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2 stars for collectors only. The best track here is "Eve" from the single "The Silentman", beautiful, touching pice with Kevins Moore emotional piano. The rest of tracks are some demos, and songs that didn't find their place on Falling Into Infinity LP. And they showcase us perfectly why they didn't make it. They just average.
Report this review (#11746)
Posted Sunday, May 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars The true gems relies in the MOORE work, EVE, TO LIVE FOREVER and DONT' LOOK PAST ME, beacuse the other songs shows the "weak" side of DT, like THE WAY IT USED TO BE, showing a very clear and obvious U2 influence or the light COVER MY EYES, reminding us a PLANT-PAGE reunion. Is a good record at the end, but is really for fans only.
Report this review (#11741)
Posted Tuesday, September 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars I always love Kevin Moore, and this CD shows the very much different between Kevin's styles and Derek Sherinian's. Not trying to say that Derek is less-good than Kevin, but they definitely have a different taste of music...errr, should I say, proggressive rock music? :-) The keyboards on the first 4 tracks were played by Kevin. Derek did the rest. For a bunch of songs which did not make it to the Awake and FII albums, each song stood out its own persinality. But if tried to compare them with the songs in Awake and FII, you'd find out why these songs did not make it in the albums. **davidewata/Indonesia**
Report this review (#11742)
Posted Monday, November 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars A collection of fine recordings, sound quality is great, and it's refreshing to hear the more personal side of DT since the tracks played live here are favourites and inspirations of the DT members alongside tracks that never appeared on a DT album (and, agreeing with those reviewing before me, sometimes for obvious reasons).Z

It's just one of those releases compiled of tracks which I can fully understand the band members enjoyed doing live to break the same 'ole same 'ole. To me it's not the most interesting selection of songs, but more a statement of the musical abilities of a great band. Certainly NOT an essential release, but to me it was worth the effort of getting a hold of it to keep the collection as current as possible. The DT version of U2's Bad cracked me up, whenever U2 are stuck in a rut, they can always call DT to do their music live. All in all quite an enjoyable cd.....excellent for sunday mornings I'd say.

Report this review (#78682)
Posted Friday, May 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars If you can get your hands on only one of Dream Theater's Christmas CDs this is definitely the one to get. The disc is complete in that it offers nine fully developed studio songs spanning the band's career (up till 1999 of course), comes complete with sleeve insert, home movie and even a hidden track that contains the sound effects of the Victoria murder sequence from Finally Free off Scenes From A Memory. And while that's all great, the strength of the '99 disc are the songs themselves. There's two classic DT songs (Raise The Knife and Speak To Me) and another handful of solid songs. Heck, this release is as good as several of DT's official releases and the band couldn't be faulted if they had in fact released it as an official "B-Sides" compilation.

I received this disc in February of 2000 and was still in the process of digesting Scenes From A Memory. Thus, I tended to listen to the Christmas disc in bits and pieces here and there. Still, two songs immediately captured my attention, the epic Raise the Knife and the disc's closer, Speak To Me. Raise The Knife is a 10-minute opus (actually 11:35) in the same vein as Learning To Live, Voices, Scarred and Lines In The Sand. Recorded in 1996 the song was part of the Falling Into Infinity sessions and it shows. While still an epic song, it doesn't suffer from the solo drudgery that scar some DT efforts. I'm surprised the song didn't make it to the final release as it contains all the elements of their great epic songs. The lyrics are vivid and insightful (far better than those found on their latest release Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence). The musicianship, as always, is outstanding but not overbearing and contains a great musical section that is powerful and melodic but not self-indulgent. All in all one of my favorite DT songs.

Speak To Me closes the disc (except for the hidden sound effects track) in perfect fashion. I love this song because it could aptly be labeled as "experimental" for DT. Gone are the pounding double-bass drums and fretboard histrionics. Instead we get a fairly straightforward SONG (now there's a thought) that's got all the great song elements: hooks, chorus, melody. The understated subtlety of this song makes me long for more such efforts from DT. It reminds me a little of Space-Dye Vest from Awake. Both close their respective discs and represent clear departures from the usual DT sound and both work perfectly. Again, I wish DT would explore this side a little more instead of re-creating Images & Words over and over again.

Other highlights include the haunting instrumental Eve, the poppish The Way It Used To Be and Cover My Eyes. The latter is cool cuz it's basically a short, 3-minute rocker (another song-type DT could perfect if they ever simplified things). While I prefer the acoustic version found on the 1998 Christmas CD this is still a rockin' song. Don't Look Past Me and Where Are You Now are fairly straightforward DT songs, with a nice mixture of progressive and pop elements. I could probably do without one version of To Live Forever; I could DEFINITELY do without two versions of the song.

Overall an excellent disc, especially for DT loyalists. The band essentially put together all their unreleased studio songs on one disc and the gave it away to die-hard fans. It's hard not to admire such fan appreciation.

Report this review (#85139)
Posted Sunday, July 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is an album made of left-overs from several studio sessions. I have already expressed my circumspected views on "left-overs" in several of my reviews. It is extremely rare to find some great songs which, by miracle, were forgotten.

Led Zep even tried to sell the idea that they had so good material left that they couldn't cope with the ifeeling that they would be lost for ever. And they released "Physical Graffiti". Their worse album IMO (and Led Zep do belong to my top ten preferred band) but which will sell like hell of course !

This one it is a "Christmas" album. And actually, when I listen to the opening track, it sounds almost like a Marillion one (Mark II era). Another band who released lots of these "Christmas" presents to their fan database (and there is nothing wrong with this, on the contrary).

Still, if you would except, the instrumental "Eve" which is a quiet instrumental song there won't be a lot of great moments here. "Raise The Knife" should have been seriously cut down to be fully interesting. Only the last section of this long song is catchy.

Some rock ballad "To Live Forever", Some heavy and uninspired stuff : "Where Are You Now" (of which again the second part is far much superior, more melodic and featuring some pleasant synthesizers). A bit of early U2 sounds ("I Will Follow") with "The Way It Used To Be". Not great but good. Like the pop / metal "Cover My eyes".

The sweet ballad "Speak To Me" is very dispensible.

This album is for die-hard fans only. But it was aslo released as such, so...

Report this review (#140344)
Posted Monday, September 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Demos? Yes... only for fans? Maybe the opposite...

We have here a collection of "B" sides, songs that didn't made it to find a place in the Images and Words, Awake and Falling into Infinity albums. Something special about it? Yes, many things, so lets see:

The first four songs have the great sound appealing of Kevin Moore, and the lyrics of "Don't Look Past Me" are from him and are quite good and touching, he was a great songwriter. The soft paced "Eve" is an instrumental track filled with a lot of emotion and sadness. The rest of the album is made of songs in which Derek Sherinian was involved. Most of them are some kind of prog-pop songs. Many of them have less busy melodies and the instruments are a lot more relaxed than what they use to show in the regular songs they compose.

It's evident that DT was passing for a time in which they really wanted to sound more radio friendly but all of the songs ended up feeling a little messy, too complex for a pop success, but too simple to be progressive, at least in the regular stuff DT made. This are demos so, of course the songs are not finally made, so, if those get to pass the test to be in an album, probably those should be reworked a little to be more consistent, but it's very interesting how DT guys can really make radio friendly songs without loosing the touch.

Highlights: Don't Look Past Me, Eve and The Way It used to Be. The rest are just good but average songs. I think this material is better to non-DT fans but regular alternative rock fans. Good stuff, not too complex but entertaining enough, and there's a lot of emotion on the songs. The sound quality is very good for been demos and shows very well the progress of the composition of DT. Three stars is quite accurate.

Report this review (#263781)
Posted Monday, February 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Glistening cobwebs...

This was released as a fan club CD in 1999 and features demos and B-sides which didn't make it onto Images and Words, Awake and Falling into Infinity.

The Good: So this is a compilation of bonus tracks that weren't deemed suitable for their corresponding studio releases. Ergo they won't be very good. Wrong. Don't Look Past Me, Raise the Knife, and To Live Forever are all brilliant compositions. Even the poppy Where Are You Now? and the U2-esque The Way it Used to Be have some great moments and are in my opinion stronger than a lot of the tracks found on their later releases. The album also acts as a reminder that James LaBrie used to be able to sing.

The Bad: Tracks 4, 8 and 9 aren't all that great.

The Verdict: Highly recommended to fans of early Dream Theater's early work, and there's also enough quality to appeal to a wider audience.

Report this review (#455644)
Posted Wednesday, June 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
Retired Admin
3 stars Pop Dream Theater

This truly is cleaning out the swampy closet of B-sides and demos for the overall quite mediocre album Falling Into Infinity and a few from before that. This album is essentially Portnoy taking all the songs the band did not see fit for an album (most are understandable) it compiling it into another release on his well known DT bootleg label YSTEjam Records. The majority of the disk is the forcibly popularly accessible tracks the producers of FII made the band write. For the most part, these tracks, such as Don't Look Past Me and others, are overall bad. They have cheesy melodies, lyrics, musicianship, and an overall pop/alt rock kind of feel. It's not the kind of Dream Theater that the average fan knows. To balance the cruddy pop music, however, Portnoy throws in two versions of the sublime "Lie" single B-Side, as well as the 11 minute "Raise the Knife," one of the few good FII demos. Overall, the compilation is really only for die hard fans who really need every piece of music the band has written (which is me).

The obvious poppyness of many of the tracks can get sort of irritating after numerous listens. I, a huge fan of the band, have to say that I am massively grateful the band never put these on an official studio album, because they would probably ruin my love for the band. They have that cheesy quality of pop rock radio music, not the type of stuff I want to be listening to in any frequency. Although some of the tracks, like To Live Forever, Raise the Knife, and partly Eve, have that nice Dream Theater quality, overall the CD is just not good. In the end, I can understand why Dream Theater would want to release their unreleased material, but I would have rather they kept some of the worse tracks for their private collections. 2- stars.

Report this review (#463395)
Posted Friday, June 17, 2011 | Review Permalink

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