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


Dream Theater

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5 stars This is by far the best CD I have ever bought, and I don't think that many bands will come close to this. Dream Theater released Metropolis Part 1, The miracle and the sleeper in 1992 along with the rest of the songs on Images & Words, never did we know what they would release a few years after that. Metropolis Part 2, Scenes from a memory. An album of pure musical genius and perfection, I don't even know where to start. Well, this is a concept-CD, which means that a story runs through the entire album, and that story is so incredibly smart, and innovative, that along with the instrumental performance of the band, this is flawless!
Report this review (#11610)
Posted Monday, December 8, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars Sheer brilliance. This album has absolutely everthing for me, and something for everybody else. My girlfriend loves this album, and usually Jeff Buckley is about as heavy as she gets! Some enourmously rocking parts (the solo in Fatal Tragedy is astonishingly good) and some gorgeous quieter parts (Finally Free). The story is intriguing too (Is Nicholas the killer, or the witness, or even Victoria?) and keeps you guessing. The DVD is hugely cheesy (but you can't have DT without the cheese), but well worth it to see the boys in action (didn't realise La Brie was that Chunky) Anyway, this is the absolute pinnacle of their musical career.
Report this review (#11596)
Posted Monday, January 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have been a DT fan since their Majesty days, and I can safely say that this is their best effort period. Indeed, it would be near impossible to top this record. Subsequently, DT has released SDOIT and ToT, which are both ridiculously good, but if it were me, I would have put this album in the vault and saved it to be released before retirement. Truly, it is a masterpiece, not just for Dream Theater and their fans, but also for progressive rock as a genre. DT (as if were not already certain) establish themselves as the undisputed monarchs of prog rock. As a guitarist, the solos on Home and Fatal Tragedy are impressive, but unlike most, Petrucci knows when to let the melody do the talking, as seen in tracks like Through Her Eyes. Portnoy, as expected, is off-the-charts astounding. Labrie (a fellow Canuck!) is inspiring and an ideal frontman for a concept such as this. Perhaps most significantly, Rudess makes his debut on this album, and certainly does not disappoint. This record is musical perfection and many a DT fans could breathe a sign of relief following the disastrous Falling Into Infinity album. While Dream Theater continues to exhibit supremacy over all that they survey, this album will stand as their greatest achievement and contribution to music.
Report this review (#11597)
Posted Tuesday, January 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Now what can be said about the 90s definitely best album 5 years after it came? Maybe not much, but after all, lets try. Personally I discovered DT way too late, strange how you can miss out one of the best bands ever, but ok I admit it, I discovered them here, with this album. But then again, I just had to buy the complete back -catalogue, all at once, I just had too. Very rarely do you come across albums with such a format like Scenes. This concept-album may be one-of-a-kind. I personally have to go back to early 70s Thick as a brick with Jethro having something comparable in quality. Yes I may have missed an album or more between these years I should have mentioned, but then again, a more complete album like DT miraculous gave us here is for me difficult, if not impossible to find. From the very beginning pure magic. Hard as a rock, soft as a pillow. Good tunes with overwhelming arrangements played by musicians doing just incredible things. The teamwork is brilliant. Must be one of the best rock-albums ever made. Pure gold.
Report this review (#11603)
Posted Friday, February 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is really one of the best you'll ever listen to (unless you want something catchy, mainstream or manufactured), because it combines sublime musicianship with balls-to-wall rock, classical composition and some of the most complicated and technically proficient music ever to be played. It combines the best elements of all music into one album, along with a great narrative and a good sound. Dream Theater for me have always had a great sound (in terms of their instruments and the mixing), and this one probably tops the lot. Whatever sort of rock or metal you're into, there's bound to be something on this album for everyone so go ahead and get a copy if you have got one already.
Report this review (#11605)
Posted Saturday, February 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Being a musician, I've never listened to anything as complex, technical and at the same time beautiful and emotive as this album. This has redefined my concept of a rock album. Besides, the production is absolutely flattering, a perfect work of Kevin Shirley. NO DOUBT, THE BEST ALBUM OF ALL TIMES!!!
Report this review (#11631)
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Best of the best!!! A concept album like never made!!! Listen to Home, Dance of Eternity, Finally Free and see if I'm right or wrong. The feeling of all songs is unbelieveable, and Petrucci & Portnoy are better than ever!! Surely I can say that this is the album that changed my mind about progressive rock and it's also because of this that I like Dream so much these days. Thank you crazy ones!!
Report this review (#11626)
Posted Sunday, April 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I would like to comment all the songs one by one: - Regression : Quite good. Nice melody. Feeling peaceful after heard this song. -Overture 1928 : Good song, great instrument play, i love the portnoy intro. -Strange De Javu : One of my favorite, not too hard to play but still have it's own class -Trough My Words : Nice song Break, Rudess is quite good ( i prefer Derek actually) -Fatal Tragedy : This one is very good, petrucci is the key here, he is amazing. -Beyond This Life : This is very good, hard Metal. one of my favourite. -Through Her Eyes: another break song, but this one longer. The melody is great. -Home : the best song in this album, entirely superb from intro till the ending. a 12:00 minute heaven on earth - The dance of eternity: I have no words to say about this instrumental song. Absolutely full of skill, technique, Myung solo always drive me crazy. -One last time: Not too Bad for DT's song (ha ha ha) -Spirit Carries On: This one is great too. The song break up with repeating the "Reggression" in the end of the song. -Finally free: This song has an absolutely stormer ending. Portnoy show his class here, i never listen that kind of percussion play before.

In the end, i put this album in the second place of my favorite. the first is "Images and words"

Report this review (#11627)
Posted Monday, April 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Nothing to say about it. It's really the masterpiece. Even if Derek's influence can be heard throughout the whole Album, Jordan does a really good work. The most pro piece ever written comes to us under the name of THE DANCE OF ETERNITY! it's UNBELIEVABLE! all tracks are good under every aspect. there is just the spot of The spirit carries on, which is very good and pleasant to listen to, but it's not prog at all! BUT THIS ALBUM! I really beliee it should be called Scenes from PROG!
Report this review (#11650)
Posted Thursday, May 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars I have watched Dream Theater's progression through each album release. I have to say Scenes From A Memory is somewhat of a dissapointment. There's no-doubting the instrumentation is superb as always, and there is a concept/story from start to finish, which is refreshing and intelligent. However, the songs individually aren't especially outstanding, and the whole thing comes across a tad cheesy for my liking. Emotional and elaborate it may be, but sometimes over-elaborate in my view.
Report this review (#11651)
Posted Friday, May 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars this is my second favorite album of DT after Images & Words. the best of the latest 90's progmet album ever! they know how to craft a beautiful everlasting masterpiece. powerful. dynamic. melodious. amazing. wonderfully created. Jordan Rudess's arrival powered up the team becoming the greatest progmet band in the world. this album had successfully accompanied me passing through the new millennium. what a trully classic!
Report this review (#11638)
Posted Friday, May 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars You know, I didn't appreciate Dream Theater as a superb fu***' best band of the world as a myriad of crazy fans, though that album was one of the best things I heard about rock'n'roll in the last 10 years. "Scenes From A Memory" is a very natural album (opposing another Dream Theater's works like "Awake") and you can take notice of DT's influences: Yes (melodic vocals on Strange Deja-Vu and Fatal Tragedy), Emerson Lake & Palmer (The Dance of Eternity seems like a new Tarkus), Metallica, Megadeth and mainly Rush (every song had a little bit of Alex Lifeson). Another thing: Jordan Rudess is the best rock keyboardist of the world! For me, he is the only keyboardist that may humbles a guitarist in a rock'n'roll band (I'm a guitarist), maybe Keith Emerson would disbank him. Though Rudess had a impressively fluid, smooth and fiery style that really inchants me. It was great to see him with Greg Howe or Steve Vai. John Petrucci is always the same (fiery 846 notes per second and great rhythm), but he develops some great acoustic guitar passages ("Beyond This Life"). John Myung is a monster, Mike Portnoy shows how he was influenced by Bill Bruford and Carl Palmer and James LaBrie is a ornament. GREAT ALBUM! I recommend not just for prog-fans, but all kind of music listeners.
Report this review (#11639)
Posted Thursday, May 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars 'Prog metal':- an anachronism if ever there was one! On one hand 'Prog' - pompous,symphonic,technical music played by 'musos' while: 'Metal' -thrashy straight forward down the line 'no nonsense' (and ultimately dull IMO) stuff.You put the two together and you get ..... a marriage made in hell perhapsl??? Well there are bands that do it and undoubtedly the greatest exponent is Dream Theater.Cynics will say it is really just metal with a keyboard player tagged on and they may have a point.But here DT manage to create music that is aesthetically pleasing and challenging as well as managing to avoid writing lyrics about booze and sex in the process.Mike Portnoy is a giant of this sort of thing and Jordan Rudess can certainly match any keyboard player you care to name.I can't say I'm that keen on the kind of vocals that come with this music but I'll live with it for the instrumental qualities and decent songs on offer.If you want to dip your toes in the stream of 'prog metal' then this is as good a place to start as any.
Report this review (#11640)
Posted Saturday, May 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
Founding Moderator
5 stars In the movie "The Quick and the Dead," director Sam Raimi "pulls out all the stops" and uses "every trick and cliche in the book" vis-a-vis every Western ever made. And an all-star cast - including Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe, Sharon Stone, Leonardo DiCaprio, Keith David, and Lance Henriksen - all deliver "over the top" performances, with Hackman almost literally "chewing the scenery." It is one of the finest subtle parodies ever put on celluloid.

"Scenes From a Memory" is like that. DT pulls out all the stops, and uses every trick and cliche ever used in progressive rock. And DT's all-star cast of superb musicians - Petrucci, Portnoy, Rudess, LaBrie, Myung & Co. - all deliver "over the top" performances, with lots of musical "scenery chewing" going on. And although I am not particularly fond of progressive metal (though I have come to appreciate and respect DT's pre-eminent place in the subgenre), this album is one of the finest amalgamations of prog-rock - and NOT just prog-metal - ever put on vinyl (OK, CD...) Indeed, although the band was clearly progressing over it's first few albums, I'm not sure anything could have prepared even their fan base for this album: it is as if the stars aligned magically to create a gestalt in which everything simply "came together" for the band.

It is almost impossible to review this album "piece by piece": it must be taken as a whole. Ostensibly a murder mystery, the story does get a bit convoluted: although there are a couple of suspects, fratricide enters the picture, as does the possibility of "spirit possession" (saying anymore would "give away the game"). Still, it is very well written, and extremely well-executed.

There ARE some influences here. Rush, certainly; a bit of UK, a bit of ELP, even a whiff of Zappa. Most unexpected, however, were the strong Floydian touches, including the opening track (a gentle "lift" from Wish You Were Here), the opening of "Home," and especially the opening of "The Spirit Carries On," right down to the Gilmour-ish acoustic guitar, Waters-like lead vocal, and female chorus of "oohs." The "Overture" is excellent, and although it is true that "Dance of Eternity" is among the most exciting, even compelling, prog-rock instrumentals in quite some time, the jam at the end of "Fatal Tragedy" is just as good, if not better.

I do have some minor misgivings and criticisms, including that the album is somewhat "uneven"; that sections sometimes seem strung together in a haphazard manner; that Labrie, while an excellent vocalist (particularly here), does not always have the best "timbre" for the material; and that the album could probably have benefitted from a minor "trim."

However, all of that is really beside the point. Because it is impossible NOT to be impressed - VERY impressed - by an album of this calibre: the composition, musicianship and production are all first-rate. Indeed, it is one of a very few things I've heard in the past 15 years that Peter Rideout refers to a "a modern masterpiece of prog."

It is wonderful to know that progessive metal has contributed to the pantheon of must-have masterpiece concept albums - a truly rarified group to be in.

Report this review (#11654)
Posted Sunday, June 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
James Lee
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "Scenes From a Memory Metropolis Part II" answers the age-old question: what do you get when you cross "The Final Cut" with "Operation: Mindcrime"? No, that's not fair- it has neither the fake suicidal angst of the former nor the fake streetwise grittiness of the latter. It's also much heavier and full of more talented playing than either album. I think I would have preferred the album to start with the acoustic guitar (a la "Pigs on the Wing") rather than the induction. And I can't think of anything less evocative of 1928 (or any other time besides the early 90s) than the metal onslaught that follows. However, Petrucci is always amazing, managing to slip a bit of expression into the fret gymnastics, and the rhythm section is just as impressive as ever. LaBrie is once again decent when he's pushing himself and less so when called upon to compliment a softer segment; "Through My Words" into "Fatal Tragedy", for instance, makes him seem like a second-rate Freddy Mercury imitator- or Waters imitator, on "The Spirit Carries On"...all of which still beats the generic vocals on "Through Her Eyes" and "One Last Time". "Beyond This Life" rocks pretty hard but Petrucci's solo is more often silly than sublime, as are the horrible keyboards. "Home" is also notably heavy, but way too long and chock full of the cliche pseudo-eastern affectations that metal bands always crank out when they want to sound 'exotic'. "The Dance of Eternity" could have been retitled "Everyone gets a little gratuitous solo time, especially Rudess with his honky- tonk piano farce". The gospel choir on "The Spirit Carries On" is just as tacky and bolted- on as the gospel choir on "The Final Cut", U2's a capella "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", or even the one in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". "Finally Free" pretty much sums up my feeling when this one was over. Whether they've changed all that much in the last ten years (besides getting a bit heavier and faster with the times) I'll leave for the fans to debate; they sound much the same to me- this school of prog metal always struck me as being mainly about showing off their instrumental abilities whenever possible and this album gives me no reason to change my mind. The songs are still needlessly complicated and yet formulaic and uninspired. The lackluster narrative is presented with artless exposition; they've compromised between using lyrics that fit the song and fitting the music to the story, and as a result everything sounds contrived. I hope Satan isn't reading this review because he'll have a pretty good idea how to torment me for all eternity. Still, the sheer number and dedication of DT fans, added to the band's instrumental proficiency, forces me to give this two stars.
Report this review (#11656)
Posted Tuesday, June 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Given Dream Theater's enormous following, I guess it's high time that I "weighed in" with a review of one of their more popular albums. Before commencing my review proper, however, I feel I should clarify just where I'm "coming from" on this one. Please bear with me.

As a young teen, I was into artists like Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, and Uriah Heep for a couple of years, before being introduced to prog, and bands like Genesis, Yes, ELP, and Tull. After that enlightening musical awakening, I never really looked back, though I still listen to Heep and Purple every now and then. (These days, when I want to really "rock out," I tend to turn to "axe-smiths" such as Jeff Beck, Steve Morse, Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar, or Zeppelin.)

Though I have nothing against heavy metal as an art form, most modern metal doesn't do much for me. I don't like screaming vocals, and often find the music of many of the newer acts to be too fast and aggressive for my middle-aged ears. I also tend to have real problems with the typical lyrical subject-matter of newer metal: I simply can't relate to that teen angst/anger and fascination with blood, violence, death and the devil anymore! Just as I soon outgrew horror novels, I now find many metal lyrics to be just plain silly -- dealing as they often do with issues quite beyond my daily concerns, and a supernatural world that I honestly don't believe in.

With that rather lengthy preface out of the way, the reader should understand that I find listening to the overlong SCENES FROM A MEMORY METROPOLIS PART II, in a single session, (and at the volume it demands!) to be a decidedly onerous task. Thankfully, vocalist LaBrie isn't much of a "screamer," though I do find his "average-guy" voice to be distinctly uninspiring. The musicianship, especially the guitar, is also of a doubtlessly high quality, and there is just enough variety in the music to warrant their "progressive metal" categorization. (In my opinion, "progressive metal" has to imply more than just metal with keyboards.)

What really stops me from giving this concept album a higher rating, is, as with Marillion's BRAVE (see my review), the theme of its lyrics. The story centers around a murder-suicide, and the motif is made more "real" with the disturbing sounds of gunshots and the screams of the young female victim. I know that modern American society is very troubled with gun-related violence, and I can turn to American TV news or magazines any time I feel the need to "get my fill" of such depressing, tragic gore. I don't need, or want, to hear this stuff set to music as well! As with BRAVE's suicide theme, I find the concept of "SCENES" to be simply unworthy of my time. I believe that there is a fine line -- perhaps crossed here -- between examining violence, and obsessing upon and/or "celebrating" it.

I believe that confirmed metal/Dream Theater fans would award this disc four or five stars (as it is perhaps "good" for its genre), though for my own middle aged, fatherly tastes, SCENES FROM A MEMORY only merits a two-star rating. Overall, I greatly prefer to be uplifted and/or moved by my music collection, instead of being "brought down" by it. Please don't get me wrong! I realize that some will object to the seeming high-handed, moralistic tone of this review, but I am no prude (quite the opposite!), nor am I a supporter of musical censorship or warning labels. I am merely trying to articulate a personal point of view regarding my preferences in art, which I feel others may share. I don't mind a song that deals with suicide (see my review of Genesis - Nursery Cryme, and "Harold the Barrel" in particular), but when murder forms the entire theme of an album, and is graphically "portrayed" with gunshots and screams, I tend to recoil. Dream Theater, Marillion, and others, have every right to release albums that deal with unsavory subjects. However, as one who tends to focus heavily on words and lyrics, I find listening to this CD to be just a little more enjoyable than viewing images of endless Middle Eastern atrocities, or reading the gruesome details of the latest killings by some gun-toting psychopath. Really not to my taste -- but perhaps to yours.

Report this review (#11657)
Posted Monday, June 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm not a metalhead of sort, but, with almost any criteria, for me, this is a five big star progressive metal concept album. There's absolutely no doubt about it.

Here's why:

Firstly, instead of telling an epic story or tackling a grand overarching theme which is common among 1970s prog rock bands, these guys come up with a very intriguing, psychological-mystery regarding a modern man who is haunted by the 1928 murder of a young woman. Apparently these guys want to sit on the shelf with "2112," "The Wall" and "Operation: Mindcrime."

Secondly, dealing with a difficult tale and told the tale in complex fashion (see how there are two acts which separate different parts of the tale) doesn't seem to pose any difficulties for these guys in delivering amazingly, jaw-dropping music. The musicianship, the virtuosity and all are there and so brilliant.

Thirdly, the cohessiveness of the overall composition is so tight in which all the songs flow beautifully into one another, despite intricacies of the structure of several songs.

Because of its nature, in order to be truly appreciated, this remarkable, masterwork album must be listened with every song played in order. I myself particularly like it when the tones of the hypnotherapist, at the beginning, slowly flow into my ears and thrill me and then take me on an audio-induced "orgasmic" ride.

Report this review (#11658)
Posted Tuesday, June 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Since I heard their previous albums, I really knew that this album must be a brilliant work. I have some reasons, first, this is sort of mysterious story, that brings us to wilder scene. And the second, they tried some new formule, more complex, and various music. The songs keep rolling so tightly as the right composition and become the great concept album. Following from the first song, 'Regression' until the last melodic ending 'Finally Free', there are good structure between the music, rythm and skill show. I feel struck my heart when I go down to 'One Last Time' part. This is the essential scene of this album I think. So, you must listen this album slowly and feel it into your brain! Also don't forget, mark it with senseful as the great album!! It's ridiculous to doubt this album!! Atang - Indonesia
Report this review (#11660)
Posted Wednesday, June 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars SPEECHLESS. That's what I feel on how I should review this perfect album. I have refrained myself from reviewing it as this album is too great to be rated. I know really well that there is no such thing that I could rate beyond the top as it does not make any sense at all to give say, 6 stars out of 5? Am I going insane? (Oops .. it seems like BLACK SABBATH's song?). I realize that reviewing this album requires not only rational thinking (eg. structural integrity of the composition, musicianship etc.) but also emotional feeling that is something to do with "mind" and "heart". As a listener and an enjoyer of this album, I don't think I am able to review this beautifully, intelligently, and brilliantly crafted album. From "Close your eyes and begin to relax ..." to "We'll meet again my friend someday soon" until the turntable sound shut-off at the end track I am totally hooked! But, I'll give it a try. At least, if my review does not serve the appropriate appreciation in its totality (which I presume it is), I have given my highest appreciation to this seminal work of the band. I sometime ask myself, "How long this band would last?". I'm really afraid of having this band disbanded. Please don't ..

DT music has united classic prog rock lovers (usually older people) with metal lovers (younger). DT is the first who played what so called progressive metal sub-genre and . man .. I come to realize that I've always loved the pioneer's bands. It happened to me when I felt in love with MARILLION (the pioneer of neo-prog sub-genre) in 1983. Creation-wise, "Scenes from A Memory" is similar to MARILLION's "Misplaced Childhood". But, not in the music and composition. "Misplaced Childhood" was a concept album after MARILLION produced several albums. The same thing with "Scenes ..", because this album was created after DT produced several albums as well.

This album deserves FIVE BIG STAR for following reasons: 1. songwriting 2. story telling 3. structural integrity and variety of tempo 4. musicianship 5. production. Too many things hah? That's what I could say. Each song in the album has been carefully written and well thought-of. The lyrics are simple, something that ordinary listener like me can understand and enjoy. It helps us to understand the whole story of the album. You would notice that there are bits of lyrics that we'd like to emulate as we get used to the album. For example: "Safe in the light that surrounds me ." or "Hello Victoria so glad to see you my friend .." or "Headline. Murder young girl killed .." or "If I die tomorrow I'll be alright .." or "We'll meet again my friend someday soon ..". Many of them, I believe.

Structural integrity? I think, this is key question to ask in any concept album. Don't challenge this album with this question as they have it, strongly! This album flows nicely from a relax conditioning set forth by meditating-like narration "Close your eyes and relax ..", moves to uplifting tempo and slowing down, going up again.. and so on. The music brings your mind and your heart through various waves of musical "orgasm" throughout entire album. I recommend you to enjoy it in its entirety. You would notice how perfect this creation is.

No one would argue the quality of musicians in this album. Not that they are brilliant individually, but they are perfect in "pulling together as a team" (sounds like PINK FLOYD's "Have a Cigar" lyric hah? Rock music always inspires my day mannn .!! Rock on, chappy!). It's so intriguing that they play in nice harmony with high speed tempo in some musical pieces. Many segments demonstrate such pieces as to accentuate the story. Am not sure whether or not NEIL PEART of RUSH has ever commented about how dynamic Portnoy drumming is? I also enjoy Myung's dazzling bass play. Petrucci guitar fills and riffs are really wonderful as well. LaBrie is well-positioned in the band. Rudess plays solo in conjunction with lead guitar. It's stunning.

Production-wise, this album has an excellent sonic production. The statement at the end of the sleeve "patiently and expertly engineered by Doug Oberkircher" is true. You know what? The first time I was "hooked" with this album was the last track "Finally Free" as it has a great melody and music composition, combined with touchy orchestration that creates solid nuances of the story and . most importantly . I like the sounds produced in this track. I usually turn my amplifier volume up in the middle where Portnoy's drumming is dominating the music. Really cool. All sounds of igniting car engine, pistol-shooting, screaming, pouring ice in the glass, turning up the turntable are all can be heard clearly.

So, don't hurt yourself by not having this CD in your collection. It's a masterpiece work that you must have in your collection. BTW, you should also have the DVD of this album performed live in its entirety, "Scenes from New York". Am totally excited watching this DVD! - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Report this review (#11661)
Posted Wednesday, June 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater have been producing unique and incredible albums since 1992's "Images and Words" and easily built up a reputation for releasing masterpieces in progressive rock. Of course it was always suspected that Dream Theater would release another of these masterpieces but when the band followed up their "Falling into Infinity" album, many fans and critics were astonished by how much a band can make the step up by exceeding a previous masterpiece.

This album is "Scenes from a Memory", an 80 minute long progressive concept album that plays almost like a "rock opera" (especially on stage). The lyrics here followed a genius plot and are able to untangle a story involving love and tragedy whilst producing the bands best pieces of music to date. Scenes boasts incredible guitar and keyboard battles, thundering basslines and mouth watering drum work, as well as LaBrie's inspiritional vocals and Pettruci's incredible long and fiddley guitar solos. The foundations of this album are built up by the solid musicianship that the band have built up over the last 10 years, but what separates this album from the others is how the band pushed themselves furthur than their limits to produce a beautiful piece of music that is as close to perfection as you can find.

The record suceeds in blending heavy guitar fury, emotional melodies and mellow acoustic pieces, backed by LaBries wide variety of singing styles and an excellent change of speedy keyboard solos and heart filled slow pieces. This album is also a huge step up on experimenting with music. Scenes from a Memory includes sound effects, scripted characters and a more realistic array of background sounds. These are played alongside the daring use of choirs, female vocalists, orchestral pieces and speaking parts within the songs. This is quite daring and can often drift away from the bands progressive metal background but it is much better to see how many different directions Dream Theater can take on one album.

Although this album is much more mellow and emotional than previous pieces, the album makes up for this by including some of the bands best heavy metal input of their career. "Overture 1928" is a brilliant metallic solo to set the scene of things to come and essentially warm up the album. This alone plays as a brilliant conceptual progressive piece as well as a strong individual instrumental. The astonishing furious guitar and keyboard battle in the middle of "Fatal Tragedy" is one of the best things i have ever heard, alongside Petrucci's incredible weaving guitar solo. "Home" and "Beyond This Life" are also must haves for any metal fans alongside the dark and haunting "Dance of Eternity".

The mellow parts of the album are just as brilliant. Two emotional pieces standout here and show LaBrie's best ever singing quality. "Strange Deja Vous" shows an everchanging pattern in glorious vocal melodies. LaBrie's voice sours ahead of all of his previous work. "Regression" includes a beautiful acoustic ballad but the slow piano fueled piece, "Through Her Eyes" shows off the best moments of Rudess' piano skills. LaBrie and Petrucci's best songwriting skills is seen clearly here (although it is in most of their other tracks too). "Through Her Eyes" is incredibly moving and is a huge improvement on similar pieces from previous albums such as "The Silent Man" and "Wait For Sleep".

Scenes from a Memory is the very definition of progressive rock and this album remains one of the best concept albums and finest pieces of music ever written.

Report this review (#11664)
Posted Tuesday, July 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars DT is doing a great job with this album, and to give a good example, I would suggest you listen to the song 'Beyond This Life' and skip to 8:26. Listen to the way the drums and the guitar are communicating, challenging each other with irregular and illogical time-measurements, but still in the end it all makes sense. The keyboard solo on top of it sounds silly, but fits preciselly as a piece of a jigsaw puzzle. At the end of this brilliant' part (at 9:05), all instruments are together again, and a sublime solo is followed, in which the guitar and keyboard play excacty the same, after which the song is rocking on with a great melodic tune/riff.

This is just one example, but all the other songs are that great. This is by far the best cd in my collection. The opening track 'Regression' might doesn't make any sense by opening an album with a accoustic lovely song, but the next song, 'Overture 1928', is even more a great experience: one instrumental song that brings all the upcoming themes of the album together. 'Fatal Tragedy' and 'Beyond this Life' are masterpieces on their own, with again very good lyrics, and even more astonishing instrumental parts. When the first song stops, you won't have time to take a breath, because the next is already about to begin! 'Home' and 'The Dance of Eternity' (that integrades a honkey-tonkey tune in heavy rock, in a way only DT can do) are the masterpieces of Act II. But beside these instrumental-violence, there are also very emotional and beautiful songs, that makes this album also accessible for those who do not care about great musicianship. Songs like 'Through Her Eyes' and 'The Spirit Carries On' just makes my flesh creep.

I can listen to this album over and over again, it's just that great and brilliant. (sorry for my English grammer errors :)

Report this review (#11665)
Posted Saturday, July 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is, by any and all means... possibly the best studio album ever created. However, this may only be so for hardcore prog rockers and headbangers alike. Instead of going on a little epic tale depicting character development in an ongoing 20 minute song, this entire album gives a story that is incredibly deep and powerful. Imagine a movie/story that you just love so much, but not just any movie/story. Imagine one that is soo deep, that every time you listen to it, whether it be your first, or your last, you find and discover something new. That's what Scenes From a Memory is. It's one long story that is told in many different pieces, and you sort of put them together to make the big picture. All the while, you're rockin out to some of the most jammin' riffs ever created (such as in "Home" and the almighty "Dance of Eternity." It may take a while to get used to listening to, but once you find the high points in each song, everything seems to fall in place. If you buy this epic adventurous masterpiece and ur a heavy prog rocker, you won't be sorry.
Report this review (#11668)
Posted Saturday, July 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is trully one of the best works of DT's passage in the prog rock/ rock/ prog metal/metal world. After releasing two masterpieces: "Images and Words" (which is in my opinion their best work ever!) and "Awake" DT procuced a real masterpiece. Begining with the tittle wich freaks you out just by pronouncing it: "Scenes from a Memory METROPOLIS PART 2". C'mon everyone knows "Metropolis Part 1" is the best work ever invented and now they want to continue it?!

The first track let you enter the Scene from a Memory world. After that in track 2 "Overture 1928" you remember what was like to hear the Metropolis sound of gods with additional flawless parts. Then "Strange Deja Vu" begans with Overture's improvement and also beautiful singing by James LaBrie. "Scene III: Through my Words" warm your ears for the brilliant "Fatal Tragedy" with the duo John Petrucci making the guitar an celestial instrument and Jordan Rudess making with the keybords a wonderful passage. Yet in "Scene Four: Beyond This Life" you get addicted to this absolutly perfect project. You can see maybe a Frank Zappa influence with a super combo between the keyboards and the John Myung's bass guitar with an addition of the guitar. "Home" explore new rhytms and make your ears go nuts.

When you start listening to "The Dance of Eternity" you know that DT is the best prog rock that exists. They combine Metropolis Part 1 passages with perfect sounds by the guitar but specially by the keyboards. The drums by Mike Portnoy is also like in the first Metropolis an essential instrument in this gorgeous composition. You also hear in the beggining a funny passage giving a sound track to the a hundred years old films. "One Last Time" is continuation to "Overture 1928" and "Strange Deja Vu" songs with a classical singing.

When you hear "Scene Eight: Spirit Carries On" you think the CD is ending with this heavenly song. But if only continue to listen this masterpiece you open your ears for the "Finally Free". This song is the end of a contagious story that is told in the CD. This song combines hard keyboards with hard but sad guitar. When you hear the end of this masterpiece you do nothing but pressing the reward button and start listening to it all over again.

Report this review (#11671)
Posted Monday, July 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Scenes from a Memory" is the first taste of prog metal I had (aside from the horrible live album "Once in a Live Time" which my brother, a hard core metal fan, really liked), and is a great starter. DREAM THEATER is PINK FLOYD and RUSH meets METALLICA, if you really want to so simply define this band, and they are great.

"Regression" begins with the ticking of a clock in a hypnotherapist's office. Nicholas is getting hypnotherapy because the dreams he has been having concern a girl who lived in the 1920s named Victoria. As the hypnotherapist counts down from 10, a soft acoustic tune fades in and Nicholas begins to dig into his subconscious...

"Overture 1928" is an excellent instrumental track with keyboards and guitars working together very nicely. It goes into "Strange Deja Vu," one of my favorite song on here with lyrics. It describes Nicholas' dreams and how he and Victoria seem to have a strange conncection. But it ends with nothing solved.

"Through my Words/Fatal Tradgedy" is another winner, with a soft piano opener and a heavy metal finish. It reveals that Nicholas is in fact the reincarnation of Victoria! Nicholas sets out to figure out why the memory of her has been plaguing him in his sleep, and discovers that she was murdered by a jilted lover. A short instrumental follows, with a breathtaking conclusion as the hypnotherapist opens the next track...

"Beyond this Life" is yet another wonderous song, describing in excruciating detail the murder by effectively singing the words printed in a (fictional) 1928 newspaper. It seems that murderer killed Victoria, then committed suicide. A witness came to find them both, and called for assistance. This song has the most awkward lyrics of the album, and fails to rhyme or even make sense at times. A good part of this song is instrumental, and a great one at that. Nest is "Looking through her eyes" is a good ballad-type song which looks at Nicholas mourning Victoria's death.

The second act opens with "Home," a fairly good but somewhat overlong song about the Miracle and the Sleeper. As far as I can tell, the Miracle is Victoria's jilted lover and the Sleeper is her admirer (and eventually her boyfriend, I think).

"The Dance of Eternity" is an amazing instrumental song. It is able to switch from heavy metal guitar to classic piano in an instant, and if you listened to "Metropolis Part One," the "dance of eternity" is love. "One Last Time" is a fairly cryptic ballad-type song, I'm not sure what it is about. Maybe about the Sleeper and Victoria's love, or the death of Victoria, but then again, I'm not exactly sure.

Next we have "The Spirit Carries On." It is the sort of song you could play in church, with its faith-full lyrics and soft metal ballad feel. The vocals on here are very Roger WATERS, with sighs and a sort of older feel to them. It sounds like WATERS on "Amused to Death," mainly. This song is about Nicholas coming to terms with the death of Victoria.

Finally there is "Finally Free." It is VERY cryptic, but I think it goes like this as far as I can tell: the Miracle framed the Sleeper for the murder of Victoria, then shot the Sleeper as well and said it was suicide. This means he is the "witness" in "Beyond this Life." Nicholas then supposedly wakes up, and goes home. He turns on the TV, then listens to some music, then the hypnotherapist wakes him up again? I have no clue. Very, very strange ending. I cannot make heads or tails of it.

Pretty cool progressive metal overall.

Report this review (#11678)
Posted Wednesday, September 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars There's not much left to say about this one, it sure is between 90's prog Top 5. It's cohesion and consistency couldn't be better assembled, it's a hole concept album with solid paths, parts and themes that unite to create an all-time prog masterpiece. The Act Two: Overture 1928 and Strange De Javu consist is one solid piece of amazingly played rock; Fatal Tragedy has one of the most amazing solos ever in rock and, as a hole, along with Beyond this Life, an outstanding guitar and keyboards work that reaches the highest levels of professionalism; then, one of the most complex pieces of all Dream Theater works and one of the most incredible creations a musician can stand for: The Dance of Etenity. Of course i can't leave behind such beautiful balads sorrounded with intense feelings, such as Through Her Eyes, One Last Time and The Spirit Carries On. Being a concept album, it finishes with one of the most awesome endings an album of this nature can have: Finally Free. This album is a must in all rocker's collection, get the DVD too, can't say more about this: MUSIC MASTERPIECE.
Report this review (#11679)
Posted Monday, September 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
Man With Hat
Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
4 stars A rating of 3.5 is much more accurate. However, I've rounded up for the sole reason that if you choose to only own one Dream Theater album this is the one to own.

Overall, there are some splendid songs over these 77 minutes. Overture 1928, Home, The Dance Of Eternity are all top notch. Unfortunately there are plenty of not so good moments to balance these out: Through Her Eyes, The Spirit Carries On, One Last Time. The shorter tracks (Regression, Through My Words) don't really add anything either, as they exist mostly to push the story. The others are somewhere in the middle. Strange Deja Vu is pretty good, but with some pretty poor lyrics, Fatal Tragedy has the same flaws, and the final piece doesn't feel good enough to be the conclusion in this story, even though it has its moments (and obviously wraps up the story).

All and all, this albums has its moments, some of them glorious, but has too many flaws to be considered a "great" album. But, to my ears, this is the best Dream Theater ever did in their career (at least up to 2011). I believe it to be their most progressive (stylistically), their most ambitious, and their most successful. If you want a good comingling of classic symphonic prog and metal this is a damn good choice.

Report this review (#11682)
Posted Monday, November 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is undoubtly a very "hyped" album. The reasons why I do not like this album is first of all the arrangements, some of the songs seem glued together like some "CollageProg". There are so many bands that have so much better arrangements than DT, for example Symphony X.

Also I do not like Kevin James LaBrie... ugh...

And the almost completely undynamic drummer Mike Portnoy ( Most overrated drummer in history). Yeah, so he can play many different time signatures, so what? He does not have the groove and flow of Nick D`Virgilio or Jason Rullo, and he does variations over four different drum fills that he can do, ugh... not impressing.

MOST IMPORTANT: The lack of melody in this album. I think the songs on this album suffers from bad melodies, poor collage arrangements, poor concept and lyrics as well as the worst instrumental of progressive rock ever ( The Dance Of Eternity ).

No, the only albums that I would have praised coming from DT is Images And Words which has great arrangements and Good melodies. And in fact Falling Into Infinity for the same reasons as IAW.

Report this review (#11685)
Posted Friday, December 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars as a concept album its amazing. the story is a masterpiece. musically its alright. what i like about the album is how it sticks to the vein of the original song from "images and words". i'm thinking it could be better but thats the problem with concept albums. the priority is the concept and the music usually comes second. its still great though just not their best effort. the lyrics are the album's highlights. once you pay attention to the lyrics in its entirety and understand the story your heart just stops for a few seconds. its really breath-taking. to be honest this is an album to actually listen to and by this i mean REALLY listen to it and not just hear it. if you're gonna buy it bare in mind that this is not "we can't dance" or any alan parson's you can expect nice short sticky tunes. this is serious music. as a matter of fact this album is the one that seperates dream theater fans into two groups: metal head-bangers and old prog fans. for the metal fans this is the end of the line. for the rest keep going. the best is still to come.
Report this review (#11686)
Posted Wednesday, December 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars in my opinion, this is DT's best album. it is a concept album, and is one of the greatest ever. the musicianship is excellent throughout the album. it is their first album with jordan rudess on keys, and he is not disappointing at all. this album has everything, from heavier songs(Beyond this life,fatal tragedy) to quieter ones(through her eyes, the spirit carries on). the story is a bit cheesy, but it still does not detract at all from the album's greatness. it is amazing to me that they put out something as good as this after Falling Into Infinity, which was horrible compared to SFAM.
Report this review (#11688)
Posted Friday, December 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars After the monumental "Images and Words" in 1992, Dream Theater didn't manage to make such a complete album like this one. This album was made to be a masterpiece. And with no surprise, it is the continuation of the unfinished suite from "Images and Words". It has everything an album should have: great instrumental work, good melodies, a great story, good production. And it is a unit: we can figure clearly one beginning, middle and one end. It is possible you won't see the magnificent at first listening, because of the complexity of the music; you have to build the puzzle. It's definitely not fast food. But once you get into it, you'll never quit, believe.

The instrumental work is spectacular, no one finds better than this anywhere! Just for this reason, this album could be a masterpiece. The technical quality of the band line-up is unquestionable. The architecture obeys to an opera rock album; it has 2 acts which subdivide in several scenes. It has an interesting story, about past lives. The main character has repetitive dreams about a girl, who calls him, and he is compelled to make a hypnotic session with a therapist to discover the reason, like he knew he will solve his own life.

So the album starts with Regression - a hypnotic session which makes us, the listeners, get into the ambience of the story. It's an original overture for the album, and it fits so well! The voice of the therapist is perfect: you can feel yourself being relaxed, like you're being prepared to listen to a monumental suite. As this happens, a small and beautiful melody appears slowly, with acoustic guitar, introducing the album. With Overture 1928 the album starts truly. Heavy architecture, resembling RUSH, YES and metal influences. The first guitar solo (1:35), is magnificent. If you like the emotional guitar solo's of PINK FLOYD, you certainly won't regret this. This guitar solo is going to reappear in One last Time of the second act, culminating wonderfully the emotional heaviness of this music. Wonderful crying guitar!

In fact, this album has lot of deep emotional parts. We can find beautiful and complex piano melodies, particularly in the beginning of Fatal Tragedy, on One last time and Spirit Carries On just to mention some. This last is the lyric explosion of the album: Labrie sings "If I die tomorrow I'll be alright because I believe that after we're gone, the spirit carries on" as the character feels death coming. accomplished by a remarkable melody. We can find some good melodies all over the album, like in Fatal Tragedy, Through her eyes (which assents in the album like Floyd's The Great Gig In The Sky in the Dark Side of the Moon) and specially in the last track, Finally Free which ends brilliantly the album, and is my personal favourite. For fans of metal and technique, you can find in the second part of Fatal Tragedy the highlight of the album, with heavy guitar riffs and drums, psychedelic guitar and keyboard solos; but also in Beyond this life, the crazy Dance of Eternity and Home. In this last, Rudess imitates the oriental guitar citara on his keyboard. Perhaps the band took too long their technical experiments in this music (who blames anyway?).

The negative aspects in this album are the excessive technical quality of its members, (they can exaggerate in some parts), by other hand, Labrie's voice can be hard to accept. Though a major force of technicism, feeling and songwriting, the album is not a brilliant force of originality.

Report this review (#11689)
Posted Friday, December 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars I am with Brian Adair when I say that some times I like the idea of this album, sometimes I hate it. The thing is, it tends to be that I like the idea when I am not listening, and dislike it when I am. I don't want to imply at all that this album is garbage, or that there's nothing about it I enjoy. I'm not someone who trashes popular albums for the heck of it--but it does seem my tastes are different from some on this site. Nor am I one of those DREAM THEATER-haters who feels a need to trash every album they put out just because it's DREAM THEATER. When they deserve five stars, I'll award it, as I did for Awake. I was also pleased with Train of Thought, even though I didn't think it as strong as Awake, and Images and Words wasn't too bad either. This, however, had some significant problems that get in the way of my wanting to listen to on any kind of regular basis.

I don't know if anybody remembers a book called Fortunately, Unfortunately from when they were little kids, but it will provide a perfect format for this review. ;-)

Fortunately, I do not have the problem with JAMES LaBRIE's voice that some people seem to be having--after I heard his performance on AYREON's album The Human Equation, I was permanently cured of any dislike for his singing. Unfortunately, on Scenes, we don't get to hear all of the different kinds of singing LaBRIE is capable of. Maybe some people who didn't like his screaming on Awake might breathe a sigh of relief, but for me it makes the performance seem like it was lacking some of the dynamics it could've had.

Fortunately, the premise for Scenes from a Memory is a very interesting read, and fun to contemplate. I'd rank it up there among some of the best concept ideas out there, rivaling works by PINK FLOYD and AYREON. Unfortunately, the execution of this concept just doesn't work out anywhere near as well as it could have. The trouble, in my opinion, is the opposite of the problem I have with PINK FLOYD's failed concept, The Wall--instead of the music being lacking and dominated by the concept, Scenes goes for the other extreme: the music gets so far out of control that it ends up interrupting the flow of the story. I find myself wanting to skip ahead to the parts where the story itself is happening.

Fortunately, it's quite evident that DREAM THEATER has some talented musicians. I've heard that on previous albums like the masterpiece Awake, where that lineup produced some truly wonderful, memorable music that has earned a very special place among my collection of prog albums. Unfortunately, there has been a lineup change since those times, and bad things have happened. I know some people are great fans of his, and he was even featured on the cover of Keyboard Magazine, but if I'm to form an opinion from this album, I do not like JORDAN RUDESS prior to Octavarium. He's talented, yes, but I think he is one of the main sources of DREAM THEATER's breakdown in discipline. He simply goes on too long, and I don't always like the tone of the synthesizers he uses. He needed more time to develop as a keyboardist with an appropriate sense of when and when not to play--his best moments are certainly not here.

Fortunately, there are a few good songs that do stick out to me as memorable in and of themselves, and are one of the (few) reasons that at this time I've decided to hold on to Scenes and see if the whole album will grow on me. The first is "Overture 1928", one of the better metal moments on the album (I know, I know, some reviewers don't care for the metal influences, but I seek it) and the second, which meant even more to me, was the inspirational "The Spirit Carries On". I saw one reviewer trash this song for the gospel choir--but I really feel that was unjustified, that the choir is perfectly in context with this song. The best way I can describe "The Spirit Carries On" is (ironically) exactly what that same reviewer alluded to--like one of ROGER WATERS' songs from The Final Cut or another of his solo albums, both in vocals and chord structures...the difference is I mean it as a compliment. This song is so different from the rest of the album that it is instantly memorable. The length--6:38--means that it is among the most restrained of the songs on the album. When this lineup of DREAM THEATER is not straining to be prog, good things happen, and this song is an example of it. (I'll be revisiting this theme someday when I give a positive review to Train of Thought.) I may be a sentimental sap, but the lyrics and delivery of this song just about bring me to tears, and even if I end up selling this album, there's no doubt I'll be ripping this song to keep forever. Along similar lines to "The Spirit Carries On", there is also "Through Her Eyes", which probably gets even sappier, but still, for the restraint and for LaBRIE's vocals, I still enjoy it.

Unfortunately, most of the songs are so bogged down by endless, undisciplined soloing that they're impossible to tell from each other. I have no objections to fast, technically impressive solos. SYMPHONY X pulls it off quite nicely on a regular basis and I love them for it. There are two things, however, that SYMPHONY X does that DREAM THEATER does not, and these make all the difference. 1) SymX keeps the pacing and rhythm of the music fast most of the time so as not to bore the listener as the solos are going on and 2) seems to understand exactly how long they can get away with doing the same type of thing before they need to change instruments, themes, or stop the soloing altogether. This is what I refer to as discipline--knowing how much you can get away with before it crosses the line into self-indulgence, and having the guts to edit the self-indulgent parts out before the album hits the shelf. DT, unfortunately, slows down too much, and I'm convinced that most of the time, slower music just isn't their strong suit. This accentuates the feeling of the album dragging its feet during the solos, too, and makes it all the more clear when they don't STOP when they need to. Sometimes they have a good thing going...I seem to remember a very cool Eastern-inspired riff in "Home", but they manage to make you completely forget the good they did by going on way, WAY too long for their own good.

Ultimately, I think "Fans only" describes this album to a T. I think one has to be a serious DREAM THEATER fan to get into this album, and the way things stand now, I am only a casual fan, and I think they're better off when they tend more towards pure metal, and the metal element is only an occasional visitor here. It may be a little embarrassing to admit all of this, considering the accolades this album gets...but getting into DREAM THEATER with this is like jumping into the deep end of the pool before learning how to swim, and I'm not quite sure I even want to.

Report this review (#11695)
Posted Monday, January 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars When I bought this it was my first album by Dream Theater, and as someone had said earlier on it was truly to try swiming without knowing how. At the time I was a very inpatient listener, the clock got two ticks before I grew tired and switch for the overture which was just the kind of music I was hoping to find in DT, flowing intrumental metal at its best. I think The dance of eternity also got an ear that first day, and as I come from a non- english speaking country, I found the lyrics from the cover vey useful to actually follow LaBrie in his singing.But just eyeing the lyrics before listening made me wondering how the hell this going to work. And it first. Quite frankly the lyrics are awful. Musically i found that it turned out best when LaBrie did the writing himself, but Portnoy...what can i say, he is as bad at writing (in this case) as he is good at drumming. No, dont focus on lyrics being bad, that way you wont get anything from this one. Just listen with your "left brain" then LaBrie wont bother you as much. However the singing isnt the biggest problem here infact it is more the lack of creativity that is. Yes, compared to Awake it is, and maybe it supposed to be so since the whole album is based upon one song, part one.

The sum however is a decent album which can be enjoyed but should not be to serious taken, though the main idea sounds facinating sadly not much is deliverd in epic format. Insteed you should enjoying the parts of perfect instrumental prog-metal they are so good at, Altough you have the feeling it hasnt anything to do with the concept.

Report this review (#11698)
Posted Friday, February 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater's best, just like you've probably heard. Depending on whether or not you like jazz (not the smooth kind), you'll either love this album, or be merely content with it. Other reviewers seem to give the impression that this album is comprised of nothing but glorified jamming and improvisation. Let me tell you, only Beyond This Life actually has an abnormally long intrumental section, but it fits perfectly somehow. All songs are well structured, of course, but some tend to break away from traditional song formulas, and that's only a GOOD thing. I'd rather listen to these 10 minute epicsm, which are always kept interesting, than another Space Dye Vest, with redundant melodies that make the song seem even longer. That's what we call radio music. It's true, you have to keep a balance of repitition with improvisation to keep the listener interested. That's what makes this album great! Incredible melodies with varied influences, with dramatic solos to fill in the gaps. Jordan Rudess deserves alot of credit for that. Pure bliss. You've gotta admire the musicianship. As for the lyrics... I find it's an interesting concept. They fit well with the music, and that's all that really counts.
Report this review (#11699)
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Honestly, this album is one of the greatest albums of all time. The complex yet simple story line of a murder in a small town and the relationships of those around the murder gives us (the audience) a great idea of what the music and the concept is trying to demonstrate. From begining to end, the instumental amazing (can they do that) sections makes this piece of greatness even more reason for it's importance for being the greatest DT album yet. The fact that each song in it's own way being unique makes every other song better than the last, because this isn't a "I'll just listen to track 1, 2 and 5..." this is a "Now I shall set aside 77 minutes and 12 seconds to truly get into the music itself..." One cannot stress enough the amazment of Rudess' purly inspiring keyboarding, Portnoy's crazy off-time drum fills, Petrucci's flowing guitaring, Myung's incredible bass stuff that most guitarists cannot do on a guitar, and to top it off...LaBrie's beautiful lyrics and voice. This band is more than a prog band. They are a band who understand all aspects of music itself as far as musical theory goes, and they know the exact dyanamics that a song needs to fullfill their standards. Anyone who does listen to this and doesn't think of the musical perfection of this album truly doesn't understand the true concepts of music itself. This album has passion, aggressiveness, crazyness and a whole bunch of other madness. If you do not have this cd, you must BUY! You won't be disappointed and if you are then review it. I'm challenging you to have a listen and share with us your thoughts. I guarentee you that you will be blown away.

P.S- and if you like the audio aspects of the music, check out the live dvd of this album... DO IT!

Report this review (#11700)
Posted Friday, February 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is so good, it's unreal! I see a lot of folks using the word "masterpiece" and, in this case, I think that's about right. The imagery they create here through the music and words is fantastic. There are so many dynamics in this album. And the fact that I've listened to this thing I don't know how many times, and I'm not totally sure what the whole thing's about, is kind of cool. I think I get the majority of the story, but the ending leaves me scratching my head, and maybe that's the way they inteneded. Anyway, LaBrie is great at going from the warm, quiet, emotional parts to the heavy, all-out rocking parts. And everyone contributes with their superb playing. I personally like "Strange Deja Vu", "Home" and "Finally Free" the best, but the whole CD is just great. I read one person complaining about the lyrics not being very good and I definitely disagree. I really enjoyed reading through the words and was impressed with them, actually. I think this is a watermark for DT. They continue to stretch in different directions as their career progresses, but this is a hard CD to top. If anyone can do it, though, these guys can.
Report this review (#11701)
Posted Saturday, February 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars I'm not a ProgMetal fan, but I somehow (unfortunately) got my hands on this album and listened to it. I was so revolted by the lyrics that I felt I had to find out more about the band. I suppose the audacity of the concept and the skill of the indiviudal musicians should force me to give it a better rating, but I just can't: the lyrics are so terribly tired (particularly on the cotch-worthy song he Spirit Carries On) that I can do nothing but condemn them to the trashheap of mediocre cliche where they belong. They haven't made a new fan in me.
Report this review (#11706)
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This CD is my Favorite album ever, and i have taken that statement into very deep concideration bofer i wrote it down. and im not just some upstart kid who dosent know anything about the prog genre. ok this is going to be a bit of an inflametory statement, but i prefer this album to The Wall. And piper at the gates of dawn And any of the ELP releases. and anything ever come to that. the storyline of this album is run over in so many reviews, im not gona go over it again. Right, on to the music! The performance on this album is phenominal as per the dream theater habit. I recon its at least cooler playing if not better than on anything theyve ever done before. Fatal tragedy is my personal fave, it took more than a month to learn that solo. Petrucci is an animal of a player.some of the riffery on this record is a blast. Whomever it was who said in their review that Mike Portnoy relies to heavily on his bass drums needs a slap around the face with a wet fish. the only possible criticim of his playing on this album is his possibly over zellous use of THE Mike Portnoy fill ( you know the one its the one at 3:47 in fatal tragedy, check through other dream theater work, it crops up alot, some times in slightly varied forms but still, its the MP Fill, its excusable.) that aside, the winner of modern drummer's reders poll Progressive rock award for 10 years running again proves his worth. Jordan Rudess is patently the most crazy keyboardist DT have had yet. i love the random bit of honkey tonk stylie piano in dance of eternity the first time i heard it i was like 'this is so cool' and then just burst out laghing when i realised it was in the midle of two big chunks of random metaly goodness. and just the way patrucci leads it in with this utterly random arpegio... plus check out some of the points when Rudess and Petrucci are playing the same or harmonised parts, and just take a second to think of the amount of skill it takes to get that timeing down to perfection, there is not a milisecond between them. that boys and girls is perfection. and again, look at fatal tragedy, the blending between the keyboard and guitar solos is virtualy seemless. as with all good things, there will be contradictory views, but i think the guy is a change for the good, he takes a more active part in the band than any of his predecesors. Kevin more was cool, he was beastly in fact and some of the stuff he did totaly made a couple of songs for me, but he didnt solo any good, and the introduction of Jordans solos bring new life into the music and push the instrumentals to a new level, he and Petrucci work togeter excelently. James Labrie, the man of marmite, you either love him or hate him. personaly i think that anyone who dosnt like him is missing the point, he is the most cheesy singer possible, but thats what you ned if youre going to sing in dream theater. I chalange anyone to come up with a better choice for singer of dream theater. think about it, if you had anyone else, someone less 'larger than life' , dream theater wouldnt have half the impact. also, its tough to have the vocal versitility needed for a band so versatile. As always, James' vocals are excelent, the melodys used are nigh on perfect every time. mind you this isnt nessicerily his work, but he pulls off what is writen perfectly and with alot of 'feeling'. And last but by no means least, John Myung. this man is a bass phenominon. him crazy. the bass solo in dance of eternity is the bit neat the end where the guitar bass and keyboard all run up this crazy. he can hold the structure together when any lesser bassist would break down in tears and play that thing like no other being on the planet. it stick him up on the sme level as victor wooten, which is prety crazy thats like bass steve vai.... now on to the real astounding aspect ofthe album, the song construction. seriously, go back now and listen over this album again. and again. aind again and again for 50 thousand times and you still will miss stuff. the way this stuff is put together just defys belief. every note, every rest and every space are diliberet, their there to serve the greater perpous of the song. instead of just playing a chord on one instrument, they'll hold it between all of them like puting thre root on the bas the guitar with the octave fifth and seventh and the vocal holding the the top say and the keyboard underpining the whole chord. its crazy. i know this isnt the first time stuff like this has been done, but its the first time its been done on this scale. plus the rhythmic concepts used are just done perfectly, there is no way this album could have been writen better. people bitch about there being to many solos, but thats not the case, the solos dont clog the album up at all, if anything they cary the emotional level forwards. i was just reading back through the other reviews and read someone saying the solos are 'undiciplined. that couldnt be more untrue, they are just perfectly crafted to fit. oh another thing repetedly brought up is the word 'jam' these solos are not 'jams' jams are improvised. there is no way anything this perfect could be improvised. another thing oftern missed is that overture 1928 is a breif tour through the concepts that folow on in the album its like a trailer before the main feature. this is a briliant idea because as you listen through the rest of the album and your like 'ohohohohoh i know that phrase!' it gives the album an excelent sence of coherence. there have been alot of negative reviews of this album lately on ths site, and i think they are mostly un justified. i think personaly that people are leting a sence of tradition, the only thing you truly can not afford to have in the prog genre to cloud their judgment of an excelent album. NOW GO! BUY THIS ALBUM! AND IF YOU ALREADY HAVE IT, GO LISTEN TO IT AGAIN!!!!
Report this review (#11709)
Posted Thursday, March 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars With the addition of Jordan Rudess on keyboards, the virtuostic appeal of the band came more notable clear here, but it can go overboard sometimes and sounding very hectic sometimes, but otherwise, the song-writing is excellent, following the concept of the "Metropolis" track featured on the 1992 "Images & Words" album. I will not go into any further details here, as this review will get too long if I do that, but I can say that it's very well done conceptually. However, "Through Her Eyes" along with a couple of other parts here are horrible, really poor and drags this album way down. But the other material is very strong musically. 4.5/5
Report this review (#11710)
Posted Thursday, March 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
The Prognaut
4 stars A true masterpiece. Definitely, this album reached the unthinkable heights of lyrical togetherness, conquered the undeniable virtuosity on its instrumentation and tracked down the sense of perfection merely off limits. Only a couple of years had to go by before it became a point of departure within the pages of Metal Progressive Rock. I'm pretty sure any time you're asked to list down your top five metal prog records, "Scenes From a Memory" will pop inside your mind irremediably. Also, this clean piece of work represents not only committed improvement but extreme awareness. DREAM THEATER certainly surpassed all the possible boundaries and created their ultimate production. It shows conciseness, a renewed style, complete precision and a spirit of its own. The band managed to pull off the impossible by completing chapter one of the "Metropolis" experience condensed through "Images and Words", creating a conceptual sequence that far beyond from being a titanic task of putting together jigsaw pieces one after the other, it reveals this kind of unspoken creativity and imagination that had never been unmasked in previous releases until "Scenes From a Memory" saw the light for the first time.

The album is divided in two acts and nine scenes. First half is as introductory as laconic. It represents the powerful side of the album, that takes right on after the hypnotic prologue in the voice of James LaBRIE, who by the way, I never perceived as devoted to his inner growth like I did in here. Quite convincing I must say. Thus, by experimenting several changes of costumes throughout five different characters, the Canadian front man leads our senses all along the nine scenes in a paused yet anguishing way. The voices, the impersonations, the ambition to display unleashing strength and passion, they all match perfectly to the music and that's what I call dedication. I still don't digest LaBRIE's particular way to perform behind the microphone entirely, but this time the argumentation is well justified. Up to scene five, the tracks run devouringly neat and yet they get to strike fiercely inside your ears, plagued of ease, compassed keyboards, rhythmic and crunchy guitar interludes and of course, thunderous drum beating by Mike PORTNOY. All in all, there's this piece right at the end of act one I don't appreciate completely, which is "Through Her Eyes". The track is just way too mellow, almost intolerable to conceive within the depths of this album, but I think the total running time needed a "missing you" break to take on the ride to come in act two.

And so, act two. Personally, the latter half of the album is better arranged and explained, musically and lyrically. The closing section to "Scenes From a Memory" is totally cathartic, is evidently detached from act one no matter if what we're handling here is a concept album. Firstly, there's this sort of implosion taken away by James LaBRIE along the strident guitar of virtuoso John PETRUCCI. The fact of distilling such powerfulness through the strings of that guitar, forced LaBRIE somehow to measure up to a level of commitment and ravishing composure. Secondly, and clutched tight to that remarkable fact, the performance of Jordan RUDESS on keyboards is exceptional. Under my personal appreciation, he's the best keyboardist (and choir conductor) the band ever lined-up. He managed to easily override Kevin MOORE and Derek SHERINIAN despite the "Images and Words" and "A Change of Seasons" experiences by perfecting a depurated technique that made him set off the rest immediately. Just relate to scene seven, "The Dance of Eternity" / "One Last Time"; just for starters and if you don't take my word on this matter.

By flowing from present to past in its conception, "Scenes From a Memory" is unarguably the band's finest piece of work in my opinion. Devotedly crafted, outrageously executed and exceptionally intertwined. Maybe to many compliments in few lines, but believe me, they are insufficient to describe the quality of this Prog Metal milestone. Mesmerizing, captivating, representative. DREAM THEATER at its best!

Report this review (#11713)
Posted Monday, April 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a really great "album" in the sense that it is made like a "movie". What you would call an English teachers dream come true, for lack of a better word. Starts out simple, kinda explains things, then as you move through, it gets more dramatic, then to a climax (Beyond This Life, in my opinion), then calms down for the resolution, and ends with a big bang. Typical Dream Theater, can't wait for their next effort.
Report this review (#11714)
Posted Thursday, April 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'll be the first to admit I don't know much about Progressive Rock in any form. I know a little but nowhere near the extent of many on this site. That said, I love this album. I've heard Operation: Mindcrime, I've seent he wall, along witha few other well known concept musical ventures,a nd I have never been able to feel what is going on so well as I did with this album.

Yes, the lyrics, when observed out of context can be cheesy and cliche, but the emotion played through the music makes you understand how something so simple and so overly- used becomes so honest and truthful. I feel for these characters like I would a great novel, and I feel for the musicians as well.

Granted, there is cheese throughout it. Cheesiness does definately occur. But it is so overlapped by the beauty of Rudess's keyboard, and the undertoned power of Myung's bass. Everything is so calculatedly perfect, as I've enver seen before in an album, concept or otherwise.

I loved it. It is my favorite album.

PS the DVD is really retarded though. Lame graphics, terrible acting, the only reason to watch is to see the boys play.

Report this review (#11716)
Posted Monday, April 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This CD has some good spots for sure. The musicianship is top notch as usual for DT, but it is far far far from original, even to the band itself. The melodies are retreads, the solos have been done before BY THEM. The lyrics are sophomoric at best and stupid at worst. This album isn't as bad as the majority of FII but it still isn't as good as Images and Words and that really is only a 4 star CD.

This is progmetal at both its best and worst. It is worth listening to, but don't expect to hear anything you havn't heard before a million times.

Report this review (#11719)
Posted Saturday, April 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Subtitled Metropolis Pt 2, this is a concept album about an incident that is revealed through regression therapy. It's also the second DT album I owned, and is what convinced me that despite the high level of musicianship DT's end product wasn't really for me. All the ingredients were in place, but there was a little too much straight-on metal from the band, a little too much shredding from Petrucci and too little keyboards from Jordan Ruddess.

It sounds like an exaggeration but this album goes on for 77 minutes and I can scarely point to the bits of music I enjoyed ... The instrumental Dance Of Eternity (Vaudeville piano and a Myung bass solo!), The Wall rip-off The Spirit Carries On and the concluding Finally Free (which feels like one hell of an ironic title) are the best songs while the arabic moments on Home and a Ruddess solo in the middle of Beyond This Life also caught my ear but certainly there was nothing I hadn't already heard on A Change Of Seasons.

Far too much of the album was monotous and predictable. Surely we turn to prog-rock expecting variety, not formulae? I eventually sold my copy of this album, and I haven't really missed it. ... 26% on the MPV scale

Report this review (#11727)
Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This really is a masterpiece, a quintessential modern prog rock concept album. There are many people out there who don't consider Dream Theater to be prog at all. IMHO there are many more who do, and I'm one of those open minded people who have understood that there are many different kinds of prog music.

Dream Theater - generally and on this album in particular - focus on structure and virtuosity. The music is always very controlled, refined and thoughtfully laid out. But with all this technical perfection, this album features beautiful melodies as well.

Production also is nearly perfect, I cannot understand people who say otherwise. However, there might still be a chance that you will not like the album (or Dream Theater) at all: The vocals are not everybody's cup of tea, as are the classical and avantgardistic (ZAPPA) influences and lengthy solos.

Report this review (#11732)
Posted Thursday, May 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well, this is it. Dream Theater's trump card. You argue about whether or not Dream Theater is good, you pull out this album. Someone asks you if they can listen to some good DT, you let them listen tothis album. But is all really that good, worthy of all the praise?

Nope, it's not. It comes damn near perfection at some points, and then at others, it falls flat on it's face. Now what is it all about? Scenes From a Memory is a concept album revolving around one Victoria and her relationship with the Sleeper and the Miracle. The story is rather interesting the first couple times, and even has a few good plot twists. Yes, plot twists in an album. But what about the music? Here's where it gets really debatable. I'm gonna go piece by piece, there's really no other way to do it.

First off we have Regression, with some pretty singing and it really makes you feel relaxed when listening to it. Not a bad piece, but it doesn't count for much, so I'm going to include it with Overture 1928. Overture 1928 is a really killer piece, all instrumental .It's got some great melodies along the way, and is one of the most passionate pieces on the whole album. Yup, that's right, without singing. Excellent piece, 10/10.

Next up is Strange Deja vu, the first real song. Here are some more strong melodies, especially th section "Tonight I am searching for it..." is really powerful and effective. Otherwise, Labrie's voice tends to get wearisome, which holds back the otherwise awesome instrumentals. The song kinda meanders along until it gets to a faster section, then goes back to the original theme with a nice piano entrance. It's nice, but Labrie's voice pisses me off, and it does kinda wander along. Don't think it's a bad piece though, because it's not. 8.5/10

Now we have Through My Words and Fatal Tragedy which are basically one song. Fatal Tragedy suffers from the some wandering as Strange Deja vu, but also has basically the same strengths as Strange deja vu. Labrie's voice is much better here though, and the whole thing seems much more focused until about four minutes in, where they solo for a good two minutes aimlessly until it ends. I used to love the solo section cause it's great musicianship, but now it's just wearisome. Other than that, great piece. 9/10

Next up is Beyond This Life, which kicks off with an awesome guitar section and great drumming, until Labrie's voice comes in and starts singing about a newspaper article. This song really has some great lyrics and great instrumentals, and Labrie comes through very well. Too bad about 1/3 of the way through, once again they lose their focus and solo for about the next four minutes, which sucks. In my opinion this song should be about 6 minutes max instead of 9, and it shouldn't be half awesome and half random solo-ing. would get a 10 if there was no solo-ing. 9/10

Through Her Eyes. THIS is a good piece. LaBrie is dead on here and sounds great the whole time. The lyrics are excellent and the song is well-put together, overall, I have no complaints, it's an excellent piece. 10/10

Home, just like Beyond This Life, suffers from overly long solos and self-indulgence, but has great lyrical sections and once again labrie sounds great. Good lyrics too, just furthers the mystery already drawn up. Excellent stuff, heavy too, very powerful, just the damn solos! That's what holds this album back! 9/10

The Dance of Eternity. Blah. Great instrumental piece, chaotic as it should be, just a bit too long. Cut it back to five minutes and you've got one hell of a piece. I like it quite a lot...just a tad too long like I said. 8.5/10

One Last Time...I dunno know about this piece. It starts off pretty average, with Ruddess farting around playing fast for the sake of playing fast, but builds to something amazing with a familiar melody from earlier songs. Labrie sounds kinda bad hear, especially in the beginning. Portnoy is REAL good here, however. At about the 2:20 mark the song picks up and doesn't let up until the end, where it exits with a haunting piano melody that fades right into The Spirit Carries On. I give it... an 8.5/10.

The Spirit Carries On is one of those songs you don't really like at first but it grows on you pretty fast. I still don't love it, but it's a great sing-along song, hehe. The lyrics are pretty good and the melody is nice and soothing. It isn't really that great, but it's not bad at ALL. 8.5/10

Finally Free is the most powerful song on the album, easily. It reveals the awesome climax of the album which you're better off hearing on your own. It's got some nice piano work and has good background sound effects, which is incidentally all the last four minutes is. Fine work, powerful, I love this song, even if about half of it is just story. 10/10

Now, you may be looking at my individual song reviews and wondering...wait, he gave them nothing below an 8.5. What's with the 4/5? This album is NOT perfect. Number one: it gets stale after a couple listens. Because of the overly long story, some cheesy parts and some bad singing by Labrie, you want to move on to other things. The first listen is extremely powerful, and if I was rating it after that first listen, I'd probably give it a 5/5. However, I try to listen to the albums I review a couple times before I do the review, and this is no exception. It loses all of its' sheen after a few listens, and someglaring flaws stick out. Another thing, the songs on a whole aren't up to par with songs from I&W and Awake, but the thing is, they flow together so well that the first listen will be that great. Then, you will be able to discern after a few more listens that the individual songs aren't masterpieces, at least not them all as you probably first though, but simply great or good osngs that flow together extremely well. As an album, it's unbelievable, as a collection of songs, if you catch my meaning, it's not DT's best. That goes to Awake or SDOIT.

All that aside, excellent album, one that still spins in my CD player occasionally. You should definitely get a copy.

Report this review (#11733)
Posted Friday, May 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Easily a five, this album is one of the best ever recorded in ANY genre. I can't understand how anyone can give this album 1 or 2. Damn, giving it less than 4 is a crime! Yeah, I'm aware of that 'DT-hating' kind of thing. But let's be objective. First it's of course the music. 'Scenes from a Memory' features some of the most moving melodies I've ever heard. Especially it's the choruses of Home and Strange Deja Vu, Overture 1928 and some of the solos. Second, the structure. Even if you don't know it's a concept album you can easily guess it. Melody reprises here and there and amazing atmosphere give this feel. Also, structures of all songs are perfect: complex enough, with scrupulously developed guitar and keyboard solos which are NOT overextended. Third, story and lyrics. DT didn't try to create something epic and global. They just described a down to earth, touching yet rather twisted story of love and betrayal with a bit of mystery. And that's the best choice in my opinion! Fourth, the musicanship and production. Each bandmember preforms exceptionally on this record: Mike Portnoy's drumming is stunning, Rudess' and Petrucci's solos blow me away each time I hear them, LaBrie sings more emotionally and passionately than ever and Myung's bass is great, as always. The production is flawless as well. The sound isn't agressive at all, even in the heaviest parts of Beyond This Life or Home unlike, say, on Train of Thought or new Octavarium. Everything is quite delicate and gentle. The sound samples fit in perfectly making the atmosphere even more immersive. Overall, like I've already said, Scenes from a Memory is one of the greatest albums of all time. I really doubt that Dream Theater will ever surpass this masterpiece.
Report this review (#11739)
Posted Thursday, June 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's about time that a well written concept album comes back into play. The story is easy to follow, but has a second layer of genius in the underscore. I appriciate the bands approach to make this a commericial / non commercial recording. The musical portion of the album is outstanding. Although James La Brie is not the most versitile vocalist, he lends one of his better efforts. To really enjoy this to it's full extent, I recomend the DVD Live scenes from New York !!!!
Report this review (#35873)
Posted Thursday, June 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Not a masterpiece - and not Prog - just long

There's a lot of "bling" but no real substance in this album - similarly to "Images and Words", which was the last Dream Theater album I reviewed. In fact, the two are pretty much interchangeable - there's nothing much to distinguish the two from each other, in terms of musical styles and textures apart from the annoying "relaxation tape" section right at the beginning.

It's been a real slog to review this, as it simply does not hold interest. Most times I've switched off somewhere in the middle of song 3 - but I've felt that I should give it a real chance, since it's so highly rated, so I've kept at it over the last year and a half, in order to build up a picture of why it holds no interest, and why I do not find it to be a masterpiece.

Firstly there's the "relaxation tape" bit. What's that about? If it wasn't for the fact that I've heard these kinds of words so many times on old tapes from the 1970s, I'd still hate it for the patronising way the words are delivered.

Before the acoustic guitar enters, a background female voice is apparent - strongly reminiscent of "The Great Gig In The Sky". The vocal is terribly "precious", and the guitar playing precise and without feeling. The music itself is very cliched, reminding me of something from "The Wall", but without the drama.

The first indication of prog is the title of the next piece "Overture 1928". The first issue I have is with the production - it's just too brittle, which gives a clinical sound overall. This, combined with the pristine execution just makes the entire album sound fake and loses a significant amount of musicality.

Then there's the music itself. The main riffs are terribly derived - the first one sounding like it might have come from an early Van Halen album, and the drumming is so precise it sounds like it could have been done via a MIDI drum machine with no quantization. The technicalities and fills are so "in your face" that it's difficult to appreciate the music that underpins the technical trickery.

"Strange Deja Vu" is a very apt title: From which NWOBHM classic does that riff come? Answers on a postcard to... ;o) It all seems so familiar - the only real saving grace is that the instrumental timbres are very "hot". Pity about the vocals and dreadful half-baked harmonies. Structurally, there is nothing exciting going on - typical rock song structure, and the overall effect is that of a standard and forgettable rock song with extended bridge passages. These are quite interesting in and of themselves - but do not either grow from the existing music, or bear any realation to previous thematic material as one would expect in prog rock. The sudden shifts of mood may appeal to some, but I find they disturb the progression of the music rather than enhance it.

At 1:39 the first bridge occurs, and has a smorgesbord of Queen about it. The riff and melodies are good, if not particularly imaginative, and do not really develop, but drop into and out of a soft rock flavoured mush at 1:54, then there's a drop to a quasi-Rakhmaninov piano section - very basic, but quite nice in itself if, again, unrelated.

The tune to "Through My Words" reminds me of "The Living Years" by Mike (Rutherford) and the Mechanics - a very simple pop song, which is utterly unremarkable.

"Fatal Tragedy" - somewhat of a tautology, begins with horribly cheesey grade 3 standard piano overlaid with a snarly Vai-esque riff. There is no real harmonic invention - the safe option is chosen all the way through, and attention is paid to timbre (the sound of it) with various layers. A plethora of cheesey devices lead to a monotonous riffing section at 2:30 ish - but none of this stops this from being a very standard rock song with excessive frills and decoration, which is ultimately derivative and forgettable. There might be a mind- boggling succession of changes, but ultimately, these do not generally serve to drive the music but are wearying, and explain why I've normally stopped listening by now. Some of the pyrotechnics are very good in and of themselves - impressive and immaculately executed, but I can detect no real feeling for musical direction and drama, rather the opportunity to stick together the ultimate collage of bits and pieces.

The main problem I have here is that this piece challenges the analyst in me - in ways that I'd prefer not to be challenged. I don't want to have to piece together the collage myself to view the overall picture - I expect the creators of the work to give an overall coherence to the music that makes analysis difficult, rather than blatantly obvious. When the building blocks of the music are so obvious, it detracts from the overall big picture - and I'm really not surprised as, musically, there isn't one. This is music written to go with a concept - the music itself is non-conceptual and disjointed.

"Beyond This Life" starts promisingly with something that sounds like it came from the old school of thrash, with a nice dark mood - which is spoilt by that horrible keyboard.

I think a final summary is better than a continuing blow-by-blow account, as the "blows" are densely packed - and if you like that sort of thing, then this is probably right up your street, and will make you feel like an analyst listening to it.

If you are already analytically inclined, then you will probably hate this and find it somewhat amateurish - despite the obvious virtuosity, polished performances and production.

It's not really prog rock, as there is nothing organic about the music - on the contrary, there is a profound digital edge to it - which again, some people might find appealing.

It's not really metal either, despite the metal riffs and "hot" guitar sounds. Metal is driven by riffs - they are not incidental.

It's kind of progressive, in that there is a deliberate attempt to fuse a variety of different styles together - even if it doesn't work particularly well, as the whole album ends up sounding very samey on a casual listen.

So you could see it as unique - but it sounds like a soft conglomeration of a lot of other bands work. A kind of nu-prog, I suppose.

It's not altogether bad - there are moments that are really, genuinely enjoyable - but these are few and far between, IMO.

In short, if you're already a fan of DT, you've probably already got this album and completely disagree with every word I've said.

If you're not already a fan, then I would advise buying some real prog. King Crimson are very good :o)

Report this review (#37201)
Posted Wednesday, June 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is another good Dream Theater album. The good moments are amazing, and the bad spots aren't too bad. However, once again, the slow songs are terrible. Also, the hypnotherapist is really annoying. This album tells the story of a man who has these visions of some girl getting murdered in 1928. While the lyrical themes are dark, the music is generally not.

The album opens up with the worst song on the album, combining the terrible elements of a slow, acoustic Dream Theater song and the annoying hypnotherapist. But in track 2: Overture 1928, Dream Theater really rocks. Dream Theater instrumentals are always spectacular, and this is no exception. Really good blending of keyboards and heavy guitar. This goes straight into Strange Deja Vu, a great heavy song, with really thrashy moments. Its a really great song. Then comes a slow song with a semi-good melody, plus its short. So all in all not terrible. Then it goes into Fatal Tragedy, a super heavy song, with some clunky lyrics. However, with Petrucci's great fat sounding lead guitar and Jordan Rudess's organ, this is a really good DT song. Then comes a super long repetitive heavy song, Beyond this Life. Its pretty good, but it drags on a little bit I think. Act I ends with a terrible slow song, Through her Eyes.

Act II starts off with my favorite Dream Theater song, Home. Eastern themes, and uber-heaviness combined with some pretty good lyrics and great solos make this a really great track. Then comes another great Dream Theater instrumental, The Dance of Eternity, which has a really gopod, fast bass solo from Myung. This goes into a terribly slow boring song, One Last Time, although the chorus is enjoyable. Then Dream Theater comes up with another terrible slow song, The Spirit Carries On, complete with oversinging from LaBrie. Although the guitar line, reminiscent of Pink Floyd, is somewhat enjoyable. The closing track, Finally Free, has its ups and downs. It starts off with that stupid hypnotherapist, and some slow and not too goodness, but the melody is enjoyable. Then it goes into some kind of weird EMO verse, and then it starts rocking with this wicked riff that is repeated a bunch. Then after some effects, this album ends.

So its got some good heavy stuff, and some junky slow stuff. Maybe I'm expecting too much though, because at the time, there weren't many other good bands, but its good anyway. Highlights include: Overture 1928, Strange Deja Vu, Fatal Tragedy, Home, and the Dance of Eternity.

Report this review (#37278)
Posted Wednesday, June 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars well well well lets start off by saying this has been the best album since Awake I really like the way they did this in scene format. I thought it was an excelent idea that they did it in past present form.

Can you say Queen? Wow in Final Tragety. The Verse just screamed Queen to me. and then it had a breakdown with ruddess doing this organ sounding part and then JP comes in with the queen sound. sent chills down my spine.

sweet opening parts in Home. Acoustic and sitar sounds made a good blend then comes the wah wah which came in perfectly.

Instrumentals: Oveture was an awesome peice from hoping to Metroplis part 1 to Take the Time to other parts and some solos blew me away

The Dance Of Eternity was in my opinion one of their best instrumentals next to Stream Of Conciousness (from Train Of Thought) later in the years. This has an excelent blend of JP and ruddess and Portnoy and Myung.

The only thing i was kinda irritated by was in Final Tragety, the ending riff was extremely repetitive. thats the only bad thing i have to say about this album

Report this review (#37505)
Posted Friday, June 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Not to take anything away from this studio-recorded piece, but before I continue with the review, I'd like to affirm for the record that this group's live performance (taken place in 2001, Live Scenes from New York) is a lot better than the original album, but if you're unfamiliar with the story, I suppose the original would be best to start with. So, without further ado, let us get started . . .

Track 01 - REGRESSION. The first track, beginning the account, begins with Nicholas (the central character) being hypnotized by a therapist hired to uncover what Nicholas was seeing in his dreams, and in a way, ward off the never-ending images. As the therapist counts down from ten, guitarist John Petrucci joins him with a few cyclical notes to craft the disposition as Nicholas (about to be sung by James LaBrie) falls into a peaceful sleep. "Safe in the light that surrounds me," although coming from Nicholas' mind, is in fact sung by lead singer James LaBrie, who varies from characters Victoria Page, Edward Baynes and his brother, Julian Baynes, throughout this anecdote. It's pretty simple to spot, if you listen to the words; the bewildered lyrics belong to Nicholas, the fragile ones are Victoria's, Julian's are rancorous and often narcissistic, and Edward's are endearing and mildly cynical. Anyway, right now Nicholas is kind of going through what's about to happen with the forthcoming tracks, what's going to unfold; in other words, Nicholas is arranging - telling - the lyrical panorama, whereas the next song, Overture, will be setting the oncoming tune(s).

Track 02 - OVERTURE 1928. First off, let me explain the title: an overture, by definition, is a musical introduction to an opera or other large musical work, which means that this is a mixture of all the rhythmic melodies you'll hear as the recording goes on; and 1928 is when this event took place. This is quite the instrumental bit, too, as you'll hear excerptions from "Metropolis pt.1: The Miracle and the Sleeper" (which you can find on their Images and Words release), "Strange Déjà Vu," and "One Last Time" (if I have missed any, please let me know). This short, three-minute instrumedley really brought a singular kind of harmony to my ears, and the transitional drum roll by Mike Portnoy served well going into Strange Déjà Vu.

Track 03 - STRANGE DÉJÀ VU. Now, Nicholas is going through a dream, where images flash in his head that he has seen before, only he doesn't know when or where; a strange déjà vu, if you will. When he [LaBrie, singing as Nicholas] says: "There's a girl in the mirror, her face is getting clearer," he's talking about Victoria. It's probably an easy dot to make, fairly obvious, but I nonetheless wanted to point it out to clarify any necessary means in order to fill the ends, you know? And I'm sure many might disagree with this next presumably "factual" avowal, but I have to say that this song articulates much of James LaBrie's greatest vocal talents, both live and studio-recorded. He hits the crucial notes impeccably, and brushes off Petrucci and keyboardist Jordan Rudess so well, the entire part is played astonishingly. The lyrics: "Tonight I've been searching for it, a feeling that's deep inside me," is now Victoria singing, and it won't renovate back to Nicholas until the lines, "Back on my feet again, eyes open to real world," and from then on, he will be heading the words.

Track 04 - THROUGH MY WORDS. Jordan Rudess and James LaBrie are all you hear during this song, no one else. Rudess plays the ivories, which is followed by LaBrie [or Nicholas]. I, for one, think this is more like an opening for Fatal Tragedy, bearing in mind the changeover linking the two songs.

Also, this is also the same theme for Through Her Eyes, but that's noticeable just by pigeonholing the two titles.

Track 05 - FATAL TRAGEDY. This track, again, leads off with Nicholas explaining his dream. During this time, he realizes that he led a previous life as Victoria, and is now the reincarnated interior that lived in 1928. You might find that to be an unexpected twist, but once you think about it, you'll most likely hit yourselves for not seeing it sooner; at least, I did. The music itself, I think, was essential to the story. In the midst, I heard infinitesimal extracts to previous and future pieces alike, and the band has habitually referred to the midsection sounding somewhat like Inspector Gadget, so make your mind up for yourselves.

"As the night went on, I started to find my way; I learned about a tragedy, a mystery still today" is when Nicholas finds out Victoria was, in fact, murdered, and the plot thickens. Also, the ending sequence is rather upsetting.

Track 06 - BEYOND THIS LIFE. At the start of this one, LaBrie is singing as a headline of a newspaper back in '28, where Victoria was murdered. The newspaper is only meant to view the incident from an objective standpoint, without any emotional hindrance - just like a man reading the first-page headline in a local newspaper, that's all this track is. . . well, except for the chorus, obviously. So the story up to this point is that a witness, who was Edward, found Victoria "dead and lying on the ground," and standing above her was Edward's younger brother, Julian, with a gun in his hand. Edward said he tried to help, but Julian then "turned the weapon on himself," and fell over Victoria with his eyes wide open. Edward, according to his story, then ran to find assistance.

(Many Dream Theater listeners may not want to admit it, but there is an important riff in this song that was influenced by Radiohead.)

And though the song is, in truth, moderately drawn out, I don't have much to say. That's not to imply it isn't good, because it's actually quite unique, it's just one of those pieces I enjoy better when silent, is all.

Track 07 - THROUGH HER EYES. So now Nicholas has seen Victoria's gravestone, knows she dead, and believes he knows how, however you'll see how that changes later on in the story. He [Nicholas] is in the cemetery he's been to before in his dream, but now it's clearer; he can actually see where he is, and what he's doing. It's not the best song on here, but a great ballad, regardless.

(MY FAVORITE TRACK ON THIS ALBUM.) Track 08 - HOME. Well, this is the first time you hear anything from Julian's point of view, from his side, and these lyrics that will be sung by LaBrie are actually coming from his mouth. There is also a minor bass line John Myung does in the ending segment of the preamble, which some of you might find analogous to the group Tool and their work, or at least I did. Whenever I hear it, I think Tool, and I value the similarity.

Moving on, later on in the song, the thoughts will go from Julian to his brother Edward and his calm temperament. Julian: "Shine-lake of fire, lines take me higher, my mind drips desire, confined and overtired."

Edward: "I remember the first time she came to me, poured her soul out all night and cried."

And then Nicholas: "Her story, it holds the key, unlocking dreams from my memory."

So you actually hear from all sides of this triangle, although Julian and Edward are the only ones experiencing it; Nicholas is merely recalling this from the past life he had as Victoria. I enjoyed this song the most because you begin to understand the motives behind two men, the brothers, involved. You can see why they both did what they did, and the story clears up.

I also love the guitar solo taken from the first Metropolis, "The Miracle and the Sleeper." Plus, the two lines: "Victoria watches and thoughtfully smiles, she's taking me to my home," which, except for the switch from Metropolis to Victoria, is identical to the lines in "The Miracle and the Sleeper." This song is just all kinds of outlook.

Track 09 - THE DANCE OF ETERNITY. Another great instrumental piece, but not their best. Personally, I opt for either "Stream of Consciousness," "The Ytse Jam," or "The Crimson Sunrise" fragment from A Change of Seasons. The seven-string guitar provides its role for this song, I think.

Track 10 - ONE LAST TIME. This part of the story starts with Nicholas swerving off somewhere and totally not knowing what the hell is going on, in a manner of a speaking. Up 'til now, he thought she was murdered, and pretty much that was the end of it, but now he realizes Victoria had an affair with Edward, and is now breaking it off with him. . . So, I guess you can say this song has two sides to it: one, where Nicholas uncovers more, and two, where Victoria ends her relationship with Julian's brother, Edward, to go back to Julian, hence the title One Last Time.

The chorus is Victoria singing, while the rest is Nicholas. So more and more clues are being revealed and Nicholas is starting to understand that everything he thought happened wasn't really true at all.

Track 11 - THE SPIRIT CARRIES ON. Now Nicholas is contemplating the meaning of it all, the truth, and so forth. "They say, 'Life is too short, the here and the now, and you're only given one shot.' But could there be more, have I lived before or could this be all that we've got?" focuses on all the things people say to make their lives fascinating and very, very, aromatic, at least what I take from the lyrics.

"Move on, be brave, don't weep at my grave, because I am no longer here. But, please, never let your memories of me disappear,"

is the only time Victoria says in this song; the rest is Nicholas. A little note for the live version of this song on Live Scenes from New York, I loved that the band got Theresa Thomason to sing Victoria's part, and the little duet James does with her. A beautiful pair, the two of them, and they unquestionably hit the fundamental nature of what this song means.

So, yeah, Nicholas has finally dealt with the reality that his spirit will, indeed, carry on long after he's dead.

Track 12 - FINALLY FREE. "You are once again surrounded by a brilliant white light. Allow the light to lead you away from your past and into this lifetime. As the light dissipates, you will slowly fade back into consciousness, remembering all you have learned. When I tell you to open your eyes, you will return to the present, feeling peaceful and refresh. Open your eyes, Nicholas." The therapist has now recovered Nicholas from his deep sleep and ended the session. The sound you hear in the background is Nicholas getting into his car and driving "home," get it? On the way, his mind starts telling the story as it really went down, what really happened, and how the conspiracy has abruptly emerged from the first song, Regression. As a result, now the existent story has ended. This track is merely telling the event as a whole and how it really took place: no more deceit, no more half truthful images that never told the real tale. You see what really happened.

After Edward sees Julian and Victoria kissing in the park (or something), he kills them both. Up until now, you've been told Julian killed Victoria and then himself, only because that's what Edward told the police and news media. Anyway, he sees them making up and the overwhelming reaction takes over him and releases a vehemence that couldn't be withheld. The lyrics: "He'd seem hopeless and lost with this note, they'll buy into the words that I wrote," is really Edward writing the phony suicide note to cover up murdering Julian and Victoria.

"Feeling good this Friday afternoon, I ran into Julian, said we'd get together soon. He's always had my heart, he needs to know I'll break free of the Miracle [Edward], it's time for him to go" is Victoria's account of what happened up until she was shot by "the Miracle," who is Edward (which would make Julian "the Sleeper"), and the idea that she has finally broken free of him.

"In a pathway out of view, they thought no one knew," this happens just before Edward sees them renewing their relationship, and:

"Then came a shot out of the night," is when Edward shoots Julian. The music that's going on during this whole scene is breathtaking, and I still get chills when I listen to it live - if you like this album, you really have to get the live version, because it is just so much better. Upon hearing it my first time, I just so many chills running up my spine, I couldn't believe it. Not only 'cause of the lyrics, either, and what's really happening, but because the musical nerve that takes place during such.

"Open your eyes, Victoria," is what Edward says to her just before he pulls the trigger, as well, and LaBrie starts with the chorus that now the Sleeper [Julian] is singing. James LaBrie's vocals are phenomenal here, too; man, I can listen to him for hours.

Just before LaBrie comes in with, "As their bodies lie still," I was fond of Petrucci hitting pretty close to the highest note on the guitar, if not the highest. I believe it's the F Sharp; either way, I feel it was appropriate. This song nearly won the best on this album, really for this line: "We'll meet again, my friend, someday soon," because of how LaBrie constructs it. Such a striking line and sung much of the same way, moreover.

After the guitar ceases to go minor even as the keys go higher, the scene closes to Nicholas arriving at his house. He sits down, watching television, and turns the channel to a news station that's talking about an incident that is much of the same that happened back in '28, only abundantly different; the report you hear at the end is referring to the John F. Kennedy, Jr. incident and the omitted airplane. Nicholas turns off the T.V., pours a drink, puts on a record with the theme from Regression, and sits back to relax. All of a sudden, though, was the therapist sneaking up behind him and saying, "Open your eyes, Nicholas," which ends the vocals of the album and leaves you only with static. What happened is - or should be - clear now, and that is the therapist was Edward re- incarnated, and he and Victoria somehow found each other in another life, so the same thing reoccurs. The therapist kills Nicholas, as you can probably hear, but the sound leaves an excellent foreword to their next release, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, which coincidentally begins the same way.

I hope you have benefited from this review, or at best understood what I've typed, because I tried my best at sounding coherent in explaining this conceptual piece.

Report this review (#37686)
Posted Saturday, June 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a magical album, from start to finish. Beautiful melodies, crazy instrumentals, top notch lyrics, amazing songwriting, it has it all. I think, this is the album where they really cut from their influences. It is pure creativity (thanks to Rudess), and great, great prog metal. Essential album of the 90's, for sure.
Report this review (#38103)
Posted Thursday, June 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars It annoys me how Dream Theatre get such huge recognition, yes they are musical, yes they have practiced alot on their instruments.... yes everyone thinks they're really amazing musicians......... they're ok is what I think, really.

They have a tendancy to play very fast and feelingless solos over the top of very bog standard rhythms and riffs. The drumming is very predictable, most of the time, it sounds like mike portnoy has practiced a [&*!#]e load, you can tell he thinks he is the man... but really he puts in quite simple and cliched ideas compared to alot of innovative and creative drummers.

The keyboard playing is it doesn't show much progression and is very sounds like he's playing a similar keyboard solo most of the time and he doesn't contribute particularly funky or interesting parts to rhythm sections.

The guitar just sounds like evolutionised 80's style shred with a slight prog element. A sort of generic american way of playing, very fast with not much feeling or creative input.

Alot of the basslines are boring and rooted, to me this a sign of a weaker prog band, I usually like each instrument to be playing different melodies which work together to bring more of a full band sound. The albums lyrics and ideas are fairly decent, but again it feels a bit like an idea thats been used in the past but one which has been updated for an american "prog" band.

These guys might have put alot of effort into their albums, but i just can't appreciate them as much as alot of people do, I can't comprehend the fact that people think this is a MASTERPIECE????


Report this review (#38392)
Posted Sunday, July 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I bought this about two weeks ago; the first listen through was rough: the lyrics were at times hard to follow and some songs were amazing, but most was just kind of hard to get into. The second listen was the exact opposite: it was when I realized this is the type of album that requires attention to detail and a love for those details as well as kick-ass riffs, amazing lyrics, and all-out mindblowing efforts. The second listen was awe-striking and powerful because that was when I was able to pick up the many lyrical and musical connections to the albums 1992 prequel song off of Images and Words. That's when everything came together. The story is part sci-fi (some parts reminiscent of the film "Total Recall" in the dejavu dreams and "second" awakening of Nicholas from the sleep in the final song. The storytelling was very much "Pulp Fiction" in its nonlinearity. Track listings are as follows:

1. Regression 10/10 The words of the hypnotherapist putting the lead character Nicholas under hypnosis in his attempts to understand the deja-vu feeling he has been having within his dreams about a girl in 1928. Very haunting as his words begin to fade out, a faint choir is heard, and the best acoustic short ever is played. Brilliant intro.

2. Overture 1928 100/10 The most powerful sub-four minute instrumental ever. Unbelievably amazing in every note, every beat, every break. Intended to show the emotions of Nicholas as he first enters his sleep; it soon segues into....

3. Strange DejaVu 10/10 Same basic melodies as Overture; lyrics begin by describing the sensations of the sleep, then with an unexpected time signature shift, the story of his arrival in the "other world" begins

4. Through My Words 10/10 Fantastic piano ballad whose melody is one of many to be reprised throughout the album.

5. Fatal Tragedy 10/10 Another fantastic song which describes Nicholas going to another home to ask about the murder and his interactions therein, and rounds out with a mindblowing instrumental jam.

6. Beyond This Life 9.5/10 "Now it's time to show you how you died...."; with those words, the song begins with an almost nu-metallish chord progression, but soon as it progresses you realize its far from that; one of the album's heaviest tracks, describing the newspaper headlines of the murder of the girl Victoria as well as filling in some details about her. Rounds out with some drama-queen-tastic "Victoria" vocals from James LaBrie.

7. Through Her Eyes 9.5/10 Another fantastic piano ballad that ballad that begins with some bluesy guitar and, in my opinion the only unoriginal element of the album, some very Dark Side of the Moon-like soul vocals (Claire Torry, anyone?). But the cons end there, a very emotional and touching song with lyrics about Nicholas's thoughts and emotions toward Victoria.

8. Home 10/10 Longest track on the album is very middle-eastern like and it introduces the Miracle and the Sleeper characters and identifies them for the first time, clearing up some mystery from "Metropolis Pt. One." Great instrumental parts as well.

9. Dance of Eternity 50/10 Another monstrous instrumental, but much more complex than "Overture 1928." This one requires a knowledge (and liking) of the structure and melodies of "Metropolis Pt. One," as many are reprised in this song in various haunting ways (two examples are the fading in and out of the "Master of Puppets-like" leads in "Metropolis Pt. One" and the chilling keyboard reprise of the aggressive melody that comes right before the main solo in "Metropolis Pt. One".) Amazing.

10. The Spirit Carries On 20/10 Acoustic song that utilizes same melodies as the Regression acoustic piece and rounds out with a gospel choir; lyrics reflect the awakening of Nicholas (or possibly not?) and how his life has been changed. Moving and astounding.

11. Finally Free 10/10 Strange finale flashes back to the murder. Lyrics are a little girly and weak here but its has a powerful and strange finale that finishes with the sounds of Nicholas walking into his house, watching the news, listening to some music to the melody of Regression/Spirit Carries On (or possibly just another interlude), and then in a psychotic twist, he hears the hypnotherapist say, "Open your eyes Nicholas" once again, and he screams knocking the record askew. The final minute or so is fuzz. What a weird twist. Really reminds me of the movie "Total Recall."

Undoubtedly the best and strangest CD in my collection, you cannot go wrong buying this album if you are a fan of good music who has an attention span and enjoys paying attention to details within albums. A perfect masterpiece.

Report this review (#38492)
Posted Monday, July 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The best Dt album, this album is a full package of good stuff, taking some tunes from the original Metropolis pt 1, and also some lyrics, it's a long-length reissue of that song.

This album uses the solos more often than the other ones, in that is the beginning of the end of DT: they are loosing they idea of band; but in this album is still goos, even gives more dynamic to the whole thing, giving more pleasure sometimes.

Another good thing of the album is how the play around with some rhythms: using in differents parts of the album and in different tunes, but still, being the same idea, the same happens with the song "this feeling, inside me", how they use that phrase so many times and in so many differentes circumstances, it's a genius work, really great.

And in this album you can heard the bass plalyer more than any other Dt album, at least, he tried to be himself and not another petrucci with other instrument.

Bad things?, Scene Eight: The Spirit Carries On, and One Last Time, but those songs can't kill the great job.

Report this review (#38604)
Posted Tuesday, July 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars Where to start?

This album is absolutely the funniest cheese- metal I have ever had the intense pleasure of hearing. Listening to supremely talented, virtuoso musicians making the most childish, inept music the world has seen brings tears of laughter to my eyes every time. It is actually worth owning because of its humour value - no joke, the album is that funny. I would go so far as to call it life-affirming.

The opening is hideously contrived (beginning with the positively obscene idea of a hypnotist inviting the singer to return to his troubled, manly, tortuous, manly dreams) and nearly put me off the album altogether, until I realised it is but one thread in a complex tapestry of awful that will take you on an epic tour of bad ideas you never would have imagined possible.

DreamTheater (ha!) seem to think that the more notes they can cram into a given time, the better the solo must be. Not so! No more impressive is the positively absurd drumwork of Portnoy, who uses approximately 7 bass drums, 143 snare drums and 415 cymbals in his standard drumkit. He even has a stool on a sliding rail to reach all 7 bass pedals. I think that tells you something important.

If you want all the humour without living with the shame of buying this, instead get tracks 8 and 9. These condense the mirth by working backwards through every single moronic riff featured in the previous 7 songs in what the band presumably thought was a clever, cyclical aspect to the album's structure. In fact, it is a way of meeting the total record time stipulated by their record company. These songs also feature the most mind-bogglingly ridiculous pasted-in solo in the whole album. A Ragtime Piano Interlude. No, that is not a typo - a RAGTIME PIANO SECTION. That is something I could not have comprehended before I heard this album - that any band could so lose sight of the Purpose of music-making, as to insert something so heinous and random, just to prove that their keyboard is expensive enough to have a "honky-tonk" setting in its MIDI bank.

Well, there are of course many more comedy gems concealed in this album (the abrupt insertion of sitars and tablas to show DT's "eastern influences", the laugh-out-loud funny wooden acting at the end, the ridiclous lyrics and complete lack of atmosphere throughout... oh, the memories) I only have 1,000 words and that is not nearly enough to do this album justice.

In conclusion, this is practically a comprehensive guide on how NOT to make music. It proves once and for all that there is not necessarily any correlation between "technical ability" and "ability to make an album that isn't terrible". It should provide a solemn warning to future generations - but in the meantime, let's all just enjoy it for what it is - a monstrously pretentious, thorougly enjoyable piece of pomposity!

Report this review (#38693)
Posted Wednesday, July 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This CD is truly an accident, but what and accident from DT!!

I spent a long time listening to it and then finally I decided to make this review.

I probably have listened this album a hundred times up to date, and not being a great fan of the band(Actually a prefer Symphonic Prog, Italian prog, and Fusion), I really dont understand why some poeple gives 1 star to this true masterpiece. Im going to explain no why this is a true masterpiece:

Composition: The music is not very complex, perhaps a little bit in the 2 instrumentals, but is so well arranged, yet very accesible, it drags you from the beggining to the end(The Dance of Eternity makes you fly), and its very hard to get bored with this cd.

Execution: Its truly fantastic, because they dont push themselves to far, so they play in a reasonable speed, they take care of their capabilities. The only flaw in this album is the singing of La Brie, in some he sings a bit louder, in others his voice is buried by the sound of the rest of the band, but only in a few times.The other members are just awesome, especially Myung and Rudess, they show all their talent in this album.

Magic: I one of those who believes that a prog album must be different to the rest of music not only for their complexity, but also for the effect that cause on the listener, and this album is pure magic!!!.

Conclusion: For some poeplo this album is a joke for prog music, for me is the best effort that DT could ever have Done, this is their peak, unless they release a Metropolis part 3 (Waiting for it)

Report this review (#40062)
Posted Saturday, July 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tony Fisher
2 stars Frankly, this is not great. The musicianship is extremely competent but for every good idea (and there are some) there is one equally crass and stupid. The Dance of Eternity epitomises what is wrong with Dream Theater; the emphasis is on showing their instrumental virtuosity rather than creating great music. Overall, the lyrics are frankly banal, Labrie's voice grates and the concept is scarcely enthralling. Sure there are great moments (Overture and The Spirit Carries On) but too many tracks are cheesy parodies of prog metal with every possible cliche thrown in. And finally, why can't Petrucci, for all his speed and shredding ability, just SLOW DOWN and inject some emotion and passion into his playing, like Latimer, Rothery, Hackett and Gilmour do? Answers on a postcard, please.
Report this review (#40187)
Posted Sunday, July 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Technically BRILLIANT. From start to end, this album has it all. What a show!!!! Dream Theater's best? Possibly. What a great concept album- a muder story, and lyrics that I will pay attention to, unlike so many other albums. Heavy songs, slower songs- longer/shorter- you get the point...a great mix of everything from DT. I can only hope for Met. part 3! I see this album and Images and words as the only 5 star albums for DT- but hey- thats not badd at all!!!!!
Report this review (#40192)
Posted Sunday, July 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Dream Theater has proven that they could write a highly artistic concept album (about a murder), while not sacrificing their heavy metal sound. This album is a journey that starts with 'close your eyes' and ends with 'open your eyes' which when you hear it, you will realize it is one of the most unique endings of the album.

The Album begins with a relaxing acoustic introduction with warm and gentle singing of LaBrie. Once the listener is drawn in and the story begins ... it is a flowing piece of heavy music of many moods. The quality of the music is Dream Theater at their best, lyrically, and instrumentally. The first half is not extraordinary though, with great but not excellent rockers, a few ballads, and a long song called 'Beyond this Life' which doesn't appeal to me. It depends on a mediocre heavy riff that reminds me of 'america' from Emerson Lake And Palmer. It has an instrumental section of pointless soloing, but the song is saved by beautiful choruses.

The Second Half is stronger than the first half in my opinion. Home is the heaviest track of the album and it floors me every time I listen to it. The main riff of the song is excellent, and the soloing is better than in 'beyond this life'. While The Dance for Eternity is for me the weakest Dream Theater song I know (it has no structure and I do not like the solos), the last two tracks are some of the best songs the band did. The Spirit Carries on is an anthemic sing-along piece of great melodies, and Finally Free has a mesmerizing slow distorted riff and some of the best drumming ever put in record. Once the 'open your eyes Nicholas' is finally heard, you will end up with satisfaction.

1. Scene One: Regression (9/10) 2. Scene TWO: I.Overture 1928 (8/10) 3. II.Strange Deja Vu (8/10) 4. Scene Three: I.Through My Words (7.5/10) 5. II.Fatal Tragedy (8/10) 6. Scene Four: Beyond This Life (5/10) 7. Scene Five: Through Her Eyes (8/10) 8. Scene Six: Home (9/10) 9. Scene Seven: I.The Dance of Eternity (3/10) 10. II.One Last Time (7/10) 11. Scene Eight: The Spirit Carries On (10/10) 12. Scene Nine: Finally Free (9.5/10)

My grade : B

Report this review (#41925)
Posted Sunday, August 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars So- is this CD worthy of a "Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music" I think so!!! This may be the best Dream Theater- some would argue Images and words- and I cant argue with that- but all I know is that this is a wonderful concept album- the story is great and the music matches. I think this is Dream Theater at their best. The riffs are amazing, the keyboards- wow- (Jordan and Petrucci play so amazingly well together) The drums are top notch- and the singing is 2nd to none- This album is with no doubt in my top 5 of all time- and a must have!!
Report this review (#44152)
Posted Wednesday, August 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is by far the best CD I have ever bought, and I don't think that many bands will come close to this. Dream Theater released Metropolis Part 1, The miracle and the sleeper in 1992 along with the rest of the songs on Images & Words, never did we know what they would release a few years after that. Metropolis Part 2, Scenes from a memory. An album of pure musical genius and perfection, I don't even know where to start. Well, this is a concept-CD, which means that a story runs through the entire album, and that story is so incredibly smart, and innovative, that along with the instrumental performance of the band, this is flawless!
Report this review (#44729)
Posted Monday, August 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was the first DREAM THEATER album I heard, and by the time I was unfamiliar with 'Progressive Music.' From that first time I was completely blown away by the melodies, riffs, lyrics, etc. of this album, like I was never blown out before. 'Scenes From A Memory' definately deserves the label of 'masterpiece', and it represet the maturity of the bands after four albums.

It all starts with 'Regression', a calmed, relaxed track that leads to the magnificent 'Overture 1928', one of DT's finest instrumentals and even from all Progressive Music in general. It is somewhat short, but full of simbolism. Rigth after that comes 'Strange Déjà Vu' one of the best tracks of this album. Very metalish feeling and grat rythm overall.

Then comes the short and keyboard-based 'Through My Words', which works as a prelude to 'Fatal Tragedy', another great track, with an amazing instrumental part at the end. Right next to it is 'Beyond This Life', in my opinion the weakest link of the album, but, nevertheless, a great song in its own merits.

And then comes the overwhelming and beautiful ballad 'Through Her Eyes', a very emotional track, featuring some of Labrie's best works so far, as well as Ruddess in keyboard, a little more layed-down than usual, which is good. 'Home', the longest track of the album, is the most complex song in it, which makes it really enjoyable after you have listened to it a few times. The instrumental part in the end is really amazing.

On to 'One Last Time', another short song but very good too, with some nice twists. Right after comes the great 'The Spirit Carries On', a very positive-thinking song, with great instrumentation and the special participation of a chorus in the end. Finally, comes 'Finally Free' a great concluding track, where we found out what really happened with Victoria. A song with great lyrics and ery well done overall.

All said, it really doesn't deserve less than five stars.

Report this review (#44756)
Posted Monday, August 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is by far the best CD I have ever bought, and I don't think that many bands will come close to this. Dream Theater released Metropolis Part 1, The miracle and the sleeper in 1992 along with the rest of the songs on Images & Words, never did we know what they would release a few years after that. Metropolis Part 2, Scenes from a memory. An album of pure musical genius and perfection, I don't even know where to start. Well, this is a concept-CD, which means that a story runs through the entire album, and that story is so incredibly smart, and innovative, that along with the instrumental performance of the band, this is flawless!
Report this review (#45262)
Posted Friday, September 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars A bit late came this review, but I recently found this awesome site. I've been a prog music fan about 10 years, being mostly Pink Floyd, Yes, and of course Rush and Genesis fan. I've also liked metal a lot, especially Metallica (till Black Album), Megadeth (till cryptic writings), Iron Maiden. Also a classic rock fan, mostly Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. That's when I found Dream Theater. This record seems for me a perfect blend of Dream Theater's early style (I&W, Awake) with the classic conceptual ideas from Pink Floyd and Rush (Yes and Genesis are more Octavarium oriented, another big album!).

What this make this album a masterpiece is the fact that not only the story goes on in a very intersting kind of way (past-future-sounds in middle of songs), also the music does a great job in creating in key parts of the story tense, sad, dark and even happy (a little bit only) moments. And of course DT keep their famous instrumental virtous sections well spaced around the album. Samples of this idea are the melodic oriented Overture 1928 and on the other side, the impressive, very Zappa kind of influence, Dance of Eternity. Conclusion: a masterpiece, it's in my top albums with The Wall, Dark side of the moon, close to the edge.

Report this review (#46086)
Posted Friday, September 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars 1st Prog album in my collection...not only of Dream Theater...general progressive!... No one has achieved such orchestration and compositions yet to beat this album, not even them! Progressive Rock means "Scenes from a memory" for me. A lot of people ask me what defines progressive rock, and now i have the answer. Regression is an excellent start for this album, followed by Overture1928, a shining instrumental song above any expectation. Strange Deja Vu is the "coolest" song in the album. Through My wods beautiful song, Through Her Eyes too, excelente ballads one of the best! (SFNY version of Through Her Eyes is 99/100). Then Fatal Tragedy Another Myung words to describe it. Beyond this Life is one of the best songs Dream Theater accomplished, in this song you cant say they added too much of virtuosism. Home, very catchy misterious , the best Rudess synth solo(better than the solo Petrucci perform in this song). The Dance of Eternity, reminding me Metropolis part 1, this song is just composition madness, taking Yes instrumentals and upgrading them to infinite you get the dance of eternity. Showing all 5 musician skills with powerfull ego. One last time, the best Piano intro ever constructed, Rudess piano(sound) solos are incredible, although his work as solist and with liquid tension is 3x what he does in Dream Theater. The Spirit Carries On, This is the perfect song that gives the album a sentimental touch never achieved in previous DT albums, TSCO Solo is the BEST solo from Mr. John Peter Petrucci, the finest solo from him in my opinion. This song at high volume make tears come out of my eyes. Finally Free, great closing song as if it where a book, at the end portnoy shows why he is on the hall of fame of drummers.

i never got tired of this album, 5 years listening to it over and onver again, i've listen to it more then thousands of time and every time sounds like the first one.

For those who rated this album below 5 stars, Dream Theater is like Picasso(dont have any to do with Petrucci Ibanez :P) its not easy to appreciate their work, but they are

(if Labries voice were like the vocals from awake, thsi album should be granted a 6/5 rating)

Report this review (#46422)
Posted Monday, September 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The prolonged solos and giant instrumental sections could possibly be one of the best parts of this album. One of the main parts of progressive rock is showcasing each players ability. Personally, I think they could have even more solo time, including some for John Myung. That doesn't come often and it would be really cool to feature him some more, and make him stand out, because hes a really underated great player.

The only tiny thing I might agree with from some the worse reviews, is James Labrie is not the greatest progressive rock singer of all time. His melodies and lyrics are catchy. His voice does get kind of annoying. But that doesn't even cut off half a star. My band gets the same deal.

As for the particular album itself, it was the first album with Rudess who makes a remarkable debut. Listen to Fatal Tragedy for a great taste of his future synth playing, or Liquid Tension Experiment will do it for you. I disagree strongly with the common opinion of "fitting as many notes in a measure as he can". He is a great musician and deserves all the credit.

John Petrucii and Mike Portnoy deliver as usual. Espicailly on the high point of the album, but less progressive, The Spirit Carries On. Also, you see Rudess and Petrucii combining for some of there first great signature duet unison/harmonizing solos.

Pure masterpiece.

Report this review (#46550)
Posted Tuesday, September 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my favourite metal prog rock album so far. I like the guitar and vocals very much and I always thought symphonic prog-rock fans like me will like it. The songs are also nicely serialised. This also manifests Dream theater's drive to excell in their field, a lack of which killed Yes and Genesis.
Report this review (#47423)
Posted Tuesday, September 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars E x c e l l e n t from all the different aspects!Metropolis part II:Scenes from a memory fairly stands first among all progmetal "rivals"...The mysterious murder of a girl, love affairs, after life, reincarnation, deja-vu 's are some of the issues that are under the microscope of this Dt 's MASTERPIECE. The plot of the story is outstanding with a grand finale even better than thousand screenplay's that followed 6th sense. A murder of a girl, a love affair of a woman with two brothers, a man having nightmares from his past life and here we go...Just amazing. The music is so well combined with the story like a soundtrack of a movie...With heavy, prog and emotional parts the music followes the life of every character giving to the listener an emotional touch for everyone involved in the story. Influences are ranged from Zappa, Genesis and Rush to Metallica,Meshuggah,Radiohead, Tool, Floyd and Al di Meola as the band comments in DVD version of the story. The DVD version is more recommended because the album is extended in some parts, the performance of thand ROCKS and RULES and the scenes directed by Mike, let you in the story and make clear even of the last question someone might have about the story. The scenes also make the album more poetic!5 and FULL stars of course to the most incredible concept album I ve ever heard and thankfully watched (along with "Misplace childhood', "The perfect element pt1", "A pleasant shade of grey" and "Operation:Mindcrime" being rated by 4.9 stars to me...). Well done DT...!!!!
Report this review (#48989)
Posted Wednesday, September 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The time has finally arrived for me to say what I want to say about this album, Dream Theater's magnum opus, Metropolis Part 2. I wanted to let off reviewing this for a little while after I became a collaborator so to fend off the accusations that I might be a "Dream Theater" fanboy, someone that would rate everything they did a 5 blindly out of pure crazed lunacy for "the greatest band on earth ever YEAH!"

So, as is obvious now, I am NOT one of these crazed fans. However, I do recognize Dream Theater as being the best Prog Metal band on earth. BIG difference. Personally, I don't think bands like Symphony X and Shadow Gallery can even compare. Dream Theater has accomplished more in terms of music than any other ProgMet bands can or ever will do.

Now, for this album itself. I'm stating right here that this album is most likely in the top ten albums ever made. I have no shame in saying this. Also, understand that my main focus and love in terms of prog is symphonic prog, not metal! Yet, I feel that when you mention Close to the Edge, Thick as a Brick, Brain Salad Surgery, and all the rest of the prog works of everlasting art, this absolutely must be mentioned along side of them.

You can talk about the band's playing instrumentally all you want to. It's my personal belief that Mike Portnoy is the best drummer on earth as of right now. I don't say this because he is absolutely insane technically. That, of course, has something to do with it, but it's also because he can be very tasteful when needed. Petrucci is technically brilliant as well, and Rudess is the most brilliant keyboardist on earth right now too. Pattern forming? Myung's bass is also as good as you get, even though it could probably be a little louder at points. Finally, guys, stop knocking LaBrie. Yes, his voice can get, well, iffy, when they are live, but in the studio, he's fantastic.

As a five part whole, the saying "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" applies to the max. Dream Theater is the tightest group to ever exist. As my cousin once said, "You kinda get angry after you listen to them. You say 'Ah, how can they actually be that good?' ". Their music can get incredibly complex, but it sounds like one person doing five different things, not five DIFFERENT people doing DIFFERENT things at the EXACT same time, PERFECTION.

However, I do not think this is a masterpiece because of the band's playing. Sure, that helps. But it's mainly due to the pure feeling and sheer overwhelming quality it delivers. In terms of songwriting, Dream Theater cannot be beat, and they know how to tell a story, if you haven't already guessed this is a concept album, what with the Acts and Scenes.

Act I Scene I: Regression - The simple clock ticking opens up the album, and while the hypnotherapist speaks, you can hear a woman in the background, and it foreshadows the rest of the album to come. Gradually, Petrucci's acoustic guitar enters, washing away the hypnotherapist, and LaBrie helps immerse the listener and the main character in his memories. This is how you open a concept album.

Act I Scene II: 1) Overture 1928 - Off we go. Instrumental song that packs everything one would come to expect from Dream Theater plus more. It also introduces some of the themes that show up later throughout the album. Everything is woven in brilliantly. Then, 2) Strange Deja Vu - Same concepts of Overture 1928, plus LaBrie and more. It gives the listener his/her first real inkling as to where this album can truly go with all 5 members in full swing.

Act I Scene III: 1) Through My Words - Very short piano intro with singing and few other elements. Absolutely perfect to calm down the album, even only for about a minute, before it kicks back in again. Get ready, because then 2) Fatal Tragedy - Whoa. It could be the best song on this album. And that would be saying something. It proves that emotion can also be delivered with Dream Theater music. I'm trying to find a word to use other than "brilliant" to use on this album, and I simply cannot.

Act I Scene IV: Beyond This Life - The 5/4 intro gives little hint to what follows. The lyrics here are from a newstory, and it is actually pulled off very well. As with Fatal Tragedy, there are unbelievable keyboard and guitar solos. This song is just pure cool. It's also very good as one of the longer songs on the album.

Act I Scene V: Through Her Eyes - Way way way too many people attack this song. Yes, it's much slower and features female vocals, but that does not mean that it is sappy or bad at all. In fact, I find it to be a very touching song that does well in ending the first half of the album.

Act II Scene VI: Home - The longest song on the album, and surely does not disappoint. It has a slightly Middle Eastern feel to it at points, and overall the effect works. It shows a span of Dream Theater's work. Surely, this album couldn't get better. Right.

Act II Scene VII: 1) The Dance of Eternity - Instrumental, and absolutely insane instrumental at that. It brings back Overture 1928, and then goes in a whole new direction, with every type of solo. The standout solo (for me, that is): the ragtime piano solo. Rudess knows how to play, and this shows that his solos aren't just measures of 64th notes (also listen to the piano solo in the Solitary Shell section of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence). 2) One Last Time - The album is coming to a close, and this starts the ending, full of emotion. LaBrie is indeed fantastic here. This is probably a standout track for him. Then again, every song is.

Act II Scene VIII: The Spirit Carries On - Wow. Maybe even more emotion than One Last Time. Here, everything has been brought full circle. Everything comes back here, and the culmination is complete. It might have received my vote for best album closer ever, if it was in fact the end of the album, and if there wasn't another even better closer, which luckily is in fact on this album.

Act II Scene IX: Finally Free - Remember how I said that Dream Theater knows how to open a concept album? Well, this proves that they are even better with closers? This also has the good chance of being the best song on the album. Absolutely incredible. It singlehandedly takes the album in a new direction (in a good way, mind you), and it is also extremely cool, and is also extremely emotional, all at the same time. The middle section with the, well, event going on (I don't want to ruin it) is phenomenal, made even better with the addition of the hypnotherapist saying "Open your eyes, Nicholas" in a very frightening way. Then, of course, he says it again, and after a short yelp, the needle leaps off the record.

Suppose you are a casual prog fan. You know, you have one or two Yes albums, a Genesis album, and a Pink Floyd album. Well, regardless, you should still have this. Let's go one further. Suppose you like music. You know, you have some Led Zeppelin, maybe some other bands. Well, regardless, you should still have this. This album is that good, that everyone should have heard it. I do not think that it is the greatest album ever made (a status that can never be fully realized for any album at all), but it's up there. 5/5 stars.

Report this review (#50794)
Posted Saturday, October 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Stunning concept album. The tale of a modern day man haunted by memories of a girl from the past. It follows on from characters established in Metropolis Part 1, from their earlier album Images & Words. The characters are Senator Edward Baines (The Miracle), Julian Baines (The Sleeper), Victoria and Christopher. The story is told in two acts and this allows for easier listening. In my opinion, the second act works better and contains some of their best work. Home, The Spirit Carries On and Finally Free being the highlights.

The Pettrucci and Portnoy performances are up to the usual standard, the guitarist's blitzkrieg solo at the end of Fatal Tragedy in particular is truly awesome. His solo at the end of The Spirit Carries On is more restrained but packs plenty of emotional punch and there is a killer riff on Finally Free. New boy Jordan Rudess contributes well also, the keyboard work being the best since Images and Words.

All in all a bit of a Tour de Force, but it is let down being full on intense right from the start. A bit more shading would have made this a modern day classic and worthy of five stars. Its not perfect so can't give 5 stars, 4.5 stars really.

Report this review (#53491)
Posted Wednesday, October 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is just about the one and only album that I would give 5 stars that I know. It is an absolute masterpiece, and in my opinion could not have been done any better. The flow of the music throughout the album and the musicianship are superb, (even compared to other Dream Theater albums, which is saying a lot) and it is very inspiring at times, especially toward the end. An absolute must have for any prog rock listener.
Report this review (#54685)
Posted Friday, November 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm longtime proghead. But I was unfamiliar with progmetal until I read some article in internet about present progressive rock music some 5 years ago. It was in this article that I have heard about Dream Theatre, Spock's Beard , The Flower Kings etc. I have found and downloaded mp3 files of SFAM album. I didn't understand anything. It was mistery to me why this band is so popular. I have tried to listen to it later. Nothing. Then later I've tried to listen to them with earphones in a music-shop: overall ipmression was much better and heaviness of sound was not so "heavy" to me. Then, after a couple of months I found a MC tape of this album in a store and decided to buy it as it was not so expensive in case I will throw it away. I put it in my car MC player and. I had to force myself to pull it away after two months of nonstop listening. But it took only one week and this MC was in my player again: I couldn't stand not to listen to it again. It was something of obsession.

SFAM is really beautiful experience. For those who give less than 4 stars I have to recommend to try it once more and it will surely happen. Unless you totally dislike heavy guitars and drums and do not want to change your mind. For those progheads who are unfamiliar with SFAM - buy it. It is a true masterpiece. Even if you will not like it, this album is a must for all progheads.

Report this review (#57442)
Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This DT album is my favourite! Not only does it contain all the great instrumental asspects but the whole cd is a story. So this album is a novel and a masterpeice! DT are extremely talented, the music they write is both complex and unique- the guitar solos in these songs are not what you might expect. And their lyrics will have you lost in a world all your own. Its not some silly pop band. These guys have serious tallent! I highly recomend this album to anyone newly looking into DT. It happend to be the first album of theirs that I bought and it has spawned the start of my DT collection and allowed me to open my eyes to a whole new genre of music and a whole new world of talent and beauty. Their music is a gift to thoes who listen to it. A gift. Nothing less.Beautiful and exciting...intelegent and whimsical.
Report this review (#59262)
Posted Monday, December 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is by far one of the greatest progresive rock albums of all time. Don't be fooled by negative reviews of those with no taste in music. This is by far one of the greatest albums in terms of songwriting, musicianship, and lyrical content. Clearly one of the most ingenious bands ever, Dream Theater has produced for us a masterpiece in music that should not be condemned. Saving the band from falling out with fans after the less successful "Falling Into Infinity", they came back presenting this work of superior quality. Nearly flawless, this album argueably proves even better than Pink Floyd's "The Wall" (which, though it proved brilliance in songwriting, lacked coherence in plot). Anyone who wants a truly amazing experience in progmetal should buy this album immediately and appreciate the truly exceptional quality of one of the greatest albums ever.
Report this review (#61309)
Posted Thursday, December 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Masterpiece

At some places light and melodic, at other places heavy and powerful, at all places an inspired work of art. Scenes from a Memory is undoubtedly Dream Theater's crowning achievement. Much more varied than some of their other works and with LaBrie's vocals an improvement from his disappointing show in Awake. Every thing about this album, from the musicianship to the concept are great. I bought this album unsure I could award anything by DT the full five stars...this one proved me wrong.

Report this review (#61528)
Posted Saturday, December 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is without any doubt the best Dream Theater album ever. It was the first one I ever heard and it was because of it that I became a fan of the band. Rudess' style gives the album a somewhat darker air, a strong drive in every song. All the solos are amazing, especially Myung's on 'The Dance of Eternity". Petrucci... well, I'm speechless, I had never seen such skillful guitar player. Although Labrie's vocals and his performance might not be great compared to the rest of the members, his voice suits the general 'feeling' of this album's songs. Portnoy is incredible in 'Finally Free'. From the first time I listened to it I was astonished. It's truly a masterpiece of prog-metal.
Report this review (#62044)
Posted Wednesday, December 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars What can I say? I came in the path of Dream Theater through the music language. As you listen to Metropolis pt2: Scenes from a memory you get the feeling of a some kind of closing a circle.

The fact that the album is realy thought through and well writen both in the music structure and the text. From the impressive guitar solo and riffs, the rythm change and brakes to the harmony of the base and the keyboard. The band in itself had allways impressed me with their synchronized style and theyre way of shifting from rock to metal to jazz.

I dont think I have ever heard this kind of grupp before, sure you can here that Dream Theater have influenses from band such as Yes, Queensryche, Marillion and even Iron Maiden or Metallica. But the talent in each musician on this grupp does that it feels as if they are on a league of theyre on, kind of like what Michael Jordan was to the game of basketball just without the hype!

Scenes from a memory is a complete album you get evrything Dream Theater have to offer from strong and heavy riffs with the usual unbelievable fast solo, to the heartwarming, tearbraking ballads that creates a whole into the creation. The album is a consept album and has a story behind it. the text is writen like a theater scen or a movie, as i said it is a realy thought through album that in my opinion should be upp there, as a classical progressive metal album, with The Wall, Tommy and so on. Musicly it is even better, in my opinion, if you are looking for a chalenge. Finally, all I can say is that this album has it all and i recomand it warm to all of you musicfans out there.

Report this review (#62260)
Posted Thursday, December 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Okay... I was in the army, when I heard about Dream Theater for the first time. Our band drummer bring this album to me and say: "Try it!". So I Try... At First I didn't like it at all. maybe some pieces or songs but not so much. But later I found myself listening it more often.

This album has something, some kind of grim atmosphere... Dark and Heavy! Only Dance Of Eternity and Home are good individually, but every song fill it's place at the piece of whole album. ( I don't know could anyone understand me)

occassionally they play too technical music and feels like the difficulty is more important than beatyness. And I don't like LaBrie's voice in high levels.

But Still this is one of the bests concept albums what i've heard!

Report this review (#64218)
Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album is by far Dream Theater's best album. However, DT could become a much better band if they would get rid of LaBrie. His vocals bring down every single album, and this is no exception. Its a mystery to me why that in a group of argueably todays finest musicians, that LaBrie is stuck in the middle with his piercing, whiney vocals. This and every other Dream Theater album could have 5 star ratings if they found a better vocalist. And I cant believe that so many people think he has an incredible voice. Its almost as bad as the singers in punk rock bands. The only reason I still buy their albums is because of the amazing instrumental sections. Petrucci is one of the best guitarists today, right behind Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Yngwie Malmsteen. Portnoy has recived some best drummer award for 8 years in a row now. Jordan Rudess is a fantastic keyboardist, in some aspects better than Wakeman or Emerson. I cant say much for Myung, he just doesnt seem to stand out like others such as Tony Levin, Trey Gunn, or Chris Squire Personally, I think if you want to spend money on Dream theater because of their instrumental work, just go and buy Liquid Tension Experiments 1 and 2. Its much better.
Report this review (#67262)
Posted Sunday, January 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Behind Queensryche's "Operation: Mindcrime", this is second favorite album in the progressive genre. Ironically, it took me longer to start liking this album than any other Dream Theater release but when it finally hit me, all I can say is that this album is flawless. The melodies, the story, the production, and even the vocals of James LaBrie are all top-notch. I like emotional albums, and the music and lyrics from this album are full of emotions. Definitely an album that gives goosebumps. If you are new to Dream Theater, this is not the album to start with as I feel it takes a while to get accustomed to. Five stars for this one. DT's best work.
Report this review (#68033)
Posted Thursday, February 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album has always been a favorite of mine. I can pop it in my cd changer and go to any track and be amused, whether from nostalgia of previous listens or finding something I haven't noticed before. I find it so balanced and steady that there are no songs or parts on this album I detest or hate. It was made in such a way that, whether by luck or genius of it's creators Dream Theater, it has been able to survive as a top prog-metal act for seven years now, clearly an accomplishment in itself.

What really stands out to me in Scenes from a Memory is the overall completeness in this album. Not only has DT put together several killer and standout tracks, specifically five, six, eight (Fatal Tragedy, Beyond This Life, Home) where in each we are given a taste of DT's finest of metal influenced sound, but we are treated to to gentle sound featured in tracks four, seven, ten and eleven (Through My Words, Through Her Eyes, One Last Time, The Spirit Carries On) as well as the stuff inbetween, tracks two, three, nine and twelve (Overture 1928, Strange Deja Vu, The Dance of Eternity, Finally Free)

All of these songs creating the perfect balance between heavy and soft, fast and slow. After being thrown steadily through the adrenaline filled sections of each heavy part of this album we experience a "calm in the storm" where the pace changes from aggressive to slow and relaxing.

Most of this mood changing I feel is due to both the band's percussionist and bassist who each have an amazing amount of influence to how the song flows. It always feels like these two instruments alone, while focus is not necessarily put on them, define the pace the song should flow, while the band's vocalist, keyboardist, and guitarist build off of the other two to give atmosphere and emotion to the song.

All of these entities end up looping, circling, and chasing around each other to create amazingly complicated songs that have a lot going on it is presented in an easy to digest manner. The tracks themselves intertwine through similar sounding parts and through an interesting fiction story and make produced package in this album.

Memorable Dream Theater tracks and a concept story behind it, Scenes is always solid addition to your library if you haven't already gotten it.

Report this review (#68359)
Posted Sunday, February 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars For me, this album is pretty much perfection. Dream Theater have a lot of haters, but I'm an enormous fan, and this is easily their best album.

It takes a few listens to get into, but once you do a whole new level of musical brilliance is opened up. Almost everything about the album is complex, but in a simple and mostly accessible way. The plot becomes increasingly complex (with just the right amount of cheese for a concept album) as the album continues, rising to a great climax which'll give you goosebumps.

And of course, the most important part, the music, is superb. There are no weak tracks whatsoever, every one fits perfectly in with the others. Everything is represented: aggression, emotion, the entire spectrum of musical emotion.

There is no ounce of reluctance in me when I give this 5 stars. Any prog or metal fan needs to hear this album.

Report this review (#68423)
Posted Sunday, February 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.3/5.0

"Scene Six: Home" makes me think of quite any neo-prog group. The voice is pretty unemotional (or plain bad) and the keyboards are more annoying than anything else. "Scene Seven: I.The Dance of Eternity" makes me think of a Medley where each part has not any link to the other before or after. It is like if the band had something to prove from a technical point of view. I just can't listen to this without thinking "those guys are show-offs who want to prove something to someone". True, the music is technically advanced, but where is the emotion?

The critics on those two songs are representative of what I think about this album. I don't dislike this album at all. It is a "good, but not-essential" album, which mean what it means: you DON'T have to have this album in your collection if you are a prog fan. This is NOT an essential album, unless you are deep in neoprog, metalprog or "technically-advanced-we-play-guitar-riffs-like-if-we-were-on-acid-progmusic".

Report this review (#68589)
Posted Monday, February 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is not only the masterpiece of Dream Theater but the masterpiece of prog metal. In every second of each song I felt that DT members were looking for the strangest time rhythms. Petrucci's guitar technique is something tremendous but at the same time robotic, but that's his style. He deserves without a doubt to be the best guitarist of 1994 according to "Guitar Magazine", and break through guitarist of the year (1993) in "Guitar for the Practicing Musician". Myung doesn't stay behind with The Dance of Eternity. Portnoy left me speechless in 'Finally Free' and in Dance of Eternity; he's one of the best drummers I've ever seen.
Report this review (#69105)
Posted Saturday, February 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars To fans of Long Island's Dream Theater, the age of classic British progressive rock: Moodies, Genesis and Yes must seem quite tame. The minimalist guitar textures, diatonic polyphony and pieced-together album sides are primitive precursors to a fully integrated heavy-metal opera.

The classic British progressive rock bands were neo-romantic from their inception, trying to regain an innocence lost after world war two. Justin Hayward wrote of a "letter never meaning to send" and Greg Lake of a "letter hoping it will reach your hand." The letter is a throw back to the nineteenth century; even in 1967, people used a phone. At the center of Dream Theater's opus is a letter, the modern letter in the age of e mails, the only one somebody still writes, a suicide letter; revealing the significance of which would give away the ending.

Dream Theater cites Yes and Uriah Heep as influences; but one can hear allusions to Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Queen, ELP, of course, Van Halen, Metallica and Queensryche, as well as Frank Zappa. The piece is an eighty-minute romp through the history of progressive rock and heavy metal. Its story of the tragedy of forbidden/romantic love is an old one; but updated through references to psychoanalysis (regressive thearapy) and its antagonist a US senator.

The search for truth is the essence of classic progressive rock. The specific twist on Metropolis is that at its core of this murder mystery is a search for truth and redemption. In some way its quest for a place to belong, true love and redmeption seem to rediscover the lost idealism of classic progressive rock.

The album is quite beautifully crafted, fluid and exhibiting a host of pop song structures that are continually expanded not only through instrumental passages but the continuous progression of the story. The hook like quality is used to keep the listener in touch with the developing story. The main theme comes in about five minutes into the piece and then returns right before the end, which to me was reminiscent of Supper's Ready, which prolongs the main musical idea for four and a half minutes and then keeps you waiting another fifteen minutes to hear it again.

The ensemble here is quite exceptional, technically proficient and exciting. I would like to hear more keyboards, as well as a little less reliance on guitar virtuosity, but when you play like John Petrucci that in no way detracts from the enjoyment of the album.

This album definitely deserves five stars if not for the work that went into it, for the fact that the make it seem so easy.

Report this review (#69625)
Posted Thursday, February 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars Waste of time and money

I tried to listen to this album. I know that Mike Portnoy is one of the best drummers today. I´m a big Rush, King Crimson, Yes, I eaven watched the dvd on which they played this whole consept from the beginning to the end. And I still don´t get it!!

This is the most over blown, pretendious peace of...Marathon I´ve ever heard in my life.

Music is not sport. Music is melodies and good songs. Yes you can hear some deasent ideas on this album, but everything is ruined when all that "look how fast I can play!" starts. The lyricks are horrible and I can´t listen to "the spirit carries on" more than a couple of seconds. It´s impossible.

Good players, a bad record. Try rush instead or eaven liquid tension.

Report this review (#70147)
Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars I have to agree with the left side on this manner. Despite the high musicianship showed on this album (and almost all of DT´s albums), the music seems hollow and without feeling.I don´t know what´s in this band that everybody likes besides the high speed solos coming from this guys who didn´t even finish their studies at Berklee College of Music. Berklee graduates who are into this genre like the real virtuoso Steve Vai can play faster solos than Petrucci and also show that he´s feeling what he´s playing, something that the music of DT doesn´t show. Another low point from this band is the fact that they´ve been playing the same thing ever since they started in the late 80s!! So, this band is really not for me and I see that I´m not the only one who thinks this way.
Report this review (#70157)
Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my favorite album and one of the greatest prog realeases ever. Some people seem to think that Dream Theater is all about showing-off, but I'm here to tell you otherwise. DT's music may sound overblown to some people, but they put a ton of work into their music, and I think that this album, in particular, exemplifies that perfectly. It strikes an excellent balance of virtuosity and musicality without sounding too pretentious. Plus, it's just plain fun to listen to (when you have the time.)

-Regression: The opener. Sets the tone very nicely.

-Overture 1928: The true beginning to this album. Awesome opening with soaring guitar and keyboards admist Mike Portnoy's skillful drumming. A very dramatic sound to the whole thing. Great instrumental.

-Strange Deja Vu: Another awesome song. I really like LaBrie's singing as a whole on this album, but the lyrics of this song really make it stand out. Another thing that I like about DT is that their songs are so dynamic. If you don't like a certain part, chances are it won't last long anyways, and you'll be treated to something different. See, halfway through the song, it kind of shifts gears for a little while before returning to the chorus again.

-Through My Words: Short song that some might call "filler", but it's really quite beautiful and fits well with the rest of the album.

-Fatal Tragedy: Heavy, epic and twisted, it's hard to find anything even remotely wrong with this song. This song is just great. Just when you think you're nearing the song's end DT really steps it up, pulling out all the stops in a jaw-dropping instrumental section. Everyone does an outstanding job really bringing this song to life. There's also something vaguely foreign about it that adds to the overall atmosphere of the piece.

-Beyond this Life: This song matches an almost creepy, drawling, JLB with some really heavy riffage and does it well. On top of that, DT does once again what they do best: taking an already awesome song and filling it to the brim with awe-inspiring musicianship. There's a version of this on their Live at Budokan DVD/CD that is nearly 20 minutes long that you might also want to check out if you really like this song. My only gripe is that that solo section seems a little tacked-on and drawn-out but it's fun nevertheless.

-Through Her Eyes: Toanyone who says that DT can't do emotion, they clearly haven't heard this song. The only downside to this song might be the female singer in the beginning. There's nothing really wrong with it, but some people may not like it (although it does only last for about a minute.)

-Home: A foot-stompin', head-banging good-time. Great use of arabic rhythms and ambient effects. The main riff is also pretty damn wicked (can you tell that I'm running out adjectives yet?) My only gripe is the middle section with the sound bytes. Kinda unnecessary I think, but as far sound clips go, there's definitely nothing wrong with them (The whole orgasm thing makes some people uncomfortable, but whatever.) Good stuff. I just wish it wasn't so drawn-out. It starts to lose some steam after awhile.

-The Dance of Eternity: One of the best instrumentals they've ever done, along with Erotomania from their Awake album. Not too much else say; it's just a very cool song. Probably pretty unlistenable for anybody that isn't a musician, however.

-One Last Time: Another great emotion-fueled piece. Soaring vocals and great writing really make this song work.

-The Spirit Carries On: Think 'One Last Time' x2. The guitar solo in this one really shines.

-Finally Free: This is last song on the album and it really caps it all off. It's a great song if you can get past the sound clips (I really don't like having these in my music, no matter what the music is about or how well they fit.) At about 4 minutes in, the sound clips really start to show up, and although they do fit, the clips are pretty crappy/cheesy. Thankfully, they don't last too long. Overall, this is a really great ending song.

Overall score: Despite the inclusion of some questionable sound clips on the album, some unecessary wankery and some not-so-great lyrics, I really can't take away points from SFAM's overall score, simply because everything else is so amazing and fun to listen to. This is my favorite album and I'm pretty sure that it always will be unless Dream Theater somehow manages to top it. And, God, do I hope that they do.


Report this review (#70163)
Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Here we go. This album is still the absolute number one album of all time for me. When I bought it, I had heard that this was a progressive metal masterpiece, and that it contained an excellent story with maybe the best music in the whole planet. Well, they were'nt wrong, because this album is simply awesome. It's story is exciting, and the music shows how great musicians the Dream Theater guys are. LaBrie's singing is at his best on this album, without a doubt.

My favourite songs on this album are "The Spirit Carries On", and "Finally Free". Both are excellent, very dramatic and maybe the best album finals ever. I really can't say anything bad about this album, since there isn't anything bad to say. I have to give it five stars, because this album is flawless. If you like progressive metal, Dream Theater, or great music in general, and you don't own this album, I have only few words for you to say: Stop reading this and run to the store!

Report this review (#71113)
Posted Saturday, March 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Dream Theater's fifth studio album sees them dabbling in conceptual territory. The continuation of Metropolis Pt. 1 (from their breakthrough album Images & Words) get a stylish 77 minute treatment and is easily one of the most ambitious projects the group has taken on. Gone are the songs about "riding the red" and in come songs about "shine lake of fire". The album also the first to feature keyboard wizard Jordan Rudess, who also takes the liberty of conductng the choir on the album. The music on the album ranges from melodic and somber to heavy and complex, and with each new composition the band tries to break barriers that they had not before. Petrucci shines on guitar, giving great riffs and leads throughout, Portnoy consistently keeps a beat and also guides the group through the more complicated sections of the album, Myung keeps the rhythm in line and provides a great lower end to the shred of Petrucci, Rudess adds many elements to the sound through the use of his keyboard, and LaBrie brings it all together with vocals ranging from majestic to melancholic. All in all, the band is superb throughout.

The opening of the album, Regression, begins with clocks ticking back and forth and the voice of a hypnotherapist (voiced by Ex-Rush Producer Terry Brown), and is a nice acoustic opener to the album (the theme to this song is repeated later in The Spirit Carries On). Overture 1928 is the first instrumental on the album, and it shows what kind of direction Dream Theater were going in, clever use of chords and themes (some very Alex Lifeson inspired sections are in this song). It's one of the better Dream Theater instrumentals and is one of my favorites on the album. It segues into Strange Deja Vu, which is the first song that revolves around the story (no matter how convoluted it is). It has some powerhouse riffs and piano work and some great vocals from LaBrie. It segues into Through My Words, which has a repeating theme throughout the album. This one minute piano-vocal duet is a perfect mellow theme to the album, but then all hell breaks loose on the next track.

Fatal Tragedy is the "Inspector Gadget rip off" of the album, and it has some great guitar work from Petrucci (some of his best on the album). The mini-jam in the 3-4 minute has some extremely complicated rhythms and ideas that flow so perfectly with one another. The 5/4 intro to Beyond This Life kicks off into full power, with more powerhouse riffing and solos from Petrucci. The instrumental break in the middle has some great keyboard and drum interplay and there are some great sections of unison work between Petrucci and Rudess. It segues into Through Her Eyes, the poppiest track on the album. It has some nice synth drums and soothing vocal from LaBrie. This song is better represented on the Live Scenes From New York live album (which features a full performance of this album). And with the end of this song ends Act I of this album.

Act II opens with Home, possibly the strongest song on the album. By far the heaviest, with it's dropped D tuning to give it that extra punch. This song has a very middle-eastern feel to it (mainly because of Rudess's sitar sampling) and has an overly complex 19/16 outro. The Dance of Eternity follows, and it's another technical nightmare, with revolving time signatures almost every single measure. Almost every type of solo imaginable is featured here, even ragtime piano, yes, ragtime piano. This song segues into One Last Time, which is a nice LaBrie penned song that brings about the final song to the story, The Spirit Carries On. This is one of the most triumphant Dream Theater tracks and is a fan favorite. The Roger Waters type lyrics are complimented perfectly with a Petrucci version of a David Gilmour solo. Finally Free ends the album, and it goes through many different moods, from somber and metallic, to triumphant and majestic.

Overall, this is not an album to be missed. This is one of Dream Theater's crowning achievements, and it surely must not go unmissed. The themes, the solos, the lyrics, everything about this album is magnificent in every way. 5/5.

Report this review (#73495)
Posted Wednesday, March 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Dream Theater's 1992 album Images and Words pioneered the progressive metal genre and remains for many the band's best work, finding a perfect balance between the band's influences in prog rock and metal. The album's most technically impressive song 'Metropolis part 1' was finally followed up seven years later with the most ambitious Dream Theater release yet, 1999's Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From a Memory.

Scenes From a Memory is the band's only concept album, an inevitable release for experimental progressive musicians that became something of a cliché for seventies rock acts. Dream Theater's influences are extensive, but are most popularly cited as prog and classic rock acts such as Rush and Queen on the one hand; 80s metal bands like Metallica and Iron Maiden on the other. Inspiration is a lot easier to pin down on this impressive and ambitious release, the introspective storyline owing to Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, structural elements and ballads sounding distinctively Pink Floyd (Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall particularly) and the whole character driven prog metal experience furthering the work of Queensrÿche eleven years earlier with Operation: Mindcrime, the single most important influence here.

Reduced to theatrical-trailer-type synopsis, the album deals with a murder mystery from a character's past life that is explored and solved through regression hypnosis. Songs and passages alternate between Nicholas' actions in 1999 and his latent memories and dreams of the city in 1928. Expanding on 'Metropolis Part 1' must have proved slightly problematic due to that song's fairly arbitrary and indecipherable lyrics, which were in fact only added at the last minute due to the record company's wish to avoid an instrumental track, but the band do an admirable job. There are elements of mystery as the story develops, especially by code-naming the two brothers 'The Miracle' and 'The Sleeper' respectively, but unlike Genesis' The Lamb, there isn't a great deal open to interpretation.

Dream Theater had earlier proved their integrity with their 25-minute epic song 'A Change of Seasons,' released specially in 1997, and Scenes From a Memory displays the same ability and effectiveness at crafting an extended musical piece that remains consistent, recognisable and strong. The twelve songs on here can all stand alone outside the context of the album, despite the repeated melodies and musical themes throughout.

Displaying admirable prog pomposity, the 70 minute album is divided dramatically into Acts and Scenes:

Act 1 1. Scene One: Regression (2:06) 2. Scene Two: I. Overture 1928 (3:37) 3. II. Strange Deja Vu (5:13) 4. Scene Three: I. Through My Words (1:02) 5. II. Fatal Tragedy (6:49) 6. Scene Four: Beyond This Life (11:22) 7. Scene Five: Through Her Eyes (5:29) Act 2 8. Scene Six: Home (12:53) 9. Scene Seven: I. The Dance of Eternity (6:13) 10. II. One Last Time (3:47) 11. Scene Eight: The Spirit Carries On (6:38) 12. Scene Nine: Finally Free (12:00)

Scenes From a Memory may seem like overkill to some Dream Theater fans, but in truth the band's restraint and sharp focus makes this album far better than it could have been. There are very, very few simple 'filler' tracks, as may be found in albums where the storyline takes precedence over the music: even the obligatory opening track, featuring a hypnotic clock ticking and spoken word vocals, soon becomes a pleasant 'Pigs on the Wing' style acoustic introduction. The later 'Through My Words' is the only song here that couldn't really stand alone, but works as a great introduction to the next.

In contrast to criticism that this album is 'too prog,' it is also often criticised for being 'too metal.' The band has alternated between heavier and lighter eras throughout their career, but Scenes From a Memory is perhaps their thrashiest offering. 'Beyond This Life,' the most well-known song here, is driven by hard and fast riffs and there are many occasions when the band break into an extensive jam: 'Fatal Tragedy,' the strongest and most diverse song on the album, ends with a relentless instrumental section that is a worthy successor to Megadeth's 'Hangar 18.' The bizarre instrumental 'The Dance of Eternity' epitomises the slating of this album and as such is a fascinating experience, whatever the listener thinks of it: incorporating all of the musical themes of 'Metropolis part 1' on instruments as diverse as a honky-tonk piano synth, you'd have to be a little crazy to consider this fun extravaganza a true work of genius.

As a cohesive work, the music on this album is all roughly similar. There are slow, soft songs and loud, speedy anthems but nothing that breaks the eerie melancholy gloom of the concept. 'The Spirit Carries On' stands out somewhat in its optimism, and the band make a final intelligent choice in following up with the shattering 'Finally Free,' something of a self-contained third Act (at least that would be the case if this were a film) that turns the limited story on its head. This song combines the best elements of the album that have preceded it and features some acting work to provide easy fodder for critics of the CD (not to mention the opportunity to appropriate the title 'Finally Free' as an expression of relief that the album is finally over).

Scenes From a Memory isn't an easy album to appreciate, but once the listener gets past the oppressive idea of a concept, it should be enjoyed by fans of rock and metal. The album can't be seen as wholly original, owing debts all over the place, seeming especially like a superior version of Operation: Mindcrime that avoids the cheesy and false 'suburban cyperpunk' thing and restrains over-elaborate excess. All of Dream Theater's albums sound admirably distinct and different from each other, but this is doubtless the band at their most focused and creative, and as such deserves a listen by all fans. This isn't my personal favourite album, primarily because the lengthy playing time means the similarity in sound and return of riffs become a little grating and outstayed, but there are very few weak songs. Images and Words remains their most original and enjoyable release, but fans of the band's darker metal side may prefer Awake or Train of Thought. In any case, those put off by Scenes From a Memory should avoid the band's subsequent release, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, with its pointlessly long running time and failed grandeur.

Dream Theater predictably toured Metropolis Pt. 2 in its entirety after its release, recorded on the Metropolis 2000: Live Scenes From New York DVD which adds a little to the experience through its use of live action, slightly amateurish footage. Thankfully, Scenes From a Memory is an album that can stand alone perfectly well AS an album: many Pink Floyd fans had to watch Alan Parker's version of The Wall to fully understand and appreciate what Roger Waters had been getting at, but there is little hidden in Dream Theater's interesting and ultimately optimistic tale of Depression-era fratricide. The thinking person's thrash metal.

Report this review (#74436)
Posted Saturday, April 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars One word to describe this: "WOW!!"

"Metropolis pt.2: Scenes From a Memory" is maybe Dream Theater's best work and one of the best progressive rock albums of all time. And it's correct to put this record as the N° 1 of Prog Metal. This is the follower of "Falling into Infinity". Without any doubt, the musicians are incredible. Despite of I'm a spanish speaker, the story of this conceptual album is awesome, and I think this is the only time I pay attention to the lyrics. During the record some characters "talk", like Nicholas, Victoria Page, Senator Edward Baynes (The Miracle) and Julian Baynes (The Sleeper), and, in the beggining, The Hypnoterapist, like an opera - rock work. The history it's like the continuation to "Metropolis pt. 1: The miracle and the sleeper", from "Images and Words". And it's nice the idea of the chronological key: past, present. On this work, Dream Theater definitely found the balance between shredding and vocal parts, because sometimes too much shredding has no feeling, as most of people says. This is their first work with Rudess, who stands out maybe more than Derek Sherinian, and does an excellent work. This is a fantastic musical journey since the beginning to the end. I never get tired of listening to it !! Well, let's go to the tracks:


Scene One: "Regression", starts with an hypnotic clock sound and then the Hypnotherapist: "Close your eyes and begin to relax...." Bagins a one minute long acoustic which, if you listen carefully, tou'll realise it has the same melody to a part of "The spirit carries on". It's used like an intro to the story and the record.

Scene Two:

I. "Overture 1928" This instrumental track starts heavily a la Dream Theater with intrincated riff "tarara, tarararara, tarara...". Then goes with different transitions (some of them are repeated then), with solos in the middle. During the album, some melodies here (the first guitar solo) are repeatitions of some ones of "Metropolis pt. 1". Nice solos here.

II. "Strange Deja Vu" This is the continuation of the Overture, but with voice (this one is almost all voice). James Labrie sings excellent here, giving nice melodies that can't go out of my head and make you sing them all the time. It goes very melodic on "tonight I've been...", and then really rocks on "Back on my feet again...". Here I must say that DT, in difference of most of metal bands, is more open to music, I mean, it's not just metal, they add rock, hard rock, sometimes some jazzy things and, in my opinion, a bit of symphonic. But it's classyfied as progressive metal because it's a metal band.

Scene three: I. "Through my Words" Is a keyboard-based short song, which works as a prelude to the follower song.

II. "Fatal Tragedy" Starts with a suspense feeling "Alone at night...". Then go some rare riffs. On the "chorus" Petrucci and Portnoy give additional vocals, something that is repeated through the album. The instrumental part is very dark, a provides, as is usual, well done solos.

Scene four: "Beyond this Life" This 11 minutes song begins with a rocker riff that make you headbang even if you don't want to !! Then Labrie sings about the headline, and there are sticky bass lines. Here go obscure and rocker parts, and it's good to put it all on the song because it contrast. At the soloing time it's a hard- blues base with a guitar keyboerd duel, this reminds me of Deep Purple. There are almost 5minutes of soloing. Excellent track.

Scene five: "Throuhg her Eyes" Nice and emotional ballad, with a lot of piano and a few guitar notes. I think here the drums are electronic, something that surprises me a lot. The additional vocals by Theresa Thomason are really good and quiet, and here Labrie's voice is very soft (why there are so many people who say he's a bad singer? I can't understand it).


Scene six: "Home" Is the longest song of the album. Starts and finishes with sort of arabian music and good bass line and guitar effects. When the voice enters it reminds me a lot to "Metropolis pt. 1", and the melody of the chorus too. There is a crazy piano solo on the middle.

Scene seven:

I. "The Dance of Eternity" The second instrumental, more complex than the other one, again with some pieces of "Metropolis pt. 1", always with tempo changes. Jazz, metal, rock, all in one !! Extremely complex, masters of shredding !!

II. "One Last Time" The lirycs on this one are made by Labrie. Nice mid-tempo song and melody: "One last time, we'll lay down today".

Scene eight: "The Spirit Carries On" Is the other ballad and the only conventional song of the album, with nice chorus and fantastic Floydian guitar solo. This song really touches me.

Scene nine: "Finally Free" Perfect closing to this masterpiece. You return to the real world, with some classical music on the background before the song begins. I love the final part (sound very Floyd). I fell like I'm in heaven when I hear this.

Overall, it's a masterpiece of progressive music, specially for progressive metal fans. One of the best prog albums in history. Don't miss it, you won't be dissapointed !!

Rating: 5/5

Report this review (#74982)
Posted Friday, April 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I don't know how else to say it -- this is the most amazing CD I have ever listened to. I believe that the best albums get better the more you listen to them, instead of worse. This is because you continually notice new aspects of the songs, while the melodies get further ingrained in you mind. Well, I've listened to this CD from start to finish over 50 times, and it is only getting better.

"Scenes from a Memory" is not your typical rock CD. The tracks are organized like a theater play with multiple acts, and scenes within the acts. That being said, you can really only grasp the true wonder of this CD when you listen to it from start to finish. Fortunately, the variety of the songs keep the CD interesting for the entire hour and 17 minute duration.

Bands sometimes write a song where you can just tell they were "in the zone" when they wrote it. These kinds of songs are typically catchy and flow so well, they just feels natural. That's how this entire CD is. The unique introduction builds to a powerful musical climax that enraptures the listener and doesn't let go until the end of the final track. Various artistic melodies that are both technically amazing and pleasurable to listen to flow throughout the album. The fifth track, "Fatal Tragedy" has a three minute instrumental that is unsurpassed by anything I have ever heard -- and I have heard a lot of music.

The lyrics tell a story about the murder of a young girl, which I thought would make the CD dark and dismal. In fact, I almost didn't buy the CD based on this presumption. However, I found the lyrics to be more about overcoming tragedy and learning about life. Darkness and death are countered by powerful hope and the expectancy of life after death. The different moods created by the lyrics are assisted by appropriate musical themes.

Like most of Dream Theater's music, this album has a wide variety of musical styles and is very technical. Some songs are as harsh and heavy, while others are soft and soothing. Some songs even combine the two extremes. Ragtime piano and background choir voices are part of certain tracks, just to give you an idea of how diverse this CD is.

While this is a very technical album, the melodies are so clear and easy to follow, they are hard to get out of your head. James LaBrie's vocals on this CD sound the best of any Dream Theater album and the meaning behind the words makes his singing all the more powerful. "Scenes from a Memory" is both a technical and artistic masterpiece and deserves to be listened by anyone who appreciates quality music.

Report this review (#74992)
Posted Saturday, April 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars My first impression on this record was good but after listening to it a couple of times I wasn't able to listen to most of the songs entirely. First, all the songs seems to turn around, round and round and round... So much ressemblances between all of them... Yes "Metropolis Part I" from Images & Words was a very good but it's no excuses for making a 77 minutes successor or at least make it right! Plus there is James Labrie's vocals that are getting worst year after year. He was so perfect on songs like "Pull Me Under" but now he's just getting me on my nerves! The album also sounds too much commercial by moments and this I really don't enjoy. There is some good points I got to admit! "Fatal Tragedy" followed by "Beyond This Life" is very good. But then again, like all the songs, it seems that everyone goes free-for-all, like if the musicians were fighting instead of playing! A lot of talent is shown in this release, especially from John Petrucci, Mike Portnoy and Ruddess, but the composition is weak... Scenes From A Memory and Falling Into Infinity are two Dream Theater albums that gave me a lot of headaches!
Report this review (#75061)
Posted Saturday, April 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars On Scenes From a Memory, Dream Theater has nothing to say, and they say it.

Scenes from a Memory is a horribly contrived story with obtuse character references. There should be a test on it in Concept Albums 101 so aspiring prog rockers can know what not to do. Ugh, I can't say enough about how bad they executed this album as a whole in terms of trying to make it a concept album. It's mostly a series of unrelated lyrics (sometimes one line not even vaguely related to the previous, or is a giant leap to reach it from the previous line) and the music continues the trend, mainly being useless shifts in time signature.

Scene 1 starts the album on an interesting note, and Scene 2 (both tracks) is probably the best song on the album, as it has great guitar work and relatively great (e.g. "adequate") lyrics. Scenes 3 and 4 are very rapid tracks that bring in unwelcome gothic elements to the album, and ones that don't fit well into the album as a whole, at that.

Scenes 5 and 6 are much slower, and the latter of which builds very well musically from Scene 5 into Scene 7, incorporating an almost Tool-esque edge to the beginning of the song. By the end, it's degenerated into the time signature-bending melee that is this album as a whole. The first track of Scene 7 continues this downward spiral. Again, 7's second track "One Last Time" sounds poised to salvage the album, but awful wailing lyrics follow an equally wailing guitar into the Chuckie-esque music that ends the track.

The album's beginning of the end is Scene 8, which actually sounds okay at the ballad- esque beginning, but not for a prog-rock band. The track ends as a totally unexpected breakout into a choir-backed (!!!) statement of enlightenment from the protagonist, which is almost entirely unsubstantiated by the events of the rest of the album. Scene 9 is equally bad, but the last 2 minutes of carefully designed noise make for a brilliant ending to an otherwise soggy album, and is barely enough to bump the album up from one to two stars.

All in all, this album made me realize that Dream Theater's guitarist should go join another band, because it's obvious he's the only strong part of the entire band. In the end, Scenes From a Memory just plain doesn't hold up.


Report this review (#75091)
Posted Sunday, April 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Fantastic album!!! Okay, first off, this will NOT HAVE A STORY EXPLAINATION. I am far too tired and would probably mess up many of the plot points. So, I'll take a strictly musical approach, probably what one should do anyways. 1.Regression: Starts off with ticking and the hypnotherapist talking, followed by a little ballad, which is pleasant enough. h. Pulls a kind of Dark Side of the Moon effect a la "Speak to Me" with playing subtly sound effects that appear throughout the album, even the "wailing" similarly appearing in Speak to Me. Kinda pointless that they made this a separate track though 7/10 2. Overture 1928: Short instrumental , for Dream Theater anyways. Thunders in with the drums mimicking the beginning part of "Metropolis Pt 1". Just know that a TON of pieces will be sampled from that song, so it is my personal opinion that you hear that song before any of this album. If not, its just as good though. Onto the music. Nice little instrumental we have here, stellar musicianship as usual. Rudess showin off his chops for the first time as a full time member of Dream Theater. Basically the function of this song is to act as an overture of sorts: to play bits and pieces that will be reprised and developed later on in the album. 9/10 3. Strange Deja Vu: Nice metally riffs here, nothing too heavy. Breaks down into a kind of funk type jam *not too funky though* with a guitar tone Petrucci doesnt typically use. Already in the "chorus" you can hear the drawing references back to Overture 1928. 9/10 4.Through My Words: This is where one would typically hear cries of "Filler" but i see it as important to summarzing a part of the story. A short track, clocking in at about a minute. Basically some quiet singing, nice piano work, and a little acoustic guitar. 6/10 5. Fatal Tragedy: Ah, here we go. The "metal" of prog metal. Starts off with piano actually, but then goes into heavy guitars, sounding foreboding and an almost horror movie type way. Its strange how the guitar riffs sound like an actual play score on this *see overture 1928*. Goes into a fantastic harder metal section where Petrucci solos his brains out. Rudess has a really cool weird kind of sounding keyboard solo here that almost sounds like a video game of sorts, in a good way. A definite 10/10 6. Beyond This Life: Hmmm. How to trump the previous track? With this! Opening right off the bat with a loud 5/4 guitar rhythm, soon the rest of the band joins in and right before the first verse Portnoy does one of his trademark "go ballistic on bass pedal" moments. I should mention that this song has a HUGE jam session in the middle, but it sounds really cool. Only complaint is that Rudess' keyboard part sounds REALLY screwed up here, but it goes well along with it. After the massive solo section, we eventually return to the chorus, which is very nicely done. 14/10 (yes im a fanboy what of it) 7. Through Her Eyes: What could top that previoius track? Nothing. And thats where this song comes in. In my opinion the most disappointing track of the album. Not terrible in its own right; in fact the Theresa and Petrucci solo tradeoff section is dare I say beautiful. However, the rest of the track is like adult alternative. Ok, so they went soft, I don't care, as long as it sounds good. Just goes on for a little too long. Also notice many similarities between this and its sister track "Through My Words". 8.Home: Wow. Just wow. The bulkiest track on the album, it starts off really quietly. One could point out the obvious similarity to Tool, specifically the song 42 and Six. However, that doesnt matter because of how well done this track is. Buildup in the beginning is a tad long, but the riff that comes in just sounds evil. Then it gets to the verse, with a riff that sounds even more evil. Another heads up in this song: around the 7 minute mark, (again story related), certain noises that may make some uneasy *and confused the hell out of me at first* occur. I dont want to ruin the surprise (hehe) but you'll know what I mean. I absolutely LOVE the chorus to this song, which brings back echoes of several parts of Metropolis Pt 1, specifically the end section of it *"Before the leaves have fallen" on out*. Other riffs abound, and in my opinion, this track is the most closely linked to Pt 1. Anyways, it definetly stands on its own. After the...shall we say questionable noises, an insane Rudess solo and formidable solo section form. Then it goes back to the chorus again, followed by a VERY arabic sounding *as if the song itself didnt already sound enough like that* instrumental breakdwon. 14/10 9. The Dance of Eternity: Ah, here it is, the massive instrumental. The seven string gets a workout here, and riffs abound, and a huge amount of musical references are made to Metropolis Pt 1. A little over 6 minutes, it's basically an insane shredfest interrupted by random other riffs. (Even ragtime!) However, do NOT use this as "evidence" that they can't play without emotion, this was just to sound like a crazy instrumental. Also, Myung becomes god on this track. You'll know what I mean. 9/10 10. One Last Time: When all the heaviness subsides, the aftermath that ensues is "One Last Time". Starting with a piano reference to a part originally on guitar in Overture 1928, THIS is where Rudess plays with EMOTION, and quite beautifully. Another not too long track, kind of a power ballad feel to it. Not too bad, but not the best on the album by a longshot. Builds to a really cool climactic ending though. 8/10 11. The Spirit Carries On: Kinda drops you off that ending into something completely different. Originally, I thought "Hey, this track must be from the early days of Pink Floyd when LaBrie sang for them." Then I remembered that never happened. Point is, this track owes a TON to Pink Floyd, choirs and solos included. Originality be damned, this is still an awesome song *one to pull your lighter out to at concert, or so I saw April 1st* It seems that Petrucci in this song has successfully fused his shred style with the emotional style of good ol Dave Gilmour for some really moving solos. 10/10 12. Finally Free: The last track of the album, and again, its a long one. The conclusion to the album, the resolution of the story, such and such, blah blah blah. Musically, pretty solid, spans a wide variety of styles. Starts kind of pretty and happy, but something takes a foreboding turn (yay minor keys!).The comment that this sounds like play/movie music still sticks. Theres one part that Rudess' piano right before the vocals come in sounds exactly like a horror movie, and it really sets the tone. Then it goes randomly happy again after the optimistic chorus. Then it takes a foreboding turn yet again and an audio sequence occurs (over cool music naturally) that basically summarizes all or part of the album. Then "One Last Time" is reprised, sounding pretty similar to the actual song. Then it goes back to the chorus over acoustic guitar, all giving a feel of conclusion to the album. The last words "We'll meet again, my friend, some day soon" give a sense of irony to it. Then what sounds like almost exiting music for a play plays, with Portnoy going nuts over it. The music slowly fades out, then the conclusion of the story *sorry no more actual "music"* happens, and it's somewhat confusing. Just look it up online, it helps.

Overall, a solid effort, possibly their best. 10/10!!!

Report this review (#75553)
Posted Wednesday, April 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars 2.5 stars really.

I have a love hate relationship with Dream Theater. I love the outstanding musicianship on all their albums. I hate Labrie's voice on all the albums before this one. To me it is just too much high pitched screaming and not enough emotion and character, far too much like 80's big hair metal for my taste. Getting back to their actual music, it often strikes me as cold and emotionless, also "overcomposed". Still, this is not always a bad thing as I sometimes want to hear insane musical complexity and don't really care about emotional impact. Dream Theater is usually quite good for those moods.

So what do I think about this particular album? Well, my descriptions of my feelings about Dream Theater pretty much apply to this album. Though, as I said, it is the first one where I can actually tolerate Labries voice (I love his singing on 6 degrees, as well as on the last Ayreon album, Human Equation). The album as a whole flows really well, being a cohesive concept that works fairly well. The playing is flawless and technically impressive for the most part. But much of the album bores me. I find it difficult most of the time to get through the whole thing in one sitting. Too much of the same style of music I think. In this regard it reminds me of the majority of neo prog bands in that there is almost no variation in sound and style throughout the whole album. This is not something I am used to with so-called "prog" bands (though it is all too common with modern prog).

So I'd have to say roughly 2.5 stars for my personal feeling about this album. But for the sheer quality of musician ship, I will give it the extra half star.

Report this review (#75775)
Posted Friday, April 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars My introductiong to Dream Theater...and what an introduction that was!!! This album brought me right out of my black metal era into a much happier way of life....the life of a prog rocker. This album changed my life and, even though now that I listen to it I find it's not as great as I built it up to be, I am grateful for having it. The songs are great, but it's definetely not a masterpiece like Awake is.

It's the story of a girl that loved two guys. These two guys (one good guy and one bad guy) fight for her love...and the bad guy ends up killing the girl and the good guy which is his twin the girl has reencarnated into a guy that keeps seeing her all over the place and the guy now has the task to discover his past through his memories and really discover what went on in the night of the killings.

The story is pretty good, pretty intense, there are some people that even relate to it. I thought the movie Stir of Echoes came pretty close to the story in this album, I reccomend this movie to fans of this album.

The music is amazing, you get all the speed and accuracy of the know what I'm talking about. Pretty complex melodies, amazing playing...musical acrobatics if you know what I mean. LaBrie is also pretty good although he is very criticized, he sings with emotion. The melodies will stick to you. If you really enjoy this album buy the live DVD and the Live album of the recording, they're so worth it. Dream Theater fans, if you don't have this album you should go buy it now, non DT fans will not start to like Dream Theater through this guys start from Awake or Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and then buy Metropolis Pt.2.

Report this review (#77007)
Posted Wednesday, May 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars After the disappointing "Falling into Infinity" album, Dream Theater changed staff once again and replaced Derek Sherenian on keyboards with the masterfully talented Jordan Rudess. Good move? Probably. Rudess is no Kevin Moore and the band has yet to be as good again as they were back in the "Images and Words" and "Awake" days. However he fits in fairly well anyways because he is a technical playing monster like everyone else in the band. However, he lacks the mood creating effects that Moore so effectively put in the earlier music. When he doesn't have a lead or a solo, chances are that he's mimicing either the bass or the guitar. He doesn't do much else. If I had to rate all of the keyboardists in Dream Theater, Kevin Moore would be a 10/10, Derek Sherenian would be a 7.5/10, and Jordan Rudess would be an 8-ish/10.

Anyways, onto the album. It is of course a concept album as I'm sure you know but I'll tell you that anyways in case you missed the 400 reviews previous to this one. It kicks off nicely, with a soothing dialogue to get you sort of up to speed with what the story is. The opening track "Regression" then ends with a soft little diddle of a song which is ok. The next six songs are all great; 5/5 every one of them. The music is an entirely different style with Rudess in the band than with Moore or Sherenian. It is more technically-based than stylistically-based, which has it pluses and minuses. I wouldn't say that any song on the album is better then anything on "Images and Words" or "Awake", but they are definitely good.

LaBrie's vocal range dropped off a bit from the previous albums due to his sad food poisoning bout that ruptured his vocal chords. So overall all of the vocal lines are lower than the previous albums. No amazing screams or gnarly power yells like on "Images and Words" and "Awake." LaBrie pretty much takes it easy and sings smoothly and very controlled throughout the entire album. Not a bad performance but definitely a step below the earlier stuff.

The end of the album is where things get sketchy for me. Some people may like the 12- minute "Home", but for me it's boring as heck. It and "The Spirit Carries On" are the worst two on the album in my opinion. Just repetitive and bland music if you ask me. The others are good though, like "One Last Time", "The Dance of Eternity", and my personal favorite on the album "Finally Free." The last song's name could be victim of mockery for haters of this album, but for me it is one of the high points if not THE high point of the album.

Overall "Scenes from a Memory" is a good album, but nothing legendary like the older Dream Theater albums. Sadly I think Rudess is mainly to blame for that because he just does the same stuff on every song. No variety (and his solos are boring as heck too). The story is also very hard to follow because James LaBrie voices the parts of all the characters so unless you have the liners in front of you, you'll never know who's talking. Other than a few things like that, the album is really good and definitely a necessity for any Dream Theater fans.

Report this review (#77844)
Posted Thursday, May 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a classical Dream Theater album: a long progressive metal record appreciated by many progressive metal fans. Compared to their outstanding "Images & words" album, "Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From a Memory" is a bit less spectacular in terms of technical performance; the mellow bits are also less shiny, majestic and romantic here: there are also less lush & colorful streams of modern floating keyboards involved; maybe the "One last time" track evokes a bit more the feeling involved on the "Images & words" album. On the other hand, the compositions of the record here are more elaborated and less monotonic than the ones on the "Ocatavarium" album.

The sound of the rhythmic electric guitar is excellent, being quite razor and sharp. Labrie's lead vocals are excellent, as always. There are some catchy backing vocals like on the "Fatal tragedy" track: the fast, complex & instrumental part on this track is very impressive, clearly reminding the "Liquid tension experiment" band! "Beyond this life" contains some excellent instrumental parts containing trumpet-like melodies and Zappa- esque xylophone-like arrangements. Unfortunately, "Home" seems to have its best best part in the last minute, showing a progressive Middle Eastern-flavored passage; also just notice how excellent the electric rhythmic guitar sound is at the very end of the track: turn up the volume when the sustained final guitar note enters. The best track of the record is definitely "The dance of eternity": it consists in a serious/funny demonstration of instrumental & progressive performance with Jobson-esque keyboards and fully synchronized instruments played at high speed: impressive! The last 1.5 minute of "Finally free" is inspired from Roger Waters' sound effects and from his Final Cut album; I think the really end of the track cannot be more surprising: it seems to be the sound of a turntable cartridge that has slipped out from the vinyl.

Report this review (#78058)
Posted Saturday, May 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars [QUOTE]Being a musician, I've never listened to anything as complex, technical and at the same time beautiful and emotive as this album. This has redefined my concept of a rock album. Besides, the production is absolutely flattering, a perfect work of Kevin Shirley. NO DOUBT, THE BEST ALBUM OF ALL TIMES!!![/QUOTE] This sums up my sentiments perfectly. This album, is certainly Dream Theater's best work, and is in my opinion the best album ever created. As soon as you hear the guitars triplet D power chords kicking in at the beginning of the Overture 1928 you know you're 'Home'! It is a wok of genius, both musically and lyrically, from start to finish.
Report this review (#78254)
Posted Monday, May 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Scenes From A Memory

Scenes From A Memory is Dream Theater fifth studio album and it is based on a concept album idea. Just a little information for you who don't really sure about what is a concept album. A concept album is an album whose recording are unified by some theme whether is an instrumental or lyrical or narrative or compositional. So the key point here is the theme of the album, which then can generates the whole album.

Actually, if we look back at the previous Dream Theater album, Images And Words which released in 1992, there is a song called Metropolis Pt.1 (The Miracle and The Sleeper). After I researched on many sites, I found out that the name (the part 1 thing) is just a joke, or in other words, they didn't intend to make the second part of Metropolis, but regarding the starved fans who ask for Metropolis Pt.2, a great album was made.

In Scenes From A Memory, the concept or the story is about a tragedy, involving a young girl, named Victoria, whose in love with two other casts, The Miracle and The Sleeper. The main cast in this album or story is Nicholas, whose then will solve the tragedy. On the other hand, The Hypnotherapist is just a background cast.

Next, I will discuss about the story behind each song briefly (cause you will probably could find it everywhere) and the musical side of the song itself.

Regression A simple song which was made just for the introduction of the whole album or story. The song is consists of pure acoustic clean section and LaBrie's great vocal. The song is describing about Nicholas who fell into Hypnotic state, and he began to hallucinating. "And as I draw near, the scene becomes clear, like watching my life on a screen."

Overture 1928 This is one of the two instrumental songs in this album. Personally I think this song was made to introduce the next song, Strange Déjà Vu. For me, the best part of the song is the mid-slow John Petrucci's solo, which has deep feeling in it just by listening to the licks.

Strange Déjà vu The continued song from Overture 1928, Strange Déjà Vu has pretty much progressive elements in the song, but we cannot recognize it from the beginning of the song, because its more progressive rock than progressive metal. The "metal" part appears just after the sudden change of the time signature, and the artificial harmonics on guitar section. The best part of the song is the lyrics, "tonight I've been searching for, a feeling that wont go away." This song tells us about how and when Nicholas encounters Victoria for the first time.

Through My Words This is a very short song if we look at every other Dream Theater songs, just 1 minute long. The musical side of the song is pretty much the same with "Regression", clean guitar rhythm and pure beautiful lyric. The story behind this song is that Nicholas is now have known that he holds the responsibility to cover the tragedy behind Victoria's murder.

Fatal Tragedy After some pretty not-so-metal songs, Scenes From A Memory presents a progressive metal song. The best part of this song is the guitar-keyboard solo, which covered with truly amazing progressive elements and virtuosity. The story is about the process of revealing the truth, and Nicholas cannot live peaceful as he did before. "without faith, without hope, there can be no turning back."

Beyond This Life Another metal song by Dream Theater which is also very progressive. Just by listening at the beginning of the song, we can know that it is a true metal song, the heavy rhythm section throughout the song. But nevertheless, Dream Theater always adds some deep nice feeling into every single one of their song, presented in some section of the song. The guitar and keyboard solos are simply amazing, probably the best keyboard solo in other Dream Theater songs. After the keyboard solo finish, there is a very nice, unique, funny tune which is very identical with "Beyond This Life". The song tells us about how Victoria is being murdered in details and about what has happened in the night she was murdered.

Through Her Eyes John Petrucci's typical lyric style, deep feeling and amazing meaning with just using simple-not-very-sophisticated words. The song starts with Theresa Thomason and John Petrucci's vocal guitar solo. Well its just "oh hooh, ohhh" thing, and the guitar section is just some sliding simple notes, but then again, simple yet profound. For me, its one of the most beautiful songs I have ever listened to. Notice how the mood changes when the seventh paragraph of the lyric was sung. "And as her image wandered through my head, I wept just like a baby as I lay awake in bed." And when I play this song (I play guitar), I always wait for this part. Truly a beautiful song. The story is about Nicholas who now can see what has happened behind this dreadful tragedy, through Victoria's eyes

Home After a short break with a clean, cool song, Scenes From A Memory presents Home, a great progressive metal song. The intro of the song is very unique that I read on another website, Home's intro is one of the most recognizable and easy-to-remember intro. As for you who haven't listen to this song, the intro is a guitar wah-wah thing. In my opinion, this is the heaviest and darkest song in this album, looking at a certain part of the song, but once again, I will never tired of saying this, Dream Theater always adds some deep feeling elements into their songs. The story is about Victoria and her love affair.

The Dance Of Eternity This is Scenes From A Memory's another instrumental song, and for me, is the most technical, strange (positive), complex Dream Theater song, with strange and odd time signature. One Last Time One Last Time is pretty much the same with Regression and Through Her Eyes, simple but beautiful song. The story is about the last stage of Victoria's love affair which then leads her to be murdered.

The Spirit Carries On WOW,, there are no other words or sentence that could describe this song, BEAUTIFUL, PROFOUND, AMAZING with deep meaning and great technical composition. Simply amazing, there is no word to describe it, you should listen it yourself. The song is about Nick who feels that the reason all of this happened, the ultimate message, is that death is not the end, but only a transition, as the Hypnotherapist has already pointed out.

Finally Free This song is the closing or the conclusion of the whole story, which as far as I concern, contains One Last Time lyric. Great song with progressive elements which shown by different style and song types in just a song.

In the end, I give 5 stars to this album, if there are 10 stars, I would give 10. And just remember, this album is actually a single song, they just divided it into 12 tracks, notice how each song connected with the song before and after the song itself. Truly Amazing. Timur Imam Nugroho - Indonesia

Report this review (#78324)
Posted Tuesday, May 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album (and i couldn't have picked a better one) was my introduction to this incredible band. Although I'm not an afficianado of Prog Metal, prefering the more classic or symphonic variety, this band blends the very best of both genres to near perfection. From the hauntingly melodic "Through Her Eyes" to the epic "Home" this conceptual album reminded me of why I so love progressive music and that progressive is just that...ever changing, fresh and new. This band allowed me to spread my wings a little and search out some new music to listen to instead of the the standard fare i usually enjoy. An excellent album for anyone who enjoys any genre of progressive rock...
Report this review (#78839)
Posted Saturday, May 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars It took me a year or so to really apreciate this album, but now that I have listened it tons of times, it's become a part of my life. This band has technical skills with a great ability to make and develop moods. Plus, you get an interesting story in this album. It's rather unbeliveable that this was made in 2000, right in these times when is really hard to find musicians who really put their souls in what they make.

Enjoyable for every prog fan, but everyone should know that this has a metalish sound.

Prog desde Guatemala!

Edit (July 7, 2009) : corrected typos, but I stand by the 5 stars rating. I listened to it the other day and it was as great as before.

Report this review (#78934)
Posted Sunday, May 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars For awhile when i was into TRAIN OF THOUGHT and SIX DEGREES OF INNER TURBURLANCE i wanted see how well these guys did live. A couple of guys that i play with in a band borrowed a DVD of DT live scenes in new york and i picked up great Dvd but for some strange reason it didn't appeal to me mainly because i was expecting probably a more heavier sound. For a while it grew on to me when i got the 3 cd set and i dunno why i didn't like the music before because it so great. THEN FINALLY i got the studio copy of one my favorite DT albums SCENES FROM A MEMORY METROPOLIS PT. 2. i mean wow what an album this truely is as DT really out did themselves as this is not only a concept album but an album full of influences from Rush, Pink Floyd, Metallica, etc. Not only does Jordan Rudess makes his grand debut on such a disc but each part represents a scene of the song to let the fans know what is happen but at the same time the concept of this album really keeps you in suspense of who the murderer is. But dang man the music rocks by starting with a nice acoustic piece called REGRESSION. Then the fun starts with one of my favorite instrumentals OVERTURE 1928 this song rocks with some amazing solos by RUDESS and PETRUCCI along with some really great melodic hooks that makes my hair stand up. Then it automatically swithces to STRANGE DEJA-VU a really good rocker with a nice chorus. The rockin section is one of my favorite parts its just so cool. Then it slows down to THROUGH MY WORDS which is a nice vocal/piano movement then it goes into FATAL TRAGEDY ooooooooh man this song is great with nice vocal harmonies and some sick soloing from keyboards and guitars. Then it goes into BEYOND THIS LIFE which is very aggresive,progressive, and freakin fast. I do however love the LIVE FROM BUDOKAN version since its almost 20 minutes long. Then it slows back down again with probably one of the best DT ballads THROUGH HER EYES the piano and Theresa Thompson with that vocal solo (shades of THE GREAT GIG IN THE SKY) and oh the vocals by LABRIE with that sweet vocalization from MIKE and JOHN makes this song so beautiful. I'll be honest i literally had tears in my eyes just from how beautiful this song is. but wipe those tears cause now its time to get angry, time to get egytian with HOME this song good lord it so rocks a very fine DT epic plus the end is just crazy. But it has to be knowing how crazy the next song is with DANCE WITH ETERNITY. now if these guys were to make Metro. Pt. 2 a song i would think this would be the one as in a way there are some parts similar to pt. 1 but man this song can be hard to keep up if you don't pay attention. Awesome bass solo by MYUNG. then it goes into ONE LAST TIME which is a nice medium tempo rocker with a great solo. Then it gets a little gospel with the choir as we go into THE SPIRIT CARRIES ON and once again JOHN PETRUCCI proves to us once again why he is the best guitarist ever. Then hold on to you hats as DT finally closes with a great concept album closer FINALLY FREE. so all in all this is a must have if your a DT fan as the vocals are great, the music is phenomal and the concept definitely is up there with OPERATION MINDCRIME 1 &2, MISPLACED CHILDHOOD, V: THE MYTHOLOGY SUITE, etc. 5 stars all the way
Report this review (#79562)
Posted Saturday, May 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars When recording 1997's Falling Into Infinity, rumours abounded that Dream Theater were preparing a 20-minute track entitled "Metropolis, Pt. 2", fans all over were ecstatic. "Metropolis, Pt. 1", above every other song in the Dream Theater catalog, defines what the band is all about. However, much like a more recent sequel (Queensrÿche's Operation: Mindcrime II), the concept and execution cannot overcome the hype.

If I could sum up Scenes From A Memory in one word, it would be uneven. While the album boasts some of the band's best instrumental passages ("Home", "The Dance Of Eternity", "Beyond This Life"), it also includes perhaps the band's worst material (the cloying ballads "Through Her Eyes" and "The Spirit Carries On", the plodding finale "Finally Free"). But despite the weakness of some of the material, it is quite possibly the band's shining moment as far as production goes - it is perhaps the best sounding Dream Theater album to date (Octavarium a close second).

It would seem that the band would have been better off sticking to their original 20-minute time limit. Trimming away the fat (of which there is plenty) could have resulted in the band's finest epic. Instead, we are left with a bloated mass of material, with highlights buried somewhere in the middle.

Report this review (#80067)
Posted Thursday, June 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Scenes From a Memory, the crowning diadem of progressive metal. 71% of listenters submit a perfect five star rating according to prog Never has a progressive metal album been so well recieved by so many people. The album despite it's amazing acclaim is actually one of the most polarizing of the genre.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Report this review (#80299)
Posted Sunday, June 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Still being my favorite album from DT and from all in the genere and more. For me it is the greatest musical creation, I really tried to find any LP from any other band around the world through years, and I´ve found great results but no one such as brilliant as Scenes from a memory.

I think all instruments are doing very original compositions, the mix and composition is incredible, every instrument has a significant participation; complex and full of emotive moments, since very strong, melodical, dynamic, euforic, until melancholic.

I personally feel the catharsis of its enviroment because the songs they has an intention and they´re capable of getting moments and emotions, even more if you experiment any kind of feelings trough any music style and in general with arts.

The time of each song, any group of songs of the entire album , and all the album is one feature I consideer amazing, they get knock me completely out and I can feel satisfied enough, like no other band has made me feel this way.

You´ll find a discreet and pure touch of a diversity of rhytms trough the composition (charleston, even reggae, classical and more ) but it´s still an amazing progressive metal sound.

I still feel myself amazed every time I hear this album, trough years listening this album I discover great details.

What else can I say ? Simply majestic, magical... the general style is very progressive metal rock, it´s so memorable and easy to remind because it´s very original. It´s logic that they have influences but it´s original like the very few are.

Not the foundators of the genere but I think it´s one of the master piece definitions of the genere this album. I wish more discs like this with such as quality bands. I dare myself to say so sure, they not invented it but they did it perfect.

Almost all people that knows the genere since a while, knows the album and like it. If you are going to know it for the very first time I hope you enjoy, I hope it won´t desappoint you, only few persons do not like it.

But I wanna say to those who still don´t know it: It´s highly recommended if you like progressive metal even if you like only progressive pure style (not metal) maybe you´ll like it a lot either and find it interesting. It´s simply the best album I can recommend, in the world... and the best master piece I´ve ever heard...

I expect someone share opinions with me... Marco... Mexico city

Report this review (#80532)
Posted Tuesday, June 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars this is a perfect example of how a simple plot scenario can turn into a trademark LP... just put the best 90's musicians together and give Petrucci a pen and a piece of paper... DT had two things to overcome in the last 5 years: Images and Words and Moore's loss... so, they find Ruddess and continue Metropolis' story.. cunning... moreover, they add new modern elements to their music, wisely ploying with the market and gaining more fans... all 12 songs are fantastic, great prog tracks...don't miss your date with Theater's best work...
Report this review (#81450)
Posted Monday, June 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars I was a fan of Dream Theater since Images and Words, which, despite it's weak production (especially the over triggered drums), remains my favorite DT album to this day. Awake I really enjoyed, along with A Change of Seasons. Falling into Infinity was 50 - 50, but at least they were still writing SONGS (A New Millenium, Peruvian Skies, Hell's Kitchen and Lines in the Sand are among my favorite DT tracks), whereas on this album... I enjoy technicality when it is well brought within songs, not when songs are only a pretext to show off your abilities. Sure, I admit to have been blown away on the first 20 spins or so by the complexity and skills displayed, but where is the feel, where are the songs ? And those ballads... Yuck ! Also, I think the album drags on for far too long, especially when no memorable SONGS keep my interest.

The bottom line : one of the most overrated albums of all time in my opinion. Technical aficionados will find a lot of stuff of interest here, but personnaly, I need more. I need songs that I can remember, I need feeling (not cheese). Less is more, too much ain't enough. You may think I missed the point with this album, and I respect the fact that everybody is entitled to their valuable opinions. This album is the one I dislike the most from a band that used to be good at songwriting. At least, with 6doit, they came back with one of their strongest albums. Which leaves this one... well, to be their worst...

If you agree with me one some points (especially the songwriting and the well placed technicality), check Symphony X out, especially albums like "The Divine Wings of Tragedy", "V-The New Mythology Suite" and "The Odyssey".

Slap me, kill me, crucify me, bring me back to life and start all over again, I will still give this album only 2 stars, especially in comparison to all their other great albums.

Report this review (#81631)
Posted Wednesday, June 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album is exactly what 2 stars represents. Fans only. If you are a big fan of Dream Theater, than you will find that this album fits in very nicely with your collection. However, this album lacks any real substance for me and a general public.

I think they tried to do too much. They tried too hard. If that's even possible. This album for me highlights for me what Dream Theater is about. 5 musicians who all do their own thing, and though they are all respected in their specific fields, they fail at coming together to make a solid band. Images and Words and Awake are the strong points for this band. They meshed together best on these albums.

Scenes is a great example of how they failed to come together. If you let these guys do what they want, you'd have 5 soloists. To me this album seems like 5 guys having fun with their instruments. There's nothing wrong with that, as I too do enjoy noodling every now and then. However it isn't very good for listeners who want repeated enjoyable listens and real substance and depth.

Report this review (#82005)
Posted Monday, June 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars "The band's boldest artistic statement in their 15 year career" read a sticker on the wrapping of Dream Theater's fifth full length recording, Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory. The band has taken on the challenge of writing a concept album for the first time. The title and theme are obviously derived from "Metropolis Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper," off of Images and Words, and many recurring themes both lyrically and musically are found between both the song and this record, as well as within the record itself. As risky as it is to do so, Dream Theater does it perfectly, keeping the album very coherent and tight, without monotony or predictability.

The album revolves around five characters, and deals in both past and present. This, however, is no Ayreon album; LaBrie voices all of the parts, with the exception of a guest gospel-style vocalist Theresa Thomason on a couple of tracks, and a gospel choir on one. The concept, in short, is about a character named Nicholas, who is haunted by frequent, vivid dreams of a girl, Victoria Page. Nicholas enters regression therapy in his pursuit to resolve this that has been haunting him. I do not want to spoil the whole plot, so that is where I will stop. The story in itself is interesting, but there's also excellent music to back it up, as you would expect from Dream Theater.

Keeping the words to a minimum (there are plenty of other reviews that detail the album), this is Dream Theater's finest work (which really says something). Plenty of variety here. The band continues to prove that they are the masters of their craft: each musician displays their seemingly inhuman capabilities without compromising the integrity of the songs. Every note is played with care and surely with emotion. A masterpiece without question.

Report this review (#82187)
Posted Wednesday, June 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The best of Dream Theater. As others have written before me: sheer excellence. This brilliant, amazing album is simply amazing(for me). A hate it or love it album I think. Definately excellent playing and composing and for bonus an excellent story as well. The soft songs by Dream Theater are not exactly my cup of tea but on this album they are very enjoyable. Many think that songs 8 and 9 are nothing impressive and just musicians boasting with their skills. I think the excact opposite. I think that Home and The Dance Of Eternity are the best songs that Dream Theater have ever played.

Maybe I have praised Scenes From A Memory too much here but I truly find it one of the peaks of progressive metal.

I'm not giving a detail review due to lack of time and the lack of my skills in writing in english but if intrested in a more detailed review you could find many from the lot that have been written by other reviewers.

Report this review (#82316)
Posted Friday, June 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a widely discussed album, and sincerely I'm not sure how many people will pay attention to my review (for u can find over 300 here!!) but I just have to say that this is the album that got me into the prog world by letting me explore a different kind of music... far away from all the conventionalisms and dullness that were around the music I heard back in the year 2001... I think this is one of the best prog-metal albums ever recorded.. it has IMO good lyrics, a great concept, extreme technical skill (yes, I know that is not everything, but it surely helps achieving great music!!), and an awesome ending as finally free...

Even though a lot of people find this album boring, I think it's too good... And I'll always be grateful with it for helping me discover a lot of other great bands out there... I think everyone should have this in their collection in their "prog metal" section because this is one of the most representative modern albums of prog metal and prog music and no collection should be considered complete without a little bit of good metal in it! go get this and pay close attention to each of these compositions specially the overture, beyond this life and the mind blowing dance of eternity...5 stars

Report this review (#82962)
Posted Thursday, July 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I recently gave this album a thorough listen after owning it for a year or so, and I can safely say it is worthy of masterpiece status, and is one of Dream Theater's 5 star opuses (along with Images and Words).

What is there left ot say about this amazing band? I have rediscovered thier outstanding back catalogue, and its easy to see why Dream Theater is heads and tails above the competition in the prog-metal music realm (with only Pain of Salvation, Tool, and Opeth coming close to them in terms of quality output).

You can debate their compostional skills. You can debate their level of progginess. What you can't debate, however, is their musical prowess: the five members of Dream Theater are among the top musical virtuosos in the world, all classically trained (with three members attending the esteemed Berklee College of Music, to which I applied as well:)). Thewir live shows are also out of this world, and any fans of DT are recommended to see them live as it is a blast to watch.

Anyways, onto the album... kind of silly to do a track by track with some many reviews, so I'll spare the reader some time. The concept is interesting if not ground-breaking, but it hepls give the band something to say, both musically and lyrically. Speaking of lyrically, Dream Theater does not sound as corny on this album as they do on others (much of Falling Into Infinity and Octavarium conain cringeworthy lyrics); James Labrie's easy delivery and tone helps make the album a joy to listen to, and he is in top form for sure. Whether soft and smooth ('The Spirit Carries On') or rough and rousing ('Beyond This Life'), Labrie does not disappoint.

The musicians themselves are the ones churning out the music, and the remaining four members of Dream Theater are all in top form on this album. Guitarist John Petrucci has some really staggering guitar solos and extremely interesting lead lines throughout the album (which he has, sadly, not been able to top). What makes Petrucci's playing so magnificent is that, even when he is shredding like a madman and playing 64th note runs, one can still hear ever single note he's playing, a true feat, and a testament to his musicality. John Myung on bass plays very typically on this album: in the back, with a 'business as usual' attitude, but still playing some of the most complex bass runs I've ever heard.

Jorden Rudess, the new addition to Dream Theater,is a welcome breath of fresh air from the slightly subdued and prissy Derek Sherinian who I've never been a fan of. Rudess, a Juliard alum, is quite an amazing keyboardist, as he can swith through a variety of styles (classical, metal, ragtime, jazzy, rock) instantly. His keyboard runs perfectly compliment Petrucci's playing at some times, and other times he just lays down the ambience and foundation of the song to come.

Mike Portnoy doesn't really need to be discussed; he puts in a jaw-dropping drum performance, and as usual plays with a mix of Neil Peart-ian fills and 'big rock show!' time patterns. 'Finally Free' is outstanding and showcases Mike's outstanding musical ability.

The album itself is the most unified and album-oriented of DT's catalogue. It possesses in itself a contradiction: it works best when heard all together, yet the songs themselves are quite capable of being held on their own terms (for further eargasms, I suggest the reader to listen to 'Beyond This Life' from Live in's been stretched to 20 minutes!). My favorite songs are of course the big ones: 'Beyond This Life' contains the best jam session on the album, and 'Home' has some lovely throwbacks to the orginal Metropolis. That's another fun thing about this album: fans of Images and Words will have a ball picking out the different allusions and riffs from the original Metropolis throughout this album.

I am not a Dream Theater fanboy or a metalhead. I am a musician and a proghead, and as such, i recognize the need for both emotional and smart compostional ability as well as techincal prowess (for what I will be attending 4 years of college for!). Noweher does Dream Theater exemplify these traits than on Scenes From A Memory. A definate masterpiece of progressive rock and worthy of its praise.

Report this review (#83075)
Posted Friday, July 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Since this site is understandably youth-oriented I would like to aim this review at the "older" members and visitors who may not be at all familiar with Dream Theater. Up until a few months ago I was included in that group. If you are over 45 years old then you, like myself, might harbor the opinion that progressive rock is resting somewhere near the Titanic. I adored Genesis, Yes, ELP, King Crimson, Zappa and a host of jazz fusion artists in the late 60s and throughout the 70s. Then I watched and listened sadly as the genre got smothered by the phenomenon that was MTV and never saw it resurface. A few years ago my teen son played me something by this band. Of course, since I know everything, I dismissed it graciously and really didn't give it a chance. Then I found this site and noticed that DT is held in very high esteem by folks who like the same classic prog that I still listen to. I finally took the plunge and bought this album. Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle. This is one helluva piece of music by some of the most talented musicians I've ever heard. I can't recommend it higher. I hear traces of Rush, Styx, Yes and even Zappa in the music but in no way do they sound like any of those. If there's any area of average- ness it's in the lyric content but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt because they were having to work within the restrictions of telling an involved story throughout this cd. Everything else is absolutely amazing and I don't say that lightly. Progressive rock is alive and well, it's just flying under the radar. I have a copy of Rolling Stone Magazine's Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll that is only a few years old and Dream Theater isn't even listed. That's okay, I guess. All I can tell you is that, for the first time in decades, with "Scenes" I put on an album that intrigued me as a musician and challenged my ability to completely absorb the performance on the first five or six listens. It's still in my changer three weeks later. That's what used to happen with a new release from the aforementioned groups and I was afraid those days were gone. I now look forward to hearing and experiencing what else these guys have been up to.

P.S. I have since apologized to my son who rightly responded with "I told you so."

Report this review (#83543)
Posted Wednesday, July 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Quite simply one of the finest peices of progressive metal ever created. A concept album with an intriguing story and great lyrics, every song on this album is brilliant, constantly flowing ideas that form a cohesive whole. They go from crushing metal to soft ballads, and it works perfectly. The musicianship is superb, both tasteful and mindblowing. It is the first album with Jordan Rudess on keyboards, and although most of the music was written before he joined, you can really see his influence on songs like Fatal Tragedy and One Last Time. This album really shows the full capability of Dream Theater, it is a great starting point for anyone looking to discover this amazing band.
Report this review (#84151)
Posted Wednesday, July 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream theater definitely has the most powerful spot between the bands that took the progressive music to the 21st century. The band, that almost broke up after their 3rd album tour ("Awake"), and the constant pressure from the record company to produce hits, has made the musician pretty unstable. As a last minute move, they have turned to the company's management and demanded artistic freedom to their next project - and if this demand will not be fulfilled, they have threatend to end their career. The management have surrendered, and the band started the long & hard process of creating the album... Since then, "Scenes" became the most valuable album ever created by Dream, and most importantly - a perfect figure of Progressive Metal.

"Scenes From A Memory" is a complicated, ambitious rock-opera, 77 mins long. It was called as "Metropolis Part II". The first part, was in "Images & Words" - on track no. 5. But the first part was lyrically weak on the same subjects (Life after death, eternal love, etc.), and in fact Dream have came back to the beginning and tried to continue from the place that seemed right, artistically.

Maybe the fact that all of the line-up is built from new yorkers, you can feel the influence from Broadway's musicals. It comes to an expression in the work of Jordan Rudess, the virtoaus keyboardist (who was a new joiner at that time), which enriched Dream's music melodicly (classic motifs), harmonically (right chords moves), rythmically (not keeping with the cliches of Rock/Metal), and acoustically (additions of sounds such as piano, choir & strings). Rudess balanced & challenged Petrucci, that always went - as a guitarist - to metal. With that, it's important to say that all of the members' name are on the composing, so it is pretty likely a team effort. I've got to mention, that one of the great specialnesses of this album is the brilliant instrumental improvisations, between the melodic instruments - Rudess-keyboards & Petrucci-guitar, who have a great work together and create healthy competition between wonders of players in the rock world.

As you can expect from a band that called itself "Dream Theater", were dealing with a modernic opera (or a musical...), that motorize itself by a dream - according to the story - with the technique called "Regression Therapy", you can hypnotize the patient, bring him back to different reincarnations, and to find out the meaning of problems & complexes in the present. Nicholas, our hero, is a normal guy that is troubled by dreams which include a girl (Victoria) and a house. He turns to a psychologist and realize that Victoria's soul is trapped inside his body (praticullary - in his head). Victoria's story brings him back to 1928 and to a famous murder that was made, it turns out, after the break of a romantic triangle between herself & two brothers - Jullian & Edward. The duty of revealing the past becomes an obsession - trying to find out the truth, no matter the price. It ends, traghically, in a traghedy.

Building a 77-minute long album ain't easy. There is an important need for a link between the seperated parts. It is hard to find the right balance between slow, acoustic tracks, sub-chapters that was meant to promote the plot, improvisations & instrumental inventions, effects, and brief explanations about the advance of the story. Dream Theater have definitely did the job well, and created a wide variety of so-called opposed genres: Blues Rock, Romantic, Heavy Metal, Gospel, Broadway and even Indian music.

I can easily call "Scenes" a revolutionary album, it is an exciting masterpiece, strong & well polished. The recordings are full of little & interesting details, and can testify the hard work in the studio. All the composings are well made, The instrumental performance by the trio (guitar, keyboards & drums) are just breath-taking, and the dramatic plot really expresses in the vocal delivering (by James LaBrie) and in the musical production level. Dream Theater have really built a milestone in the prog rock history, which i can bet that will remembered many years from now... In my opinion, Dream has succeed to compare itself and even uplift the spiritual fathers of the 70's.

So, i guess there's nothing else to say than - 5 stars.

Report this review (#84665)
Posted Monday, July 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars After years, im givin this one a try again. The album that let me stop to wait for a dream theater release forever. I remember, when i listened the first time to Falling into infinity it was on a recorded cassette, that my old gf gave me... When I listened to it I just thought "What's this s**t????". So I was waiting for the next release, as a die hard fan myself too. So one day my best friend came at home with something in his hands. Metropolis Part II. I thought wow, let's listen to it. When i listened to Overture, i thought "Well, dream theater are back it seems", apart for some ridiculus moment in the song. Then the second track. I thought it was a little strange, with iteresting moments, but... boring and bloated. Well, I listened to the rest of the album just looking to my friend that did the same he did when we listened for the first time to falling into infinity. We were running circles with our thumbs. Now Im listening again to it, and im surely more mature. Well... Overture have its moments... but i still find some pieces ridiculous. Then comes Strange dejavu... interesting chorus... but what about the rest? boring, full of cliches.... Then I can enjoy the slow moment but... it lasts for 1 minute! The next song is terrible... It goes for some minutes of boring verse/chorus/bridge/whatsoever and culminate in a ridiculous solo moment... please, stop that solo! and please someone kicks rudess and erase his ridiculous sounds from his keyboard! When it stops i said "Yeah!" but then I said "Pleaseeeeeee i want the solo again!!!!!". The most ridiculous riff in Dream Theater history, and one of the most ridiculous of the last year surely. The song continues in weak moments, unuseful riffs, and of course the superriff of the beginning of the song repeated sometimes.Unlistenable.And then what??? Jordan Rudess with his ridiculous sound soloing over a variation of the superriff. I want to die. And then John doing his unuseful solo. And then Rudess again. please.. please..have they listened to the 8.45 part before producing?? at 9.05 it gets worst, and i thought that was impossible. Why bloat a song with unuseful (and ugly) solos?? And then the mellow part, unuseful of course... but after the stupid soloing is a pleasure. Wow, they take the slow part introduced in track 4, that could be maybe a good idea like pieces of art like space dye vest or Wait For Sleep... but no, let's do a pop song like Hollow years. As prog as.. dunno, it's like george michael (i wrote it random, sorry if i spelled it wrong). Home starts with arabic influences + some sitar... And then proceeds with some boring riff... Wow, I enjoy a little piece but... Lol, it's just a rearshal of old material! And then it goes boring again. Let's listen the solo.... Argh. Rudess. Ridiculous melodies, ridiculous sounds. Im not talking of his past works... but with dream theater... God save us from him. After the song rewinds, rearshal, arabic, boring. Ugly. Dance of eternity... I thought i'd have enjoyed this one... Boring till 2.30 where it becomes ridiculous. Please, kill Rudess and his circus like things. Then some unuseful solo... and boring and unuseful riffing. Ugly sounds. The worst instrumental of dream theater at the date they recorded this cd. Then begins "one last time", that, without the ridiculous riff that's in the middle, is quite audible, but certainly not over the top. Then an average pop song, the spirit carries on, that culminate in some decent soloing... but... Where's dream theater??? Im yawning. Wow, some unuseful solo again. Yawn. Let's listen to the last track, it could be a surprise. Well not a great surprise, but they go much better for me in this one. nothing impressive, but at least there are some good melodies, and it's not as boring as the other songs.

So, we have an album with a few good moments, bloated with ugly solos, with horrible keyboard solos, that should be the masterpiece of progressive metal. LOL I don't know it this is the worst dream theater album ever, cause Falling into infinity is poor too... But at least I enjoy some songs in that one... Poor, weak, ugly, bloated, and especially overrated.

Report this review (#84695)
Posted Monday, July 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars Just read the last review for this "masterpiece" and I was thinking: "This guy isn't that much wrong though it's ages ago that I listened to this record".So my next action was to put it into my player (just a copy,don't worry,I never bought this highly praised piece of...) and after only listening until "Stange Deja-vu" I thought already: "Damn,this guy is absolutely right,this isn't anything which deserves to be called prog metal!" - Admittedly this record can easily impress newbies to prog, I've been as well when I listened to it the very first time and I was still when I watched it live on video but after a while I forgot completely about it and meanwhile I've listened to 1000's of other things (obviously much more interesting). So today I listened to it once again and I remembered immediately almost every melody line, so what is this kind of stuff? - pop music? - Obviously not, but something similar to that within prog metal genre. I listened right after this one to THRESHOLD's "Hypothetical" (as well after ages) and what should I say? - Though I remembered as well immediately all the melodies it still was appealing to me. Thus a quite simple and rational conclusion: DT might have excellent and talented musicians but the music they're producing does not hold the test of time.It's good enough for a couple of spins, then it gets boring. I just can advice any prog newbie: If you're interested in really EXCELLENT prog metal then try THRESHOLD,POS,OPETH,GREEN CARNATION,IN THE WOODS or RIVERSIDE, but forget about DREAM THEATER, they're just good enough for pop fans who want to show off what kind of sophisticated stuff they're listening to.
Report this review (#84702)
Posted Monday, July 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars By 1999 I was a die-hard DTer so I eagerly awaited the release of Scenes From A Memory. By this time I was thoroughly familiar with the band and was well aware that Scenes represented the band's attempt to conclude Metropolis Part I from Images & Words. Frankly I didn't care what the band was attempting to do, I just wanted to get my hands and ears on the first studio release from the boys since 1997's Falling Into Infinity. Thus I found myself stopping off at a Best Buy in Knoxville, Tennessee to pick up the disc on a Tuesday in November and heading straight to my hotel room to get a good listen. I can distinctly remember thinking it funny that this was the second straight DT release that I had picked up while I was on the road working. Nevertheless, I listened to the CD straight through, from beginning to end, in my hotel room. I also distinctly remember my first reaction to SFaM was this might very well be an epic conceptual disc, ranking with other memorable concept albums such as 2112, The Wall, Operation:Mindcrimeor The Wake of Magellan. I also distinctly remember listening to the disc the next day at work, and again while driving my car that afternoon from Knoxville to Atlanta. By the weekend I had listened to the disc a half dozen times or more and by that point was absolutely CERTAIN that SFaM ranked among the all-time great concept albums.

Perhaps the main reason SFaM works so well is the storyline carries the entire disc from beginning to end. The story of Nicholas discovering his tragic pastlife through hypnosis is compelling and told appropriately through the course of the disc. we have both tragic and sympathetic characters, mystery, sex, death,'s a truly wonderful story that unfolds perfectly, with sectioned parts that leave the listener forever wanting more and guessing at what comes next. Transitions are also excellent, especially the spoken word intro. A compelling story and successful transitions are absolutely crucial to any great concept disc as they serve to make the sum of the parts greater than the individual pieces and this is certainly true with SFaM.

SCENE ONE: The opening section of Scenes is one of my all-time favorites, surpassed only by the perfect opening of Mindcrime. The short Regression opens with Nicholas being hypnotized by his shrink; the sound effects are eerily real, and I can imagine more than a few suggestive minds being lulled by the hypnotic voice/guitar effect.

SCENE TWO: The band then kicks into an extended musical opening (Overture 1928) that works very well, reminding me of the opening to ACoS. Here we're introduced to a number of musical themes that will play themselves out through the rest of Scenes. Overture segues perfectly into Strange Deja Vu, the first real song on Scenes and a very good song as well. Hard driving, with urgent singing, the song contains one of the most bad-ass riffs I've ever heard. It's this song that tells listeners that Nicholas is discovering the story of a young girl, and he begins to realize that he was that girl in a past life.

SCENE THREE: Through My Words is a haunting, piano-based ballad that features some of James LaBrie's most emotional singing. The song quickly transitions into Fatal Tragedy, which first reveals the girl, Victoria, was murdered. Tragedy also contains some imaginative licks, both hard and progressive. Standing alone the song would probably rank as a 9 but since it plays such a central role in the story I give it a 10.

SCENE FOUR: Beyond This Life opens with the voice of the hypnotherapist, "Now it is time to see how you died. Remember, death is not the end, but only a transition." With that we begin yet another very hard, progressive song, which tells the story of Victoria's murder and the mystery surrounding it. This song is awesome for about 7 minutes, and includes a short but stunning guitar solo from Petrucci. But the song concludes with a 5+ minute musical jam which is about 3 and half minutes too long. The initial portion of the jam is quite good and if the band had simply stopped there the song would be excellent. Unfortunately the DT ego takes over there and we endure about four minutes of self-indulgent musical masturbation that really has no place in the Scenes story. This flaw, which again rears its head later, is the only thing keeping me from giving the disc an even higher rating. SCENE FIVE: Through Her Eyes is a pleasant ballad that demonstrates that when DT wants to, they can write a very good song, without all the instrumental histrionics. The song opens in Pink Floydesque fashion, with Petrucci and Rudess creating a mellow setting behind the beautiful voice of Theresa Thomson. This is one of DT's better efforts at subtlety (something they should try more often), with Petrucci playing a very simple guitar part and nary a double-bass drum to be heard. They even effectively employ vocal harmonies, ending with a nice LaBrie crescendo. All in all a wonderful song that's a departure from the usual DT formula.

SCENE SIX: Unlike Through Her Eyes, Home strictly adheres to the usual DT formula but damn it works well. The slow-build opening is pure genius, reminding me of The Camera Eye and La Villa Strangiato, both by Rush. The mid-eastern sound created by Jordan Rudess is hypnotic and blends perfectly with the imaginative use of cymbals by Portnoy. All slowly building to a very powerful, irresistable 1-2 beat (I DARE you not to shake your head to this song). From there we're treated to another 10-minute epic song that ranks up with Learning to Live, Voices and Lines in the Sand from prior DT releases. I'm almost tempted to give this song 10+ because not only does it stand alone as a wonderful song but it's also the most important in the telling of the Scenes story. It's here where listeners learn of the struggle between two brothers to win the love of Victoria. The song is an allegory as well, as one of the brothers (Julian) fights himself after losing Victoria. His sinister thoughts are perfectly matched by the tone of the song. Home is also where the story's theme is tied into Metropolis Part I from Images & Words. The high points are too numerous to mention, beginning with the slow-building intro and though creative verse/chorus combinations that includes a wonderful guitar fill that leads to the climax of the song. A truly great piece of music. The one negative, for me, is the way the song changes course at the end. Where you expect the conclusion, the band instead moves into one of their complex musical stints. While the piece is fairly short (about 1 minute) and pleasant, like the jam in Beyond This Life, it doesn't really fit in with the story line.

SCENE SEVEN: It's with The Dance of Eternity that Scenes finally falls apart. An instrumental that no doubt contains some amazingly difficult challenges for the musicians, I find it almost unlistenable. Dance lasts over 6 minutes, and combined with the musical section from Home gives Scenes almost 13 minutes without any storyline. Considering Scenes is a concept disc driven by storyline, this is a major flaw. I'm sure there are a lot of hardcore DT fans who absolutely LOVE Dance but I imagine most of them are musicians. I can't imagine non-musicians wanting to listen to this self-indulgent stuff. It's a song that should be on one of the band's side projects like Liquid Tension Experiment. Were it not for this 10 minute detour from the story, Scenes could very well rank as high as any concept disc ever released. The only enjoyable part of Dance is that it ends nicely, with a very cool hard/soft transition into One Last Time. Rudess opens OLTime with a nice classical piano sound, and we finally pick up the story again. Nicholas now understands the facts of the story, but not the reasons. The song is a beautiful piece, with a clever arrangement and one of the best crescendo ending you'll ever hear.

SCENE EIGHT: The Spirit Carries On is another strong ballad, and contains the best lyrics found on Scenes. They talk of Nicholas' ability to face death now that he understand life continues. The final verse finds DT putting their fine musical chops on display, most notably a fantastic Petrucci guitar solo. Unlike TDOE, however, this musical section works perfectly, fitting within the structure of both the song and the overall theme. The soaring feeling of both the lyrics and music is a perfect conclusion.

SCENE NINE: Scenes could very easily end with The Spirit Carries On and be a complete story. Instead, the band gives the story and the disc a finale that proves both surprising and enjoyable. Finally Free is yet another great song that combines all the usual progressive DT elements. The story is again in the present, Nicholas having completed his therapy session, understanding how Victoria died and was reborn in him. The song's intro is genius, with the guitar sound perfectly representing the "light" that brings Nicholas back from hypnosis. From there the story goes into a sort of post-script and includes a reenactment of the murder of both Victoria and her lover. The band does a good job conveying the chaos and horror of the moment, then moves nicely into the rising of the two spirits after death. We're also treated to reworkings of a number of musical themes heard throughout Scenes. All-in-all a nice closing to a great concept disc. My one complaint is I HATE the sound effects that conclude the disc.....after a great musical buildup (including a flamboyent but effective Portnoy solo) the band employs a series of sound effects to reveal the surprise ending. While I enjoy the storyline (which I won't reveal here) I don't like the execution as it has the CD ending with a downright painful sound. It's about as enjoyable as listening to nails scratching a chalkboard....virtually anything else would have been better. That's a minor flaw, however, and I still rank Scenes as one of the great concept albums of all time.

Report this review (#85137)
Posted Sunday, July 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars If anyone reads this they should take to consideration that I have known Dream Theater since 1998. Although I was a small child (10, actually), it was inevitable to listen the great quality that this master perfomers had. Still, I wasn't in the age of paying attention to metal or even progressive bands such as Pink Floyd (which I adore), Yes or Genesis.

Nevertheless, I was completely into Dream Theaters sound just by downloading certain songs from certain albums, but I was in great luck of just downloading two songs which would make me go nuts! I downloaded Fatal Tragedy and Home, and Oh my God. What songs! I was confused with the mentioning of Victoria so I wanted to research for more.

One friend of mine lend me Scenes From A Memory, Metropolis Part II. And I did listen to the whole album with my earphones on and laid in bed. Just listening to the clock and the voice of James LaBrie sent me to a whole new world. After listening the whole album, I've gotta tell you: I felt WAY better. Just waiking up with the now famous quote of: "Open your eyes, Nicholas" was completely amazing, since my name is Nicholas! Actually without the H, just Nicolás (I'm Colombian :)).

Anyway, it was a great Cd to get the first debut of a Dream Theater Album. I started to listen the rest of the albums and found out how great they were as well. Learning to Live became my favourite song of all times, and that was just the preview of what Dream Theater was capable of doing...I have listened to that Cd so many times; and thanks to that Cd was that I was more into DT and now it is my favourite band of all times! Thanks to Scenes From A Memory I was dragged into the progressive music as well as to metal bands and albums. I just have to thank for songs such as -Through her eyes- for being so simple and yet so special!!! It is definately my favourite cd of Dream Theater! Just listen to the Solos of John Petrucci; Jordan Rudess made an incredible debut with the band! Mike Portnoy will never stop amazing me, and thanks as well to John Myung for making that Bass incredibly fast and melodic (that solo in the -Dance of Eternity- is AMAZING!). Great concept album.

Finally, if you want to listen to great concept albums I shall recommend you as well: The Dark Side of the Moon - The Wall - Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt II - Symphony Of Enchanted Lands.


Report this review (#85417)
Posted Tuesday, August 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Scenes from a Memory, Metropolis part 2" is in many ways the album that defined prog- metal as a true genre along with 'Images and Words.' It is also one of, if not the best album from Dream Theater and all prog-metal and it is highly acclaimed by prog (metal) fans. I certainly think that 'Scenes from a Memory' is a very good album and the concept of the album is represented well through the musicianship of Dream Theater.

I'm not 100% sure about the concept behind "Scenes from a Memory" but I believe it is a about a girl named Victoria who was murdered in 1928 by her ex lover. A man named Nicolas is haunted by her ghost in the 20th century. Whether the concept (the murder part anyway) is true or not I'm unsure, but "Scenes from a Memory" portrays it very well. The album is split into two acts and nine scenes which gives the album a theatrical feel. There are lots of strange twists in the story and I always get lost with the story line after the song "Fatal Tragedy", it is a confusing concept.

The musicianship of "Scenes from a Memory" is very good and the guitar work and percussion are the high points. James Labrie is at his very best here are his voice blends with the music well. On reflection I can't think of anyone else's voice that could suite this album, James has the perfect voice for it. There are multiple guitar parts for each song, and I wonder how Dream Theater would sound performing this album live.

There are a few extremely good songs where the band works together as one big happy group, "Fatal Tragedy" and "The Spirit Carries" on both come to mind. There are solos spotted although out "Scenes from a Memory" and both Jorge rudess and Mike Petrucci enjoy multiple solos on several occasions. Like any good concept album there is a backing choir on the climax of the album, which for "Scenes from a Memory" is "The Spirit Carries on."

"The Spirit Carries on" is the greatest highlight on "Scenes from a Memory" and, although it is a rather cheesy song, it is still good. "Finally Free" and "Home" are both very good songs as well and they characterize Dream Theater very well. The guitar work on all these songs is very impressive and John Petrucci is to be commended for his performance. "Scenes from a Memory" is quite a long-running album and it goes for about 77 minutes, hence it is difficult to listen to in it's full length. But on that rare occasion when you do have that much time, it is a rewarding experience.

ACT 1 1. Scene One: Regression (3/5) 2. Scene TWO: I.Overture 1928 (3/5) 3. II.Strange Deja Vu (4/5) 4. Scene Three: I.Through My Words (3/5) 5. II.Fatal Tragedy (4/5) 6. Scene Four: Beyond This Life (4/5) 7. Scene Five: Through Her Eyes (3/5) ACT 2 8. Scene Six: Home (4/5) 9. Scene Seven: I.The Dance of Eternity (4/5) 10. II.One Last Time (3/5) 11. Scene Eight: The Spirit Carries On (5/5) 12. Scene Nine: Finally Free (4/5) Total = 44 divided by 12 (number of songs)= 3.66 = 4 stars Excellent addition to any prog music collection

I'm in no way a DT buff, but I respect and greatly enjoy "Scenes from a Memory" and I regard it as one of the best Prog Metal albums. Scenes from a Memory is a very proggy album and it certainly played a role in the development in the prog metal genre. I would recommend on Scenes from a Memory to ALL prog metal fans, it is an essential to you guys. Even if you don't particularly like prog metal it is still an excellent album.

Report this review (#86028)
Posted Monday, August 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From a Memory is the fifth album by US Prog-metal band Dream Theater and the bands first, and so far only, concept album. It is also the album that saw the debut of new keyboard player Jordan Rudess, having poached him from the Dixie Dregs to replace Derek Sherinian. This album elaborates on the story we were introduced to on the album Images and Words in Metropolis Part 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper.

This is quite simply the best album the band have produced yet, and remains that way almost 10 years later (though not for lack of trying). The album starts off with the introduction Regression that sets the scene for this story but it's the opening of Overture 1928 that really grabs you and from then on it never lets go. This album takes you through the raucous blasts of Strange Déjà Vu, Beyond This Life (and others), through the quiet emotion of Through my Words and the almost soulful Through Her Eyes. The big strength of this album is that it flows so well from song to song, just like you would expect from a concept album and as a result this is probably the most emotionally diverse album that DT have produced so far.

Individual performances from the band members is superb, possibly the best that each has ever given in the studio on any of their albums. Petrucci's guitar playing on this album gives everything that you could want from him, the catchy little riffs that you usually find from him, the neat bridges and the impressive solo's, and not just the supper fast ones that he's famous for but a couple of really soulful, slow solo's that catch the attention as well. John Myung adds some real stand out performances, most notably on the instrumental Dance of Eternity were he opens with one of the simplest, but most effective bass intro's I've ever heard and adds a rather impressive solo into the middle of the song as well. His role in general is the usual blend of strong bass lines and inventive rhythmic playing that compliments the guitar and keyboards without trying to overshadow, or being overshadowed by them.

Mike Portnoy gives the usual stunning performances here were he expands on the drummers usual rhythmic playing whilst still holding the back beat perfectly. This all culminates in the stunning solo that he gives to finish of the album, a particularly memorable way to finish it at that. Jordan Rudess was the unknown factor in this album as he had just joined the band. His style of play conveys nearly as much emotion as Kevin Moore's (but just a bit short of that) whilst being better technically. His style also fits in with the band perfectly as you will find on Scenes From a Memory, which was exactly the problem with Sherinian, he didn't quite fit with the group. Rudess's playing on this album is brilliant, conveying the emotion needed and matching Petrucci for technical excellence. On this album James LaBrie makes a subtle change to the way he singes and almost completely gives up trying to do the high pitched screams that marred his performance on Awake. For those that don't like LaBrie, its unlikely you will find anything here to convince you otherwise but for the rest his performance matches that of his band mates.

Its not often that I find an album that I cant find anything wrong with it, even on 5 star albums I will find a small niggling problem, but nothing worth getting hung up over. Here I can find no fault, in my opinion this is the best album that Dream Theater have ever produced and I don't think they will ever beat it, and I'll go so far as to say that it's in my top 5 of all time favourite albums, simply perfect, 5 stars.

Report this review (#87349)
Posted Tuesday, August 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Scenes From a Memory

This album is beautiful, its emotional, its heavy, its rockin, its sweet, its raunchy. It's simply got it all. It has its blend of heavy tracks with killer solos:Fatal Tragedy, Beyond This Life, Home). It has its emotional ballads with sweet melodies: Through Her Eyes, The Spirit Carries On. The sick instrumentals: Overture 1928, The Dance of Eternity. It's got great production, the vocals sound great, the guitars, keyboard, rhythm. The lyrics are sweet and the concept is neat! This album simply delivers.

Report this review (#88563)
Posted Thursday, August 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, i'm quite unsure wether you should call "Scenes from a Memory" a "concept album" or a "rock opera". What's sure is that:

1) The plot behind the album is greatly intuitive 2) The album flows fantastically scene-by-scene / song-by-song 3) The music is exceptional from a compositive standpoint and amazingly played

This are the main 3 reasons why i consider Metropolis part II a Must-Have for any prog-listener and,more in general, any fan of hi-quality music. Now, the metal-oriented sound may discourage many classic-tasted listeners, but being the progger itself more open to sound innovations than any other kind of listeners, it would be a pity to discard this album just because it sounds heavier. Listen carefully, and anjoy the trip!

Report this review (#91636)
Posted Sunday, September 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater's Metropolis Part II: Scenes from a memory is considered their comeback. If ever curious of what I mean just watch the documentry to Score and you'll know. Scenes from a memory to put it bluntly is the best Prog metal album released. It's put Dream Theater as the God's prog metal along side others like Queensryche and Fates Warning. Being a concept album, Dream Theater takes on the character of Nicholas who ventures through time by means of hypnosis and discovers an ancient unsolved mystery back in 1928 dealing with betrayl, love, gambling addictions, and cold blooded grudges that eventually led to murder. An awsome album that goes through many emotions and plays out Dream Theater's best musician ship. This album is right next to that of Six Degrees and others. If ever starting with DT, this is the album to start with. If you love this album you love the rest, or like the rest, whatever. All songs are good, I don't need to go through them and spend the next 24 hours going over it. Just to say, 5/5 stars makes Dream Theater an incredible band! Masterpiece among prog, give it a listen! Then Buy it!
Report this review (#93129)
Posted Monday, October 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Good, but not great.

After being introduced to progressive metal by the wonderful Operation: Mindcrime, I became extremely interested in the genre as a whole. So, I decided to get the album that was considered the genre's proverbial jewel-in-the-crown, Scenes From A Memory. Oops.

This is not a bad album. In fact, at some moments, it's amazing. "Home" remains one of the best progressive metal songs I've ever heard. The album as a concept however, just doesn't seem to come together. The concept, and thus, the lyrics, for one thing, are incomprehensible. Too many of the songs get stuck in hard-to-digest solos. I find myself too often wondering, "what just happened?" The album simply doesn't gel. And don't get me started on the ending to "Finally Free".

Dream Theater had high moments. This is not one of them. It fails as a concept album, because the long instrumental sections do not allow a decent story to develop. The story seems to end just after it begins. Musically, the songs range from decent (One Last Time), to great (Fatal Tragedy), to amazing (Home), to "huh?" (Dance of Eternity). But, as stated before, the issue is that they just don't seem to come together, and a concept album with that flaw is doomed from the start.

3/5, because I'm in a good mood.

Report this review (#98686)
Posted Monday, November 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Scenes For A Memory was a make or break record for DT. After the fairly good Falling Into Infinity flopped, Portnoy and Petrucci took over as producers for hte band's albums and insisted that the label could not force them to make "commercial" songs, which led to FII's failure.The band was on the edge of breakup and their future depended on this album. The result was one of the finest masterpieces of newer prog (neo prog and prog metal). The concept revolves around a man who is hypontized in order ot communicate to his past life. The setting reverts to 1928 and the album revolves around a romantic tryst and murder. Every member shines on this disc.

"Regression" is a spoken word opener much like "I Remember Now" on Operation Mindcrime. It leads inot the first instrumental "Overture 1928." This recalls some passages of Metroplois Pt 1 and creates new ones that will be heard later on the album.

"Strange Deja Vu" is a riffy number that has a nice groove to it, rare for DT, though don't expect it to be danceable. "Through My Words" brings out the Queensryche creepy atmosphere for a suprisingly beautiful piano piece.

"Fatal Tragedy" is where you should really start paying attention to the lyrics, if you haven't already. The instrumental break with Rudess' keyboard riff into Petrucci's solo is incredible.

"Beyond This Life" is an absolute shredfest with a great riff. The latter half of the song belongs to Petruucci, who unleashes a mega solo that winds through time and style changes. Listen for the awesome Zappa-like part of the solo. "Through Her Eyes" is the tribute to Floyd, with the guitar and keyboard ethereality. A great stripped-down song.

The softness fades into Home, which starts with a slowly building guiat riff that is complemented by Rudess' Eastern keyboard and Myung's bassline. THe song erupts into a full headbanger with a heavy riff. The keyboard and guitar solos are some of the players' best.

"The Dance of Eternity" is DT's ultimate instrumental. When it starts, you could easily think that Overture 1928 came back on. The songs soon abandons the similarity and launches inot a six minute tour de force complete with Myung's best bass work yet and a neat ragtime piano break by Rudess. One of my personal favorite songs.

"One Last Time" resumes the story that went on hiatus for the solos. Reverts back to softness after the sonic bludgeoning of Home and Dance. "The Spirit Carries On" is La Brie's moment in the spotlight. He delivers some great voals and Petrucci's restrained solo brings back memories of the great parts of Falling Into Infinity. THis song is DT's second most beautiful after Space Dye Vest. "Finally Free" brings the concept to a close and the band ends their finest studio album on a peak.

In the end, DT manages to write a unique record while still paying obvious homage to their heroes. The only flaw is that the solos of Home and Dance of Eternity steal time away from lyrics, but both are stunners and the lyrics fit perfectly elsewhere so it isn't a problem. This album is the only DT studio record worth five stars (Images and Words is extremely close, plus all live albums except Once in a Livetime and Live @ Marquee deserve five). This album would be bettered on the Live Scenes album with the inclusion of Changes of Seasons, Learning to Live, even LTE's Acid Rain.

This stands as a prog metal masterpiece, to me second only to Operation Mindcrime. Anyone who likes this should check out the aforementioned OM, The Wall, Pain of Salvation's The Perfect Element Pt 1, or Symphony X's V.

Report this review (#102992)
Posted Wednesday, December 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars It was the first DT album I heard. And I got to say this - if this is prog than prog is dead, if this is metal than it's not so good either. I don't like prog metal bands (beside just few), and for me Dream Theater is just terrible. The songs are long, but who cares? No feelling in this, no emotions, only playing. Perfectly playing, even too perfectly. One of the song titles of this album describes it well. Fatal Tragedy. Album like this are killing prog. Don't buy this album!
Report this review (#104106)
Posted Thursday, December 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I don't think that this is an unbiased review of this album as much as any DT album. Through the years ( 80's - 90's - 00's) I enjoyed all kinds of metal (classic, heavy, thrash, funk(!), industrial, gothic, neo) to end up with progressive. Simply, it sums up all the above in a way that fits to my ears. So for the last couple years I 've been a great fan of DT as they are for many people the best and the most influential prog metal band around.

I got this album from the first day and although I didn't understand in the beginning, this is their finest. The virtuosity of this band is the strong part. They can play virtually anything but they usually stick to metal, so I believe that this album fits mainly to the metal crowd. The complexity can be found in all their albums but it's the concept-opera feeling that it's so strong here. They can make you bang your head as easy as they can melt your soul in the slow melodic parts. The compositions are strong throughout the album and there are peaks for all five musicians. From the thunderous solos to the colossal drums of the finale the music blows you away. The lyrics have a meaning that gets through easily. And LaBrie's voice fits perfectly to the concept.

I think that this band you can either love it or hate it. For their music the least you can do is respect it. And this album truly proves their talent. Surely a MASTERPIECE. Consider yourself lucky if you can see them live, especially performing this album. I did.

Report this review (#104145)
Posted Friday, December 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars this alnum is the first prog rock album i bought so it introduce me to the progressive rcok so if an album could do that is obviusly a good album, im a not a musician so i dont know how good is about the music arragements melodies an all that but this album makes any prog listener have a journey to other dimension talking about lyrics and music compositions and yeah now im a fan od DT and im really pride of that cuz man this is one of the best progressive rock bands not just prog metal...
Report this review (#106381)
Posted Sunday, January 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars As I've read the reviews of this DT-album, it seems that some of the old progheads have missed some points here. If you start to listen how virtuously but boringly guitars are played or pay your attention on how the band has not the same kind of deepness that 70's bands used to have, you've probably missed something important. I am not a fan of progressive metal, and never will be, but still I have to admit that in terms of its own genre, the album is pretty good. The soundscape and feelings that progmetal bands create live in their own universe, not in 70's (if you like 'Gone With the Wind', don't watch 'Matrix', or at least don't compare them with the same criteria). If you like old heavy metal bands and I like to listen good old 3 chord riffs, this may be far too complicate for you, but I think that paying attention to difficultiness of DT is not a good starting point - they have some good somescapes and intriquing musical ideas.
Report this review (#108740)
Posted Wednesday, January 24, 2007 | Review Permalink

After a hard time dealing with the Record Label impositions, after releasing an album that put Dream Theater into a dilemma, after fighting against this an some other problems, this musicians from New York let the light bright over one of the most delicious and tasty albums. Enjoying their new acquired complete liberty, Dream Theatertakes the call and goes for everything after Jordan Rudess's arrival. This project is probably the most ambicious of his carrer and finally after 14 years of carreer they achieve their best work.. Scenes From A Memory is an album that starts, develops and finishes in a very sublime way. A story about reincarnation, regressions and betrayals that disinvolves magnifically in 9 acts subdivided in 12 great tracks lyrical, msuical and structurally perfect. Leaving behind all their existencial conflicts and resurrect from the ashes as the Phoenix. Without a doubt the creativity of Jordan Rudess brought freshness and richness to the band in an unsuspected way.

The album opens with a hypnotic therapy session along with the acoustic guitar brought to life by John Petrucci's hands mixing with the voice of James LaBrie and starts creating the atmosphere for the rest of the album.

"Overture 1928" has an very explosive intro that traps and takes you inside of the story. An instrumental track that introduces and shows off its new and highly talented member. A drum groove by Mike Portnoy adds power and class to this theme; this is also the first reference to the first part of "Metropolis" included on the Images & Words, an obligatto violently pushes you to "Strange Dejavu" that can be called as the first chapter of this job and tells you about the first dream of Nicholas about Victoria.

"Through My Words". A transition track made for you to relax and takes you by the hand to continue your still long way throug this job and takes you to Nicholas's dreams. "Fatal Tragedy" is one of the lyrics that better describes each one of the scenes, I'd like to stand out this sog, because John Myung is my favorit lyricist in the band, musically the song is developed with more progressive arrangements than in their previous works taking more Fusion influences especially in this track and in the next one.

"Beyond This Life" mixes in a perfect way some real heavy stuff with very complex progressions and instrumental pieces. Particularly, Petrucci and Rudess doing some unisone licks as the last one did in his previous projects. After the addition of this master mind of Progressive Music, the fusion takes a big part of the influences in this refreshed Dream Theater.

The Pink Floyd influence is another visible thing in this work in tracks very in the Dark Side Of The Moon Style, in which outstands the collaboration by Theresa Thomason as in her duet along John Petrucci in the beginning of "Through Her Eyes", this is a very sentimental song describing the scene in which Nicholas starts to know the reason of his nightmares, dejavus, regressions and some other situations and he has a sour crying in front of Victoria's grave.

An arab rhythm performed between Petrucci and Rudess opens this song called "Home"; which grows as the song goes by following the same Middle East structure and adding some Wah effects to make it more strong and powerful. Rudess experiments going up and down through the same progression tying to find the exit in this landscape where nothing is clear, everything is dark on this part.

Bringing back the rhythm exposed in "Overture 1928", "Dance Of Eternity" follow a very similar line to the structural base of "Metropolis" in its instrumental section, with acrobat passages of each one of the Dream Theater members mixing it with a jazz piece which opens he door for Myung's bass solo.

"One Las Time" is probably one of the climatic moments in the story, where the questions unanswered start to create confusion into Nicholas's head, getting back to the orchestration made in "Strange Dejavu", followed up by an excellent solo by John Petrucci and ended with a piano outro that unchains a rush of more questions realized perfectly in "The Spirit Carries On", and finally Nicholas understands everything and breaks free from all the tension. The song has its best moment during and after the guitar solo and when LaBrie expresses perfectly a feeling of freedom alogn with the Choir.

"Finally Free" is an excellent song that closes the album in a perfect way.

Concluding, "Scenes From A Memory" was the album that put DT in orbit once again in the Progresive Rock World. A very succesful job as for the critics as in the stores, It's about how the magic touch of Jordan Rudess brought this American Band back to life and how 5 brains got together to create this masterpiece.

Report this review (#109265)
Posted Sunday, January 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars What can i say about this album that hasnt been already said? ANYTHING that could be described "emotional", "shivering", "intriguing", "adventurous", "unexpected", "beautiful" finds its true meaning here! An incredible masterpiece whose undeniable quality cant be measured with human means. This is the first prog album i got into. What an incredible start to this explorative journey into the world of progressive music! When i first heard these sounds i found myself saying these words "that is the music i'd play if i had this kind of abilities!"Since then i have purchased all Dream Theater's albums. i hear a lot of music and my taste is rather diverse but THIS..this group is my...Passion! Yes, thats the right word! i have a lot of favourites but that is something different, it sends me to heaven before my time ha ha! All Dream Theater fans know this feeling!i would say its a common secret between us and you dont meet that often in other fanbases. Anyway, i could write for hours!..i dont feel the need to add something about the album like an analysis for example cause simply things have already being said by the majority...Buy it (for those who havent) and it may change your way of considering music. The threshold after that is too high!Can they top it? The same 5 did this one! Why not? "Better to save the mystery, than surrender to the secret.."
Report this review (#111524)
Posted Saturday, February 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have totally no doubt if it. This is their most exciting and greatest album,even progressive album in the universe. Not only prog fans love this album, even non-prog listeners agrees that Scenes form a Memory was an outsanding rockalbum that thet ever had. DT combine classic prog pieces fromBeatles to radiohead, both of the band had a wide distance of decades, but DT pulling those variety sound of the bands together. Here we can listens PF styles from PF finest albums, "The Dark Sideof the Moon",at track 1, 4,5, 8 and 12. Also we heard Rush styles, especially time signatures we've always heard from Neil Peart.Portnoy doing a great drums on this album.I think, this is not only DT,as the band,success, but it is a whole team success, Sound Engineer, Producer,and Recording Company. I'm still amazing with this album, after and after.
Report this review (#113350)
Posted Friday, February 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Re-review - owned since 2005

This was the album that got me into progressive rock. I was around 15 years old, and at around that time i had been devouring every RUSH album i could get my hands on as i was obsessed with Neil Peart and as an inspiring self taught drummer Mr. Peart was a huge influence on my drumming style. Then, I heard a track of Scenes of a Memory Metropolis on this site, my eyes were opened wide to the world of progressive rock and concept albums. Mike Portnoy then was teaching me along side Neil, and i acquired a double kick pedal and never looked back - i was officially a metal head and drummer almost exclusively for many years.

Since those days my tastes have evolved as is the way of the musical journey. I've found that concept albums are not my preference, as they have a tendency to be over indulgent, long winded, and lack pacing. This album has quite a lot of extra fat packed on, and frankly, most dream theater albums do. Yes, as a musician i am (well i was) impressed with the virtuosity of these musicians, but when you scour all of prog you realize talent shows itself in many different ways - these guys aren't anything out of the ordinary within the progressive rock spectrum. Dream Theater never used the less is more mantra. This dilutes the overall uniqueness of each album - long run times but much less unique ideas or stand out melodies and riffs than it looks to be on the surface.

As far as concept albums go this one loses points for the following: Overlong/pacing issues, vocally and lyrically weak and not enjoyable to my ears, musically lacks the surprises needed to keep interest over the course of the whole experience.

The positives are that this albums gains points for relevance to progressive metal as a whole, and some impressive instrumentation mechanically, but i just don't enjoy it much anymore and i certainly can't get through the entire album in one sitting which is kind of the whole point of a concept album.

Report this review (#114608)
Posted Thursday, March 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album is a worthwhile addition to any collection, but it falls well short of masterpiece status.

As other reviewers have noted, this is a concept album. It certainly is, in a most literal sense: you must listen to every song consecutively to decipher the story. By no means are all concept albums like this. Many others are aspects of an overall theme, and can be listened to in any order.

The story is the album's main problem: it is a non-linear story, which jumps about temporally, but is told in a linear fashion. This contributes to the feeling of confusion one feels on the first listen. Associated with this are the dreadfully overwritten lyrics. Good lyrics are subtle, but here DREAM THEATER are at their most embarrassingly trite. Important parts of the story are obscured, while obvious things are stated again and again - in junior-school poetry. I fail to see why a listener needs accompanying notes, and even then to have to refer to various internet sites to work out what the album's on about. I don't mind obscure lyrics if they're meant to be obscure; in this case, the problems lie with the band's inability to write good lyrics. This is not usually a problem for this band, as DREAM THEATER is not about lyrics; here, however, the concept depends on the lyrics. And the lyrics fail the concept badly.

James LaBrie is the other problem. As a trained singer, I can offer the opinion that LaBrie does have an excellent voice, but too much of this album forces him to sing above his register. He resorts to shouting, to 'force' his voice to the higher notes, a trend that mars the otherwise excellent 'A Change of Seasons'. He uses a series of tricks to get to the notes, most of which are even more obvious on DREAM THEATER'S live recordings.

That's a great deal of negatives for such a highly-rated album. But there are some positives. Putting aside the concept and the problematic singing, there are some outstanding compositions on this album. DREAM THEATER flex their progressive wings and, while not all tracks work, others such as 'Fatal Tragedy', 'Home' and particularly 'Finally Free' are magnificent. These three tracks presage the next two albums, which for me is the quintessential DREAM THEATER period.

Flawed, severely so in some areas, but the tragedy is not fatal. I can forgive an album a great deal if it delivers outstanding moments such as those this album brings.

Report this review (#114748)
Posted Saturday, March 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is the most beautiful release of all Dream Theater entire discography, in fact Scenes From A Memory P.II is always powerful and homogeneous, and the clearest example of how mixing prog metal with past influences from certain band from the 70s. The quality of the songs is high all of the time and troughout this work various influences are evident, from Pink Floyd to The Who's Tommy album all with a twist of metal, always with a high level of impact but never too noisy or invadent. Chronologically the album is the first work with Jordan Rudess on Keyboards, and this fact is perfectly reflected in songs like "The Spirit Carries On" and "Finally Free" where the arrangement has been heavily influenced by him. The songs are all great, and dinamically alternated. Scenes From A Memory is a concept album about reincarnation...the main plot in fact deals with the main character of the story (Nicholas) which constantly dreams about a girl (Victoria) and his lover murdered in the 20s by a man, precisely the brother of Victoria's lover, jealous of her. Nicholas with the help of hypnotherapist discover the truth only in the end of the album: he's the reincarnation of Victoria herself. Just before the close of the last song we can hear Nicholas screaming, killed by the Hypnotherapist, the reincarnation of Victoria's assassin. This is the most interesting and beautiful Prog metal album ever, I suggest it to everybody, even to those who dislike Dream Theater, so easily.

A masterpiece of the genre, but not only.

5 stars

Report this review (#114774)
Posted Saturday, March 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars What do we have here? Dream Theater's "masterpiece" Scenes from a Memory? I guess so. I first heard this album about 2 years ago, and my opinions have changed very little over the long time period.

The atmosphere of this album is somewhat dark, but it has a great deal of color to it at the same time. Fatal Tragedy represent this accurately, with its throbbing guitar and piano, serious tone in the lyrics and yet the song has a large array of colors shown best with the varied instrumental sections. The song also shows off the melodic piano backing and break-neck speed synth solos of Jordan Rudess, who goes through more keyboard patches in a song that Kevin Moore or Derek Sherinian went through in 3. I think this gives the album many sides and brings out many feelings which help compliment the lyrics and makes the vocal melodies sound more dramatic, which works for a concept album such as this.

While the lyrics are actually quite straight forward in terms of understanding the concept, the wording on many of the songs fits the instrumental mood that is set. In my opinion, the best lyricists on this record are John Petrucci with his slightly mystic and vague poetic lyrics and John Myung, who wrote the lyrics to Fatal Tragedy only, but his free-style writing works very well with the song when heard as a whole. It may turn some people off that there are actually four people writing the lyrics to different songs on a concept album, but it actually works quite nicely.

More so than on their previous albums at the time this was released, this record features extremely complex and fast instrumental sections in almost every single song. I'm not a big fan of John Petrucci's solo guitar tone, nor Jordan Rudess' guitar-like synth lead, but they are undeniably amazing technical musicians. I prefer their melodic work much more, and Jordan Rudess's piano sections are some of the best sections on the album. John Myung's bass is low in the mix, but with headphones and an EQ configuration he is a bit more audible. Being a bass player, I am a fan of his playing, yet on this album I feel he doubles the guitar too often and is less melodic than on earlier albums, though he does have a few great bass lines on this record. Mike Portnoy's playing is excellent yet I don't think this is his best album.

The songs the stick out as the great ones for me are Fatal Tragedy, Beyond this Life and Finally Free. Fatal Tragedy features great piano and keyboard work from Jordan Rudess, great Lyrics from John Myung and a great central melody. Beyond this life features great melodies as well. Finally free is the highlight of the album for me. It features a soft guitar intro with words from the Hypnotherapist moving into a solumn piano secton intro with vocals, giving the song a powerful feel. The thing I love about this song is it doesn't feature any showing off from anyone, only powerful, climactic and melodic sections with plenty of sound effects. The album ends with a shout and static, only to be followed by the static opening of The Glass Prison three years later.

While there are many aspects of this album I don't care for, such as the overly technical solo sections, the rich melodies and textures this album features give it the extra star.

Therefore I say 4.2 , with .5 added for its powerful melodic sections and writing. A great album that everyone that is a fan of Progressive Metal should get, and those who are just getting into the band should start with Images & Words. 4.7 stars

Report this review (#114785)
Posted Saturday, March 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Fight Club
5 stars Too great to be rated?

That's how I feel about this album. Ladies and gentleman, this is as perfect as progressive metal can possibly get. An absolute masterpiece. Write now I'm sitting how wondering how can possibly review this album. There's so many fantastic things about it I don't know where to start. Seriously, this album is beyond words, there's no logical way mere humans could have written it. Of course we all know the members of this band are no mere humans. Every aspect of this album is as good as it could possibly get. The structure and arrangements all perfect. It's constantly flowing with melody and feeling, yet the band never lets go of the skills that have made them famous over the past 2 decades. Every member is at their highest here. It's just one of the most enjoyable experiences I can think of.

The album just cannot be reviewed song by song, as it is one continuous journey. Scenes From A Memory is a concept album based upon one man (Nicholas) experiencing visions of his past life. The story telling is fantastic here. There's plot twists, action, suspense, mystery, it's like watching a movie. Don't be fooled though, never once is music sacrificed for the story. Throughout the entire album the listener is blown away by the band's virtuoustic talents. Even non metal fans can appreciate the amount of skill it takes to make this album.

Now this album is a masterpiece for countless reasons. Musicianship never ceases to amaze here. Petrucci's solos are so fast they could break the sound barrier. There's enough sweep picking to amaze even the newest guitar players. And well Mike Portnoy is... Mike Portnoy. There's enough polyrythmic displacement to make people spontaneously combust. The ending of Finally Free is about advanced as percussion can be without constantly shifting time signatures. Enough triplets and double bass to impress the most hardcore death metal fans. Rudess and Myung are no disappointment either. It's almost impossible to keep up with the speed and precision these guys demonstrate.

Now with all the technical prowess I've mentioned you must be thinking there's little room left for songwriting. You are mistaken however! The songwriting is powerful as well. The album rarely fails to be melodic and invoke emotion in the listener. As technical as Petrucci is, he proves he can show feeling in tracks like The Spirit Carries On and Finally Free. If anyone ever had a doubt about this, just feast your ears on those songs.

There's so much variety throughout this epic, that it touches on almost every aspect of prog. Don't think of this as just a prog metal album, but it's virtually genreless. This album can be appreciated by anyone no matter what type of music you are into. It has enough catchy beats and riffs to please modern rock and pop listeners and all the time and key changes a prog listener can handle.

My only complaint and it's a very minor one, is the production. It's good, but at times certain things are unclear. Unfortunately, as usual, Myung's bass tone is very low and drowned out. Don't get me wrong, you can still hear all the skill he pumps out of those fingers, but it could have a little more punch considering the heaviness of the album. The production isn't as good as it could be, but nonetheless the rest of the albums strong points are so visible that I can't even subtract a half star.

This is an album that has to be in any prog or metal fan's collection. It sucks you right into the story and composition and it cannot be left until it's heard all the way through. Absolutely essential music! A masterpiece!

Report this review (#116368)
Posted Sunday, March 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars If ever there was a masterpiece in the world of progressive metal, this is undoughtedly one. Being a bit of a metal head and at the same time an aspiring musician I recognize the immense work and talent that was put into this album. If there were more albums like this that were as well known (compared to most progressive metal), the general opinion of metal's potential musicality might not be steriotyped as pathetically low as it is by the masses.
Report this review (#116369)
Posted Sunday, March 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
The T
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The most important thing a reviewer has to keep in mind when doing his job is never to lose his objectivity.

Now, it's much easier to accomplish that when reviewing other fields and activities of human life than when talking about music, it's much more realistic to expect a 100% objective review of, let's say, the food in a restaurant or the performance of two sport teams in a game than to expect a music lover to leave his heart out of the picture and write an article based on pure cold facts. In the end, it's ART we're dealing with here, and, as much as many people try to make it fit molds and rules, art breaks all boundaries and it takes its definite shape not in the mind of the creator nor in textbooks, but in the eyes and ears of the beholder.

With that into account, I face the difficult task of saying a few words about an album that has a special meaning for me, and I'm in true danger of sounding too condescending or too "fanboy-ish" if I am to actually do it and review the record. I'll do it anyway, but, and this should come as an early disclaimer, I don't promise to write a review only using my brain; this time, it will be impossible to close the door to that other muscle, the one that keeps us alive.

I've reviewed 7 of Dream Theater's 8 albums, plus their EP A CHANGE OF SEASONS. I think I've given them fair ratings, though that could be matter of discussion. I deliberately left their 5th album in the last place, so it will be kind of the "culmination" of my review process of this band's albums, a process that truly has been a pleasure to embark on. So now, I'll share a few thoughts on my favorite recording of all time, the only album EVER the songs from which I rate exactly the same (you will notice), the one that I reserve only to hear when every element, every aspect of my surroundings, both exterior AND interior, fits: METROPOLIS PT. 2: SCENES FROM A MEMORY.

This is the record that came after what many fans considered a low point in the band's career (at that time, of course; they hadn't heard "The Glass Prison" or TRAIN OF THOUGHT yet): FALLING INTO INFINITY. I happened to like that album a lot, but even I had to admit that that album, though very good, was the first by DT that contained a few BAD songs ("Take away my pain", "Just let me breathe".) Also, the famous virtuosism of the group was less evident than in previous efforts, and only in a couple of songs ("Lines in the Sand" mostly) they approached the level they've achieved in IMAGES AND WORDS. Another factor that drove fans away from that record: the keyboardist, Derek Sherinian, though a great musician, departed so far from the style of former marble-hand Kevin Moore that the band's sound was just too different from what they've accustomed their fans to. We can say that SFAM had a lot to accomplish in order to restore faith in the minds of DT fans (not me, as I said, I loved FII anyway.) So they went back to the studio with a new member aboard the ship: Jordan Rudess, who had played with Rod Morgenstein, The Dixie Dregs and Liquid Tension Experiment, among others.

And what were the results like? Well, it's time to actually say a few words about the album itself, isn't it? Let's make a list of what I consider the most relevant elements of the New York outfit's new (in 1999) record.

1. Rudess. - Yes, I put him first on the list because his inclusion was the most obvious change within the DT core. And he delivers in a spectacular way. Not only did he bring the usual virtuosism and speed to the table (two elements that a musician MUST HAVE if he's to be considered for a place in DT), but he also can carry a melody, can create beautiful themes out of nowhere, and can suddenly display his rag-time or jazz influences with the snap of a finger. Whereas Sherinian's style was more atmospheric and lethargic, more effect-driven, Rudess' is more to-the-point, but always making even the simplest of lines sound much more difficult and ornamented than it really is. 2. "Progressiveness".- Let's not start to discuss what the meaning of "progressive" is; I take for granted that DT's music is THE definition of "progressive- metal", that is, metal progressively-enhanced (whatever that meant). And as such, SFAM is the band's most "progressive" record this side of I&W, and in some aspects even more so. For, even though I&W's importance in prog history will never be reached by any other metal album, DT's or not, in SFAM the display of technique, song-writing skills and complexity is much more focused than in that preceding masterpiece, where a cynic listener could even accuse the band of "showing-off" (of course I'd disagree), while in this one that would be almost impossible, as every note, every solo, every harmonic line falls perfectly in place. Take one out, the music will suffer; add one, the music will suffer. 3. Melody. - I just LOVE melody, and good, soul-lifting melody. That's why I have problems with melody-less music, I just can't take my sounds without some charming moment, without my heart ever feeling like the musicians had it in mind, too, without ever sensing that the musicians not only aimed for my brain when they wrote their phrases. And of that I have PLENTY in SFAM. If there's one album where practically every song reaches my pulse-machine is this one; if there's one album when I see a total equilibrium of brains and blood is this one; if there's an album where I can truly say that I know it from heart, is this one. And no, it's not cheesiness or over- sweetened music; it's just that the band can carry a tune, and drive it home choosing any one of the two paths that music lays ahead of them. Actually, they choose another path, a third one, the one of BALANCE. 4. Musicianship.- Well, this point comes as no surprise. We're not talking Limp Biskit but Dream Theatre here, and every one of the band members just dazzles with his performance. Petrucci once again proves he's THE man when it comes to the guitar: lightning-fast solos, accurate scales, but also soaring, enchanting melodies; Rudess, well, I've already talked about him, but let's repeat it: he amazes us; Myung, the eternal underdog, the master behind DT's sound, without him the band wouldn't be what it is; Portnoy, the drum-octopus that at times over-plays music a little bit, in this album his usual pyrotechnics actually DO work, and of course we know he can play fills and create rhythms and patterns that make him one of a kind; and last, but you know that for me DEFINTELY not least, the vocal-fountain that constantly pours the most refreshing of thirst-quenching delicacies in our ears, the true carrier of DT's melody- banner, the actual conveyor of emotions, either love or hate, hope or disdain, James LaBrie. This is probably his best album ever (funny how I think I've said that before.)

For further analysis, I guess it's time to do a song-by-song review of SFAM, and I have to say it again: I've rated each song as part of the whole and as a stand-alone track, and the conclusions I've reached are more than unusual for me.

Scene One: Regression (10/10) The tick tock, the psychologist induces us into what is to become THE dream created by The Dream. The mood is light, melancholic; suddenly, an acoustic guitar serves as background for LaBrie to introduce us to what is obvious is going to be a journey of love, sadness and pain. Perfect intro for the album.

Scene TWO: I.Overture 1928 (10/10) The mood changes. We hear echoes of Metropolis Pt. 1, and at last the main riff of the song unfolds. It's like the opening of a bright gate that leads towards a garden of an unknown nature; a gate made out of beautiful notes, of the melody that LaBrie used to sing at the lyrics "There must be a third and last dance, this one will last forever, Metropolis watches and thoughtfully smiles, she's taking you to your home" in I&W, some hope even before the actual battle has started. Then, of course, Petrucci plays with the feeling that only he can achieve. (I just don't understand people that accuse him or this band of "coldness"). Rudess appears to join Petrucci and steal some of his thunder. And that was it, a magnificent overture with elements that we will find again in the rest of the album.

II.Strange Deja Vu (10/10) The main theme is one of doubt, of worry. Of a man not sure of what he sees or feels. Of haze and fog that stops the adventurer from going any further. Portnoy is on target here. LaBrie announces that he's seen the woman, and then the pre-chorus, the Canadian in falsetto, love, nostalgia, and the chorus, sadness because of finding oneself far away from oneself. A metallic section speaks of anger, of a desire to break free, but the melody comes back again, this is a sentiment that it will be hard to get rid of. Defenseless against something. love? Is it cheesy? No, it is TRUE. For he who hasn't felt weak in the face of his desire deserves not to be listening to music. or any kind.

Scene Three: I.Through My Words (10/10) Only two instruments, the Piano and the Vocal Chords, the little steel strings being hit by hammers and the air going through someone's throat. That's all it takes to make music.

II.Fatal Tragedy (10/10) A burlesque, tragic-comic theme marks the defeat of whoever is telling us this story of love and hate. Then the chorus, an anthem to the need of love. It's in the wrong tempo, in a slow tempo that doesn't re-affirm that it is the energy that drives us through the dark tunnel of life. Calm down, it will be on the right tempo later. We have a repetition of the main themes and then the chorus strikes back, now in the right tempo, in the tempo that cries the virtues and drawbacks of love at the same time. Suddenly the mood gets darker: Rudess goes crazy with chords over very heavy riffing and drumming. Every note, every musical-ornament here is in the exact place on the exact time. Rudess just blows us away and sends the memory of Sherinian to a far, distant limbo. One of the best instrumental parts in all Dream Theater, reason enough to have some respect for the musicians even if the music is not to one's taste.

Scene Four: Beyond This Life (10/10) We're on heavy mode; a fast powerful section leads to the news: death; tragedy; mystery; what happened? This is the kind of riff that DT couldn't repeat in TRAIN OF THOUGHT, simple yet so precise. The cloud of suspense lies high above the listener, and suddenly we enter the land of dreams again, of gray, watery, foggy dreams, that is, when a distorted LaBrie explains something over just effects. An acoustic guitar playing the main riff announce us it's time for some change. Or not? The atmosphere grows more violent, more blood-stained, the black and white letters of a newspaper story, over yellow, faded paper. The chorus comes again, this time lasts twice as much, and abruptly LaBrie takes us over a weird garden of flowers in the middle of all this murder. It doesn't last much. Another outstanding instrumental part will finally explode in the final chorus, this time the second melody played with as much emphasis as the first one. The song ends. It's such a relief when near the end of the track we don't hear the haunting theme again, but the voice of.a woman.

Scene Five: Through Her Eyes (10/10) Yes, this is cold, emotion-less music of course. And the world is a perfect place, too. A soaring guitar with the beautiful voice of a women introduce us to some simple piano chords and guitar. And we forget all of that when James LaBrie SINGS, not yells. One can feel every emotion going through his mind, through Nicholas' mind and, more importantly, HEART. One can hear his breath, the problems he has to tells us of his tragedy without letting his voice break into a endless cry and tears. This touches me so hard, I've heard countless tracks that haven't reached the place this one has inside of me. When I first heard the album, I thought the album could only go downhill from this point on. But no. the first real pause between tracks is upon us. What would the second half bring us?

Scene Six: Home (10/10) Another ambiguous theme announced by the acoustic guitar, the electric ones join to declaim the kind of arabesque, oriental-flavored main theme of this, one of the tracks of all tracks. The music grows restless, we feel something coming, suspense, and then the whole main riff announced with utmost violence. The second theme is the arabesque one. The main riff of the song reminds us of the first riff in Metropolis Pt. 1. Violence, despair, hopelessness, fate, fate that haunts us. Another theme tells us we have to expect the arrival of yet a third one, we can't take it no more, we are going to explode. Petrucci climbs to the heavens and he and Portnoy lead us into one of the choruses of all choruses, one of the moments that made me a progressive rock/metal fan, after years of only listening to another kind of music. After the chorus, the atmosphere turns even less welcoming, and all happens again, the first theme, the pre-chorus, Portnoy playing a weird pattern in his ride-cymbal and china cymbal over double-bass. And, thank DT, again Petrucci rises with ethereal scales to all the glory of the chorus. A brief recollection of the "Metropolis watches and thoughtfully smiles" hits us, this time the word "Victoria" instead of the original song' name. The middle instrumental section is one of pipe-scent, sand, the desert, a snake coming from a pot after the notes that a flute sends into its mind, a women dressed in green, red, yellow, silk. Rudess stops all this opium-dream with some scales that try to take us back to the harsh reality. But no, it's like the rest of the band insists that they have to stay in the oriental region; now it's Petrucci the one that tries; he gets closer but fails; but in the end, all of them join and for one last time ascend the stair that leads to our HOME. A musical HOME. If there was a way to give a song 11, 12, or 13 over ten, this would be the one. PERFECT.

Scene Seven: I.The Dance of Eternity (10/10) This instrumental track is like an altered version of the original Metropolis, with many sections reminding us of the original, the order and structure of the sections pretty much the same as in the original uber-classic. There's even a moment for Myung to play alone (a few seconds) much in the vein of Metropolis famous "Let's give John M. a chance to shine" moment. Rudess has his moment to show us he could be playing on a bar down in New Orleans were DT to fire him for any reason. An authentic "showing-off" piece, perfect where it is, and a necessary moment of relax in the midst of all these heart-wrenching emotions. Yes, this track may be the only one with a little bit of "coldness" to it, but it's in the perfect place at the perfect time. Magnificent. The song starts down a tension path, and what an explosion we have.

II.One Last Time (10/10) Not a pyrotechnics explosion, but an implosion into a ultra- beautiful melody that rudess plays in piano and that the Master carries with more than skill with his voice. The chorus, what can we say LOVE? Give me one last time, don't let this opportunity be the last, don't fade away without seeing the truth behind all these masks. The theme of "Strange Deja-Vu" comes again, it's so obvious we're reaching the end of this tragic story. The music let us know that. It's so well crafted, we can sense the end is coming.

Scene Eight: The Spirit Carries On (10/10) Resignation and nostalgia. Resignation leads to acceptance of reality. Acceptance of reality leads to the discovery that, after all, it's just that, reality, nothing we can't face. Hope. Just that. I would know LaBrie is telling me that even if the lyrics were just "blah-blah-blah". A certain naïve, foolish happiness lies behind this resignation. The music is ending. We can feel that. We can also feel that the tragedy is coming to an end, we can get ready to die. We can accept it. Now all that's left is to know what kind of music will play over our body will it ascends. And The Dream doesn't failed me.

Scene Nine: Finally Free (10/10). The psychologist want us to open our eyes. Yes, it's not a fictional character eyes but our won eyes, so good is the music that makes us LIVE and BREATHE this rather simple story. But when all was resignation, low, very low strings announce the final theme. Their sound is interrupted by some arpeggios by the masterful hand of Rudess, quickly joined by the Vocal Chords. And then, finally, free. The theme of all themes. Hope, Love, Happiness, Trust, Devotion all in one theme. The drums and guitars and bass join the music and what's ahead of us is just the best closing ever to any album. Death is not the end, just a beginning. Never had I believed it so much than after this. A brief moment of chaos and terror, violence, murder, it seems it's going to ruin our dream. But the melody of "One Last Time" comes back to utterly kill the monstrous feelings. Petrucci sings, yes, sings with his guitar. The mood is turning bright again. It was just a moment of pain, now we're where we want again. Finally free. Because a life has been found. Because Love has been understood. Because MUSIC HAS BEEN CREATED. The coda of the song closes the masterpiece in the best fashion ever. The haunting theme that once was declared by the low strings plays till exhaustion, till the band can't play no more. And it ends.

Of course I have to say that many people could find this review a little bit too "hyperbolized". But it's how I understand music. There's music I can dissect, there's music I can talk about without ever giving in to my emotions. That's 99% of the music in all prog-rock/metal. The other 1% is THIS disc. No wonder it is my favorite. I think I've given reasons and arguments to my feelings. This review was not a matter of judgment but of love.

The lyrics? Once I though the story was absurd and rather soap-opera-ish. Maybe so. But it deals with the most important emotions. And I'm glad the New york greats chose such a theme for the album. Political analysis? Deep introspection into the human mind? Good things to talk about. But once in a while I want my heart to be seduced. And this once, it was overwhelmed.

The only album ever that I immediately liked since the first time I heard it.

Recommended for: ?

Not recommended for: ?

As opposed to one of my most famous reviews around here, let me use the same words: if you disagree with what I said about music and feelings, stay away from this. If you agreed with just ONE word, give it a try. Even if you end up hating the album, try to know the album many others consider the top prog-metal masterpiece of all time.

For me, the top prog-rock masterpiece of all time.

Report this review (#117342)
Posted Wednesday, April 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 'remember the area in the store where all those cheeses were... it has nothing on this album'

Words of logic spoken by my better half as we both sat through this album tonight. I first bought this album, about a year ago, in a used CD store. A couple bucks... why not. I had previous experience with this group in another forum where rabid but well-meaning friends had tried to convert me to the church of DT. Needless to say... the irratating to the ears vocals, non-existant bass, incredibly tasteless and nerve-wracking synth tones, heavy handed drummng, and pointless shredding that said more 'look at me' than anything else, did nothing for me. Thus I remained uncoverted.

Last fall as the symphonic horsemen ran roughshod over the acne-scarred masses and for a time being made even mentioning DT in the public forums a crime worthy of having horseshoe inprints on your rear end, I recieved a request to review the one album I did buy. This one. I gave the album the seven listens, I ALWAYS give an album when seriously evaluating an album. Since the request came from a friend I said I would. Alas I never got around to it. Tonight, after having a fresh listen, I was inspired to finally get around to reviewing it. With Caravan soothing my ears.. I thus proceed.

The problem.. what to say that hasn't been said. We have everything from the uberfayboyism that proclaims this a masterpiece on par with Close to the Edge, Zarathrustra, MDK, YS, and those who wouldn't have their worst enemy dare listen to it. I tend to fall between them.. though leaning a bit to one side hahah. To help with my problem.. I have decided on a novel approach. Since the previous reviews are so.... verbose and yet to the point. Why not let them say it for me. So I proceed with my thoughts on the album... said so much better by reviewers before me....

'The lackluster narrative is presented with artless exposition; they've compromised between using lyrics that fit the song and fitting the music to the story, and as a result everything sounds contrived.'

'I find listening to this CD to be just a little more enjoyable than viewing images of endless Middle Eastern atrocities, or reading the gruesome details of the latest killings by some gun-toting psychopath.'


'Not a masterpiece - and not Prog - just long'

'The musicianship is extremely competent but for every good idea (and there are some) there is one equally crass and stupid'

'I can honestly think of few albums as tedious to listen to as Dream Theater's "magnum-opus" '

'This album for me highlights for me what Dream Theater is about. 5 musicians who all do their own thing, and though they are all respected in their specific fields, they fail at coming together to make a solid band.'

'It sounds like an exaggeration but this album goes on for 77 minutes and I can scarely point to the bits of music I enjoyed '

Anyway... that about sums up what I thought of the album. I couldn't bother with a track by track breakdown since it all ran together and the overall concept bored me and I lost interest in trying to follow the storyline. I was honestly only roused to attention when some overplaying guitar solo, some hair-raising vocal infringement on good taste, or cheesy (see above) synth tone interrupted the stupor I had slipped into.

For the site...5 stars... a masterpiece of prog metal if it is your thing..and my review says enough on that.

For me... 1 star and I will never sit through the album again. I have 100's of 'real' prog albums that emphasize melody, tasteful musicianship, interesting and listenable vocals.

Michael (aka micky)

edit... dropped it a star... .. if I can find a 'classic' Prog Metal album that I DO like. It will get 5 stars. Reserving a 5 star slot for the album that 'grabs' me. This album is regarded as a classic. I just don't like it at all. Not sure if it's the music, or just me.

Report this review (#117496)
Posted Friday, April 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Some great stuff on this album and as for the musicianship it is outstanding. My only complaint is that at times the lead guitarist, John Petrucci puts technicality and speed over feeling and noodles through some leads. However this is far less often than not and for the most part he is one of the greatest progrock guitarists you will ever hear, certainly in technical terms. Dream Theatre's compositions on Metropolis 2 take the listener on a musical journey of sorts(it is a concept album) and there is some compelling emotion displayed on this album. Especially at the end with "One Last Time", "The Spirit Carries On", and "Finally Free". The epic "Beyond this Life" is amazing with a great segway into "Through Her Eyes". Metropolis Pt 2 truly is a fine album. It took a few listens for me but only because the music is so comprehensive. This is a great place to start if you are looking to discover Dream Theater. I give it four stars as an excellent addtion to any prog collection and probably one of the first buys if you are interested in hearing Dream Theater.
Report this review (#118753)
Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
5 stars An unstoppable showcase of masterful virtuosity, energetic songwriting, and beautiful melodies-- "Scenes From a Memory" is hallmark of the genre and amazingly enjoyable from start to finish. Very few albums have the power to both send chills and melt faces with such consistency. This is Dream Theater at their uncompromising best, performing addictively catchy and exciting music jaw dropping skill and enthusiasm. Amazing standing on its own, and even more so when compared to many of the group's contemporaries (and perhaps especially their new releases)

There is so much to rave about here that doing so would only make me sound like more of a fan-boy, so lets just say that this album will either make you a dedicated lover of the band, or confirm your disgust of their pretentious, instrumentally self-indulgent stylings.

A must buy for lovers of dynamic, heavy, operatic music. Outstanding!

Songwriting: 5 Instrumental Performances: 5 Lyrics/Vocals: 5 Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

Report this review (#119225)
Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my favourite Dream Theater album, and at the time, my favourite album of all time. Many people accuse Dream Theater of excessive wankery, but I think the extended instrumental sections just add to the album. This is a concept album dealing with love, betrayal, and redemption. The story is fairly easy to follow, and is very interesting. However, it is the musical parts which makes this album great. The music is very complex yet heavy, with a great variety, especially in "Beyond this Life", which goes from extremely heavy guitars to a Zappa influenced instrumental break. There are not any songs on this album which i do not like. My favourites are Fatal Tragedy, Beyond This Life, Home, The Dance of Eternity, and Finally Free.
Report this review (#122250)
Posted Tuesday, May 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Unprecedented Excellence

Arguably my favorite album of all time, Dream Theater presents their only concept album, SFAM, and it is truly amazing. Regression kicks off the album the way an epic concept album should start. Overture 1928 can pretty much sum up the entire album in itself with a great feel to it, having insane solos and really flows well from Regression into Strange Deja-Vu, another awesome song. Through My Words, Fatal Tragedy, and Beyond This Life also seem to just stream right through, revealing more of the story with a very dark feel. Through Her Eyes is really emotional and the music in it is simply amazing. Home starts off rather disturbing and becomes quite heavy. It has an amazing solo and the chorus parts are extraordinary. The Dance of Eternity may very well be my favorite instrumental of all time, with so many time changes and wonderful solos, this song rocks. One Last Time and The Spirit Carries on are truly beautiful, with such a breathtakingly beautiful atmosphere to it, the songs have so much heart. If Regression was the best way to start off this concept album, then Finally Free is even a better way to end it. The story comes full circle in this song, which ranges from really emotional and dark to hopeful and optimistic for the future. There is no other way to describe this album other then saying that it rocks as much as something could rock, and then some. The story is amazing, the music is unexplainably skilled, and the vocals fit in perfectly with all the different tones of the CD. Highly recommended to anyone who has any taste in music.

Report this review (#124536)
Posted Sunday, June 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Being a neophyte to Dream Theater, I have heard all of their music and I do reserve the word 'masterpiece' for Scenes From A Memory. Interesting concept for starters, but the music is just so interesting and embodies the spirit of real progressive music and spans far beyond metal.

Very interesting song structures, especially on the "Beyond This Life". Really enjoyable to listen to Myung just rolling over the frets.

The only part that is hard to listen to is "Through Her Eyes", however. Not because it's a bad song, either. On the contrary, it's a beautiful song; but, who knew that Dream Theater was capable of writing a song that just yanks on your heart and emotions. It's almost too painful to listen to and I always think of my daughter whenever I hear it. The pain resonates, but I guess a song that can trigger that kind of emotion is a brilliant song to begin with.

From the beauty of "Through Her Eyes", we're spiraling out of control in a full on assault with "Home". Really is a bit of a surreal onslaught by Dream Theater, but what a powerful turning point on Scenes Of A Memory. A lot of change ups throughout this song with eastern indian influences. Very intense.

"The Dance Of Eternity" is where we really get a taste of that spastic style of Rudess in spots. He's really good at changing the pace, but it can get a bit manic and odd with the rag time section. Still, a very good instrumental.

Scenes From A Memory closes with the somber "The Spirit Carries On" and "Finally Free". Much like "Through Her Eyes", the band slows down and exhibits that they're not just a one trick pony with Spirit. And Petrucci pulls out one of his best solos, which I wish he did a bit more of. It seems like these days he's wanting to shread; but, he's such a multi-dimensional player and Just one of those songs that transcends the band coming from an album that can boast the same.

"Finally Free" begins with a beautiful guitar intro with the voice over of the therapist. The mood quickly changes as the story becomes sinister until it's violent conclusion. A lot of twists and turns with this album, but especially this song.

Scenes was the very first DT I bought and it's still the best one by a long shot. Sometimes I wonder if opponents of Dream Theater have ever heard this album. This is a very progressive album and brilliantly put together. Metal really isn't my thing, but Dream Theater is the forerunner of prog metal for a very good reason. They can change on a dime like Yes, but still have that power like Rush or even Iron Maiden in spots. This disc is absolutely essential for any prog collection. 5 strong stars!

Report this review (#124608)
Posted Monday, June 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars.This is DREAM THEATER's fifth studio album, and in my opinion the best out of the previous five. Enter Jordan Rudess who had been playing with Portnoy and Pertucci in the band LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT. Good to see Terry Brown involved in co-producing and recording the vocals. I'll leave it up to you to read from the other reviews to understand what the concept of this album is. I'm not sure which is more complex, the concept of this album or the music that the band plays on it. I do feel that the music is sacrificed a little towards the end of this album for the sake of the concept. If it had ended after "One Last Time" this would be a masterpiece no questions about it. It's not that the last two songs are bad or anything, but this is such a long album with those two songs added on. And they don't wow me enough to warrant being there,other than they have to be for the sake of the concept. Still this is better than "Images And Words" as far as i'm concerned.

"Regression" opens with a monologue before reserved vocals and strummed guitar come in. "Overture 1928" opens with some bombastic drums that build before we are treated to some amazing and tasteful guitar work from Pertucci. The synths are great as are the heavy passages in this song. "Strange Deja Vu" continues with the same melody as the previous song and it picks up in tempo after 2 minutes. What a fantastic song ! "Through My Words" features slowly played piano with reserved vocals."Fatal Tragedy" has a heavy intro and I am reminded at different times of QUEEN during this song. I love the drums and guitar 4 minutes in as Pertucci follows this up with some blistering solos. "Beyond This Life" is my second favourite song. The drums are relentless and the guitar is heavy. It settles down as vocals come in, but not for long. Haha. "Through Her Eyes" opens with a female vocal melody with synths as piano comes in with James singing meaningful lyrics. Light drums and soaring guitar all add to the emotion of this song.

"Home" is my favourite tune on this record. It has an Eastern sound to it. It gets very heavy before 2 minutes.The drumming is incredible and check out Pertucci ! We're head banging now. This sounds so good ! "The Dance Of Eternity" is where Rudess really shines. It still gets heavy though. 5 minutes in the sound is amazing ! Then the drums and guitars slow down which is even more amazing ! "One Last Time" is a beautiful song with piano, drums and guitar. "The Spirit Carries On" reminds me of Roger Waters. Some uplifting guitar in this one. "Finally Free" opens with monologue like the first song. Piano melodies and vocals arrive before both Portnoy and Pertucci shine.The ending with the samples of someone walking and starting up the car really remind me of the ending of "A Fine Day To Exit" from ANATHEMA.

I can definitely hear why so many rate this as a masterpiece.To rate this less than four stars is difficult to understand though.

Report this review (#126194)
Posted Monday, June 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Scenes & memories awake

This is one special album for me as it holds many pleasant memories. This was the second disc by Dream Theater that I obtained (the very first being 'Awake'), and a mighty good one it is.

With Kevin Moore gone after 'Awake' and Derek Sherinian just after the 'Once in a live time' live album and prior to this release, 'Scenes...' introduces the talented Jordan Rudess, who had played with Petrucci and Portnoy on the very enjoyable and quite jazzy 'Liquid Tension Experiment'. Many people complain that he is too techhnical and hasn't got the ability to play with real 'feeling', but I for one think that the man has been a bit misunderstood here. Sure, he is very technical and less 'spirited' (especially lately) than maybe the greatest keyboardists that roam(ed) this planet, but still I find him to be a genious and virtuoso on keys. In fact, I think that occasionally his playing is (was?) tremendously 'spirited' and creative.

Anyway, the man does a mighty good job at playing his instrument and gives a very good contribution to the band (shamefully the good effect only lasts for 'Scenes...' and a few live albums, the latter albums, starting with 'Six degrees...' being quite disappointing in my honest oppinion).

The rest of the musicians are awfully good too on this album, a minor con being James LaBrie's quite cheesy vocals maybe.

The music is excellent, ranging from simple-structured ballads, calmful melodic songs to a bit chaotic and messful metal-pieces with complex structures and many raging instrumental passages, appropriate for headbanging. 'Scenes...' couldn't be called a rip-off like some of the albums by DT, all material generated for this album seems very original and intriguing. There are very cheesy parts in many songs though and the vocal performance by LaBrie doesn't make it any better, only on the contraire, worse, but the overall impression of the album shadows all the parts of cheesieness for me. If one is open-minded about 'Scenes..' and gives it quite a few listens, I think the (great) overall-quality of the album can't be missed.

The album has a quite good concept, very nicely fitting with the music. It tells the story of Nicholas, a man who has disturbing memories popping out in his mind once in a while, taking a session with a hypnotherapist in order to understand the haunting scenes in his mind, and of what happenes in result of this session. The plot is nicely presented and progresses throughout the album. The concept is built on the mystical-filosophy-based idea of eternity and rebirth. In the story there is a girl who appears in Nick's dreams and who is actually Nicholas in a previous life. If you're interested to know more about the story then you can read the plot-retelling other reviews on this site.

'Metropolis pt.2: Scenes From A Memory' is in conclusion a masterpiece in my oppinion and an excellent album in many ways. In my oppinion, it's the primary and most important work of Dream Theater, being the best album of the 3 DT albums I recognise as masterpieces, the other two being 'Awake' and 'Images & Words'.

One of the few essential albums of prog-metal.

Report this review (#127275)
Posted Sunday, July 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars 'Scenes from a memory' is, to prog-metal, what 'Close to the edge' is to symphonic rock. That means SFAM is the most important album its sub-genre. Concetually, it's perfect: one story becomes a piece of poetry; and then, the music completes the atmosphere. It's difficult to evaluate every track. Each one of them were well placed. Music and lyrics follow a line. There are some ideas ('melodic drawings') which constitute the structures of the complete work. Maybe, we also can say the five musician have got their best performances (IMO, they couldn't overcome it yet).

SFAM begins with 'Regression' and the 'Overture 1928'. These pieces introduce us to the story and musical concept. Then, from the third track, the story is developed. Music accompainment is excellent in every song: there are strong parts (like 'Beyond this life'), and softer parts (like 'The spirit carries on', which is a song that makes me move).

Guitars and basses still sound like classic metal instruments (not nü-metal influence yet). Drums sound has got the tipical reverbs of early 90's (some years later, Portnoy's sound is 'drier' than this, like in 'Train of thought'). Keyboards are awesome: Rudess shows he is much more than a classical pianist. Vocals are great, too: LaBrie was irreplaceable in that moment of DT. Evidently, SFAM isn't a classic-metal album. Harmonies and rhythms are very complex, really: some parts have got mathematical relations in the number of measures (I don't know if I'm clear).

I've tried to choose my favourite songs but i couldn't. I love the complete album because, really, it's a conceptual work. I don't like very much when DT plays some songs but not the complete work (in live shows).

There is nothing out of place: the cover art is in the highness that this kind of albums deserve; Theresa Thomason and the Gospel Choir are amazing, too.

SFAM is the number-one, not dude.

Report this review (#127483)
Posted Tuesday, July 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, It´s since a long time that I want to review this album. This is my first album and the one which help me to discover progressive metal. The music on this album is great. Many of the songs are connected, or at least flow to the next one well, but they can all be fine on their own. The musicianship is amazing on this one. The guitars, the keyboards, and the bass are all done with perfect technique and they all blend together to create one amazing sound. The drums too blend in, completing the whole sound very well. I don´t like Labrie vocals, I think that he is the worst thing of Dream Theater. However, in this album, the voice is well fixed. You must listen to it, perhaps, you don´t like all the songs, but you will be agree with me, that this is wonderful music.
Report this review (#127526)
Posted Wednesday, July 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Half this album is Neo Prog! Seriously, most of this album is keyboard-driven, vocal-heavy sometimes-mellow snuff, with intense musicianship still, but not worthy of the tag "Metal". This half I find very stale, very forced. Whether its the keyboard voices, the moaning vocals, or the compositions themselves, something about the neo prog touch is extremely, dare I say, corny.

The metal side of the album is very well done, as far as metal goes. It's very energetic and intense, with really complex song structures, extremely difficult compositions. This part doesn't rely on melodies and vocals as much. But here is my real problem with metal (particularly prog metal): they rely too much on musicianship and complexity, they do not use soulful writing, or a massive amount of creativity, et cetera, et cetera. The main problem is it's unsophisticated; artless. That may be a bit of a stretch, as there is a great amount of artfulness in the complexity, but it is dominated by the adrenaline-pumping edge. It is true that they tried to balance this out with the neo prog-type stuff, but unfortunately, that comes across as insincere (in my very humble opinion).

For examples of the terrible side to this album, the uninspired "storyline" is not only not interesting and not gripping, but it's a real generic storyline, and very lacks an originality. Another would be the screeching/moaning vocals of James LaBrie on The Spirit Carries on, or the really silly and misplaced Through Her Eyes, or the very useless spoken word from the "hypnotist" at the beginning of both Regression and Finally Free.

Good things about the are the really dynamic and extremely progressive Fatal Tragedy, or the infinitely shifting, adrenaline-stimulating Dance of Eternity (one of the few energetic metal moments I can honestly say I enjoy). Home's serene, almost-eerie introduction is a nice change from the intense metal or the synthetic neo prog, and the drumming really complements the simple melody perfectly. But besides those moments, the rest of album, whether paying homage to Marillion or to Cream (they do break into Crossroads in the middle of Strange Deja Vu), the only thing to keep it going is the crazy - the insane musicianship. Metal fans will drool over this one, though!

Report this review (#129647)
Posted Saturday, July 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars A very good album, but I'm not a fan of speed metal, so my rating may be a bit detered. Before I got this album, the only dream theater I had heard before that was train of thought, and it was excellent. So I was expecting a very very good album, I guess my expectations were a bit to hight, because it was a bit less than what I was expecting.

The downfalls of this album are: Too much overpowering drums, LaBries voice (especially the firs couple of lines of strange deja vu), and Jordan Rudess' terrible keyboard solo's

The Upfalls =) of this album- Great concept, excellent recording qualityy, limber bass lines, and not so annoying guitar work (thank GOD). now heres my reveiw

Regression- Nice intro, Im not going to touch on the concept because that will take WAY too long, anyways, LaBries voice is not apsolutely atrocious on this one! Basically just James and John on acoustic. 4/5

Overture 1928- Great instrumental, the only bad thing is when keyboard does this whole lead part which destroys the metal feel. Also I was kinda disapointed to not here john shred for his first solo. Oh well, everything else is good! 4.5/5

Strange Deja vu- Besides Labries first three appaling line, the vocal harmonies are great and the solo, ie excellent. You can hear a lot of Metropolis part one in this song, especially the chorus and bridge. 4/5

Through my words- Filler, but one of the prettiest DT songs under 3 minuetes, behind of course vacant. 4/5

Beyond this life- The first couple of times you hear this song it's really good, but as the amount of listenings grow, the song gets very boring, very fast. I like the keyboard solo though. and just the jam session in particular. 3.5/5

through her eyes- At this point you realize that after every fast song there is a slow song. Anyways, this song has nice guitar, but the lyrics are quite pathetic, tlaking about a man crying about a girl dying seventy years ago? LAME! Good backing female vocals though. 3.5/5

Home- the darkest and heaviest song, no wonder it's the best, probably wht I like ToT as well. Starts like a 60's phsychodelic song with a phased sitar, but quickly turns into a very heavy jam session. Then some Hetfield vocals (I'm I the only person who actually likes it when James goes Metallica on us?) then some very good guitar, but lame keyboards. The rest of the song flows like that for ten something minuetes. 4.5/ 5

The dance of eternity- better than the overture, but Rudess just plain sucks on this song, there is not a single key that he hits that pleases my ears. Great bass solo, great guitars, Portney shut up! Thank you James for not singing. 4/5

One last time- The first song with all around good vocals, This is my favirote slow song, just beautiful, next to Home and Finally free, my first pick.

The spirit carries on- Good song, too overly packed with typical DT cornyness, and this song is way too slow to shread on. The rest of the song is nice and iconic. 4/5

Finally free- Well the lyrics on The spirit carries on make the story line sound over, but since when was dream theater gonna end with a slow song? Awesome song, I love the little stops and breaks in the middle of the song, and the chorus is awesome! I will give the pony points to portney for this one, the fill he does at the end of the song arent completely over double bassed. 4.5/5

Not the masterpiece everyone says it ie, but excellent none the less!


I cant even listen to this anymore, but I use to to be very interested in thi kind of music, and this album helped influence my style of guitar playing.

Report this review (#130132)
Posted Wednesday, July 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Here we go! The best DREAM THEATER album so far, the one which must be in Top-10 of all-time Prog masterpieces, their concept story (very confused in almost David Lynch’s vein ;) ), their most ambitious and successful attempt – not that much successful in a popular sense of the word, but in a Prog sense! Every song is filled with wonderful melodies and interesting hooks, level of performing is better than ever, LaBrie is at his finest (later he’ll lose his strength a bit…) and the whole band is awesomely astonishing. From radiohits like “Through her Eyes” to insane rumbling of “The Dance of Eternity”, DT’s most complex instrumental up to date, music reaches heart of every listener…I simply can’t understand how one would not love this album!!!

Best tracks: “Home”, “The Dance of Eternity”, “ The Spirit carries On”

Best moments: 77 minutes of them!

Report this review (#134151)
Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars go to a store and buy this album right now because it is wihout a doubt the best progressive rock album of the 90s and way better than anything you'll hear from this 80s. This was the album that got me into prog metal when i ordinarily do not like metal at all. Bsically this album has everything. Interesting compositions, the best muscisionship you'll hear in prog, and a quality concept. What more could you ask for. The album has a great balance between hard and soft, and long and short songs. Both of which being fantastic. i have also noticed that James LaBrie's voice is far less anoying on this album for anyone who didn't like that. John Petrucci, Jordan Rudess, and Mike Portnoy are all among the best at their respective instruments. John Petrucci's guitar playing especially is amazing which is no surprize considering how many times he has been a part of G3.

The concept that follows certain "Scenes" through a story has highlights in scenes two, four, six, and seven. That is not to say that the other tracks aren't good. They are just less of materpieces than those four scenes. In fact, i would say that anyone would be hard pressed to find an album that is truly more complete album than this one. All the factors add up to make this the best album that i have ever heard coming out since the 1970s.

Report this review (#134842)
Posted Saturday, August 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars Time after time DT manages to leave me quite cold

Please forgive me, normally I prefer to find my own words to review an album, but this time I'm going to quote fellow Prog Reviewer Bryan Adair: So this is it... prog-metal's magnum opus. The genre's highest rated album on this site, one of progressive rock's seminal albums alongside Relayer, Fragile, Moving Pictures and Red (to name but a few), an album almost unanimously worshipped as a work of art. Wait. What??

Very well put Bryan! Just another quote from fellow Prog Reviewer Tony Fisher: And finally, why can't Petrucci, for all his speed and shredding ability, just SLOW DOWN and inject some emotion and passion into his playing, like Latimer, Rothery, Hackett and Gilmour do? Answers on a postcard, please. Haha; Exactly my train of thought! (to speak in DT terms). DT's music leaves me quite emotionless. And isn't that what music should all be about in the first place?!

Final quote from fellow Prog Reviewer Dieter Fisher: I just can advice any prog newbie: If you're interested in really EXCELLENT prog metal then try THRESHOLD, Pain Of Salvation, OPETH, GREEN CARNATION, IN THE WOODS or RIVERSIDE, but forget about DREAM THEATER, they're just good enough for pop fans who want to show off what kind of sophisticated stuff they're listening to. I could not agree more!

So actually I have to thank Bryan, Tony and Dieter for my review, since they have already said everything what I possibly had to say about DT and about this DT album in particular.

So does Evenless have anything to add? Hmmmm. Well, after reading so many wonderful reviews about DT on PA I decided to buy around 5 DT albums instantly. One mistake I will not make again any time soon. Don't get me wrong, I DO like metal, I can listen to KATATONIA, METALLICA or TOOL all day long. I simply don't "get" DT's music. Seems like pointless playing without putting any emotion into their music to me. Once more I would go on and take Dieter's advice: try THRESHOLD, Pain Of Salvation, OPETH, GREEN CARNATION, IN THE WOODS or RIVERSIDE, but forget about DREAM THEATER!!!

Report this review (#135291)
Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have only one word SPEECHLESS.

Stunning album, everything is perfect here, and is even better then Image & Words (the album that is consider the pinnacle of Dream Theater). Here they surpased every previous albums they've done. One of the best progressive rock album of the 90s and to me is one of the best records ever. Not to mention the skills of the musicians who are beyond belief. Personal i like John Myung who plays at bass like no other, i wonder how is possible to play like this at an instrument. Talking about the music is flawless, the concept behind this album is unmatch in the '90. In conclusion, if you don't have this album, you're only doing yourself a huge favor by running out and buying it as fast as humanly possible. For it is one of the most enjoyable albums to be released in newer times. Simply a must for any fan of music, recommended and 5 stars for sure.

Report this review (#137048)
Posted Saturday, September 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Some sort of double intros open this album. An acoustic and spacey one gets you into condition for this long theater scenes. The real start is "Overture 1928". By now, you are even more conditioned and the voyage through the scenes can effectively start with "Strange Déja Vu". The metal approach is of course noticeable, but not only. The dual side of "DT" is fully integrated into this song. A good combination of both world : rock and metal. A good start so far.

"Fatal Tragedy" starts where the short "Through My Words" has closed. Acoustic and peaceful (!). This tragedy will of course not remain so. The beat will catch up to reach the rock territories and finally, the so fantastic "wall of music" will hurt the listener after three minutes. This is a beautiful crescendo. But you might know that I am found of this type of song evlotion (from slow to crazy). This is the first (but do not worry there will be more) highlight of this album.

Extremely heavy intro for "Beyoond This Life". One of the ten + minutes songs from this album. You can leave the prog adjective when describing this song. Pure heavy metal. A bit "hard" (!) to digest if you are not really in there. Some relief during some quieter vocal passages (two or three) will allow the listener to break. But the last four minutes just feature a repetitive and very little interesting riff. I was trying to find to which band this song sounds like and actually the vocals are fully Mikael Akerfeldt oriented ("Opeth"). Not the growling ones, but the subtle and wonderful crystal clear ones.

Another great contrast during "Through Her Eyes". A standard "DT" rock ballad. Not really great, I'm afraid, but the band often tried this genre throughout their albums. Some of these songs were good, but rarely great. This one is no exception.

"Home" is just fantastic. Not really prog IMO, but I guess that it is the type of song that really converts you into a "DT" fan. Of course, you have to like the hard, the metal "subtility". Long intrumental guitar breaks, wild rhythm, fantastic Portnoy and great Petrucci. But is it worth to mention these characteristics ? They are so deeply "DT" impregnated...One of my fave "DT"ever. Dynamite and brilliance.

The very average "The Dance of Eternity" does not really hold the comparison of course. But it was almost impossible. The problem by now, is that the next two songs are on the mellowish side. One might say that it gives a break in all this frenzy but I do not really belong to these. I far much prefer when "DT" mixes the genres during the same song and offer these brilliant prog / metal combination within a song ("A Song Within A Song" if you know what I mean).

"The Spirit Carries On" features an excellent guitar solo and a nice melody. I am not sure that this type of songs is really what a true "Dream Theater" is expecting. Maybe more the casual proghead willing to enter their repertoire. But I do not belong to either one of these categories.

This album was my second purchase from the band. I believe that it is a good entry to anyone who is willing to enter the "DT" catalogue. The closing number is another highlight. Again, the structure is pretty much a crescendo one. It works very efficiently. Somewhat mellow again during the intro but extremely pleasant. Most of "Dream Theater" aspects are hold here (except the heavy and metal ones).

"Scenes" is a good album. But I can hardly go over three stars for this effort.

Report this review (#140094)
Posted Sunday, September 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Here's a strong album from one of my favourite ever bands. This is one of those bands that consists of a group of extremely talented musicians, gathered together to make amazing music, and not do what everyone expects, while still taking their fans into consideration a lot. This last point is important, as the idea for this album was inspireed by fans wishes for them to follow up the song Metropolis part 1. And they did... by writing Metropolis Part 2 as a whole album!!! And a very decent one as well.

So, lets take a look at the musicians. Personally I think Mike Portnoy is the most talented of the five. His drumming is truly amazing on this album. Petrucci is as always better than most, worse than few. Myung doesn't stand out much, but when he does he's brilliant. LaBrie's voice occassioanlly borders on annoying, but is mostly listenable, and sometime's has a chance to be excellent. And then there's the new addition to the team: Jordan Rudess. He's equally as capable as Moore, but I prefer the latter.

The songs are of a very good quality throughout, starting with the intro, 'regression', before the rush-esque instrumental, 'Overture 1928'. Not amazing, but good. We then have three more merely good songs: the hard rocking 'Strange Deja Vu', the soft interlude 'Through my Words', and the dark 'Fatal Tragedy'. Then we have the first truly great song of the album with 'Beyond this Life'. This is a pretty epic song, with some cool singing parts and some good vocals. Act 1 ends with 'Through Her Eyes' an excellent ballad, with an interesting rhyming pattern in the first few verses.

And so begins Act 2 which starts with one of my top three DT songs. 'Home' is amazing. Very epic. Some great riffs and solos. And those sound effects in the middle (you know the ones i mean ;-). Next up is the amazing 'Dance of Eternity' with some great performances by all musicians involved. 'One Last Time' is a bit dull. 'The Spirit Carries On' can be alright, but it's very cheesy. The closer 'Finally Free' is another excellent song with some amazing drumming, and a great twist at the end of the story.

All in all this album contains some great songs although many of them only work in the context of the album and can't stand alone. The concept's good. The musicianship's amazing. I think I'd rate this 3.5 stars, as my opinion varies greatly depending on my mood. Sometimes I could see this being 4.5 stars, but sometimes only about 3. So I'll round 3.5 up, since my general consideration is that it is, after all excellent.

Report this review (#140670)
Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
5 stars My second favorite Dream Theater album. This is an ambitious concept album that only a very talented and skillfull band coudl go through and come out unscathed. And they were a band like that. Dream Theater magnum opus was a quite surprising affair, since the group seemed to be a little lost after releasing their masterpiece Images And Words. Metropolis put them back where they belonged: one of the most interesting and creative prog metal bands of all time.

For this album the band concentraded once again on using their instrumental virtuosity to work on songs and feelings. They often had instead used songwriting as an excuse for a general display of technique (and those guys CAN really play their instruments!). On Metropolis they are not much restrained either, but they now use their knowledge of music to work for the concept: you still get open mouthed by their sheer capacity of playing difficult, elaborated instrumental passages with such ease you wonder if they were just jamming (they are not, as the DVD of this tour shows). But there´s still some simplicity (an important part of the music they frequently forget to put in good use), song structures and the band never misses the point all the way through the engtire CD. It´s virtuosity aplied when the music calls for it. Also there is a lot of passion and guts. They were quite inspired for this one!

The story is also complex. Miracously it works as much as the music itself. Metropolis is not as accessible as Images And Words, but its sheer power is amazing and has many excellent melodic parts. You´ll have to hear more than once to get all the subtleties and nuances. But once you get into it, youlll find a fantastic work of music. A real prog masterpiece, no less. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#143179)
Posted Tuesday, October 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a 'what-an-album!' by DT. Overally, this album was nearly perfect, both music and lyrically.

Starts with a deep powerful song "Regression", then segue into an outstanding instrumental piece "Overture 1928". The overture segue into "Strange Deja Vu" which directly rockin' your head off! After we had the shocks, the band inserts a slower-melodious song called "Through My Words" before going back to the progressive rocker track "Fatal Tragedy". After this track, we're about to see how we died. The track "Beyond This Life" was also sucking our blood to our heart. And the first act closed by a cooling but deeply strong song "Through Her Eyes".

After the drum machine's loop fades, we're entering the second act. This time opens with a rocking loud tracks "Home" which its vocal parts are adapted from the Metropolis predecessor part "The Miracle and the Sleeper". This track features an unforgettable keyboard solo from Jordan Rudess. The guitar's distorted sound fades, we heard the sound and we think we're going to the song "Metropolis part 1", but actually we have another magnum opus. The track "Dance of Eternity" was an magnificious instrumental piece of this album, absolutely a masterpiece. Then, the rest minutes of the album attaches our ears with its softer song. "One Last Time" was a poppish one, written by James LaBrie. We arrived to the song that the whole DT's fans would sing together while the band performed live. "Spirit Carries On" might be the strongest material in this album. In live performance, it was very emotional while James, the choir and the audiences sing the part of "Safe in the light that surrounds me..." I think. Then, the album ended with "Finally Free" which ends with a static noise that segue into song "The Glass Prison" in the next album, "6 Degrees of Inner Turbulence".

All of you shouldn't miss this album. If you need a good story, buy this album. And if you need a good music, buy this album too! 5 stars was absolutely fit to rate this album out.

Report this review (#145690)
Posted Thursday, October 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've alway's considerd DT to be the hallmark group of prog metal. And this is their signatura album. Like "A farewell to king's" defined Rush and gave them a place in prog rock history so does this album for DT. Conceptualy it's extrodanary, the song flowing into eachother creating a whole and still the music is diverse. A masterpiece, a must have, I have to play this record every month at least.
Report this review (#148808)
Posted Sunday, November 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Many reviews have been submitted already on this album but as one of the few (or so I think) hardcore metal fans on the forum, I thought I might as well give my perspective (especially since it has been a little amusing to read how metal is viewed through the window of non-metal ears :P ). You may feel as someone who listens to metal, I would give prog-metal a ready embrace. Au contraire, it is metalheads who have the hardest time digesting prog metal because it is metal so dressed up and watered down it comes off as pretentious and indulgent - AND perhaps the underlying assumption that metal muscle can be a bad thing hurts too :P. In fact my favourite progressive albums are clearly NOT on the metal side - Thick as a brick being the alltime most favourite and Mirage, Selling England, Meddle and Hemispheres coming close behind. In Absentia and Orphaned Land's Mabool are among a few modern progressive albums that I found impressive....because the instrumental prowess was never allowed to overpower the heart of any music from any genre - emotion.

That has been my biggest grouse with Dream Theater - like a modern day EL&P, they are too hellbent on displaying their virtuosity ad nauseum..but they also lack the sense of fun and adventure that the Karn Evil 9 suite had, perhaps because like Master of Puppets Metallica, they are wanting to say a lot and "cement their place in metal history" and blah blah. This is why this specific album is however a lot more palatable. For a change, the band got down to write great songs, or atleast try to. The seemingly endless solos are gone, or almost...hell, Petrucci doesn't even have a solo in Strange Deja Vu..whoaaa!!!! The other thing is that the songs are eclectic too and with their seemingly boundless instrumental prowess, the band has no problems in pulling off this wide repertoire. So...the foundation has been laid for an intelligent, varied and interesting dose of prog.

However, there is one other problem that Dream Theater need to address and haven't to date. It is La Brie's vocals. Although I am, or I believe I am, quite proficient in English, it is not my native language. Hence, I am not given to poke fun at weird accents, amusing pronounciation of words, poor selection of words (possibly due to deficient knowledge of English) and so on. I sympathize with European or Latin American or Asian bands who make an effort to express themselves in a medium that can be universally embraced. Even then, I have serious issues with La Brie's handling of English, more than anything else. It is not just the way he pronounces words but the tone of his voice that almost always seems out-of-whack with the mood of the song. It may be that the aforementioned European guys just sang their hearts out and were not conscious of "English" issues, so it was easier for me to overlook these problems. La Brie is decidedly conscious of every line that he delivers and this makes listening to the album a very painful exercise, because if the singer doesn't lose himself in the musical journey, how will you find it inviting??? In the same light, he shows great range, versatility, power et al but the final output falls short of convincing. The biggest La Brie bloomer on this album is doing a Roger Waters impression on Spirit Carries On, but in a bad way, trying to be the Waters who wallows in self-pity and desperately reaches for stars well outside his limited vocal horizon (Nobody Home, Don't Leave Me Now) rather than the Waters who laces his lines with dollops of irony and badass attitude(Mother, Empty Spaces).

Above all that is the sympathy factor that we allude to frequently in metal circles. When a band seemingly profess their desire to be the best in the business, outdo everyone, change the world, blah blah and perhaps are too businesslike about the ART of composing music, they leave a sour taste in the mouth. But how does that affect my impression of the music?? Well, like Master of Puppets Metallica again, it evidences itself in a rather tight and dispassionate execution of the songs that is technically flawless but doesn't quite touch your soul. On the other hand, albums with flaws and quirks may win you over easily if the band's passion for their art comes through. Example: When Geddy Lee of Rush hits that high note in Freewill, he is wailing despairingly and makes you cringe and yet the sheer energy exuded by him makes you gloss over it.

In toto, seeing as there are a number of irritants for me in this album that may not exist for others on the forum, I will err on the side of caution and give a slightly higher rating than I would give it for my consumption.


Report this review (#149507)
Posted Thursday, November 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This being my first review and all, why not start with one of the biggest proggressive bands today. And with Metropolis II, being one of their best albums. One more review couldn't hurt.

DT basically threw everything into this album to make it another "A Change of Seasons." And they have done a much better job in my opinion. Metropolis II was an idea that DT had for such a long time. I don't remember what triggered them to go forth and begin working on the album. This was also the first album that Rudess performed on after doing the Liquid Tension Experiment.

Report this review (#151077)
Posted Friday, November 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars As a lot of people above me have said, Dream Theater "pull out all the stops" and "use every trick in the prog book". And yes, they seem to have done just that on this, their masterful rock opera. Its not so much a prog metal album as it is a mix of classic rock, symphonic prog, and heavy prog. They know how to tear your heart with gorgeous melodies, and then frighten the heck out of you with the intensity and evilness of their riffs and themes, and finally blow your mind with their genius and technical skills. Amazing album, great opera.

Regression: Mysterious opener, spoken words from the psychotherapist bringing the listener with him into this other world of Nicholas's memory. Nice acoustic guitar and soft singing from Labrie. He may not be a great singer, but his voice suits dream theater's music very well, and no one else could do it.

Overture 1928: A traditional overture in that it introduces melodies and themes that will reappear in the songs to come, great showcasing of the 3 major instrumentalists, as well as their ability to change time signatures on a dime. I love the lead in to the next song...

Strange De Ja Vu: a good hard rocker with great use of vocal overdubs. Labrie Sings in a lower octave and has distant, overdubbings of himself singing an octave up, giving a spine-chilling feel to the song. it alternates between soft and heavy, riff-laden parts as it gives the listener some kind of idea of what Nicholas has been dreaming about.

Through my Words: simple piano filler piece, but works well between two giants, Strange De ja vu and...

Fatal Tragedy: piano riff that is a minor key version of the one from through my words, with mystical vocals talking about Nicholas's troubles. Then the riffs kick in, taking us into the twisted world that is Nicholas's mind. We discover a girl has been murdered, a fatal tragedy has occurred as she was very young. Lament is heard when Labrie Sings "Without Love, Without Her, there can be no turning back", and the song slowly gets heavier as anger takes over as the song kicks into the second half, the insanely fast and intense instrumental section. Here is where Petrucci and Rudess get to completely pull out the stops, and to some extent, Mke Portnoy as well, as he bashes away on the double bass. Rudess keeps switching between a harpsichord sounding keyboard and the synthesizer he makes such good use of. The song ends with a piano outro, telling us the next part of the story: How Victoria died. "Remember that death is not the end, but only a transition"

Beyond this life: begins with a cool 5/4 riff, one of the heavier songs on the album. when the quiet vocal kicks in, Labrie seems to be reading a newspaper article to us. very spine-chilling and evil sounding, it gets louder and louder, and we realize that Victoria's death had to do with suicide, but she was not the one who committed suicide. The murderer of her killed himself soon afterwards, all witnessed by a random spectator. Again, this song has some intense soloing by the two main guys, and in the live version, they have an instrumental section within the instrumental section. However, the song ends on a lighter note.

Through Her Eyes: an express of grief from Nicholas for what he has seen, feeling terribly remorseful for Victoria. The female vocals mix with the piano theme from through my words to make a somber, uplifting ballad.

Home: Mysterious intro with sitar and a nice bass riff, Home is a slow building song that blows me away every time, and its by far my favorite on the album. We learn that the murderer of Victoria had a brother who was in love with Victoria, and that his brother was jealous of that love for he too loved her. this was the reason for the suicide-murder. the main riff and chorus are some of the best of their kind, and the power of the song overwhelms me. The long solo section goes down again, before rebuilding into an epic synth solo, following by a near straight 16th note solo from petrucci. The outro is one of the oddest time signatures, and brings back the sitar from earlier. overall, a masterful epic.

Dance of Eternity: An instrumental showcase for the band, absolutely insane and out of this world. heavy riffing and synth lines are trademarks of this song, along with some great soloing from petrucci, and a ragtime piano solo from rudess, showing us he can do more than just shred. after 6 of the most note-packed minutes in prog history, they cut for a second, and then...

One Last Time: more great piano work from Jordan, and some cryptic lyrics from James Labrie, followed by a guitar solo that was introduced in the overture (seems so long ago!). ending with some really cool piano work, it leads right into...

Spirit Carries On: A sort of accepting of death by Nicholas, seeing that Victoria's spirit is free, and can be at peace. A ballad that works well as a false-closer to the album.

Finally Free: Nicholas is brought out of the Trance, and goes home. Nice upbeat part, leads into a cool piano riff, and the ending theme is introduced: "This feeling, inside me..." the heavy mysterious part tells us that Nicholas goes home and gets murdered by his Hypnotherapist, who is the reincarnation of The murderer, and Nicholas is the Reincarnation of Victoria, seeing as how the line "Open your eyes, Nicholas!" is underscored by "open your eyes, Victoria!". A nice reprise of the one last time chorus, followed by some nice soloing from petrucci. the ending section is great, good drumming from portnoy and a nice riff to end the album on a not-so-nice note.

Overall, this album belongs in a different era, except for the heavy parts, but it is mostly influenced by the 70s, with great melodies and themes. Dream Theater's Best, and a one of a kind album.

Report this review (#153289)
Posted Friday, November 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Dream Theater - Scenes From A Memory 4.5 stars

Is this the magnum opus of prog-metal.I think not. This is an awesome album, but it certainly lacks punch in some areas that I'll really detail out because the rest is great. I would recommend maybe 3 or 4 Dream Theater albums alone more then this one, but the genre as a whole? I stand on top of my computer chair holding 'The Perfect Element' and 'Second Life Syndrome' skyward (to name very few). Anyway, Jordan Rudess replaces Derek Sherinian on the keyboards for this album and his presence was instantly felt. Jordan Rudess to me is the modern day Keith Emerson meaning for those uninformed, he is a wizard on the keys. Unfortunately after this album I began to dislike Rudess, but that's a topic I'll save for the later albums. This album has a great amount of flow to it and as such I really don't think I will do a track-by-track analysis. This is a conceptual work after all.

From a lyrical point of view, this album is perfect. I won't topsoil the story (yes, story), in any way, but it has to do with the spirit, reincarnation, after-life, then the joys and pains of the physical realm like murder, love and betrayal. Everything is done so perfectly.

The instruments are outstanding. The guitar work is as good as it has ever been, Myung is like always, kept secret. Jordan Rudess brings the virtuosity to a new level, his keyboard solos were extremely technical, but still retained a great amount of feeling. The guitar and keyboard also bring a sort of new 'element' to the Dream Theater sound. Rudess and Petrucci sort of mimic each other at times and other play the same exact solo on top of one another. While this was good for this particular album, this overused novelty plagued DT's later albums to oblivion.

The sound is outstanding.but this is where the flaws are embedded in. There are no flaws in my opinion until 'Through Her Eyes' came in. Dream Theater certainly failed to deliver on the slower songs. This is pretty hard to believe, especially after releasing the outstanding soft and melancholic album, which was 'Falling into Infinity'. 'The Spirit Carries On' is one of my least favorite Dream Theater tracks simply because the vocals and instrumentation lack the emotional punch that these two songs were supposed to portray, thus lowering my rating down half a star. The guitar solo in 'The Spirit Carries On' was the only thing that really gave the expression that was needed to be heard.

Besides the two aforementioned songs.every other one is outstanding. If I had to recommend a few tracks to definitely check out, they would be 'Fatal Tragedy', 'Beyond this Life', 'Home', and 'Finally Free'. These songs are some of the most sophisticated of all prog-metal songs and they contain the most intense virtuostic work yet.

You have intense instrumentals, well though-out story and concept, excellent composition and a great melody. The only problem is the slower works that did not make this album a complete masterpiece. This album is highly recommended for any fan of prog- metal.

Report this review (#154818)
Posted Sunday, December 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This release by DT is supposed to be their best effort where the studio albums are concerned. In a way I can understand why but I do not totally agree with this outcome. SfaM is a very interesting concept album, a very good one too but it's not my personal favourite. In fact it's almost the same story as Awake which used to be one of my all time fav's by any band but didn't stand the test of time and faded from me in a way. This is also the case with SfaM but just not as vehement.

SfaM still has an impact on me but eight years ago I thought this was sensational and that feeling has gone. I was never too thrilled about the first few tracks nor as I was about the last few. The songs in the middle always worked best for me, especially Beyond this life and Home but even these two don't make me go into raptures anymore. They are just good songs to me now. The audience favourite Spirit Carries on never was my thing (despite the great guitar solo by Petrucci) because of the lyrics. I don't believe in life after death and stuff like that so it never appealed to me.

So all in all I recognize the greatness of this album but I prefer a few other albums by DT personally. I still think it's good enough for 4 stars though.

Report this review (#154955)
Posted Monday, December 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Imho, DT is defined by their two masterpieces, IMAGES & WORDS, and SCENES FROM A MEMORY. The first one was a collection of riffs that somehow magically congealed (a miracle considering the drama they went through recording it) into brilliant songs (disregarding the Kenny G-like ANOTHER DAY). The second one is DT's coming of age, the culmination of a fantastic band at its best on both technical and inspirational levels. From start to finish, it grips you. There are no weak points, each song combines great songwriting, technical show-off (which I appreciate when done right) and emotion (some of you may find this hard to believe). The story line adds to the depth of the experience of it all. Highlights are everything between 0:00 and 77:12, no need to review each song seperately. In prog-metal land, it doesn't get better than this, a stellar performance by a brilliant band!
Report this review (#158604)
Posted Monday, January 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Not many more things can be said about this album. For me it is the perfection of the proggresive metal genre.

The songs, the melodies, the vocals, the lyrics, the instrumental parts, the concept... I don't think there is any item to be improved.

My favourites are Home and Finally Free but the rest are also amazing.

I suppose you all have listened to it, if not, don't doubt it, you won't be disappointed.


Report this review (#159009)
Posted Saturday, January 19, 2008 | Review Permalink

Scenes From A Memory is the best Dream Theater album so far. It is also one of my favourite albums ever, it is a big chapter in progressive rock history. Why is this album a masterpiece? 1) Brilliant concept. 2) Stunning musicianship. 3) Top-notch production. 4) Originality and variability. 5) Integrity and cohesion. The album last 77 minutes and each second is thought-out, inspired and significant. Though the album is lengthy it doesn’t bore. Indeed, it was a peak of Dream Theater’s form: James LaBrie did his work perfectly – and made the best of it; John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess showed the world how to play really fast, synchronously and affecting (by the way, their most inspiring ideas and solos are exactly on SFAM); John Myung is great as always (please note his bass work on Dance Of The Eternity and Fatal Tragedy); Mike Portnoy as the best modern prog-rock drummer did his work conscientiously (the drum (!!!) solo at the end of Finally Free is … one of the finest moments I’ve ever heard!). The album consists of 12 tracks but sounds like one united song – the links between the songs are logical and well-founded. It goes without saying that SFAM is the most genuine work by Dream Theater. Really, I don’t know what to say more about the album. It is a MUST HAVE.

Report this review (#159748)
Posted Friday, January 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I can sense that this is one of Dream Theater´s most loved albums viewed by the reviews here on Prog Archives and listening to the album I understand why. Well at least partly because there are also parts of this album that I don´t like much.

One of the good things about this album is that it is way better than it´s predecessor Falling Into Infinity which must be said to be Dream Theater´s weakest album at least to my ears. The hard rock edge that marred that album is fortunately gone on Scenes From a Memory. This means that the prog metal feeling and playing are very much present again on this album. The melodies are much more intricate and exciting than the more simple vocal lines on Falling Into Infinity.

The bad things about the album is first of all the production. Portnoy and Petrucci has taken over this duty on Scenes From a Memory. This is a great example of why musicians shouldn´t produce their own work ( Jimmy Page from Lep Zeppelin is another). The mix isn´t very good, and especially the drums have a very weak sound. I liked the more artificial drum sound on their earlier albums Images and Words and Awake. Portnoy and Petrucci sings background vocals on the album, which to my ears is just a horror.

Well the bad things aside this is still a great album, and songs like Scene TWO: I.Overture 1928, II.Strange Deja Vu, Scene Three: I.Through My Words, II.Fatal Tragedy and Scene Four: Beyond This Life are excellent and classic Dream Theater material. Exciting song structures, tempo and time signature changes as we´re so used to from Dream Theater are of course very present on Scenes From a Memory. I think they should have stopped the album after Scene Seven: I.The Dance of Eternity though as especially the last two songs are very weak in my ears. Scene Eight: The Spirit Carries On is a cheesy and really unworthy song to be included on this album. Scene Nine: Finally Free is too repetitive and not exciting enough for me. These two songs drag the album down a bit. It´s still excellent though, but I wouldn´t call it a masterpiece.

The lyrics are a concept story which I will not go into further detail with. Personally I normally don´t like concept stories because I think the storytelling lyrics destroy the flow of the melody lines. This is to some extent also the case here. But it is a bearable flaw to me as lyrics generally don´t interest me much.

I remember thinking that this was one of the best albums I had ever heard when I bought it, but my excitement has somehow cooled a bit over the years. It´s still an excellent addition to any prog rock collection though and highly recommendable. A sure 4 star album.

Report this review (#160410)
Posted Friday, February 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Great music, bad vocals.

The music on this album struck me, as it was the first prog album I really listened to. From beginning to end this album has it all for me. Parts that give me the shivers up my spine, parts that make me want to jump through the ceeling and parts that left me dizzy and wondering: how do they do this.

I like soft music as well as really hard and fast music, so this album does it rather good for me. I'm a drummer so I noticed the unusual tempo changes and time signatures, and I really liked that. Finally something different from 4/4. What I like the most is the returning of the main theme, every time in an other form. Not repetive for the lack of inspiration, but to keep the main theme present trough out the album.

The vocals on the other hand really anoyed me on some of the songs. Labrie's voice does it really good on the soft parts, but on the havier, faster parts he lacks the power for that. I rather like to here a voice that is more raw for that parts. Somethimes it's even false, for example at the end of Behond This Life.

This album opened the doors to prog for me, but in my opinion it's not a masterpiece because I think a masterpiece has no cons, only pros!

4 stars because everyone who likes prog need to listen this album at least one time. After that personal taste decides if you like it or not.

Report this review (#163242)
Posted Wednesday, March 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars What can I say about scenes from a memory part II. Probably the best dream theater album ever. Great concept, decent lyrics (for Dream Theater's type of music), amazing instrumentals (check out the dance of eternity) and extremely intricate arrangements. I really think you can't go wrong with this album. I can honestly listen to SFAM 10 times a day. The turnarounds, time changes, and solos keep you asking for more. Highly recommended to anyone who has an appreciation for what real musicians can do. Five well earned stars for sure.
Report this review (#164180)
Posted Tuesday, March 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater's extraordinary work!

To my is the masterpiece together with Images and Words.

The album has a beginning exciting and this one very well made, besides that this work has excellent songs, but no doubt There Dance of Eternity and the exquisite ballad Through Her Eyes is the out-standing ones.

That I can say is the disc début of Jordan Rudess where there is obvious clearly good keyboard that is.

Simply it is necessary to have it to listen to the majesty of this quintet of New York.

Report this review (#164269)
Posted Wednesday, March 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Prog's spirit carries on.

After (arguably) rekindling the progressive fire with their first three albums, Dream Theater finally hit a major snag in the road when they attempted to take the more conventional path on their 1998 album 'Falling Into Infinity'. Not ones to be held back by such a let down, the band decided to regroup, find a new keyboardist and move back into more familiar grounds. Enter Jordan Rudess, and the need to make something great.

Metropolis Pt 1 was always a popular track by the band, and by now they must be eternally grateful to themselves to have put that Pt 1 at the beginning. Apparently there was never any plan to make a pt 2, and when they titled the original with a 'pt 1' it was more of a sick joke. Fortunately for them they were able to make an album off of what would become pt 2 while being able to recycle themes, a couple riffs, soundscapes and credibility from their masterpiece, Images and Words. Luckily, the album doesn't come off as a blatant rip-off of their own material and what used to be a very confusing muddle of words in Pt 1 is fleshed out into an incredibly complex story in pt 2.

This (as to be expected) is a concept album and rock opera from start to finish. The tracks run together to form two acts which in turn run together to make the album into one giant song. While the album does, at times, suffer from the ''Wall of sound'' effect thanks to it's repeated motifs and themes it does still manage to keep interest thanks to both the story and skilled playing of each member. While Dream Theater sometimes takes flak for being a little bit to ambitious on their instruments, here they seem to have done everything right. The instrumentation actually comes off as part of the story and advances the plot while keeping the audience entertained.

It would be pointless to go into this album and give track by track thoughts because really each blurb would entail me typing the same thing over and over again (not to mention that this is the 600th review for the freaking album) -- So I'll do it as a whole. How does the album sound? Dark, moody and fast with blinding solos, a couple good slow parts and a lot of flat out creepy moments when it comes to story line. In terms of story, it's very complex and difficult to work out. Basically, it's the story of a man who experiences strange visions in his sleep so he goes to a shrink to figure out what they all mean. Though hypnosis the man discovers about a young girl who was murdered back in the 30s and has to figure out the real reason why it happened. The ending really will surprise you, even if you fancy yourself someone who doesn't care for Dream Theater lyrics.


Not Dream Theater's best album as many may claim it to be, mostly thanks to it's inaccessibility as a 75+ minute album that really sounds completely the same the first couple listens. This is still a great album featuring great playing and writing which will almost definately make a great addition to your collection -- 4 stars.

Report this review (#164856)
Posted Monday, March 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was the first their album i've heard. At the first time it seems to be very difficult and boring, but after listening for a couple of times i recognise it's just great. I don't want to rate each track because it's a conceptual album and each song is a small part of a big prog masterpiece. Also i really want to notice that the first thing that hooked me was instrumental Overture 1928: it's amazing.

This is very terryfying story and impressive too, so this album is one of the greatest in progmetal music.

Report this review (#165782)
Posted Saturday, April 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is Dream Theater's best album in my opinion. It tells a story and each track flows from one to the other nicely. But, unlike Dream Theater's previous albums (in my opinion), the tracks also stand apart. Meaning that they don't all sound the same. Also, somehow James LaBrie.s' voice manages to be less annoying than usual which definitely helps. 'Home' is probably my favourite track, but all of this album is enjoyable.
Report this review (#170610)
Posted Sunday, May 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Nick nack patty wack, give a dog a bone, This old man came rolling home.

Dream Theater is a big band and so is Metropolis Part 2. The record consists of two acts each being special in it's own way without loosing touch one with another, however.

Act I: It's all about the guitar-keyboard dialogue! Generally, the music is a great jam with tons of creativity but when it comes to the climax, meaning the solos, the speakers start bouncing on the table, I start bouncing in the chair and my ears cum. Petrucci and Rudess alternate the leads changing the sound of their instruments at each shift. Therefore, you get such a variety of sounds because the musicians swirl, push, alternate, tunes up and down their instruments that it's quite a task being able to keep focus. Their technique is remarkable which is why the seven tracks never bore the listener. Since it is a concept album the songs tend to pursue the same line in order to have continuity. Practically, there are two main moods of the first act, meaning darkness and relaxation (I don't know about you but for me metal can become relaxing even in it's intense moments).

Act II: Not as fast as the first part, the second act is more epic and eclectic. Songs like Home have many traditional oriental music influences (no wonder since the concept focuses on reincarnation), One Last Time is undoubtedly slow but touching. Finally free is, as well, very sentimental.

The production is very good, the sound is clear, the distortions are well done (even korn couldn't have done them better) and someone must have paid a lot of attention that LaBrie's voice would not ruin it all. The guitar riffs are pretty light which is indicated if you have a keyboard layout so creative and ingenious as Rudess's.

Report this review (#170904)
Posted Tuesday, May 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Now, this is what I call a must-have and an absolute masterpiece. I started DT with this this one, and I must say it was a real surprise as I wasn't expecting such an astounding piece of work. With the exception of Through my words and through her eyes every song deserves a five stars rating, with Overture 1928 and The dance of eternity being my favorite ones.

What's more, I didn't find it difficult at all even though I was totally illiterate in prog at that time : I find Images and words much harder to understand, but it may be because the production on Metropolis Part 2 makes it sound so perfect.

You must try it, the best is to listen to the lyrics and see the strong link they have with the music. Let's talk about the music : Well it's metal, but it hasn't got many links with bands such as Metallica or Iron Maiden. Dream Theater shows a great blend of metal, progressive and theatrical music with great moments of tragedy (see the end of finally free, great ending).

I don't see many flaws inside of it, the story told within the lyrics is complete and each song is a step in the discovery of the awful crime it's all about.


Report this review (#173301)
Posted Sunday, June 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.4 Stars

First of all, this album is amazing. I am completely blown away by the musicianship and writing.

Maybe 2/3rds of this album is listenable, the rest seems to be some form of pop. the stuff that is good is really really good. But, on the other hand, the stuff that sucks really really sucks.

Act 1 The first 5 songs on this album are art. The guitar riffs just blow my mind, its musically delicious (haha). But 'beyond this life' is so repetitive. sure its got a great riff, but it gets old after the first two minutes, then you have 5 more minutes of boredom until the riff finally changes. 'Through Her Eyes' is unlistenable pop. I don't know how the same people who wrote the rest of this album managed to come up with this garbage. I am not going to expand.

Act 2 'Home' to 'One Last Time' is again, a section of complete uninterrupted art. Sadly the album dives back into some kind of pop with 'The Spirit Carries On'. Again, I will not expand on this, because it will depress me. Luckily 'Finally Free' is one of their finer pieces and ends the album on a good note.

One last thing I need to whine about is his voice!! Dear John Petrucci, Please learn to sing. I Intensely dislike your annoying boyish voice. Oh, and your lyrics are stupid too.

Overall this album still rocks. If you cut out all the trash and tune out his voice, this album is beyond words. I have never heard finer writing and musicianship in a progressive metal album.

Report this review (#173638)
Posted Wednesday, June 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow, this is how I like Dream Theater, when they think outside the box.


Regression, starts off with a clock, which really intrigued me the first time I heard it. Then it becomes this beautiful slow acoustic ballad with Labrie singing. Very pretty. (9/10)

Overture 1928 leads you into this intense instrumental with great playing and an Opeth like guitar chord at the start. Very nice. But what captivated me the most were the amazing keyboard solos. Flawless. (10/10)

Strange Deja Vu starts where Overture 1928 ends. The story is very easy to understand unlike some concept albums (Ghost Reveries). Mike Portnoy's drumming has never been better, he really keeps everything in check. The song doesn't get too interesting for me until the harder rock section kicks in. That part really wowed me, it was so well written. Great song. (9/10)

Through My Words is a beautiful piano ballad, I love this segue every time I hear it. (10/10)

Fatal Tragedy starts off continuing Through My Words for some reason. Bad mastering? Who knows. Then the song gets up on its feet, but ultimately falls down again, with a repetitive circling of the song which annoys me. The solos however, are genius. The instrumental section has some of the best Dream Theater soloing on the entire album. This section makes up for the rest of the song. (8.5/10)

Beyond This Life is an epic masterpiece from start to finish. The start is very great and I love playing the guitar lines at my house. This is where the story gets interesting. Some of Labrie's best work on the record is here. The lyrics are really well written (Nod to Petrucci) and are perfectly in sync with a story. I also noticed the newspaper on the inside booklet have the lyrics on them. (I actually noticed that from the Live At Budokan DVD). The chorus is perfect, I love the effects used there. Then after the first chorus, Petrucci rips out this amazing, Slayer like solo that just blows my mind. The second chorus All that we learn, this time, is carried Beyond, This Life. I found really beautiful and great. Then the instrumental section just baffles me at times. From Petrucci's amazing wah-wah solo to Rudess's quirky keyboard sounds, this is a great instrumental section. Then the ending of the instrumental section is this wonderful, Zappa inspired unison by Petrucci and Rudess. Amazing, a zenith in progressive metal. (10/10)

Through Her Eyes is a nice, slow going ballad. I didn't find it too interesting or worthy of any real re-listen. It was an obvious attempt at another fluke single. It sounds better played with the drums. (8/10)


Home is an middle eastern inspired piece, which really blows my mind. The Sitar sounds from Jordan Rudess really sound...well, real! This song has reference to the original Metropolis song all over it. Lyrics, writing, drumming, playing. Everything! The story really gets interesting, because it starts to plot on why Victoria was killed. The reason was The Sleeper (Julian) is addicted to something, probably drinking. Then, The Miracle (Julian's Brother) is comforting Julian's girlfriend. Then, as you can distinctively hear midway through the song, he has sex with her. Here is what every song needs, orgasms! Right after the escapade, comes an awesome keyboard solo that just really kills me. It's almost as catchy as the one in 6:00. Then the less than inspired guitar solo. *YAWN*, I thought these guys were Dream Theater. That part kind had me holding my breath for nothing. Then, the song goes into this Sitar/Guitar unison, that I personally, find simply mind bending. The song ends with some drum fills from Mike Portnoy. Overall GREAT SONG, except the lame solo from Petrucci. (9.5/10)

The Dance Of Eternity, honestly. This song is just a big lame piece of show offyness. I really found this sort of uncool for these guys to do. The musicianship is there, but it's sort of pretentious and they are really just being show offs. (6.5/10)

One Last time starts out with some AMAZING piano playing. This is the point in the story where Nicholas begins to think that the story doesn't really make sense and he wants to go back in time one last time, hence the title. The song morphs back into Strange Deja Vu, which I found very cool. Nice song. (8.5/10)

The Spirit Carries On, is honestly, in my top ten of best songs of all time. This song I WANT PLAYED AT MY FUNERAL. It's beautiful and moving in every way. I love this song. The beautiful guitar playing and singing. The lyrics too, oh, are just spectacular. (John Petrucci actually wrote them in a Wal-Mart parking lot). The song is beautiful, it brings a tear to my eye every time I hear it. Best power ballad of all time. (1000/10)

Finally Free starts with the voice of the therapist again, with a easy listening/folky guitar jingle in the back. This is the point in the story where Nicholas realises what really happened to Victoria, and how it came to be. Then a beautiful piano piece leads the song to begin its vocals. The lyrics are PERFECT for the song. This is Mike Portnoy's lyrical masterpiece, (The AA suite withstanding). Then the song really starts with a nice section with great backup vocals. I absolutely love the chorus:

This feeling inside me Finally found my love, I finally broke free No longer town in two I'd take my own life before losing you

Then, the story comes to a climax with a very heavy guitar line. You can hear an obvious struggle, then gunshots. Apparently, The Miracle, (The Sleeper's Brother) killed both Victoria and The Sleeper. He shot them both dead. Then the song goes back into the chorus from One Last Time, which I loved. Then, The Sleepers and Victoria's souls both arise to heaven. Then the song cuts to an acoustic and vocal part, which then leads back into the song. The song comes to an end (vocally) with the lines: We'll meet again my friend, someday soon. (SEQUEL :D)

Then the song goes into my favorite part, the rotating of the dark heavy guitar lines with Mike Portnoy soloing behind them. Live, it sounds twice as awesome. The song ends with Nicholas pulling up in his driveway, relaxing at his home, only to be awakened by the therapist, as he fell asleep and dreamt all of this up.


This album, is my favorite Dream Theater album. It's records like this that brought these guys where they are right now. I just hope they can turn it around and release another record of this caliber. It would be a great sight to see, someday soon. One song can't ruin an entire album, this is one is a masterpiece. 5 Stars.

Report this review (#174497)
Posted Thursday, June 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Question?

Does it move me and is it the sort of album i can listen to woe to go then woe to go again?

Answer: YES

The perfect blend of showmanship, thought, creativity and aggression. This was the album which made me a fan. I love a band who know they are good and show it. there is nothing wrong with epic instrumentals which show off how fast you can play! I LOVE THAT STUFF. But there is more to this album than that and a lot of DT fans agree.

KICK ASS BAND AND A KICK ASS ALBUM. One of my favourite albums of all time.

Report this review (#175364)
Posted Thursday, June 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars In my opinion, few albums reach the overall completeness that this one does. What i mean is that from start to finish, the music keeps my interest. There are very few weak moments, if any, which is the reason it gets my vote for the best Dream Theater album. The musicianship on this album is almost unrivaled, and the musicianship is also coupled with the fantastic melodies. And while sometimes Dream Theater produces efforts that contain too much pointless soloing and showboating, this album is not one of them. My favorite tracks on this album (although it's technically all one song) are Overture 1928/Strange Deja Vu, Fatal Tragedy, The Dance of Eternity, and of course The Spirit Carries On. Overture 1928/Strange Deja Vu is the combination of an instrumental and another song that seamlessly connect into one great rollercoaster ride that does not contain one sub-par moment. Fatal Tragedy possesses a great chorus and some compelling instrumental parts. It never ceases to amaze me how Dream Theater created such a technical instrumental as The Dance of Eternity and still managed to make it flow and maintain the listener's constant attention. I think it is one of the best instrumentals ever created and you will too once you buy this album(you're going to buy it, right?). Lastly, the Spirit Carries On is that one song on a rock album that is great despite the fact that it is much softer and laid back than all of the other tracks. James Labrie really shines on this song, and the choir near the end of the song adds a pleasant touch that lifts the song to previously unreached heights. Do yourself a favor and buy this album in its entirety today!
Report this review (#175891)
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
5 stars Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory was the first Dream Theater album that really made me gasp!

Although I would soon find out that there was much more from where it came from, I still consider this album and especially the performance on Scene Six: Home to be their crown achievement. It would be completely unjustified to go into an early retirement after delivering such a gem of a composition but unlike many other bands Dream Theater managed once again to outdo themselves with the release of the next couple of albums

When listening to the album I tend to skip the intro track Scene One: Regression which, although sets the mood for the album, isn't really as great of an intro as the instrumental intro of Scene Two: Part I. Overture 1928. The only criticism I can think of is the albums length, but that can be applied to most of Dream Theater's albums, especially the newer releases. I think that a CD, no matter how great, should not be longer than 60 minutes (not counting bonus tracks and such), but that's just my general opinion of the album format as such and not so much criticism for this particular release.

After this short rant I honestly have no more criticism to add and so you should just assume that everything else about Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory is completely flawless!

***** star songs: Scene Two: Part I. Overture 1928 (3:37) Scene Two: Part II. Strange Deja Vu (5:12) Scene Three: Part II. Fatal Tragedy (6:49) Scene Six: Home (12:53) Scene Seven: Part I. The Dance Of Eternity (6:13) Scene Nine: Finally Free (11:59)

**** star songs: Scene Three: Part I. Through My Words (1:02) Scene Five: Through Her Eyes (5:29) Scene Four: Beyond This Life (11:22) Scene Seven: Part II. One Last Time (3:46) Scene Eight: The Spirit Carries On (6:38)

*** star songs: Scene One: Regression (2:06)

Total Rating: 4,58

Report this review (#175915)
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, seeing the recent surge of interest in this album (being that is the most reviewed of the last few days) has given me the necessary impetus to sit down and pen my own review of this recording.

This album was my introduction to not only DREAM THEATER but the Progressive metal genre as a whole. I saw that this band had listed RUSH as a key influence, and possessed a power metal-esque style that is quite prevalent in Scandinavia, yet never found much of a foothold in the United States, be it differences in musicians thought or the types records that were being produced at the time left power metal without a place. Regardless, a group of trained musicians, creating powerful and inspired music, and receiving such a high rating on this site for their efforts made this album seem as if it was a work not to be missed and required a listen from even the most discerning ears.

This supposition of mine could not have been more correct, from the opening moments till the curtain falls on the sublime exposition of musicianship, writing, and overall love for the craft permeates the disc. I remember being completely consumed by the music from the first listen and never seeing any decrease in enjoyment after multiple listens. Every member contributes powerful, yet diverse passages to the disc, although JOHN MYUNG's precision and skilled work on the bass can go noticed unless it is specifically listened for due to his levels being far too low as compared to the rest of the group.

From a musical aspect every singles song is carefully crafted and provides the album with multiple unique and breathtaking facets. Sometimes the music is so complex to the point of making it feel orchestrated by a virtuoso composer. Additionally, the progressiveness of this album should be noted carefully as the power metal and progressive metal genres to notice of this album and utilized many of its techniques to improve their own musical endeavors.

From a lyric standpoint this is one of the finest concept albums I have ever listened to. The lyrics rarely feel forced and never become so laborious that they distract from the story. Even though numerous members of the band contribute to the lyrics they never miss a beat and seem to flow in the same style and utilize the same structure grammatically throughout the entire record.

In conclusion my introduction to DREAM THEATER, was a marvelous one filled with virtuoso musicianship from every member. Inspired work from the entire group, yet restrained just enough as to not make the listening experience too much of a challenge if any at all. A fine album to use to introduce newcomers to prog as it is reasonably accessable yet still complex and masterfully progressive.

Report this review (#176171)
Posted Saturday, July 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Scenes from a Memory: after the traumatizing Falling Into Infinity, Dream Theater rids itself from the 90's sounding and release a terrific comeback that sets the pace for the new age of the band

Let me start off saying that this was the album that finally consolidated my love for Dream Theater, the love for this ever changing and innovative progressive metal band that i will probably only have for them. This was THE album that made my jaw drop for the third time and from the first time i listened it until right now, since i am listening it while i am writing this very review, and also was the fourth Dream Theater album i ever heard (being the first Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, which made me love the band and made my jaw drop for the first time with the 42 minute epic, the second Falling Into Infinity, which is the weakest Dream Theater album in my opinion, and the third was Octavarium, that made my jaw drop for the second time with the 25 minute epic).

This album is also one big turn of the tide for Dream Theater. It was the debut of Jordan Rudess as a member of the band (they wanted Jordan on the band since Kevin Moore left, but he was too busy with the Dixie Dregs in 1994 and other projects of his own after that)and, because of that, it is the biggest change of musical direction so far, inaugurating the modern Dream Theater sound that has even more progressive influences than before and is more progressive, besides being more metal also. This album also finally detaches Dream Theater from the 90's music but still don't have the new millennium sound, meaning that this album is timeless, since its music don't relate to any specific decade, like all true masterpieces. That detachment may have been caused by the excess of material they had at the time, mainly from the Falling Into Infinity demos, so they could choose what to use, how to use and the way to use and develop the material they had (the most important piece of music for this album was the unreleased Metropolis pt 2 epic, recorded on the Falling Into Infinity demos and which later became this album).

Other interesting feature of this album is that it is a concept album which tells a very interesting story. How this concept develops is also very good: since the story is on psychological time (that means that the story don't follows the time line straightly, going to past and present all the time inside the mind of the protagonist), it has awesome turns, being very fun to discover everything that happened accurately.

Another interesting feature of this album is that it starts a unofficial Dream Theater trilogy, when the end of an album is the beginning of another: This album's end is the beginning of Glass Prison and the end of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence is the beginning of As I Am.

I think that the final proof of this album's quality is the highly controversial rating of the reviewers and honorary collaborators of this site: every quintessential album of progressive rock on this site (like Dark Side of the Moon, for example) gets a lot of bad or middle grade reviews from those guys and this album is not different from the rest of them.

About the songs, musicianship and other features, there are some things i would like to state:

Well, those five guys are all excellent musicians and this album shows that quite well. Both the composition and the playing are terrific in this album, showing most of the different faces of Dream Theater: the poppish, the metal, the proggy, the prog metal, as well as the feeling DT and technical DT. So, Scenes From a Memory shows us basically most of Dream Theater's faces.

One great thing of this album is that Jordan Rudess still not played most of the time in unison with John Petrucci and John Myung like on more recent albums like Train on Though, Octavarium or Systematic Chaos, what increases significantly the quality of the songs played. Also, most of the album is sung in James LaBrie best vocal range, what stops him from singing out of tune live, when the auto-tune is not turned on.

The highlights here stay with the whole album, since it has to be listened as a whole to be understood, and also the music deserves to be listened from beginning to end because of its quality, being the only drawback the song Through Her Eyes, that becomes pale when compared to the rest of the album.

Grade and final Thoughts:

Well, this one here is by far my favorite Dream Theater album, i just had to write something to mark the 630th review of this terrific album myself. So, what better opportunity to write a great review to a great album of my favorite band?

Also, the masterpiece sign fits well for this great and highly influential album. The influence of this album is already being evident in albums like Astral Entrance from Pagan's Mind (a band HEAVILY influenced by Dream Theater), released only three years after Scenes From a Memory.

Keep us rocking Dream Theater!

Report this review (#176189)
Posted Sunday, July 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars 3.5 stars

As just about everyone has said, this album is musically stunning, with many sections of jaw-dropping virtuosity. All prog fans should hear this album for that reason.

But there are some significant flaws that keep this from being a 5-star or even true 4-star album. First is the singing, which at its best is pretty good, but is often run-of-the mill, and sometimes cringe-inducing (Act 1 Scene Five Through Her Eyes, which sounds like something by Clay Aiken or some other American Idol reject).

The lyrics are mediocre as well, often sounding like the bad poetry high school kids write:

There`s room at the top of the stairs Every night I`m drawn up there There`s a girl in the mirror Her face is getting clearer Young child won`t you tell me why I`m here?

In her eyes - I sense a story never told Behind the disguise - There`s something tearing At her soul

Tonight I`ve been searching for it A feeling that`s deep inside m Tonight I`ve been searching for The one that nobody knows Trying to break free...

But if you can get past the sections of mediocre singing and cut them some slack in the lyric-writing department, there is a LOT to like on this album.

Report this review (#176249)
Posted Sunday, July 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
5 stars My first review here is also one of the great prog MASTERPIECES. Scenes From a Memory is the Magnum Opus of Prog metal legends Dream Theater and I must admit I first heard this on the brilliant live Scenes from New York 3 CD epic. I had become quite used to the way it was played live so it was quite a surprise to hear the variations on this studio recording. The first thing I noticed was the incredible production and how clear the audio is in comparison to the live version. The transitions between songs works exceptionally well and the copncept is stronger with the spoken narrative. The way the CD ends with the 'wake up' call is chilling and is an excellent denouement to the overall story.

Highlights are the wonderful Beyond This Life and the last tracks that blend together in a masterful symphonic multisuite movement.

It is definitely one of the best the band has to offer along with Images and Words, Octavarium and the amazing classic 6 Degrees of inner Turbulence. One of the best prog metal CDs you will ever hear. Deep lyrics, complex time signatures and an encapsulating concept - this is pure bliss and a must if you love progressive metal.

Report this review (#176488)
Posted Friday, July 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Dream Theater was never a band that I liked that much. I only had When Dream and Day Unite and some of the most well known songs out of their other records, but they just didn't sound appealing to me. However, some time ago I discovered the progressive rock/metal realms, so I thought to myself that I should check the other Dream Theater records out. I mean, Dream Theater was one of the first bands to play true progressive metal (along with Fates Warning and Watchtower) and, nowadays, they are considered the epitome of the whole genre, as few bands have a so wide and big fanbase as DT. Anyways, two or three months ago, my girlfriend offered me the Metropolis 2000 DVD (which contains this whole album played live) and I instantly became a huge fan of the band. Obviously, the first step I made, after receiving the DVD, was buy the record, in order to really appreciate the MUSIC on it.

It's funny to see the mixed reactions that all the Dream Theater records cause on the fans. There are people out other that say that Train of Thought is the worst album of the band, but you can easily find lots of other people who say that it is their best. Of course that, with bands with large catalogs, it is easy to find different opinions between the fans, but, hey, with DT this is taken to the extreme. As we're talking about this record, you can search for it on ProgArchives and see the large amount of reviewers there saying that Metropolis is a masterpiece and songs like Beyond this Life are amazing; see the reviews here, on Encyclopedia Metallum, and you'll find the majority of the reviewers saying that the album is just GOOD and that songs like Beyond this Life are killed by the long solo sections.

Indeed, the solo sections are considered to be the biggest problem of the record. Dream Theater are constantly accused to write songs just to show their technical playing, etc, etc. However, I fully understand why the band insisted so much on the solos here: mainly thanks to two different things.

First: Jordan Rudess. The sucessor of Derek is, indeed, an authentic dream of a musician, able to play almost everything he wants to. And so, imagine: you get into a progressive metal band, to fill in as a keyboardist and you know that the former keyboardists of the band were authentic virtuosos. What do you do? You write long solos, in order to show everyone how good you are and why you deserve to be with the band. Simple, isn't it? And who am I to criticize a musician that just wants to prove his talent?

Second: Falling Into Infinity. Yeah, the infamous lost record of the band, constantly called the worst one the band ever wrote, "too pop-ish and soft", they say. Well, I haven't listened to that record yet, but, after it, Dream Theater asked their label to let them do whatever they want (as the sound of the album is often related to the label's wishes to turn the band into pop music). So, what do you make when you are constantly accused to be a sell-out by your fanbase? You show them that you are loyal to your roots. What are the roots of Dream Theater? Progressive music, music played by talented, gifted musicians. So you compose lengthy solo sections, to show everyone how prog you are. Understandable, no?

And, wow, Metropolis is a concept album, another thing very common within the progressive circles. It deals with reincarnation and death, basically a guy begins to dream about a woman and visits a hypnotherapist. The hypnotherapist takes him to the past and he realizes that he IS the woman. Or, at least, he WAS the woman in one of his past lives. Anyways, I won't spoil the storyline further, so, if you don't understand the concept, it's better if you search on Wikipedia about it (the article about this record there is pretty good) or, if you can, get the before-mentioned DVD, which explains the concept very well too. So, lyrically, the songs don't stand very well individually, it's always better to listen to the album as a whole.

Now, let's get to the songs. As I've already said, technical proficiency is what you can expect from the band: John Petrucci is everywhere, even playing some thrashy riffs and leads here and there, Mike Portnoy is the drum monster we all know (and love) and Myung is, during the most part of the record, inaudible (I hate when TALENTED bassists are treated this way). LaBrie no longer sounds like the maniac that made Awake what it is (after all he got his vocal chords broken, for God's sake!), but, in the end, he delivers a pretty solid performance. Sometimes, he sounds like a girl, in order to represent Victoria (the woman that appears in the dreams of the protagonist); that's not the greatest thing in the world, using your vocalist to emulate some woman singing, but it works decently well, after all.

About the songwriting - many songs contain, like I've already said, intricate solo sections, but there is a lot of variety. One instrumental, some epics, some headbangable songs, ballads... very diverse, indeed. Every song adds something to the storyline, which, despite not being the most interesting and cleverest thing ever done on the face of Earth, is pretty consistent and tasteful. However, after I discovered the whole story, I stopped listening to the record: the durability is not the strong point of this piece, in my opinion.

The album is divided in two acts (being the second act a bit more solid than the first, in my opinion) and the acts are divided into scenes (from a memory). So, Metropolis kicks off with a small intro with the hypnotherapist calming Nicholas, the protagonist, down and, err, taking him back to the past. The lyrics of the tune are very, very good, they fit the music well and kind of grab the listener, powerfully, inside the atmosphere of the album.

"Close your eyes and begin to relax. Take a deep breath, and let it out slowly. Concentrate on your breathing. With each breath you become more relaxed. Imagine a brilliant white light above you, focusing on this light as it flows through your body. Allow yourself to drift off as you fall deeper and deeper into a more relaxed state of mind. Now as I count back from ten to one, you will feel more peaceful, and calm. Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. You will enter a safe place where nothing can harm you. Five. Four. Three. Two. If at any time you need to come back, all you must do is open your eyes. One."

Atmospheric, isn't it? Especially if you are listening to the song at night, before you sleep.

Anyways, the second track, Overture 1928, is an authentic winner. It sums up the whole record, as it contains some parts of the other songs and even parts of Metropolis Pt.1, out of the Images and Words record. One highlight, indeed. Another one is track three, Strange Dejá Vu, which follows the same structure as the fifth one, Fatal Tragedy: a nice first section, with a catchy chorus, and then a heavy part where Petrucci plays some truly headbangable and catchy riffs.

Beyond this Life is like a beta version of The Glass Prison, and is probably the heaviest song of the record. It's one of the longer songs, together with Finally Free and Home. Home has a very exotic beginning that ends with the beginning of a very catchy guitar riff. It has a middle section filled with some nice solos and some erotic (!!!) screams. Finally Free closes the record, beginning with a very SOMBER keyboard line (Jordan is a God just because of that line, I really love it). It is probably the most obscure song of the record, it kind of involves you in a dark, almost scary atmosphere and it doesn't let you out until the end. And WHAT AN END to the whole concept, the first time I saw (and heard it) on the DVD, it really scared me (I'm just a little boy, you know).

Dance of Eternity also deserves a special mention, being constantly labeled as a song made to show the skills of the Theater musicians. In my opinion, it is no Erotomania or YYZ, but it's a nice track and not boring at all. Anyways, there is a tune on the record that I really don't get why so many people like: The Spirit Carries On. Sure it has a gospel choir (a la Pink Floyd) singing together with James LaBrie, but, hey, the lyrics are too cheesy and the song has a strange happy vibe that I don't like. Meh.

So, this record surely is flawed, I mean, the regular metalhead will not love this stuff, it is too "proggy" for his tastes, but, hey, if you are a fan of progressive metal, this album will be an excellent addiction to your collection. The total length of Metropolis can also be a problem: the album clocks in at 70, 75 minutes, if I'm not wrong, so you will need time to understand and discover all the things this piece has to offer. Nevertheless, the album is solid and not the big piece of pompous crap that many reviewers stated it is.

Best moments of the CD: -Regression. -the transition between Fatal Tragedy and Beyond this Life. -the main riff of Home. -the chorus of One Last Time. -the drum lines of the middle section of Finally Free. -the last minute of the album.

Report this review (#176665)
Posted Sunday, July 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album truly is Dream Theater's greatest achievement. The music thoroughly expresses the member's mastery of writing, composition, mastery in their individual instruments, and bard-like storytelling. To any prog listener this album should be as commercially accessible as they come, yet that is not the case. Dream Theater is growing in the non-progressive community, but as usual, not for their best album. This fact proves my point that the album is not as accessible as many would believe. If it were to be considered accessible in any way, it's in the progressive sense, and the fact that this album is, I believe, a landmark in prog metal history.

This album is a concept album telling a story of murder and mystery. The story is hard to fully grasp unless one reads the lyrics, but once you understand the story, the music fills in the emotions perfectly generated by the story. Musically, this album is as good as it gets. No matter how many times I listen to it, I always finding myself desiring the sound of epic songs such as Fatal Tragedy or Home. All of the songs are riveting from start to finish with LaBrie giving a classic performance save the song Regression, where he comes off as somewhat out of key. John Petrucci only gives what can be expected: driving riffs and solos of unimaginable technical prowess. Rudess performs at a level to compete with Petrucci, gracing the album with epic solos that can only be created by a few of the most skilled keyboardists. The bass, Myung, being a god of the bass guitar, suffers from the affliction of not being very noticeable throughout the album, but less so compared to many other of the band's albums. Finally, the drummer Mike Portnoy, regarded as one of the greatest metal drummers, this album makes that claim hard to refute, or at least at the time the album was forged. From poly-rhythms to masterful fills and solos, Portnoy gives any drummer a run for his money.

This is a must have for anyone who seeks to own a viable prog collection, such a collection would entirely be incomplete until this album joined in its ranks. It seems there are two distinct types of reactions to this album: those who feel it is an absolute, near perfect album void of many flaws (if any), and those who don't understand what is masterful about it. I also requires a number of listens to understand fully; many of my friends have come to adore this album in good time, even if they didn't think much of it at first, and for some it had become perhaps their favorite album of all time, and is definitely one of mine.

Report this review (#177120)
Posted Thursday, July 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Over the last weeks this album got a lot of outstanding reviews , so I thought I should put my point of view on the screen.

This album is often called the pinnacle of progresive metal , and in my opinion if this is the pinnacle then I have nothing to expect from the genre.The album has several flaws , First of all , it's length which can make one to lose attention (especially during the long instrumental sections).Secondly , the lyrics are somewhat cheesy and uninspired , and last but not least the fact that the ballads are terrbily bad and they seem to be ripping Roger Waters off.

Having said that I also think that the album with all this major flaws is still quite good.Overture 1928 is one of the best instrumentals I have ever heard , in which Petrucci delivers two touching solos (not very usual in the guy).Also , in Home he writes a very good and cathy riff which makes the song hearable no matter it's 13 minute length.Also the simplicity on the lyrics department can be a positive aspect if we consider that this is a concept album and it's important to follow the storyline (That goes for The Lamb).

So , to end this review I think this album is a good , but not escential one because it's quite easy listening , in spite of all the wanking Petrucci and Ruddess deliver.Iwould like to add that I enjoyed the very bashed carnival interlude on The dance of Eternity by the way.

Report this review (#177342)
Posted Saturday, July 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Probably the best progressive metal album of all time.Tremendous album with extremely completed theatrical elements,excellent story,unique solos and so much feelings!The order of the songs is well estimated and the transition between them is flowing.The quality of music...just 5.It is shame for the album,that it didn't sell several millions of copies around the world!!!
Report this review (#178059)
Posted Thursday, July 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars The true test of an album's quality is not how good it seems at first, but how well it ages. Dream Theater's Scenes from a Memory, the first album co-produced by band members John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy, has not aged well, and gets duller and duller with every listen. To be sure, there is great material scattered throughout the record, but the work as a whole is not consistent and falls flat on its face more often than you'd like.

The biggest problem with the album is its focus on instrumental breaks. Songs like "Beyond This Life" and "Home" start out great but lose most of their momentum by their mid-points because they become plagued by underwhelming instrumental segments. One would be correct to argue that Dream Theater has always been about long instrumental sections, but when their solos begin incorporating trumpet patches and erotic (guitar) sound effects, it's safe to say that something has gone wrong. The bottom line is that Scenes marked the first time in the band's career that Dream Theater decided that any song, regardless of tone or feel, could be used as an anchor for showing off virtuosism, and it is greatly hindered by this disregard for songwriting.

Because Scenes from a Memory is a concept album, the lyrical matter is of a heightened importance. In this regard, the record fails miserably. The story - featuring reincarnation, murder, and, ultimately, hope - is difficult to understand. Once you've grasped the story it isn't all that complicated; however, grasping it can be a tedious experience. James LaBrie's intentionally (and unintentionally) feminine, slurring vocal performance doesn't help matters.

Ironically, the album is best listened to when broken up into individual tracks. One would think that a concept album is most enjoyable when taken in as the sum of its parts, but in this case, listening to the album from start to finish is not nearly as rewarding as jumping straight to its highlights. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the middle third of the album is as weak a stretch of music as you're likely to find in the Dream Theater catalog. Secondly, the musical themes that are repeated throughout the album's (overlong) near-80 minute running length are overused.

Where Scenes excels most is in its bookends. The first five tracks on the album range from good to near-masterful, whereas the final three songs on the album range from good to great. The best song on the album is "Fatal Tragedy", which features excellent melodies, ample riffage, and boasts a wild but thoroughly entertaining instrumental ride-out that is perhaps the king of its kind in the DT cannon. "One Last Time", the first song of the stellar trilogy that ends the record, proves that a Dream Theater song can be excellent without being long or flamboyant.

Before I conclude this review, I'd like to share my opinion regarding then-new keyboardist Jordan Rudess. Rudess, who was originally asked to join the band in 1994, was brought on board for Scenes from a Memory after two albums with John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy in instrumental rock supergroup Liquid Tension Experiment. While his contributions are sometimes questionable, Rudess's upbeat personality often radiates through his compositions and wins the listener over. I can't help but smile everytime Rudess breaks into his ragtime piano solo in "The Dance of Eternity" because, even though the song itself is pointless in the framework of the album's concept, it is a rare example of Dream Theater not taking themselves too seriously.

And that is what is most unsettling about Scenes from a Memory - it takes itself too damned seriously. Former Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore has been quoted as saying that progressive rock artists don't have enough fun with their brand, and this here is a fine example. One can't help but feel that most of the album sounds forced, its corny concept trying to succeed through the veil of technicality that the listener will inevitably focus on. If the band had had more fun with this effort, something grand might have resulted, but alas, they tried too hard (which is understandable considering this was do-or-die for them) and the result is an enjoyable but lacking output.

© Kevin Martell (TheOutlawXanadu)

Report this review (#179404)
Posted Monday, August 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is album is amazing! It is my favorite Dream Theater album to date and it gets better every time I hear it. From the opening chords of Regression to the static at the end of Finally Free, this album keeps the listener from getting bored.

Scenes From a Memory has a lot of variety in it. It has slow ballads like The Spirits Carries On and Through Her Eyes, but isn't afraid to pick up the tempo with blazing tracks such as Beyond This Life and Home. LaBrie's voice is great throughout the album and does a very good job conveying the mood of the story, while Petrucci is his usual brilliant self. This is the first Dream Theater album with Jordan Rudess on keyboard and he performs brilliantly. The rhythm section of John Myung and Mike Portnoy is rock solid as usual

The concept behind the album is a bit corny, it's what one would expect from a progressive metal band, but that can be easily overlooked as this is one of the finest prog albums ever. A worthy addition to any CD collection.

Report this review (#181050)
Posted Friday, August 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars I was murdered a long time ago

When Dream Theater appended the notation Part 1 to a track called "Metropolis" on their second album "Images and words", it was intended as a sort of private joke. The fans however kept asking when part 2 would be recorded, so while the band were in the studio to record "Falling into infinity", they set about doing so. The piece bludgeoned from a mere track to a complete 20 minute suite, the intention being to make "Falling into infinity" a double album with "Metropolis part 2" occupying the second disc. The record company however would not sanction a double album, so the suite was held over. When the band came to record their next album a couple of years later, the piece was used as the basis for the album, with additional material being added. Thus, while the album includes the "Part 2" notation, there is no album called "Metropolis Part 1".

The line up is substantially unaltered, but this is the first Dream Theater album with Jordan Rudess on keyboards. The concept tells the disturbing tale of a character called Nicholas who in a past life went under the name of Victoria. With the help of hypnotherapy, Nicolas delves into his former life, discovering that he/she was murdered. It is advisable to keep the lyric book handy to follow the tale, and especially to help with understanding which character is narrating or being portrayed. I would also recommend the website / for a fine analysis of the story.

Thankfully, Dream Theater do not make the mistake of allowing the concept to dominate the album to the exclusion of all else. This is by any standard one of their finest albums. After the rather corny spoken intro where the hypnotherapist induces the trance and the gentle introductory "Regression", the instrumental "Overture 1928" sets the scene perfectly, with Rudess immediately adding some fine keyboard sounds. The track draws in themes both from the rest of the album and indeed from Part 1.

As the story unfolds, the instrumental sections help to build on the narrative lyrics. In general, the band avoid the temptation to be over literate, the concise nature of the vocal passages allowing plenty of space for some fine guitar and keyboard breaks.

While the album has plenty of the hard edged riffs and the racing drum infused runs we associate with the band, there is to a welcome undercurrent of subtlety throughout. This is perhaps at its most poignant on the quite stunning "Through her eyes" which closes "Act 1"; surely one of the finest ballads by a prog metal band ever. While James LaBrie (assisted by Theresa Thomason) offers a truly great vocal performance here, it is the sympathetic guitar of John Petrucci which sets the track apart.

It is probably futile to talk of track lengths, as this is very much a complete concept, and as such a single track in various sections. Nevertheless, I will do just that as Act 2 has just four tracks, three of which run to 10+ minutes. The lengthy nature of these tracks contributes to an album running time of just under 80 minutes, yet the time seems to pass in the blink of an eye, the band ruthlessly curtailing any temptation to prevaricate.

In all, for an album which was developed in rather piecemeal fashion, it is pleasing to report that this is probably Dream Theater's most coherent effort. The emphasis on melody and the strength of the concept are major contributors to the overall attraction of the product, recommended.

Report this review (#183503)
Posted Thursday, September 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Many regard this as a perfect album from Dream Theater, and while it is certainly very good, it is by no means perfect nor, do I think, a masterpiece at all.

In truth, some of the band's best music is here. The whole album flows and feels like it fits, which is a nice thing for an album to do. Some of metal's most classically proggy songs take place here. The instrumentation is off the wire. James's vocals are better than they've been since Awake. We almost see some budding concepts of harmony among the members of the group. The new keyboardist can play whatever he wants to at whatever speed he so desires. The band has no external pressures from a label or a producer, so they can make whatever they want. And so they do. This entire album is built around noodling (egad, I usually write reviews for one band at a time, chronologically, so I'm going to be using that work more and more--might need to start copying and pasting to save myself some effort). New guy Rudess and old guy Petrucci discovered that they can play really fast at the same time. If it only happened on this album, it would be cool. The only problem is such endless shredding becomes the point of Dream Theater in a few albums from this one, and from there the band's creative force starts to drop. But for Scenes from a Memory, it makes for one crazy exciting release.

Opener Regression sets the stage but does little else. It doesn't really need to. The instrumental Overture 1928 begins the demonstration of Dream Theater's talents, and it also is the first to reprise melodies from the original Metropolis song off Images and Words. It segues into the fast-paced metal tune Strange Deja Vu, a song mostly driven by some vocals by James. Through My Words is a piano and voice interlude, and nothing particularly neat. Finally, Fatal Tragedy hits. This is the first standalone song on the album, and it's one of the strongest. Beginning with that piano and voice, it then moves into a harder rocking bit. The latter half of the song is turned into a strange-timed solo section, complete with wild drums and bass towards the end. Expecting something of a break now, we are instead greeted by the even wilder Beyond This Life, a tune that almost sounds like punk at moments, and features a hugely long noodle-fest in the middle. It's not a bad track, though, just a little long to keep the interest going. Through Her Eyes is a big piece of gentle filler, continuing the plot (notice I haven't talked about lyrical content: if you listen to Dream Theater, and especially this album, for lyrical content, you just might be completely weird). That wraps up the first act.

The second act is much fiercer from the get-go, opening with Home. The track slowly builds for a few minutes until it explodes into some pretty heavy metal moments. James's vocals sound really nice here, too. The guitar solo, though a bit noodly as well, really cooks here and leads into the final chorus nicely. A random bit of exciting full band instrumentation and the music drops (literally) into The Dance of Eternity. This is one of the most fascinating pieces the band has ever done, in that it's about as extreme as prog metal can go--on the prog side. There are over a hundred and twenty time changes in here, most of which are actually pretty subtly transitioned. There are no vocals, just four men hammering out music that makes Gentle Giant seem a little singular and slow-paced. It's a neat track, and a keeper, but it does bother some because of its obsession with being as complicated as possible. Either way, the tracks continue with One Last Time, a straightforward tune with some more catchy vocals. The Spirit Carries On is a slow and mellow song punctuated by a very tasteful and temporarily terrifying guitar solo. Finally, the album concludes with Finally Free, a 9 minute song (the last three or so minutes are sound effects and stuff that is related to a plot that is hard to care about) wrapping up the storyline and showing the murder in full, dark effect. It's actually pretty neat. And the album's music closes with another fading outro that adds in guitar harmonies and wicked drum fills until it shuts off.

This is a pretty cool album by Dream Theater, and it was my first and look, I bought all their albums. So maybe it is a good place to start with the band. However, if you do, work backwards first with Images and Words and Awake, and then move forwards.

Report this review (#185275)
Posted Friday, October 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars The most revolutionary progressive metal album of all time. this is a concept of reincarnation, hypnotism, and murder. This is my favorite metal album and for good reason. It has the perfect combination of emotion, musicianship, and intellect.

A track by track analysis on this album actually seems a bit odd to me, as I always think of the album as one large piece. I could assume my usual format here, but it simply doesn't feel right, and I'll make this review more succinct.

James Labrie's vocals are at the top of his game, and the drumming, bass, keyboards, and guitar are all absolutely stunning. There's no way you can deny the outstanding musicianship of this quintet, but does that make the album alone? Of course not.

The concept is done SO well that I was so intrigued by it when first hearing this album. I actually looked up all the lyrics, read up on explanations behind them, and then speculated on them myself. Not only that, but unlike many other concept albums (i.e.: The Wall, but that's another story.) where the story dominates and the music gets pushed on the back burner, Scenes from a Memory is composed with intensity and sheer genius.

From the slower, absolutely moving moments of Through Her Eyes and The Spirit Carries On to the amazing instrumentally tight Dance of Eternity to the ultimate closing Finally Free, this album is an emotional roller coaster. Not in a bad way though! The last thing that comes to my mind when I listen to this album is soulless or too technical, despite those being criticisms of Dream Theater specifically.

Genius. If you haven't heard this, buy it now. Just beware if you do not like metal and/or are closed-minded.

This is one of the most powerful pieces of music I own. A masterpiece of progressive rock and THE cornerstone of the progressive metal genre.

Report this review (#191139)
Posted Sunday, November 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater is at the forefront of modern prog. An already incredible discography, with the addition of a well-rounded concept album only makes them that much more accessible. The concept of Scenes From A Memory revolves around a man living in the present day who is haunted psychologically by a murder that took place 80 years before. The story then takes the direction of a Shakespearean-esque twisted fantasy story that remains Dream Theater's trademark in terms of songwriting. While some may be turned down by the seemingly cheesy concepts in Dream Theater's music, this does not limit the success of Scenes From A Memory as a fantastic concept album. The instrumentals, as with all Dream Theater albums, is phenomenal. This album marks the arrival of ex-Dixie Dregs keyboard wizard Jordan Rudess to contribute to the maelstrom of virtuosos that is Dream Theater. There is something for everyone in this album--it is very easily accessible to someone who is discovering American progressive metal for the first time

Compositionally, there may be differentiating opinions. Some may not like the over-the-top shredding and 20-minute keyboard solos that are present in this album; others may adore it. I believe that this is an easily accessible album to a metalhead or a first time prog listener, but for the seasoned veteran it may not suffice. While I strongly believe this is a perfect album in every sense, and it definitely belongs in every prog fanatic's collection, there are much more complex art rock albums out there.

The bottom line: a perfect all around album which belongs in any proghead's collection, but more mature works, such as the likes of Porcupine Tree and Pain of Salvation, exist in terms of modern prog.

Report this review (#191566)
Posted Tuesday, December 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars OK,here we Go,this is another conceptual album by this amazing progressive metal band called dream theater...

On this album we can see all the experiences into be honest;this album was my first introduction to the band...and that can´t be much better than listening to this great album..

Here we have a good story,that you have to read and understand.I think that petrucci and company are at their best on this album..there are a few weak songs.specially one last time and trough her eyes,they are good..but nof perfect.And The other face of the album is simply perfect,we can see all the potentials of the band played very well.The dance of eternity ..what prog means is on this song..another One is Home,strange de ja vu,perfect vocals on that song..beyond this Life is another one,finaly free,the last on the album..there are alot of good songs,that this albums will be one of the best albums from our time.there is no doubt about it..pain of salvation,dream theater,shadow gallery..riverside,they are the best ones on the progressive metal scene..i recommend a lot this a perfect introduction to this band...this one is one of their more progressive works to the date.So check it out..

Cheers. 4.4 STARS

Report this review (#201409)
Posted Sunday, February 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is absolutely incredible. If someone needs an example of superb progressive metal, look no further. This is Dream Theater's (arguably) most popular album, and in my mind, is their magnum opus. There are so many incredible things about this album. It is first to include Jordan Rudess (probably the greatest keyboard player of all time), it tells a remarkable story, has some of the best jam sessions ever done by Dream Theater, and shows the incredible skill of all the band.

Without spoiling it too much, the story is better than any other I've heard in music. It's about a guy named Nicholas, and is mostly about a murder, and his love, who is in a different world. It has a huge twist at the end, and the story, even without the incredible music, is still worth listening to by itself.


The album starts out with a man talking, and goes into a beautiful acoustic section, which will later be reprised in THE SPIRIT CARRIES ON. Next is the overture. It starts out similar to METROPOLIS PT. 1, and then introduces many new themes. This flows into STRANGE DÉJÀ VU which has superb key changes from light strings to heavy guitars, and it works really well.

Scene 3 contains THROUGH MY WORDS and FATAL TRADGEDY. It starts out with light piano chords, and suddenly changes key, and is awesome from there. It has a really great jam. Scene 4 is BEYOND THIS LIFE. It is really awesome, and is arguably the best song on the album. Scene 5, THROUGH HER EYES, recycles the chords from THROUGH MY WORDS, it is a lighthearted piece with Theresa Thompson on vocals occasionally. She has an absolutely incredible voice. Petrucci's guitars also sound really good here; even if it doesn't show his complete capabilities.


Scene 6 has the incredible song HOME. The opening is really cool, and slowly progresses into an awesome riff with an incredible distortion on the guitars. HOME also contains the most notable relations to Metropolis Pt. 1. Scene 7 contains two distinctly different sections, yet they flow very smoothly. THE DANCE OF ETERNITY is like a jam session that is absolutely incredible. The transition into ONE LAST TIME is awesome. ONE LAST TIME is a ballad that is full of emotion, and builds really well. THE SPIRIT CARRIES ON, Scene 8, is a rock anthem with one of the greatest guitar solos ever. It highlights John Petrucci's true skill, and how he can shred and be melodic at the same time. Scene 9 contains FINALLY FREE. It has a great opening that is very ominous. It uses the theme from ONE LAST TIME, at a tragedy in the story. It is a medley of themes that were used in the past, and some new ones. It is an incredible ending that makes me listen to this 2 or 3 times in a row.

There is no reason this shouldn't be in your collection. There is not one flaw in this album, and is one of the few albums that is actually "perfect". If you're one of those people who says they don't like metal, therefore, won't like prog metal, this proves them wrong. This is a masterpiece, and is one of the finest albums ever made.

Report this review (#202206)
Posted Monday, February 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
5 stars 'Scenes From A Memory' - Dream Theater (97/100)

"My questioning mind has helped me to find the meaning in my life again." Dream Theater's greatest chapter is a reminder that masterpieces tend to be greater than the sum of their parts. Taking Scenes from a Memory on a song-by-song basis doesn't scream perfection the way it does when the album is approached as a whole. It's tough to think about this album, let alone review it, without thinking about the major role it had in my life at a relatively early stage. Along with Crimson Glory's Transcendence and Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force, this was one of the albums that facilitated my conversion to metal at the age of 11. As it happens, I remember the day that the CD finally came in the mail. It was the day I was supposed to attend my graduation ceremony for elementary school. When I noticed that the package had arrived in the mail, I made a point of finding a way to stay home just so I could listen to the record all day. I can still remember laying down on my bed, reading through the booklet and obsessing over each and every track on the album. I felt like my mind was being opened to a new world. That's not the sort of memory you get to make every day.

Now, over half a lifetime later, it's still one of those few age-old albums I still put on at least semi-regularly. In the thirteen years since I first heard it, my tastes have obviously changed quite a bit, but I think there's always a certain part of me that reverts back to that childlike sense of wonder whenever I put on Scenes from a Memory. Does that make a difficult album to review? Honestly, even if the material is so familiar to me, the rare blend of depth and feeling on this record makes it easy to become excited about it all over again. Although I have strong feelings towards almost all of Dream Theater's albums (most good, some bad), Scenes from a Memory was always the one that stood out the most as a masterpiece. Images & Words can seem a bit airy and neo-proggish for my tastes at times, while Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, great as it is, lacks the pristine consistency of this one. That said, I'm not sure it would be the easiest of their albums to recommend. As I said at the beginning, Scenes from a Memory is best when taken as a whole. It offers the best of itself when the listener completely invests in it. Fortunately I had a lot of spare time in my younger days and the spins of this album hit double digits by the second day of owning it.

For detractors, Dream Theater tend to be dismissed for their supposed dryness and wankery. Although I obviously see where they're coming from, I don't think that playing x number of notes was ever the thing that possibly held them back at times. To the contrary, it was often their attempts to be emotional and melodic that risked the biggest eye rolling from yours truly. Where albums like The Astonishing opted far too much for the feeling, and Train of Thought was too wanky, Scenes from a Memory offered the near-perfect mix of melodic beauty and mind-bending finesse. Each of their two sides helped to validate the existence of the other. On their own, the ballads on this album (specifically "Through Her Eyes" and "The Spirit Carries On") might have felt hammy, did they not act as a heartfelt reprieve from the proggy fireworks. Take the urgent monster "Beyond This Life" for instance (incidentally the first DT track I ever heard), on the one hand it's a frantic piece of prog-thrash and keyboard solos galore. On the other, it has light melodic sections that you could wave a lighter to. Without the balance between the two, each of these ideas may have felt less startling than they do.

Scenes from a Memory's perfect sense of flow brings each one of the songs to another level. I think a large part of this strong structure has the album's concept to thank for it. The implications on psychology and spirituality this album offers could deserve their own essays. Suffice to say, the multi-faceted (and arguably open-ended) concept behind the album breathes a lot of thought-provoking depth into already engaging music. The idea of looking into one's past lives, only to have the events of past lives come to bear on your current incarnation is something that really got under my skin when I was younger, and it has much of that same effect now. I've never relied on Dream Theater for strong lyrics, and I suppose some of the lyrical decisions here could raise a cynical brow, but the way the story is told feels organic and consistently clever. Scenes from a Memory was one of the very few concept records I've heard (alongside Operation Mindcrime) that managed to be incredibly in-depth and complex while still being easy-to-follow as a listener. To date, this is still the go-to standard by which I judge all over concept albums. Even the masters of the 1970s never felt quite so coherent as this.

I guess if I were to be nitpicky about Scenes from a Memory, I'd certainly bring up the feeling that certain songs tower over others. Especially hearing it now as a cynical adult, the instrumental bite of "Fatal Tragedy" and "The Dance of Eternity" appeal to me loads more than the potentially cloying "Through Her Eyes" and the AOR power balladry of "One Last Time". With that said, all of the ingredients here are painted in such a way that they benefit the larger scope. A truly comprehensive journey is not without its softer notes. If anything about Scenes from a Memory really hurt Dream Theater in the long run, it's that they never seemed to be able to bring their vision to the same heights again. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence may have been the closest, but that's an album I never seem to be able to have a single, stable opinion about. And if their self-titled [&*!#]pile and The Astonishing tell accurately, it's very unlikely we'll see another slice of perfection like this from them again. For all it is worth, I am so, so glad I heard Scenes from a Memory so early on in life. It's never going to be an album I'm ever more than a few months away from hearing. If it hasn't begun to wear out for me yet, I can't imagine it ever will.

Report this review (#202432)
Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars 5 Stars out of 5. This album happens to be Dream Theater's 2nd absolutely flawless masterpiece, the first being Images & Words. Images & Words and Scenes From a Memory can be considered Dream Theater's Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall, respectively. This one is similar to the wall in how amazing it is as an album, and how it is a rock opera that tells a story across the songs.

This album, I believe is definitive of Dream Theater. The Title Dream Theater is perfect for this album, the story is about a man experiencing strange dreams and visions, while the format of the CD is very Theatrical, with separate acts and scenes, just like a theater. Dream... Theater! =) I'm a huge fan of rock operas, rock operas and 20-40 minute epic progressive suites are my favourite types of progressive rock. Scenes from a Memory succeeds Images & Words by picking up a story begun on one of the songs from that song and extending it into epic proportions, taking the listener on an incredible psychodramatic operatic journey through time. Avoiding any spoilers, I'll just say that the story is about a man who is tortured by visions of another world, with a woman who speaks to him in his dreams, and he goes to the Hypnotherapist to find out more about his strange visions, and unravels the mysteries behind Metropolis, The Miracle, and The Sleeper.

At first, it began as a 20 minute song which was going to be released on Falling Into Infinity's aborted 2nd disk, but they made the song into an entire album, which typically flows in together without stopping as usual in rock operas. Metropolis Pt. 1 from I&W is a highly memorable song, and you will hear many of its melodies floating around in the album, which is amazing. Some people say this is just useless recycling of music, but I say it's a link between the two, and a very important one. Being that the sequel to a 9 minute song is 77 minutes long, I'd say that Part 1 is less of a part 1 and more like a prologue, or an overture. But whatever, it doesn't matter.

The album's good things is the incredible story obviously, it's amazing instrument playing (New Keyboardist Jordan Rudess performing for the first time on a DT album, and blowing our minds away! Especially on Dance of Eternity.) All the melodies are highly memorable, and get a good feel to them, and alternate between acoustic ballads, heavy progressive metal instrumental passages, and stuff. It includes choirs, and everything. There's just so much thought put into this album that makes it perfect. They won back that majestic feel that they had on Images & Words, but lost to the dark atmosphere of Awake, and the surreal Derek Sherinian style of Falling into Infinity. Home also features Indian sounding sounds, which is awesome, because I love eclectic styles.

The only real problem I kinda have is the ending, because it's kinda ambiguous, and not what I expected, certainly not happy. It seems like it's going to be a happy ending, but suddenly it gets a lot darker, because there's an extra song after what seems like the last song, that sums up secrets that the main character doesn't know about (this theatrical device is known as dramatic irony) and you can hear the sound effects and the dark atmosphere. I'm not saying it's a bad ending, but it certainly doesn't complete anything for me. Then again, a lot of rock operas are ambiguous and dark like that at the end. Pink Floyd's the Wall circles around right to the beginning, Ayreon's the Final Experiment ends with the protagonist failing to carry his message and help change the world, etc. It also gives me so much suspense... what the hell happened to Nicholas at the end?? But it does have a nice ending, it's just kinda ambiguous.

Another thing is that the story is fairly simple. You can kinda sum up the story in a semi long paragraph, but somehow it lasts 77 minutes, lol. The story is still an amazing one though. =) Very interesting. Although if DT decide to make another rock opera sometime (which I hope they do) I think they should take the story into a somewhat cosmic topic... like Ayreon or Rush's 2112. But that's just me, I've always loved space rock.

The last problem. The album artwork is BORING AS HELL. XD From seeing the front cover I was expecting a lot more, but it just is pages with words, written like a screenplay. Keep in mind all these little criticisms are VERY minor, and don't even really matter.

Anyway, this album is the sequel to the best song on the best album they had yet. And it's simply utter perfection Dream Theater's always good, but man, THIS and I&W I can't stress enough, they are the vision of perfection. THIS is the reason why so many new progressive metal bands copy off of Dream Theater and attempt to be a hundredth as good as they are.

Go out and buy it. No no, don't say anything, just go out and buy it. NOW. =)

Report this review (#203423)
Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars 3.5 Stars (Rounded down to 3 stars)

I have never understood why this album is considered a "masterpiece". While it is not a horrible album, it dwindles in comparison to Images and Words, or even Black Clouds ans Silver Linings.

I'll go through the tracks chronologically, pointing out key points. I really like the second song, the instrumental Overture 1928. The next song, Strange Deja Vu, is also okay. The piano part at the end of Strange Deja Vu, throughout Through My Words, and occurring several other times is my favorite melody on the entire album. Fatal Tragedy's faster, heavier part with the insane guitar solo is also a highlight. While the album is going strong at this point, at Beyond This Life the "story" being told begins to fall apart. The vocals on this song are also not very good, as they seemingly are being tried to fit into a small time frame. One highlight of this song, though, is the guitar solo. The next four songs are nothing special, nor horrible, except for the erratic lyrics of the "story". At Beyond This Life the "story" begins to pick up again, making sense. But, unfortunately, the final track, Finally Free, kills the album in my opinion. The story again falls apart, and the last minute or so is just random noise.

This album's instrumentation I give 5/5 stars. The vocals and lyrics I only give 2/5 stars. I definitely recommend this to a progger for its amazing instrumentation, just try not to focus too much on the lyrics and vocals.

Report this review (#204742)
Posted Sunday, March 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Dream Theater to me has always been a frustrating band that I could never grasp the euphoria that their diehard fans seem to understand. SCENES FROM A MEMORY is considered one of their best albums, so I thought it would revitalise my interest in Dream Theater. That album was my fourth Dream Theater album, and I have not picked up another one of their albums ever since.

There's no denying how skilled instrumentally and vocally the members of Dream Theater are. The underlying problem is that it's compositionally stiff. Every song is either way too simple when there are vocals on top or way too instrument skill focused elsewhere. Particularly, ''The Dance of Eternity'' is just a slab of solos that really don't go anywhere or do anything. I give leeway to ''Beyond This Life'' and ''Fatal Tragedy'' for having a couple of interesting sections, but there really isn't a song as a whole that makes me want to put the album on repeat.

That's when the story and lyrics rear their ugly heads. A vast majority of the lyrics sound cringeworthy, especially when the music supporting them sounds unimaginative e.g. ''Strange Deja Vu''. It sounds as if Dream Theater really wanted that ''mandatory'' concept album that all good prog bands do at some point in their career, but unfortunately that idea overshadows everything else on SCENES FROM A MEMORY. In my mind, this album is a novelty that wears out faster than socks on a concrete floor.

Report this review (#206755)
Posted Thursday, March 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars What turned me off from progressive metal for such a long time is the fact that I'm a guitarist, and while I certainly don't mind playing fast if the context of a given piece warrants it, normally I don't care for shred or constant musical aggressiveness. This, and the fact that I once shared a house with someone who worshipped John Petrucci, practicing all day the same speedy passages, and while I certainly respect that dedication, it drove another housemate and me insane. For the longest, what is labeled as progressive metal irritated me. But this album in no way falls into that category. Metropolis II: Scenes from a Memory is a powerful piece of work, with beautifully revisited themes and passages, excellent vocals, and impressively tight musicianship. There's enough variety to make this more of a progressive metal album, including elements of symphonic rock and even country music. Even though the low end of the sound spectrum is mixed almost too loudly (Mike Portnoy's foot unable to stop tapping on the bass pedals, apparently), John Myung's bass work is nearly inaudible. Another minor flaw is that the long jams can become a tad boring after a while. I love Jordan Rudess's lead tone throughout the album, and sometimes it's difficult to distinguish it from Petrucci's guitar. I'll restrain myself from commenting on the story itself, because the story is compelling enough to belong on the silver screen. This is one of the greatest concept albums ever made.

"Regression" Not merely an introduction in which a hypnotist gives instructions and counts backward from ten, there is a short acoustic prelude. Once the song is over, however, the dark synthesizer cues the next one, as though the lights surrounding the speaker have suddenly gone out.

"Overture 1928" Whenever I'd reluctantly put this album on, and "Overture 1928" begins, I immediately remember everything I love about this album. I am reminded that the composition is strong throughout the album, and I love the motifs that creep in at various places. There are also riffs from "Metropolis Both Petrucci and Rudess get an opportunity to include some exquisite solos.

"Strange Déjà Vu" Coming quite naturally from the previous track, James LaBrie delivers one of his best vocal performances ever. The section just over two and a half minutes in reminds me in a way of Rush, particularly the song "One Little Victory," even though musically they are different. Together with "Overture 1928," this is my favorite Dream Theater moment.

"Through My Words" Flowing directly from the previous track, there is quiet piano and LaBrie singing soothingly.

"Fatal Tragedy" The track marker almost seems like it was deliberately misplaced since the first thirty seconds or so sound like part of the last track, and then the band is rocking out again as LaBrie continues his first-person narrating. I love the dark and heavy atmosphere of this track as the murder scene is mentioned, juxtaposed as it is with one of the lyrical and musical cornerstones of the album ("Without love, without truth, there can be no turning back"), which changes from a straight rhythm to a shuffle so effortlessly. The jamming at the end is excellent, and gives way to the psychiatrist's voice.

"Beyond This Life" This is one of three lengthy tracks. It begins with the singing of the headlines and further narration over mind-boggling music. Much of the alleged story is revealed in the first part of this piece. The gentle acoustic section halfway in is always a surprise to me every time I hear this album, even though I've heard it many times, and even though it flows quite naturally. The last segment is a tightly constructed jam with some stranger sounds from Rudess.

"Through Her Eyes" Unbelievably, this country-like song sounds precisely like an Eagles tune, and LaBrie even sounds like Glenn Frey. The melody is terribly derivative of "The Boys are Back in Town" by Thin Lizzy. While not a bad song, it's rather unoriginal, and at least adds variety to the album.

"Home" The longest track on the album begins with dark acoustic instrumentation and a sitar. It soon gets heavy, and the verses sound just like a great Alice in Chains song. Soon enough, LaBrie is back to his glorious self, singing so clearly against a backdrop of a tightly cooperative band. The Near Eastern flavors return in various places. Rudess cuts loose with another blazing synthesizer solo. Then it's Petrucci's turn, who demonstrates his more creative side when it comes to the electric guitar. Myung's bass can be heard loud and clear in this track.

"The Dance of Eternity" Beginning with a sample of "Metropolis part 1" played backwards, this is a fantastic instrumental with a bewildering groove. One of the few places I never cared for was Rudess's honky-tonk piano bit, but given the erratic nature of the piece, I find it more and more fitting each time I hear it. Also, Myung gets in a frenzied bass solo. The piece jumps right into the next one.

"One Last Time" Rudess does a fine job embellishing on a creative melody, and LaBrie's vocals are far mellower here, even when hitting the high notes. Petrucci reprises a main theme on his electric guitar, giving way to even more dramatic singing from LaBrie. The best part about this song is what attracted me to it the first time I heard it (it was one of the first Dream Theater works I had ever heard): Even though the song is a relatively short one, there are several distinct sections that are not repeated, but manage to flow together seamlessly. Rudess ends the song with some eerier piano work.

"The Spirit Carries On" My opinion here is that the piano and vocal melody are not unlike something Pink Floyd would have done circa The Wall or The Final Cut. Those two aspects of the song are characteristic enough of Roger Waters to make this one a trifle banal, but once again, I appreciate the contextual variety and the ties to the acoustic bit on the first track, and in it's own way, it's perfect for an "epiphany" track. Petrucci's solo is out of place, though, because he fills nearly every measure not with the soulful fret work the song was calling out for, but again gives in to his trademark tendency to play hundreds of notes a minute. That said, it's excellently executed.

"Finally Free" Again, the psychiatrist speaks, this time over soft acoustic guitar chords. Dark strings perform over various sounds related to the story, including a car driving off and a thunderstorm. This song contains the final revelations of the story. The main lyrics of "One Last Time" are repeated, as is one of the musical motifs. The last few moments conclude the story in a rather unsettling way.

Report this review (#214348)
Posted Friday, May 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater's Scenes From a Memory album is their best to date and will probably remain their best in the future. The story is very interesting once you realize what is going on. The variety of the tracks from beginning to end is amazing and they all have their own uniqueness with some recurring themes. The flow between tracks is possibly the best I have ever heard. Musically, this album is very originally written. There are a mix of styles and some really Frank Zappa influenced licks. James Labrie soars from beginning to end. His vocals are very clear and emotional. John Petrucci, the soul of the band, gives his best performance ever with lightning fast shredding through the solos and instrumental sections. His guitar solo from "The Spirit Carries On" always leaves me speechless. Jordan Rudess fits in well with his quick fingers harmonizing with Petrucci. John Myung just adds to the technical ability with some of the best bass playing out there and Mike Portnoy Keeps them all in line with his crazy patterns and many flowing fills. This is the best prog metal album out there.
Report this review (#214987)
Posted Monday, May 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars 2 stars. this was NOT a good addition to my prog music collection. It seems that they took the worst parts of bands like UK, Queensryche, Metallica and Rush, while adding a significant amount of cheese, filler, overproduction and very technical and soulless (to me) playing. Feels emotionless to me. Very superficial sound. I would never want to listen to this album, though there are some parts that are ok. I am not generally a fan of prog metal but dream theater just does something special to their music to make me like it a lot less than most other metal or prog metal i've heard.
Report this review (#215006)
Posted Monday, May 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is not only Dream Theater's most overrated release, nor is it prog metal's most overrated release. Metropolis Pt. II: Scenes From a Memory may be the most overrated album in all of prog, period.

Could it be because it's a concept album that many beleive it could be the greatest musical achievement of all time? Or could it simply be because it was Dream Theater's "comeback" album after the release that dissapointed many fans: Falling Into Infinity. Whatever the reason, musically this album has very little going for it. If anything, Scenes From a Memory is just standard modern prog rock, there really isn't anything fresh about it.

The overall sound of the album is pretty cheesy. This is mostly a prog album, there are very few 'metal' elements in this album. The synths and piano are drawn to the front, and John Petrucci's guitar is rarely distorted, giving the album a largely melodic feel. Labrie's vocals are probably the most prominent in this album than any before, though that probably isn't a good thing, since it gives attention to some of the cheesiest singing Dream Theater ever pulled out of their bag along with some pretty awful lyrics. Let it be noted the concept in the lyrics is nothing special, it is a pretty standard story about love, betrayal, and murder. Also mixed into the album are soundclips, which don't do a whole lot to enhance the music.

There are good points of the album, though. Overture 1928 is an excellent intro and gives a great showing of the themes that occur in the rest of the album. Also a killer entry to the album is the lengthy "Home", containing heavier riffs than the rest of the album and an interesting Phrygian modal hook. "Home" is also notable for reviving the melodies from "Metropolis Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper" and integrating them into a darker heavier song. Using reocurring themes is something Dream Theater has almost always been good at.

However, other than those two songs, the album has little going for it. "Fatal Tragedy" starts off promising enough, but the refrains are incredibly generic melodies and contain completely pointless time signature changes. "Beyond This Life", although energetic takes forever to get the point across in the verses, and the obligatory noodly instrumental section is nothing but a whirligig of weird synth and guitar solos a la Petrucci and Rudess. "The Dance of Eternity" has the potential to either make fans adore it with it's insanely complex playing, or absolutely despise it with the complete over-the-top technicality. There is even blatant generic pop music on the album: the songs "Through Her Eyes" and "The Spirit Carries On" (though the latter does contain an excellent guitar solo). Dream Theater doesn't even bother to come up with a decent closer, because "Finally Free" is a mishmash of soundclips and lyrics thrown together so the ending of the story would make sense, ending up in a complete anticlimax.

There you have it. Scenes is nothing but standard Dream Theater. While it does have an interesting flow through the concept, and more than a few good moments, they hardly make up for the complete cheesyness and the negative side of when Dream Theater goes too far technicality-wise. Dream Theater fans will of course get it, and new fans of modern prog may get it, though they should keep in mind that it may not be the masterpiece many consider it.

Report this review (#218155)
Posted Monday, May 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Let me just start by saying that I have not been a DT fan. My son begged me to listen to this CD for years and I kept putting it off. Every time I heard Labrie come in with his awful acapella on Regression, I would reach for the stop button. All I could see in my mind was some Journey wanna be, and my aggro musical tendencies would not stand for that.

I finally got this CD for my B-day and could not put it off anymore. I sat down and popped it in to my stereo, prepared for the torment to begin. As a lover of concept albums, I told myself to just relax and take it for what it is(then if I still don't like it, I can make a coaster out of it!). The tick-tocking started and the hypnotist speaks....So far, so good...Oh God, here it comes....Labrie sounds awful still....How could they let this go on the finished album, I wonder....The overture kicks in and it is Awesome! Maybe this won't be so bad after all. Strange Dejavu...Singing is much better, and in key with the music..nice, not great but listenable. I allow myself to be pulled in to the story and the music. Phenomenal! I love the lyrics and the playing is fabulous. Maybe this really is as great as everyone has been saying... but the singing is just not as good as it could or should be...Oh, well....Arriving at the final track? Already? Wow! That was a fantastic journey! And I hardly noticed Labrie being off key after the opener!

My final impressions: This album is instrumentally and conceptually a masterpiece. The story is original and fascinating. Like PF-The Wall, the ending is unclear and it lets you wonder what the possible outcomes could be. I like that. So why not 5 stars, you ask? Labrie. His singing is uneven and, well, annoying for the first couple of tracks. It then improves, or fades into the background, as the album progresses. I am undecided as to which....I have since explored some other DT releases. The older stuff is very good instrumentally, but I cannot get past the castrati-setto of Labrie. Sorry. I know I should not let this ruin it for me, but it does. He has obviously toned this down since the success of Scenes. I am really enjoying 6 degrees right now and I think he actually sounds pretty good! I will get ToT next. I hear it is heavier and that fits my Prog-metal-aggro personality more than Awake.

So, If you are not sure about this release, and have put off not listening to it for years like me, I suggest you get yourself a copy and be prepared to be impressed. Just bite your hand and plug your ears thru Regression and you will be OK. I promise!

Report this review (#218197)
Posted Monday, May 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
TGM: Orb
1 stars Dream Theater, Metropolis pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory, 1999

To nick half an opening line off a fellow reviewer, '[Metropolis pt. II: Scenes From A Memory] is not only Dream Theater's most overrated release, nor is it prog metal's most overrated release', it's awful.

First off, the 'concept' part of 'concept album': a good concept album surely needs the following: a good concept, and preferably a well-written one, a strong relationship between the lyrics and the music, appropriate vocals and more importantly, to me, a depth to actually keep the listener coming back to the concept... it's the difference between Foucault's Pendulum and the light-hearted The Redemption of Althalus, both are good books, but one is much deeper and consequently more rewarding... in the context that you hope, surely, to listen to an album more than once, the former approach is more valuable.

Now, does Metropolis Pt. II, Scenes From A Memory, which has more depth in its title than the entire damn 70-minute monstrosity, fulfil any of those requirements? Me, personally, I, myself and further I, don't believe it does. The plot is a gaping hole, in which things happen in spasms, things are very occasionally revealed in between the main character's angsty soliloquys, conclusions are drawn and a concluding twist is ruthlessly inserted. Unfortunately, these things need connections and arrangement ' is there really any emotional content in someone believing 'The spirit carries on' because they've been hypnotized into thinking about their (obviously real) previous incarnations? Or is there any point in the 'Sleeper' and the 'Miracle' 'metaphors' for two of the cast characters? Themes and ideas are introduced, but there is just no depth to these ('Without faith, without hope/there can be no peace of mind'...  the why for this precise, repeated line isn't there, as far as I can see... it just appears to be an underlying assumption of the speaker). If you genuinely like the plot of this one, I'd recommend action sci-fi film The Core. It's probably on much the same level.

Now, well-written, obviously not: 'She wanted love forever/but he had another plan/He fell into an evil way/She had to let him down/She said 'I can't love a wayward man', and (Exhibit B, your honour), 'Now that I've become aware/And exposed this tragedy/A sadness grows inside of me/It all seems so unfair' are representative cuts, and the overall impression isn't helped by the predictable alternation of the two parallel stories (well, one of them isn't even happening, it's just a commentary with an event at the end) 'past event happens' and 'Nicholas comments in an angsty/happy way on the past events, with no sympathetic motivation'.

So, we have remarked that it is a wafer-thin plot, following the travails of wafer-thin characters, direly written, and with a sort of pretence of dual depth (past and present), which , when examined, is unconnected, and, regardless, nothing of interest happens in plot B until the very end. Dire stuff. Now, why does this matter so much? Well, one, it's a concept album and it's pushing the concept... it annoys me for the same reason that The Wall's stress on the Hitler rally does... it doesn't make sense, and what is presented as if it were a strength is built on the sand of pretence. It doesn't help either that Labrie is obnoxious to the extreme in his presentation here... his voice is clearly meant to convey an average, normal person most of the time, but, on the other hand, it's plain irritating.... the occasional efforts at a smoother or more aggressive vocal style, rare though they are, are a welcome relief. He also adds an 'a' sound to every word in some sections, which is a pet peeve of mine. So, basically, he's over-presenting a hollow, irritating plot in a hollow, irritating way.

OK, I think you've probably worked out I don't like the concept by now, so that's out of the way... now the album part. Here Dream Theater seem to be hell-bent on alternating the pacey metal riff with the tingling acoustic ballad... unfortunately, they're not particularly good at either of those. The number of good, memorable riffs in these seventy minutes is in the 0s (well, there's one salvaged off I&W, but I'm hardly going to count that), and moreover Petrucci is just a lousily generic and tedious acoustic guitarist... if your introduction to progressive rock included the acoustic features of Howe, Hackett and Fripp, you'll probably hold very, very little affection for the harmless ding-DING-ding (simple acoustics, not always a bad thing, but it's the difference between a writer with a knack for good melodies and one without... Dream Theater don't benefit from this difference being so highlighted) we get from such an admittedly capable electric soloist... again, Petrucci's guitar work, when on an electric, when in a lead role, when soloing, is phenomenal. Unfortunately, at any other given time, he can be unimaginably dull... for instance, for the majority of Scenes From A Memory.

Now, onto the rest... Rudess sort of fits the band, and has to his credit a gimmicky ragtime solo and a generally unoffensive vibe... admittedly his piano parts as a rule don't seem to add a lot to pieces, and occasionally the synth sounds simply don't come off. Portnoy, in addition to being technically sharp and complex, is a bore (though not as much so as on Images And Words), and I hear on good authority the brotherhood of the Sacred Ear to this day have a bounty on John Myung's basslines, so if you can actually hear them on this one, you could be in for the big bucks. There are, musically speaking, two pieces I sort of like on here, and I can remember literally only fragments of them, it's not a well-written album, in my view, and while the more technical-masturbation-themed songs are definitely a bit more interesting for me, I fail to remember more than seconds of any individual piece, and it says a lot that those seconds are generally the gimmicky ragtime solo or the sitar sampling. So, in short, not a compelling metal album (in my opinion... now, I'm not a metalhead, but there are metal albums I like [by Opeth, especially Blackwater Park, Iron Maiden and Arcturus, to name a few]... this just isn't one of them... and I can't say it has the more appealing qualities of those artists I mentioned earlier), not a good progressive rock (indeed, progressive more in derivation than in innovation... a melting pot of styles, rather like making a paella in a mould-encrusted pan) album, not particularly a good album in any sense.

OK, so, I haven't even discussed the individual tracks, and I've explained why I think this is a lousy concept album. I've also written 1123 words already, so it's probably time to bite the bullet and spin the damn album again... I might be brief on individual tracks, because spending this much time writing about Scenes From A Memory when it could be spent giving enjoyable albums such as Awake, Molignak, Darwin! or Skin a small boost in PA's collective consciousness is probably unneeded.

OK, so we have the spoken hypnotherapist intro, complete with ticking... then an exceptionally vapid acoustic-and-voice number with some warbling synth in the background. Thankfully pretty brief. Paragraph merge, because I can. OK, we have a quote from the admittedly neat Metropolis pt 1, which, while just about unrelated (in the same way as the two Cygnus books blatantly are), is probably the best ten seconds of the album. Some nice soloing from Petrucci is probably the key feature of the instrumental Overture 1928... the occasional foreshadowing of later music by collecting themes is clearly an effort , but at the same time, I don't like that later music either, so it's hardly a plus for me. Now, onto the first real vocal number, which, in addition to the thick layers of mind-numbing suffering brought on by Labrie's voice,  has (presumably Portnoy) providing atrocious backing vocals. The drum part is precise, but trapped by its own precision, so often being rigidly unpredictable in the same fashion that the 'unpredictable' bit of it fails to impress, Rudess's short piano bits are neat, his synth parts don't seem to have a lot to them... Myung, when audible, is neat.

The following Through My Words is too safe a piano-and-voice number to really criticise, and if you can ignore the lyrics, that and the opening of Fatal Tragedy are actually quite nice. The latter moves on with some AOR (that?s right, you heard that) choruses and the standard riffing interspersed with some fantastic solos and the occasional organ tone. I'm sort of torn about whether I like the prog-metal thing at around four minutes... very energetic (and I like the shredding, and I think Petrucci, when soloing, has a fantastic tone, though it seems to go out the window on the riffs), actually sort of cool, but it feels so blatant, and really holds no relation to the rest of the song other than having the same track number. OK, out of hypnotherapist talk, we get a riff. Wow. That was really unexpected.

Beyond This Life is the first real engagement with the 'Past' story. Unfortunately, it's terrible. OK, the riff is slightly better than most of those on the album, and when Labrie's vocals are under that weird effect thing, and I can pretend he's singing about hobbits and wizards or something, I can pretend I like this one. There's some surprisingly atmospheric Rudessage here. I like that. Unfortunately, the lyrics are so badly written, they make the opening virtually unlistenable and Labrie is trying so hard to specifically irritate me. OK, he does the occasional neat operato-aggressive thing, which is good, but otherwise, he's mechanically and systematically irking my vocal hates.

OK, Myung comes to the surface halfway through, albeit with a completely harmless part. A random bit of daft production fiddling (Dream Theater are just too calculated to do a Hendrixian interlude, sorry guys) leads into what is actually a really neat bit of bluesy guitar before another superb Petrucci solo. A dire brass synth takes us on... well, let's just say Rudess's solo showcase here is nailbitingly tasteless with the sounds. Portnoy doesn't really add anything to my enjoyment, but he's alright here. It's a pity that Myung's remarkable exit to the daylight from the world of very-low-in-the-mix isn't remarkably good. Bits of this could be really good if I could hear them without hearing the other bits of this soon after.

Some heavy handed Dark Side Of The Moon references (guitars, howly female vocals), complete with an almost hymnal set of keys, followed by a little piano part and the lousy ballad that is Through Her Eyes. Portnoy barely contributes to this bit, obviously, because it's a soft song. Petrucci strums, yawn. Labrie amazingly manages to mess up even this vocal style on occasion... and his incessant vibrato (is that the word?) is a pain. Rudess is a bland piano note every once in a while, and Myung, still on his exercise hour from the prison of the regular production provides the only thing about this song that's actually enjoyable (well, the occasional electric burst isn't terrible, but that's mooted by the acoustics). So bad I feel like going to youtube and listening to a high school band's cover of Video Killed The Radio Star to clean my ears.

Home is a rare thing: Dream Theater dabbling in diversity and also a good song on this album. A vaguely sitar-flavoured thing , with an embryonic riff beneath it, and the occasional precise roll from Portnoy, and suddenly, BIAO-BAO, this absolutely fantastic riff with spiralling guitar work coming off it comes in... Rudess has pulled his tones together, I can barely hear Myung, but I assume he's doing something nice, there's a sharp metal riff... and now, Labrie, L there goes that run, lads... OK, the lyrics are actually not too terrible, more reminiscent of Pt. 1, but his vocals, at least to start with, are unpleasant. OK, then he pulls together and we get shockhorrorscandal a catchy melody... what's going on? Has the spirit of 10cc taken over my stereo player for a few seconds? Did I just like that? Yes... well, whatever witchcraft is going on, Labrie again layers his voice with effects over a menacing, Indian-flavoured riff, and The Miracle's vocal section is slightly less generally irritating... now, if we get past the generic sexual-noises, which would clearly have some sort of effect on me if I didn't hate the concept so much, the sampled-sitar/electric interplay is nice, and even if the solo bursts of the last three minutes are the definition of forgettable, the points where the band pull together make up for it. Anyway, whatever Dream Theater were aiming for with the rest of the album, they somehow managed to just about hit it here.

The Dance Of Eternity opens with some nervous collective shuffling, all laboriously united by little re-echoed solo bits, and double-kick-drumming covers the whole thing. On the other hand, aside from this opening demented soundtrack thing, there is just about enough of the gimmick to keep this one alive, whether in silly synth things, crazed intensity, little dah-dum-dah-dum  bits, something that reminds me of a particularly theme, but I'm not sure which (James Bond, I'm thinking..., maybe I?m wrong), and a random ragtime piano, which is admittedly a gimmick, but a relatively good one... still, I liked this one at first, but I'm finding less and less to like about it. Then, there's a tiny, tiny nice bit with piano and band on before the band goes on into crazy dramatics with only the guitar and piano providing any pleasant reprieve from the dumbfounding, soul-crushing irksomeness of Labrie's vocals on One Last Time.

OK, my ears have switched off by this point... but I'll try to listen to the following The Spirit Carries On (doncha love concept non sequiturs) despite Labrie's presence... there's a lot of reference of things from The Wall, here, I think... the piano is reminiscent, and Labrie takes on an almost Watersy edge... and there's the classic Eclipse (Dark Side, admittedly) organ chord... OK, so a laboured Petrucci solo, which I don't particularly enjoy, and Portnoy in full flow and yet failing to make any impression on me... OK, gospel choir... yeah, right, no reference to a certain band's crowning moment there? Labrie is trying. Yes, very trying (sorry folks, had to be done). OK. Bland rock with half a million Floyd references... I suppose that's progressive in itself... Floyd were never bland :p

Finally Free... well about bloody time... could've done with that seventy minutes ago. Hypnotherapist again, direly bland synths, an unimpressive Petrucci part, sound effects which are indicating the change in the plot... dun dun dun... OK. There's not a lot I like about this tacky cartoon stuff... so I'll say there's a smooth piano in there, and then Labrie comes in again revealing the GRAND CLIMAX of this grand sham. Victoria's bit is actually quite nice at times... seems odd that Dream Theater would bring in a female choir just to reference Pink Floyd but shy away from getting a female vocalist to take the female lead on this one, still... 'Then came a shot out of the night' is possibly the most undramatically delivered line I've heard in a while, which is odd given how much drama Dream Theater can throw in when the lines don't merit it... OK, murder sound effects, wow... what next? Grandiose conclusion with particularly lousy vocals. OK... turning back to the comic dramatics... some noodling blandness (me, personally, I like content, having a story doesn't preclude having that), followed by some more hypnotherapy and a squib which is evidently significant to the story's grand twist. I dislike it intensely. Very intensely. So, to illustrate the style of lumping this together as a concept album, I'll mark the thing by 'Scenes' and give you an average grade. Novelty shift in style. Of course, it will have no relevance on the final grade/star thing I give it.

Scene One: 1/15, Scene Two: 3/15, Scene Three: 6/15, Scene Four: 4/15, Scene 5: 1/15, Scene 6: 12/15, Scene 7: 6/15, Scene 8: 1/15, Scene 9: 3/15. Averaged out, we have 4.111etc./15, which would be a one rather than a two.

So, on the final grade: I cannot possibly give a three to an album from which I really enjoy only one song, and which is conceptually so terrible. Whether one track in a seventy minute album and the occasional glimpse of pleasantness qualify an album for the glorious second star is questionable. It's getting the one from me, which is, admittedly, on the harsher side of justice, but I can see myself very happily not connecting this one to the CD dock again, and once Home is safely ripped to the computer, this will be 'put out to stud' (i.e. collect dust as a glorified coaster).

Rating: One Star, I think 4/15 is actually the mark I'd have given it anyway. 3 if I couldn't skip tracks. Favourite Track: Definitely, definitely Home.

So, what have we learned from this review (well, I say we, I mean I):

Don't buy Scenes From A Memory Metropolis. Unless you really feel like you need to have Home. Or are a Dream Theater fan and think Mike Portnoy is the best drummer ever, at which point you already own the album, most likely. Anyway, not a wise introduction choice, in my opinion, at least, compared to the decent Images And Words and Awake, which is great stuff... if you really like other Dream Theater or you feel like a good, nervous, horrified laugh, go forth, DT fans, and multiply.

A concept is not necessarily a good concept.

Writing about albums you don't like can be fun.

You can write three thousand words about anything.

Credit goes to topofsm... his review was the one my opening line sampled.

OK... there's a line in there where I trailed off, but I can't remember what exactly I was complaining about, and changing it would ruin the 'exactly 3000 words of review excluding title and footnotes' thing I've got going on.

Edit: said line clipped. No longer exactly 3,000 words.

Report this review (#218413)
Posted Tuesday, May 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Quiet One
2 stars Scenes from a Memorable Story, though from Forgettable Music

Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory is no doubt a classic Progressive Metal album for it being full of shred solos and leaving you breathless complex-wise, as well as being dark and a bit agressive very ala classic heavy metal, also for it being pretty original and innovating from the metal-side of music this deserves the 'classic' status, however for Prog this has been done before back in the 70's, which many bands managed to pull-off very complex music, however unlike Dream Theater, they managed to give those complex arrangements a direction and thus making it digestable in the least.

Metropolis Part 2 for me is the begining of Dream Theater's downfall; the begining of Petrucci's and Mike's dominance in the music is just something I really can't stand; the end of the well-equilibrated band, in which each member had their moments of brilliance, that is something worthwhile, Images & Words and Falling Into Infinity were some brilliant well-equilibrated albums.

Dream Theaters calls Jordan Rudess to replace Derek Sherinian on the keyboards. Jordan while definitely being capable of playing anything you give to him, his own style is rather tasteless, thus not enjoyable. Have in mind that having fired Derek, that slight eclectisism he gave to the Dream Theater sound has gone with him. Anyways, Jordan isn't heard much on the album to judge correctly, this is due to the already mentioned issue of John Petrucci over-taking the whole album with his nuclear guitar riffs and aimless speed-of-light solos. What we can listen from Jordan it's his either ultra-fast synth solos which burn your speakers completely, or very ballad-esque piano chords, any of the two bore me to death.

As for the rest of the members, you should already know they're also highly proficient at their respective instruments, notable proof is The Dance of Eternity, however aimless complexity is not enjoyable but mainly annoying, and like I mentioned before the only members really standing out are Petrucci and Portnoy. James Labrie on the other hand for this album he has restrained his high-pitched vocals from their previous albums, but for me this just makes it worst, he just doesn't seem as present and powerful nor as distinguished as in the four previous albums(counting the EP). The only musician on board which I haven't talked about yet is John Myung, is that a surprise, really? No, it shouldn't be, he's nowhere to be heard other than in the repeated sections from the original Metropolis song featured in Images & Words, and unfortunately he will barely be heard in future albums. Compositionally: this album lacks of that word sincerely, it's almost impossible to figure out the structure from a song out of here, due to the focus on aimless complexity and endless soloing, something that any of the previous albums notably didn't have.

The fact that Scenes from a Memory is a concept album gives it a(if not, the 'only') bonus fortunately, may sound cheesy for some, but for those who like The Wall for it's dark themes, this may result a very interesting listen, in fact it does for me. However, like most story-driven albums, the plot dominates the album's moods and unfortunately the result of creating some dark moods, there's also the apperance of some un-inspired cheesy ballads: Through her Eyes and ''Through my Words''.

To sintetize, this is an album FULL of guitar solos, some manic keyboard ones, plenty of menacing drum fills, some horrifying sound effects for your understandment of the story, never-ending compositions with James' now undistinguished vocals.

2 stars for the songs. 0.5 bonus for the concept and it being the most original Dream Theater from the Rudess-era as for now. 2.5 stars it is.

Report this review (#219154)
Posted Sunday, May 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars John Denver's ghost, or how Dream Theater to which a solo turn'd.

This used to be my favorite Dream Theater release, but as I listen to them more and more, I elevate toward their previous releases such as Images and Words, or Awake. Still, the concept is alright, and the playing is fantastic.

The musical ideas range form very good and expertly crafted, such as Strange Deja Vu, or the menacing Home, to run of the mill shred metal, Beyond This Life, or Dance of Eternity. True, the latter is quite the esoteric mash of technicality, but it isn't as focused as I would have preferred, and the technicality overshadows cohesion. But, I am beating a dead horse with a jackhammer.

Beginning with the soft Regression, the music has a certain enjoyable atmosphere to it. And this flows very well into the next song. I also feel a small Ayreon influence whereabouts within the album at small points, but this is far removed from that body of work. Again, Strange Deja Vu rocks hard, and maintains the quality unique material. Fatal Tragedy falters a bit, but is still quite enjoyable. Dream Theater don't add much diversity, though. Most songs, bar some very notable exceptions, sound rather plain in their "progressive meta" approach. That is to say built around complex riff structures and shred guitar solos, with a few keyboard moments interspersed between.

Then you have the attempted balladry. I like Through Her Eyes, but it is some erroneously forced material. The overall quality never dips too far as to be not listenable, however. Part two is commenced by the epic Home. This song is possibly the album highlight. The jarring eastern twinged riff, the complexities that are balanced with a defining and explored idea, and the tension built up make for a brilliant experience. I never said the material here is altogether bad. Far from it. This is certainly a solid release.

The Dance Of Eternity doesn't really do it for me. I like it, and the sheer brutal technicality of it all is ear popping, but I feel the musical ideas presented and executed within it are of mediocre quality. And that keyboard solo isn't my favorite. The Spirit Carries On is another seemingly half baked attempt at a ballad, to which the expected results arise. They don't succeed in pulling you in emotionally, and the stark contrast it presents, without contributing to the overall fluidity breaks cohesion and damages the already wavering atmosphere.

For all the guff I toss their way, they close the album with one hell of a bang. Finally Free is another contender for best album moment, as they bring back the mood and drama of the arching concept, wring it dry, and relay the sentiments onto you, the listener. Constructed as a cinematic song/effects experience, it is fundamentally ballad in style, but performed with dark grace. The closing twist is sure to bring up questions, and I enjoyed the execution.

For all the lumber fualts of the album, there is a treasure trove of worth while ideas present, and they are all more than competently brought to you by our good friends, Dream Theater. The album suffers from sparse musical composition diversity, weak ballad attempts, and the overzealous nature of both Petrucci and Portnoy. The band would go even farther into this direction on later releases, and a good portion of fans would hate them for it, but for now, this is a great album, and it is worth listening to.

Best Moment - Home/Finally Free+twist ending

Worst Moment - Any time the technicality overpowers the flow, and the ballad work

**** Scenic Stars

Report this review (#219172)
Posted Sunday, May 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have listened to Queensryche, Fates Warning, Opeth (not as much as the others, death metal is not my thing), Pain of Salvation, Ayreon, Symphony X, and NONE of them have achieved to emotionally move me as much as Dream Theater has, though I quite like Ayreon, Pain of Salvation, and Symphony X. My interests do not lie in their performance abilities, which are exceptional, but lie in their compositional skills. Their melodies (only in combination with beautiful chord progressions) send chills down my spine at times and at other times send a tear sliding down my cheek.

Some have said that John Petrucci needs to slow down. David Gilmour has said that he uses speed as decoration to beauty. John Petrucci does exactly this, but does one more thing: he uses speed to create a mood of nervousness or unrest. Most other metal bands I've heard have a hard time with putting mood into their speed, but Dream Theater has no problem with that. However, it is a subtle that you must really listen for.

The story-line is far too complex for me to have any deep understanding of it, so I won't comment on it except to say that I won't.

I sincerely believe this is a masterpiece.

Report this review (#220739)
Posted Friday, June 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Before developing my critic, I want to state that this album is one of the finest that progressive metal has churned out and one of the most influential in this kind of music. It has a very interesting concept that deals with a guy being a girl in his previous life who was murdered under unknowing circumstances. With an hypnotic method, the character(Nicholas) reveals that the woman was killed by her lover's brother, with whom she had a short affair in her time of need when she broke up with her love due to his bad habits. A story of metaphysics, love, betrayal and murder. I will not say more about the concept(even if I said enough) which I find the second better after Operation:Mindcrime from Queensryche. About the songs now:

1.Scene one:Regression: This one is the entrance of the concept with the hypnotist hypnotizing Nicholas. It does not have a lot of music so I will not rate it.

2&3.Scene two: Overture 1928/Strange Deja Vu: This on is a typical dream theater track. A lot of melody with impeccable technicality and top shape of the musicians. The refrain is catchy and everything works perfect in this masterpiece. A very promising beginning, a very nice song(or shall I say songs?). 5/5

4&5.Scene three:Through my words/Fatal tragedy. The first songs is actually the prelude to the second. It has a melancholic feeling which is transferred to the other one. After the sentimental initiation breaks up an astonishing sequence of technicality, brilliant ideas, a torrent of notes, all performed flawlessly. One of the best songs in this epic 5/5.

6.Scene four:Beyond this life: It is more straight than the other songs and it is quite dark as we listen to the lyrics describing the murder. Even if it is not so progressive like the afore mentioned tracks, it is very catchy and you can memorize it easily(if it is not a sacrilege to say this about DT music). This song can be heard also from those who are not familiar with many notes per second. Also, the ethereal part with the lyrics"Our deeds have traveled far..." suits very much to the musical material of this song. Another effort that must be applauded. 5/5

7.Scene five:Through her Eyes: I usually do not like ballads but this one is beautifully executed. A lovely song 4/5

8.Scene six:Home: Wow, what a distortion in the guitar! A progressive song with all the meaning of this characterization, that includes oriental elements. Perpetual alter of atmosphere along with ingenious music. Despite its 13 minutes it is a magical creation and one of the best songs in this album. It should not be rated with less than 5 stars. 5/5

9&10.Scene seven:The dance of eternity/One last time: These are actually 2 different songs. The first one is instrumental and my favorite song. As always Dream Theater perform perfectly and rhythm section is combined effectively with the solo masters, Rudess and Petrucci. Just listen to the keyboard sampple that reminds you a far-west saloon. Very amusing! Generally, the second better instrumental track of the progressive masters after Stream of Consiouseness in Train of Thought. 5/5. One last Time is a mellow track and the weakest in this masterpiece. Not bad at all,but the less interesting. 3.5/5

11.Scene eight:The spirit carries on: The final ballad of this record. It is better than one last time but worse than The spirit carries on. Nevertheless,it is a beautiful ballad that you will not skip while listening to it(as you will not do with any of the other tracks). It deserves a bit less than 4 stars and more tan 3.5 stars, so nbecuase it is in this space [3.5 , 4] it is rounded to 4/5

12.Scene nine: Finally free: The grand ending of the album and the concept. It starts calmly with a lot of melody and this mood is diffused in the whole length of the song. Personally, I shuddered when I heard the gunshots and screams during the song that close this ingenious concept. Very ideal finale for this ideal record. 5/5

Report this review (#220979)
Posted Saturday, June 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This is probably the best album Dream Theater has ever recorded. It is definitely the best Dream Theater album I've heard. The songs are varied and dynamic. The schmaltzy parts are there to further the story on this concept album. And Mike Portnoy doesn't drown out the rest of the band with his ham handed drumming.

The concept is an interesting one. A hypnotist has a man in a trance, where he remembers a past life as a woman who gets murdered. The music is peaceful when it needs to be, and absolutely frenzied at other times. And the story, in music, is well told.

The music itself, while being pure Dream Theater, appears to be heavily infused with nods to Pink Floyd. The intro and inteludes are reminiscent of passages from the Wall, and the finale has a choir and vocalist that bring to mind Dark Side Of The Moon.

As concept albums go, this is one of the better ones.

Report this review (#233153)
Posted Thursday, August 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Many people consider this album an absolutely masterful piece in the company of Close to the Edge, Foxtrot, Red, Wish you were here etc., what's more some people even proclaim it "the greatest piece of music ever. When it was released I was very excited to see the title"Metropolis Pt 2.". Metropolis Pt 1. is one of my favourite songs from one of my all time favourite albums called Images and Words. At first listenings I was completely blown away, but time moved on... Unfortunately, for Scenes from a Memory. This is a decent album, but it contains so many hints from Images and Words, and sometimes it is so similar to Pink Floyd(The Spirit Carries on comes to mind first) that it is certainly not a "revolutionary", "groundbreaking" or "cornerstone" album. It's not really good idea for a band to write a concept piece which is not really about the lyics. Dream Theater had some good lyrics in the past, but writing a story is another thing. This story as trite as possible, some love story, some murder some "dark mystery' including reincarnation, without any real substance. But after all Dream Theater are not profilic novelists. Actually there are many enjoyable parts on this album. Home is the best track by far, the only composition that I truly like in its entirety. Fortunately, this is the longest song on the album, too. Heavy, melodic, virtuosic, , everything that can be expected from a leading prog metal act. Other tracks have very good parts, with some runining effects. For example Beyond this life could be excellent without some horrible Rudess-keyboard sounds and the effect-driven vocals by James LaBrie in the beginning. Through my words/Fatal tragedy doesn't start very promisingly, but towards the end the band members go absolutely nuts with their instruments, in a positive sense of course. For me the first real higlight in this album. The track I don't like at all is the über-cheesy ballad Through her eyes. The Dance of Eternity is probably their weakest instrumental. The piano playing which reminds me of some cartoon soundtracks is actually funny, but this entire album is not supposed to be funny, but "dark", "mysterious", "brooding" and blabla. So it is quiet out of place, I think. With all its flaws it is still a pretty good album, with some refinement in the concept, and a bit shorter playing time could be even better. So for me a three star rating seems to be the most adequate.
Report this review (#238789)
Posted Saturday, September 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Speechless... mmm... not really...

No matter what all the haters say about this album, the recognition of this production as the true Masterpiece of the late 90's generation is undeniable... and as much a lot of people claim about too technicall and emotionless, Scenes remains as the best f*cking album I've heard in the last 10 years of my life...

If you come without knowledge of prog-rock (like I did) you will feel speechless at the end of the first spin... It's just impressive how they manage to travel through so many different atmospheres and sounding without you notice... the slow moments are really a breath on the rain, fresh and deep while the hard moments -which are the 70% of the album- are really like the most intimidate wall of hard rock and complex compossition...

It's a Concept Album... maybe The Concept Album that lead the 2000... is the second part of a song wrote in early 90's and maybe 'cause of that is so great. Jordan Rudess take the control on the Keyboards and shows us that he's the most talented Key player out there right now... as it was a theme based album, he didn't do nothing fancy, just stay at the level of the band and thats why he's so great here while in the rest of the albums he kind of try too hard... but in this particular album, he did a great job... as for the orchestration and quality of performing, there's no doubt... they're the best of it... amazing solos, tight performing, great sound and everything...

Labries voice is a little lay back and fit really well here... and as for the production... it isn't that great but still worth for a 5 star review... well... on in on... I recomend this album to anyone... you could hate their extremist soloing, or the Labries performng... that's kind of subjective... but the true value of the production is there... the highest symbol of prog-metal... the masters showing they can write a 80 minutes great story... if you're new in prog rock, you really can start right here... if your'e a prog fan... how do you live your life on ignorance so far... take this album, right now... "Right time is always now..." please... don't denied yourself of these pleasure... it is THE MASTERPIECE of this generation... for sure...!!!

Report this review (#241431)
Posted Friday, September 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This truly is progressive and possibly one of the best prog albums I've ever heard. Dream Theaters 5th studio album and a truly brilliant concept. The story focuses on regression therapy and seem to be loosely based on the film "Dead Again". The music is incredible and just flows beautifully. This album shows how good songwriters, lyricist and musicians Dream Theater are by having songs that are so diverse, from heavier songs like "Beyond This Life" to the amazing ballad, "The Spirit Carries On". The vocals are incredible and really brings out James LaBrie as a singer. Keyboardist Jordan Rudess who's first album with the band this was, has really brought something new and different to the band yet they have kept they're magic, and this is the best album Dream Theater have done closely followed by Images and Words.
Report this review (#244445)
Posted Tuesday, October 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater: Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory

I have no idea what this masterpiece of an album has to do with the masterpiece of a song "Metropolis Part 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper" plot wise but, that really doesn't matter. What does matter is that this is the best concept album you will ever hear. The plot is about a man who dreams about a past life in 1928. There is a wonderful mystery and love triangle, you will have to pay attention to they lyrics and maybe even listen to whole thing again to truly understand what happens but, nonetheless you will enjoy each and every listening. If you are a fan of musical complexity this album is for you. If you enjoy great lyrics, this album is for you. If you enjoy music, this album is for you. Though i would not say this album is for those with little attention spans because this is an epic concept album and, if you have a little attention span you would not be able to enjoy this great piece of art in full. Did I mention this album contains some of the best guitar, keyboard and drum solos you will ever hear, as well as great vocals.

Five star songs: Fatal Tragedy, Beyond This Life, Home Four star songs: Overture 1928, Strange Deja Vu, The Dance of Eternity, The Spirit Carries On, Finally Free. Three star songs: Regression, Through My Words, Through Her Eyes, One Last Time

Report this review (#250046)
Posted Wednesday, November 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Widely considered by many as their magnum opus, "Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From a Memory" is often placed right up there with the progressive metal classics, if not the best progressive metal album. Surely such claims garner one's attention and surely, that is why I obtained the album. But is it the prog metal masterpiece that many assert?

Now, I must admit, that upon hearing the album the first few times, I was absolutely in love with it. I constantly played it, around three, four times a week. Completely awestruck, I immediately deemed "Metropolis..." as Dream Theater's best work. As time went on, I still continued listening to it, although not as much as before. It was not until then that I started finding myself less interested in the album. Was it perhaps because I played it to death (if you consider four times a week as too much) or was I finding some flaws in it that I did not hear originally? Perhaps a combination of both.

I found the album to be somewhat repetitive in terms of the music, specifically the guitar work. Some songs sound a bit too much alike, such as "Beyond This Life" and "Home". At times I find myself confusing these two songs and it isn't until I check the title that I'm certain which is which. Don't get me wrong, I love Petrucci's playing, but throughout the album, it feels that he runs out of ideas in terms of the music. However, there are plenty of highlights.

I always found the concept to be quite appealing. Two brothers, one woman, vengeance, death. It keeps one on edge, even if one's heard the album many times. Certain songs really shine, specifically in the second half of the album (which I consider to be the stronger side, although not by much), especially the instrumental "The Dance of Eternity" and "One Last Time". The former displays each musician's excellent skills, from Myung's rapid bass playing to Portnoy's excellent drum fills. I consider the latter to be the best track on "Metropolis...". Although not outstanding, it is still a great song, where LaBrie really makes his presence felt with his captivating singing. In my opinion, it is the climax of the album, where some of the more dramatic parts of the story take place.

Despite my change of view of "Metropolis...", I still consider it to be one of Dream Theater's best works. Although not necessarily the masterpiece I proclaimed it was before, this is still a must have for any prog metal fanatic and a pleasant addition to one's collection. I would also recommend it as a starting point for those who tend to stay away from progressive metal, as it may produce a change of heart.

1. "Regression" - 7.5/10

2. "Overture 1928" - 8.5/10

3. "Strange Déjà Vu" - 8.5/10

4. "Through My Words" - 7.5/10

5. "Fatal Tragedy" - 8/10

6. "Beyond This Life" - 8/10

7. "Through Her Eyes" - 8/10

8. "Home" - 8/10

9. "The Dance of Eternity" - 8.5/10

10. "One Last Time" - 8.5/10

11. "The Spirit Carries On" - 8/10

12. "Finally Free" - 8/10

97/12 = 80.83% = 4(-) stars

Report this review (#251982)
Posted Saturday, November 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've been listening to progressive music for just over a year, and have slowly become more critical over it. I used to enjoy the heavy riffs a lot more, and the melodic lines a lot less. Now the opposite is true. The more "prog" it is, the better. So isn't there some sort of perfect combination of heavy riffing and prog? Yes, there is. The answer is Metropolis Pt. II, Scenes From A Memory.

From the very first "tick, tock" you hear on this album, to the final static, this album has me hooked. The band switches flawlessly between heavy, shredding riffs and beautiful, melodic songs. This album has everything, from incredible instrumental talent (The Dance of Eternity) to songs that classic prog lovers will like (Strange Deja Vu) to beautiful ballads (The Spirit Carries On)

Unlike some of the newer Dream Theater albums, the musicians here do not overplay their instruments. They do not play fast simply to show that they can. Every song has been carefully thought out, and the story is excellent.

If you like any kind of progressive music and do not have this album in your library, you are missing out! Take a listen, and become absorbed in "Scenes From A Memory"

Report this review (#259146)
Posted Sunday, January 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars An Excellent place to begin collecting Dream Theater. This was the first DT CD I bought and on the first spin I was taken with the virtuosity of the band members. I was immediately turned on by Portnoys immaculate drumming and the exquisite time changes and complex riffing.The story also appealed to me, and I liked the singer, which is an instant PLUS. This is a must in any prog metal collection and must be in the top 20 prog metal productions of all time and surely in some peoples top ten or even top five. This CD prompted me to buy more DT and thus I'm grateful for the prog archives for bringing such bands to my attention. This has to be five stars - who would disagree ?
Report this review (#259457)
Posted Tuesday, January 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars 9/10

"Scenes From a Memory" is one of the best prog metal albums of all time, that contains the perfect prog metal sound.

After almost ten listens, after so much effort for trying to appreciate this album, I now consider SFAM one of the greatest prog metal albums of all time. Certainly they were a couple of songs that I loved immediately, ( all the heavy ones). I just couldn't get the ballads and the slower songs, such as "Spirit Carries On" and "Finally Free". Now I realize how perfect this album really is.

In 1999, after a few albums behind them, Dream Theater release their ultimate masterpiece, a landmark album for progressive music and most definitely for metal music generally speaking. It's a concept album, with a complex story of love, past lives, and murder. A little cheesy, if you ask me: in fact, what really made the album in my opinion was the music itself.

All the heavy songs have outstanding musicianship and technique, without even exceeding, excellent, catchy melodies, mind blowing time changes and odd time signatures: basically the perfect prog metal sound. The ballads (The Spirit Carries On, Through Her Eyes) have a touching, heart warming melody, nice vocals by James LaBrie, and some good experimentation here and there. I really don't understand how I didn't get them previously.

The structure of the album, since it is a rock opera, is unique for rock music: divided in two acts, which are divided as well in different scenes ( nine scenes in total, five in Act 1, four in Act 2), being in this way similar to a classical opera. There's only one interlude, which means that the band at the time had many ideas and didn't need too many fillers. Although, as it happens many times in concept albums, some melodies, ideas, riffs, are repeated pretty frequently, even though they're always slightly different than the original. I never liked much this songwriting method typical of concept albums, but this album, as well as Phideaux's "Doomsday Afternoon", "Quadrophenia" and "Tommy", makes an exception.

Everything starts with the ticking of a clock, followed shortly by the psychiatrist, one of the story's characters, speaking. Soon after, an acoustic guitar plays along with James LaBrie a soft, warm melody that reminds Pink Floyd's "Pigs On A Wing" a little. This Is "Regression", the intro of the album. The Overture is fabulous. Who could have known that in only a few minutes something like this! Like all overtures, this one is instrumental, with many fast tempos, some slowdowns, some excellent virtuosity, and, of course, a nice, singable chorus.

"Strange Déjà vu" is connected with the Overture, so it seems like it's one entire song (they form the second scene). The first three minutes are formed by the Overture's main theme, although this time vocals are present. It's incredible how a song can remain amazing even adding to it another instrument, or vocals. After the "Overture repetition", there's a new part, unbelievably catchy and cool. The song gets slower towards the end of the song, so it can connect to the following song, "Through My Words", the calm, one minute interlude.

"Fatal Tragedy" has an original theme, a lot more different: an intriguing verse, played also with the piano, other than the guitars, a catchy, slow chorus, and a mind blowing second theme towards three quarters of the song: a complex keyboard driven piece, probably one of the highest moments of the album.

"Beyond This Life" is one of the long songs (eleven minutes). For almost the whole song they keep the same, catchy and heavy riff, even this time completely original. There's also a nice, calm chorus, and a great bridge towards the end of the track. Another highlight of the album.

"Through Her Eyes" actually is the only 100% ballad of the album. It is always calm, relaxing, with a nice warm melody, very accessible and singable. Despite these things, though, this is the song that I prefer the least, since it also took me a long time to appreciate it like I do now.

I always loved the following track, "Home", the longest of the album (almost thirteen minutes). Like in "Beyond This Life", it maintains always the same riffs, with of course some variations, such as time changes. Interesting the sitar used every once in a while, as well as the sound of a woman having a sexual intercourse that comes out at half time.

"The Dance Of Eternity" is one of my favorite DT songs. Definitely their best instrumental song ever. So many time changes, so many mind blowing solos, it just always gives me a grip. All of the musicians are at their highest peak: Portnoy's complex drumming, Myung's lightning fast bass solo, Rudess's amazing rag time piece, and, of course, Petrucci's shredding action. A must listen to for whoever plays an instrument.

"One Last Time" is a semi ballad, very short, but with a brilliant chorus. Here we can find some repetitions from previous themes.

"The Spirit Carries On" was the song I hated for so much. Now I love it. Probably because it has a very simple, kind of cheesy melody, but after a while it grew on me. Now it even gives me goosebumps! Brilliant chorus, especially when the gospel choir comes in, bringing it to a whole new level.

"Finally Free" was also a downer for me. Just like the previous track, it grew up on me. It's twelve minutes long, and, just like the other two long songs, it almost alays maintains the same riff and melody. Exception made when the chorus of "One Last Time" is repeated. After almost ten minutes the music stops, and we hear some noises, like a TV, or some footsteps, and, at the very end, the sound of a radio with no signal.

As a conclusion, I repeat that it took a long time for this to grow up on me, but now, it finally did. A masterpiece, an essential album for whoever loves prog rock and metal: your music collection will be incomplete without "Metropolis Pt.2: Scenes From a Memory".

Report this review (#279600)
Posted Tuesday, April 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Complete with an interesting plot, lots of catchy melodies, and piles of outstanding musicianship, Metropolis II is the best Dream Theater album (although you could argue that they have better musical moments on other albums, depending on your perspective).

There are a number of pieces where I've had to rewind multiple times simply because I hadn't heard anything quite like it before. For example, the frenetic unison ending to Fatal Tragedy, the Indian-influenced close of Home (in double-time, no less!), and the part in Dance of Eternity which apparently was written to simulate what it feels like to be in a particle accelerator (you'll know it when you hear it--I don't quite how to properly describe it). You know it's good prog when you get impressions like this!

Sure, Portnoy totally goes over the top on the double bass, but isn't that part of the experience? And to focus entirely on that would ignore the fantastic cymbal work he provides. Petrucci is solid throughout, and Rudess for the most part adds great variety (I just love his piano intro to One Last Time. And Myung? Well, he's solid as always, at least when I can hear him (such as in Home or Dance of Eternity).

On the other hand, this is not a masterpiece due to the extended filler in places (Exhibit A: Beyond this Life) and the not-unexpected Dream Theater cheese (Through Her Eyes). Also, Labrie's vocals often detract, particularly when he goes into ultra slow motion mode. In some places, such as in Home, it sounds like the band is doing double time while he's literally doing one word per meter. Needless to say, it's not optimal, and it's a shame, because there is so much to capture your attention beyond the vocals. To be fair, I must admit that LaBrie sound great to my ears in places, such as in Strange Deja Vu.

Altogether, a great effort from the Dream. I didn't like this for a long time because I didn't like metal, but once I made the conversion, I've been hooked for good. I think there is enough material on here to be a masterpiece, but the execution and length bring it down a tad.

Still, I would classify Metropolis II as a must-have.

Report this review (#281998)
Posted Friday, May 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Thee album, this is it, in my honest opinion the best and strongest think this band hace and may ever release, a trippy concept album involving pastlives and such, and who made it amazing i hear you ask, of course its the wizzard himself Mr. Jordan Rudess. It just seems that every album that features that man just are musically stronger than anything they have done before, again i shouldnt really talk about the production cause its fantastic anyway and of course the out of this world playing by all members just makes it an unreal release. There are no real standout tracks also saying as its one of those albums that you just have to sit down for just under 80 minutes and emerse yourself in the concept and playing, so every song is a winner, but of course tracks like HOME, THE DANCE OF ETERNITY, BEYOND THIS LIFE and FINALLY FREE are worth checking out before you buy it, if you like it, then its a real reccomendation;

Regression - 8/10 Overture 1928 - 8/20 Strange Deja Vu - 8/10 Through My Words - 8/10 Fatal Tragedy - 9/10 Beyond This Life - 10/10 Through Her Eyes - 10/10 Home - 10/10 The Dance of Eternity - 10/10 One Last Time - 9/10 The Spirit Carries On - 9/10 Finally Free - 10/10

My Conclusion? this has masterpiece written all over it, believe the hype, buy without delay..

Report this review (#284254)
Posted Sunday, May 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Amazing concept album!

After being constantly pestered by fans, Dream Theater decided to finally continue "Metropolis Part 1: The Miracle And The Sleeper" off of the Images and Words album. This resulted in one of the greatest albums in the history of progressive metal. I personally cannot recommend this enough to anyone who is a fan of progressive metal or even prog in general.

A description of the music:

Act 1: We start with an amazing opening with "Regression" that starts with the hypnotherapist speaking and then some acoustic work and great vocals from LaBrie. "Overture 1928" is an effective display of many of the themes throughout the album. "Strange Deja Vu" continues the Overture and is a great track that features LaBrie doing some actual acting with his singing. Reminds me of Peter Gabriel! "Through My Words" is a short piano track meant to act as an opening for "Fatal Tragedy," a track that starts out quiet and eventually turns into a chaotic track with a very exciting instrumental section at the end. "Beyond This Life" is one of the heaviest tracks here and features a very long instrumental section. "Through Her Eyes" is a beautiful piano ballad with some female vocals that closes Act 1 brilliantly.

Act 2: "Home" works as a great opener for Act 2 and is the heaviest track on the album. It has a very Middle Eastern feel to it in many places such as the sitar sections, the first verse, and the chorus. "The Dance Of Eternity" can only be truly described with one word: chaos. It features over 100 time signature changes in this average length song and works as a sort of climax in this album. "One Last Time" is a short and emotional track with some nice piano work from Rudess. "The Spirit Carries On" features vocals in the style of Roger Watters in the intro, a Gilmour like guitar solo, and some female vocals. Needless to say it is a very Floydian track. It is also a very nice track to sing along to. "Finally Free" wraps everything up very effectively and features some great drumming and very effective voice sections. It ends with the hypnotherapist creepily saying "Open your eyes, Nicholas!" and Nicholas letting out a frightened scream and then radio static. What an ending...


Storytelling: If you're going to make a concept album, the story telling has to be at least decent. Otherwise the concept will be ignored and it will be thought of as just another album. The storytelling on this album is magnificent and it sort of leaves you to wonder at many points.

Musicianship: As said many times before, the musicanship in this album is astounding. This album is Rudess' studio debut with the band and he performs quite well. Petrucci's solos also range from the emotional "The Spirit Carries On" and "Through Her Eyes" to the fast paced "Beyond This Life," "Home," and "Fatal Tragedy." John Myung actually has some time to shine in "The Dance Of Eternity" where he shows off his true skill in a lighting-fast bass solo.

The flow: This album just flows brilliantly through the tracks which really sort of adds to the story. Each mood is effectively represented and seems to be there just when needed.

Acting: As mentioned before, LaBrie sings as though he is an actor playing these characters. He even uses falsetto in most of Victoria's parts and he also sings with great sorrow and some anger when needed. In "Home," the lines "I'll make her my wife" are sang in such a sinister way, you can sort of picture LaBrie sneering as he sings them.

Opening and closing: This album is opened and closed so brilliantly, as a concept album must be. "Regression" serves as the perfect mood for entering into Nicholas' mind, and the end "Finally Free" (if you can realize what actually happened like I could) is a very effective closer that will take you by surprise and just leave you speechless.


The whole is greater than the sum of the parts: Self-explanitory. You cannot experience this albums greatness by just listening to parts of it. You must listen to the whole to really take in the experience.

Song ratings: Regression: 10/10 Overture 1928: 10/10 Strange Deja Vu: 10/10 Through My Words: 9/10 Fatal Tragedy: 9.5/10 Beyond This Life: 8/10 Through Her Eyes: 8.5/10 Home: 10/10 The Dance Of Eternity: 10/10 One Last Time: 7/10 The Spirit Carries On: 10/10 Finally Free: 10/10

Recommended for: Anybody looking to get into progressive metal. Anyone who likes progressive metal.

My rating: 5 stars. This album may take a while to get into, but once you take in the whole thing and experience it for what it truly is, there is nothing like it.

Report this review (#285176)
Posted Saturday, June 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is fantastic. It's pure magic! The first time I listened to this album, I understood that prog was going to be something important for my life: this was the first prog album I really loved! And then, I began to buy other progressive albums by Dream Theater, then I began to discover other artists and also the prog's classics. I really love this album. I like it today just like I loved it the first time... or maybe today is even better! In this album you can find heavy/technical stuff like Beyond This Life, Fatal Tragedy and Home, great instrumental songs like Overture 1928 and The Dance of Eternity, sweet songs like Through Her Eyes, The Spirit Carries on and Finally Free and everything you could wish to find in an album. If you don't already own this album, buy it NOW.


Report this review (#287669)
Posted Monday, June 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars not gonna lie t00 yuhh, the true Dream Theater Masterpiece. in my opinion, i thought this album was better than Images and Words because this album featured Jordan Rudess as the real keyboardist for Dream Theater and also because this album was produced by John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy and the albums before this one weren't produced by John and Mike. an amazing album. i loved when i heard the album for the 1st time. it has an amazing story. i think the story of the album is about The Past life of Nicholas. the album is a sequel t00 the song Metropolis, Pt. I: The Miracle and the Sleeper, which the Miracle and the Sleeper are featured in the 8th track called Home and Metropolis, Pt. I: The Miracle and the Sleeper was a song on the Images and Words album.

Regression: a 2 minute song and it just starts off with a clock ticking and the Hypnotherapist. then John Petrucci comes in with acoustic guitar and James starts singing.

Overture 1928: great instrumental. one of my favorite instrumentals of all time. its also the 1st song t00 feature a keyboard solo by Jordan Rudess. Then, the amazing solo by John comes in. at the end of the song, its also a continue t00 the next track Strange Deja Vu.

Strange Deja Vu: great song. and it continues from the last part of Overture 1928. it has some great guitar by John, some great drumming by Mike Portnoy, and some great singing by James.

Through My Words: a song thats just a minute long. its really short and its just for the next song Fatal Tragedy.

Fatal Tragedy: great song. it starts off with Jordan playing the intro and James. then 40 seconds into the song, the whole band comes in, then it starts t00 get really heavy. awesome way t00 start off the song. it has some really great choruses, some great guitars. i like the keyboard/guitar solo, and i also like the ending by the Hypnotherapist. the spoken line says "Now its time to see how you died. Remember that death is not the end, but only a transition.

Beyond This Life: another great song. great guitar intro by John. i just could only get into the keyboard/guitar solo.

Through Her Eyes: a ballad by Dream Theater. and the song has another singer for the intro of the song and her name is Teresa Thomason. I think the song is about how Nicholas goes t00 the present t00 go t00 the hypnotherapist and Nicholas finds out how she dies. it has some great lyrics and some great guitar.

Home: almost a 13 minute song. its an ok song. i think the song is about the parallels between him and the two men who she loved. The three men all follow the same lyrical patern, representing their obsession (the word is even used by Nick) and deep need for the same woman. This says to me that, while Nick and Victoria are one and the same, he has also become obsessed with her life to the same level as the men who loved her. the beginning of the song kinda has a weird feeling. but like almost 3 minutes into the song, the band enters then it starts getting good. i like the keyboard/guitar solo.

The Dance of Eternity: the 2nd instrumenal for the album. another great instrumental hands down. only 6 minutes but it has so much stuff that people can like bout this song.

One Last Time: a song almost 4 minutes long. i just liked the solo by John and the chorus of the song is also featured in the song Finally Free, and yuhh can hear James sing One Last Time in this song and also in Finally Free, and its the part right before the solo by John.

The Spirit Carries On: seems t00 me, this would b a song that would be played. it has some ok melodies but definitely an amazing solo by John Petrucci and that got me into this song.

Finally Free: awesome song. and its the last song. 12 minutes long. and it starts off with The Hypnotherapist. then John comes in with his guitar. and a minute into the song, the song officially begins with a piano by Jordan then James starts off with his singing. and at almost at 4 minutes in the song, a gunshot is heard. cuz the Miracle shoots Victoria and the Sleeper (Julian), then James sings reprises the chorus for One Last Time, and then the awesome solo by John comes in. and like 9 minutes of the song, we can hear someone getting in his car and also a dialogue by the TV news broadcast. then in the end, The Hypnotherapist then says "Open your eyes Nicholas. he wakes up then white stuff is heard and this white stuff being heard continues for the song The Glass Prison, which can be heard on the Dream Theater album Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence.

an amazing story. an amazing album. i would give the album a 10/10 and its definitely the Dream Theater Masterpiece.

Report this review (#290462)
Posted Thursday, July 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
Retired Admin
5 stars Perfection.

Usually once in a music lover's lifetime, he will find an album or song that has such a striking impression on him that his entire listening path is altered. I can easily say that this is very much the case for me with Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From a Memory. I heard this album sometime in 2004/2005. My entire vision of music at the time, which was hip hop, rap, classic rock and some classic metal (Metallica and the works) was changed forever. This is the type of album that is so profoundly wonderful that I am having a hard time even coming up with the words in which to say. It is perfect. It is sublime. It is the ultimate composition, a Magnum Opus for the band, and the crowning achievement of progressive metal. I really can't say any more. The concept is fantastic and creative, the music is fresh and intense, as well as melodic and soothing, inventive and groundbreaking, and so much more. The entire albums just speaks perfection in every aspect, from the crushing power of the Overture to the massive closing piece that ties the knot on the concept, every track has a superb feeling and atmosphere, radiating the band's supreme talent, which is some of the best in the business.

To be honest, I can't say anymore with sounding like I'm rambling. This album is perfect. It is truly the best progressive metal album out there. Get it, if you don't have it. Now. 5+++ stars!

Report this review (#294502)
Posted Saturday, August 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Definitely my favourite DT album and the best Prog Rock / Metal album ever.

1.-Regression: Althought this is not a great song by it's own, it an awsome intro to the album, you can really feel that you're entering to the story. Nice singing by James LaBrie, beautiful chords by John Petrucci, impeccable keyboard accompanying by Jordan Rudess. (8.5 / 10)

2.-Overture 1928: Awsome instrumental song. Very emotional song theme and guitar solos, and incredible keyboard solos. This song is a little taste about what the album it's going to be (you can hear several riffs through the whole album) and it also give you a little taste about who is Jordan Rudess. (10 / 10)

3.-Strange Deja Vu: More heavy riffs take over and LaBrie kicks in majestically. Beautiful chorus and nice piano interludes. (9.5 / 10)

4.-Through My Words: This song it's more a transition between Strange Deja Vu and Fatal Tragedy, so by ti's own it isn't very powerful. Remarkable piano accompanying. (7.5 / 10)

5.-Fatal Tragedy: Now we can see DT being progressive metal. Begins with a creepy atmosphere and suddenly becomes very heavy. The guitar solo is awsome, shredding; and the keyboard solo is probably the best of the album. The final harmony drives me crazy, incredible bass lines by John Myung. The outro is totally unexpected. Sounds great! (10 / 10)

6.-Beyond This Life: Begins with a very heavy guitar riff and later some thrash metal drums by Mike Portnoy before it turns more calm. Then suddenly very heavy again with shredding guitars, and later it becomes calm again. More JP and Jordan awsome solos leading to this crazy harmony. Very prog metal song. (10 / 10)

7.-Through Her Eyes: One of the ballads of this masterpieces. This song literally makes me wanna cry. The main theme is just beautiful. The whole band sounds incredible, though Portnoy isn't really playing. Remarkable staging of Myung, who in this song plays a fretless bass. Very emotive singing of LaBrie, in the outro he really sounds amazing. (10 / 10)

8.-Home: Arabic heavy riffs dominate this song, some music and lyrics recall Metropolis Part 1 very strongly (I love that). Impressive keyboard solo and perfect bass lines. Very catchy chorus. In the outro you can hear Myung and Portnoy playing odd tempos while Petrucci and Rudess play the arabic leads. Very recommendable song. (10 / 10)

9.-The Dance Of Eternity: My favourite song. Odd tempos, cool riffs, Metropolis Part 1 interludes, crazy honky-tonk piano solo, beautiful harmony, the most incredible bass line and solo I've ever heard, and the song continues on and on. (10 / 10)

10.-One Last Time: Right after the crazy dance of eternity, the things get more calmed, while Rudess plays complex beautifual piano parts. The most catchy and emotional chorus, probably beacause of the singing of emotional singing of James LaBrie. Guitar solo that reminds Overture 1928. (9.5 / 10)

11.-The Spirit Carries On: Incredilble ballad. The best guitar solo in the whole album. About the end a gospel choir joins and it sound amazing. The complete band sounds perfect. (9.5 / 10)

12.-Finally Free: Perfect finale and perfect to end this story. Remarkable Singing by LaBrie, and blistering drum outro, showing that Mike Portnoy is one of the drummers of all time, aswell as Rudess, Petrucci, Myung and LaBrie. (10 / 10)

Report this review (#305480)
Posted Monday, October 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars There seems to be little or no middle-ground when it comes to this DT album. The spectacular list of ratings for this album can be roughly divided between loads of 4-5 stars and the occasional 1-2 star ratings from non-believers, of which some went to great lengths to state their point in the most respectable way. Going through both these points of view feels like watching a tennis game between two opponents where I can't take sides.

So let's try to walk the middle-ground here. First of all, this is a long Dream Theater album with everything you expect from the band: lots of metal, lots of technical playing, interesting instrumental parts, vocals of varying quality, and tons - really tons - of cheese. The songwriting, or should that be riff-sequencing, is of good quality, the band is in fine form, the production is great, and the guys' sweaty long hairs will fly you around the ears. This is at least a good album in its style!

But it's nothing more then just good for me, and the best way to argument why I feel so is by going through each band member and dissect their contribution to this musical artifact.

Let's start with Labrie, the singer that always eats a lot of dirt when DT critics have their way. I can't find much fault with his performance here, but he's just too much of a classical metal singer for me, high-pitched, technical and too clean, studied and lacking real emotion and balls. Instead he's got lots of cheese indeed.

On the keyboards we have one Jordan Rudess about whom I don't have an opinion. It's something that doesn't happen a lot and frankly, it's not a good sign. Mr. Rudess just 'is', nothing what he does makes him remarkable. The same goes for John Myung, who - as with most metal bands - is hard to hear under the layers of guitars. Probably a live context is a better place to spot him.

I like drums, I really like them a lot, and mr Mike Portnoy has lots of drums, rooms full of them I guess. As I've stated somewhere before the man probably even drums in his sleep, he's a drum animal, a true busy-body, hitting at least three toms if one would have sufficed. But I enjoy listening to him, and he provides at least half of the fun here. Petrucci is another matter. He's the guy that swings much DT music in the wrong direction for me. I find him stellar as a rhythm guitar player, but I rarely enjoy his solos. Too many notes sir, just too many notes. But he's very well-behaved here, playing a very functional role throughout this album.

If you like DT you will adore this album. If you like 90s prog-metal you will be in awe. If you like technical symphonic Prog like Yes and ELP mixed with metal you'll have the thumbs up. So the 4 and 5 stars here are perfectly logical. But if you can't stand the cheese that comes with this sort of melodic metal it's just 3, and that's where I stand.

Report this review (#312961)
Posted Thursday, November 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars My favorite album of Dream Theater, next to "Images and words." Metropolis pt.2: Scenes from a memory "was the album that introduced me to the band as well as the progressive metal.I should have between 7 and 8 at the time, and I was fascinated from the very first time I ouvi.Each song is a gem, even "Regression ", the opening track, which is nothing less than a simple narration.

After "Regression ", we have the powerful instrumental "Overture 1928", a track very fast and crazy! My instrumental favorites of Dream are here (but I can not forget "Erotomania" from Awake). "Strange deja-vu" is pretty cool, then the short "Through my words." Fatal Tragedy "is clearly insane, is certainly one of my favorites of band." Beyond this life" is quite long, but never gets tired." Through her eyes" is a beautiful ballad, while "Home", the longest of the album, is somewhat strange, but very good. "Dance of Eternity"is my favorite instrumental DT and one of my favorites of all by a times.At 1:40, the song enters its heavier section and Mike Portnoy simply destroys the battery! It changes pace so fast that you get lost (though the melody is the same throughout this time)"One last time " begins as a ballad, but then gained strength, although it is short. "The spirits carries on" is a beautiful song, which ends majestically with a powerful choir. "Finally Free" is very dark and heavy, to recall some themes of album.Her ends with various sound effects, appear before the therapist, saying "Open your eyes Nicholas"and the sound of a needle sliding across a vinyl can be heard (the same sound that opens "The Glass Prison", the band opening of the next album, "SDOIT)

Certainly this album is a masterpiece, so I'll give you 5 stars!

Report this review (#319890)
Posted Sunday, November 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars This was the album that sealed the deal for me and discouraged me from further buying more DT albums. Prior to this I heard Images and Words, which is a good album in its right, but since Kevin Moore left the band I haven't really enjoyed the music much at all. I read a bunch of praise for this album, so I figured it couldn't be a bad spend, and really I feel like it was. It's not terribly done, but it's not fantastic either, and for the most part it's boring to me. The riffs get old, JLB's voice sounds utterly terrible in several songs, and the structure isn't very interesting, yet the concept is to an extent.

I've never been a huge DT fan, and I've heard samples and entire songs from other albums, but it's not for me. I can't get through 4 songs on this album because musicianship alone does not captivate me.

Report this review (#337607)
Posted Sunday, November 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I think this is the best work from Dream Theater and by far the one I here the most. I feel like these formidable musicians here are centered on writing and performing songs, not only on show their extremely magnificient habilities. But let me say that all the band is here in top form, including the first appearance of Jordan Rudess on the keyboards.

The concept of the album is quite appropiate for the music, as the story has lost of comings and goings, and so does the music. The album flows perfectly well from beginning to end, even LaBrie, which is not my preferred singer, does a great work and even moves me in the more touching scenes.

My highligths in the album are the overture plus Strange Deja Vu, my favourite DT track, Home with its oriental flavour and great Petrucci riffing and The Spirit Carries On. This song has something really uplifting and is for me the example that when DT are inspired they can write and perform blissful music.

This is a truly classic album of modern prog!

Report this review (#338908)
Posted Tuesday, November 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Dream Theater's label destroyed their plans and made out of a promising record a mostly cheesy and commercial trash called "Falling Into Infinity". Now, with a new label and a new record the band put a lot of ideas they had for the last record and had to dismiss into this album. Instead of just completing and rerecording their brilliant second part of Metropolis, they decided to create a whole record around this topic and simply called the album "Metropolis part II: Scenes from a memory".

I think that the whole album doesn't entirely have the magic of the first part of "Metropolis". I must also admit that I really enjoyed the promising demo version of "Metropolis 2" and would have prefered this one to a whole album about the topic. There are a few weaker tracks on this record, especially the ballads and more quiet songs like "Through Her Eyes" in the beginning of the album. But this album is still in my ranking of the five best Dream Theater records and even in my top three albums of the band.

Now, let me explain you why. First of all, I think that the whole concept is interesting, well elaborated and sounds somewhat like a modern progressive conceptual album in the key of a "Operation: Mindcrime" by Queensryche. The lyrics and the story are really addicting and easily create images or ideas in my head. Second, this album is quite diversified and contains somehow the quintessence of what Dream Theater is able to achieve. Soft ballads with dreamy keyboard sounds and soft and smooth vocals ("Fatal Tragedy"), epic progressive tunes with many surprising changes like spoken word passages, epic solos or jazz interludes ("Finally Free") and fast and yet very well developed rockers ("Beyond This Life") can be found on this record but because of the cinematic story line, all those songs are well and logically connected and create something consistent. That's why this album has a flow that the last two records before this one didn't have. Third, I really admired the first part of "Metropolis" which is probably my favourite Dream Theater song of all times and I was particulary happy to hear some elements of that classic in songs such as the atmospheric instrumental introduction "Overture 1928", the very progressive instrumental "The Dance Of Eternity" that even has some jazz influences or the amazing "Home" that is the best song Mike Portnoy has ever written for the band and that surprises with a strong riff and some exotic Asian folklore influences. This track is one of my favourite Dream Theater tracks of all time along with "Metropolis Part I" and "A Nightmare To Remember". This epic and inspiring masterpiece "Home" is an important turning point on the record because there are only amazingly strong songs after this one in the second act while there were a couple of a little bit overlong and uninspired tracks in the first act. The track "Home" can be described as the core or the heart of this record as the band put all its energy and creativity into this song that is able to be interesting and diversified over ten minutes long.

If Dream Theater ever had a weak point, than it would be the singer James LaBrie that is delivering "only" a good job on this record while the musicians create magic moments and show all of their talent throughout the whole record. That's maybe why especially the instrumental tracks are amazing and memorable on this record while the quiet ballads that focus more on James LaBrie only seem like some rather boring breaks between brilliant instrumental sections to me to elaborate the story and background of this opus magnum. The story plays a very important role on this record and it is really a well elaborated, addicting and intellectual story that the band worked out but all of this is nothing in comparison to the brilliantly shining musical performances on the record. That's why this record is as well brilliant for more intellectual listeners that attentively read the booklet as well as for the typical fans of progressive music that just close their eyes and listen to minute long guitar solos, vibrating bass lines, tribal drum loops or exotic and folkish keyboard sounds. This album is clearly nothing for a metalhead that awaits some straight, heavy and easily addicting tracks like the band created later on the heavier and darker "Train Of Thoughts".

It is a very entertaining and stunning experience to listen to this album which I consider as a modern progressive metal masterpiece. Anyone that liked the first part of "Metropolis" will admire and must have this record. The first part was like a brilliant preview and this new album is now like the complete movie and this is a blockbuster of modern progressive metal. It begins rather slow paced after a bombastic introduction with some soft fillers before the tension rises and leads us towards a stunning finish. That's why I can really recommand this album to anyone that likes conceptual albums or progressive rock or metal music but not blindly to the masses.

Originally published on on January 11th of the year 2011.

Report this review (#379067)
Posted Wednesday, January 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After Images & Words this is the second DT album I have heard. Although that album was influential, I don't feel it has aged very well. This album, on the other hand, sounds more contemporary. I think that has less to do with how 'ahead of it's time' this is, and more to do with how little Prog Metal has changed in the past ten years. Metropolis Part 1 of course is a song on I&W. This album is divided into two acts and nine scenes(hence the title). A concept album about some guy remembering the murder of a woman in 1928(?). It's pretty confusing to me, but I'm not a fan of concept albums anyway.

This is the first album with keyboardist Jordan Rudess. Some people complain about LaBrie's vocals or Petrucci's guitar w*nkery, but the problem I have with DT is the ready-for- radio piano ballads they like to put on their albums. Another thing I don't like on this album is the Whitney/Mariah wannabe vocals on a few songs. Those kind of vocals work for some songs, but not the ones here. The songs I enjoy the most here are the ones that generally don't have piano or female vocals.

I like the use of the hypnotherapist's voice on the album. "Overture 1928" is a great instrumental that not only reprises parts of "Metropolis Pt. 1", but has bits and pieces of other songs on this album. Well done. I love the transition between "Overture" and "Strange Deja Vu"; the first few times I listened to this album, I didn't notice the song had changed. Again, well done. "Strange" is one of the better songs on here.

I don't know why "Through My Words" and "Fatal Tragedy" were seperated into two tracks. I don't really like either song but the instrumental part of "Fatal" isn't too bad. I generally don't care for digital synths, but Rudess has a nice tone at the start of "Beyond This Life." It's the third longest song but some moments are better than others. "Home" makes some good use of Indian instruments along with Indian sounding guitar playing. The harmony vocals here are good. Interesting drumming and samples in the middle. Probably the best vocal song.

It doesn't surprise me that the instrumental "The Dance Of Eternity" is my favourite song on the album. Nice use of backwards effects and samples. Great playing from all involved. I like the ragtime/honky-tonk piano part, reminds me of ELP. At one point you actually hear Myung's bass. Until that part I forget they even have a bass player. "The Spirit Carries On" sounds like Wall-era Floyd at first. Later some of those godawful Whitney/Mariah wannabe vocals. "Finally Free" has nice faux orchestra sounds. After 4 minutes gets more interesting with the mix of music and samples. That riff around 8 minutes reminds me of the riff in the Beatles song "I Want You(She's So Heavy)."

At the end we get the best part of the whole album: where you hear "open your eyes Nicolas...AARGH!?!" I don't think that part is supposed to be funny, but I can't help laughing every time I hear it. Overall I think this is a good album. An edited version of "Home" is all I knew from this album before I heard the whole thing. I think "Overture" and "Dance" are great instrumentals and I almost wish every song they did sounded similar to those two. I would give this a 3.5 but I'm gonna round it up to 4 stars.

"Opens your eyes Nicolas...AARGH!?!" Kills me every time.

Report this review (#407584)
Posted Thursday, February 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Some memories are best left forgotten...

After the (supposedly) disappointing Falling Into Infinity, Dream Theater returned with a new album and a new band member.

The Good: This release marked the arrival of Jordan Rudess, the keyboardist who had already recorded two excellent Liquid Tension Experiment albums with Messrs. Petrucci and Portnoy. I was interested to see if that musical chemistry would continue, and it became clear within the first few minutes of Overture 1928 that this was most definitely the case. I won't bore you with the particulars of the individual tracks but suffice to say that this album contains some of the most exciting, most memorable and most badass musical passages that Dream Theater have ever written!

The Bad: There once was a time when I would have considered this album to be anything less than perfection as sacrilege. But tastes change with time, and sometimes when it is suggested to us that we should like something, we will adjust our 'opinions' to conform to that. I love Dream Theater. Scenes from a Memory is considered by many to be their magnum opus. Ergo I should agree. And for a long time I did, but more recently I have noticed enough flaws in it to justify not giving it the full five stars.

This is a concept album. I like concept albums. Whilst I prefer the sort which have a more subtle, underpinning theme, I do still enjoy a good story every now and again, take Operation Mindcrime or Into the Electric Castle for example. But the keyword here is good. The story behind Scenes from a Memory is not good. It is terrible. I've never been a huge fan of post-Awake Dream Theater lyrics but these ones just takes the biscuit.

With lines like "Feeling good this Friday afternoon, I ran into Julian, said we'd get together soon", and the underlying idea that a girl is reincarnated as a man only to discover that his/her murderer is their own hypnotherapist, its almost laughably bad. And the cross gender confusion continues into their next album where James LaBrie mistakes himself for being "just a poor girl, afraid of this cruel world". I sometimes wonder why they didn't go the full distance and release an EP cover of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert the musical.

Unfortunately, these conceptual shortcomings translate to the music, and whilst Scenes from a Memory is instrumentally and technically superb, I find that a handful of the album's tracks only exists in order to further the story.

The Verdict: Perfection's second cousin.

Report this review (#438613)
Posted Sunday, April 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This could very well be one of my favorite albums of all time, and yes, I said OF ALL TIME. Every second of this album is just absolutely gold, and without question the best Dream Theater Album, yeah, I really do think this beats images and words by a bit, a very well made concept album as well! ^^

Scene One Regression: 9/10, A very good opener of an opener I guess lol, it's interesting, and pleasant to listen to.

Scene Two Overture 1928: 10/10, Oh my god, this is one of Dream Theaters best songs, and one of my favorite opener songs, absolutely perfection.

Strange Deja Vu : 10/10, this is the perfect next song, La Bries singing in this song is in my opinion one of his bests, he sings very well and melodic, without getting whiny, awesome guitar riffs, man, just awesome.

Scene Three: Through Her Words, 9/10, a very nice song that sort of calms down the music in a way, not quiet as nice as wait till sleep, but still good, and good for the concept.

Fatal Tragedy: 10/10, this is a very, I guess heavy song for dream theater (back then) that is done very effectively, the verses are alright, the chorus is awesome, but to me what really sticks and I mean REALLY sticks to me however is the Solo section of the song, holy crap, one of the best guitar and keyboard solos ever, I give you a round of applause John petrucci, and Jordan Rudess, and unlike alot of there other albums, the solo doesn't seem spontaneous, or to cheesy, the very ending though, isssss a tiny bit cheesy I will have to admit though...

Scene Four Beyond This Life: 7/10, this is probably one of my least favorite song on here, it's not necessarily a bad song, but it's not very good in my opinion compared to the other songs, I like the verses and choruses, there is one section in here that has James La Brie Singing in rock style, that is just awesome, and another section where he sings almost like a soft rock voice which is just beautiful. btw, good job Jordan on that solo ^_-

Scene Five Through Her Eyes: 7/10, a tiny bit cheesy but very nice soft song.

Scene Six Home: 9/10, now this is a cool song, very progressive for Dream Theater, almost Porcupine Tree sounding in some sections, with a very catchy riff, I will have to admit I Think the verses and choruses are a little bit annoying, but still awesome, and I love the instrumental parts (as usual ^^)

Scene Seven Dance Of Eternity: 10/10, Wow, what an awesome song, after Deja Vu, the music was pretty awesome, but once you get to this song the music goes to absolutely awesome, I love this track, every time I here that opening I just can't help but smile.

One Last Time: 10/10, oh I love this song, I love the chorus so much! It's so nice, while being awesome, and this song unlike through her eyes is not cheesy at all, and I just love the mix of the songs.

Scene Eight The Spirit Carries On: 6/10, I don't really care to much for this song, it's way to OK, compared to the other songs. But it does introduce you to the awesome epic! ^^

Scene Nine Finally Free: 9/10: I love this song so much, I love the sound effects, the verses, everything, the only complaint I have is the ending, it left me confused, I mean the "Hello Nicholas, Huh?".......................... My actual no joke reaction to that was, "What?" I actually had to rewind and listen to that again because I was just really confused, I just want to kinow what the heck happened.

It's a very good album, and probably Dream Theaters best, I think they all played some of their best here, with some absolutely awesome work, just amazing, except the ending, I don't really know what that was all about, but everything else was amazing. 5/5 ^^ (except the ending.)

Report this review (#449204)
Posted Tuesday, May 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the pinnacle of Dream Theater, where they truly peaked. Previous albums all seemed to build up to this one and the albums that followed lack the inspiration and level of execution displayed here. 'Metropolis: Part 1' was the jewel of the band previously so it is only fitting that its sequel would be their masterpiece.

Compositionally, this is the only DT album where everything seems to really fit and create a cohesive album as a whole. Part of that has to do with the fact that the album is one story written scene by scene, but tearing it apart track by track and looking at each band members contribution there is remarkable balance. This is the most refined DT work while still incorporating their originality and creative spark.

I honestly can't name the 'best track' because there are at least three from which I could not ask anymore. 'Fatal Tragedy', 'Home', and the instrumental 'The Dance of Eternity' demonstrate the, instrumentation, dynamism and song writing that make DT great.

Report this review (#451853)
Posted Wednesday, May 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ambitious Intentions with Mixed Execution

SCENES FROM A MEMORY was the first Dream Theater album with their most long-lived lineup, featuring technical keyboard wiz Jordan Rudess. This lengthy concept album was meant to be a sequel to the popular track Metropolis from their seminal IMAGES AND WORDS. The album tells the story of man going through regression therapy to look into a past life. This moderately interesting setting in fact leads us only to a half baked and extremely poorly written murder mystery whose lyrics are sometimes comically bad. Further, how the music contributes or aligns itself with the story is anyone's guess. It is obvious the music was written without the lyrics in many places and so we often get awkwardly sung lines struggling to keep up with the band.

However, I think almost all DT fans had learned to at least partially tune out James Labrie's generic cheese metal vocals long before SfaM came out. Paying attention only to the music and excluding the vocals, there is in fact some very strong prog metal material on this album. My favorite is "Home," which despite it's obvious Alice in Chains / grunge allusions has some great riffs, nice instrumental sections, and a little sitar / oriental flavor. Labrie actually follows a few melodic themes that add to the music on that song. Or maybe it's the orgasmic moans that left an impression.

Rudess plays enthusiastically, and this is the first album where we get what became the DT signature of Pertucci guitar and Rudess keys trading and interweaving shred solos. They're both very good, if unoriginal, players, and it's a joy to listen just in appreciation of their sheer craft. The only real songwriter to ever play in DT, Kevin Moore, is long gone by now, and like all of the later albums, the point of listening is the experience of "Wow that sounds cool." It happens enough on this album for a reasonably enjoyable listen.

Good, but non-essential. There are MANY better prog metal albums out there, and a few of them are by this band. Don't believe the hype and start here. Get one of the Kevin Moore albums and if you really like what you hear branch from there.

Report this review (#458182)
Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars First of all, what can I say about Dream Theater: -Great musicians -Wonderful albums (So far) -Original sound And most importantly... ...The creation of Scenes From A Memory.

For me this is one of the best concept albums ever created in Progressive Metal category because it evolves a great theme, wonderful lyrics and excellent songs, which go from classical Progressive sounds to that particular style that we all know and love. It also has something that I consider very important when I hear music: You never get bored while listening to a CD, especially if that CD has a lot of different rhythms.

The best songs of the album in my opinion are: "The Dance of Eternity", "The Spirit Carries On" and "Beyond This Life". This is because they are completely different from one another; you have "The Dance of Eternity" which is an instrumental and one of the most complex songs of Dream Theater. Also you have "The Spirit Carries On" which has great lyrics and a great timing of Jordan Rudess's keyboards; and finally there is "Beyond This Life" , an impressive song which every time I listen it, I like it more because this song has everything a great song should have: Amazing lyrics, incredible instrumental parts, keyboard and guitar solos, etc. But what I love more about this Masterpiece is that it was the first album of Jordan Rudess as Dream Theater's keyboardist.

Now, great prog bands are from the 60's or 70's, but now a days Dream Theater and his Scenes From A Memory album, had become a super band in Progressive Metal, that can be compared with Queensrÿche and his Operation: Mindcrime.

It is still not essential, but it's excellent...

Report this review (#495942)
Posted Wednesday, August 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars What to say about a record that influenced as much the prog rock/metal scene since its inception as it did "Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory" released back in 1999 by the band Dream Theater?! Many could say that all topics are already well explored and further analyses are either: redundant, lacking of interest, out of context, or simply put, obsolete. This tentative review could as well fall into one of such categories as you will be the judge of that, but I hope that you keep an open mind and acknowledge new ideas and incorporate them to your own approach and vision of this regarded masterpiece at your suiting.

It is well known that the name of this album and its concept come from the fan-revered track "Metropolis Pt. 1: The Miracle And The Sleeper", included in the band's classic album "Images And Words", which in itself is a pure display of creativity generated within a superb technical proficiency by its virtuoso composers. When the band first named the song, despite its obvious title, they didn't really intend for it to have a continuation. However, after the commercial failure of "Falling Into Infinity" and the inclusion of the then new member Jorden Rudess, the band felt revigorated and confident of their technicality, and obtained authorization by their label to freely produce their next album. Since this work consisted in a continuation of the cited song, and for all of its meaning behind, they tried to keep it a secret from fans and were particularly excited about this new project.

It turned out that the "surprise" the band planned was anticipated and the record's track list and consequent release date ended leaking in the internet some time before its official release. But one could say that the real surprise was well preserved in its essence and it was revealed to be an awe-inspiring, evocative audio-experience, in the form of a concept album about after-life. The whole piece, comprised of nine scenes and distributed in twelve tracks, deals with a story that takes place in both past and present and is narrated in the first-person by a character, Nicholas, who has this recurring dream about an intriguing woman, Victoria, and his quest to solve the mystery within this dream as he embarks in an journey triggered by an unexpected chain of events whose script will be omitted in this review for the sake of your experience with this remarkable masterpiece.

The album, whose main influence is, for the most part, the refered Metropolis Pt. 1 song, starts with an intro, which is also the first scene, with the appropriate name "Regression". Here, we hear a clock ticking and are taken to a regression therapy session where Nicholas is present as the patient. This track is also the first to include James LaBrie's famed vocals, which start really mellow, where he portraits the character Nicholas greeting Victoria as he finds her in his subconscious. Then, the "real" intro kicks in at the following track "Overture 1928", which is an instrumental piece with musical references from Metropolis Pt. 1, cleverly and beautifully constructed to lead to a new track where you barely even notice the transition. In this new track, "A Strange Déjà Vu", we again greet Labrie's vocals which are brilliant throughout the whole album with its full scale range and are mildly supported by fellow band mates' backup lines here and there, as well as the occasional intervention by a gospel choir group which blends perfectly in this concept's atmosphere.

The whole album is very progressive in its core and you will find both, mellow and aggressive, calm and speedy, simple and complex, harmonic and dissonant parts in many songs portrayed in it. This duality is clear in its intention and critical to the album's dynamic and dramatic feel. There isn't really an instrument's absolute dominance over the others as they all complement themselves brilliantly, if not perfectly. If there is a stand out of any nature here, that would be the work of recently added keyboardist Jordan Rudess combined with guitarist John Petrucci. They are at their prime here, creating some of the best melodies ever heard by this band, but there are moments where the other musicians also shine, including bassist John Myung. The album is also supremely supported by drummer/percussionist Mike Portnoy who takes the rein himself a few times along the way as well.

The songs present, all deserve their heed and they serve their purpose perfectly, incorporating musical references and elements from Metropolis Pt. 1, mimicking some parts and further exploring others almost in a way that seems as if an already brilliant song was simply a raw sketch from this album. Moments like "Through My Words", "Through Her Eyes", "The Spirit Carries On", are really emotional and can bring you to tears while others like "Fatal Tragedy", "The dance Of Eternity" and "One Last Time" shimmer of progressive creativity and ingenuity and can lead you to a musical orgasm at some point. But in terms of progressiveness, if you forget the album as an entire song and consider it instead a pack of individual songs, the highlights are themes such as "Beyond This Life", "Home" and the outro track "Finnally Free". These are amongst the best ever DT's songs and, to resume, this is a very special album with everything you can expect from it and some more: wonderful melodies, superb orchestration, fantastic solo work, solid riffs and licks, amazing piano and synths, beautiful vocals and lyrics.

As a last statement, or appeal, if you will, I must say that not for one single moment you will feel that one song is dislocated, too short or too long, or displaying exaggerated technical skills without purpose, for they all have a clear sense of being part of a whole piece where the flowing of the story is adamant, much like a film or a play is conceived. Furthermore, the whole album could be viewed as a cycle in itself, which makes even more sense for a replay of the record and is so addictive and attaching that you may find yourself emotionally connected to it for a long time. If really there is any case where one could apply six out of five stars for a music record, this would be it. With Metropolis Pt. 2, Dream Theater truly materialized a dream into substance, gifting us with their undeniable talent that is hard to put into words and giving us one more opportunity to realize that reincarnation may be a possibility and not just a fantasy after all. Perhaps life and death are indeed just one cycle that repeats itself throughout the space and time continuum?

Final Evaluation: 6/5 ? More than epic, a truly transcending experience!

Report this review (#520431)
Posted Sunday, September 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've always held admiration to this wonderful concept album.

But there's just something about the production of it that just....didn't feel right.

Out with Eastwest records, out with Sherinian. In with Elektra, in with Rudess. This massive overhaul was to be completed with a concept album that defied all odds, rejected every concept album released before. This was a record that was supposed to shatter the possibilities for progressive metal. And it did.

Jordan Rudess, a Julliard grad, is obviously the more classically trained of the three keyboardists, which opened up numerous possibilities to expand the band's overall sound, a sound that would develop further and further to today's sound.

"Regression" is a very unique and interesting way to start the album, and the story. It's basically a mental prediction of the story that will follow, a man from the 21st century witnessing a killing of a young girl in the 1920's. "Overture 1928" is the culmination of this new formula the band developed after the commercial folly that was "Falling Into Infinity", and the success of this album would lead to "Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence", one of my favorite albums of all time. As a classical enthusiast as well, I've always been a fan of the overture, as it summarizes the entire story to follow in a few short minutes, and it's the way it's done that will be repeated and echoed throughout the band's next albums.

"Strange Deja Vu" continues this suite, slowly opening the curtains on the actual story that LaBrie slowly brings to life. The songwriting and compositions from this album is absolutely phenomenal. Movie ready. No doubt about it. "Through My Words" is just a nice little segue to "Fatal Tragedy", where the story truly unfolds, and the album becomes more than just music. It becomes a story, a movie through the human ears.

"Beyond This Life" breaks up the suite, which kind upset me a bit, as I would've preferred the entire album to segue through each other, just like a movie continues scene by scene and doesn't stop for a commercial break in between scenes. Even so, this song is absolutely phenomenal. Storywise, this is after "Victoria" is killed, which sort of unleashes the anger experienced by the main character here. Not to mention this is where Rudess shines over all others, which is unusual compared to most new members in the past. It's a great song that's even better live, before it segues into "Through Her Eyes" which is a truly touching ballad.

Then the mood changes again in "Home". My favorite track of the disc, the song is filled with numerous Middle Eastern elements and chord progressions, and it's nice and heavy too. This, coupled with "The Dance Of Eternity" makes this the best section in the entire album. An emotional track like "Home" followed by this great instrumental....there's absolutely nothing better from this outfit.

"One Last Time" sort of ties the story together, followed by a wonderful ballad in "The Spirit Carries On", one of the best Dream Theater has ever made. Finally, the album concludes with "Finally Free", which concludes the story in epic fashion, except the very end with the record, the main character sitting down, "Open your eyes, Nicholas" and the static ended the record.

It's a wonderful album, but I feel that the production just takes away the true magic of it, and the way the album could've been better. That's why it's a better album in "Live Scenes In New York", where that static is replaced by "Overture 2000" and continues quite possibly one of the greatest live albums of all time. I just wish it was truly seamless and just better produced, but other than that, this is a phenomenal album and the best concept album I've heard in a long time.

Report this review (#523367)
Posted Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album has a very interesting story behind it, about an old man who gets hipnotized and gets to see his life in the past. Personaly this is one of my favorite albums, it has from realy calm songs like "spirit carries on" and "through her eyes" and all the way to a variety of metal masterpieces like "Strange deja vu", "Beyond This Life" and "Home". It comes with my personaly favorite song 'Dance of eternity", It is a 6 minute long epic instrumental filed with incredible piano, guitar and bass solos and realy complicated drum rythms. If you are a Prog metal fan or only a metal fan, don't think twice about buying this album
Report this review (#551511)
Posted Sunday, October 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars A band that people either love or hate, there really is no middle ground for this lot at all, at least if the comments they attract on this and other sites are to be believed. I take a far more pragmatic view. I like Dream Theater, I acknowledge their importance in terms of attracting many new fans to the prog field, and, say what you like about them, nobody could possibly doubt their musical prowess technically.

This is, of course, their highest rated album on the site, and the one generally acknowledged as their masterpiece. I can see why. My only other DT review was for Systematic Chaos, which I felt was far too much of a "metal by numbers" album to qualify as an excellent prog album. More than one person wrote to me afterwards suggesting that, to redress the balance, I should really review an album that did not attract such a statement.

Well, this one certainly passes the test. It is, of course, very heavy and metal in places. After all, this band were at the forefront of this particular sub genre. It does, however, in parts, bring to the fore, in a very welcome way, the band's obvious progressive symphonic influences and loves.

The one thing I will say is that I cannot, for the life of me, understand the criticism brought against James LaBrie's vocals. I think his performance here is superb, and, indeed, I enjoy listening to him on the relatively rare occasions I revisit this band's music. Equally comfortable with the "traditional" metal vocals as he is on the more gentle tracks, this is a strong, accomplished performance. For no better example of the way he manages to combine both, listen to Beyond This Life, and his performance on Strange Deja Vu is staggeringly good.

New boy is Jordan Rudess on keyboards, and the stability and quality he brings to the band as compared to predecessor albums is instant and clear.

Elsewhere, the rhythm section is particularly strong, pounding the album along, and Petrucci is his usual efficient self on guitar.

There are many highlights on this album. I especially love Through Her Eyes, a gentle delicate ballad, with exceptional vocal and musical performances, alongside a very solid female vocal. The longest of the epics, Home, completely changes the mood after a deceptively quiet start, and fairly thunders along. It is, by the way, metal of a quality that equals the best of any of the classic acts. Having said that, there are more than enough symphonic nods to the likes of Yes included in this track to keep the prog purists very happy.

This is, however, an album to be listened to and enjoyed as a whole, as with all the best concept albums. taking one or two tracks out of the sequence completely destroys its effect.

The concept itself is an interesting story of a man living a previous life through the still popular method of regression therapy. I like it, mainly because its a subject I have always been fascinated with, but I would also make the point to those who state it as being a bit silly that you could apply this to almost any concept album really.

This is an excellent album, of that there is no question. Having been a long standing fan of classic metal, I am reticent to place it within the masterpiece category, but it really isn't that far off. If you are reading this, and have tended to stay away from the band for whatever reason, I would recommend that you get this. There is certainly more than enough here for fans of classic heavy rock, heavy and symphonic prog to thoroughly enjoy.

Four stars. An excellent addition to any prog rock collection.

Report this review (#568239)
Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater make something of a comeback on Metropolis Part II: Scenes From a Memory, which also sees Jordan Rudess join the band on keyboards. With three quarters of Liquid Tension Experiment onboard, you expect a certain level of technical flashiness, and this used to turn me off of the album, since I thought they took their technicality a little too far and indulged in showing off for the sake of showing off.

However, on relistening to and gaining a new appreciation of Dream Theater's back catalogue, I'm happy to admit I was wrong: in fact, Dream Theater have a fantastic knack for making sure their technical playing always serves a purpose in reinforcing the tone of the story or the individual songs and conveying emotion through them.

Another thing which had previously annoyed me was some of the religious perspectives explored through the lyrics and overall plot, with The Spirit Carries On typically annoying me. I freely admit that this might be a side effect of the darker side of this multi-incarnational cosmic murder mystery evading me on previous listens, which lends a certain irony to that song which counterbalances some of its sappier implications.

Possibly I have simply gained more appreciation of the theatrical in music, because this is very much a narrative concept album with all that implies - but whilst many such albums end up compromising the music in order to serve the needs of the narrative, here Dream Theater do a fantastic job of allowing the narrative and music to mutually support each other without either needing to compromise. Given how many other narrative concept albums have struggled with this in the past, that's a major achievement.

Report this review (#636093)
Posted Sunday, February 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars What can I say about a true masterpiece? If I were to list the top 10 Progressive Rock albums EVER...this would be in the top 5. I would want to put it at #1 myself, though in the end historical perspective would win over. However, this is perhaps the most important album in the history of Dream Theater, as it was the point in which they finally made some headway in their careers. This is a brilliant masterpiece of musical storytelling, with musical themes being reused and expounded on. On top of this, the complexity is amazing. I actually bought a book of Dream Theater scores, to see if it would help me figure out the time signatures in The Dance of Eternity. Even with the book in front of me, I just can't count it. And I LOVE this piece for that very reason! Absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, 5 stars.
Report this review (#717414)
Posted Sunday, April 8, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars After the inconsistent mess that was falling into infinity, Scenes for a memory brings us back to the greatness of the first album. The metal is back as are the progressive compositions. Jordan Rudess gives the album a different sound than Images and Awake. Instead of having the keyboards as more of an atmospheric element, Rudess is often at the forefront with a more technically demanding style. Despite this, Jordan is still able to show some restraint and plays some very beautiful parts. Still this album is very much dominated by guitar

The album opens with 'Regression,' which is two minutes of setting up the album with the voice of the hypnotherapist.

'Overture 1928' is a solid instrumental which lays out some of the themes used later in the album.

'Strange Déjà vu' has some great heavy riffing in the former half, followed by some fantastic groovy guitar lines in the latter half.

'Fatal Tragedy' has continues with some more awesome melodies and riffs. The instrumental section beginning midway through is simply one of Dream Theater's best. Both Rudess and Petrucci alternate solos in a fashion that reminds me very much of Liquid Tension Experiment.

'Beyond This Life' begins with a chaotic mass of Rudess and Petrucci playing a very nice harmony that makes me wish Rudess was turned up a tad on this album. The rest of this song is just great riff and melody after another. What happens at 8:26 into the song is why I love Rudess in the band. His dissonant-sounding harmony with the guitar is very Gentle Giant like, and is something he has over Moore, in my opinion.

'Through Her Eyes' is shorter ballad which allows you to recover from the absolute chaos and energy of the previous songs. The song itself is ok in the context of the album, but probably wouldn't be nearly as good standalone.

'Home' is the meat of the album. It sounds different from the others and doesn't have as many ideas as the others; instead it is built upon and progresses really well. It has an interesting Eastern that is repeated throughout the album. Every musician is at the top of their game here and produces some really amazing melodies which make this the best song of the album.

'Dance of Eternity' is Dream Theater to the extreme. It showcases the band at their technical best. If one wanted to avoid stereotypes about Dream Theater being overly technical, avoid this song. There are over 128 time signature changes in the song and it often changes time every measure. Despite this, The Dance of Eternity is still very listenable, which is one of Dream Theater's remarkable talents.

'One Last Time' is another tasty ballad done right by Dream Theater. Nothing much more to say about it, it fits with the album well.

'The Spirit Carries On' is Dream Theater showing their inner Pink Floyd, which is especially reminiscent of Us and Them due to the wailing female vocals.

The album ends with 'Finally Free' which in evokes really strong imagery due to the gun shots and screams. It is probably the darkest song of the album. Musically it is as solid as the rest of the album and is a fine closer.

Overall, besides Images & Words, this is Dream Theater at their best. The music is amazing and the story is compelling. Though there are a few weaker tracks which are the ballads, this is one of those albums where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, as they are integral to the story. Therefore, this album receives a perfect score from me.


Report this review (#771376)
Posted Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars I bought this a few weeks after my first Dream Theater purchase Images and Words and only shortly after getting Clockwork Angels by Rush. I found DT's music interesting if not a little typical of times in sound, and I was really captivated and intrigued by the story concept of Clockwork Angels. So Metropolis PT.2 seemed an ideal album to purchase.

From the first listen I was into it, but by the fourth listen I was seriously hooked. The two big reasons are my interest in the story and much of the music presented here. As I also really like The Wall and used to listen a lot to Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime, I found the sound effects and spoken voices added colour to the audio story-telling. The real clincher was when I read about the storyline on Wikipedia. I really had to listen to the lyrics, music and sounds to see how well the story was delivered.

Scenes from a Memory is about a man named Nicholas who has recently been having dreams where he is in a house and sees a young girl (woman) in the mirror but can't quite make out her face. The dreams reoccur and so he seeks to learn the meaning through hypnosis, which is where the album begins with the perfectly suitable voice of Terry Brown (producer of the first 9 Rush albums)! Through his sessions, Nicholas learns that the young woman is Victoria, a murder victim in a famous case back in 1928. As the story progresses, Nicholas pursues learning more about Victoria in both his conscious hours and during regression. It seems Victoria wants him to know about how she was murdered because he was her in his pass life. We learn what the newspapers reported, that Victoria was shot by her lover, Julian and then he apparently shot himself, leaving a suicide note in his pocket. A witness came to the scene after Victoria was shot and tried to help but the killer then shot himself. But the story is not quite so simple.

Victoria knew two men, Julian, her lover, who fell into gambling and cocaine use, and Edward, Julian's brother. It seems Victoria fell out with Julian and ran to Edward, who then fell in love with Victoria. However, Edward was much more the possessive man and wanted to make Victoria his wife. As Julian gambles away at the casino, Edward and Victoria get jiggy. Nicholas learns that there is more to the story that Victoria wants him to learn and soon the dark truth is revealed. Julian and Victoria plan to meet for one last rendezvous in secret but Edward finds out and surprises them. There is a struggle and Julian is shot, then Victoria. Edward flees only to come back as the witness and write the suicide note for his brother. This scene is played out with the sounds of the struggle and gun shots while ominous and grave heavy music plays.

At last, Nicholas has learned the truth of his past and he feels free. He drives home and enters his house to have a drink and put on a record. But as the music plays, footsteps and a door opening are heard. Suddenly the hypnotist's voice says, "Open your eyes, Nicholas." Nicholas gasps, the record player is bumped and static from the stylus is all we hear. Interestingly, at the end of the final regression session, the hypnotist also said, "Open you eyes, Nicholas," and what's even more interesting is that just before shooting Victoria, Edward said, "Open your eyes, Victoria." Does this hint at what happened at the end? If you've seen the Kenneth Branagh movie Dead Again, you'll recognize the story and guess why the hypnotist appears in Nicholas's home.

The music covers the usual Dream Theater palette with galloping heavy metal, quick tempo changes and blistering guitar solos, switches between delicate parts and heavy parts, and lengthy instrumental passages. What I enjoyed on this album that was not on Images and Words is the Floydian acoustic tracks like the first one Regression, which sounds a bit like Pigs on the Wing, and The Spirit Carries on, which starts off a bit like Goodbye Cruel World. James LaBrie really does a good job of mimicking Roger Waters' vocal technique on The Wall and The Final Cut. There is also some great keyboard playing by Jordan Rudess who had joined just recently (catch the 1920s rollicking piano playing in The Dance of Eternity. One other track I like is the very beautiful but sad Through Her Eyes. A nice thing about this album is that since the story is important the very clean singing style of LaBrie is well- appreciated. Growls and shouts of other metal vocalists just wouldn't have worked here.

Overall, I have to say that for my personal taste, this album merits somewhere around 4.6 and 4.8 stars. So, if you like concept albums with a storyline and can take some fast-paced metal this album is sure worth checking out. I'll give it 5 because I think the music and story are very well-thought out and presented.

Report this review (#797189)
Posted Monday, July 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater "Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory" 9/10

This incredible composition of the art that is arguably one of Dream Theater's best is my entry into the world of progressive metal. It was the summer of 2004, and my father put it on saying a buddy of his recommended it. This awesome album dragged me into the undeniably fantastic world of prog metal, and did not let go; The incredible riffs and technical aspects accompanied by a gospel section and truly excellent storyline. Yes, this play-in- music concept album had me hooked. There is little I have a problem with on this release, as it is expertly delivered by prog metal gods John Petrucci (guitar), John Myung (bass), Mike Portnoy (drums and percussion), Jorden Rudess (keyboard) and James LaBrie (lead vocals). The instruments are all played with extreme finesse, professionalism, and soul- lifting talent. It it quite evident these boys really clicked on this LP.

The storyline on this concept album is simply based on a man finding out about his past life and the tragic love-life and end it beheld, and how it affects his current life. Simple, yet the delivery of the story carries the listener over and intense ride of simply genius prog riffs and melodies, leaving them baffled. At my discovery of the album I had not heard of a concept album before, and I thought it was an incredible and awesome thing to do, especially how Dream Theater set it up, i.e. Act I Scene I, II, III etc. Very creative track listing technique. Throughout the album, the "voice" of LaBrie switches from the modern character "Nicolas" and past life regression "Victoria" which is a creative idea, and helps carry the concept.

Scenes From A Memory is ripe with the incredible technical aspects found in prog, drawing specific attention to the album's second instrumental, "Dance Of Eternity" I stumbled upon a video of drummer Portnoy going over a chart he made up that was used in the song's recording. The chart is used to detail what the time signature is for each bar towards the ending of the song, and the changes are intense. The time signatures change almost every bar, with examples such as 5/4, 9/8, 7/8, 3/16 etc. The complexity is astonishing and the performance is incredibly immaculate. If you have not been convinced of this band's talent yet, this song is sure to convince you at least, if not blow your mind.

With the attention drawn towards technical ability, we bring in Portnoy again. He has mastered the progessive metal drumming found on this album. Thinking of the track "Home", at roughly the halfway point of the song, he puts out an incredible amount of technicality into his playing, which ends up sounding like he has at least three arms. Portnoy is not the blast-beat death-metal style technical drummer, nor does he need to. He easily accomplishes an astounding amount of awesome through his style, and does an excellent job displaying his ability on this album. Even with the more simple beats and rhythms he does, I find myself incredibly interested; His delivery is fantastic. Additionally, found on the final track "Finally Free" is small drum solo played very well with the music. It involves both simple and technical aspects Portnoy possesses, and displays very well his ability to throw even more talent at this album. Played over a menacingly heavy riff, the drum solo adds the metaphorical cherry to this piece of art; The solo is perfectly placed, and compliments the mood quite well.

To help accent the technical parts of the album, we find light and/or acoustic and/or piano sections filling the gaps. The beautiful tracks "Through My Words", "Through Her Eyes", "One Last Time" and "The Spirit Carries On" hold on to some impressive sounds proving Dream Theater's ability to play both heavy and technical, as well as light and simple, and to do it well. The songs "Through Her Eyes" and "The Spirit Carries On" contain some incredibly beautiful and definitely enjoyable gospel sounds, featuring the astonighing voice of Theresa Thomason. Her delivery, assisted by the gorgeous sounds of Petrucci's guitar, is beyond awesome. Truly among some of the great moments of Dream Theater, especially when listening to/viewing live versions.

The songs final track begins with the concept album's hypnotherapist, played by Terry Brown, speaking to Nicholas, and ending the session of regression. The song begins a dark atmosphere, transitioning into a desperate sounding piano section with LaBrie singing over top. The song's lyrics seem to summarise the events from Nicolas' past life throughout each section. Following the lyrical section is the dark, heavy and menacing section I mentioned containing Portnoy's solo. This continues till the music fades to left side, before cutting out. A fantastic way to end the musical section of the album. The album continues, with the sounds of a man, Nicholas, getting out of his car and entering his home. He proceeds to listen to the news, which is taken from an actual news report from the JFK assassination. He pours himself a drink, sits back, and enjoys a piece of music on vinyl. "Open you eyes Nicolas" cuts in, and the sound of static takes over, which very likely is intended to be the transition to their next album, "Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence" (2002)

This album easily nets a 5 star rating, as it delivers the progessive metal genre incredibly well. Dream Theater did a fantastic job when writing\recording\producing this album. I am thankful for this release leading me into the real world and leaving me feel helpless and in need of an adult.

Report this review (#850021)
Posted Sunday, November 4, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars In my opinion, the greatest concept album of all time. "Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory" is my favourite Dream Theater and progressive metal album.

Beginning with the instantly recognisable ticking of a therapist's clock, the album starts very definitely. A voice then says "Close your eyes and begin to relax" - a great way to start an album if I might say and further emphasises the beginning. This song, "Regression", leads onto "Overture 1928", playing portions of all the songs to come later on much like Rush's 2112 Overture or Tommy's Overture by The Who. It will take me years to fully go through each track on the album so I'll just say parts of it.

The album as a whole goes through areas of "Light and Shade" with pounding metal riffs (in Strange Deja Vu) to relaxing peaceful ballads (in "Through Her Eyes"). After the Arabic-influenced "Home", my favourite piece of the album enters: "The Dance Of Eternity". This song is filled to the brim with extraordinary chord progressions, time signatures and a brilliant choice of instruments. The expertise of each musician is really shown here: Petrucci's guitar, Rudess' keyboards, Portnoy's drumming, and of course John Myung's insane bass solo. Echoing parts from Metropolis Part 1 from the "Images And Words" album.

The following song "One Last Time" changes excellently into the gentle piano song from Petrucci's distorted power chords. As the main character Nicholas gradually unravels the mystery of Victoria's death after a series of clues, he realises that Edward shot Victoria and is "Finally Free" from this memory tormenting him. Unfortunately, the story does not have a particularly happy ending, and the Hypnotherapist (turning out to be the reincarnated Edward) kills Nicholas (the reincarnated Victoria) again. I was hoping for a happy ending but this was actually a pretty nice way to wrap up the story (along with some great sound effects on "Finally Free").

A(+). Absolutely compulsory for any prog metal/heavy prog collector.

Regression - **** Overture 1928 - ***** Strange Deja Vu - ***** Through My Words - ***** Fatal Tragedy - **** Beyond This Life - **** Through Her Eyes - ***** Home - **** The Dance Of Eternity - ***** One Last Time - ***** The Spirit Carries On - ***** Finally Free - ****

Report this review (#984581)
Posted Sunday, June 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars A progressive rock band stuck in an 80's hair metal band. Or vice-versa. DT is a band that came out 10 years too late. They would have ruled the 80's if they came out with their first album in 1982. I always viewed Dream Theater as the ultimate tribute band. A band capable of playing all of their hero's work and then try to sustain that style through their own work. What they can't get rid of though are the 80's metal idiosyncrasies that dominate their sound. The highly compressed power chords, fast guitar solos that sound more like excercises than musical motifs, barely audible bass playing and a typical metal vocalist sounding like he was plucked right from 1986. Instead of hiding their influences, they proudly display them and make no apologies. A pure celebration and a continuation of the music they love. 80's metal and 70's prog. They also seem to give their fans exactly what they want. If you need any more proof, 1999's Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory is another reminder of what type of band they are and giving the fans a second part to the most beloved Dream Theater song of them all, "Metropolis Part 1: "The Miracle And The Sleeper" which is found on 1992's "Images And Words."

"Scenes Form A Memory'" Does manage to have an interesting story. In a nutshell, it's a story about a man who goes through regression hypnosis and finds out about a woman murdered in 1928. I don't want to give away the story if you haven't heard this album yet but it's a cool story with a really wild twist. As far as rock operas go, this one is relatively easy to follow, like Operation: Mindcrime by Quennsryche. The lyrics have a nice clarity about them amid a lot of unnecessary instrumental noodling, especially the guitarist who is so eager to show the world he can play like Eddie AND Yngwie.. Not that DT didn't manage to create some nice atmospheres. They managed to bite their lips, hunker down and do a nice minimalistic slow song called "Through Her Eyes" which IMO is a high point on this album. If you are a Dream theater fan, this is a personal love letter from the band. For everyone else, it's worth a listen. They succeeded in coming up with a great story. Of course the playing is phenomenal but so long at times it obscures the actual song. Like having a sandwich with so much dressing on it you forget what you were eating in the first place.

Report this review (#1017289)
Posted Monday, August 12, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Dream Theater released their first concept album in 1999. It was their fifth studio album and was entitled "Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory" so it is the prosecution of the song "Metropolis Part 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper" which was released on the band's second studio album "Images and Words".

The album is a really strong release and often considered as the band's peak and indeed so far it is one of their best album I've heard from this band. Musically lots of instrumental passages are basing on "Metropolis Part 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper". The album is in my opinion a perfect mixture of soft ballads and the typical intense ultra complex instrumental passages. The change between soft passages and intense and heavy moments is brilliant and the album delivers many great tracks like the beautiful ballad "The Spirit Carries On", the great instrumental "Overture 1928", the heavy "Strange Déjà vu", the fast n' furious "Fatal Tragedy", the epic "Home" or "Through her Eyes", another beautiful ballad.

The highlight of the album is in my opinion the final "Finally Free" a very intense song with beautiful acoustic passages, a great chorus and intense and heavy passages. The changes between this passages are coming without a warning and this really scared me when I've heard it for the first time and still gives me cold shivers.

Report this review (#1028946)
Posted Wednesday, September 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Coming back to this album in order to write a review, I must say I ended up enjoying it much more than I remember. Of course, it's full of great prog metal songs, with "Overture 1928 / Strange Deja Vu" and "Fatal Tragedy" being excellent songs, and "Home" and "Finally Free" being among the best songs the band has to offer (the later offering a big climax ending to the album, full of emotional shifts and all). There is also "Beyond this Life", wich has been the song that has taken me longer to apreciate and the one I have been enjoying more this time around (though I still think it's a step lower than the previous songs). However, "The Dance of Eternity" is one song I still can't get into, just a bit too messy and full of fast and technical playing just for the sake of it. On the other hand, what for me dragged down the album mostly were the ballads, which I must admit still are the lower point on the album, but they are better than I remember... well, at least they are not annoying as other DT ballads, still nothing particularly special (except for "One Last Time", which I really do enjoy a lot, with the "Metropolis" musical theme and all). A really enjoyable album, specially if listened to as a whole piece of music instead of isolated songs.
Report this review (#1040530)
Posted Friday, September 20, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars I am probably in the minority of Prog Archive reviewers. I don't think Metropolis 2 is a masterpiece or near masterpiece. I really enjoy Dream Theater's music, but this isn't DT at their best IMO. I would pick Awake or Images or Words, which I awarded 4 stars, to listen to first. Since this is a concept album, we should address the concept. I'm on board with a fellow reviewer, lazland, here. Unlike others, perhaps, I like the fact that the album doesn't give us a overly complex story to follow. I like the way the story is structured.

Music should be entertaining, first and foremost, An interesting story has to be supported by interesting music. This is the point where Metropolis 2 falls short of some of DT's other albums. There aren't as many memorable songs here. "Beyond This Life" and "The Spirit Carries On" qualify, but many of the tracks don't. The longer songs contain too much gratuitous soloing, although I like beyond this life. With my favorite albums, I can look at the track list and instantly recall the songs. That doesn't happen for me with Metropolis 2. In terms of performance, I'm very satisfied with what's here. Other than an occasional tendency to hit high notes just because he can, I like James Labrie's singing style. Because this is Dream Theater, the playing is of course brilliant. No one would ever say these guys can't play!

I think Jordan Rudess is an excellent choice for keyboardist. I like the quirky choices he sometimes makes. I'm afraid I've come off as overly critical for an album that falls into the very good, if non-essential, category. Having budget problems will do that to the best of reviewers! This is still a Dream Theater album, which is a whole lot better than most of the music that demands our hard-earned cash. Metropolis 2 gets 3 1/2 stars from me.

Report this review (#1080648)
Posted Saturday, November 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, where to start with this album by Progressive Metal Giants Dream Theater...

It actually was created in a crusial time for the band, after Falling Into Infinity, the band's effort to be commercial in order to satisfy the company they had contract with... And while Falling Into Infinity was a fine album, it almost tear the band apart. Feeling really far far away from their roots and from the style they preferred, Dream Theater almost quit after that album (FII), with Mike Portnoy first and most of all wanting to quit, since he couldn't stand the direction the band was taking.

But it was not only him, everyone pretty much had the same feeling too.

At that time Portnoy and Petrucci participated in the Liquid Tension Experiment project, creating two wonderful albums along with Tony Levin on Bass and Jordan Rudess on keyboards. Now, Rudess was familiar with them before LTE and they actually approached him to join the band before settling with Derek Sherinian, but he refused, having other plans at the time. Fortunately, this time he was available and having worked all three of them with LTE, they felt he could join the band. So he did.

And in a desperate move to try to pave their own path, Dream Theater decided to isolate, create an album and then bring it to the company AFTER its finished. No external producers. No one else but the band members themselves pulling all the strings and creating the music they liked. If the company rejected it, then it would be the end...

But how can one reject THIS GOLIATH? Being "desperate" and putting your soul into a project like this, thinking/felling/fearing it probably is your last ever, is always a recipee for success! And this was the story here as well. Dream Theater did create one of the best albums of all times. Scenes From A Memory is a Masterpiece of a magnitude difficult to describe. It stands there with Giant Concept albums like Operation Mindcrime by Queensryche, The Wall by Pink Floyd etc and along with Images and Words it is a duet that screams all that Dream Theater is all about!

Dazzling melodies, crunching solos, music flowing like never before, wonderful melodies, chorus vocals, flawless singing by Labrie, incredible keyboards by the magician Jordan Rudess (there are passages that are really really incredible to believe they could put in a record like this - try Dance of eternity rag piano passage for example, one of a kind!) and of course Pertnoy/Petrucci/Muyng/Rudess in the best peroformance of their lives! And considering we are talking about Dream Theater, one can only begin to imagine what a pantheon of a performance the band delivers with this album.

When I first got my hands into this one, I actually heard it for 2-3 months without EVER pushing the Stop or Forward button! It was impossible! Beware, the first times you will listen to it, you may find it difficult to stop listening or scipping any song! The structure is incredible, the flow is unmatchable, the melodies are so wonderful, the skill portrayed is mind blowing, so you really don't stand much of a chance stopping this storm of musical majesty raging in your ears!

I won't go into details about particular songs of the album, many reviewers before me have covered that in detail.

I will only say that this is EASILY one of the best Progressive Metal albums EVER CREATED! I really can't understand how can anyone rate this with less than 4 stars. I respect it totally, but I think either they had no clue of what they were hearing or they were not into this kind of music in the first place, which means that you should take negative reviews with a lot of sceptisism. Just wonder through the net and you will see this masterpiece toping ALL of the lists about best progressive metal albums ever created (including this site).

That should say something...

For those very few who may have not heard this masterpiece yet, I envy you... Stop reading this and go check this one out... See you after you recover ;-)

Dream Theater at its best, with an album that was destined to change the course of Progressive Metal History.

The Best of Times indeed...

PS: Really, I do respect every man's opinion, but for those rating this album with 1 or two stars and casting all the curses they can on it...


Really you bother hating and cursing "Scenes"? I mean, come on, you can do better! I read lines about unintersting music, about weak concept story (OK, The Wall or Operation Mindcrime may have better storylines, but really you think the story of Scenes is weak? Are you joking?) and everything else anyone can blame an album about...

Not smart (and I am being polite here). You may not be into prog metal, you may hate musicians that are trully masters in playing their instruments, you may find that a complex solo or an adventurous instrumental is your worst. But then again you are not reviewing the right album, you may belong to another music genre.

And even then, if you can hear "Through my words" or "The Spirit carries on" or even the wonderful "Finall Free" and still come up with a line like "this album has no emotion, it is just a showoff" or something like this, then you are just plainly being mean, hateful and not objective at all! And I may not know or understand what is your problem with Dream Theater (or any other band or album that gets such a bad or angry review on a recognised masterpiece) but spewing all this poison against a world recognised masterpiece is really not good and it won't contribute to anyone becoming wiser about the music we love. You could simply state that it is not of your taste (which is totally different from saying it is bad) and let others give it a try...

Really, be serious about your reviews, you do no good to our beloved music with such attitude.

Report this review (#1112041)
Posted Friday, January 10, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars The best prog metal album ever ! Seriously, Metropolis Part II is one of the best albums i've ever head. It's almost perfect ! It's pointless to say that the musicians are great, everyone knows that, and pointless too to say that the story of the album is awesome. Complex, time thematics, dark tone... In short : prog. The music is mature, with great melodies (The Spirit Carries On, one of the most beautiful songs ever made) and wonderful guitar solos (The Spirit Carries On again, but also Overture 1928). The concept is solid, well written, and the music is just perfect, except Beyond This Life and Through Her Eyes, the only two songs that I could erase if I had to. All the other things are perfect. A must-have.
Report this review (#1144623)
Posted Sunday, March 9, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Marvelous album. I absolutely love each track. The album finds a good balance between the faster heavier recordings and switches into laid-back tunes nearly flawlessly. The band doesn't just make a bunch of unrelated good prog songs. Even the songs that aren't Prog at all sound great and entirely relevant. It's hard to pick highlight songs because every track feels important. The ominous horror of "Finally Free" sticks out to me, as do the stunning showcase of talents on "Dance of Eternity", but "Fatal Tragedy" is my favorite. This is an album I could listen to every day.

I know most of this review wasn't so explanatory of the music here. In short, it's dynamic, and the high peaks in volume and technicality is accompanied by Jordan Ruddess. He's a great addition to this album. All the band plays an incredible performance in a excellently written, intricate album.

Report this review (#1239090)
Posted Friday, August 8, 2014 | Review Permalink
2 stars I was never the biggest Dream Theater fan. I do remember getting Images and Words and really enjoying that album for a time, and I still do like quite a lot of the songs on there, but all of their other work that I've heard has really underwhelmed me. This album, despite the hype that helped convince me to check it out, failed to really grab my attention.

I find that while the songwriting is not bad, I simply do not really like Dream Theater's new style that they adopted after Awake, which is another album by them that I do enjoy. I attempted several times to listen to this album, but to no avail. I know that many people really enjoy this album, and I was hoping to really enjoy it, as some even consider this album better than Images and Words. I remain fairly unconvinced.

Dream Theater made an album that many deem a classic here, and for that reason I really feel bad with the rating that I am awarding this. However, I personally could never enjoy this album nor really any of the music on here as much as their earlier works, and I feel compelled to rate this album based on how I feel it stacks up against their other releases.

Report this review (#1286316)
Posted Tuesday, September 30, 2014 | Review Permalink
2 stars DT were, according to history some kind of pioneers in this genre. And they can play their respective instruments. Still I think this band and, especially this album, is seriously overrated. That does not mean I find it completely uninteresting. I just think that there are many albums in this genre that shows better songwriting, more tasteful soloing and musicianship in general.

"Regression" is not musically of interest, but is important because of the concept.

"Overture 1928" Has the very memorable intro with Portnoy hitting the snare accompanied by a cheesy synth theme. The guitars enter and we are in for some wankery, adding nothing of interest.

"Strange Deja Vu" Is partially good, and would have been even better if this band had a good vocalist. That said it's a track with some good riffage and not too much wankery. I really don't think it contains very memorable melodies, but it has a nice flow, and an interesting structure.

"Through My Words" Nice little piece with piano and vocals. Good in context, but it isn't a track you would play by itself.

"Fatal Tragedy" This track is significantly insignificant. No memorable melodies, and unconvincing wanking. In fact half of the songs 7 minutes are wankery. Not my kind of prog...

"Beyond This Life" This track is mean in a good way! Tha starting riff makes me want to (Head)bang. Not a big fan of the synth sounds, but the guitar playing makes up for it. I don't like LaBrie's voice, but in this track I think he conveys the lyrics in a convincing and good manner. Thumbs up. I also think the soloing in this song(for the most part) is good. It fits the sinister vibe of the song. STILL, I wonder how good this song would be if these guys knew how to restrain themselves. They could have cut it down 4 minutes, and end up with a better track.

"Through Her Eyes" WARNING: This song contains memorable melodies! And I quite like that. Also I like the piano and the fretless bass. Still, I wonder how this would have sounded with a guy like Daniel Gildenlöw behind the mic. Easy on the ears this one, which is great after the last one.

"Home" Nice intro with some eastern influences and a Tool-like bass riff. Then along comes Portnoy with a comical take on drumrolls. This guy could'nt play a decent drumroll if his life depended on it. That said, he is a very creative and powerful drummer. Overall an OK track.

"The Dance of Eternity" HORRENDOUS! Is this actually music. It holds no value to me. It's like a bad version of Toto's "Dave's Gone Skiing" on speed. Still I know people which I like and respect who loves this piece of S**T.

"One Last Time" LaBrie's best performance on the record. I can in fact hear every word he is singing. Also this song is short, which in this case is just fine...

"The Spirit Carries On" This song is alright. It has guitar soloing that actually resembles melody and is kind of soothing to listen to. I know many people have a problem with the gospel. I don't. I like it. This is probably one of the best songs on this record. It showcases songwriting more than skill. No "Take The Time", but still quite enjoyable.

"Finally Free" This title kind of sums up my feelings at the end of this listening experience. This track is not too bad though. But overall this album is not up to par even with the best from this band, and miles away from records like Symphony X's "V" or "Pagan's Mind's "Celestial Entrance"

That said it is ok. Not good though, so I'll give it 2 stars.

Report this review (#1295402)
Posted Thursday, October 23, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars My ALL-TIME Greatest #3

My late arrival to the Prog Metal genre, and what an opener it is.

'My God, what have I been losing?' was my first thought just a few years ago when I heard this album for the first time. Well, this may be enough to shun you all away from my review ' has this nerd been hibernating, or what?
Almost right, because until I found PA and on that account began to expand my musical interests, I always ran away from any scent of metal in my music. Glad all that prejudice is behind now.
As this Metropolis was for me the turning point, I hope someone reading this review eventually goes the same way.

Global Appraisal

In fact this is not metal and this is not prog, this is Great Music no matter how you tag it.
The band rocks absolutely in the highest gear, probably attaining here the zenith of their careers: Composition is top notch, all the playing with no exception is virtuosic, production - faultless!

The music totals about 75' and in spite of this extended length it works as any concept album should do resulting as a coherent whole listening experience; nonetheless the themes are so varied in mood, time signatures and orchestral arrangements to never be monotonous or repetitive.
You get a succession of fast rockers, complex instrumentals, melodic ballads, gospel choirs, assorted solos, you name it, capturing you in a rolling dynamics that doesn't let go until the last note.


We all recognize by now Mike Portnoy proficiency as a drummer in different genres (I first noticed him on Transatlantic live shows, what a thrill to see/hear) but here in 1999 his playing is absolutely stellar - he opens the book and you ask yourself what else can be said or done after this display.

The just arrived Jordan Rudess (he will remain in the band until this day) carries his classical training and inclinations into the majestic approach he has on the keys, being a sure co-responsible for the symphonic general feeling.

LaBrie deserves a special note: I don't particularly like his vocal timbre and high pitch, in fact in other DT albums his singing even gets to displease me.
If any of you reading this ever felt the same way, well, good news, here the man nails it alright.
I'll say, the vocals are so tight with the playing that you don' t conceive any other in his place.

The label Metal could, for another neophyte like me, bring the idea (fear) of the usual and much over-abused cliches of the genre ' no such thing here!

Report this review (#1487918)
Posted Tuesday, November 17, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars THE concept album of the 90's

4.5 stars

After the commercial failure of "Falling into Infinity", DREAM THEATER had to to pull off a major coup to keep their progressive metal crown. Furthermore, the band was lacking a genuine concept album to their discography to enter the prog hall of fame. Finally, fans were requesting a sequel to "Metropolis Part 1: The Miracle and The Sleeper", the most ambitious title from "Images and Words".

All these goals will fully be reached with the sublime "Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes from a memory". This fifth studio opus also marks the arrival of keyboardist Jordan Rudess from LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT. Based on an instrumental demo recorded in 1996, the musicians extended the lyrics of "Metropolis Part 1" to narrate the story of a man though his anterior life, in two acts.

Influenced by the greatest concept records of all time, such as RUSH's, ZAPPA's, YES', GENESIS' "The Lamb...", and especially QUEENSR?CHE's "Operation Mindcrime" and PINK FLOYD's "The Wall", "Metropolis Part 2" literally redefines modern progressive metal and simply stands as THE major concept album of the 90's. The quintet's musical elements such as multiple time signatures, raging riffs, breathtaking soli and typical gimmicks are of course present, however this time with more harmony, balance, richer instrumentation and better flow. Gorgeous!

Act 1 is nearly perfect. The hypnotic countdown of "Regression" and its "The Wall-esque" acoustic guitar introduces "Overture 1928", an instrumental patchwork of the disc's main themes. The nightmarish and aggressive "Strange Deja Vu" is freaking good. Its rhythm changes are energetic and even a little groovy at times. The sad piano interlude "Through My Words" unveils another impressive composition, the powerful and beautiful "Fatal Tragedy". Its horrific atmosphere and multiple instruments create a tragic and thrilling sensation, carried away by magnificent soli. Wow! Great! Also featuring various musicians' interventions, "Beyond This Life" alternates raging darker, floating and funky sections. Unfortunately, the act finishes with the black sheep of the album, which is... a soapy ballad, "Through Her Eyes", the only weak track. Guess we cannot avoid this type of cheesy song in a DREAM THEATER release... At least, its "The Final Cut"-esque introduction is pretty charming.

Act 2 starts with the longest and most progressive title of the record, "Home". Let's go straight to the point: this is simply one of the best prog Middle-Eastern-ish metal piece of its kind, bombastic and epic! This composition represents the style and quality of music you would expect by looking at the cover art of, say, you-know-who's "Powerslave". The theme from "Metroplis Part 1" makes a short incursion. The instrumental "The Dance Of Eternity" possesses a terrifying and haunting overture, as well as surprising moments, such as rag-time, while borrowing some parts from "Metroplis Part 1". We even got a bass solo from John Myung! Yes! After its beautiful piano opening, the enchanting "One Last Time" reuses the theme from "Strange Deja Vu", whereas "The Spirit Carries On" is quite "The Wall"-esque with its Roger Waters-ian whispered vocals and female choirs. "Finally Free" concludes the disc by alternating peaceful and tragic passages. Enjoyable but a bit too long.

Anyway, this was a genuine mesmerizing journey, both nightmarish and dreamy. "Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes from a memory" is DREAM THEATER's magnum opus, transporting you into another - inner - world. Mindblowing, breathtaking, magic, epic, borrowing from numerous influences and various musical genres, this fifth studio album is simply a milestone in the prog metal genre. In the 90's, there are hardly no concept albums that could compete with such musicality, aggressiveness and virtuosity.

The success will be comparable to "Images And Words"'s and will launch the musicians for a massive tour. The quintet's reign can safely continue... Unfortunately their further albums won't be able to recreate a mixture of such balance and quality...

Simply one of DREAM THEATER's and progressive metal in general's best offerings! An ESSENTIAL listen...

Report this review (#1687012)
Posted Monday, January 30, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars They say an animal is most dangerous when backed into a corner, and that could not be any more evident than Dream Theater recording their magnum opus, 'Scenes from a Memory'.

With record label pressure and the business side of the music industry taking its toll on the band (and most specifically on drummer Mike Portnoy) during the release and touring of previous album 'Falling Into Infinity', it was now a time to go hard or go home. Dream Theater wanted to be left alone to write their own music, that would appeal to their own fan base, without the interjection of any record label executives who didn't understand the band, their fans, or their genre of music. It was do-or-die as the band stood on the brink of self-implosion, but they stood tall and delivered an album that is highly regarded as not only their finest work, but one of the greatest albums progressive metal has to offer.

Based around the story of a man who is a reincarnation of a girl that was murdered, and how he revisits his past life in his dreams (or something like that!), the concept is highly ambitious and complex, especially with all the different characters being voiced by James LaBrie. But it doesn't detract from the quality of the music, and with the usual awe- inspiring prowess you'd come to expect from progressive metals most famous band, this is an album where the band fire on all cylinders.

'Home', 'Fatal Tragedy', 'One Last Time' and 'Strange Déjà Vu' are some of many highlights on this album, although it's hard to pick just a few, as the album from start to finish is one giant highlight reel. And of course, the absolute peak of Dream Theater's technical ability, instrumental track 'The Dance of Eternity', will encourage listeners to throw away whatever instruments they're learning as they slowly realize how they'll never be this good.

A record that belongs in any metal or prog collection, 'Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory' started the upward momentum that truly put Dream Theater's careers and lives in their own hands, and has endured as one of the greatest concept albums of all time.

Report this review (#1771846)
Posted Wednesday, August 16, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars An excellent album from Dream theater. This album is a continuation to a song released in Images and Words, called Metropolis 1. The album flows perfect with every song, it is consistent in the quality of music and the composition of the lyrics. It maintained you entertained through the end with the constant changes of time and rhythms, which make it so nice and interesting to hear. My favorite songs are beyond this life and Strange Deja Vu. This album present the characteristic sound of the band combining the strong riffs and keyboard passages, and also the vocals shine accompanying the metal progressive rhythms of the drum and bass guitar. I liked a lot the concept of the album and the thematic is very well managed and at the end, the ending took me by surprise, I assure you this album has something to show to every one, doesn't matter if you dont like the subgenre. Undoubtedly a Masterpiece for the progressive metal genre and a must to have album for any prog collector.

Report this review (#2078925)
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2018 | Review Permalink
The Crow
5 stars After the disappointing Falling into Infinity, Dream Theater managed to regain the prog-metal throne with their best album!

And I think that the incorporation of the very talented keyboardist Jordan Rudess had a lot to do with this. His playing is simply fantastic and he added an extra layer of quality in every song of the album. And this state of grace was also given by the recuperation of the typical La Brie's singing after his various vocal problems and the incredible work of all the other musicians involved in this album.

The lyrics are also especially good this time and the history told is also touching and well explained. The result is the best prog- metal album of the last decade along with others like Savatage's Streets. Both the ballads and the heavy parts are incredible, very progressive and with an outstanding songwriting and production.

Just almost perfect, from the beginning to the end!

Best Tracks: not a weak point to be found in this album, really!

Conclusion: Metropolis Pt.2 is not only the best album of Dream Theater, is also one of the best prog-meal albums of all times. A very beautiful, catchy and incredibly well played collection of songs with a simple but very good explained concept.

All the stars were aligned here, and the result was just incredible! Acquire, listen, and feel.

My rating: *****

Report this review (#2079096)
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2018 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is a lot like Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" in the sense that the more you listen to it, the more details you can extract from the album. Every minute is made from perfection, and this is my second favorite album of all time. Firstly, Dream Theater (especially at this time) had an insane lineup of some of the best musicians l. Being a pianist who has attempted to play "The Dance of Eternity" myself, I can tell you firsthand that these are some amazing musicians who have probably been playing music their entire lives (especially Jordan Rhudess). If I'm being real here for a second, I believe Dream Theater has the greatest lineup of musicians of any band ever. And that's just the start of the masterpiece. Conceptually, they have seemingly blown my mind even more. The concept follows a theme about a guy named Nicolas, who sees a past-life regression therapist after seeing visions from a previous life. Through these visions, Nicolas begins to reveal life through the eyes of Victoria, and he believes that something was wrong about her death (for one she was murdered). He thinks that her death didn't go down as it was recorded. So, he goes through the album to find the reason he keeps seeing these visions. I don't want to spoil anything, but if you want to know the real mind blowing themes they hid in this album, you can look it up somewhere else probably.
Report this review (#2132384)
Posted Wednesday, January 30, 2019 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars I'd like to preface this review with a quick list of the good and bad of this album.

The bad:

This is more or less the genesis of almost every Petrucci solo being nothing more than shredding

Occasionally clunky lyrics, notably in Beyond This Life

The good:

Literally everything else.

Without any question at all, this is my favourite Dream Theater album by a mile, and one of my favourite concept albums full stop. This marked the shift in the band's sound that would stick with them for the rest of their career with Portnoy, a much darker, more brooding and heavy band with greater focus on the metal aspect of their sound. What this album does differently is add a theatrical edge to everything, all the way down to the song titles containing a scene number, all the grandiose melodies making everything more fun and epic, while the dark storyline about a murder suicide causes the music to have points in which there is a sense of urgency or discomfort, providing a lot of complexity to the album.

From the first track, interest is already piqued, with a mysterious voice talking about hyponotherapy to the main character, before the vocals kick in and already make the listener ask questions about what is happening. The opener is just quite nice in general, but it's from Overture 1928 that things really get going, borrowing a lot of musical inspiration from Metropolis Part 1, with a few additions throughout, making it a great guitar led instrumental track. This transitions into Strange Deja Vu, with an awesome, heavy riff that as the song goes on, drags out certain notes for longer, which slowly darkens the atmosphere, all before it lightens up and brings forth a soaring melody, with vocal harmonies that seem to represent Victoria, hence the much higher register they're sung in. The song ebbs and flows between majesty and music that complements headbanging extremely well, all before completely dying down into the next scene. Through Her Words is a pleasant little piano ballad that continues into one of my favourite songs on the album (although honestly, a lot of these could be considered my favourites), Fatal Tragedy, which builds into a truly foreboding section, with intense, but not over the top vocals combined with a slow creeping riff, staccato piano chords in the background, which builds into more standard prog metal before upping the intensity considerably with a hint of sadness mixed in for good measure, fitting considering the topic of murder. After this, the song then shifts into its second half, which is nothing more than a completely insane, fast paced instrumental section, with duelling solos between John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess, while Mike Portnoy smashes away at hit drums. It continues building further and further, essentially being a constant explosion, with so much latent energy that even when it cuts to just the piano, it still segues perfectly into Beyond This Life, one of the fastest songs on the album, with sections where the drumming could quite easily be considered blast beats. This is definitely the most energetic, urgent songs on the album, sounding as if it simply cannot stop with the intensity, with the main verses, despite being relatively quiet, maintain this intense pace, the only moments of respite being the chorus, which has a psychedelic feel to it, with extremely spacey sounding vocal effects on it. I also really like the part where an isolated riff begins jumping between the left and right ears on headphones, which then transitions into the downright groovy second half of the song, using it to somewhat control the energy present in order to then transition into Through Her Eyes, another absolutely beautiful ballad, with some nice female vocals added. Not too much to say about this particular song, it's just really nice all around.

The second act of the album begins with what I consider to be one of DT's greatest songs of all time, up there with the likes of Space Dye Vest, Octavarium, and In The Name of God. The songs starts off with a mysterious, exotic intro that build so perfectly, maintaining the style it has even once the amazingly heavy guitar comes in, in a similar fashion to Iron Maiden's Powerslave. Each riff introduced is nothing short of incredible. I also adore how the song switches perspectives between various characters, each with their own issues perfectly fitting in with the general lyrical theme, and definitely fitting in with the dark, desperate nature of it, with an incredibly passionate vocal performance. What follows after this is easily the most ridiculous song the band has ever made, The Dance Of Eternity. The amount of time signature changes in this is absolutely absurd, pompous, excessive, yet unlike an extended solo from a band like ELP, this song manages to continue shifting gears throughout, making the angular nature of the rhythm work really well with some really groovy sections. Looking at this from a technical stadpoint, this song is insane, and looking at it from an enjoyment standpoint, it's still really fun all around, and I've never found it to be dull at all. One Last Time is a powerful, lovely softer song that I find really sticks with me for some reason, which then leads into The Spirit Carries On. Up to this point, there have been multiple instances of reprise, being parts of Metropolis Part 1 making appearances in both Overture 1928 and Dance of Eternity, Overture 1928 having sections found in both Strange Deja Vu and Dance of Eternity, and now this, reprising the opener to the album, but expanding it into a full fledged song complete with a gospel choir and an incredibly happy, optimistic tone to it. Finally Free makes for a perfect finale, with the first half showing each characters' perspective, each now feeling fulfilled, each repeating the same chorus, which if you've followed along with the story, will feel off if oyu've followed the story. The song progresses into a single riff repeated ad nauseum, with a clear focus on mood and atmosphere, before completely cutting out and then ending in a somewhat shocking way, which I won't disclose here, mostly due to the long winded explanation it would warrant to properly convey.

Overall, this is definitely one of my favourite albums, and even though I barely listen to Dream Theater at all these days, this album will still make it onto my rotation fairly regularly. Each song is excellent, but also importantly, the songs work together perfectly as a whole, leading to a listening experience that I feel never falters. I understand that this review is quite excessive, but I judt adore this album too much to make it any shorter. I seriously recommend that if you haven't listened to this album, and enjoy prog metal to any extent whatsoever, that you listen to this album, as I honestly believe that it is close to perfection as long as you can get behind some excess and pompousness.

Best songs: All of them, but especially Fatal Tragedy, Beyond This Life, Home and Dance of Eternity

Weakest songs: none

Verdict: My absolute favourite pure prog metal album, with everything not only being consistently great, but amazing me extremely frequently. This is definitely a good starting point into the band, and more importantly, a must listen album if you can get behind some pretentious moments.

Report this review (#2152111)
Posted Tuesday, March 5, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars The masterpiece by definition of Dream Theater, and which defines the settlement of progressive metal as a genre that opened its way within the boundaries of the progressive with its influences from metal. Separated into two great acts, this conceptual album has no wells or low moments, it captures us from beginning to end, from the beginning with Nicholas's session in his hypnotic therapy (Regression), where the visions of a previous life come by constantly that do not leave him alone and his need to find answers, until the tragic final outcome (Finally Free).

The instrumental display and showcasing of virtuosity on John Petrucci's guitar, managing to harmoniously combine heavy riffs with well-assembled moments of serenity, Mike Portnoy's drums with a lot of energy and precision, and the musical contribution on the keyboards of Jordan Rudess, complement each other. and they manage to generate a solid wall of sound that is sustained throughout the musical journey, with the support on the bass of the always correct John Myung, and a very good vocal performance by James LaBrie, one of his best throughout his career.

Although all the compositions have a very high level, we could highlight as the peaks in terms of their compositional and instrumental quality Overture1928, Fatal Tragedy and Home with its almost 13 minutes, in which all the influences of the DT come together to generate a piece that it is undoubtedly among the greatest songs of progressive metal.

When I was able to attend their tour for the launch of Distance Over Time in Omaha, Nebraska in November 2019, they also played the entire Metropolis Part 2 ... commemorating their 20 years of release. And in my opinion the album has not aged anything, on the contrary, it continues to sound as vital, powerful and timeless as when I first heard it years ago.

Undoubtedly, one of the flags of progressive metal, and of the progressive genre in general.

Report this review (#2408072)
Posted Friday, May 29, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars An absolute masterpiece, and the definition of essential. Quite possibly even the best Prog Metal album ever made! Metropolis Pt. II is an incredibly strong conceptual album that works as the follow up for the first part "The Miracle And The Sleeper" from Images And Words. The overture bangs you with these wonderful melodies that tell you "This isn't an average album!" which gets closely followed by Strange Deja Vu, a groovy and proggy track. Things eventually get spicy with the complex Fatal Tragedy, and Beyond This Life features amazing solo-ing that will definitely keep you entertained. After all that wanking, Through Her Eyes provides a nice rest, only to build up tension for the heavyweight Home, an all-around strong track that has everything you could ask for in a prog metal song, transitioning into one of the most complex prog instrumentals ever made: The Dance Of Eternity! After all that craziness, One Last Time provides a purpose similar to Through Her Eyes', while reprising previous tracks. Near the end, The Spirit Carries On, a Pink Floydish track lifts up your spirit with good vibes, an amazing chorus and a beautiful guitar solo. Finally, the closer Finally Free solves the mystery of the murder in the story, while reprising previous tracks and bringing the album to a perfect ending.

Five stars without a doubt!

Report this review (#2489249)
Posted Thursday, December 31, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars - Review #3 -

This album... is something else. I actually absolutely recommend you to go and do a full listen of this album, whether you like metal or not. The reason is, that Dream Theater explores so many topics in just one album that's hard to be even able to define this whole work in just a few words, maybe it's actually possible, and with just one word: Essential. At least to any progressive metal enjoyer.

Similar to 1992's Images And Words, Metropolis Pt. II defined not only a standard, but a high-point for all progressive metal before and to come. It features your basic prog metal aspects, such as technicality, dynamism, frequent melodies, all this implemented in a perfectly balanced way.

Metropolis Pt. II continues the story of the the first part, Metropolis Pt. II: The Miracle And The Sleeper, from Images And Words. This story is about a man who has a regression, where he finds out about a past life where he was a woman (Victoria) that was tragically murdered by her boyfriend. Nicholas decides to dig deeper into the story to find out the truth about all this.

If you're a progressive metal fan: What are you waiting for? If you're a progressive rock fan: Give it a try! Who knows if maybe you had a bad impression of progressive metal before and this album will show what it really is all about.

A truly essential album. One of my desert island albums, in fact. Five Stars.

Report this review (#2538635)
Posted Wednesday, April 28, 2021 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater have become one of the most generic bands in the progressive metal world because of how much they've been copied, which is funny and sad at the same time. Here's a thing. I gave Images And Words a five star review because of its historical importance rather than the album itself, because that album doesn't impress me that much (I personally think it's a four star album). It IS an essential record to that genre, and that's a fact. Now, Metropolis Pt. II is an album that shattered all progressive metal standards AND was actually amazing. I like Metropolis Pt. II, although I personally find it to be the only Dream Theater album I truly enjoy. They wank a lot in this album, so much that there's even a moaning section in Home, which lasts for way too long (probably the first time you would want sex to be short)

They cover many things in this album. From momentary rag-times, to Pink Floyd-ish ballads, to technical Iron-Maiden-Inspired guitars... they basically wanted to prove everyone that they can do everything. And this was probably the first (and last) time Dream Theater managed to make technical wanking very fun. It is an essential album within its genre, so I'm giving it five stars.

Report this review (#2548229)
Posted Friday, June 4, 2021 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ok. The best progressive metal album ever made. I respect your opinion if you think this album is a disaster but with that said I love this album! I love every second of it, it's a true blessing for metal. The concept isn't that incredible (although I must say it's original) but the music is astonishing, a true explosion of creativity. This album basically grabbed the progressive metal concept and brought it further beyond anyone could ever imagine. All the tracks flow amazingly and work as a single piece of music.

Standouts would be Fatal Tragedy, Beyond This Life, Home, The Spirit Carries On and Finally Free. An absolute masterpiece, unlike Images And Words, I don't think this is objectively essential, but it's still a masterwork.

Report this review (#2581955)
Posted Wednesday, July 28, 2021 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater - Metropolis Pt. 2

Simply a classic.I must say that this is one of the few records I've ever heard that I can easily consider perfect from beginning to end. It encapsulates the genre flawlessly with its insane musicianship and versatility. It is the band's quintessential record in the way that everything that the band is known for is in this album. The record has a seamless flow that works excellently, combined with a pretty good story. You will hear a lot of Metallica, Pink Floyd and small bits of folk music here and there.

Five stars. A must for any progressive metal collection.

Report this review (#2595615)
Posted Sunday, September 19, 2021 | Review Permalink
5 stars Despite Dream Theater being a band I'm not big into (I find them to be pretentious most of the time), there's to be specific four albums I do enjoy (Images & Words, Awake, Metropolis Pt. II and Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence). Metropolis Pt. II is for me, and many other people the best Dream Theater album.

It comes mostly from the fact that this album is incredibly well built. For being a 77 minute album, it keeps the listener hooked from beginning to end. Whether it is due to the fact that ballads and hard-hitters are very well balanced between each other, or the fact that every song feels important and adds to both, the story and music in the album.

The instrumentalists are top-notch, as you would expect normally from a Dream Theater record. James has sounded better in the past (Awake to mention an example), but unlike nowadays, he's tolerable and has his shining moments.

This album is apparently very polemic as well and I don't understand why. In sites like RateYourMusic, it gets heavily criticized for having outstanding musicianship which is honestly ridiculous. For me this is an essential record. It's also very good as a starting point for Dream Theater, everything they've ever done is here. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#2668825)
Posted Tuesday, January 4, 2022 | Review Permalink

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