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

A CHANGE OF SEASONS

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.68 | 677 ratings

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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.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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