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Dream Theater

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Dream Theater A Change of Seasons album cover
3.70 | 729 ratings | 107 reviews | 34% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 1995

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. A Change of Seasons (23:06) :
- i. The Crimson Sunrise
- ii. Innocence
- iii. Carpe Diem
- iv. The Darkest of Winters
- v. Another World
- vi. The Inevitable Summer
- vii. The Crimson Sunset

Plus Additional "Seasonings": Dream Theater - Uncovered *

2. Funeral for a Friend - Love Lies Bleeding (10:49)
3. Perfect Strangers (5:33)
4. The Rover - Achilles Last Stand - The Song Remains the Same (7:28)
5. The Big Medley (10:34) :
- i. In the Flesh?
- ii. Carry On Wayward Son
- iii. Bohemian Rhapsody
- iv. Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin
- v. Cruise Control
- vi. Turn It On Again

Total Time 57:30

* Recorded at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, London, England, January 31, 1995

Line-up / Musicians

- James LaBrie / vocals
- John Myung / bass
- John Petrucci / guitars, vocals
- Mike Portnoy / drums & percussion, vocals
- Derek Sherinian / keyboards

- David Rosenthal / keyboard programming (1)

Releases information

Plus Additional "Seasonings": Dream Theater - Uncovered credits:
- Elton John (2)
- Deep Purple (3)
- Led Zeppelin (4)
- Pink Floyd (5-i)
- Kansas (5-ii)
- Queen (5-iii)
- Journey (5-iv)
- Dixie Dregs (5-v)
- Genesis (5-vi)

Artwork: Larry Freemantle with Mike Portnoy (concept) and Joseph Cultice (photo)

CD EastWest Records America - 61842-2 (1995, US)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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DREAM THEATER A Change of Seasons ratings distribution

(729 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

DREAM THEATER A Change of Seasons reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Menswear
3 stars Hey man, how much for this cd?... What, 8 dollars?! Ka-chink, thank you very much, please come again. Wow, unexpensive and juicy record. I'm not a fan of prog metal but since a good song is always a good song, A Change of Season is a Dream Theater classic track. The first 2 minutes are absolutely gorgeous, classical guitar by Petrucci. The song progresses to many good peaks.

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

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

Supremacy in technics.

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

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

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

Review by Tristan Mulders
2 stars Dream Theater - A Change of Seasons

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

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

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

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

Review by penguindf12
3 stars This is the second DREAM THEATER album I bought. It's title song is a very good prog epic, but the rest is a bit lacking.

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

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

Review by frenchie
4 stars This album is quite puzzling. Is it a studio album? a covers album? an EP? A live album? A Rarities album? i guess its all of those things. I dont think Dream Theater were intending this to be a proper studio album as it only featues one track that they have written. I see this as a random album which manages to include the epic title track, along with some live covers medleys for the fans and to settle the new keyboardist, Derek Sherinian, into the band before his first major studio effort.

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

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

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars When I first heard about the concept of prog-metal I was pretty intrigued. After all I loved classic prog as well as some 80s metal bands like Iron Maiden, Mercyful Fate and Queensyche (all of whom had their progressive moments). So it was that I came to Dream Theater with great expectations. But somehow, despite giving the band not one, not two, but three chances I have never fallen under its spell.

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

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

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

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One of their best epics, a mood shifting and unique progressive journey and their first recording featuring Derek Shernian on keyboards replcing Kevin Moore after his depature. This one was written back in 1989, right after the release of their debut album and was planned to be included on "Images & Words", but it didn't (because of the lenght?), The song clocks in at 23 minutes but it's never dull and perhaps their finest moment after their brilliant "Images & Words" and "Awake" releases. However, the rest of this EP is cover songs. Not bad cover songs, in fact, these are very good, though I find'em a bit boring overall and doesn't really suit following the masterful title track, therefore the three star rating. But I strongly recommend it nevertheless, but mostly because of the title track. The cover songs are mostly fan material in my book.
Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The title song "Change of season" is the most pleasing Dream theater composition I have yet heard, though I admit I have not immersed myself deeply to their discography. This long song skims pleasantly through energetic instrumental passages and shows great talent on compositional decisions, instrumental virtuosity and thoughtfulness with arrangements. Many classic progressive rock groups I have listened more have often managed to gain fame with much poorer long compositions. The Live performances also present nicely the idols of the players, but also reveal some elements which have caused this group not to grow as my own personal favorite. But I'm certain there is place for this kind of commercial heavy rock with artistic flavors. Maybe lesser pressures of making money would have allowed them to venture more personal directions, but it is also possible I just can't see the honesty they have practiced on their career.
Review by Zitro
4 stars This album has a 5 star song and a lot of covers of 70s songs which can be seen as filler. I feel this album just as I feel with Tarkus and Meddle : a great song that stands alone with not as good material. Unfortunately, the Great Kevin Moore has left the band, making this album less impressive on keyboards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Grade : B+

Review by Philrod
2 stars This is the first dream theater album I heard this summer. My father went crazy with the title song, and since wo travel together all the time I had the chance to hear it a LOT of times.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review by kunangkunangku
3 stars This, of course, is not a proper studio album -- even if it had intended to be. Of the five tracks, there's only one that is originally composed by the band. The remainder tracks are live cover songs recorded from the band's gig at a jazz club in London.

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

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

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

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars Seasons are changing from time to time ...

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

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

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

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

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The first Dream Theater studio effort to feature Derek Sherinian was A Change of Seasons. And this album isn't even all studio. It's half studio, half cover tracks. Petrucci, Myung, Portnoy, and Sherinian offer up a musical onslaught of technicality and shredding power. LaBrie offers some nice, though sometimes annoying, vocal performances and delivers Portnoy's lyrics with precision and emotion. The Rony Scott's covers are varied and they add a more home-grown feel to the album. There are some real gems that they pull out here (but they decided to leave out Easter w/ Steve Hogarth and Steve Rothery).

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

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

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

Review by imoeng
4 stars A Change Of Season

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

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

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

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

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

Review by OpethGuitarist
3 stars One of the best song's Dream Theater has recorded. It is also probably one of their most tasteful, which is saying something for this band. It is a very well done song, and unlike some of their other work, you can tell that they actually put "work" into the project. It is very enjoyable and will remind you of many other bands, Led Zepplin for one.

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

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

Review by WaywardSon
4 stars Like most reviews before mine I agree that the song "A change of Seasons" is indeed a classic. The way the song begins with youth and ends in old age, like the change of the seasons. It´s a great composition and Portnoy has written some excellent lyrics.

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

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

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

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

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

Review by sleeper
2 stars A Change of Seasons is Dream Theater's first 20+ minute epic and also the first recording to feature Derek Sherinian on keyboards, replacing the now departed Kevin Moore. The recording also includes four covers/medleys, performed and recorded live at Ronny Scots Jazz Club, of such luminaries as Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Elton John. A Change of Seasons was originally written by Mike Portnoy in '89 along with Metropolis Part1: The Miracle and The Sleeper and was intended to go on the bands second album Images And Words, but failed to make it, most likely due to timing constraints. Sections of the song were played live, in one form or another, throughout the bands early years. With the departure of Moore, recording A Change of Seasons would be the perfect way to introduce Sherinian to the fans that hadn't seen him perform live with the band on the Awake tour as a fill in.

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

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

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

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

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

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Preaching to the unconverted

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars More than half of this EP is made of rather boring, pointless covers. Nevertheless, I think it's an essential release, if only for the title track alone. It's one of my favorite songs of all time, and being more objective, is DT at its best.

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

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

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

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

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

Get it. Now.

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

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

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

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

Review by 1800iareyay
3 stars A Change of Seasons is a stopgap mini-LP released while DT was put on hiatus by newly- hired record heads who wanted a commercial success, and knew that a prog band wouldn't be it. This disc contains what I look at as the band's second greatest epic and a hadful of live covers. This is the first recording to feature keyboardist Derek Sherinian who wasted no time showing that he was a wrothy replacement for Kevin Moore.

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

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

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

Grade: C+

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

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

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

Review by russellk
5 stars DREAM THEATER took their time with the title track, having played it live for years before finally committing it to the studio, and boy, does it show. Playing their instruments comes easily to these lads, whilst songwriting does not. This CD tells the entire story of DREAM THEATER in my opinion: the outstanding musicianship, the opportunities missed, their almost slavish devotion to the bands of the past, and their ultimately fruitless search for their own voice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review by Prog Leviathan
2 stars A moody epic centerpiece along with a set of live cover songs make "A Change of Seasons" a very mixed bag.

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

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

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

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

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

Best track: it goes without saying, folks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A Change of Seasons are divided into two parts. The title track which is 20+ min epic and the rest of the songs which are cover songs of Kansas, Genesis and Elton John etc. These songs are live. The title track is a studio track.

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

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

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

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

Review by ProgBagel
4 stars Dream Theater - 'A Change of Seasons' (EP) 4.0 stars.

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

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

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

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

Sources: Dream Theater 'Score' DVD.

Review by LiquidEternity
3 stars Dream Theater made a terrifically difficult album to rate there with A Change of Seasons.

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

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

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

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

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars On the brink of a change of style in their career, Dream Theater reflects on where they've been.

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

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

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

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

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

Review by horsewithteeth11
4 stars Normally I don't collect EPs and even rarer than me collecting one is bothering to listen to it, but this is certainly an exception. I'd heard people mention that the title track on here was better than my favorite DT song at the time, Octavarium's title track. So I finally bothered to get my hands on this EP, and what a gem it is. So now, let's talk about it some:

1. A Change of Seasons - Starts with a soft, melodic intro with guitar bringing us into the song with piano backing it up. Some very beautiful vocals come in for a bit during this time. At 1:26 this gets broken up with a heavy guitar riff and drums coming in. After a bit this is interspaced with bass and what sounds like wind chimes. At this point, the listener knows he's in for a memorable epic, one maybe even on par with some of the classic 70s epics. Some great guitar and drum interplay in the first section of this song. A great guitar riff comes in around 4 minutes in. This is most certainly DT at its height. Petrucci really gets his guitar wailing on this part. A little later, Labrie's vocals come in. I simply can't put in words how powerful this song is. While I used to think Octavarium was DT's best track, but this is ever so slightly better. This is Dream Theater at their peak. A bit after 10 minutes another long instrumental section which is one of my favorite sections on the song. Around 13 ½ minutes Labrie comes back into the mix with keys and funky bass supporting him. At 17 minutes I love the transition to a somewhat softer section with all the instruments equally noticeable and in the mix. It really shows just how powerful DT was at this point in the band's history. The line we heard at the beginning of the song comes in at the 20 minute mark, except this time much more distorted and heavier. This is a song that must be heard to be believed. One of the best epics of the 90s and today. 10+/10

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

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

Review by MovingPictures07
2 stars I'm in a minority when I think that the title track here is not really that good. Combined with tons of cover songs that I really could do without, what does that make? An album I hardly ever feel like listening to.

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

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

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

Review by J-Man
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!

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

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

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'A Change Of Seasons' - Dream Theater (8/10)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review by Roj
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a bit strange, an "EP" that is over 57 minutes long is what we have here.

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

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

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

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

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

Review by The Crow
4 stars Every time I hear this album I have the same thought... What an excellent studio album! Because it's an studio album in its integrity. Let me explain...

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

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

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

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

My rating: ****

Review by The Quiet One
4 stars A Change of Keyboards (ist)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review by jampa17
4 stars Essential track... then, a lot of live covers with no sense... that's it...

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

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

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

Review by Negoba
3 stars A Strange Package from the Transitional Sherinian Era

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

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

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

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

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

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "A Change Of Seasons" has to be one of the most accomplished prog EPs from the 90s, and also an important trial for Dream Theater to pass in order to prove to themselves (and while at it, to the rest of the world) that they were still capable of championing the prog- metal genre without the musical depth that exiting keyboardist Kevin Moore used to provide to the band's core sound in their first 3 studio efforts. The link with the immediate past was there since the namesake suite was already a full-written piece originally intended as part of the "Images And Words" repertoire. Now, in this 1995 EP, the suite has a few reshaped instrumental portions and somewhat significant modification on the Portnoy-penned lyrics. Also, this is the first studio input by Derek Sherinian, who finds some room for his stamina and exciting tone although he can still be perceived as the "new kid in the band". The EP's musical value is rooted in the namesake suite, which can be described as influenced by 77-80 Rush, classic Kansas and vintage Yes, with the usual doses of early Metallica and 86-89 Fates Warning influences that DT never cared to hide as major references for their original framework. I personally don't see how one can dispute the fact that 'A Change Of Seasons' is one of the best prog-metal suites ever, and of course, one of the many finer hours that fill DT's résumé. The ceremonious acoustic guitar/piano intro bears a twilight feeling graciously augmented by soft synth layers and glockenspiel. Once the full ensemble settles in, the band's muscular drive shows its real face. The 'Innocence' and 'Carpe Diem' sections bear a captivating amount of melodic richness, and so, the time is right for the display of architectural stamina provided by 'The Darkest Of Winters'. 'Another World' brings a moment of calm without letting og of the rocking power ? Petrucci's solo portion is one of the magnificent developments he has ever written for his instrument. I feel the transition from this section to 'The Inevitable Summer' a bit forced, but the nuclear idea works perfectly as a pathway toward the bombastic coda: in fact, the passionate intensity of 'The Crimson Sunset' bears a magical combination of cerebral electricity and emotional exaltation. The acoustic guitar/piano outro brings a proper closure to this majestic opus. Next is the live section taken from a live performance at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club (in London, UK): the renditions of Elton John's 'Funeral For A Friend'/'Love Lies Bleeding' is lovely, but not as much as Deep Purple's 'Perfect Strangers' (DT always covers it proficiently) and the Led Zeppelin medley. Petrucci is the undisputed star in these tasks. 'The Big Medley', on the other hand, is not as consistent as it could have been, but the Kansas, Queen and Dixie Dregs portions are so well delivered that the whole thing happens to be appealing at the end of the day. So, all in all, the 'a Change Of Seasons' suite makes the best of this EP: not the only good thing in it, but definitely the one defining moment from the DT point of view strictly.
Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This EP was released because Dream Theater wanted to release a longstanding classic that hadn't fit on any of the preceding studio albums. They added a couple of live recorded covers to it and as a result this EP counts no less then 45 minutes.

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

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

Review by Andy Webb
5 stars This gives new meaning to the term "epic"

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

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

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

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A Change Of Seasons is a famous live track that was regularly performed by Dream Theater back in their early years. According to the official story this beast of an epic was initially planned to be released as a part of Images And Words but due to its length was rejected by the label and instead took a form of a concert favorite. These live performances became so famous that the band's fan club demanded Dream Theater to record a professional studio take for everyone to enjoy. Since Dream Theater is generally know for being very close to their fans, their wish got fulfilled with the release of this gigantic EP-release!

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

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

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

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

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

Review by Flucktrot
3 stars The truly amazing aspect of this album is that so much good material was used for a promo CD, as I prefer most of the goods on the epic track to music on the albums before. Regardless, however another classic prog metal epic gets distributed from the brains of the creators and into my hands makes little difference.

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

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

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

Review by Starhammer
4 stars She looked me in the eye, she said "I love you, goodbye..."

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

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

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

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

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

The Verdict: Massively underrated.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
3 stars 6/10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review by Warthur
5 stars Derek Sherinian's stint as Dream Theater keyboardist is a little overlooked these days; as well as being briefer than Kevin Moore's original tenure or Jordan Rudess's ongoing tour of duty, but Sherinian's time in the role also had the misfortune to coincide with the Falling Into Infinity album, which is generally considered to be a bit of a misfire compared to the albums preceding or succeeding it.

However, at the same time Sherinian's stint in the band also took in this EP that's not an EP. It's not an EP in the sense that calling it an EP makes a mockery of the "extended play" and "long play" origin of those terms, but it is an EP in the sense that the band call it one.

They call it an EP largely because it was released for only one real purpose, and that was to get a studio rendition of the title track out there. A 23 minute epic that qualifies as one of the most technically proficient, compositionally ornate, emotionally diverse, and outright proggy songs Dream Theater would ever compose, it had been lurking about in the setlist ever since the Images & Words days but had been held back from that album.

In some ways, holding it back showed admirable - if uncharacteristic - restraint on the part of Dream Theater, because its inclusion would have turned Images & Words into a double album, and that's always a risky prospect. Still, if the original version of the song were half as good as this, it'd certainly measure up to anything that Dream Theater put on that release.

As it is, the version we get of the song here reflects some years of further honing and polishing the composition through live performances, and the end result is one of the most incredible moments in the Dream Theater discography. Whilst fans can often be guilty of overhyping songs or performances which aren't actually that hot, especially if it's something which only a few people who happened to be at the right live shows would have heard, in this case the song absolutely deserved the hype. Not putting this song out there in a definitive version of some kind would have been a travesty.

As it is, the "EP" is a masterpiece already simply by virtue of the song's inclusion, and if you wanted to convince anyone of the chops of any member of this Dream Theater lineup, you could go a lot worse than playing them this. Petrucci's guitar work is particularly prominent, but Sherinian gets his opportunities to shine on the keys, LaBrie delivers some of his finest vocals, and I don't think I ever appreciated Myung/Portnoy rhythm section as much as I should have until I took in their work here.

At the same time, Dream Theater were leery of just putting out a 23 minute EP, so they loaded it on with a bit of extra value by providing some cover versions to make up the remainder of the running time. These are taken from a live fan club performance at Ronnie Scott's in London, which means that the shift from the studio polish offered to the title track to the live tapes can be slightly jarring.

Nonetheless, I actually really like the cover versions here, both the full songs and the medleys, because they really showcase Dream Theater's appreciation for a wide range of rock forebears whilst still nicely framing everything in something close-ish to their sound. As such, I really think A Change of Seasons is, if not the best Dream Theater Album, then at least the best Dream Theater album that isn't actually an album...

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nº 550

"A Change Of Seasons" is an EP of Dream Theater and was released in 1995. It comprises their great epic suite track "A Change Of Seasons", with about twenty-three minutes long. It was recorded at the Bear Tracks Studios in New York. "A Change Of Seasons" has also two live covers and two medleys of some other bands. They were performed at a fan club concert, Ronnie's Scott's Jazz Club in London, England. "A Change Of Seasons" was the first Dream Theater's release featuring their new keyboardist Derek Sherinian who substituted their previous and former keyboardist Kevin Moore.

So, the line up on the EP is James LaBrie (lead vocals), John Petrucci (guitars), Derek Sherinian (keyboards), John Myung (bass) and Mike Portnoy (drums).

"A Change Of Seasons" has five tracks. The first track is the title track "A Change Of Seasons", with music by Dream Theater and lyrics by Portnoy. "A Change Of Seasons" is divided into seven parts: "The Crimson Sunrise", "Innocence", "Carpe Diem", "The Darkest Of Winters", "Another World", "The Inevitable Summer" and "The Crimson Sunset". It includes samples from the 1989 film "Dead Poets Society" and from 1648 Robert Herrick's poem, "To The Virgins, To Make Much Of Time". The lyrics, written by Portnoy, weren't properly inspired by the film but rather by the death of his mother. "A Change Of Seasons" was meant to be in the track list of their second studio album "Images And Words" released in 1992. So, during the gap between 1991 and 1995 it was deeply modified. It's a huge evolution of an old piece written in 1989 together with "Metropolis-Part I". "A Change Of Seasons" is a wonderful suite with excellent lyrics, a metaphor representing the human life in all his length. The production is impeccable and the whole sound is clean and delicate. So, we can just relax and let this song carry us through great and wonderful musical atmospheres, deep melodies accurate vocals and expressive guitar sections. In conclusion, "A Change Of Seasons" can be considered as one of Dream Theater's greatest songs. It's full of emotions, high and caim musical points, great and diverse solos performed with great virtuosity. This is, without any doubt, one of the best tracks ever made by the band.

As I said before, the EP has four more tracks, two covers and two medleys. "Funeral For A Fiend/Love Lies Bleeding" is a live version of a song originally recorded on the double studio album "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" by Elton John and released in 1973. The real differences between the original and the cover aren't much different. Only LaBrie voice brings it back to life in a whole different being and Sherinian improves the introduction of the synthesizer and the piano on "Funeral For A Friend". Dream Theater covered and made it their tune with the stamp of Elton John on it. It remains with its very own 70's sound. "Perfect Strangers" is a live version of a song originally recorded on the studio album "Perfect Strangers" of Deep Purple and released in 1984. This version is very faithful to the original. The only negative thing was that LaBrie tried to imitate Gillan's voice, but his voice wasn't made for imitating Gillan. Anyway, and besides that, this version is very well done. "Led Zeppelin Medley" is divided into three parts "The Rover", "Achilles Last Stand" and "The Song Remains The Same". "The Rover" is a song of the "Physical Graffiti" album released in 1975, and has a real groovy tune with a good groovy opening riff. Only the intro was used. "Achilles Last Stand" is a song of "Presence", an album released in 1976. Unfortunately, only a mid section of the song was used. "The Song Remains The Same" is a song of "Houses Of The Holy", an album released in 1973. On this medley LaBrie proves that he can sounds like Robert Plant without losing his properly vocal chords. "The Big Medley" is divided into six cover parts, "In The Flesh" of Pink Floyd, "Carry On Wayward Son" of Kansas, "Bohemian Rhapsody" of Queen, "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" of Journey, "Cruise Control" of Dixie Drags and "Turn It On Again" of Genesis". Most of these songs are from bands that are amongst Dream Theater's prime influences. All these covers generally do flow together with every member of the group doing their best, to keep up a very melodic and progressive tone throughout this entire medley.

Conclusion: "A Change Of Seasons" is a great EP. The title track is the pinnacle of this EP. It's a wonderful suite, a metaphor representing the human life. It features excellent lyrics, an encouragement to enjoy our lives. The rest of this EP is filled up with excellent live covers of great songs. The best example of it is the cover of "Funeral For A Fiend/Love Lies Bleeding" which is a wonderful version of a great song, Elton John's best and most progressive composition ever. "Perfect Strangers", which is one of my favourite Deep Purple's songs, despite the vocal work of LaBrie, it's also an excellent version. Led Zeppelin's medley is excellent with extracts of two of my favourite songs from the band "Achilles Last Stand" and "The Song Remains The Same". The closing medley with extracts from many varied bands is the less interesting. "In The Flesh" of Pink Floyd is the best part. Still, it has the usual Dream Theater's trademark and quality.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

4 stars Considered by fans to be one of Dream Theater's best songs, 'A Change of Seasons' is the bands first venture into an old prog standard; the 20-minute epic! Clocking in at 23 minutes long, the title track of this release was originally intended for the 'Images and Words' album, but left off due t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1781951) | Posted by martindavey87 | Thursday, September 14, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This one is a tough one to rate since half the album is comprised of cover songs. Therefore I will focus my rating on the original song from Dream Theater. Change of Seasons is one of prog's greatest epics, and my second favorite from Dream Theater after Octavarium. The song has many parts an ... (read more)

Report this review (#886926) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Thursday, January 3, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This EP, released by progressive metallers Dream Theater in 1995, has an amazing song, and some other fairly forgettable ones. The EP runs for about 57 minutes, which is far exceeding the usual length for an EP. The band decided to release it as an EP even though its length because they felt that th ... (read more)

Report this review (#829395) | Posted by zeqexes | Thursday, September 27, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "A Change of Seasons" is a very interesting EP of Dream Theater, because it presents us with one of the best songs the band ever (the title track) and a well diversified selection of covers ranging from Elton John to Genesis, from by Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Journey, among others. In fact ... (read more)

Report this review (#507442) | Posted by voliveira | Monday, August 22, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Now, this is not quiet a full Dream Theater album... but it is as much worth getting as any of their full studio albums. In part because it's long enough to be a complete album, and also because the original Dream Theater track is a must have for any fan of the band, and then, the rest of the mus ... (read more)

Report this review (#498018) | Posted by Dellinger | Friday, August 5, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars In the beginning, I note that I have decided to focus on "A Change of Seasons" track in detail and I have mostly excluded the cover performances out of my evaluation. "A Change of Seasons" looks like an end product of a written formula of a mixture of modern progressive metal and a nostagic a ... (read more)

Report this review (#333453) | Posted by kindofmused | Wednesday, November 24, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars While not a studio album i still think it is important to add this brilliant ep to your DT collection for this very simple reason, the 23 minute workout of A CHANGE OF SEASONS. Now while the rest of this ep is made up of live cover tracks from a gig the band did at Ronnie Scott's jazz club in Lon ... (read more)

Report this review (#284076) | Posted by FarBeyondProg | Saturday, May 29, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I do not see much attention to this album, rather than for fans of the band, really what matters most in this album is the masterful 23-minute piece called A Change of Seasons, where we see dream theater in its heyday, effectively with excellent composition, where the metal, hard rock and progres ... (read more)

Report this review (#267652) | Posted by JgX 5 | Tuesday, February 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Is it OK if I rank the track here, ignoring the covers? Not that the covers are BAD, but what a shame that the masterpiece "A Change of Seasons" cannot be hailed in these archives with its own rating. I suppose the championing of the live album from New York makes up for it. "A Change of Seaso ... (read more)

Report this review (#252275) | Posted by Kassimatis | Sunday, November 22, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars To the person reading this : if you have heard about progressive music, know some vague things about it and feel ready to give it a serious try, your first responsibility is to withstand the pressure you are likely to get from all corners about trying Dream Theater first because they're sooooo ... (read more)

Report this review (#240637) | Posted by SentimentalMercenary | Sunday, September 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This so-called "EP" (rather due to the form but to the length, as it contains nearly an hour of music) is a difficult effort to rate. To me, at least, it is inevitable to compare it to Pink Floyd's ''Meddle'' and ELP's ''Tarkus'', which are commonly accepted as ''one great song and the rest just ... (read more)

Report this review (#221792) | Posted by Luke. J | Friday, June 19, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The greatest single song Dream Theater ever made. That is arguable, but it isn't too far from easily acceptable, either. The epic title track is a definitive Dream Theater song. It had absolutely every facet of the band in that era, coalesced into one stunning monster of a song. The multiple ... (read more)

Report this review (#219184) | Posted by Alitare | Sunday, May 31, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I think that A Change of Seasons is an excellent album when you take it for what it is. This album is one 20-minute dream theater song along with covers from some of their live performances. The title track is one of my favorite dream theater songs. In heaviness it is similar to awake, but do ... (read more)

Report this review (#205318) | Posted by rpe9p | Tuesday, March 3, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is a great album... well no, technically not an album, just an EP, because the only song is the title track which is 23 minutes long. They decided to add in a bunch of live cover songs put into medleys, from their favourite influential artists. Of course to me, that's of little importance whe ... (read more)

Report this review (#202615) | Posted by HammerOfPink | Friday, February 13, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is a very odd CD. It's classified as an EP, but is longer than DREAM THEATER's first two studio albums. There is also the fact that ''A Change of Seasons'' contains only one studio track, and four live (and at first glance, seemingly throw-away) tracks. This EP was meant to tide fans over b ... (read more)

Report this review (#198393) | Posted by ZeroDreamPlasMaximus | Saturday, January 10, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Well this is a quite strange put together disc. On one hand, you have an epic track, on the other you have a live album with covers and medleys of songs. It all seems quite thrown together. In fact, its original purpose was to give fans something to chew on between two albums. It works well for ... (read more)

Report this review (#183148) | Posted by topofsm | Sunday, September 21, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This is the strange mix of a very long epic track that actually should have been on one of the regular albums and some live covers. That first part could be taken quite literal: the title track of this record was originally intended to be included on the Images And Words album. That probably wo ... (read more)

Report this review (#137401) | Posted by Casartelli | Sunday, September 9, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The studio half of this EP features Dream Theater at near its best. The 24 min epic contains just about everything great about Dream Theater without any of their less than favorable qualities (besides some sub-par vocal sections). The song resembles Images & Words material featuring a healthy mi ... (read more)

Report this review (#133114) | Posted by Equality 7-2521 | Tuesday, August 14, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars "Change of Season" was the magnum opus for Dream Theater, without any overplaying that they would resort to later, and with quite successful lyrics. It is not a flawless masterpiece but a valid attempt at creating an epic. It's not the easiest thing to write a perfect 20 minute work, because peopl ... (read more)

Report this review (#132604) | Posted by Salviaal | Saturday, August 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This album doesn't have much to offer, other than the song A Change of Seasons; the rest are mere covers. If this was a rating on the song A Change of Seasons alone I would have rated it 5 stars as it is a technical masterpiece with dynamics and skill. A Change of Seasons: 5/5 stars, has eve ... (read more)

Report this review (#132226) | Posted by dethics | Wednesday, August 8, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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