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Dream Theater - A Change of Seasons CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.70 | 704 ratings

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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 that purpose, but otherwise, there's not much needed. Of course, A Change of Seasons is one of the most well loved pieces in all of the Dream Theater discography, so if you like the epics by DT, this is a must have.

The title track, A Change of Seasons, is very progressive in nature, and while changing tempoes and melodies frequently, is able to maintain the solemn mood of winter throughout the work. I respect a band that is able to keep the same emotion, yet change often. However, I will go against the crowd and say that it is not one of Dream Theater's better epics. The instrumental sections are absolutely wonderful, and Sherinian and Petrucci hold back their soloing just a bit and let their compositional abilities shine more than in their other work. But once the vocal sections come in, the time signatures and compositional techniques are terribly distracting, along with Labrie's voice, which can get annoying, especially in his final section. Of course, it's definetely a great piece and you can listen over and over again, but it's probably not as good as fans make it out to be.

Now for the covers section. Funeral for a friend/Love lies bleeding, originally a song by Elton John, it given its justice here. The opening is just spectacular and atmospheric. Petrucci maintains a great tone through the entirety of Funeral for a friend, and the band definetely keeps it interesting. Once things pick up and move into Love Lies Bleeding, fans of the original may find it less exciting. It lacks the vintage 70's feel of the original. However, James Labrie definetely sings the song well, and keeps from being boring.

Perfect Strangers is not terribly memorable. The opening keyboard has a rather interesting tone to it, and it seems like a nice rocker. No disrespect to the Deep Purple fans, but I don't find the song terribly interesting. It's kind of cool though.

Next is the Led Zeppelin medley. Although these are great choices of Zeppelin songs, some parts aren't all that exciting. The Rover, while executed perfectly by Mike Portnoy, has some rather annoying drums, and they just don't match the sound of John Bonham's kit in the original. That's okay, because things pick up in Achilles' Last Stand. When Dream Theater plays it, it sounds great, and matches their style just as much as Zeppelin's. It's got some great energy, and the middle section with the triplets sticks out nicely. It is kind of repetitive like the original, but overall it's great. It also transitions seamlessly into The Song Remains the Same. It's got some good energy too, just like how they did Achilles' very well. Dream Theater and Zeppelin fans will both like this one a bunch.

Finally for the big medley. A chance for Dream Theater to play the songs that influenced their music and playing. The songs aren't all very well done, but some transitions are somewhat smooth and put together in an interesting way. It starts off with In The Flesh, a good start. It's not bad, there's not much notable about it. That goes into Carry On My Wayward Son, where the band plays the bridge section where the keyboard and guitar soloing goes on. It's not all that great, the keyboards could have had a better tone chosen for them, but overall it's not terrible. It then goes into Bohemian Rhapsody, which lacks the grandness of the original sung by Mercury, whereas Labrie's vocals are again rather annoying. However, the way they fit it in is quite unique. Then it goes into Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin by Journey. For one thing, I never found much interesting stuff in the original, and I still don't see much originality in the Dream Theater version. Not much to say. Cruise Control, which is next, is a song I have never heard before, but it has some energy in this medley. A good choice, it energizes the listener very well. It's a shame, because the final part is Turn it on again, which I beleive is butchered by Dream Theater. The guitars are out of place, Labrie tries 'experimenting' with the main sung melody', and overall there's too much going on and it fails to end the medley, and the album overall, very well.

This is a very disjointed release. Some parts stick out wonderfully, while others seem rather boring. The lopsidedness of this album will certainly make the listener wonder if it was all thrown together. In truth it was, but there's still some good stuff on the album. I'd reccomend it for any Dream Theater fan, simply because of the title track. That has some brilliance. Others may be put off by the interpretations that DT took in the covers, but Funeral for a friend is a fantastic cover, and the Zeppelin medley is rather cool too. It's a nice album, but you definetely don't need it.

topofsm | 3/5 |


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