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Dream Theater - Hollow Years CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.09 | 66 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Interesting inside of this underrated album.

Dream Theater tends to fill their "single" CD's with a lot of extra tracks that cover up more than 30 minutes of music (I have the Japanese version that have 2 more tracks). First of all, this album is for fans are collector, don't need to clarify that. Who else would be interested on having a single like this acoustic based ballad from the Falling Into Infinity sessions?

Well, HOLLOW YEARS is evidently the worst place to start digging into DT because the band has never sound far from their trademark than in this song, no wonder why this single failed to reach a healthy support in chart list. Not even the die hard fans of DT can support such a non prog metal song as a single. That said, I have to say this is what I like about DT, the capacity to compose a song so mellow, focused and purely sense and soul. If someone said that these guys do not play with soul, here this song with attention, is a breath taking composition that in the perfect world could achieved #1 on mainstream radios and stuff like that.

But well, we have here the edited version and the complete version (don't know who decided to chop a 5 minutes song but he needs to check his vocation, he doesn't know what he's doing). Then we have the demo version of YOU NOT ME, before the changes that Desmond Child brought into the mix. This demo is very interesting and I like it a lot, especially because the keyboard was a key part of the song that in the final version is missed and the song finally fail to be commercially appealing as well as progressive appealing. If you like the Falling Into Infinity, you should not miss this version.

The next song is a B side, THE WAY IT USED TO BE. While is not a brilliant song and maybe needed a little more of arrangement work, the song is fresh and you can see that DT was in that time way much more than just metalheads wanting to show off. A lot of emotion on this song, with a little U2 sound in the overall. Rare but interesting song.

The Japanese version included two more live songs: BURNING MY SOUL on it's previous version, which was a mixed version of the song with the instrumental HELL'S KITCHEN. I like this version but it was a good decision to put out the instrumental section on it's own. Surely shines better on the studio final version, but this version is OK.

The final track is THE KILLING HAND, also a live version. While the song is wonderful and sure Labrie's voice fits better with it, his vocal problems during those days were evident and we can hear him struggling trying to reach the high notes. Worth the price of the import? Only if you are deeply into DT, but is not necessary if you are just starting with them.

3 stars is fair because you will find a strange and obscure side of Dream Theater that most people are not used to notice about them.

jampa17 | 3/5 |


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