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Dream Theater - Dream Theater CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.28 | 956 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars The one thing I come away with after listening to this album repeatedly for the last week is that James Labrie seems to be the weak link of this band. Sure, he has a powerful voice, that can sometimes sound as sweet as Freddie Mercury, and at other times as rough and raw as any metal singer. But since every song with vocals list LaBrie as one of the writers (never as a lyricist), I can only assume that he comes up with the vocal melodies.

As good as his voice sounds, the melodies are far too predictable. Even in the good tracks, two of which have vocals, LaBrie sings notes that sound the same from song to song. On the lesser tracks, the highlights all come when John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess, and even sometimes John Myung, take over with some outstanding solos.

So let's look at the good stuff. The album starts with a very short piece False Awakening Suite, where Rudess blends his keyboards with a string ensemble, to come up with an outstanding orchestral sound. If the entire album expanded on this style, it could have been a masterpiece. The second track, The Enemy Inside is a good, but not great power piece, which is elevated by an amazing break in the middle. Enigma Machine is yet another fantastic instrumental. And the final listed track, Illumination Theory starts as a hard driving rock piece, with another string ensemble break in the center, that sounds like an homage to Tchaikovsky. At about 18 minutes it ends the album in breathtaking style.

Unfortunately, the rest of the tracks all consist of those LaBrie vocals, that we have to sit through to get to the better sections of the songs.

And finally, can we stop with "hidden tracks"? I for one am annoyed when I have to edit a file before I add it to my MP3 player. This way of adding a bonus track may have been clever in 1985, but it's a nuicance now.

So in summary, I rate this album 3.5 stars, that, alas, I must round down.

Evolver | 3/5 |


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