it on the third leg of the SFAM tour shows they might have felt the same (or maybe they simply wanted to change it, who knows?). Having written all that it's worth noting how ACoS came to be in the first place. DT had long included the song in their live shows before the official release. In fact, it was first recorded in 1989, along with Metropolis Part I. That version, and even the live versions they played, was significantly different than the version found on the official release. The most interesting part, however, is that fan demand is the reason the song was ever released. Through live performances the song had become somewhat of a cult favorite among hardcore DT fans (are there any other kind?). An underground, Internet-based campaign eventually evolved, with fans calling for an official release of the song. The band had not intended a formal release but decided to combine the song with a few takes from their famous Uncovered fan-club show. It's kinda mind-boggling to me that my all-time favorite DT song was almost never released. I honestly think the history of DT would be significantly different without ACoS as I think a lot of DT fans consider if one of their best pieces ever. Finally, the reason I purchased ACoS in the first place, the live covers. These songs are amazing in their own right. The best of them is the Elton John combo of Funeral For a Friend and Love Lies Bleeding. A honest rendition of the song that still manages to infuse them with a hardness and energy. Petrucci's solo guitar work at the end is scintillating. The Led Zep medley is also strong, and the band is impressively tight during some challenging sections of Achilles Last Stand. Finally, the Big Medley is a wondrous piece of music. I own every one of the originals that make up the medley and it's an interesting collection of songs, spanning a who's who of 70's radio rock. The transitions between songs are especially strong. Really, ACoS is the disc that finally converted me into a true DT fan. Having so moved me with this piece I was compelled to not only revisit IandW but also purchase Awake as well as Falling Into Infinity.
Report this review (#85127)
Posted Sunday, July 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars A Change of Seasons is Dream Theater's first 20+ minute epic and also the first recording to feature Derek Sherinian on keyboards, replacing the now departed Kevin Moore. The recording also includes four covers/medleys, performed and recorded live at Ronny Scots Jazz Club, of such luminaries as Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Elton John. A Change of Seasons was originally written by Mike Portnoy in '89 along with Metropolis Part1: The Miracle and The Sleeper and was intended to go on the bands second album Images And Words, but failed to make it, most likely due to timing constraints. Sections of the song were played live, in one form or another, throughout the bands early years. With the departure of Moore, recording A Change of Seasons would be the perfect way to introduce Sherinian to the fans that hadn't seen him perform live with the band on the Awake tour as a fill in.

Put simply, A Change of Seasons is a candidate for the best Dream Theater song. At 23 minutes it uses the full length to use dynamic changes in and between each section brilliantly. This is quite simply one of their most inspired records, filled with some of Petrucci's best and most expressive riffs and solo's. John Myung's solid, technical and very interesting bass lines pervade throughout without having to be too flashy whilst still doing everything needed. LaBrie actually gives a really good performance on this record as he lets rip with that excellent voice of his, and even his higher register vocals, witch so marred Awake, are done in moderation and in the right place so that they actually work very well with the song.

Derek Sherinian's performance on this album shows that technically he was up to the challenge of matching Kevin Moore. Though his parts are expressive and very well made I do wonder how much of it was already written by Moore in the five years that the band were working on it and how much is Sherinian's? I guess his skill isn't in question after this but we had to wait for Falling Into Infinity to find out just how good he is.

Mike Portnoy's powerful drumming is in full flow on this album, but it doesn't seem to be quite as forthright as usual, but works with what's there just as well. Full credit to him as well for being the writer of this great song, quite possibly his best work in this regard.

The live songs added after the main piece are very much a case of hit and miss. First up they perform a medley of Elton John's Funeral For A Friend/ Love Lies Bleeding, a well performed song and quite obviously a EJ song, but if you don't like him you are not likely to like this either. This is followed by a cover of Deep Purple's Perfect Strangers, with a typical Petrucci solo added in the middle. I rather like this song and is in fact the only one of the four that really stands out for me. The same applies to the Led Zeppelin medley as to the Elton John medley so I wont bother repeating it. The last song is a medley of multiple songs from different artists like Genesis, Pink Floyd, Kansas, etc. and is quite simply awful. So many changes of song, doesn't work well here as the songs are all completely different, from different people. I always end the disk before this final as its not worth listening to.

Overall this album is recommended for the big title epic, and the live performances are only their as extra's IMO. A Change of Seasons is a song I recommend all to here but really this record is only worth buying if you're a DT fan, 2.5 stars, rounded down to 2 as it really is for fans only, even if everyone should here the title track.

Report this review (#87960)
Posted Tuesday, August 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album consist of one track that was written all the way back in 1989 and was meant to be included with "Images And Words". Because of delays and other problems they didn't make it time and had to record it years later, in 1995 that is. So besides this first track, "A Change Of Seasons" we also get 5 tracks from their live performance at "Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club" in London. All of the latter aren't originally recorded by DREAM THEATER but by other renowned artists like QUEEN and LED ZEPPELIN.

The album kicks of with the monster track "A Change Of Season", running at more then 23 minutes! One could almost write a review of this track alone. It is made up by multiple parts all beautifully intertwined with each other. After the acoustic intro there are a couple of heavier riffs accompanied by nice keyboards, pianos and overall futuristic sounds. At certain point there are tempo changes that keeps the song very interesting. James LaBrie's vocals fit very well with the music. He can sound very peaceful and calm as well as irritated and furious. The whole song continues in this style, calm and fast parts, heavy and harmonic guitars, fantastic drumming and keyboards that sometimes are in the background and at other times the main instrument. Sometimes it can sound a bit chaotic but never for long, definitely keeps you focussed!

In conclusion; an amazing song with great musicianship that despites its length never bores!

Onto the other songs then... The second track is two songs in a row, originally recorded by Elton John. This sounds a bit less heavy, because, of course, it wasn't originally a Metal song. Still very nice, good melodic guitar riffs and very upbeat keyboards, so upbeat that it really makes you happy! Still, can't measure up to "A Change Of Seasons". "Perfect Strangers" is originally written by DEEP PURPLE. Another good song, in which you can clearly hear the DEEP PURPLE roots. Has a superb guitar solo!

Up next is a LED ZEPPELIN cover. "The Rover/Achilles Last Stand/The Song Remains The Same" is a nice song. I think it's a bit messy sometimes although there are some excellent guitars and great bass play. Again, great solo's which I'm beginning to get addicted to.

The album ends with a big medley, aptly called "The Big Medley". It contains covers of PINK FLOYD, QUEEN and others. Because a lot of the covered bands are already legendary one shouldn't expect that DREAM THEATER better them, which isn't the fact too in my opinion.

The song isn't bad at all but the original versions are hard to beat. And DREAM THEATER is just better at their own material!

In conclusion, this album is perfect for what it was meant for, to fill the gap for a new DREAM THEATER record, it contains one killer song, "A Change Of Season" and great covers by renowned artists, however all of them can't measure up to the opener, despite the wonderful musicianship.

Report this review (#88537)
Posted Wednesday, August 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Fabulous release:

Not worth the price of a full CD, for despite of it's length it's not really that fabulous.

the first half is the amazing and fabulous progressive 23 minutes lasting suite called A Change Of Seasons, just great heavy metal in a progressive style, really fabulous,Í'l repeat myself a fabulous piece of progressive rock, just so you'd understand it, a fabulous piece of heavy progressive rock, for the ones not listening to me, the first 23 minutes song is a fabulous piece of progressive rock, done heavy metal style.

The second part of the album is a mixture of covers from bands and albums DT where inspired with, ranging from the Elton John cover "Funeral for a Fiend" just because Elton's version is better doesn't make this an any less obligated listening, through to the DP song (we all know DP means Deep Purple) Perfect Strangers which is excecuted with marvelous style and the Led Zep (for those idiots; Led Zep stands for Led Zeppelin) medley is utterly great (though again the original bands did it better)

The album ends with a grand medley, In the Flesh, Carry On Wayward Son, Bohemian Rhapsody, Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin, Cruise Control, Turn It On Again. anyone not familliar with these songs, well let's say it's a great piece of work and it is played very nicely.

This was my first Dream theater record i bought, mainly because I liked one song (another Day) from a symphonic collection album, and I had to learn more about them. In retrospect I have to downgrade this album a little, but when listened for the first time it's a marvelous treat.

3 stars, but the first time I listened to this it was bloody great. A must for DT fans, and a nice album for all who like prog rock.

Peace Out

Report this review (#89614)
Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Preaching to the unconverted

"A change of seasons" is a hybrid album consisting of an epic 23 minute studio recording ( the title track) and a selection of live cover versions. Although deemed to be an "EP" (and something of a stopgap) with a running time of almost an hour this is effectively a full blown album. Before this was recorded, keyboard player Kevin Moore left the band, to be replaced by Derek Shernian. It is fair to say though that this did not have any material impact on the band's direction.

The title track was originally written in 1989, the version which appears here being recorded after some significant changes including the addition of some keyboard parts by Sherinian in 1995. The piece revolves around the seasons of life, with a positive sub-theme led by Mike Portnoy, inspired by the death of his mother. The suite is arguably one of the most genuinely progressive pieces Dream Theater have ever recorded with symphonic sections, emotional vocals, neo-prog guitar breaks, even hints of fusion. As someone who is selective when it comes to prog metal, I would recommend this epic to those who have doubts about Dream Theater's credentials. A remarkable work.

The remainder or the album consists of cover versions taken from a London gig by the band in Ronnie Scott's jazz club (The "Ronnie Scott's uncovered gig"). That gig included a number of special guests performing with the band, such as Steve Howe, Bruce Dickinson, and members of Marillion. The songs will be familiar to those whose tastes in music extend beyond prog, as they reflect some of the cream of the rock world.

The sublime "Funeral for a friend/love lies bleeding" is by far Elton John's most progressive composition. The version here is faithful if unadventurous, that being a description which could be applied to pretty much all of the live numbers on this album. Deep Purple's "Perfect strangers" has always been one of my favourite tracks by that band, with its Zeppelinesque riff and immense power. DT's version certainly captures that power, while simultaneously sending you back to the original for the definitive version. Led Zeppelin themselves are next to be the subject of a tribute, this time in the form of a three part medley. Here, the tracks selected are less obvious, with "Whole lotta love" or "Stairway to heaven" being overlooked in favour of more obscure (in Zep terms) tracks from "Presence" "Physical graffiti" and "Houses of the holy". The closing "Big medley" calls in extracts from songs by various bands including Pink Floyd, Kansas, Queen, Journey, Dixie Dregs(!) and Genesis. Overall, this is the most pop selection, but still bears the Dream Theater trademarks.

A number of other cover versions were performed at the gig which were not included on "A change of seasons". These include a Yes medley with versions of "Starship Trooper" and "Siberian Khatru" among others, "Easter" (Marillion), and "Winter" (Tori Amos). Many of these have subsequently been made available on fan club releases.

Right from its initial release, "A change of seasons" has been afforded EP status, and priced accordingly. It represents excellent value not just in terms of the quantity, but emphatically because of the quality of the music it contains. One for the unconverted (including myself!).

Report this review (#91289)
Posted Saturday, September 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Change of Seasons is a 23 epic that is pure masterpiece. If ever getting into Dream Theater or are already like them give the song a try. It's the true side of DT that I love. This song began its writing back in the Images and Words era and didn't get released till before Falling Into Infinity. This song is by far one DT's best songs exposing all their talent, emotion, and veriety. The only reason I give this album a 4/5 is because of the extra tracks after Change of Seasons. They're good live tributes to all thier influences, and they're enjoyable most of the time. But the buy is worth it for Change of Seasons, it's a beautiful song and totally worth it. Give it a listen it's worth the money!
Report this review (#92699)
Posted Saturday, September 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
The T
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars More than half of this EP is made of rather boring, pointless covers. Nevertheless, I think it's an essential release, if only for the title track alone. It's one of my favorite songs of all time, and being more objective, is DT at its best.

The song starts with chords in electro acoustic guitar, giving the idea of birth, of beginning. After this slow, classy introduction, the whole band kicks off with a powerful prog-metal answer to the intro's quiet mood; Portnoy seems to be hitting his drum heads harder than usual here. The intro continues to develop and grow in strength (but not in loudness) until the complex patterns kind of explode and collapse making way for the song's second section. A double-bass drum-supported riff in guitar marks the beginning of the first vocal part. La Brie sings in his usual melodic, musical voice, without raising the tone too much until the chorus of this chapter arrives, its music the same riff heard at the start of the verse. After a repetition, a new section begins, this one atmospheric, cold, quiet, icy; here we have LaBrie at his best: melodic singing, beautiful; this section reeks of lost hope, of remembrance of the past, of feeling of the past being better than the present. Suddenly the mood gets stormier, LaBrie gets somewhat angry, there's no more apathy, there's confrontation. The longest instrumental section in the song now unfolds, and it's truly one of DT's best: lots of changes, odd time riffs and time signatures, keyboards leading the pack, a tension that gets bigger and bigger until a fast solo of bass, guitar and keys together playing the same scales in unison gives the signal that we are aproaching the limit. A few great drum fills by Portnoy with his trademark splash-cymbal-hit-when-everything-else-abruptly-stops and, like air coming to the lungs of a drowning person, the new part starts: this is really the most wonderful section in this song. It's so releasing, it relieves us so much; after all that tension, we don't get happiness, we get sadness, resignation, coming to senses. The music in itself is pretty simple here, but melodic, beautiful. Then, a moment of ambivalence, doubt, ambiguity; we don't know if the despair we just heard is final. Then, as in magic, everything suddenly changes: somebody turned a switch, for the most triumphant section begins. But this is not a heroic triumph, not a war victory, it is more a victory for finally understanding that everything has a reason, that the storm shall pass, that is necessary to suffer in order to grow up. Maturing, but always keeping the inner child alive. As the songs nears its end, the character sits with his son to watch the crimson sunset, and finally, the return of the acoustic chords of the beginning, the cycle complete, structural unity.

Not only is the song great, but the lyrics are very good too. If I have always found a flaw in DT's art is in their lyrics, which sometimes are not up to par, but here Portnoy did it, he managed to support the music with a meaningful narrative, an intelligent story told in first person. He gave LaBrie's instrument a good canvas for him to paint upon.

The rest of the disc? Covers. I don't like covers. I won't discuss here why I don't, but I must explain why I ignore the rest of this EP.

A fair rating would be: 5/5 for the first half, 1/5 for the second one. In average, that would be 3/5, but I have to emphasize the obligation every metal (and prog-metal) fan has to get this album. Thus, I'll be awarding the maximum rating as an essential masterpiece of prog-metal.

And believe me, "A Change of Seasons," the song, deserves it.

Get it. Now.

Report this review (#95185)
Posted Thursday, October 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Somewhere around the turn of the century my son tried to introduce me to Dream Theater with this CD (I had never heard of them so, therefore, I was skeptical of their prowess). His thinking at the time was that his geezer Dad might enjoy hearing his favorite band play Elton John's epic "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" so one day he popped the disc in the player and away we drove. After listening to it as well as the remaining copy songs (he skipped the title cut) I told him I thought they were a damn good bar band but in my head I wondered why they had put out an album of covers. In the end I really wasn't all that impressed and pretty much forgot about the group until I finally got converted last year by the stunning "Scenes from a Memory" and became a huge fan. I bought six of their public offerings but not this one. I got "A Change of Seasons" as a gift recently and have tried hard ever since to get into it but I have to say that it's just not making it for me. Of course the title tune is the only original so I'll give you my take as honestly as I can.

It starts promisingly enough with a very interesting acoustic guitar passage from John Petrucci but it leads to a somewhat predictable section that mainly consists of a repeated heavy metal riff. When we arrive at the verse it is clear within minutes that this isn't their most memorable melody in that it just seems to meander. Hope is briefly revived for the song when the acoustic guitar reenters and creates a soothing atmosphere with a surprisingly passionate vocal from James LaBrie. John Myung takes a nice turn on the bass before a frantic and unsettling forced sequence begins, taking us to a series of staccato runs that just aren't as cohesive and cleverly pieced together as I've come to expect from these talented composers. Once that is passed the mood swings back down to the uninspired verse again. Maybe they should have ended it all right there but they speed it all back up for the keyboards and guitar to show off. LaBrie then gallantly tries to bring it to a big ending but it just falls flat for me. The return of the opening acoustic guitar to bring it full circle is a nice touch yet it's too little too late.

Here's my theory as to why it falters in comparison to their other extended songs. Keyboards are a huge part of Dream Theater's writing and, since this album features a guy named Derek Sherinian instead of Kevin Moore or Jordan Rudess, I have to think that they didn't receive the necessary inspiration from that section of the band to save this piece. Plus the usual incredible drum sound is missing from Mike Portnoy's kit and at times his snare sounds very thin to me. I recently discovered "Raise the Knife" on Score and I find it to be kinda like this tune but a much better song in almost every way. Every Dream Theater composition can't be a monster but I still admire the effort. They still play their fannies off.

As for the cover tunes, I know they had a ball playing songs that they adore and I can tell the audience enjoyed it, too. (Back in the 70s I performed in a bar band for many years and the thrill of playing music that you love is hard to beat.) But will I find myself wanting to hear their version of "The Rover" over and over? No. But maybe that's just me. When all is said and done I look at "A Change of Seasons" as merely a temporary lull in an otherwise stellar career.

Report this review (#105645)
Posted Friday, January 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars A Change of Seasons is a stopgap mini-LP released while DT was put on hiatus by newly- hired record heads who wanted a commercial success, and knew that a prog band wouldn't be it. This disc contains what I look at as the band's second greatest epic and a hadful of live covers. This is the first recording to feature keyboardist Derek Sherinian who wasted no time showing that he was a wrothy replacement for Kevin Moore.

The title track is the band's first epic. It's a 23 minute journey through a person's life. It starts with soft acoustic passages that build slowly and the band joins in until James comes in softly and things calm down. From there, the song weaves its way through heavy riffs to soft acoustics. The beauty of this epic is how well the band gels. Portnoy crashes with Petrucci in the heavy moments and cruises with Myung in the softer parts. Myung finally gets to be the driving force as he guides the band through the different passages, occasionally giving way to Petrucci's solos. James' vocals are great, and Derek's keyboard wizardry dispels any doubt that the band shouldn't have let Kevin leave. This song was DT's greatest achievement until the title track from the much flawed Octavarium was so great it redeemed even that lackluster album. This song is a prog metal classic.

The covers are not very interesting. Derek is the only member of the band that fits the Elton John covers. The Purple covers are good but they don't add anything to the originals. The Led Zeppelin medley is great but far inferior to the originals. The big medley that ends the album is a miss. Every time the band begins to really groove with the song, they switch to another.

Fans of DT must own this for A Change of Seasons. However, you can get this track off of the Live Scenes in New York album, but the song is broken by playfulness that to some enhances the song (me included) and to others ruins the flow. The covers are nothing to brag about, but the title track is a marvel of prog metal.

Grade: C+

Report this review (#106662)
Posted Monday, January 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars A mini-album by their standards - the first half is a side-long epic, and the remainder is a bunch of cover versions performed live. The 23-minute title track is standard Dream Theater fare. A series of musical episodes, with plenty of extravagant instrumental solos, constant chopping and changing. It's not their best, the musical ideas aren't nearly as good as those from say, "Images and Words". I'd only recommend this to those who already know and like Dream Theater.

The covers are listenable on the whole, straightforward interpretations of the originals. First we have a couple of Elton John numbers - they easily pull off that piano style, but it's a bit repetitive dragged on for 10 minutes. Deep Purple's "Perfect Strangers" is suitably ponderous, but a singer with a rougher voice would have suited this song better. The Led Zeppelin songs, on the other hand, definitely suit James LaBrie's theatrical voice, even though the instrumental style is an interesting diversion for the band. The medley starts with a convincing verbatim rendition of Pink Floyd's "In the Flesh". After a bit of crowd-pleasing Bohemian Rhapsody and some random mediocre plod rock, they finish with the strangely cheesy choice of Genesis's "Turn It On Again".

Report this review (#108233)
Posted Sunday, January 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars CARPE DIEM!!!

After the sudden and unsuspected left of Kevin Moore and the incorporation of Derek Sherinian, Dream Theater releases their 4th work, which includes the magnificent and glorious theme that gives name to the album "A Change Of Seasons" and some tracks recorded from the Ronnie Scott's Club Fan Concert during the Waking Up The World Tour, that as many of you know was a show in which this five guys from New York played only covers from different bands. After this historical antecedent, let's start the review.

"A Change of Seasons" was a song that was going to be included on the "Images & Words" and written before Charlie Dominici was dismissed. A demo of this song can be found in the Bootleg of The Images and Words Demos, which has a different emphasis in the singing and some light lyrics changes. The song is clearly divided in 7 segments or movements that LaBrie expresses perfectly each one of the feelings printed in these fantastic lyrics by Mike Portnoy, where he makes an excellent analogy between any person's life and the season's transition. The music is magisterially written and performed by this band from Brooklyn. John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy stand out mainly. The production is far better than the previous albums; you can notice it in the sound of the drums. Derek Sherinian has also an excellent work. This track is worth enough to purchase the album without a doubt.

Generally, Dream Theater has an excellent interpretation besides the sound fidelity is pretty good. Without trying to make any intricate arrangement or spectacular changes, the playing of the songs is pretty faithful to the original ones.

The next track is a classic song of the great Elton John, in which Derek Sherinian makes an exhibition of his well known talent. Without a doubt this was one of the best in the album.

"Perfect Strangers" is a powerful song, originally written by the Heavy Metal pioneers Deep Purple, LaBrie has a pretty decent job on the song, he was in charge of the most difficult, having in vision that Ian Gillan's voice is hard to beat or equalize.

The Medley that mixes some Led Zeppelin classic shows an excellent bass job by Mr. John Myung and in my humble opinion James LaBrie has no problems to get the original tones of Robert Plant's voice.

"The Big Medley" is like a song collage of songs that starts with "In the Flesh" the changes between each song are great. The inclusion of some progressive bands such as the Dregs, Kansas and Genesis add an excellent taste.

"A Change of Seasons" stands by itself, a great song followed by a flow of great tracks. Unfortunately the fact of being cover songs takes them out of the opportunity of being a masterpiece, but it still is a great addition to any progressive rock collection. I'll give it 4 stars.

Report this review (#109257)
Posted Sunday, January 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I really wonder why they didn't change some things, and just make this a full fledged album, which it easily could be. This EP holds it's own, and quite well too.

While all the tracks are decent enough, what really stands out here is "A Change of Seasons." This 23 minute epic is the very essence of progressive metal. The comparison between one's life and the seasons is brilliant, inspired even. The lyrics alone (probably) would garner a purchase, but when combined with the pure talent that makes up Dream Theater, it is phenomenal.

As for the other tracks, to me, they are really just fillers. I liked them at first when prog was an early concept in my mind, but as my tastes matured, these tracks slowly became less and less enjoyable. Really the instrumentation is good and fitting, but LaBrie's voice just doesn't fit most of the songs.. IE, Deep Purple? LaBrie's voice is not rough enough to sound fitting. But if you can overcome the comparison of singers between DT and the original bands, you may enjoy these tracks.

Should you buy this? ABSOLUTELY. If you like Dream Theater, nay, prog, you will enjoy this CD. Really it's all about the epic, but the other tracks are nice too. If this didn't include A Change of Seasons, then maybe this should have been avoided. But, it does include it, and it is outstanding.

Report this review (#112658)
Posted Monday, February 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars This was my first DREAM THEATER record and I still remember listening to it as I drove to work being so amazed at the title track. I was so impressed with the guitar solos, and the drumming, and of course James' vocals as they each stood out at different times through this epic track.This would turn out to be the first release without Kevin Moore who I admire so much, but Derek is such a talent too and I really like the synths in the intro, and the organ a little later. Naturally with a song of this length there are many shifts in tempo and moods.

The live cover songs to follow remind me in a way what RUSH would later do, which is really paying homage to the music and bands they grew up listening to. And I think that is probably an honourable way to tell them "Thankyou". They also thank Steve Howe, Bruce Dickinson, Steve Hogarth and Steve Rothery in the liner notes who may have all been a part of their weekend at the club in England where they played these songs live. The first song they do is "Funeral For A Friend" an Elton John song that they do a fantastic job on. I have to say that Elton John put out many incredible records in the seventies (of which I own several) before taking his music and jumping off a cliff with it in the late seventies. I think James has a little better vocal range then Elton. (Haha). "Perfect Strangers" is a DEEP PURPLE song is done to perfection ! James pulls off the deep vocals that work so well on this classic tune. Nice organ intro as well, very Lord-like. The LED ZEPPELIN songs are hit and miss. I really like "The Song Remains The Same" but James is no Robert Plant and shouldn't have even tried. The only other song that didn't quite work for me was "Turn It On Again" from GENESIS, but the PINK FLOYD, QUEEN, DIXIE DREGS and KANSAS songs all are fantastic ! The JOURNEY tune is fun as Steve Perry has long been one of LaBrie's favourite singers.

So yeah I like this record a lot. Certainly better then their follow up album to this "Falling Into Infinity".

Report this review (#114013)
Posted Thursday, March 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars DREAM THEATER took their time with the title track, having played it live for years before finally committing it to the studio, and boy, does it show. Playing their instruments comes easily to these lads, whilst songwriting does not. This CD tells the entire story of DREAM THEATER in my opinion: the outstanding musicianship, the opportunities missed, their almost slavish devotion to the bands of the past, and their ultimately fruitless search for their own voice.

So how on earth can this be rated an essential purchase for all prog-lovers? Because the title track is one of the very best epic songs ever written. Every part, every note of this symphonic metal masterpiece earns its keep. No outrageous, tension-killing soloing. A real sense of the dramatic. A great story to tell, and (finally) some polished lyrics. Truly outstanding instrumental passages: witness the four minute prelude before the singing begins. Outrageous riffage (such as the riffs at the ten-minute mark). And moments of mind-melting genius, where everything comes together, such as 'Another World' (beginning after 13 minutes). Straightforward progressive rock at its absolute peak. Not to everyone's taste, but you must at least give it a listen.

Is it perfect? No. LaBrie persists with shouting his high notes, which mars the end of 'Another World' and also the climax of the entire song. But unlike Peter Gabriel's rough finish to 'Supper's Ready', this from LaBrie's otherwise clean voice really detracts from what ought to be a spine-tingling moment. Nevertheless, the highest praise I can give this epic is that you forget it's being played by virtuosos, and find yourself getting lost in the music.

So, five stars for that, and there seems to be general agreement that this epic deserves all the accolades heaped upon it.

Now, the rest of the album. It seems an odd decision to issue the title track without other studio compositions to surround it, and here we see the gremlins bedevilling DREAM THEATER have their way. They simply didn't realise what they had here in the title track, and threw it away. Oh dear.

Not that there's anything wrong with the cover material which makes up the rest of the album. It's all entertaining; they do a credible - in some cases, more than credible - job. Petrucci gives 'Achilles' Last Stand' his full attention, for example, and makes a monster of an already outstanding guitar piece.

I refuse to let the rest of this material detract from 23 minutes of the best progressive metal music I've heard in a long time. The covers do not make it any less essential for you to hear 'A Change of Seasons'.

Report this review (#115000)
Posted Tuesday, March 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Change of Seasons-

The epic song Change of Seasons is the best song on the album, it makes it worth the buy.

The rest of the album is fine, but they should've really made their own material and not tributes. They did a good job with that though. Change of Seasons (the songs) is something that can get stuck in your head and you won't even notice that it's like 20+ minutes, so to me that's a great thing. Musicianship is expertise and they actually did a good job musically and even lyrically with Change of Season

+4 Stars for the song Change of Seasons -1 For doing tributes that we don't really want to hear though they are not bad, it's just not a quote on quote "masterpiece".

Report this review (#118203)
Posted Thursday, April 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
2 stars A moody epic centerpiece along with a set of live cover songs make "A Change of Seasons" a very mixed bag.

The title track is the band's first attempt at something grandiose, and largely succeeds; however, while there are certainly some excellent instrumental passages and poignant vocals, the movements themselves sometimes sound spliced together making the transitions abrupt and hastily written. The band is still very much experimenting with what will become familiar territory for them, and it sounds like it. Fortunately, the good sections outnumber the bad, and "A Change of Seasons" (the song) delivers a powerful series of moods and themes, albiet while struggling to find its direction occasionally.

As for the covers, they are strictly for the fans, and a poor example of Dream Theater's playing. Fun for an occasional listen.

As a whole, the album should be purchased only by those hooked by the band's more solid and conventional recordings.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Report this review (#119217)
Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars EPic.

According to the credits, A Change of Seasons (ACOS) was released to make the fans wait until the band's next LP. The wait will last two years but the fans had indeed been given some substance for long winter nights since, though labeled as an "EP", ACOS is nearly 60 minutes long !

Of course, it is fair to make clear that only one song here -the title track- is original Dream Theater material but this is a hell of a song that will take you on board for a 23 minutes trip where you won't get bored for a single second. Many fans of the band consider it as their best epic and, for once, I fully agree. Forget all your prejudices or preconceptions about prog metal in general and DT in particular -or vice versa- and you could be rewarded with a very good surprise.

If "ACOS" fails to convince you -which could happen if you don't let the song a second or third chance since it won't necessarily hook you at first listen- at least you might comfort yourself with more than 30 minutes of great live covers or medleys.

First of them is "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding", a classic from Elton John. Dream Theater delivers here a VERY moving version of this song. Really impressive, IMHO.

Then comes Deep Purple's "Perfect Strangers" followed by a Led Zeppelin medley including excerpts from "The Rover", Achilles Last Stand" and "The Song Remains the Same". I have never been very found of those two bands, who are too hard/blues/rock oriented for my taste, but again I find the covers very convincing and enjoyable.

The album . sorry I mean, the EP, closes with another patchwork medley trivially entitled "The Big Medley". Once passed the surprise of some unexpected choices - Journey and Genesis at its most commercial period- I had fun with this one too.

Eventually, Dream Theater provides once again a very strong release, well supported by a nice art cover and some interesting liner notes on the genesis of "ACOS". A few months ago, I took this EP along various other albums as a musical accompaniment for a three hours car drive : "ACOS" never quit the CD's player ... To all the Dream Theater fans who hesitate to invest in an EP that includes only one original song, it is time to hit the store because this is really a must-have in your collection.

Report this review (#122058)
Posted Monday, May 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I find the cover songs to be fairly enjoyable but non-essential. One thing that bothers me is the vocals as I have never been a fan of LaBrie's live performances.

The title track is possibly the Dream Theater song I am most impressed with. It contains not quite as much flashiness as some of their other stuff and at times it can even come off as .... (gasp).... passionate. Things song contains some of my favorite bass parts Myung has ever played, and the drums are great. The Guitar isnt as much in the forefront as we are used to with DT but that suits me just fine as I'm not the biggest fan of shredding type things.

You probably won't be disapointed by this release but it is in no way 'essential' in my opinion.

Report this review (#128674)
Posted Sunday, July 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars A Change of Seasons is a good album. The song "A Change of Seasons" is the best track on the album; in my opinion it's a masterpiece. The rest are just covers that aren't that impressive, I don't think it should ever be an essential just to have a cover. Another notable song on this album is "The Big Medly" that includes various covers in one big medly. Other than these 2 songs the other covers are just okay. If you like Dream Theater you'll love this album, if your like me and don't really care I would just listen to "A Change of Seasons". What leaves me speechless about these guys is how they make a technical masterpiece but subpar music sometimes.

3 Stars.

Report this review (#128884)
Posted Monday, July 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album doesn't have much to offer, other than the song A Change of Seasons; the rest are mere covers. If this was a rating on the song A Change of Seasons alone I would have rated it 5 stars as it is a technical masterpiece with dynamics and skill.

A Change of Seasons: 5/5 stars, has everything an epic prog metal piece could have from start to ending.

The following 3 covers get 3/5 stars. They played some of their influences, it wasn't bad, but nothing impressive; Dream Theater has released better stuff.

As for The Big Medly, well it is a medly that was well put together; it also shows Dream Theater's creativity in their work. 4/5 Stars.

25 total points

18/25=72%=3 stars.

Report this review (#132226)
Posted Wednesday, August 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Change of Season" was the magnum opus for Dream Theater, without any overplaying that they would resort to later, and with quite successful lyrics. It is not a flawless masterpiece but a valid attempt at creating an epic. It's not the easiest thing to write a perfect 20 minute work, because people will scrutinize and drill into it and find some flaws. So I think the guys in the band have done a good job considering all of that.
Report this review (#132604)
Posted Saturday, August 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars The studio half of this EP features Dream Theater at near its best. The 24 min epic contains just about everything great about Dream Theater without any of their less than favorable qualities (besides some sub-par vocal sections). The song resembles Images & Words material featuring a healthy mix of heavy and acoustic passages. I think Sherinian slightly drags down to composition as I never felt his style fit the band. The version recorded with Kevin Moore is a good deal superior, but this song is still a solid four starer.

The live half of this album features a collection terrible of covers excluding the "Funeral For A Friend - Love Lies Bleeding" reworking which is just as good as the original. Dream Theater would should just how bad they could botch cover songs later on when their Master Of Puppets cover was released. Here the covers aren't quite as bad, but they're definitely not worth listening to. The worst of the bunch is "The Big Medley" which from its opening with an emotionless rendition of "In The Flesh?" pretty much captures the true quality of Dream Theater's cover work.

This is worth getting just for the title track, but that's most likely the only thing you'll ever listen to.

Report this review (#133114)
Posted Tuesday, August 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is an album that should be rated in two ways. Title 23-min long track is wonderful (though it’s less amazing closer to the end), it’s worthy of 5 stars. But covers seem to be a bit forced, I don’t much like them (though there are some nice moments). I’d prefer to find the title track on I&W or “Awake” instead of buying it along with an Elton John cover (!?!). Hence, 3.5 stars rounded to 4.

Best track: it goes without saying, folks!

Best moments in it: intro, culmination before the first big solo spot, ballad part and coda

Report this review (#134153)
Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is the strange mix of a very long epic track that actually should have been on one of the regular albums and some live covers.

That first part could be taken quite literal: the title track of this record was originally intended to be included on the Images And Words album. That probably would have made that record overlong (especially as we cannot really point at one really lesser track over there that could have been left out to just make the record fit within the, what is it, 80, 78 minutes), but this result is not entirely satisfying either. The track has its flaws, particularly in its transitions and in Portnoy's drumming, here and there a bit too similar to Neil Peart's fills, but all in all it's as good as a Dream Theater epic becomes. Somewhere between 3 and 4 stars for this part.

The covers are another story. Apart from its relatively small intrinsic value, Dream Theater stick quite close to the original, making even more clear that JLB's voice is the weakest link here. The Elton John cover is nice, but Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin are less enjoyable. The Big Medley is fun to hear once (or twice), but it does not really have any redeeming value on a record (rather than just for seeing once in concert). Somewhere between 1 and 2 stars for this part.

The overall score could be 2 or 3, but I think "fans only" is just a better label than "good", especially looking at this album as a whole.

Report this review (#137401)
Posted Sunday, September 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I purchased this album during my last trip to Mexico in early July 07. Since it was at discount price (7 ?) I could hardly be tricked. I had heard about the epic "Change Of Seasons", but I was keen on listening to their covers. The band has such a fame for covers that I was really intrigued when I was looking at the songs played here.

But first "A Change Of Change Of Seasons". Actually it is an old song wrtiiten some years before this album (89) but that could never make an album. It is true that it holds some prog moments, but most of it is pure metal oriented. It alternates with very short acoustic moments (in the early phase of the song) and some rather vigourous hard/heavy rocking beats. More keyboards than average in a DT song. And, at times, the vocals will be rather interesting, convincing. Petrucci will also deliver a beautiful guitar solo. This guy is really gifted and I like his way of playing very much. So fast and wild on the one hand and emotional on the other. Like here.

I far much prefer the second part of the song (even if the intro is very good as well).

Now, the covers. I have to admit that combining all these great bands / artists in about half an hour is quite an exercise. And let's be honest. "Dream Theater" does it with talent. These songs are part of an album called "Uncovered" (sort of Christmas album). On the complete album there is even a "Yes" medley (featuring Steve Howe) as well as "Easter" (featuring Hogarth) and "Red Hill Mining Town" from U2 (and never be played live by them).

If I exclude some weak moments in the "Big Medley" (Turn It On Again), I confess that the other ones are quite well performed. One of the best song from the fine "Yellow Brick Road" album (Elton John's best one - by far). "Funeral For A Friend" is a damn good rock song. Furiously played of course, and with some fabulous guitar work.

"Perfect Strangers" is probably even better than the original one. It is not my fave Purple song, but DT adds a bit more kick to it. Sounds freasher and more dynamic (and you might know if you have read some of my forty-eight review for Purple that I like them an awful lot).

The Led Zep medley starts with "The Rover" which is definitely not one of my faver either. But "Achilles" and "The Song" are very good excerpts from these brilliant songs. The band is performing these very well, while LaBrie is maybe not on par.

The "Big Medley" have its good moments like "In The Flesh" from Floyd (more to come of course), Carry On" (very powerful).

Even on "Bohemian" DT will sound OK (they will play the rockiest part of it). The next song are less known (from Journey and Dixie Dregs (Steve Morse's first band). And the closing "Turn It On Again" is not good at all (but the original was not good either).

All in all this is a good album. Three stars.

Report this review (#138982)
Posted Tuesday, September 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars When I took hold of this album about 10 years ago I was amazed by the opening song and title track of 23 minutes. For a long time I considered this as the best song ever. I still have a high opinion about it but the song is now overtaken by quite a few others. The other one that makes this album a great one is the second song Funeral for a friend/love lies bleeding. A powerfull very interesting song of which I am still amazed that the second part is originally composed by Elton John. But nevertheless, I still think it's one of the better DT songs of all. The other 3 are covers or medleys and although they are very well performed I don't like covers from a principle point of view. I have the most admiration for bands who compose their own songs.

All in all a terrific album (EP if you wish); one of DT's highlights in my opinion ! 4.25 stars

Report this review (#140423)
Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is a strange beast that is actually two albums in one. The first part consists of a very good DT epic clocking in over 23 minutes. It's a great song that features a bit of everything you'd expect from these guys, I especially love the nicely done acoustic passages. But the majority of the album is a needless batch of cover songs that most certainly has to be rated "for fans only." For guys with such great musical ability I'm really unimpressed by how little they do with great material. "Perfect Strangers" is the best one and they nail it very well. But the Zeppelin? Oh please. Our old garage band pulled off better Zeppelin back in the day. They sure make you appreciate John Bonham on attempt at Achilles Last Stand. And SRTS? What the hell was that? Truly dreadful. I feel they do a poor job technically (not often can you say that of DT) but more importantly they just don't "get" the spirit of the three songs they choose. I'd be surprised if even they would argue that point today. The Big Medley is a little better than the Zep debacle but still seems pretty pointless. One thing that really hinders my enjoyment is the "medley" approach generally-I just hate getting a couple of minutes and then on to the next song. Pick less songs and play the whole thing guys! Reminds me of the lame medleys Rush sometimes links together in their encores. Instead of brief bits of "In the Mood/Working Man/Fly By Night" just give us a complete and decent La Villa or something. This review is just a quickie but frankly this album doesn't need much more thought. Even with the one good original song I'm afraid I have to rate this one "for fans only." Not a recommended progressive title.
Report this review (#143741)
Posted Thursday, October 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Very fine EP that includes only ONE original new song, but what a song! A 23 minute epic that was recorded around the time of their Images And Words CD. A Change Of Seasons is up to the very high standard of that album and it´s worth the price of the EP alone. The group was very, very inspired at the time indeed. This is a classic prog song that everyone should hear: lots of tempo changes and shifting moods, great guitar and keyboards lines, an interesting lyric and a great perfomance by the band as a whole, even though Kevin Moore had left the band at the time. Derek Shenionian does a fine job for a starter!

The rest of the CD is a live recording on which the group decided to do some covers of people who had influenced them. It starts with a nagnificent rendition of Elton John´s opus Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding (the very only song you may call to have any progressive leaning in the entire John´s cathalog). It follows with Perfect Strangers, done so faithfully you sometimes believe not even Deep Purple could do it so smoothly live. Then we have the down side, at least in my opinion: two meddleys. I really don´t like these kind of things. It would be better if they chose a whole song from each band. But still they do quite good renditions of Led Zeppelin, playing some not so obvious hits. The last meddley is the weakest, like the band was already tired and just wanted to get over with it as soon as possible. Nevertheless, I also should point their technique is amazing and the playing is faultless. Besides, at 57:36 is quite a lot of music for an EP.

All in all a very good release that I think started to show people that those guys are something special. They could play cover versions and made a career out of it. They´d eventually record whole albums that way (The Dark Side Of The Moon, Master Of Puppets, etc) but A Chenge Of Seasons was the first. And it was already quite impressive. Four solid stars. If you enjoy Images And Words then this is a must have. If you haven´t, give it a try. Highly recommended

Report this review (#145912)
Posted Friday, October 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A Change of Seasons are divided into two parts. The title track which is 20+ min epic and the rest of the songs which are cover songs of Kansas, Genesis and Elton John etc. These songs are live. The title track is a studio track.

A Change of Seasons came after Awake and before Falling Into Infinity, but the actual song was written at the same time as Images and Words. The song has been performed many times live on the Images and Words tour and it appears on many bootlegs from that time.

The lyrics are about the journey of life from birth to death. The lyrics are some of the better Dream Theater has crafted in my opinion.

As it is with many epic tracks this one is subdivided into small songs that seque into each other, but it doesn´t feel unnatural, and Dream Theater pulls it of with no problem. It is a great song, and a favorite of mine when talking about Dream Theater. The Rest of the songs are ok, and nothing more really, but they inspired me to buy Leftoverture by Kansas and for that I thank them.

The title track is why you should buy this album and it deserves 5 stars, but as the rest of the songs are rather forgettable in these versions, I can only give 4 stars.

Report this review (#150098)
Posted Sunday, November 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Dream Theater - 'A Change of Seasons' (EP) 4.0 stars.

This is such an excellent EP. The title track is one of the best epics in the prog-metal genre. Unlike the other epics, the song doesn't really go into much repetition and contains hardly any 'noise' to add to its nice 23:08 track length. Unfortunately there are four other songs on this EP that just don't do it justice. The Elton John song 'A Funeral For A Friend' is spot-on, a very nice cover. The last three do absolutely nothing for me and I don't even recommend listening to them.this EP is all about the title track.

'A Change of Seasons' starts off with a cool 7-string acoustic guitar intro, which is later accompanied by keyboards. Then an outburst of metal enters the screen and just keeps progressing further and further.with no repetition until finally the vocals kick in after four minutes. When the vocals kick in there is a sense of a verse, but as soon as it is done they go right back into further progression, and a new acoustic interlude comes in. This is followed by a four minute jam.pushing onward and onward without looking back. Once again the mood changes to a very slow, depressing one (since we are expressing seasons here). This is again, followed by a wonderful jam and the first 'actual' guitar solo. The song closes beautifully.truly a masterpiece of progressive music for all lovers of prog.

Of note is how many reviewers stated Derek Sherinian was included in the process of writing this song. This is not very true per say. This song was largely composed before LaBrie even entered the band as Portnoy states in the 'Score' DVD. You can also find an extremely old version with Moore on the keys on youtube. with the composition was mostly the same. While Derek might have done some changes, they are nearly unnoticeable.

This is truly an excellent album.or song I should say. The title track was the only reason I bought this cd and I am perfectly content with should be do. So 4 stars.

Sources: Dream Theater 'Score' DVD.

Report this review (#154740)
Posted Saturday, December 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well this is a quite strange put together disc. On one hand, you have an epic track, on the other you have a live album with covers and medleys of songs. It all seems quite thrown together. In fact, its original purpose was to give fans something to chew on between two albums. It works well for that purpose, but otherwise, there's not much needed. Of course, A Change of Seasons is one of the most well loved pieces in all of the Dream Theater discography, so if you like the epics by DT, this is a must have.

The title track, A Change of Seasons, is very progressive in nature, and while changing tempoes and melodies frequently, is able to maintain the solemn mood of winter throughout the work. I respect a band that is able to keep the same emotion, yet change often. However, I will go against the crowd and say that it is not one of Dream Theater's better epics. The instrumental sections are absolutely wonderful, and Sherinian and Petrucci hold back their soloing just a bit and let their compositional abilities shine more than in their other work. But once the vocal sections come in, the time signatures and compositional techniques are terribly distracting, along with Labrie's voice, which can get annoying, especially in his final section. Of course, it's definetely a great piece and you can listen over and over again, but it's probably not as good as fans make it out to be.

Now for the covers section. Funeral for a friend/Love lies bleeding, originally a song by Elton John, it given its justice here. The opening is just spectacular and atmospheric. Petrucci maintains a great tone through the entirety of Funeral for a friend, and the band definetely keeps it interesting. Once things pick up and move into Love Lies Bleeding, fans of the original may find it less exciting. It lacks the vintage 70's feel of the original. However, James Labrie definetely sings the song well, and keeps from being boring.

Perfect Strangers is not terribly memorable. The opening keyboard has a rather interesting tone to it, and it seems like a nice rocker. No disrespect to the Deep Purple fans, but I don't find the song terribly interesting. It's kind of cool though.

Next is the Led Zeppelin medley. Although these are great choices of Zeppelin songs, some parts aren't all that exciting. The Rover, while executed perfectly by Mike Portnoy, has some rather annoying drums, and they just don't match the sound of John Bonham's kit in the original. That's okay, because things pick up in Achilles' Last Stand. When Dream Theater plays it, it sounds great, and matches their style just as much as Zeppelin's. It's got some great energy, and the middle section with the triplets sticks out nicely. It is kind of repetitive like the original, but overall it's great. It also transitions seamlessly into The Song Remains the Same. It's got some good energy too, just like how they did Achilles' very well. Dream Theater and Zeppelin fans will both like this one a bunch.

Finally for the big medley. A chance for Dream Theater to play the songs that influenced their music and playing. The songs aren't all very well done, but some transitions are somewhat smooth and put together in an interesting way. It starts off with In The Flesh, a good start. It's not bad, there's not much notable about it. That goes into Carry On My Wayward Son, where the band plays the bridge section where the keyboard and guitar soloing goes on. It's not all that great, the keyboards could have had a better tone chosen for them, but overall it's not terrible. It then goes into Bohemian Rhapsody, which lacks the grandness of the original sung by Mercury, whereas Labrie's vocals are again rather annoying. However, the way they fit it in is quite unique. Then it goes into Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin by Journey. For one thing, I never found much interesting stuff in the original, and I still don't see much originality in the Dream Theater version. Not much to say. Cruise Control, which is next, is a song I have never heard before, but it has some energy in this medley. A good choice, it energizes the listener very well. It's a shame, because the final part is Turn it on again, which I beleive is butchered by Dream Theater. The guitars are out of place, Labrie tries 'experimenting' with the main sung melody', and overall there's too much going on and it fails to end the medley, and the album overall, very well.

This is a very disjointed release. Some parts stick out wonderfully, while others seem rather boring. The lopsidedness of this album will certainly make the listener wonder if it was all thrown together. In truth it was, but there's still some good stuff on the album. I'd reccomend it for any Dream Theater fan, simply because of the title track. That has some brilliance. Others may be put off by the interpretations that DT took in the covers, but Funeral for a friend is a fantastic cover, and the Zeppelin medley is rather cool too. It's a nice album, but you definetely don't need it.

Report this review (#183148)
Posted Sunday, September 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Dream Theater made a terrifically difficult album to rate there with A Change of Seasons.

The reason why should be mostly obvious if you've read any other reviews of this EP (though, at 60 minutes, it's longer than even an LP. We should just call it an album, really). The first half features A Change of Seasons, the dramatic title track that spans 23 minutes. What we have with this track is absolutely essential progressive metal. It spans the range of emotions and styles, from the haunting opening guitar moments to the heavier breakdowns to some gentle vocals to something akin to screaming. We have really complicated band moments with Derek's jazzy piano fingers tinkling away over heavy distorted guitar. The band may not have pulled out all the stops here, but as far as Dream Theater (and almost every prog metal band in existence in the 90s) goes, this is everything. The entire range of speeds from shredding and pounding double bass drums to atmospheric moodiness gets its fair share of time here.

Now, the song is not perfect. At a number of points, choppy transitions are abused to shift from one style to the next, and while that can work sometimes, a 20+ minute epic song often needs a bit more continuity and flow than does a quick and wild metal ride. The bass guitar, played by the highly talented John Myung, is much less audible here than on other Dream Theater releases. He seems to be content to merely ape the guitarist, which is not a crime or anything, but when a band sometimes features mind-blowing bass capabilities and other times forgets to write parts for the instrument, it gets a bit upsetting. Lyrically, however, the song is stronger than almost any other song Dream Theater wrote, being easily up there with Lines in the Sand and Learning to Live. The words detail the course of a life, from youth to geezerhood, and surprisingly, this potentially ridiculous concept fits in nicely. It even adds emotional impact to the tune, which is another area of struggle for Dream Theater. I personally find Octavarium to be a stronger epic, but short of that, there is no Dream Theater song of even slightly comparable length and breadth than can stand in the face of this beast.

If that was the only song here, four or five stars pretty easily. However, we are faced with side two, a nearly forty minute live cover extravaganza. I have always been a bit put off by covers, personally. That is not what is the issue here. These covers are, for the most part, only adequately performed and only weakly done. Nothing is really added at all to the Zeppelin or Elton John medleys. They just took some of their music, tied them into longer pieces, and played them. Their cover of Deep Purple's Perfect Strangers is pretty neat, and Sherinian's keys work very nicely with them. The only one of these last four tracks that I find to be worth much in the way of listening is The Big Medley. This one features some more unique takes on some classic (and some less well-known) tunes, including a great Floyd opening and a nice Queen bit. However, the sheer volume of these four live tracks is far too great, playing like nonessential fluff to make the independent release of the title track economically viable. I understand that, but if they were not around, the CD would not only not suffer but probably end up stronger and more interesting for its whole length.

Though bogged down by four pointless tracks, any fan of Dream Theater or probably progressive metal absolutely needs to listen to the title track. It is a staple of the band and the genre, showing the band at their creative and emotive peak.

Report this review (#185267)
Posted Friday, October 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars On the brink of a change of style in their career, Dream Theater reflects on where they've been.

Released between one of their best and one of their worst received albums, people may have some reservations about this splendid little disc. The epic that comprises the entirety of the studio segment of this EP was written back in the band's Images & Words days, but held back from the album when they ran out of room for it. Here A Change Of Seasons finally finds a home on its own disc, and it stands now as a gateway between what was, and what would come. The band's keyboard player and large contributor, Kevin Moore, left the band during the tour for their renowned masterpiece Awake, where a young Derek Sherinian would become his replacement for the next studio offering Falling Into Infinity, but this is his first studio recording with the band. Moore's presence is missed, but not as strongly as it would be in the near future, this is likely because he was around when this song was originally conceived as it maintains the dark, atmospheric tones that Dream Theater would loose with him.

The epic itself is often considered Dream Theater's all time best composition. It's also one of the few songs along with Octavarium, Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence and In The Presence Of Enemies to reach the ''side long'' mark of over 20-minutes, and they do the title proud. With lush soundscapes, raking climaxes, soaring solos and a wonderfully climatic conclusion this is sure to please the symphonic prog lovers, while being heavy enough to get the head-bangers banging. Lord only knows what people would think of either of the previous 2 albums had this song been attached to either of them, there would probably be quotes in other reviews saying things like, ''so much win!''

The rest of the album is a group of live covers and live cover medleys. Dream Theater decided to do a club tour and just play cover songs, what's presented here are a selection of them. While after watching the 5 Years In A Livetime dvd it's disappointing to see that they covered Yes's Starship Trooper with Steve Howe, but didn't but it on this disc. Still, there's a wonderful collection of songs, most of which do justice to the originals. Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding may not have Elton John's serene vocal section on it, but Sherinian pays due care to the piano and keyboard parts, the rest of the band takes the song to it's heaviness limit without ever pushing it over the edge. Deep Purple's Perfect Strangers is probably not the standout performance of the album, but it shows some interesting things that James LaBrie can do with his voice and the reincarnated riff from the song makes a mean show. The Led Zeppelin medley takes advantage of all the greatest songs of later Zeppelin's career. It starts with The Rover and moves into the best song from Presence, Achilles Last Stand, Page's deadly riff echoing throughout. James isn't able to reach Plant-like notes on The Song Remains The Same, but he adds his own unique spin to it.

The Big Medley is quite impressive. This one goes through a multitude of songs starting with Pink Floyd's In The Flesh and moves through everything and the kitchen sink, the standouts of which are likely the chorus section of Turn It On Again, courtesy of Genesis and the Wayne's World-head banging section of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. It would be hard to comment on the originality of any of these tunes being that they're covers, but the segues and fresh spins on all the songs make for a great live listen.

At 57-minutes, this EP could easily be considered a full blown album. For people who don't want to listen to the live covers, just turn off the album after the epic. People who don't want to hear the epic can just skip over to the live stuff. If you think the live stuff brings the album's value down then you're obviously crazy since the album is incredibly cheap being that it's priced as an EP (in Canada anyways), just consider it bonus material strapped on to the end of the album, if anything. Dream Theater fans will love this little gem and will especially appreciate the epic cut - think of it as an extension to Images & Words. For everyone else, this is still a great addition to any collection as an album which has inspired many listeners to listen to more prog over the course of its existence. 4 stars, a rare rating for an EP, but this one deserves it.

Report this review (#188748)
Posted Monday, November 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Normally I don't collect EPs and even rarer than me collecting one is bothering to listen to it, but this is certainly an exception. I'd heard people mention that the title track on here was better than my favorite DT song at the time, Octavarium's title track. So I finally bothered to get my hands on this EP, and what a gem it is. So now, let's talk about it some:

1. A Change of Seasons - Starts with a soft, melodic intro with guitar bringing us into the song with piano backing it up. Some very beautiful vocals come in for a bit during this time. At 1:26 this gets broken up with a heavy guitar riff and drums coming in. After a bit this is interspaced with bass and what sounds like wind chimes. At this point, the listener knows he's in for a memorable epic, one maybe even on par with some of the classic 70s epics. Some great guitar and drum interplay in the first section of this song. A great guitar riff comes in around 4 minutes in. This is most certainly DT at its height. Petrucci really gets his guitar wailing on this part. A little later, Labrie's vocals come in. I simply can't put in words how powerful this song is. While I used to think Octavarium was DT's best track, but this is ever so slightly better. This is Dream Theater at their peak. A bit after 10 minutes another long instrumental section which is one of my favorite sections on the song. Around 13 ˝ minutes Labrie comes back into the mix with keys and funky bass supporting him. At 17 minutes I love the transition to a somewhat softer section with all the instruments equally noticeable and in the mix. It really shows just how powerful DT was at this point in the band's history. The line we heard at the beginning of the song comes in at the 20 minute mark, except this time much more distorted and heavier. This is a song that must be heard to be believed. One of the best epics of the 90s and today. 10+/10

2 - 5. I don't feel the need to go through and explain all of these. It's a collection of cover songs that were performed live by DT at some jazz club in London, although the last track is a collection of cover songs. You can certainly look them up, since the names and which songs are covered aren't that hard to find. It certainly shows off some of their influences, especially a few prog ones, but otherwise these songs are just that: covers. I really wish Dream Theater had chosen to put some, oh, I don't know, Dream Theater songs on here! These songs are enjoyable from time to time, but I don't want to hear DT songs, not cover songs on a DT EP. 7.5/10

So all in all, this EP contains one of the best songs Dream Theater has ever written as well as 4 cover songs. And quite honestly, at over 50 minutes, I'm not sure how this is even an EP. It's certainly longer than many LPs out there. Oh well. This EP could very well be 5 stars for the excellent title track, but the fact that DT couldn't fill the rest of this EP/LP with DT songs certainly brings it down a star for me. Actually, I think this really deserves 3 stars, but the title track is such an essential DT track to hear that I can't say it isn't essential. Therefore, I'll give it a 4 out of 5 since this is DT at their prime, but the cover songs really bring it down to 3.5/5.

Report this review (#190201)
Posted Saturday, November 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars I'm in a minority when I think that the title track here is not really that good. Combined with tons of cover songs that I really could do without, what does that make? An album I hardly ever feel like listening to.

1. A Change of Seasons- What does everyone else hear in this song that I don't? Sure, it's Dream Theater, but it sounds rambling and uninspired to me in many parts. Also, the production isn't really as good to me, and the drum sound doesn't strike me as being good like most of Portnoy's other recordings are. When I think about Dream Theater's greatest moments, I think of Scenes from a Memory and Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and certainly not this song for good reason. The musicianship is good, but this song simply doesn't rank up with their best work for me. 6/10

2-5. The Covers- The reason I bunch these tracks together is because they all serve the same purpose for me and warrant the same rating. They are well-played, but they are what they are: cover songs. DT also go into some dangerous territory to cover here like Elton John and Led Zeppelin, but they manage to make it still sound alright. However, what I want when I hear an album is original material by a band, especially when that band has such instrumental prowess as Dream Theater has shown us. NOT cover songs. Meh. What a waste of disc space. 1/10

For collectors and fans only, definitely. If you want to hear Dream Theater's best work, do NOT buy this album for the title track and especially not for the covers. I'd buy nearly every single other album they ever made before buying this one.

Report this review (#191159)
Posted Sunday, November 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!

This EP's kind of weird for me. Nothing's bad, yet nothing stands out. The epic at the beginning, A CHANGE OF SEASONS is a good epic, but isn't their best. The acoustic opening's great, but parts aren't spectacular. Also, the recording quality is surprisingly bad for DT. This is more of a transition, really, than an album. It transformed them from Falling Into Infinity to Scenes From A Memory. Aside of the opening epic, there are all covers. They are all very interesting and sometimes what you would say is out of DT's circles (Elton John). I like all of the covers, and think they're cool, but don't really listen to them much.

I got it for $8, and it's pretty cool. Even if the music isn't great, the cover's are interesting and are worth a listen just because of that.

Report this review (#192372)
Posted Monday, December 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a very odd CD. It's classified as an EP, but is longer than DREAM THEATER's first two studio albums. There is also the fact that ''A Change of Seasons'' contains only one studio track, and four live (and at first glance, seemingly throw-away) tracks. This EP was meant to tide fans over between the release of ''Awake'' in 1994, and the release of ''Falling into Infinity'' in 1997. In my opinion, the EP went above and beyond its requirements and delivers material that demand that ''A Change of Seasons'' be ranked among DREAM THEATER's best releases.

The EP starts out with the title track, 'A Change of Seasons,' the band's first attempt at a full blown epic (not counting 'A Mind Beside Itself' from ''Awake''). Unlike DREAM THEATER's other epics, 'ACOS' doesn't display too much blistering musicianship, instead opting for a more atmospheric, melodic, and soft approach to the music. Opening with a somber acoustic guitar passage from John Petrucci, with Derek Sherinian's keyboards peppered thrughout, before becoming much heavier. James LaBrie sounds vocally on top of his game here; he seems to have somwhat recovered from his food poisoning incident, although you can tell he doesn't go into ultra high territory here. The rhythm section of bassist John Myung and drummer Mike Portnoy, bring their A-Game to the table too. Also, honorable mention must go to Portnoy for his lyrics. The lyrics deal with the death of Portnoy's mother, and as a result he has written his most touching lyrics yet. The whole entire song is pure genius.

The ''additional seasonings'' come in the form of four live bonus tracks, recording in a London club in early 1995. The first seasoning is a cover of Elton John's masterpiece 'Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding'. Derek Sherinian really shines here, especially during the intro to the 'Funeral' segment with his mesmerizing organ melody, and during the 'Love Lies Bleeding' movement with his bouncy piano rhythm.

Next they tackle a cover of Deep Purple's 'Perfect Strangers'. I found myself nodding along to rhis song, with the whole band on top of their game, especially James LaBrie, doing his best to emulate Ian Gillan's shrieks.

Then the band decides to do something interesting: A Led Zeppelin medley, consisisting of 'The Rover', 'Achilles' Last Stand', and 'The Song Remains The Same'. DT can't really pull of LZ perfectly, but it's still enjoyable and fun to listen to.

Finally we have the most interesting beast on here: the aptly titled 'Big Medley'. Of all the covers, this one is their most fun and all around best. On a dime, they change from Pink Floyd to Queen to Journey just like that. Every true DT fan should listen to this song.

The EP ''A Change of Seasons'' shows that variety is indeed the spice of life, as the fun and wonderful covers show. But the true value lies in the epic title track, which is what most progheads will be focused on anyway. Peace.

Report this review (#198393)
Posted Saturday, January 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a great album... well no, technically not an album, just an EP, because the only song is the title track which is 23 minutes long. They decided to add in a bunch of live cover songs put into medleys, from their favourite influential artists. Of course to me, that's of little importance when I want a Dream Theater album, but at least it fills up the space that's missing, and I'd rather have it than just 23 minutes of Dream Theater. But even though I don't care for it, it doesn't mean it's not amazing. Dream Theater also makes a great cover band. I still remember not knowing much about Dream Theater, and I watched them cover my favourite band, Pink Floyd with extremely critical eyes, but they pulled it off amazingly. All the songs they cover are great songs Queen, Zeppelin, Floyd, Genesis, Kansas, and more. So without the 23 minute song, it makes for a good half cover album itself.

Now to talk about the more important thing, the title track.

A Change of Seasons was their first really good long track. They a 20 minute song before, A Mind Beside Itself, but that didn't really seem as epic. It did, and is a great song, but this blows that one away. This track is extremely progressive, as is most of Dream Theater's material. Dream Theater is a blend of Progressive rock and heavy metal, but in general I'd say their progressiveness shows WAY more than their metal side, and if they had to make a choice, they'd probably play prog over metal. So a metal head who isn't interested in prog really couldn't enjoy it a lot... maybe Train of Thought, and a song or two from Systematic Chaos, and maybe the song Panic Attack from Octavarium, but that's it. It's just too technical and progressive for a strictly metalhead to take in. But obviously, the eclectic nature of progressive rock leads to its fans having extremely open minds. I think that it's so easy to enjoy Dream Theater... even if you're a progressive rock fan and don't like metal that much.

A Change of Seasons begins epically and flows easily throughout the entire track, so much that it's hard for me to remember which places the song changes between its varied segments. There is a big air of surrealism in this album, and I think that mostly comes from Derek Sherinian's keyboards... it's something that's only present on this album and also Falling into Infinity. Beginning very quietly, it gets heavier quite suddenly, and has an instrumental metal section followed by that surreal feeling, and LaBrie singing lyrics about life, and change, etc. I'm not going to explain the entire track in detail, as many people probably already have. But I'll just say that it alternates between heavy, progressive, acoustic, and all throughout has that air of surrealism which I really love. The ending is very epic, and the outro is the same as the intro, in a sort've full circle thing... like how seasons change and then return again. Much like Octavarium later. Speaking of Octavarium, I'd say that Octavarium wins over this song, but not by much, and I just like Octavarium better because of its increasingly varied sound. This song kinda has that same feeling throughout the entire song. But it's still really really great. Believe me. It's perfect, and I give it more than a 4, but I realize people have different tastes than me. If you do NOT like metal in particular, don't try Dream Theater out at all, lol. But I think that being a prog head, you probably have a wide taste in music, and can get used to it.

4 Stars, Excellent addition to any prog music collection. Although if you want to try out Dream Theater for the first time, I would say start with Octavarium, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, or Images & Words.

Report this review (#202615)
Posted Friday, February 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I think that A Change of Seasons is an excellent album when you take it for what it is. This album is one 20-minute dream theater song along with covers from some of their live performances. The title track is one of my favorite dream theater songs. In heaviness it is similar to awake, but does not really have the same dark feel of many parts of awake. If you dont like a lot of prog metal, I would still recommend it because im not a big metal fan, but this is probably my favorite heavier song from dream theater.

The title track, though, is the only origional song on this album, the rest of it being live covers and medleys. I find these tracks to be enjoyable, but if you are not a fan of dream theater or labrie then you may not. Make no mistake, the reason to buy this album is for the title track and the cover songs are just for fun to listen to from time to time. I dont know if this sells for the full price of a studio album because I got it as a gift, but I think you cant look at this as a full album. Taking this album for what it is, I think it is an excellent addition to any progressive music collection.

Report this review (#205318)
Posted Tuesday, March 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'A Change Of Seasons' - Dream Theater (8/10)

The obvious attraction to this EP is the epic song, and 'A Change Of Seasons' is truly the essential song of Dream Theater's. It is one of the greatest epics ever to have been written, and deserves at the very least a fair listen by every prog fan, whether metalhead or not. It's one of the few pieces of music that actually deserves not five but six stars. It's not just essential for prog music; it's essential for 20th century music in general.

While this would be worth buying with that song alone, there's an awesome collection of covers here, in a live concert. While I am generally very harsh on 'cover albums' in terms of ratings, while the aforementioned epic would score at least four stars on it's own, the concert is actually amazing to listen to, and even more enjoyable to listen to then some of the original material it's derived from! It's a real experience to listen to Dream Theater performing everything from Led Zeppelin to Journey material over the course of a half-hour set.

While the concert itself doesn't have any actual original material persay, there are original arrangments to the two medleys that really work (IE: compiling all of the songs in such a way that it makes sense and sounds cohesive.) While the concert is epic by any standard, it's still definately not essential Dream Theater material... I mean, how can music they didn't even write be central work for them?

What makes Dream Theater's 'A Change Of Seasons' such a great release is obviously (as I've mentioned several times before) the main, studio-recorded song. It is a powerhouse of artistic expression and emotion from start to finish, and certainly alot better than 'Octavarium' or 'In The Presence Of Enemies.' The song goes from being soft, dark and acoustic and bursts into a very heavy section. When it's time for LaBrie's vocals to come in, the music goes once again soft, but uses some very interesting rhythmic changes.

There's also a great instrumental section in the song. While the song is far too complex and intensive to go into complete detail, it's certainly a classic, and should be checked out by prog fans, and any Dream Theater fan should make it their obligation to delve into this work.

A classic work of Dream Theater's musical mastery. Fantastic.

Report this review (#206388)
Posted Wednesday, March 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars The greatest single song Dream Theater ever made.

That is arguable, but it isn't too far from easily acceptable, either. The epic title track is a definitive Dream Theater song. It had absolutely every facet of the band in that era, coalesced into one stunning monster of a song.

The multiple segments range from tasteful classical guitar introductions, to powerful metal guitar screeches and soloing. Labrie performs his most convincingly in this "mini opera". The extremely catchy chorus segments seem to be culled from the bands nether region out of nowhere.

Each separate section has several enjoyable moments, and the instrumental passages are breathtaking. 23 minutes of pure progressive metal splendor in full force. The lyrics are intelligent and deep, as the same can be said for the composition and execution. Not a single moment in the opus is mediocre. Dream Theater at their creative peak.

One could obtain this release for the title track, alone, but there ARE other songs on here. They are live covers of a multitude of diverse artists, and Dream Theater amazingly pull it off. Funeral For a Friend captures the epic and dramatic scale of the Elton John classic, with a symphonic flair. They make it with grace and efficiency.

Perfect Strangers opens with a muddy organ section, and features them at their most rocking. This is quite the ferocious track, but leaves me a bit unimpressed in the grand scheme. The Led Zeppelin medley is fine and dandy. Again, I don't prefer when they go forward into almost simple classic hard rock, but I could see where quite a many individuals could cull enjoyment from it.

The second main highlight of the "EP" is the large covers medley at the end, where the boys toss out preconceived notions and toss an uncanny array of song references at us in one long mammoth finale. From Queen and Pink Floyd, Journey and Kansas, nods to many seminal bands are included, and they pull it off, exquisitely.

If anythign could be said, it would be that the three middle cover tracks aren't as high quality as the title track, but that very song, and the big ending medley more than make up for it. This is a classic Dream Theater album, and a solid purchase. The quality isn't very consistent, but A Change Of Seasons is a grand accomplishment for these fellows.

Best Moment- An alteration of weathers

Worst Moment - Middle of the disc

**** Weak Stars

Report this review (#219184)
Posted Sunday, May 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
Neo Prog Team
4 stars This is a bit strange, an "EP" that is over 57 minutes long is what we have here.

First up is the title track, a 23 minute epic that is for me just about as good as anything this band has done. In terms of composition, this is supreme prog metal. It's a wonderful piece that flows seamlessly throughout it's seven sections, and just seems so natural. You'll find no gratuitous over-the-top soloing here (not that that's a bad thing!!), but the quality is in the terms of the composition of this epic. The production is much less dynamic than on later albums and for me that just emphasises the quality of the piece. The production does not affect this one bit.

LaBrie's vocals are outstanding here, he has never sounded better. The band are superb throughout, but understated, allowing the quality of the composition to stand out. Truly a superb piece of music from Dream Theater.

The rest of the album consists of three medleys recorded live at The Marquee club in London. I initially really had no desire to hear these, and indeed to me they are much less important to me than the title track. The first two are medleys of Elton John and Led Zeppelin songs, and whilst well played they don't really excite me too much. The last one, a big prog medley is much more fun as the boys take on Floyd, Genesis, Journey et al. To me the medleys are nothing more than a bonus that I only listen to very occasionally. Others may feel differently, and I'm sure in the live environment it would have been more entertaining.

As to rating the album, the title track is a clear 5 star epic, no doubt about that. The live stuff I'd rate as 3 stars at best. I'm tempted to give 5 stars given the quality of A Change Of Seasons, but as this is less than half the length of the entire disc, 4 stars is fairer.

This is a prog metal essential, even if only for the title track

Report this review (#221751)
Posted Friday, June 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This so-called "EP" (rather due to the form but to the length, as it contains nearly an hour of music) is a difficult effort to rate. To me, at least, it is inevitable to compare it to Pink Floyd's ''Meddle'' and ELP's ''Tarkus'', which are commonly accepted as ''one great song and the rest just filler''-albums. When looking at the format, one notices that the CD contains one long epic, the title track, and multiple covers of classic rock songs. This aforementioned title track had gone through years of composition and reworking, and this is clearly notable while listening. The composition is clearly one of the most well planned songs in the band's history, the segments flow from one into another, being related to each other by motives. This way, ''A Change of Seasons'' is a projecting end of the band's classic era, mainly consisting of ''Images & Words'' and the respected but controversial ''Awake''. If being released as a 'single', this would have made a five-star EP.

The encore to this epic would have made an average cover-ep if released without the title track. While this is a musical honour to the greats of classic rock music combined with the typical Dream Theater profiling, the balance sometimes gets lost within the songs or combinations of songs. There are two ways to cover a song: first is to play the song as closely as possible to the original. The other is to merge the material with the band's own style. With a selection ranging from Elton John to Deep Purple and Kansas, Dream Theater cover both types of covering, totally dependent on the song. They do a good jobs with 'Perfect Strangers' and segments of 'The Big Medley' and 'Led Zeppelin Medley', yet it is difficult to judge the two Elton John songs. I, up to now, am not sure about the way I like John's songs played in Dream Theater style. On the whole, they do a good job honouring the greats of rock. This honour, however, is by no means essential to those already familiar with the material, but a good opportunity for modern day Dream Theater fans to get in touch with the legends of 70's and 80's rock, presented by a leading (though controversially discussed) group of the modern prog rock scene.

Rating this EP is, as stated before, very difficult. With about 24 minutes of essential 5-star material and the other 34 filled by a 3-star tribute performance, I have decided to give the average rating of rounded 4 stars. And, after all, this record fully lives up to the expectations given for it being a four-star: it really is an excellent addition to your prog music collection, trust me!

Report this review (#221792)
Posted Friday, June 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Crow
4 stars Every time I hear this album I have the same thought... What an excellent studio album! Because it's an studio album in its integrity. Let me explain...

One day, in a public library here in Spain, I found an strange Dream Theater double album called "Uncovered"... And what a surprise! It was the whole concert they made in London honouring different bands, with a lot of guests... The same concert where the live tracks in "A Change of Seasons" were... żrecorded?.

Because to my surprise, that the songs included in "A Change of Seasons" are heavily modified in comparision with the "Uncovered" original recordings... Both in sound and interpretation. This is the reason I say taht the tracks in the album are not real live tracks, just studio-modified versions... If you want to hear the real concert Dream Theater gave in Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club this night, then listen "Uncovered"... Wich is, in my opinion, a great album. There you'll be able to hear Dream Theater playing Easter together with Steve Hogarth and Steve Rothery, Damage Inc. from Metallica, Red Hill Mining Town from U2, a very interesting Yes medley... Very recommended to every band's fan, or for people who want to hear a curious prog feast, althouhg it has almost nothing to do with the polished, sound-pefectionated and studio-modified "A Change of Seasons" version.

The other "side" of the album, the title track, is the typical Dream Theater 90's long track... But maybe also the best long track they have ever made. Really dynamic, dramatic, and without a single filler second of music. It's not perfect... But it's very close. I specially love the guitar intro, with the best melody the band has in its long career. The Derek Sherinian's keyboards added a more modern sound than the previous Kevin Moore's ones, introducing a part of the mood and style of the underrated "Falling into Infinity". So if you have not heard this track... Make yourself a favour and listen to it!

Conclusion: although the live versions in "A Change of Seasons" are heavily studio- modified versions of the origininals included in "Uncovered", hearing this band playing some Dixie Dreggs, Led Zeppeling, Genesis... And even an Elton John's song, is still really interesting. In the other side, the title track is one of the most brilliant moments in the career of this american band. So if you really want to hear the best of this Dream Theater's period, give "Uncoverd" a listening, and then return to the title track... Nevertheless, "A Change of Seasons" is still excellent.

My rating: ****

Report this review (#222939)
Posted Wednesday, June 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Quiet One
4 stars A Change of Keyboards (ist)

The first ''album'' by Dream Theater featuring great keyboard player Derek Sherinian. It's his first appearance with the band, and still Dream Theater chose to lower his keys right from the start in the mix, just like in Falling Into Infinity, luckily it's not as buried as Myung's bass. Despite of that, you'll definitely be able to listen to his unique playing with the jazzy presence being a great bonus, however his writing skills will be omitted here since most of the epic was written with Kevin Moore.

As far as this ''album'' goes, being a long EP(contradicting, eh?), it's compromised by only one original song, the epic, the title track which is what makes this interesting and worthy of buying, while the rest being decent live covers from classic rock bands in general. So, I won't talk about the covers since you have the originals to really know what they're like, and will focus on the only original track.

So, what is the epic like? For me it's the ''Supper's Ready of Prog Metal'', not because it's similar to it or anything, you've got Octavarium for that, what I mean by this is that A Change of Seasons is definitely one outstanding, flawless, piece of Prog music, in which ''defines'' Prog Metal, but mostly Dream Theater, while Supper's Ready can be simply said the same for Symphonic and for Prog in general.

However, don't get me wrong, Supper's Ready is un-touchable for me, A Change of Seasons can't get anywhere near it in means of composition, however for the Prog Metal genre it can. All in all it's a very well structured composition, full of details in which each of them are as memorable as the epic itself. It presents some very nice acoustic bridges very unlike Dream Theater, as well as soft and emotional bits which would later reappear in the album Falling Into Infinity.

Definitely an essential song if you're a Dream Theater fan and a Prog Metal fan. If you liked Images & Words, I'm sure you'll love this epic. As for the rating: 4 stars due to the epic solely, I won't take off stars due to the non-essential live material, it's just isn't fair, similar case is Tarkus, with it's forgettable side 2.

Report this review (#231834)
Posted Saturday, August 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This album long EP contains what I think is one of Dream Theater's best songs ever. The title track contains little of either the heavy metal histrionics or the arena rock blandness that mar many of this band's compositions. "A Change Of Seasons" is, in fact, a wonderful work of symphonic prog rock, a twenty three minute epic that should have a place in just about any prog collection.

The live cover songs on this album are not bad. I certainly cannot fault DT for paying homage to the bands that provided the influences for their music. The songs are masterfully played, if not a little too close to the originals. I especially like the hyper instrumental section from "Carry On Wayward Son", and the piece of "Cruise Control", both parts of "The Big Medley.

But as usual, John Myung's bass should not have been buried in the mix.

Report this review (#232153)
Posted Monday, August 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Essential track... then, a lot of live covers with no sense... that's it...

For making history... This song was supposed to be included in the Images&Words album, but the producer, David Pratter didn't want to do it, so he leave it out... the band wanted to record a new album in 1995 and made pression through a lot of fans demanding a new album, so the label decided to make an EP... I guess they wanted to taste the fanbase about the change of keabordist... cause they really don't mind to invest in a full record for a non comercial band... and that's why we have this rare half studio, half live album... EP kind of effort...

Well... the song is really one of the best of DT... one of the best of prog-metal and prog in general... Everything seems perfect... you know, songwriting, performance, lyrics, soloing and concept and context... it has everything DT if famous for, heavy driven riffs, beautiful melodies and great instrumentation... Sherinian shows he's on the level... but he really didn't bring to much to the band, at least this song was basically compose while Kevin Moore were still in the band... so he manage to do great solos and good ambient synth pad sounds... but he lacks to be a mastermind, like Moore...

Then... there's no perfection on the record quality... very average to me... but if you consider that the Label didn't wanted to spend too much money on the band... well... the manage to do a decent work.. but definetely Pratter have problems with the drum sound for sure... so, this is a good place to start digging Dream Theater... great song... the covers aren't really the focus here... so you can forget about them.. but you can really enjoy them... but I tell you... the album worth alone for THE song... hear the emotion of the band... there's soul here... a lot of emotion...

Report this review (#239215)
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars A Strange Package from the Transitional Sherinian Era

At the time that this package came out, I was probably at the peak of my admiration for Dream Theater. I was in a prog-tinged metal band myself at the time and my band mates were absolutely bonkers for DT. Awake had been my favorite album, an amazing blend of heaviness, virtuosity, and unlike most of the bands of the time, actual complexity. I had been a big fan of the guitar shredder scene, and while this band contained a axeslinger with the typical shred bag of tricks, it also contained an equally amazing drummer, keyboardist, and bassist. (The singer was a very typical 80's high-pitched yodeler. Even at the time, LaBrie's style was already a bit retro, but everyone into metal was very familiar and it was easy to tolerate in context.) The fact that the band produced music where the virtuosic talents complemented each other was really unseen in those days. Many of the shredders played over static grooves and drum machines. Not so DT.

At the time of Change of Seasons, the band itself was in significant transition. They had lost Kevin Moore, one of the creative forces behind the band. They were still learning the place of Derek Sherinian (Rudess apparently was their first choice and when became available Derek was promptly dropped). The nervous energy of that transition comes through in one of their best epics, the title track. Everything that is good about Dream Theater is here, and the weaknesses are in check. Pertucci's riffage is crushing, the complexity in composition abundant, and LaBrie showing his most mature range of emotional expression I've heard. Even the detractors here talk about the excitement of listening to the first minutes of this track. It is, in fact, perhaps the perfect definition of straight prog metal.

However, there is LaBrie's singing. As the focal point of the music, it is difficult to call anything he does true masterpiece. Though his technical skills are more than adequate, he's a standard, not particularly charismatic, cheese metal singer. By 1995, only the most phenomenal of this kind of singers were having any success (Geoff Tate and sadly Mark Slaughter come to mind). Listening to Labrie attempt Steve Perry on "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" demonstrates the point clearly.

More importantly, this album is only half the colossal epic. The rest of the album is a collection of live covers that are fun enough, but not particularly well chosen. Why Elton John, an artist that has nothing in common with DT? Why such a late Deep Purple track? And to pick a Genesis track from the pop era???? The Zeppelin medley is fun, especially Achilles Last Stand, one of the few appropriate picks. The Big Medley contains mainly popish fun and games that would have great live but for an album, a little more edge would have been nice. (How about Orion, YYZ, or Highway Star?) DT would go on to do some covers that made more sense, but at the time, better choices could have made this album more than just an EP.

This is a good album, and belongs in any DT fan's library. The title epic is among their best single songs, and I think some of the development made there went into the opus Scenes from a Memory (which I actually like a little less.) It was well worth the half price I paid in the used rack.

Report this review (#240092)
Posted Friday, September 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars To the person reading this : if you have heard about progressive music, know some vague things about it and feel ready to give it a serious try, your first responsibility is to withstand the pressure you are likely to get from all corners about trying Dream Theater first because they're sooooooo good and stuff. And the odds are that someone will try to compel you to listen to A Change of Seasons with its title epic track running for about 24 minutes.

Please allow me to explain why I think you ought to resist this pressure. Dream Theater is not a bad band. They are more good than bad actually. But first, they make metal music with prog influences, not the other way around. And second, when it comes to prog, there are FAR better epic songs than A Change of Seasons.

As a song, A Change of Seasons has some great moments indeed, but also has so many uninspired, long and pointless segments that I just cannot figure how it got so popular and highly regarded. A lesson many progressive bands have learned is to not make an epic, especially that long, if all you have is a couple of brilliant ideas that need to be patched together. It just does not work like this. So, yes there's a great intro, and I notably like the melodical arrangements leading to minute 15 and after, but this is such an inconsistent 24 minutes overall that I find myself waiting for the end most of the time. If you're looking for some nicely orchestrated metal prog with mesmerizing epic compositions and flawless musicianship, I suggest Arena first for instance. A tad softer, but much more complete.

As an album, A Change of Seasons also offers a few live covers made by the band. I actually pretty much like what they did with Elton John's Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding. That's a good job all the way for the whole 10 minutes. But Sir John does get half the credit here...

The other covers, such as Deep Purple's Perfect Strangers or the Led Zeppelin medley, are near irritating.

Big fans of Dream Theater will not want to miss this one so that's obviously not a poor album per se. I can also figure that the good moments of title track are somehow worth it, as well as the Elton John cover, so I'm going to round up my 1.5* assessment to 2*.

As a sidenote, if you insist on starting your progressive journey with Dream Theater material, I rather suggest either Awake, Metropolis Part II or Images and Words.

Report this review (#240637)
Posted Sunday, September 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Is it OK if I rank the track here, ignoring the covers?

Not that the covers are BAD, but what a shame that the masterpiece "A Change of Seasons" cannot be hailed in these archives with its own rating. I suppose the championing of the live album from New York makes up for it.

"A Change of Seasons" is, and probably will remain, the band's BEST work. I can't find any flaws - just great rock, great prog, great melody, great solos, great guitar riffs, great lyrics, great vocals, great everything!! What amazes me about this album is that it was the band's first REAL epic, and in it they mastered the ability to smoothly transition between sections, I'm not just talking about the 15 seconds of going from one section to another, but the placement of each section in the track, and the progression from one to the next.

Fortunately, following James Labrie's health disaster, the quality of the voice he was born with was mostly retained for the recording of this EP!

This track will liiiiiiiive ooooooon!


Report this review (#252275)
Posted Sunday, November 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "A Change Of Seasons" has to be one of the most accomplished prog EPs from the 90s, and also an important trial for Dream Theater to pass in order to prove to themselves (and while at it, to the rest of the world) that they were still capable of championing the prog- metal genre without the musical depth that exiting keyboardist Kevin Moore used to provide to the band's core sound in their first 3 studio efforts. The link with the immediate past was there since the namesake suite was already a full-written piece originally intended as part of the "Images And Words" repertoire. Now, in this 1995 EP, the suite has a few reshaped instrumental portions and somewhat significant modification on the Portnoy-penned lyrics. Also, this is the first studio input by Derek Sherinian, who finds some room for his stamina and exciting tone although he can still be perceived as the "new kid in the band". The EP's musical value is rooted in the namesake suite, which can be described as influenced by 77-80 Rush, classic Kansas and vintage Yes, with the usual doses of early Metallica and 86-89 Fates Warning influences that DT never cared to hide as major references for their original framework. I personally don't see how one can dispute the fact that 'A Change Of Seasons' is one of the best prog-metal suites ever, and of course, one of the many finer hours that fill DT's résumé. The ceremonious acoustic guitar/piano intro bears a twilight feeling graciously augmented by soft synth layers and glockenspiel. Once the full ensemble settles in, the band's muscular drive shows its real face. The 'Innocence' and 'Carpe Diem' sections bear a captivating amount of melodic richness, and so, the time is right for the display of architectural stamina provided by 'The Darkest Of Winters'. 'Another World' brings a moment of calm without letting og of the rocking power ? Petrucci's solo portion is one of the magnificent developments he has ever written for his instrument. I feel the transition from this section to 'The Inevitable Summer' a bit forced, but the nuclear idea works perfectly as a pathway toward the bombastic coda: in fact, the passionate intensity of 'The Crimson Sunset' bears a magical combination of cerebral electricity and emotional exaltation. The acoustic guitar/piano outro brings a proper closure to this majestic opus. Next is the live section taken from a live performance at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club (in London, UK): the renditions of Elton John's 'Funeral For A Friend'/'Love Lies Bleeding' is lovely, but not as much as Deep Purple's 'Perfect Strangers' (DT always covers it proficiently) and the Led Zeppelin medley. Petrucci is the undisputed star in these tasks. 'The Big Medley', on the other hand, is not as consistent as it could have been, but the Kansas, Queen and Dixie Dregs portions are so well delivered that the whole thing happens to be appealing at the end of the day. So, all in all, the 'a Change Of Seasons' suite makes the best of this EP: not the only good thing in it, but definitely the one defining moment from the DT point of view strictly.
Report this review (#263834)
Posted Monday, February 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars I do not see much attention to this album, rather than for fans of the band, really what matters most in this album is the masterful 23-minute piece called A Change of Seasons, where we see dream theater in its heyday, effectively with excellent composition, where the metal, hard rock and progressive rock are combined beautifully to create a progressive atmosphere in general, where fares change with every season in the program of the song, a tribute songs that really amazed me was the zepelling medley and the big medley of kansas, queen,genesis,pink floyd and journey, these musicians are really great, coming from the music school called Berkle. these great bands tributes songs show us the ability of dream theater, musically and technically speaking they can play whatever. This mini album I would not recommend to start listening to this great band but as a collection for fans, and of course, listen to some of his best songs to date a -Change of seasons-.

3 stars

Report this review (#267652)
Posted Tuesday, February 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars This EP was released because Dream Theater wanted to release a longstanding classic that hadn't fit on any of the preceding studio albums. They added a couple of live recorded covers to it and as a result this EP counts no less then 45 minutes.

At the time, both the epic track and the live tracks shed a different light on the band for me. The focus is obviously on the Change of Seasons, an epic title that shows DT in fine progressive form. The metal aspect in the sound is toned down a bit and acoustic guitars and melodies get more room to develop. It starts just excellently and keeps developing through many appealing sections, but Labrie's vocal lines are at times too whiny, melodramatic and sentimental to make me appreciate the piece through and through. Still, prog-metal fans shouldn't hesitate. I think this track shows Dream Theater at a creative peak. 4 stars.

The remainder of the EP consists of semi-interesting covers and medleys that highlight Dream Theater's influences and shows how they got their prog from Floyd, their crunch from Zeppelin and the cheese from Queen, Kansas and Elton John. That's a lot of cheese unfortunately. Hardly 2 stars for the choice of music here, the execution of the material is fine though.

Report this review (#283833)
Posted Friday, May 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars While not a studio album i still think it is important to add this brilliant ep to your DT collection for this very simple reason, the 23 minute workout of A CHANGE OF SEASONS. Now while the rest of this ep is made up of live cover tracks from a gig the band did at Ronnie Scott's jazz club in London it is of course the title track that catches everyone's attention, with the lyrics being about the death of Mike Portnoy's mother it is a complete monster taking you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions and feelings and again the tones on this release are to die for. The cover songs on the other hand are from bands that inspired Dream Theater the most, bands such as Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Kanas and of course Pink Floyd, this is a must have EP and is really worth every penny you pay for it;

A Change of Seasons - 10/10 Elton John Medley - 10/10 Perfect Strangers - 10/10 Led Zeppelin Medley - 10/10 The Big Medley - 10/10

My Conclusion? yup another perfect 10 album, (well this time EP but still) still a fantastic release and highly reccomended.

Report this review (#284076)
Posted Saturday, May 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
Retired Admin
5 stars This gives new meaning to the term "epic"

A Change of Seasons, DT's first EP, despite that it's nearly and hour long, really is one track and a bunch of covers. But that one track, A Change of Seasons, is up there with my favorite songs of all time. It is perfection. Not near perfection, it IS perfection. The classic 7-string intro, with accompanying piano, is classic. This is definitely the classic Sherinian track. Falling Into Infinity shined a bad light on him, but this track is so amazing that it should put him up there with Rudess and Moore.

The song, running for more than 23 minutes, basically encompasses someone's life from birth to death and his life philosophy. One of my favorite poems, To The Virgins, is quoted in the song, which only makes it more amazing. The melodies, with James' great work, the rhythms, with Mike's fantastic drumming, the background synths, the leading guitar, that great "rumble from down under," just everything is perfect. Each part has it's own unique contribution to the entire track. The entire track is joy ride from second 1 to minute 23. If this happens to be in a local record shop, this is a release to pounce on before anyone else steals it.

The rest of the album, covers of classic songs from Elton John, Deep Purple, Led Zepelin, Journey, Genesis, Kansas, and more, are fantastic also. Two medleys are played, one of a few LZ tracks, then the "Great Medley", of some classic rock tracks. The arrangements are fantastic, the playing is fantastic, everything is just plain fantastic!

Report this review (#294380)
Posted Friday, August 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars A Change Of Seasons is a famous live track that was regularly performed by Dream Theater back in their early years. According to the official story this beast of an epic was initially planned to be released as a part of Images And Words but due to its length was rejected by the label and instead took a form of a concert favorite. These live performances became so famous that the band's fan club demanded Dream Theater to record a professional studio take for everyone to enjoy. Since Dream Theater is generally know for being very close to their fans, their wish got fulfilled with the release of this gigantic EP-release!

Clocking at almost an hour in length, this record is actually longer than the first two studio albums released by the band. Featuring the extended version of the title track and four like cover performances from the band it might explain why the band wanted to separate it from their regular output by putting an EP-tag on it. There's is no denying that the album's title track is a great piece of music and the fact that Dream Theater had the time to polish the performance only adds to the overall experience. Still, I can't oversee my personal preference of an even better take of this composition from their Live Scenes From New York performance a few years later.

The four live covers not only demonstrate some of Dream Theater's biggest influences but also show how versatile the band can be in a live setting. The favorite out of the four has to be Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding for reminding me that Elton John was once one of the best composers of his time before he began resorting to simplistic ballads just to please his mainstream audience. Deep Purple's Perfect Strangers and the Led Zeppelin Medley aren't really all that spectacular mostly because they felt like pretty uninspired choices for cover performances while The Big Medley is where the live setting once again brings out some of Dream Theater's best qualities.

Overall, this was a very generous EP that made the departure of Kevin Moore and the three year wait for the next studio album a lot more bearable for the fans. Although Dream Theater have surpassed the technical levels of this performance on some of their later albums, A Change Of Seasons is definitely a nice little release that should be interesting for most fans of the band.

**** star songs: A Change Of Seasons (23:09) Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding (10:49) The Big Medley (10:34)

*** star songs: Perfect Strangers (5:33) Led Zeppelin Medley (7:29)

Report this review (#294540)
Posted Saturday, August 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars The truly amazing aspect of this album is that so much good material was used for a promo CD, as I prefer most of the goods on the epic track to music on the albums before. Regardless, however another classic prog metal epic gets distributed from the brains of the creators and into my hands makes little difference.

In A Change of Seasons, I see a fairly drastic shift for the band. Previously, Dream Theater would certainly include plenty of instrumental passages, but with this epic, I see even more dedication to instrumentals, and not just in length, but in more variety of moods, more build-ups to satisfying climaxes, and better transitions between segments. All in all, it's amazing how well A Change of Seasons holds my attention, because melodically there's not much holding the pieces together, but there's enough variety and energy that I think it flows extremely well. LaBrie is restrained, Petrucci wails a bit more on the solos, and coupled with the ever chugging drums and grinding organ, we have a winner!

I also enjoy the covers, if only to have a new respect for the band's talents. These guys can play anything, although while their version of Funeral for a Friend was impressive, I think the most energy came out of the Zepplin medley. In some cases--such as Zepplin--if you can't see the real thing, then you are forced to appreciate the best of the rest!

Overall, a fun album, and definitely worth tracking down. Of course the title track is the main draw, but the covers for me are less "throwaway" tracks than a decent amount of their actual feature album material.

Report this review (#313280)
Posted Thursday, November 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars In the beginning, I note that I have decided to focus on "A Change of Seasons" track in detail and I have mostly excluded the cover performances out of my evaluation. "A Change of Seasons" looks like an end product of a written formula of a mixture of modern progressive metal and a nostagic approach. It mostly consists of sour acoustic passages between repetitive arrays of clockwork -well-designed- riffs. Its unnecessarily excessive length refers to an amateurish 70's spirit. The whole structure is tried to be supported by some weak lyrics and there is barely musical coherence between the parts except some flashbacks. The whole album seems to be produced in a profit-based manner rather than a musical concern.
Report this review (#333453)
Posted Wednesday, November 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Now, this is not quiet a full Dream Theater album... but it is as much worth getting as any of their full studio albums. In part because it's long enough to be a complete album, and also because the original Dream Theater track is a must have for any fan of the band, and then, the rest of the music (all covers) is also very enjoyable.

The title track is a beautiful Prog Metal Epic, with beautiful intro, great vocals, great instrumental passages, and great metal moments. Then there is a bunch of covers. First we get a cover of an Elton John song (yes, Dream Theater covering Elton John), "Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding"... now, this song will not appeal to anyone who is expecting a full metal album, because this song has absolutley no metal, as a matter of fact DT played it just about the same way the original was played; the first part is a beautiful instrumental prog piece serving as an introduction to the second mainly pop/rock song... for me the first part is the better, but as a whole it is a nice song. Then comes Deep Purple's "Perfect Stranger", also a very good hard rock song, but don't expect much metal in the modern sense. The rest of the album is what puts me of a bit, and that's mainly because I'm not very keen on Meddleys, and that's what follows: first a Led Zeppelin Meddley of "The Rover / Achilles Last Stand / The Song Remains the Same"... the reason I don't like Meddleys is because if I like the songs, then I just end up wanting to hear the whole song, and in this case I wish they had played the whole Achilles Last Stand, instead of just about half the song, with and intro and outro of the other songs which I actually don't really like very much. And then comes the "Big Medley", with songs from different arstist, and it is the same; I do like all the songs represented, some I like a lot, other just a bit, but I whish they had just chosen 2 or 3 of those songs and played them complete... a whole Bohemian Rhapsody would have been awsome. So, it is mainly for this Meddleys that I don't give the 5 stars to this album, I just end up rating it as 4.5, rounding it down to 4.

Report this review (#498018)
Posted Friday, August 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars "A Change of Seasons" is a very interesting EP of Dream Theater, because it presents us with one of the best songs the band ever (the title track) and a well diversified selection of covers ranging from Elton John to Genesis, from by Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Journey, among others.

In fact, this is an EP in name only, because it was longer than "When Dream and Day Unite" and "Images and Words" . It is also the debut of the band Derek Sherinian and I can say he does a great job, owing nothing to Kevin Moore and Jordan Rudess.

The track - title opens the album, and has always been one of my favorite DT. It is by far the best epic that they have done before. It is not easy to describe it piece by piece, but it is interesting as there are references to the movie "Dead Poets Society" (which is a good movie) - they will become synchronized as "The Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Wizard of Oz " ? It would be interesting, but I think this is not the case.

The rest of the album consists of an eclectic array (pleonasm...) of covers played live at a jazz club in London. The first is the semi-epic "Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding" by Elton John. Then there's "Perfect Strangers" Deep Purple, the medley "The Rover / Achilles Last Stand / The Song Remains The Same", all of Led Zeppelin, and finally the eclectic medley consisting of "In the Flesh" (Pink Floyd) "Carry on Wayward Son" (Kansas), "Bohemian Rhapsody" (Queen), "Lovin ', Touchin', Squeezin '(Journey)," Cruise Control "(Dixie Dregs) and " Turn It On Again "(Genesis) . all are good, but certainly not reach the quality of the original versions or the first song.

4 stars

Report this review (#507442)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars She looked me in the eye, she said "I love you, goodbye..."

This EP is split into two distinct parts, a 23 minute title track which was originally devised during the Awake sessions, and a selection of cover tracks performed live at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London.

The Good: The main event of this release is of course the epic opener, a fantastic composition and a more than worthy predecessor to the likes of Octavarium and The Count of Tuscany. Outstanding instrumentation is here as standard, as are the strong vocals from James Labrie, possibly his last. But what catches my attention the most is that it also has great lyrics, something I rarely single out for praise when it comes to Mike Portnoy's contribution to the band. They were written shortly after the passing of his mother and puts an emphasis on living in the moment, a moving tribute and a far cry from the cheesefest that would later plague The Best of Times.

Whilst Dream Theater are renown for their extended instrumental passages and intricate musicianship, what they really excel at is the way they fit it all together. Ranging from bombastic drum fills to subtle time signature changes, Dream Theater turn these pivotal moments between set pieces into a fluid art-form. A Change of Seasons is a prime example of this as the screaming siren which cuts through part. VI is perhaps, the perfect segue, and sends a shiver down my backbone every time.

The rest of the tracks are probably the reason this release doesn't achieve a particularly high rating on Prog Archives, although I happen to really enjoy them, especially when compared to Dream Theater's later live covers. My particular favourite is the Led Zeppelin medley of The Rover/Achilles Last Stand/The Song Remains the Same. Great track selection and a great performance.

The Bad: I've never been a huge fan of Elton John so Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding doesn't do much for me. In addition the vocals of The Big Medley don't quite keep up with the high standard of instrumentation.

The Verdict: Massively underrated.

Report this review (#511922)
Posted Tuesday, August 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars 6/10

"Change Of Seasons": best prog metal song ever? Definitely not the best EP, though.

1996-1997 was a sort of a transitional period for Dream Theater, when they got keyboardist Derek Sherinian, who lasted until the end of the recording of "Falling Into Infinity". As he is a good keyboardist, many think that this brief DT period has been kind of an injustice to him. But he also was in this EP, meaning that he recorded with the band the mighty twenty three minute epic title track, which many fans consider it to be the best prog metal song ever. Even though I do consider that quite the exaggeration, I really enjoyed this amazingly ambitious track.

"A Change Of Seasons" in a way I love because it's the only DT song I can define as progressive ROCK. Obviously the band wanted to create a perfect,nice and long suite that would recall Rush's "2112", Yes' "Close To the Edge", Genesis' "Supper's Ready" or Pink Floyd's "Echoes". The song was a success, and indeed reminds of these timeless masterpieces. The time changes are infinite, the different parts of the suite are very well connected to each other, and the music is very well produced. To give you a pretty precise idea of the sound, it is pretty similar to the Kevin Moore period, especially from "Awake". The drums are sharp, a lot of organ-esque keyboards, nice guitars and occasionally Myung shines as well. Labrie does also a pretty good performance overall, in the relatively few parts where he sings.

But this EP, which is hardly considered one since its almost an hour long, has other four songs apart from this huge piece of music. These four songs are covers, which is something that I almost never enjoy listening to on an album (or EP). I understand that the band is immensely grateful to the bands they give tribute to( Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Pink Floyd, Kansas,Deep Purple.....), and that they have a pretty wide range of influences. They did these covers because they want to acknowledge their heroes, but obviously they did these covers for themselves too, for their own amusement, however they did not do them for the public, that's for sure. That's why I do not enjoy them. I just rather listen to the original songs. Maybe I would listen to these covers once just for curiosity, just to see how Dream Theater interprets them. But one time is more than enough.

Overall I wouldn't listen to this all the way through, but I would gladly revisit the mighty title track. I seem to be one of the few people that doesn't absolutely love to death the "A Change Of Seasons" song, so I really would recommend this EP(the song) to whoever loves prog metal.

Report this review (#528164)
Posted Tuesday, September 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars This EP, released by progressive metallers Dream Theater in 1995, has an amazing song, and some other fairly forgettable ones. The EP runs for about 57 minutes, which is far exceeding the usual length for an EP. The band decided to release it as an EP even though its length because they felt that the contents of the EP weren't up to the standard or musical style that they wanted for their next album.

Track 1 is called A Change of Seasons, and is arguably one of Dream Theater's best songs. Clocking in at just over 23 minutes, it contains some of the most beautiful melodies and passages that DT has ever made. It has its heavier moments too, sounding quite similar in a way to the band's earlier works from the 80s (perhaps because most of this song was actually written in the 80s). In my opinion, the band's best lyrics are found in this track, especially in the deep and intriguing section "Carpe Diem". The EP is worth buying for this track alone.

Next up is a cover of Elton John's "Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding". It's a decent cover, but isn't in amazing quality and is not something that is very memorable. A cover of Deep Purple's "Perfect Strangers" is next, and I assume that this track is played by Nightmare Cinema (the alter-ego joke group that the members of Dream Theater made, which usually performed this song with everyone in the band on a different instrument to what they usually play). Like track 2, it's alright, nothing special. There's a Led Zeppelin medley after this song, which is again pretty good, but not amazing.

The last track is a 10 minute medley of songs such as Pink Floyd's "In the Flesh?". It's quite good and entertaining, and probably the second best track on the EP behind the title track.

Overall: This is a good EP by Dream Theater, with a fantastic, 23 minute epic song, and some other songs which are inferior to the huge track, but are still pretty good. The title track is too good to give it a 3/5, but the last 4 tracks are too weak for a 5/5, so 4/5 it is for this EP.

Report this review (#829395)
Posted Thursday, September 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars This one is a tough one to rate since half the album is comprised of cover songs. Therefore I will focus my rating on the original song from Dream Theater.

Change of Seasons is one of prog's greatest epics, and my second favorite from Dream Theater after Octavarium. The song has many parts and ideas, all of which are connected seamlessly. Like always, the musicians are at the top of their game. Derek Sherinian adds an interesting sound to the album unlike any of their others (except Falling Into Infinity of course).

The song is split up into seven parts, all of which offer some unique to the song. The Crimson Sunrise and Innocence are an energetic and heavy intro to the album. Carpe Diem and Another World are LaBrie at his best delivering some emotional vocals. The Darkest of Winters contains some of Dream Theaters best riffs, while the Inevitable Summer has some more atmospheric guitar from John Petrucci.

If I had to nitpick at the song it would be the production of the snare drum. it sounds too harsh and loud. Other than that, this is pretty much a perfect song.


Report this review (#886926)
Posted Thursday, January 3, 2013 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars This EP is well worth seeking out as it captures Dream Theater in all their glory when the band were at their most inventive and one look at the track list would spell this out as it begins with a massive 23 minute epic, the incredible 'A Change of Seasons' that is segmented into 7 parts like the old vintage epics that used to swallow a side of vinyl. This track alone is worth the price of purchase but the EP also has some intriguing covers such as 'The Elton John Medley' and a brilliant version of Deep Purple's 'Perfect Strangers'.

I love the 'Led Zeppelin Medley' reminding me of the melodies of 'The Rover', 'Achilles Last Stand' and 'The Song Remains the Same'. However the real surprise package is found in the live medley at the end simply called, 'The Big Medley'. It features wonderful covers from Pink Floyd, 'In the Flesh?', and Kansas with 'Carry On Wayward Son', Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody', the best bits, and then others include 'Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin', 'Cruise Control' and the wonderful 'Turn It On Again' by Genesis.

Overall it is a great EP with terrific musicianship and energetic covers, along with the colossal title track, all jammed into just under an hour.

Report this review (#888075)
Posted Saturday, January 5, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Considered by fans to be one of Dream Theater's best songs, 'A Change of Seasons' is the bands first venture into an old prog standard; the 20-minute epic! Clocking in at 23 minutes long, the title track of this release was originally intended for the 'Images and Words' album, but left off due to time restrictions.

No problem! Chuck a few live covers in there, and here we have arguably one of the greatest EP's of all time.

With such a lengthy track, you know that each musician will get the chance to show off their skills, and indeed they do! All five members (including newcomer Derek Sherinian on the keyboards), flawlessly show their mastery of their respective departments, with the song twisting and turning through all kinds of time signatures and dynamic changes, crafting a wonderful tale that takes us on a journey through life and reminds us of how quickly it passes by.

As for the other "half" of this EP, there are four live covers that I don't mind, but are kind of hit-or-miss for me. Covering Elton John, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and a medley consisting of Kansas, Queen, Journey and Genesis, none of them are terrible, but in fairness none of them are overly memorable either. Blatant filler.

As a whole, it's a great record, and an absolute must-have for fans of Dream Theater, and whilst the title track itself is entirely worth hearing, it's the covers that prevent this from getting a five-star rating. Still, it's as essential to your collection as any of the bands studio albums.

Report this review (#1781951)
Posted Thursday, September 14, 2017 | Review Permalink
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
3 stars Dream Theater's EP 'A Change of Season's' definitely is an EP even though the entire run time is over 57 minutes. The reason for this is there is only the one original track on this EP which runs over 23 minutes, a suite that was originally written for inclusion on the album 'Images and Words', but for some reason, it was left off that album and released this way. The rest of the album, after this suite, is a 'bonus' and contains several covers that were recorded live at Ronnie Scott's Jazz club in London, England on January 31, 1995. The decision to release this album this way was a strategic one since the real reason for the release was the original suite, but DT didn't want to disappoint fans by releasing a short album or EP (because you know someone was bound to complain, even with the cheaper price point), so the live cover fan club show was added to this album.

Let's start out with concentrating on the suite 'A Change of Seasons'. The basic story line here deals with an individual's experiences leading from birth to death. The suite is made up of 7 subsections, so each one is actually quite short, none of them reaching the 4 minute mark. Starting with the instrumental section 'The Crimson Sunrise' you get a nice electric, but soft introduction involving guitars, piano, keyboards which suddenly erupts into the full band and heaviness halfway through, and the band lives up to it's Progressive Metal style as the section continues. 'Innocence' continues with the heavier sound, but with a noticeable meter and style change as the guitars take hold of a melody and vocals start soon after. The music is a definite progressive sound with a 4 / 4 meter, that gets manipulated and played around with so that it isn't just standard. Soon other meters come in making this more complex and the vocal melody refrains from dropping into any singular theme. 'Carpe Diem' slows things down quite a bit as the rhythm section drops out and we have acoustic guitar and dramatic vocals. The last part of this section works as a vocal build up which intensifies to the next section which is the instrumental 'The Darkest of Winters'. This section is full of ever changing meters and instrumental solos which flawlessly move through tricky rhythm changes and styles, going from heavy to jazz fusion and rapid guitar riffs that approach tech metal riffs with hardly misstep and ending back to a stately theme that moves into the next subsection 'Another World'. When the vocals come in, the rhythm drops out again with only organ accompanying before minimal bass comes in, later accompanied by piano and soft guitar. Things intensify again as in the 'Carpe Diem' section so we end up with a lovely mid- tempo guitar solo and later, emotional vocals. The next subsection is instrumental and called 'The Inevitable Summer' which starts more atmospheric, but continues the moderate tempo from the previous section along with a nice guitar solo that borrows from an almost UK style, that suddenly moves to a fast rhythm and a cool keyboard solo then heavy guitars driven by changing rhythms and broken up meters. We return to the beginning theme from the first section 'The Change of Seasons', this time with vocals following the thematic elements from the beginning of the suite. It all ends as it begins, with soft guitar. This track is one of DT's epic works that many consider one of their best.

The rest of the album is a lot of covers done live as mentioned before. You could end the EP right there, but the band thought it would be nice to add this live fan show. So, this all starts with Elton John's 'Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding', which is Elton's only real progressive track, and it is a 5-star classic. But how does DT fare with it? Well, it is quite faithful to the original, but with more guitar filling in some of the extra keyboards and instruments that Elton has on the original. It's a decent rendition especially for being live, but doesn't add or take away from the original. The next cover is Deep Purple's 'Perfect Strangers'. I like the DP version well enough, but there really isn't anything added here except for a longer guitar solo. Next is a Led Zeppelin medley featuring 'The Rover', 'Achilles Last Stand' and 'The Song Remains the Same' all crushed down to 7 minutes. This is bad. So, so bad. You only get the introductory riff from The Rover and it slips into a shortened introduction to Achilles with some shaky vocals, and you can tell that DT is in too deep with this complex song and besides, you are entering sacred territory here. After a few verses and an attempt at part of the Achilles instrumental, they slip into 'The Song Remains the Same' but the vocals are just out of is range, so they end on that quickly before he tears a larynx or something. The last set of covers is a medley of various classical hits; 'In the Flesh?' by Pink Floyd, 'Carry On Wayward Son' by Kansas, 'Bohemian Rhapsody', 'Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin' ' by Journey, 'Cruise Control' by Dixie Dregs, and 'Turn it on Again' by Genesis. It's like a Reader's Digest version of condensed 70's rock hits. It's as bad as it sounds.

So now we run into the problem of whether the covers were bonus tracks and don't count towards the final score of the EP, or, since in reality they are part of the whole album and actually take up more time than the suite does. I think you have to listen to it all when you are reviewing and decide if the bonus material adds or takes away from the main feature here, and since this is an original recording, and not one where the bonus covers were added later, then it definitely counts to the overall EP. The suite is great, but by the time you get to the end of all of the covers, you have forgotten about how good the suite was, so it takes away from the EP. Yes, I am saying they would have been better off leaving the covers off of this EP. I'm not a huge fan of DT anyway, but this is one of their better suites, but the covers are not great and sometimes laughable. So with the covers added on, they managed to turn this into a 3 star affair.

Report this review (#2167597)
Posted Thursday, March 21, 2019 | Review Permalink

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