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


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.30 | 3095 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Dream Theater's fifth studio album sees them dabbling in conceptual territory. The continuation of Metropolis Pt. 1 (from their breakthrough album Images & Words) get a stylish 77 minute treatment and is easily one of the most ambitious projects the group has taken on. Gone are the songs about "riding the red" and in come songs about "shine lake of fire". The album also the first to feature keyboard wizard Jordan Rudess, who also takes the liberty of conductng the choir on the album. The music on the album ranges from melodic and somber to heavy and complex, and with each new composition the band tries to break barriers that they had not before. Petrucci shines on guitar, giving great riffs and leads throughout, Portnoy consistently keeps a beat and also guides the group through the more complicated sections of the album, Myung keeps the rhythm in line and provides a great lower end to the shred of Petrucci, Rudess adds many elements to the sound through the use of his keyboard, and LaBrie brings it all together with vocals ranging from majestic to melancholic. All in all, the band is superb throughout.

The opening of the album, Regression, begins with clocks ticking back and forth and the voice of a hypnotherapist (voiced by Ex-Rush Producer Terry Brown), and is a nice acoustic opener to the album (the theme to this song is repeated later in The Spirit Carries On). Overture 1928 is the first instrumental on the album, and it shows what kind of direction Dream Theater were going in, clever use of chords and themes (some very Alex Lifeson inspired sections are in this song). It's one of the better Dream Theater instrumentals and is one of my favorites on the album. It segues into Strange Deja Vu, which is the first song that revolves around the story (no matter how convoluted it is). It has some powerhouse riffs and piano work and some great vocals from LaBrie. It segues into Through My Words, which has a repeating theme throughout the album. This one minute piano-vocal duet is a perfect mellow theme to the album, but then all hell breaks loose on the next track.

Fatal Tragedy is the "Inspector Gadget rip off" of the album, and it has some great guitar work from Petrucci (some of his best on the album). The mini-jam in the 3-4 minute has some extremely complicated rhythms and ideas that flow so perfectly with one another. The 5/4 intro to Beyond This Life kicks off into full power, with more powerhouse riffing and solos from Petrucci. The instrumental break in the middle has some great keyboard and drum interplay and there are some great sections of unison work between Petrucci and Rudess. It segues into Through Her Eyes, the poppiest track on the album. It has some nice synth drums and soothing vocal from LaBrie. This song is better represented on the Live Scenes From New York live album (which features a full performance of this album). And with the end of this song ends Act I of this album.

Act II opens with Home, possibly the strongest song on the album. By far the heaviest, with it's dropped D tuning to give it that extra punch. This song has a very middle-eastern feel to it (mainly because of Rudess's sitar sampling) and has an overly complex 19/16 outro. The Dance of Eternity follows, and it's another technical nightmare, with revolving time signatures almost every single measure. Almost every type of solo imaginable is featured here, even ragtime piano, yes, ragtime piano. This song segues into One Last Time, which is a nice LaBrie penned song that brings about the final song to the story, The Spirit Carries On. This is one of the most triumphant Dream Theater tracks and is a fan favorite. The Roger Waters type lyrics are complimented perfectly with a Petrucci version of a David Gilmour solo. Finally Free ends the album, and it goes through many different moods, from somber and metallic, to triumphant and majestic.

Overall, this is not an album to be missed. This is one of Dream Theater's crowning achievements, and it surely must not go unmissed. The themes, the solos, the lyrics, everything about this album is magnificent in every way. 5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 5/5 |


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