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Dream Theater Wither album cover
3.22 | 89 ratings | 4 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Wither (5:25)
2. Wither (Piano Version) (5:08)
3. Wither (John Petrucci Vocal Demo) (5:26)
4. The Best of Times (Mike Portnoy Vocal Demo) (13:05)

Total Time 29:04

Line-up / Musicians

- James LaBrie / vocals
- John Petrucci / guitars, vocals
- Mike Portnoy / drums, vocals
- Jordan Rudess / keyboards
- John Myung / bass guitars

Releases information

Digital EP released through Roadrunner Records, 15 September 2009.

Thanks to LiquidEternity for the addition
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DREAM THEATER Wither ratings distribution

(89 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(27%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (9%)

DREAM THEATER Wither reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Rune2000
4 stars A nice EP with a big surprise towards the end!

I rarely review EP's especially ones released by well established acts like Dream Theater, but this is one of those exceptions that I just cannot overlook. When I initially saw the EP on Spotify it didn't exactly struck me as anything worth checking out but I still decided to give the second track, Wither (Piano Version), a go out of pure curiosity of how much it would differ from the original.

It's safe to say that this five minute track felt pretty underwhelming and I actually began searching for new music to add to my playlist when, all of a sudden, the third track started playing. The vocals didn't sound like James LaBrie and that's went it dawned on me that JP Vocal Version was in fact referring to John Petrucci on vocals! I have to honestly say that I was completely mesmerized by his vocal performance since it brought completely different energy to the composition that actually made it better than what I'm used to.

Please don't get me wrong, I'm hardly one of the people who dislikes James LaBrie. He definitely had his share of ups and downs in terms of live performances over the years, but always managed to deliver solid performances on the studio material. John Petrucci's voice just has a completely different ring to it that I, surprisingly enough, find very appealing here. There does seem to be a few effects added to his voice on the track but they don't bother me too much as long as it doesn't sound completely artificial and that's not the case here. Little did I know, the biggest surprise was still to come!

I wasn't actually all that interested in hearing an early demo of The Best Of Times since I'm pretty familiar with Mike Portnoy's vocal delivery but this final track was something else! Let me start by saying that this is not a demo by any means; it's the complete version of the track sounding almost exactly like the final version that made it to the record. But Portnoy definitely brings the overall performance up a notch with his vocal performance! He makes the wise decision of not trying to imitate LaBrie's high pitch vocals and really brings the vocals down to the level that sound really sincere for such an emotionally charged song. The fact that the studio album version of the track always annoyed me a little due to the over the top vocal delivery is completely remedied here, which comes as a completely bliss to my ears.

Is this EP worth to get for the three performances of Wither? No, not really. John Petrucci on vocals is a great experience but it only barely scratches the price of admission. The Best Of Times, on the other hand, is what makes this EP an almost essential piece of Dream Theater discography that more people should get acquainted with. Highly recommended!

***** star songs: The Best Of Times (Mike Portnoy Vocal Demo) (13:06)

**** star songs: Wither (5:26) Wither (John Petrucci Vocal Demo) (5:26)

*** star songs: Wither (Piano Version) (5:09)

Review by baz91
3 stars I can't help but cringe a little inside when I hear Dream Theater are releasing a single or an EP. An established band like this should have enough artistic integrity to be able to release albums without the need for singles, like Led Zeppelin in the 1970s. However, this 29 minute single is not just the money grabbing opportunist device that it seems to be.

There are three different versions of Wither, the shortest (and consequently most commercial) track from the bands' tenth album 'Black Clouds & Silver Linings'. The first of these is the album version. I've always quite liked this track. It may be poppy and have one of the shortest instrumentals in Dream Theater history, but it's a lovely tune with singable lyrics. The best part is obviously JP's guitar solo, which is clearly influenced by the solo in Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.

The second version of the song includes just a piano as a backdrop to James LaBrie's voice. This is actually quite a sweet version of the track, and a very intersting listen.

The third version is the JP Vocal Demo, which actually isn't a demo at all. It's just the same track but with the songwriter's voice over the top. Unfortunately, it's quite clear that Petrucci has auto tuned his voice and hence this version feels inferior.

The last track on the EP is surprisingly good! The Best of Times, also taken from 'Black Clouds & Silver Linings' is presented here with Mike Portnoy's vocals in place of LaBrie's. Since this is Portnoy's song about his father's death, his vocal presence feels appropriate but his singing voice is actually quite good. Rather than try and adopt LaBrie's high pitched vocal style, he instead chooses to sing in a tone closer to speaking level. The funny thing is, he only sings for less than 6 minutes on this 13 minute song meaning that most of the track is exactly the same as it is on the album. Nonetheless, this version is superior to the album version because Portnoy's lyrics seem to have more meaning whilst sung by himself, making this a more poignant track.

I severely dislike download-only singles and EPs as I am the sort of person who likes hard copies of all my music. However, this is not such a bad investment, even if the only killer track is The Best of Times. This track seems so important that it should have appeared on the album itself, if not one of the bonus tracks. A curiosity worth exploring!

Review by Starhammer
2 stars Withering heights...

Four tracks on this EP. The original studio recording of Wither, a vocal demo of John Petrucci singing Wither, a stripped down piano version of Wither, and a vocal demo of Mike Portnoy singing The Best of Times. It would seem that just about everyone in the band has been given a turn at contributing something different, except John Myung. He probably recorded a version of himself playing the entire album back-to-front in under a minute, but was too shy to hand it in.

It almost goes without saying that if you don't like Wither then you should avoid this like the plague, but I personally think it is one of Dream Theater's better ballads in recent times. The vocals on the John Petrucci demo sound surprisingly tuneful, but the cynic in me assumes some sort of technological trickery may have been involved. The piano version is also quite pleasant, bringing back memories of Jordan Rudess' 'Notes on a Dream' solo album. But for me the real surprise was the MP demo...

Whilst I think that John Petrucci can't really sing, I firmly believe Mike Portnoy shouldn't even be allowed near a microphone. And yet, this version of The Best of Times actually sounds pretty good. Not because the vocals are particularly pleasing on the ear, but because they make the otherwise horrifically cheesy lyrics sound more sincere, almost tolerable. The rawness does have a certain charm to it, and I draw parallels with the final track on 'Journal for Plague Lovers' by the Manic Street Preachers, which was sung by their bassist as a tribute to a missing band member, Richey Edwards.

The Verdict: Not too shabby.

Review by jampa17
3 stars If you like the DT "soft" side, this is for you

Many people don't understand the essence of Dream Theater. While they're not interested on realizing hit singles, occasionally they brought out some EPs just to have something "extra" out there. And this is maybe their finest release of "extras".

You will get the traditional track of the "single", the minimalistic version with only piano and vocals and the Demo guide that John Petrucci sang to teach it to James Labrie. This version is quite intriguing and beautiful, and it's not better than the original version but it really changes the vibe completely.

You ended the album with a Mike Portnoy version of THE BEST OF TIMES, which is nice and cool, but of course is not near the final version. As it is available on Deezer, I didn't need to pay for the import to Guatemala and it's an occasional album that I hear very often when I'm on an easy going kind of mood. Nice for those who like the "soft" side of DT. 3 strong stars. A really nice surprise.

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