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Dream Theater - Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes from a Memory CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.30 | 3094 ratings

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James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "Scenes From a Memory Metropolis Part II" answers the age-old question: what do you get when you cross "The Final Cut" with "Operation: Mindcrime"? No, that's not fair- it has neither the fake suicidal angst of the former nor the fake streetwise grittiness of the latter. It's also much heavier and full of more talented playing than either album. I think I would have preferred the album to start with the acoustic guitar (a la "Pigs on the Wing") rather than the induction. And I can't think of anything less evocative of 1928 (or any other time besides the early 90s) than the metal onslaught that follows. However, Petrucci is always amazing, managing to slip a bit of expression into the fret gymnastics, and the rhythm section is just as impressive as ever. LaBrie is once again decent when he's pushing himself and less so when called upon to compliment a softer segment; "Through My Words" into "Fatal Tragedy", for instance, makes him seem like a second-rate Freddy Mercury imitator- or Waters imitator, on "The Spirit Carries On"...all of which still beats the generic vocals on "Through Her Eyes" and "One Last Time". "Beyond This Life" rocks pretty hard but Petrucci's solo is more often silly than sublime, as are the horrible keyboards. "Home" is also notably heavy, but way too long and chock full of the cliche pseudo-eastern affectations that metal bands always crank out when they want to sound 'exotic'. "The Dance of Eternity" could have been retitled "Everyone gets a little gratuitous solo time, especially Rudess with his honky- tonk piano farce". The gospel choir on "The Spirit Carries On" is just as tacky and bolted- on as the gospel choir on "The Final Cut", U2's a capella "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", or even the one in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". "Finally Free" pretty much sums up my feeling when this one was over. Whether they've changed all that much in the last ten years (besides getting a bit heavier and faster with the times) I'll leave for the fans to debate; they sound much the same to me- this school of prog metal always struck me as being mainly about showing off their instrumental abilities whenever possible and this album gives me no reason to change my mind. The songs are still needlessly complicated and yet formulaic and uninspired. The lackluster narrative is presented with artless exposition; they've compromised between using lyrics that fit the song and fitting the music to the story, and as a result everything sounds contrived. I hope Satan isn't reading this review because he'll have a pretty good idea how to torment me for all eternity. Still, the sheer number and dedication of DT fans, added to the band's instrumental proficiency, forces me to give this two stars.
James Lee | 2/5 |


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