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Dream Theater - Distance Over Time CD (album) cover

DISTANCE OVER TIME

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.66 | 253 ratings

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TCat
3 stars Of course, everyone knows Dream Theater. Through the years, they have had a pretty typical history of players coming and going. But one thing holds mostly the same through the years, and that is the high quality Progressive Metal sound. They have had a huge influence on progressive metal and continue to do so. However, lately, it seems that the music never changes much and that is everyone's biggest complaint.

One thing that is obvious on their 2019 release, is that the tracks are kept down to under 10 minutes. There are no behemoth songs on here. And, surprisingly, that is the thing that drew me to this album. I'm not saying that huge compositions over 10 minutes and going up to a half an hour is a bad thing, but honestly, any riff or solo in one track could be transported to another track, and hardly anyone except for the rabid fans would even notice.

Being somebody that appreciates Dream Theater's talent for musicianship and amazing music, and their undeniable influence on music, I am not exactly one of those rabid fans. I couldn't really tell you the difference between "A Change of Seasons" and "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence". You could play one and tell me you were playing the other one, and I wouldn't know the difference. I have heard both of these tracks and agree that they are both amazing, but I could more easily tell the difference between two "Yes" epics like "Close to the Edge" and "The Gates of Delirium" without a problem. But, the thing is, since these are important Dream Theater epics, I should be able to distinguish one from the other better. The truth is, there just isn't that much that is different.

So, seeing that this album has no enormous epics, I was curious to see if something else was different, for better or worse. Beginning with "Untethered Angel", I immediately notice that overall, this track could have shown up most any other album, and except for the differences in lead singers, it wouldn't have sounded out of place. Great music with excellent musicianship, in other words, nothing new. "Paralyzed" starts with a very encouraging guitar riff at the beginning, but as the tune plays out, it just becomes another Dream Theater song with a good, yet short guitar solo. "Fall Into the Light" is driven by heavy guitar riffs. John Petrucci said that he was trying for a guitar sound like "Metallica" on this track. Okay, it sounds like Metallica especially in the middle slower section, with Dream Theater keyboards, so what? Is that really different and new? The organ solo that comes later is great, but its no longer a surprise with this band, in fact, its expected. By the way, if this song was amid other tracks that didn't sound like typical DT songs, then it would have stood out a lot more.

And so it goes. "Barstool Warrior" is typical DT. "Room 137" uses "The Beautiful People" (Marilyn Manson) riff. "S2N" has an excellent bass riff and is actually more of a stand out, even if it is reminiscent of Rush's "Cygnus X-1". I do like the bottom- heavy sound of this one. The 9+ minute "At Wit's End" goes back to typical sounding DT, but has a long useless fade out before returning for a short reprise. They just had to get it over 9 minutes I guess. "Out of Reach" is a piano-led ballad. It's nothing special, but at least it is not corny. "Pale Blue Dot" moves into the djent territory, but its still definitely DT. The bonus track "Viper King" is also typical.

So, after all these years, there just isn't anything surprising here. DT fans will probably love it, but I don't see any overall progression in their music anymore. Progressive Metal fans will probably love it too. No doubt that the music is great as always, but there just isn't anything here that you haven't heard before. It's like "Star Trek". It's great and it's fun, but it needs new life and more surprises, otherwise, you already know what's going to happen in the end.

TCat | 3/5 |

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