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Dream Theater - Stargazer CD (album) cover

STARGAZER

Dream Theater

Progressive Metal


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2 stars Dream Theater are great fans of the music I used to listen to in my youth. I really appreciate it. This "Stargazer" is one of the brightest examples of the period of time the prog-metal was in its early state, the Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow were the true precursors of this kind of music and "Rising", the album from where this "Stargazer" is extracted, was one of the first, true and well played "prog-metal" album I ever listened to. Unfortunately the lack of feeling of DT components, their will to speed up the songs, the poor singing of Labrie with the respect to Dio one (but we have to notice that Dio was pretty younger than Labrie at that time), the useless speed of the "solo" guitar with the respect to Blackmore's feeling, impoverish this beautiful old song and leaves me a little disappointed.

Two stars, because I loved and admired DT in the past.

Report this review (#216689)
Posted Wednesday, May 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I really don't understand why people complain over a cover version sounding different than the original or saying it isn't as good for that reason. The previous reviewer is one of those people. Folks, this cover version rips. I LOVE the original. It is by far my favorite Rainbow song. Cozy Powell's drumming makes the song. So DT doing this song was a perfect idea and it totally works. The band is in top form and makes the song THEIR OWN. Oddily enough, that's the point.

Get this version if you are into DT and love what they do. If you want the original, I suggest listening to the original. 5 stars. No question.

Report this review (#216707)
Posted Wednesday, May 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
russellk
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars It's always a sad moment when one rates a band one loves with a single star. But if there was ever a release that deserved the description 'poor', it is this release.

Ironically, this cover version is played reasonably competently. The problem with the song is that the original is one of the highlights of rock music. A remake should offer something extra, should take the original to a new place. I offer TOOL's excellent reinterpretation of LED ZEPPELIN's 'No Quarter' as a case in point. Substantially different to the original, it brings TOOL's unique sound and makes something of the track the original band never thought of doing.

DREAM THEATER's version of 'Stargazer' is, unfortunately, the sound of lesser men aping the gods. I have always wondered at this talented band's judgement: latterly I have come to believe they have taken the wrong path since 'Train Of Thought', with their outstanding progressive tendencies taking second place to power metal. The choice of 'Stargazer' is fatally flawed. RONNIE JAMES DIO had a superb operatic voice, bleeding emotion, eminently suited to a song like 'Stargazer'. JAMES LABRIE's voice is simply not up to the challenge, not by the length of the straight. Listening to him shape his vowels so he can hit the notes (an old singing trick) is just sad. 'When do we layve? I belayve!' he sings. He slides into his notes, barely hitting the mark for perhaps a quarter of their duration.Worse, the song has been transposed downwards just to fit into LABRIE's diminishing range, and it deflates the performance, stealing the energy from it, making it sound more like a dirge than a drama. And the dreadful affectation 'We built a tower of stone-ah' isn't helping any. And at the end - oh, how could he do it - he copies almost exactly DIO's dramatic extemporaneous singing. Why not come up with his own interpretation? PETRUCCI plays a solo of sorts, but it has none of the feeling RICHIE BLACKMORE gave it, and it is, after all, one of the best solos of all time. MYUNG and RUDESS are presumably there. I've listened to the original maybe a hundred times - in fact, I'm presenting a scholarly paper next week at a conference in which I will discuss it and play it in its entirety - and never, not once, have I drifted off during the song. It happened during my second listen to the DREAM THEATER version.

This was a mistake. DREAM THEATER are capable of so much more. This sort of material dilutes the brand. Worth one listen and that's it.

Report this review (#217321)
Posted Friday, May 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars "...could venture to say that this song is the absolute peak in the entire careers of either Dio, or Blackmore. The album is worth getting for this epic track, alone..."

But it seems in Dio's old age, his voice has been shot. The enunciation is weakened, and his range seems to have been cut in half (or more). And did Blackmore take lessons from Satriani?

Wait! This isn't the classic Rainbow lineup. This is...this is Dream Theater. They are covering the epic Stargazer, and guess what? They don't change anything. This sounds so much like the original, it is almost painful when the band deviates (by adding some annoying keyboard solos, or turning the guitar section into "generic shred solos A, B, and C". To be fair, the song is a bit heavier, but not by much. I was actually surprised by how little the overall heaviness hadn't been changed. At times, I'd almost say that the original had more force to it. And of course Labrie has a lesser range and power than Ronnie.

Structurally, this is a clone. The guitars have more distortion, and the solo sections have a few extra notes here or there, which I feel makes the solo lose the fiery locomotive crash build up it originally had. This doesn't feel like a great band making a classic in their own image. This feels like a great band milking their influences a bit too heavily. Really, James is easily the weakest man, here. His singing is quite good, and at times, splendid. But Dio could sing him into convulsions.

At the end of the song, though, I do realize that it does sound good. It isn't necessary at all. No, I can and will easily say that I prefer the original. I am amazed to say that I think Dream Theater have succeeded in making the keyboards sound even more vintage than the original 70's ones.

Two stars, for the nice epic feel I get. Dream Theater have done better, and Rainbow did this, better.

**

Report this review (#218760)
Posted Friday, May 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'Stargazer' - Dream Theater (Single)

While 'Stargazer' as a cover certainly isn't anything super-special for Dream Theater, it's definately not a bad tribute to one of the old greats. After having listened to the 'Uncovered (2008-2009)' EP several times, I can safely say that this is the track that I listen to least. That's not to say however, that it's not good. It's great.

Why it doesn't deserve such a high rating is because Dream Theater (a very innovative and creative unit) doesn't really do anything to make the song their own, and unlike an exceptionally well-done cover like 'Odyssey,' it doesn't seem like they really tried to add their own touch to it.

On a plus note however, the song really shows what a versatile vocalist James LaBrie really is. While he was about to properly tribute Freddie Mercury's vocal style in the Queen medley (off the 'Uncovered' EP) he does the same for 'Stargazer,' keeping the trademark Dio inflections and enunciations intact.

A good tribute, but for someone that isn't a big fan of Dream Theater, it's better to try out the old classic.

Report this review (#223242)
Posted Friday, June 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Again, I am very excited knowing that Dream Theater made a cover of the best Rainbow's song ever (my view): 'Stargazer'!!! Oh man ..this tack was one of wonderful tracks that colored my teenager. When I got the cassette of Rainbow 'Raising' with its great artwork - catching the rainbow in the sky - I always spin this cassette everyday especially this track and 'Tarot Woman' as well. What a memorable song for me, personally. The great thing about this song is the opening drum work that sounds truly rockin', the powerful Ritchie' guitar solo and string section that accentuates the song. I remember vividly when I played this song on air on amateur radio that I had at that time.

In this version, Petrucci does not seem to emulate Ritchie's guitar sound as he plays his own style and sound. Portnoy has tried to emulate Cozy Powell's drumming style and he does it well. The result is a very good cover. Structurally the song does not experience any change as the basic structure and tagline melody of the original track remain intact. The great advantage of having this cover is mostly on the recording technology which has been modernized and much better than the original record with its dry sound.

Overall, I am very satisfied with this cover even though it does not change much from its original composition except a bit on guitar work. I like the artwork of this release. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#226964)
Posted Thursday, July 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
baz91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Dream Theater's cover of Rainbow's classic 1976 track Stargazer is the first of five covers the band would release in the build up to their tenth album 'Black Clouds & Silver Linings'. What a track to cover! This symphonic rock masterpiece is faithfully and diligently performed by the prog metal masterminds, albeit in a lower key (perhaps to suit LaBrie's voice). Due to modern technology, the sound is much clearer and less dry than that on the original. Being a metal group, Dream Theater give the song a harder edge, and Petrucci replaces the original guitar solo with something a bit more technical, though still in the spirit of the song. Perhaps the only thing that the original has over this cover is Ronnie James Dio's beautiful powerful voice which, try as he might, LaBrie cannot quite match. All in all, this is a wonderful cover, and a fitting tribute to one of the classic hard rock bands of the 70s.
Report this review (#523890)
Posted Thursday, September 15, 2011 | Review Permalink

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