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THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST

Dream Theater

Progressive Metal


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2 stars It was a statement not everyone was equally happy about: Mike Portnoy announcing that Dream Theater would cover five (in their opinion) classic albums. Well, as a so called 'fanboy' of this band, I admire a lot of the stuff they do. And today I can say that the covering-part also gets to enjoy my appreciation. Nowadays, Dream Theater is at the point where they've got only one classic left. They've done Metallica's 'Master of Puppets', Iron Maiden's 'The Number of the Beast', Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' and Deep Purple's 'Made in Japan'. People who are familiar with one of the aforementioned bootlegs, know that LaBrie, Rudess, Portnoy, Myung & Petrucci aren't trying to give the classics a Dream Theater-esque sound. They want the audience to experience (very) familiar music by their favourite band. Nonetheless there's one bootleg of which I think Dream Theater could've done a better job at playing: 'The Number of the Beast'.

The album begins with the well-known 'Invaders' and it shows quite fast that James LaBrie just didn't have the vocal range that Bruce Dickinson has. The music is not a problem for the rest of the band, and the guitar solo's for instance sound awesome. I find LaBrie's voice to have really improved over the last couple of years, but while recording this bootleg (2000), he wasn't as good as he is now. '22 Acacia Avenue' is the best cover. The vocal range of James is pushed to the limits, but he nails it. It still shows that this album wasn't written for a singer like him, but he absolutely gives it all that he can. And that's something to admire. The audience and production absolutely make up for my criticism, that's one thing for sure. It sounds like they're having a great time, which can clearly be heard on songs like 'The Prisoner' & 'The Number of the Beast'. The production is of a rather good quality, which goes for most of the 'official' bootlegs I own by Dream Theater. This album is only for the die-hard fans of Dream Theater & the album 'The Number of The Beast' in my opinion. If you don't like Dream Theater, you won't get to like them by buying this, and they've simply done better. Just listen to DT's 'Dark Side of the Moon'.

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Send comments to Man Made God (BETA) | Report this review (#80329)
Posted Monday, June 05, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Number of the Beast was an impressive album for Dream Theater to tribute to. I'm an Iron Maiden fan and I think they matched the album to a credential level. James LaBrie did a very good job at singing this album, normally I don't care much for hearing another person sing another person's work because it has a high chance of being slaughtered (Escpecially when it's Bruce's voice), but I actually enjoyed this album. It's an excellent live tribute and worth the buy!

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Send comments to Xeroth (BETA) | Report this review (#87161)
Posted Sunday, August 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars THE DREAM OF THE BEAST

I'm a big Dream Theater Fan, but not for being a fan I'm going to cheer everything they do, this time after covering "Master Of Puppets", which I think was one of the most awful things this American Band has done, they go for the most emblematic Maiden album.

The work on keyboards and the arrangements that Jordan added to these songs is good. I think "Children Of The Damned" is the best ensemble they achieve in this Bootleg, Jordan Rudess is the man in charge to play the rhythm guitar on the keyboards while John Petrucci is making the solos, the passages when they work along sound pretty cool too. LaBrie is not Dickinson of course, but he has some limitations for a good interpretation. John Myung has an excellent performance of Steve Harris original bass lines. Petrucci and Portnoy are precise as in the most of the times.

This is a good addition for any fan, but this is far for being an essential album on Progressive Rock or even an excellent addition. By the way, the quality sound is excellent compared with other Bootlegs.

So I'm going to rate it with 2 Stars.

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Send comments to MadcapLaughs84 (BETA) | Report this review (#109262)
Posted Sunday, January 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Vocally, this is comedy.

Probably James LaBrie's worst production. It really wasn't smart of them to cover this album. When one hears a band covering another's, they instantly compare it in their minds as to which one is better sounding. While the instrumentation is quite good (especially Petrucci's guitar work), LaBrie's sounds horrible. Why would he try to sing a song made for Bruce Dickinson, Who is easily one of the best vocals in recent time?

Unless you are a collector, stay away from this one, it's just not good.. :/

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Send comments to giantenemycrab (BETA) | Report this review (#112669)
Posted Monday, February 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars It's not better than original version, but it's okay ...

This is my second experience with Dream Theater playing (covering) songs of other band afetr I listened to their excellent work covering "Dark Side of the Moon" couple of months ago. As far as music style, I know there are many similarities between Dream Theater and Iron Maiden. But, they still have major difference in music style and tempo. The style of Iron Maiden music reminds me to the classic rock music with modern techniques. Take Black Sabbath music in 70s and listen to it carefully, and then compare it with some of early albums by Iron Maiden. You might find some similarities in the foundation of the music. The major difference is that Black Sabbath relies on power chords in producing its riffs, while Iron Maiden is more on guitar fills and tinier riffs. But when you compare with Dream Theater, the style is more complex in arrangements and the tempo is much faster, accentuated with staccato and appregio.

Then come a question, how Dream Theater plays hard rock music like Iron Maiden using keyboard and only one guitar player? This is a good question to start with. I find it totally different with how Dream Theater interprets "Dark Side of The Moon" compared with "The Number of The Beast". The significant factor is that Dream Theater cannot produce the groove and nuance that Iron Maiden has made up this album that was very critical milestone in their music career. I do not mind knowing major difference of Bruce Dickinson and James LaBrie vocal style, but I miss the double guitar work that Dave Murray and Adrian Smith performed in their studio version.

But if you do not compare this version of Dream Theater and original version of Iron Maiden, I don't think that you would have problem enjoying this version because .. Dream Theater is still a great band with great performance. But for me personally, this version is only best for those Collectors - especially those who praise Dream Theater and Iron Maiden. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#152469)
Posted Saturday, November 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
Petrovsk Mizinski
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I never thought the original Number Of The Beast album was a particularly well written one in the pre-Blaze Bayley of Iron Maiden albums, with Iron Maiden, Powerslave, Piece Of Mind, Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son and Somewhere In Time being much stronger and more consistently well written albums.

So given this, I wonder why Dream Theater chose this album. It was of course, the landmark album which saw the introduction of legendary vocalist Bruce Dickinson to the band, made Iron Maiden more well known on the heavy metal scene in the early 80s, and was also more controversial than the first two Maiden albums. Perhaps these are some of the reason for Dream Theater picking this album to cover, but I still wonder why they didn't pick a more challenging and more progressive ( I use the term fairly loosely though) album like Powerslave or Somewhere in Time or perhaps even Iron Maiden's self titled debut.

Dream Theater of course had much thrash metal influence in their sound, but of course there were also elements of more classic metal peering into their sound from time to time too. In the rehearsal rooms at the Boston Berkeley College of Music, John Petrucci, John Myung and Mike Pornoy regularly played cover versions of Iron Maiden songs, so no doubt Iron Maiden shaped the sound of Dream Theater to come.

Onto the album itself. It was recorded during an international tour in 2002 and released on February the 2nd, 2005 (although according to the PA database, sometime in 2003, so perhaps there is a mix up of sources).

Number of the Beast was an album featuring two guitarist. Here we have just one, John Petrucci, with Jordan Rudess on keyboards filling the space of what would be the second guitarist's role. This is not a formula that can work well in all musical contexts, and particularly on this cover album, it proved to be quite hit and miss. Dream Theater's rendition of Invaders is fairly forgettable, in no way helped out by me not being a big fan of the original song. LaBrie's vocals, just sound a bit off and perhaps a bit weird for this really. Where the original solo was based around the far less developed technique of the Iron Maiden guitarists, here Petrucci unleashes a series of fast and furious alternate picked runs, and consequently somewhat less bluesy/pentatonic rock sounding.

Children Of the Damned worked out quite well actually. the vocals still aren't spot on by any stretch of the imagination, but aren't terrible by any means either. The Piano keyboard sound led opening by Rudess was surprisingly good, and his piano sound throughout was just quite nice. The harmonized solo with Petrucci and Rudess was lovely, with the hamonized arpeggio section sounding much better than expected. I have to say though, LaBrie's operatic last words Children of the Damneddddddddddddddddddd! was a bit comical to listen to.

The Prisoner, was pretty uninspiring to listen to unfortunately, although skip the solo reveals some nice playing from Rudess and Petrucci, with soloing based partly on what the originals sounded like, and again, expanding upon them with their own more virtuosic style, and never sounding over the top. Good work there.

22 Acacia Avenue, not bad, but nothing remarkable either. Nice bluesy solo from Petrucci, but really nothing else there that sticks out as amazing.

For some reason, I like James LaBrie's singing a fair bit more on Run To The Hills. He did it more justice and it felt a little less forced too. You can also really make out John Myung's bass in the mix, much appreciated too.

Gangland was well, quite a shock perhaps. It was remarkable different to the original song. It was..... groovy, funky perhaps, no doubt aided by the Piano sounds of Rudess' keyboard. It was cool, it was really was. There was some really impressive keyboard work on this, very soulful and touching, as well as a great guitar solos. This rendition is a fair bit longer than the original (the original being 3:49) at 6:30, and features more written parts, and dare I say, those parts are rather creative and make for something that sounds truly unique for something on a cover album, really highlighting Dream Theater's own creative take on the album. Even when the song gets a bit heavier, the tempo is still a fair bit slower than the original too, adding to the unique vibe. Some people may really hate this rendition and that's perfectly understandable. I absolutely love and admire what Dream Theater did to make it truly their own, as much of a risky experiment these things sometimes prove too be.

Of note, is the absence of Eclipse, but I'm not particularly bothered since it was never a song I cared for much anyway. Hallowed Be Thy Name was fairly good, if not quite excellent. Again, La Brie's vocals are a bit off, but not a surprise either. Petrucci's solo, was blistering, and very effective too, Rudess' solo, no so much unfortunately. The album ends with LaBrie thanking the Parisian crowd, where the album was recorded obviously.

Overall, a hit and miss affair, more miss than hit. There was a annoying over compressed and squashed sound to the overall mix of the sound, which detracted from the overall experience too. This is definitely not something that is essential to a prog collection, but fans of Iron Maiden and Dream Theater might find this work interesting enough to justify owning it.

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Send comments to Petrovsk Mizinski (BETA) | Report this review (#181418)
Posted Tuesday, September 02, 2008 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars 'The Number Of The Beast' - Dream Theater (3/10)

Even listening to this as a Dream Theater fan, I find myself yearning to listen to the original version of 'Number of the Beast' by Iron Maiden. This is certainly better than the cover they did of 'Master Of Puppets' however. While the cover of 'Master of Puppets' was abysmal and ear- aching, Dream Theater manages to pull off a decent cover of this album. However, it's nothing special, and in no way does it blow my mind.

James LaBries vocals are also a fair step up from the 'Master Of Puppets' cover, and it's impressive to see him to some of the air-raid screams that Dickenson is so renowned for. However, he comes up short it playing Dickenson at his own game.

Nothing special here, but cool to own as a Dream Theater fan, if only as a bragging right.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#226555)
Posted Monday, July 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars I bought the original Iron Maiden version a long while back so this Live recording is a bit of nostalgia. I must say that Dream Theater's tightness and musicianship shine out in whatever they attempt and this effort is no different. The versions of 22 Acacia Avenue and Hallowed be thy Name are far superior to the original versions. The use of Rudess's keyboards is a big plus point for me and obviously Petrucci shines as usual and his soloing is exemplatory! Overall an entertaining CD and one worth having for nostalgic listening - Iron Maiden with synthesizers - woooo - I have to give this three stars at least....

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Send comments to M27Barney (BETA) | Report this review (#236823)
Posted Thursday, September 03, 2009 | Review Permalink
jampa17
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Not used to Iron Maiden material, but famous enough to have heard the "hits" of this album over and over again, I can compare both albums. Not a fan of the Maidens, but very respectful of their influence and trademark sound, I find a logical move for Dream Theater to pay tribute to one of their loved bands. The result is very good, really.

This is a bootleg, so, the quality of sound is a little down, but the intensity of the crowd and the raw sound that is needed when you play thrash metal, the performance is everything the metalheads could possible want of a live concert. So, we found very well known songs singed by both Labrie and the audience with intensity, Labrie overreacted in some places, tending to scream when he could be better to actually sing, but the result remains good, and good enough to enjoy, even if you are not an Iron Maiden fan, like me.

Nothing to say about Portnoy, Petrucci and Myung, who are at the level of playing this particular album without too many worries, they are the best players to take the challenge and succeed. They played great, accurate and made a great tribute. Special mention goes to Jordan Rudess, who have to evolve a lot to make his synths and keyboards to sound good, almost like a heavy metal guitar. He did a great job. James Labrie, as I said above, did a good performance but in some places he really mess up with screams but, is usual for him to be a little over the edge in live performances, and this was during their Tour of Thoughts in 2003, so, he wasn't at the top of form back then. Oh, I almost forgot, you actually can hear John Myung, for all of those people who complain he is always too low in the mix, here's your chance to hear him.

On in on, this a performance to enjoy if you are fan of both bands. I even suggest this particular album to any single metalhead or prog metalhead. You will enjoy with the best Prog Metal band playing one of the most classic Metal albums. THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST and RUN THROUGH THE HILLS worth the try alone. So, now you know. 4 stars is fair.

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Send comments to jampa17 (BETA) | Report this review (#280871)
Posted Friday, May 07, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I haven't heard the original Iron Maiden album, so I can't compare it with this nor say how good the "covers" are. However, I find this album enjoyable. The thing is there are many annoying songs here (about half of the songs I like a lot and half of them are a bit annoying, though still good). Most of the album is very similar between one song and the other, mostly Heavy Metal, except for Gangland, which doesn't have as much metal as the rest, and has a lot of piano (still, the song wouldnt really qualify as a soft song nor a ballad. My favourite songs here are Children of the Damned, 22 Acacia Avenue and Run to the Hills. However, for me the very best is Hallowed be thy name, and it's the one that's closer to Prog Metal. So I give 3.5 stars for this one, rounded up to 4.

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Send comments to Dellinger (BETA) | Report this review (#282715)
Posted Wednesday, May 19, 2010 | Review Permalink

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