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Dream Theater Falling into Infinity album cover
3.35 | 1705 ratings | 117 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. New Millennium (8:20)
2. You Not Me (4:58)
3. Peruvian Skies (6:43)
4. Hollow Years (5:53)
5. Burning My Soul (5:29)
6. Hell's Kitchen (4:16)
7. Lines in the Sand (12:05)
8. Take Away My Pain (6:03)
9. Just Let Me Breathe (5:28)
10. Anna Lee (5:51)
11. Trial of Tears (13:07) :
- i. It's Raining
- ii. Deep in Heaven
- iii. The Wasteland

Total Time 78:13

Line-up / Musicians

- James LaBrie / lead & backing vocals
- John Petrucci / guitars, backing vocals
- Derek Sherinian / keyboards, backing vocals
- John Myung / bass, Chapman Stick (1,8)
- Mike Portnoy / drums & percussion, harmony (1) & backing vocals

- Doug Pinnick (King's X) / vocals (7)

Releases information

Artwork: Storm Thorgerson with Peter Curzon & Sam Brooks (design)

2LP Enjoy The Ride Records ‎- ETR-62060 (2014, US) Remastered for vinyl

CD EastWest Records America ‎- 62060-2 (1997, US)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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DREAM THEATER Falling into Infinity ratings distribution

(1705 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

DREAM THEATER Falling into Infinity reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by The Prognaut
4 stars When in high school and during long conversations with my prog rock fanatic friends, I overheard someone mentioned DREAM THEATER, and for what I heard them saying it was this kind of neo progressive, prog metal influenced band, completely new for me. It was the year of 1998, so my first approach to the band was throughout "Falling into Infinity" recently released in 1997, and my curiosity regarding this band totally "brand new" to me, finally paid off when I purchased the album. I must say that it didn't convince me the first time I listened to it, not the second or even the third one actually, because my maturation and self-growing into prog was through the classical, psychedelic way due my inclinations to PINK FLOYD, GENESIS, YES, JOURNEY and some others and specially because this was my first approach to the so called "prog metal" genre, and I couldn't believe there was such a thing in prog rock. So, songs like "Hollow Years" and "Take Away my Pain" appeared in way to many music styles to me but metal or even prog and I regretted purchasing the album at all; then, I listened attentively to "Trial of Tears" and many of my doubts concerning this prog metal experience to me, started to dissipate and I understood that there must've been something in the depths of their music so I could like it in the first place. and there it was, "DREAM THEATER is clearly influenced by PINK FLOYD, GENESIS and YES that despite its lead singer's (James LaBRIE) squeaking, hateful voice, that's the most suitable explanation!" thought I. It is indeed the DREAM THEATER album I appreciate the most, not only because I consider it the link between my first approach to prog metal and my appeal to some other bands, but for taking me to incredible understanding ways within progressive rock music. This album will always be the first step to take in order to retrieve early releases from the band and to bump into some other magnificent bands such as SPOCK'S BEARD and THE FLOWER KINGS due Mr. PORTNOY's special appearance in TRANSATLANTIC. Highly recommended!
Review by frenchie
4 stars Dream Theater were faced with the impossible task of following up their incredible "Images and Words" and "Awake" albums along with the loss of their brilliant keyboardist, Kevin Moore. After introducing Derek Sherinian to the band with 1995's "A Change of Season", Dream Theater were ready to follow up with their 4th proper studio album.

Dream Theater decided to take a new direction here by experimenting more with lyrics and softer pieces, mainly directed by Sherinians keyboards. I think this payed off well for the band because "Images and Words" was the defining Dream Theater sound, "Awake" experimented with their heavier metal roots and now "Falling Into Infinity" lets them experiment with their more emotional side. That doesn't mean to say that this album isn't classic Dream Theater, as it still has many of the influences that made the previous albums so good.

Classic Dream Theater it is here, as the band play brilliantly as always and the new keyboardist plays well. He may not be Kevin Moore but he is still brilliant. Petrucci's solos are beyond incredible and his guitar does well in battling alongside the rest of the band. I think that LaBrie gets to shine here as he gets to prove himself better by stretching his voice to fit all these different kinds of emotions in the songs.

"New Millenium" kicks off this album with its strange intro and is a solid song. Nothing too amazing but it does the job and sets the scene for another Dream Theater masterpiece. "You Not Me" kicks ass with its immense opening riff and shows off how the band have evolved. "Peruvian Skies" is a great track. Everything here is good yet somehow i'm not sure if it will make the list of Dream Theaters best songs. Still it's good stuff. "Hollow Years" shows off the emotional side very well and the lyrics are some of their best work ever. This track is very listenable and very moving. "Burning My Soul" and "Hells Kitchen" are good songs which again show different ranges of emotion and are played equally well.

"Lines in the Sand" is truely amazing. One of the longer songs, this has some of Petrucci's best guitar work and each note on the guitar is emotional yet sometimes rocking and sometimes mellow. This is the albums centrepiece and a jolly good song. "Take Away My Pain" starts off well with some impressive new drum techniques from Mike Portnoy who is always incredible in everything he plays. LaBries voice is again incredible and inspiring.

"Just Let Me Breathe" also shows a change in the usual sound, experimenting with new techniques but once the song gets going it sounds like old skool Dream Theater from "Awake". This song gives the album good balance as this is one of the more anger based pieces. The solos and riffs on here are bloody incredible and LaBrie just seems to fit in perfectly with anything the rest of the band play.

Sherinian shines with his excellent piano based song, "Anna Lee" is very mellow and Sherenian dominates over Petrucci and Portnoy on most of this song, proving that he is a worthy musician and band member. The "Holding on" part of this song is very touching and LaBrie continues to perform some of the most excellent vocals of his career. The album closes with a brilliant suite, "Trail of Tears" is just Dream Theater doing what they do best.

Falling Into Infinity isn't their most loved album but i think it was very wise to try new things to avoid repetition and show off that they are brilliant songwriters and musicians. This album should be in every Dream Theater collection. I would recomend this as a good place to start out if you are checking out the band or trying to introduce them to a friend as it has more variety than most of their other albums. Dream Theater never fail to impress. It is a shame that hardly anyone knows them in Britain and you cant find their cd's anywhere because they are one of music's greatest bands and deserve to be recognised across the globe. Falling Into Infinity is very underrated as it is a truely incredible piece from start to finish.

Review by Tristan Mulders
3 stars Dream Theater - Falling to Infinity

This one surprised me quite a bit, only knowing Awake around the time that I bought this one. Awake was characterised by its atmospheric type of metal. Kevin Moore's keyboards filled the songs with a warm wall of sounds accompanying the layers of guitar playing.

Falling into Infinity however is characterised by its fairly straightforward sound. This is noticeable right from the very first note of album opener New Millennium. Although all the typical Dream Theater elements are there (that is playing too many melodies and chords at the same time on different instruments ;-), this album still lacks the sphere that their previous album did have.

There are also mellower, 'ballad'-like, songs included on this album. Where those on the Awake album had typical prog tendencies, such as complexity (yes that's possible, even in ballads), the ballads on this album, Take away my Pain and Anna Lee sound a bit too un-DT to my ears. However, one of these ballads does do it for me: Peruvian Skies. This song starts of really mellow but has a great build-up and finally turns into a mellow hard rock tune.

The main reason for me to buy this album was the inclusion of two epic tracks in the track listing. The first one, Lines in the Sand, is the more technical one of these and closing track Trial of Tears is the one track on this Dream Theater album that comes closest to the old-Dream Theater sound. 'Lines' might even predict the sound of their future albums.

It is not DT's best album up to date, but it is a good average album, with a few standout works, but surely no rubbish songs!

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
5 stars 'Falling into infinity' was in 1998 my first contact to Dream Theater - and it's still my favourite. It contains so various styles - metal - rock - ballads - jazzy moments by Derek Sherinian and the best voice of LaBrie ever.

'You not me' rocks straight away. 'Peruvian Skies' grows with every minute. 'Hell's kitchen' is great as the opener for the first long track 'Lines in the sand' with enough room for John Petrucci to show us what a fantastic guitar player he is. 'Trial of tears' is the highlight - Dream Theater goes jamming without boring!

A masterpiece!

Review by Marc Baum
4 stars After the masterpiece that was "Awake" and Kevin Moore was an important part of that, they must take the decision of him to go after that record. They decided to recruit Derek Sherinian to replace him (even he couldn't reach his phenomenal virtuosity) and they rerecorded their Majesty-classic "A Change Of Seasons" which was a highly acclaimed present for their fans. After that they began to work on their new full-lenght record "Falling Into Infinity, but they had big trouble after the composing of it with their record company. The new atlantic label bosses watched on the list with sold records in America and freezed the budget for the their new record. Now Portnoy & co. started a march through the label-offices of their record company to show diverse label-managers, who they are, which music they make and that the new release is already long awaited in Japan, Netherlands or Germany. The crux: Dream Theater signed a worldwide guilty deal, which forbids them, to get self-managed and release their new record outside of God's own country without acception of the New Yorker main-quartier. So DT started an own tour in spring '97, to present the fans a part of their new material live. Back in the States, they must accept a diverse compromises, to don't miss the train in front of their noses completely. One compromise was, that they accepted the wish of their label to recruit producer Kevin Shirley, who made himself a name as producer of bands like Bon Jovi and Aerosmith, who's exercise was to win the American market back in the sence of the company, that finally takes this album some edges and some inspired surprising moments, which was a reason for big discussions in European and Asian fanbase-quartiers and rumbled on DT's image as revolutionary pioneers of the prog scene in the 90's. Beside all these problematic relationships, "Falliing Into Infinity" is really a strong effort, but can't stand any qualitative match with one of their past material. But there's enough to discover there in the end, so let's take a look on the tracks here, which is the most important:

"New Millenium" begins with a keyboard intro and with a underlined glockenspiel, 'til the bass part by John Myung breaks it and the song slowly builds up in a Rush-inspired part after one minute. The sitar part after close two minutes sounds well and James LaBrie's voice fits perfectly to the mood. The refrain is a good one and is shoutable at live concerts. A good live song though and a good start for the record. I only wished more surprising moments on here, but it's really a solid DT-song in a Rush-inspired style (especially the guitar work of John Petrucci. (Track rating: 8/10 points)

"You Not Me" would be a good radio single, with a haunting refrain and good keys of Derek Sherinian, who clearly uses a simplier style than Kevin Moore, but his playing fits to the simplier work on here. It's an accesible song, but if you search for complexity, look elsewhere, this is a more mainstream-oriented one. I really like it though. (Track rating: 7.5/10 points)

"Peruvian Skies" is one of my favourite tracks on here. This song is very atmospheric and moody in the first part and is getting heavier throughout the song. The refrain is memorable and dreamy, perfect song for Dream Theater and with very flexible instrumental parts. This is a song, which is unusual and somehow something special. The guitar solo of Petrucci is absolutely haunting and grateful, with nice underlined keys of Sherinian. James LaBrie's vocals are also great, like Portnoy's drumming. Excellent! (Track rating: 9.5/10 points)

"Hollow Years" turns down the heaviness of the previous track and is a nice acoustic ballad, which also got a well made video clip. This may be poppy at times, but is a well warm place to relax and I really like it. Not progressive at all, but enjoyable and with a strong refrain. Nice, just nice. (Track rating: 8/10 points)

"Burning My Soul" turns up the volume of the previous song and is a heavy DT-smasher in the style of "Pull Me Under", even not as good as and less progressive. An excellent live track, with an shoutable chorus. For fans found food, for non-fans even not. This is more solid heavy metal with a prog edge and more solid average in a compositional sence, it's enjoyable though, if this is your taste. (Track rating: 7/10 points)

"Hell's Kitchen" marks the instrumental piece of the record and is in an equal brilliant instrumentation like the phenomenal "Erotomania" from AWAKE, with beautiful acoustic and lead guitar by master John Petrucci. The synth-keys of Jordan Rudess are the quintessential underlines which make this one so workable. After three minutes they more and more push themselves forward in a complex jam, that's what the instrumental brilliance of DT is all about, so this is really an excellent istrumental. Maybe not as brilliant as "Erotomania" but close. (Track rating: 9/10 points)

"Lines In The Sand": The name of the second longest piece on the album and with a guest appearence by Doug Pinnick of King's X who sings here together with James in the refrain. For a DT-long track this it got a more unusual style. It's bluesy and hard rockin', with a nice quiet part, which contains a great guitar solo by Petrucci and nice piano playing. This is a strong lengthier track on the album, which is getting better and better in the ending part. An definitive highlight of the album! (Track rating: 9/10 points)

"Taking Away My Pain": A ballad, which is dedicated to John E. Petrucci and like a big part on here written by John Petrucci. This is a song about letting a loved one go, at this point John's dad. It's a moving piece and John wrotes all his inner feelings about it on here. This is very personal, so I don't want to discuss about the song in particular, which isn't really progressive, just a personnal piece by the compositional motor and lyrical heart of the band. (Track rating: 8/10 points)

"Just Let Me Breathe" was written by Mike Portnoy, you hear this in the style of it. It's heavy and straight, with a groovy guitar by John Petrucci, pounding bass and cool vocals by James LaBrie, who sings here a bit like James Hetfield of Metallica, not as clear as on "The Glass Prison" but you still can hear the influence, specially when he shouts "Yeah!". For metal-heads a funny thing, but for prog-heads? A matter of taste. This song is good though, but nothing really special. (Track rating: 7.5/10 points)

"Anna Lee": Dream Theater are strong in writing ballads and "Anna Lee" is another good example. The piano is simple but works pretty well on here, James sings with full emotion, he also wrote the lyrics for it. The song is about holding together and the fear to live alone. A nice one and the best slow song of the record IMO. (Track rating: 8.5/10 points)

"Trial Of Tears": The longest track of the record and closer to the album is seperated in three parts, which belong together in musical and lyrical aspect. The only song on here, which was written by John Myung is about spending life in New York City, with all it's dark sides and lightful. The whole band works very well together on here, they play the ball to each other and any single one brings a perfect work on this. All five musicians end the record in one greatful final, even it's more a solid lengthy track by Dream Theater than an really outstanding. (Track rating: 8.5/10 points)

All in all is left to say, that "Falling Into Infinity" was DTs least acclaimed record to date, but they once more did a great job, because they didn't repeated themselves. The record got it's best moments, when John Petrucci brings on his strong solo parts, the band jams together in great complexer parts and in the quieter moments. The production on here is a step backwards from the powerful sound of the both previous studio records, but this release is better, than some fans and press say it is. Recommended to fans of 80's Rush and people, who just want great music in their collection, even it's not highly acclaimed.

Record rating: 8 + 7.5 + 9.5 + 8 + 7 + 9 + 9 + 8 + 7.5 + 8.5 + 8.5 = 90.5 / 11 tracks = 8.227272727 points = 83 % on MPV scale = 8/10 points = 4/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Excellent addition to any prog music collection

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Two days ago I received a short message from my progmate, Adjie, in Surabaya - approx 1000 miles away from Jakarta - informing that there is a confirmed date for Dream Theater concert in Jakarta 29 January 2006. Wow! What a great news for me after all the whole last year I had been waiting for their planned concert in Singapore that finally was cancelled. Hope the news will become reality and we wanna see DT rocks Jakarta. Yeah .!!! Well, after that short message, the news spread around our community like a bullet, everybody is now aware that DT will finally come to Jakarta, Indonesia. Rock on! That news ignited me to spin all of DT albums starting from "Octavarium", "Train Of Thought", "Live at Budokan" etc. Having reviewed most of DT albums I come to realize that I have not reviewed "Falling Into Infinity". So I spin this album more and more. I have insofar underrated this album so I seldom spin the CD which I purchased dated back 1998. I have been wrong so far because this album is an excellent one; I especially love the sounds of snare 10 played by Mike Portnoy.

The album kicks off with "New Millennium" which begins with Petrucci and Sherinian works on guitar and keyboard in ambient up tempo beat. "A single star behind me ." that's how LaBrie enters the music. What follow is an excellent music typical DT style and emphasis on inventive drum, dynamic bass guitar and soaring guitar work. I like especially the bass and drum sounds at approx 5:45. Cool. It flows with guitar and keyboard solos played together and sometime in alternate. The track continues with a pop rock symphonic song "You Not Me" with a combination of guitar riffs (played softly) and bass; augmented with excellent drumming. Petrucci demonstrates his short solo during interlude. The song is quite straight forward with Sherinian provides long sustain keyboard sound at background which gives symphonic flavor.

"Peruvian Skies" is a melodic mellow track [opening part] with relatively simple structure; LaBrie sings perfectly throughout this track. The song moves into hard one with increasing voice line followed with guitar solo work and heavy riffs featuring keyboard solo. I personally enjoy this track because it moves from mellow to heavy part energetically. The song is based on an article that Petrucci read about an abused girl in Peru, which is where the title came from. Next is a ballad "Hollow Years" that has become a favorite of mine since I watched the "Live at Budokan" where the band extended this track into a 9-minue one. It's basically a simple ballad but it has a powerful melody and composition. The opening part where the music rhythm is an acoustic guitar, bass and drum accompanying LaBrie's voice reminds me to the music of Sting. "Carry me to the shoreline. Bury me in the sand ." uh .what a great melody!

"Burning My Soul" starts with bass guitar solo followed with a heavy rhythm music comprising heavy guitar riffs ala Images and Words album. The song is very energetic as this was originally a live track before it became a CD version of this album where 4 minutes instrumental section was lifted for this audio record but recorded separately under "Hell's Kitchen" (next track). This instrumental piece is really cool, I do enjoy it very much. Nuance-wise it reminds me to Rush' "La Villa Strangiato". I especially like how Petrucci demonstrates his stunning electric guitar solo augmented with dynamic Portnoy drumwork. Sherinian plays two keyboard roles: as background with long sustain notes and solo in alternate with guitar work. Powerful track! Hell's Kitchen is the neighborhood in New York City where you can find Avatar Studios, the site of the recording of Falling Into Infinity.

"Lines In the Sand" is another great song with relatively long duration (12 minutes) comprising styles and tempo changes. What I mean with style here is the way the song is composed because I can hear parts with blues-based influence but also parts with heavy riffs like metal music. And this song offers the styles brilliantly that does not sound boring at all. Petrucci, Myung, Sherinian, Portnoy and LaBrie perform their individual part excellently. This is one of favorite tracks of this album. It flows to next track that is very personal to Petrucci "Take Away My Pain" which basically was written by him in memory of his late father who died of cancer in 1996. It's an excellent ballad.

"Just Let Me Breathe" is truly a rocker! I love it very much. It takes relatively short duration (5 minutes) but it contains chock full of great guitar, keyboard, drum, bass and voice line in energetic beat. It starts with a howling guitar sound followed with snare drum and later with bass guitar and keyboard in fast tempo with high energy. "Open your eyes and turn off your mind ." that's how LaBrie brings his voice up to the music. The interlude part right after "Now they're dead and buried .." is the peak of the song as it demonstrates dazzling fast speed keyboard, stunning guitar, inventive bass and drums at its best! It's an adrenalin exploder, really .!!!!

"Anna Lee" brings the music down with a mellow music about a fictional character that LaBrie invented after being "deeply moved" by some articles he had read about child abuse and incest. It's a cool one. The album concludes with another excellent composition "Trial of Tears", an epic that comprises three parts. Structure-wise this mini epic has inspired the band's eighth album epic "Octavarium" as it starts with an ambient sounds of guitar, keyboard in relatively long period, approx more than one and a half minutes. The music moves in relatively slow tempo with the entrance of drum and bass followed with voice line. The song gradually moves into heavier part at approx minute 6 with great drum work followed with solid basslines featuring guitar solo in the vein of Allan Holdsworth. Yep, it reminds me to Holdsworth in UK style of guitar playing. It's really stunning and adrenalin-exploding! This interlude part takes relatively long period followed with a change of style in drumming at approx minute 8 which remarks the entrance of Sherinian's keyboard solo. Wow! It's really wonderful.

I think this album has been underrated as people compare this album with Images and Words that made the band name sky-rocketted. It's highly recommended.

Welcome to Jakarta, DT! We will mobilize thousand of rockers all over the country to Gelora Bung Karno Stadium for Dream Theater concert in Jakarta, 29 Jan 06! Keep on proggin' , keep on rockin' ..!

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Dream Theater's "pop" album is sort of a mixed bag of brilliantly composed progressive material and sappy material that isn't progressive in the least bit. This album would also be the last one to feature Derek Sherinian on the keyboards, for Jordan Rudess would take the helm on the next studio effort. Petrucci shines on guitar on this one, varying his playing to many different styles (as with Images and Words), Portnoy has improved his drumming immensly over the years and really puts out some powerful performance, Myung began to experiment with the Chapman Stick on this album (it can be heard on two songs) so his bass parts became more extravagent (although not as extravagent to the extent of say Tony Levin), Sherinian really pulls out all the stops from the keyboard side of the sound, and LaBrie gives the vocals his all and really comes out strong on this one.

The strongest tracks on this album are New Millenium, Peruvian Skies, Hell's Kitchen, Lines in the Sand, and Trial of Tears. The first of these tracks is one of the two tracks that utilizes the Chapman Stick. The power from Petrucci's 7-string opus is just astonishing and LaBrie's vocal on this track is rather impressive. Peruvian Skies is the ultimate song to fit elements of Pink Floyd and Metallica (and they do so live), with some clean, phased guitar in the intro and some soaring synths, then it evolves into a metal nightmare of riff after riff of heartpounding fun. Hell's Kitchen is the sole instrumental on the album, and it's very majestic in it's craft. The tubular bells towards the end really give it that majestic feel, and it segues perfectly into Lines in the Sand. The intro to Lines in the Sand gives a feeling of desolation to the listener, with some nice keyboard work from Sherinian. Sherinian is a star on this track and showing that he was no slouch on the keyboards as well. The finale to the album, the epic Trial of Tears has more Pink Floyd and Rush references (the intro makes me think of a Shine On You Crazy Diamond/Xanadu mixture). The lyrics on this one are spot on and the performances from all members is just stunning.

Overall, this is a good album, but it should be one of the last ones you buy from Dream Theater. It is better than When Dream and Day Unite and A Change of Seasons, but it is the weakest after those two. I give it a 3.5/5.

Review by imoeng
4 stars Falling Into Infinity

This is Dream Theater fourth studio album, contains eleven songs and for me, it is not Dream Theater's best album. One thing to notice at the beginning of this review is the cover of the album, the Dream Theater logo. The logo is not Dream Theater's official logo, or in other word, its not like the logo like in the album Images And Words. This album is also become the second album for Derek Sherinian in Dream Theater, after A Change Of Season.

Personally, I think this was underrated because of the replacement of Kevin Moore and also because of the high success of the previous album, Images And Words, but I think this album is not bad as most people said. However, it is true that this album is not as good as Images And Words, but still this is an excellent album. In this album, John Myung recorded many tracks using a Chapman stick.

New Millennium - The song begins with a unique keyboard and guitar line, followed by John Myung's chapman stick line and slowly backed with a simple drum line. The intro is great, creates a nice feeling of the song. Moreover, when the vocal started, the music change creates a different feeling of a darker feeling. The overall rhythm and musical composition are the same throughout the song, which is very unusual for Dream Theater.

You Not Me - More like a popular song and very commercial, just like I Walk Beside You and Hollow Years. The song begins with a simple and not-very-Dream Theater vocal style, followed with a very pop-ish chorus, but the feeling is great, I mean, the notes selection are great.

Peruvian Skies - Started with an acoustic guitar line, continued with simple bass and drum riff while LaBrie sings calmly, when Sherinian creates a very nice echo at the back. The chorus is very simple but has nice tone, very mellow. The song then change to a darker atmosphere, for the half last of the song, but is bridged with an incredible guitar solo. And as I said before, the last half of the song is very metal. Hollow Years - Very mellow and ballad, for comparison, is Another Day and The Answer Lies Within. There is no heavy or distortion guitar riff, just plain throughout the song. Moreover, because of the non-progressiveness song, a video clip was made for this song, which then released into a single. The coolest part is the guitar solo, just simple and beautiful.

Burning My Soul - The most metal song in the album starts with a heavy guitar and drum line. The whole song itself is very metal, but what a pity, the song composition is the same for the whole song, which is very boring and very not Dream Theater. However, the guitar solo adds some more metal elements through Petrucci's amazing solo.

Hell's Kitchen - A simple instrumental song, but is very beautiful. Just plain and simple guitar lines and drum lines, but still some sick guitar solo though. The best part is when the atmosphere changes in the third minute, which is more like an ending of the song, just stunning. Furthermore, Hell's Kitchen, which is a New York City neighborhood where Avatar Studios, the recording studios for this album, are located, probably an intro of the next song.

Lines In The Sand - A very long solo, cool solo, with great drum and bass riffs. The best part is when four of the instruments play the same notes. Just amazing, where all Dream Theater personnel gave their best. WHOA! I don't know what to say, this is my favorite song in the album, especially John Petrucci's solo, in the middle of the song, the atmosphere changes to more like jazz and blues, clean guitar solo, followed by distortion guitar solo, increase the energy of the song.

Take Away My Pain - The lyric of the song was made by John Petrucci in the memory of his father who died of cancer. For me, it's a very beautiful song, exquisite lyric, with even more great song composition. When I listened to this song for the first time, I almost cried, just by looking at the lyric and listen deeply to the song. "take away my pain, I'm not frightened anymore, just stay at me tonight, I'm tired of this fight, soon I'll be knocking at your door".

Just Let Me Breathe - A very metal song, with very heavy guitar riffs backed with also heavy drum lines. After a sad song, Take Away My Pain, Dream Theater tried to make the energy back. Guess what? They did, I was just astonished, a truly great song. Owh, one more thing, the keyboard solo is just amazing, with the help from guitar and bass. A masterpiece.

Anna Lee - Another mellow song in the album, just like The Answer Lies Within and Take Away My Pain. Just beautiful.

Trial Of Tears - This song is divided into three sections, It's Raining, Deep In Heaven and The Wasteland. The It's Raining part is wonderful, nice tone and lyric, "its raining, raining, raining deep in heaven." This section is followed by instrumental section, Deep In Heaven, at the sixth minute, and Mike Portnoy kicks ass! In this section, four of them plays very great, in terms of technique and notes selection, a beautiful ending for the album. After that, after a heavy metal instrumental section, the song and the album ended with a-not-so-metal song, The Wasteland, wonderful!!!

For its greatness, I give four stars. Why not five? Well, its not as good as other albums, what do you think?

Timur Imam Nugroho - Indonesia

Review by FloydWright
4 stars Unfortunately, this album seems to be catching a lot of flack, and there's no question that like many DREAM THEATER albums, there's very little middle ground about it--either you love it or you hate it, and in my mind much of it has to do with what exactly makes you a DT fan. For those DT fans who are in it for the unrestrained soloing, the complex time signatures, and meandering progressions that define their so-called magnum opus, Scenes from a Memory, I can see where Falling into Infinity might be a disappointment. However, I don't turn my nose up at good music, regardless of where it's found--even if it manages somehow to get air time on the radio!

This is a more accessible DREAM THEATER than one usually sees, but I've personally found that the more accessible, and yes, radio-friendly DREAM THEATER gets, the better the overall quality of the music gets. When there's something there to put a check on their excesses, when they just relax and stop worrying about making "good prog" and just make "good music," then that's exactly what happens--even if it isn't all 100% pure, Scenes-style prog.

DREAM THEATER is a band that can be made or broken by its keyboard player (as nearly happened under JORDAN RUDESS). What DEREK SHERINIAN brings to the table is a much more laid-back, jazzy style that's almost reminiscent at times of RICK WRIGHT from PINK FLOYD--the genius is in what isn't played rather than what is. The rest of the band takes their cue from SHERINIAN; PETRUCCI's wild shredding gives way at times to a gentle, atmospheric style, PORTNOY slips into a simpler, but more effective groove, and JAMES LaBRIE opts for a tone that at times seems almost fragile, such as in "Hollow Years". Occasionally this backfires, as in parts of "Peruvian Skies," but it's not glaring enough to take away from the overall album.

The best moments on Falling into Infinity include the heavy "Burning My Soul," with SHERINIAN's crunchy, overdriven Hammond--but it's really the song's companion piece, "Hell's Kitchen," that will leave you with the most lasting impression. "Hell's Kitchen" is a kind of DREAM THEATER that only happens once in a blue moon: a soft, flowing, organic piece full of emotion and restraint. Heavily inspired by PINK FLOYD, DEREK SHERINIAN brings in the gentle sounds of a Rhodes electric piano and at one point PETRUCCI does a GILMOUR-like wail that you're not likely to forget any time soon. While he shreds some later as the song builds up, it never seems to get out of hand.

The transition into "Lines in the Sand" is done very smoothly, and this twelve-minute song is well worth its full length. Here, PETRUCCI shows why he is the strongest lyric-writer DREAM THEATER has. Bringing in a Catholic perspective without being overbearing, he writes one of the most striking lyrics I've ever seen on a DREAM THEATER album:

"Sometimes, your castles in the air And the fantasies you're seeking

Are the crosses you bear"

Believers will find much truth in this. With the musical allusions to "Amazing Grace," and perhaps even "What Child is This", it's amazing that this song hasn't been picked up by churches with contemporary services, for special events. It will be interesting to see if, ten years down the road, the resistance to all bands labeled "metal" gives way to bring in things like this.

While the next song, "Take Away My Pain," isn't quite as distinctive musically, and some will be angry at how radio-friendly it is, if you really sit down and listen to the lyrics, you begin to realize that PETRUCCI has given a touching tribute to his father, as he records the journey from grief to resolution. The image of his father's face in his own, staring back at him in the lake is reassuring in a way--and it's this successful resolution that distinguishes PETRUCCI's writing from the trendy angst poetry PORTNOY has a tendency to turn out.

Unfortunately, it's PORTNOY's lyrics that are one of the few drawbacks on this album--on "Burning My Soul," for some reason it feels like the "don't give a [&*!#]" comment is gratuitious, just for shock value to prove how "heavy" and "dark" his work is. In fact, has PORTNOY ever written anything upbeat? "Just Let Me Breathe" sure doesn't suggest it. Here he engages in some bitter, Marilyn Manson-like wordplay and satire, but to be honest I don't think it quite measures up to Manson.

The album closes on a soft note with "Anna Lee" and "Trial of Tears," neither of them masterpieces, but neither of them a waste of space on the CD, either. While not perfect by any means, I never feel as though my time has been wasted while listening to Falling into Infinity--which is, of course, the ultimate test for a DREAM THEATER album. For those who are not dedicated solely to prog or metal, or for those who are still testing the waters in both genres, I think this is a great album to ease your way in and see how you like it.

Review by OpethGuitarist
1 stars Falling into Disaster

After the inspiring release of ACoS, arguably their best song, Dream Theater releases its first album to truly divide their fan base. The commercialty of this record, along with its rather simple and dull concepts will drive many nuts, especially those who are/were fans.

With songs like "Just Let Me Breathe" and "Burning My Soul", Dream Theater has pulled up lame, marketing itself to younger people by writing dull songs. There are many disastrous tracks here that are basically heavy rock riffing, and the riffs are fairly typical and boring. This also marks as LaBrie's worst vocal performance, although he does well on the track "Lines in the Sand" which is the best song you will find here.

Many will tell you Dream Theater "progressed" here from their earlier sound. I can tell you this much. Change for change sakes doesn't make things good, here the change is one to radio-friendly rock, with a few ties to the old guard.

An abominable release, to be avoided by fans of the band and the prog community.

Review by WaywardSon
4 stars I bought this album after hearing the fantastic "Images and Words" On first listen I was terribly dissapointed, I actually hated it with a passion! After about ten listens (I had to convince myself that there must be something here!) it started to eventually sound better. Now it has become one of my most played albums by Dream Theater.

There are some great songs on this album. "Peruvian Skies" has a great soaring guitar solo which comes straight after La Brie hits a high note. Just for that guitar solo build up this song is great!

"Hellīs Kitchen" is also a highlight. An Instrumental song obviously about New York, very moving and excellent musicianship (great guitar playing by Petrucci) "Lines in the Sand" has some beautiful slow emotional guitar(which will surprise some of DTīs critics who say they donīt play with any emotion!) This is probably the strongest song on the album.

"Trial of tears" is a thirteen minute song with excellent lyrics by John Myung. Also a very relaxed and laid back sound. In fact there are a lot of songs that hardly have any metal in them, "Anna Lee" a nice ballad with some excellent crystal sounding singing from La Brie.

There are some songs which arenīt that great, like "Burnin my soul" and "Take away my pain", but the strong numbers I mentioned in the first paragraph more than make up of the weaker side of this album.

This is a great album for real progheads to begin with.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars DREAM THEATER's fourth studio album is more mainstream with some radio friendly tunes that in my opinion just do not work very well. I'm not sure if it's because they seem forced or not, but they seem uninspired. Derek Sherinian made his debut on the EP "A Change Of Seasons" which came out just before this album, so this is Derek's first full length record with the band. It appears to me the band seems a little lost without Kevin Moore, although they will come through big time with the next studio record.

"Peruvian Skies" is a highlight for me, it's a song that stays mellow for about 3 1/2 minutes then it gets intense, then a minute later it rises in intensity again.The drumming is fabulous on this tune. "Hell's Kitchen" is another good one, an instrumental with a beautiful guitar melody throughout. "Lines In The Sand" may be the best of the lot, and the raw, soulful backing vocals of Doug Pinnick (KING'S X) only add to the quality of this tune. "Take Away My Pain" surprisingly works well for me, I like it a lot. The epic "Trial Of Tears" features lots of keyboards and a great chorus: "It's raining, raining, deep in heaven", the guitar is great as well in this song.

This isn't a bad record but it pales when compared to most of their albums.

Review by sleeper
3 stars Falling Into Infinity is Dream Theater's fourth album and so far the only album to feature Derek Sherinian on keyboards after the departure of Kevin Moore. As normal, there is something different about this album that doesn't exist on other Dream Theater records, unfortunately in this case it's the fact that there is a lot of straightforward hard rock here, some of it good some of it bad.

Truth be told, there's only five songs on this album that I consider to be Prog (New Millennium, Peruvian Skies, Hells Kitchen, Lines In The Sand and Trial Of Tears) the rest of the album seems to be broken into a series of short hard rock songs and cheesy, insipid ballads. This is the unfortunate result of meddling on the part of the record company that wished to see Dream Theater becoming more commercial (you'd think that these companies would have worked out that that hardly ever works out well by now). As a result this album is very patchy, some ideas here could have really come out with great music but, alas, were are stuck with patches of real mediocrity.

I'll keep it simple, the really bad songs on here are You Not Me, Hollow Years, Take Away My Pain and Anna Lee. These songs remind me of Asia's usual output in the 80's, dull and insipid and the main reason that I don't listen to this album that much. The other none-prog songs on this album (Burning My Soul and Just Let Me Breath) are simply hard rock songs with a few metal sensibilities and the odd moment that shows that your listening to one of the leading prog bands of the 1990's. I must stress that these songs aren't bad at all and actually really catchy songs, both lyrically and musically, that stay in your mind after hearing them. Very enjoyable stuff.

The best songs here are quite definitely the five I mentioned first. Of these, the epics Lines In The Sand and Trial Of Tears are the best and among some of the best songs that Dream Theater have ever recorded, classics that hold their own against Learning To Live, Metropolis and The Mirror. Lines In The Sand is particularly interesting for the cameo of Kings X vocalist Doug Pinnick, who offers a much deeper, richer voice to offset that of LaBrie in the chorus and it works well. The quality of Trial Of Tears is no surprise as anyone that has heard Dream Theater will be aware of just how good a song writer John Myung is. Of the other three, New Millennium should have been a great track but I find that the production here drains some of the spark out of the song, especially from Myung's intro on the Chapman Stick. Hells Kitchen is a nice instrumental that builds up nicely before flowing out, however it is the shortest track on the album at 4 minutes and could have been longer. Peruvian Skies shows that Dream Theater know how to build a song up, starting with a gloomy main melody and building up from their.

Overall I'll give this album 3 stars due to the fact that a few really good songs are badly offset with some of Dream Theater's worst songs and this album isn't entirely prog so I couldn't give it 5 stars in good conscience as it lacks in this department.

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the first Dream Theater album that didn't get instant love from all the band's long time fans. After Images and Words, praised everywhere as the new face of progressive-metal, and Awake, the flawed yet praised attempt by DT at a more metallic sound, this release was a new approach attempted by DT: simpler, yet still prog songs. Many fans disliked it because of its supposed "poppy" numbers.... but others read between the lines and saw what truly lies beneath the "easy" sound: another progressive-metal masterpiece, less pyrotechnical, but full of great music nevertheless.

One of the main concerns of DT's fans was the departure of founding member and key- man extraordinaire Kevin Moore, whose "Space Dye Vest" turned out to be his swan song as part of DT. To replace him the 4 remaining members appointed Derek Sherinian, a well-recognized performer with experience in a lot of different genres (from Kiss to Billy Idol to Alice Cooper). So Falling Into Infinity was to be his first full-fledged DT album; yes, he recorded the 23-minute masterpiece A change of Seasons with the band, but that song's skeleton was already created; FII was going to be his real DEBUT with DT from a creative point of view.

The results are there for everyone to judge. For me, this album ranks high among DT's 8 opuses, somewhere in 4th place after Scenes from a Memory, Images and Words and Awake, but higher than sub-par releases like Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence or Train of Thought. Here, even though the level of complexity was toned down a little, the level of musicality, the level of beauty didn't suffer a bit. If it's true that we won't find a lot of mind-dazzling virtuosic passages in this album, what we'll find for sure is LOTS AND LOTS of beautiful melodies, perfectly-crafted song structures, soul-lifting solos and, in something that actually comes as an improvement over its predecessor, Awake, James LaBrie's singing is back home: flawless modulation, perfect note-singing, the best for melodic passages. Gone, and that's good, are those weird (to say the least) high- shrieks that the canadian master trademarked in Awake. And Sherinian? An excellent debut (and good-bye, sadly) by the synthsmith, his style is less piano-driven and more atmospheric, spacey than that of Moore. He relies on pure neffects and pedals a lot more than old Kevin used to, but it's all for the good.

New Millennium (7/10) To tell the truth, this song doesn't start the album in the best possible manner: a long, sometimes confusing number; some Rush-like lines in pure prog-metal fashion but without the focus and the melodies that DT are capable of.

You Not Me (8/10), the "radio-friendly" track in the album; a short, very straight forward song with a decent main riff and a very catchy chorus. Not a gem, but entertaining.

Peruvian Skies (9/10), as you can see, the album continues to get better. This song starts very quietly, with Portnoy playing at the lowest volume he's capable of; halfway down the track a beautiful Petrucci solo leads us to a crescendo that takes us to a really hard-rocking part. The melody factor in this song makes it a shining moment.

Hollow Years (8/10),a beautiful acoustic ballad with marvelous singing by LaBrie; if it doesn't get at least a 9 is only because it's too "sweet" for a metal album... but for a prog-metal album, is very good. Burning My Soul (8/10), a strong, powerful song. The main riff is metal at its most metal (?), with double-bass drumming pounding like two gigantic pistons making the rock engine roar with anger. Good chorus, decent solos, if somewhat too "metallic".

Hell's Kitchen (10/10), this is where the album starts to reach DREAM THEATER level: a short yet BEAUTIFUL instrumental, very simple in essence; it starts spacey and acoustic, drums come in a drive the rhythm towards a full band crescendo, a MARVELOUS bass-guitar-keyboards-drums fill combination playing descending scales (yes, all together) gives signal we're approaching the finish line, but what lies after that...well, is just...

Lines in the Sand (11/10), again, forgive me my exaggeration, but with my all-time favorite tracks I suffer with "hyperbolizationitis".... This track is not only the best song in this album, but one of the best in all of DT's CAREER. From the intro with the simple drum fills, to the main riff with Portnoy playing wizard with the hi-hat, to the chorus with King's X's Doug Pinninck as guest vocals, to the AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL guitar solo, to the jazzy stop-and-go's at the end, well, this track oozes "Dream Theaterness"... is great, great, GREAT.

Take Away My Pain (5/10) as if trying to play with me, as if trying to provoke me to bash my head against a wall, or maybe because after such an incredible song it's mandatory to include a forgettable moment, this track is just AWFUL. Yes, it's not Under-a-Glass-Prison-awful (that is, it's not a metallica-meets-numetal rip-off), but it's poor-and-weak-ballad-awful. Not even with drums (just percussion) that would have added some energy, this song brings me back to earth after the out-of-earth-voyage that was Lines in the Sand...This song tells me "we're a bunch of humans after all, we can write crap, too". And man can they do it!

Just Let Me Breathe (6/10), just the mention somewhere in the song of MTV makes me want to tremble... A hard-rocking song with no memorable parts, an uninspired number, a metal-fest, nothing else.

Anna Lee (8/10) , you can call me poppy here but actually I prefer this LaBrie track than the noise that preceded it. It's just piano and LaBrie, a la Wait for Sleep. Piano and La Brie in melodic mode means Piano and another beautiful instrument together, and it is true to this song. Nothing spectacular, but very rewarding for it's soul-lifting melody.

Trial of Tears (10/10) Just when the album appeared to be getting nowhere, the last song suddenly brings us back to Dream Theater realm. The ilussion of rain with just ride and crash cymbals and toms is very well accomplished here by Portnoy. Sherinian shiones in this very melodic track, with an outstanding chorus, great soloing and, again, inspired playing by axe-high-priest Petrucci. A perfect ending to an imperfect album.

So in the end what we have is a great collection of songs with a couple of disasters thrown in for balance (Take Away, Just let me). But when good, this album portrays DT at their BEST. Yes: the inspired moments (Hell's Kitchen, Lines in the Sand, Trial of Tears) have NOTHING to ask to earlier anthems like METROPOLIS in terms of quality. I agree, maybe the "how-can-they-play-that" factor, maybe the "man are they octopusses!" factor isn't so evident as in I&W or Awake, (or SFAM), but the MUSICAL factor, the MELODIC factor, the SONG factor, the "I WANT TO LISTEN TO IT AGAIN" factor is so present and so alive, this album earns 4 starts with no problem. And, to be honest, if it was for me, I'd give Falling Into Infinty a 5th star, because I still love this more than a lot of other records I own... But to keep with the spirit of PA and its rating system, let's say it's a 4: an excellent addition to your prog collection.

Recommended for: every DT fan, every fan of well-crafted prog-metal with MELODY, MUSICIANSHIP, any person with taste for GOOD SONGS.

Not recomended for: square-minded metallers that like their metal to be played at 100 mph and don't care for melody... and also not recommended for fans of Dream Theater's logo: the one in the cover is just awful (not that it matters or that I care, but I had to made up a reason not to recommend this to anyone).

Review by 1800iareyay
3 stars Falling Into Infinty arrived after a hiatus in which Dream Theater's label refused to release any of the band's output. They wanted songs with commercial appeal. Members slowly began to buckle under the pressure, so Falling Into Infinity represents DT's stab at commerciality. The result in DT's softest album to date and one of it's most controversial. However, there is prog on this album, and it redeems this misstep.

New Millenium is a mediocre opener, though it contains some of Myung's best bass. It's too long and lacks the drive of Dream Theater songs

You Not Me sounds like AOR and is banal at best

Peruvian Skies is the best rack so far with Petrucci's tasteful solo leads to the first heaviness of the album.

Hollow Years is the first standout song ont he album. Later perfected on Live at Budokan, this is nevertheless a beautiful acoustic ballad.

Burning My Soul is nothing special, but it is the first metal throughout song on the album.

Hell's Kitchen is an amazing, soft instrumental with one of Petrucci's finest solos.

Lines in the Sand is THE standout song on the album. It features guest vox from King's X's incredible Doug Pinnick. If only he sang more than the chorus this song would be even better. John Myung shines on this track with his pounding bass. Great solo from Petrucci, another one of his best. I bought this album based solely on hearing this song onec, so that should give you an idea as to my devotion to it.

Take Away My Pain loses all of the momentum gained by Lines in the Sand with its cheesy balladry.

Just Let Me Breathe continues the downward spiral with its straight-foward though uninspired metal.

Anna Lee is decent but it too fails to ebb the decline.

Trial of Tears redeems the failures of the last three songs with the first truly prog song on the album. Sherinian gets his moment in the sun here, and Portnoy's restrained drumming is some of his best. A three part track that brings this album into progland.

Falling Into Infinty is not DT's wrost album (that would be Octavarium), in fact, it's quite good. The problem is that most songs stop at the edge of greatness, much like the songs on Marillion's Fugazi. Petrucci's soft solos show just how good he is when he doesn't play at the speed of light; Lines in the Sand and Hell's Kitchen are two of his five greatest solos. The album is too straight-foward for such a progressive band, but anyone who has already gotten into DT with Scenes From a Memory and I&W should own this album at some point.

Review by Moatilliatta
3 stars After two excellent full-lengths, Dream Theater were struck by the loss of Kevin Moore. With the release of A Change of Seasons, Dream Theater fans should have had their faith and hope retained/restored. New keyboardist Derek Sherinian put on a good performance in what remains to be the band's finest piece, though he had no part in the writing (it was written originally for Images and Words, and oh what an album that would have been, though I quite like how things turned out). With their first full-length excursion post-Moore, what was the outcome? Certainly nothing anyone could have predicted. We have an odd change in direction. 1997's Falling in Infinity turned out to be a more simplistic, poppy (theoretically) record. A strong dose of neo-prog is also apparent, and that's not to say the metal isn't here; there is plenty of metal, it's just more commercially formatted, and with that being combind with the overall simplicity, we find Dream Theater sounded more similar to their origins than ever before. That is of course, when they're playing heavy; a few ballads appear on this one.

While all of that sounds bad, Dream Theater still manage to make half of this album very good. "New Millenium" opens the album with a sound unlike anything we've ever heard from this band. It's atmospheric and catchy, but it's not trite. The song traverses through this atmospheric, slightly jazz stuff and a heavy set of verses and choruses over the course of eitht minutes. The following tune "You Not Me" is the first sign of weakness we've seen from the band since their debut, which never even stooped to this level of commericalism musically speaking. It is, in short, a pop-metal song not even worth being on the radio. The next piece Dream Theater is back to themselves as "Peruvian Skies" is an excellent mini-epic. A very powerful song. The next track, "Hollow Years," is the first of three ballads, and it is actually a good one. I suppose the closest thing the group has come to this is "The Silent Man," which showed that they were capable of writing a simple, soft ballad. This one has a particularly nice riff on which the song finds its foundation. This song is amplified even more when it becomes a nine-minute live piece (as seen on the Budokan DVD), but they kept it short and sweet here, and it is still a good tune. The next song, "Burning My Soul" seems a bit shallow to me, it has no real substance and is just a heavy, headbangng type song. It's softer compliment, "Hell's Kitchen" really turns it around though. It is a beautiful instrumental piece, and is actually the msot complex piece on the whole album, despite it's mood and length. The next song is one of two epics. Both of which are great. It is followed by the second ballad, "Take Away My Pain," a song John Petrucci wrote for his deceased father for that I must respect this tune, but in reality, it is a boring new-wave kind of song. "Just Let Me Breathe" is similar to "Burning My Soul" as it is a more straightforward rocker, but this one actually has a fun riff and instrumental section to make it worth listening to. "Anna Lee" is the final ballad, and is between the first two in terms of quality. A pleasant song. The final track is the second of the epics, and man is it a good one. Easily the best track on the album. It has a sound unlike anything they've done (as can be said about most of this album), and has one of the best solo sections the group has ever performed.

Apparently Dream Theater had a lot of stress putting this one together, with added pressure from the label and all, hence the overall more commercial feel to this one. The one good thing to come from the label's influence was that the band did not write the 25-minute epic they were planning to write - an epic that was to be Metropolis Part 2 - and that is something to be thankful for. We have seven strong-excellent songs, and four poor songs. This one is still worth getting based on the strength of tracks 1, 3, 6, 7 and 11. Sherinian would not end up working out, and to suceed him would be the one to send the band into territories never before explored by these guys, and abounding, unprecedented quality would come from this musical force.

Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars Looking back on the band's output, and ignoring the raving/ranting reviews about this album, we can see that "Falling Into Infinity" is a smart, and logical progression in the band's sound-- one that is experimental, energetic, and different than its predecessors (hence, the rants).

Sherinian picks up Moore's place with effectiveness and the band as a whole plays very well throughout, using new textures (evident on "New Millennium) and styles ("Peruvian Skies", "Anna Lee") to further expand their repertoire and reach new fans. The two extended songs make for nice examples of the band's early progressive sound. There are some excellent instrumental sections as well, and as a whole "Falling into Infinity" feels much more purposeful than many of the band's newer albums.

While the song writing, lyrics and melodies on this one don't quite pack the punch of "Images and Words", they still make for great listening, especially after repeated plays.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Review by Zitro
3 stars New Millenium starts with an odd futuristic-sounding synth line and a triangle, tony levin sounding bass, and unusual opening vocals from Labrie. It all shows a different band, the biggest difference being that Myung can actually be heard!

Falling into Infinity is a change of sound for the band. Kevin Moore unfortunately left the band and had a replacement. The complexity of the arrangements got a bit stripped down, the sound is a bit jazzy in moments, and there are several simpler songs, some of them being low points in Dream Theater's musical career. I wished that they made a very good shorter album with those tracks removed as this feels like they wanting to stretch the album to the maximum capacity the CD can handle.

I'll go over the good songs first.

New Millenium as I stated sounds a bit different from their sound in the past and the first three minutes shine with its instrumental overture and a great low-tempo riff where Labrie opens with a nice and dark vocal line. The rest is a conventional rock sound with Labrie abandoning his opera-vocals. Peruvian Skies is an excellent melodic song with some mid 70s Rush influences. The first half is mellow and the second half is more intense with a great guitar performance. Hell's Kitchen is the instrumental here and while it has none of the virtuoso musicianship, is an excellent moody piece that flows from Burning My Soul (Metallica influenced song with an addictive riff) and into Lines in the Sand starts really well with a gorgeous lead synthesizer leading an atmospheric section that transform into a rocker with a guest vocalist. Unfortunately, I don't enjoy his rock&blues style and I wish Labrie sang those parts, even if I don't really enjoy Labrie's vocals much. Afterwards, the musical ideas improve and the song sounds very inspired, with both soft and heavy moments. Anna Lee , while not outstanding, works as a nice break from the heavier songs before it and Trial of Tears is a very good lengthy song with a very nice acoustic segment in minute 10. Trial of Tears really is on par with their previous long songs. It has musicianship, atmosphere and emotion.

Now, to the more disappointing songs:

All the songs I didn't mention yet are much more radio-friendly, which is sad coming from a group like Dream Theater, who rose as a cult-band and became popular due to their talents. You Not Me for example relies on a wha wha guitar riff as a hook and a somewhat generic chorus that comes close to pop. Hollow Years is another mainstream song. This song is acoustic and has some very nice acoustic guitar solos in the beginning and middle, but Labrie kills this song for me. He just sounds a bit out of tune and his voice doesn't seem to match the music very well. This song is done much better in the "Live at Budokan" live album. Take Away My Pain had potential to be a very touching farewell to Petrucci's father, but I only find it a mediocre ballad with lack of good melodies and a lackluster guitar solo that doesn't move me. Finally, Just Let Me Breathe is an angry metalfest that really does nothing for me, though the keyboard solo is not bad.

Overall, this is a good album with some poor tracks, but not really recommended until you've heard most of their other better-received albums.

1. New Millennium (B-) 2. You Not Me (C-) 3. Peruvian Skies (B+) 4. Hollow Years (C-) 5. Burning My Soul (C+) 6. Hell's Kitchen (B+) 7. Lines in the Sand (B) 8. Take Away My Pain (D) 9. Just Let Me Breathe (D) 10. Anna Lee (C+) 11. Trial of Tears (B+)

Review by Prog-jester
3 stars That album should have been a major “break on through” for the band: filled with radiohits written by other authors, it was indeed a mainstream rock-album with some Proggy elements. Later members of the band will claim that they don’t like FII much too, they were forced and result is artificial. Hard to disagree here. Any DT fan has an album that he wishes would never be released; FII is THAT album in my case. Where have all the powers gone? Cliches, average sound and song-writing, lack of really good songs and catchy melodies (“Burning my Soul” is a satisfying exception), cheesy ballads (“Anna Lee”, “Hollow Years”, “Take Away My Pain”), another song that I hate immensely (“Just Let Me Breathe”)…Both epics (“Lines in the Sand” and “Trial of Tears”) were filled with predictable hints and structures and hardly were able to amaze. Fortunately the very next year debut LTE was released to prove that these guys still know how to make good and enjoyable music. And a year later…well, that’s another story!

Best tracks: you must be kidding…OK, “Burning my Soul” and “Trail of Tears”

Best moments: very few

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars It has been a hell of a time that "Dream Theater" has released a studio album. Three years...

The opening number "New Millennium" is a great song. Not really on the hard edge of their repertoire. Hard-rocking of course but with a feeling. This is my preferred DT type of songs. Inspired, fresh and original : there will be some nice Oriental influences featured here as well. The band will of course not forget their heavy roots during "You Not Me"; but not only. Vocal harmonies are truely nice. But LaBrie has used us to this quite often. Still, it is nice to listen to such beautiful parts.

"Peruvian Skies" sounds almost Floydian (more to come of course). It is really amazing to listen to such a track. "Dream Theater" is fully metal (prog ?) oriented, but still, they will here and there produce some full prog-oriented songs like this one. At some points, they are hard to categorized. The second part of this great song is a lot harder and rather convincing I must say. A great prog, hard, space song. I like this mix (which is not very usual, I admit). One of my fave of the band so far.

A sweet rock ballad for the next one : "Hollow Years". It is of course not the first time that "Dream Theater" produces such a song. It is almost never a weak moment of their albums, and this one just holds the comparison. We'll get a good rock song to continue (nothing great but still pleasant). For fully DT addicts, don' t worry : you'll get a truely song of theirs. Heavy band, powerful vocals. This is how "Burning my Soul" sounds like.

"Dream Theater" will also produce a great instrumental track : "Hell's Kitchen" : it is fully in-line with some earlier work. "Erotomania" is of course the reference when you listen to this one.

Now, the first epic of this album. "Lines in the Sand". This one is not straight lined. It also holds some prog moments : the intro and the initial vocal parts are really to be watched out. There will also be several "Space Truckin" (Purple) like riffs throughout the song. It is not my favourite of the album but at almost half time, a great and yet another spacey section will open the way for a fantastic (but again Gilmouresque) guitar solo from Petrucci. Positively great IMO. The closing part of the song is again quite rocking and these "Space Truckin" feelings will add a bit of nostalgia, I guess. A very pleasant but hard track.

To balance the album, another rock ballad will be featured. "Take Away my Pain" is not really on par. Mellowish, poppish, boredom-ish... The band will of course not keep on these basis, and will propose a derivative "Purple" song again ("The Mule"). Fantastic drumming during "Just Let Me Breathe".

"Ana Lee" sounds as an "Elton John" or an "Eagle" ballad. Not truely "Dream Theater" oriented. This is probably the problem with this release. Some good songs : rock ballads and rock songs. But not really numbers like the band was praised for. This album might well be an effort for some prog ears that had some hard time with their earlier work.

"Trial of Tears" is the most elaborated song of the whole. Hard, even symphonic, it will hold some brilliant Petrucci soli moments. A pleasant way to close a good album. Three stars for this rather different "Dream Theater" album.

Review by sean
3 stars Well, Dream Theater is my favourite band of all time, but i feel that this is their weakest album, as do many fans. The band was going through a lot of trouble at the time, and the label was pushing them to do something commercial, which doesn't really work for a band like Dream Theater. They still wrote some good songs, especially the epics "Lines in the Sand" and "Trial of Tears". The former features Doug Pinnick of King's X on vocals. Other good songs are "New Millenium", the instrumental "Hell's Kitchen", which was originally the instrumental section for "Burning My Soul", and Peruvian Skies. None of the songs are awful, however "You Not Me" and "Take Away My Pain" are somewhat weak. However, the versions of those two on the demos are much better. As Mike Portnoy said about "Take Away My Pain", the producer for that album "took some of John's most heart wrenching lyrics and put them on a Disneyland Ride in the Caribbean." Anyway, I recommend the demos for this album over the album, as they include a few songs which didn't make it on (it was originally supposed to be a double album). Not a bad album, but it doesn't stand up to the rest of DT's discography.
Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Falling Into infinty? More like: Falling into the 90s! Haha! ... What, that's not funny? Darn.

Anyways, this is an album that always gets mixed reveiws from, well, anyone, and while it is a good sounding album this is definately the kind of obcurity of producers at work that produced other albums such as Genesis's Abacab or ... Milli Vanilli. Not to say they have the same producers (or sound for that matter), but more that the band definately took some hints from producers and did a 360 turnaround. The album opens strongly with (the perhaps oversynthesized) NEW MILLENIUM, which features some great vocals and is quite promising. YOU NOT ME is not quite as good. Shifting to more "down to earth" topics DT producing one of the weaker tracks in their discography, which is nice and heavy... but not quite "good" enoughto make my cut. PERUVIAN SKIES is another great track, actually, I conisder this one a classic. Haunting lyrics, vocals and instumentalism comes together to form something very malicious. HOLLOW YEARS may be a typical pop-single, but I've always found some enjoyment in it, it's not prog, though. BURING MY SOUL is alright, but it sounds a bit like grudge was trying to come back from the grave and take DT with it. HELL"S KITCHEN is a fantasic instumental that was apperently taken out of the middle of LINES IN THE SAND and now acts as an intro for it. LINES IN THE SAND itself is a great epic that's on the heavy side, even for DT, one of the high moment on the album. TAKE AWAY MY PAIN is a mid-paced song that's okay in pace and is nice to listen to, but not DTs best, again. JUST LET ME BREATHE is very reminicent of BURNING MY SOUL, very fast and heavy, ironically (about my quote concerning grudge) this song makes refrence to the late Kurt Cobain and Shannon Hoon, this is a good fast paced song that, again, sounds early 90s influenced. ANNA LEE has always been my least favorite song on the album, it's too slow and doesn't really go anywhere. TRIAL OF TEARS ends the album witha great epic that twists and winds it's way through some great parts and is definately worth multiple listens. The album is worth it just for this song, this one's also good on Once In A Livetime.

In closing, this is an experimental album that has several good and several okay-bad songs on it. Judge for yourself, but this one's definately not as good as older brother Awake or younger brother Scene's From A Memory. As a prog album it's okay, 3 stars. As a pop-metal-prog kind of fusion album I may be tempted to give it 4.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album made me loose my interest and my love for Dream Theater. After the two brilliant album Images and Words and Awake this album was eagerly anticipated. I was really dissapointed, as Dream Theater seemed to have lost their progressive touch on this one. This is not to say that this album is not progressive which would be far from the truth, itīs just that the grand production from the previous albums were gone and the very special melodic vocal lines were gone too. Falling Into Infinity is more hard rock inspired and simple than Images and Words and Awake. This is such a shame as I feel that Dream Theater were at their peak, but I guess good things donīt last forever.

Falling Into Infinity is not a bad album though, and songs like New Millennium, Lines in the Sand and Peruvian Skies are really good songs. Many of the other songs a very forgettable though and there are even some really bad songs like You Not Me and Take Away My Pain. The album ends on 3 stars because itīs very mediocre compared to other Dream Theater releases.

For me this was the start of the end of my devoted interest in Dream Theater.

Review by progrules
4 stars The most significant fact about this album is that Dt wrote this "ordered" by their label to make it more commercial and accessable. At least that's what I understood from interviews in those days. I wasn't depressed about these rumours, was a huge DT-fan (still am) so I still bought the album and haven't regretted it. Yet I have to admit that it's at least partly true. There a number of songs on this one that are not really DT and I'm not thrilled about those. And then we're talking about the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 8th 9th and 10th track. I don't even want to spoil any energy on those because they are below DT standard.

But on the other hand there are still a number of tracks left that are really excellent. Especially the epics Lines in the sand and Trial of tears belong to my all time Dt favourites. And also Peruvian skies and Hell's kitchen are very worthwhile.

In fact these tracks force me to still give it 4 stars but it's actually 3.6.

Review by ProgBagel
3 stars Dream Theater - 'Falling Into Infinity' 3.75 stars.

This could have possibly been one of my favorite DT albums.I still play this just as much as my favorites of theirs, but there are many residing and inherent flaws. The album contains a bit of departure in sound.but the feeling is still there. This album reflects Dream Theater at their best and worst, which is why I must give it a three rating. This is the first album to feature Sherinian in the writing process. I liked his performance on the album.and it seemed he got a lot out of Dream Theater and made quite a successful solo career. Anyhow, here is the breakdown of the tracks.

'New Millennium' is such an awesome start to this album. The ambient guitar and keyboard opener just shows that this album is going to be different. The entire piece is atmospheric with a blend of styles topped off with some very creative solos. A true DT masterpiece.

'You Not Me' seemed pretty promising at first.but this was just a sweet illusion. I still like it but that's just coming from a fan and not somebody that is looking for a good first impression of this band. It's basically just any standard pop-rock song done well. It faces a lot of repetition and has really no direction making this a rather lacking piece.

'Peruvian Skies' grows on you after a while. It's another unique track brought to the table. Extremely slow in tempo, the beginning of mostly driven by an acoustic guitar and vocal work. The song gets very heavy in the end and has an awesome guitar solo that is followed by a very angry repetition of the chorus. This is yet another great song.

'Hollow Years' is a wonderfully crafted song. Another soft, slow tempo song here. This is where they did a slow song right. There was some repetition but it was in the name of progress of the song. The acoustic guitar solo is very nice and fluid. This track remains a favorite among DT's slower works.

'Burning My Soul' is a hunk of crap in my opinion and is part of the reason this album didn't get an incredible rating. This song is extremely boring, except for the little guitar line in the chorus. This one is mostly Petrucci repeating himself and the song structure contains nothing exotic out of the norm in regular rock music. All in all, this track is just ugly.

'Hell's Kitchen' is Petrucci at his highest. I think this song was written for his father as I have read somewhere, but I can't site the source, so don't take my word for it. The song is basically a solo spot for Petrucci and it is exceptionally beautiful. The keyboards also really hit their mark on this track for the first time on the album. This track is simply euphoric to experience, not to listen.

'Lines in the Sand'.yet another awesome classic that was created on this album. Atmospheric beginning.the intro is nearly 3 minutes of instrumental progression, which was just incredible. The chorus is really cool and features Doug Pinnick of King's X. This song is damn awesome.hard to describe, but this should be like by anyone.

'Take Away My Pain' is, for a lack of a more fitting adjective, decent. The intro is the best part.Portnoy does awesome, incredible drum dynamics. The chorus is catchy.but it's not much different from the other slow songs and is done just as well.. no better or worse.

'Just Let Me Breathe/Anne Lee' are a combo that I can't describe separately.I hate these songs. 'Just Let Me Breathe' just sounds like any pissy metal band and Anna Lee is just an extremely directionless slow song. It is very unprofessional not to go further into describing these songs but that is the best I can do.

'Trail of Tears' is one of my favorite DT tracks. This had everything you could ever want in a progressive song wrapped together in a nice package. This one kicks off with an atmospheric intro like 'New Millennium' and then is complimented with soothing vocal work through out the piece and remains some of the best work by LaBrie, at least in my personal opinion. The chorus is wonderful and fits well with this 'three-part' song. 'It's Raining in Heaven' contains the intro and just the verses and chorus which is beautifully crafted. 'Deep in Heaven' contains most of the solos and all the instrumental works after the vocals are finished and is followed by 'The Wasteland', which is possibly Dream Theater's most melancholic of all their depressing sections. Just one of the most diverse songs's done by Dream Theater or any other prog-metal band.

This is one of my favorite DT albums.yet has a lot of crap that the record company imposed on them. If you are a fan of this band in any way.5 stars.get it. If you aren't a 'fan' then maybe you should avoid it simply because of the crap that bogs down this effort. It's an extremely unique album in their repertoire to check out and features the great Derek Sherinian for the one and only time in the writing process. You can sense the frustration in the music at the time the band was going through some tough times, making this a very emotional record. Who knows, I could change this to a four someday.

Sources: 'Falling Into Infinity' album sleeve.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Coerced into diversity

It took Dream Theater three years to release a follow up to the 1994 album "Awake". The band completed a short tour in 1996 and decided to take a few months rest before entering the Avatar studios in New York to work on a new album. The sessions were obviously successful, as the band produced enough material for a double CD collection. Their record label (Elektra) declined to release a double album though, so a significant number of songs were left on the shelf. Most of these would later surface on the "Metropolis part 2" album. Furthermore, the record label were not particularly impressed with the single album they were presented with, and called upon Desmond Child to assist the band in rewriting some of the songs to make them more accessible. Even after all the tinkering, the album still runs to over 78 minutes.

Internally, the band were not immune to problems either. After the release of "Awake", James LaBrie suffered from food poisoning, and ruptured his vocal chords while vomiting. It took a long time for his voice to fully recover, and his vocals on this album are somewhat limited in range as a result. This would also be the first album proper (if we overlook the album length EP "A change of seasons") to feature Derek Sherinian on keyboards in place of Kevin Moore.

After a spirited intro, the 8 minute opener "New millennium" appears to continue the darker mood of "Awake", especially through the slightly off-key vocals. The song is clearly placed up front in an effort to reassure fans that this is to be business as usual. Child actually receives a co-writing credit for "You not me", resulting in a decent, if unremarkable piece of heavy pop.

A feature of this album is the band's willingness to exploit their softer side more fully. Consecutive tracks "Peruvian skies" and "Hollow years" are both essentially of this nature. The former, which is initially reminiscent of an Alice Cooper ballad, includes a fine lead guitar solo by John Petrucci before moving into a more orthodox Dream Theater workout. "Hollow years" on the other hand is a through and through acoustic ballad.

"Burning my soul" returns us to a much heavier mood, although the song remains far more accessible than we might expect with a surprisingly catchy melody. I believe "Hell's Kitchen" takes its name from the area of New York where the recording studio was located. This fine guitar and keyboards instrumental has a lovely lilting feel to it, any attempts at thrashing or racing being kept firmly in check.

At 12 minutes, "Lines in the sand" is not quite the longest track, but it is still of huge proportions by any standard. The song features guest vocals by Doug Pinnick (Kings X) who effectively supports LaBrie. It is a decent enough song for the DT faithful, but for me it tends to drag on somewhat.

"Take away my pain" is another slow power ballad with a strong hook. At first, the song may appear to be a love song, which in a way it is, but it's actually John Petrucci's eulogy to his late father. From here, we are suddenly transported from the most touching track on the album, to the coldest and heaviest. "Just let me breathe" is a rather nondescript, rambling piece of metal, with no real focus. Astonishingly, the song is followed by yet another ballad, "Anna Lee". This time, we have a piano dominated number with a fine vocal performance. Had this been the only ballad on the album, it would have made for an excellent counterpoint to the Dream Theater signature songs, but as it is, it is for me a ballad too many.

The album closes with the 13 minute, three part "Trial of tears". Even here, the mood is largely understated in Dream Theater terms, with laid back guitar improvisation and a less than frantic beat. As a complete piece, the track works well, while offering a fine prog closer for those who feel that in general the album is prog-lite.

It is fair to say that "Falling into infinity" is looked upon with differing emotions both within the band and among fans. Significantly, as a result of the interference by the record company during the recording of this album, Dream Theater decided to produce subsequent albums themselves. That said, "Falling into infinity" is an enjoyable album with some strong songs. It is perhaps the Dream Theater album which is most likely to appeal to those who are generally not that keen on the band.

Review by CCVP
3 stars This is the worst Dream Theater studio album, probably because the label messed with their way of doing music

Dream Theater's fourth release, Falling Into Infinity, was actually the first Dream Theater album I bought but was the second DT album I ever heard (the first being Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, which a friend of mine borrowed to me) and, frankly, was a major disappointment. To this day it is still the only DT album i can't listen completely. However, as time passed, this album slowly grew into me and I could realize it was not so bad at all, i mean, these guys can't screw up completely: there will always be some tracks that will be worthy in every album they make.

The real problem with this albums is that the label wanted them to sell even more records (though their previous albums were relatively successful: Images and Words peaked at 61st place among the Billboard 200 charts and is, to this day, their best selling album and Awake peaked the charts at 32nd place) and, to do so, messed with the way the band worked. The result was a big mixed bag: although there were many more radio friendly songs and featured Desmond Child, the album was not as popular as the albums before it were, being the least selling DT studio album (besides their debut) and not making its way to MTV's prime time, like Awake and Images and Words did. The album had so many problems, specially because of problems and misunderstandings between the band and the label concerning the album production, that Dream Theater even considered disbanding.

It is just a shame that, because of those problems, such talented musicians could not be able to deliver an album as good as their previous and their later albums were. I mean, if you look at Derek Sherinian bands (Derek Sherinian and Planet X), plus the band members various side projects (such as Transatlantic, Liquid Tension Experiment, Platypus, The Jelly Jam, among others, besides their solo albums) you will see that in this album their both composing and playing skills are pale. That becomes even more evident when you compare Falling Into Infinity to their other albums and see that it is incredibly dated (it sounds exactly like a 90's album).

About the songs, musicianship and other features, there are somethings i would like to state:

As i said before, this album still have some good songs (maybe because of its big of 78:19), but the big amount of bad or just good songs makes this album quite hard to sit through without pressing the next track button.

The highlights go to New Millennium (very good opening, though not perfect), Peruvian Skies (i couldn't listen to this song before, but now i realize its pretty good), Hollow Years (same thing as Peruvian Skies), the epic Hell's Kitchen - Lines in the Sand (one of the best songs in the album), Just Let me Breathe (kind of good song; i like it) and Trial of Tears ( its the second album epic and along with Hell's Kitchen - Lines in the Sand is one of the best songs in the album).

The saddest moments are: You Not Me (seriously, they look like a teenage garage band here), Burning my Soul (probably the worst song here) and Take Away my Pain (not as bad as the others listed here, but i can only listen to it if i am in the mood) and Anna Lee (same thing as Take Away my Pain).

Grade and Final Thoughts

After all, Falling Into Infinity is not such a bad album, but the many issues that it have just drag the quality of the album down. Besides some very good songs the whole is not as satisfying as it should be, so the three star rating seem quite fair, since this album is definitely not essential and it is the album that the band plays least live. So three stars it is.

Review by LiquidEternity
4 stars This album is not remotely perfect, but it's one of the most lasting releases the band has done, to my ears.

I've been a fan off and on (mostly on, really) of Dream Theater for plenty of years, so it was interesting to see what albums of theirs rated on this site. A few of them were where I would have put them. Awake and Scenes from a Memory are pretty highly rated. Train of Thought isn't rated very well. That sort of thing. But the low ratings on Falling into Infinity puzzled me for a while. Sure, they've done better. But in the end, I reasoned that it was due to the masses of disgruntled metal fans who wanted more Awake, more Change of Seasons, rather than something tasteful and atmospheric. Compared to other Dream Theater albums, this one has some great strengths: on the whole, the violent noodling is downplayed, the songs work with themselves nicely, there are fewer parts of songs that are just randomly thrown in there and don't fit, the keyboards push from the back rather than drag from the front like the rest of the instruments. Sure, there are downsides, too: a few songs are weak poppy tunes, James's voice is at what is probably its lowest point in his Dream Theater career, the lyrics on several of the songs are just plain bad (not too different from normal, though), and half the songs for the album were forced to be cut out. The presence of Derek Sherinian adds a lot of flavor and removes a lot of speed from the keyboards--I am glad he got to record an album with the band.

Falling into Infinity opens with New Millenium, something of a more standard track from the band, except John Myung is tapping away on a Chapman stick and the band has toned down their eight minute solo sections into (gasp) no solos at all. On an eight and a half minute Dream Theater song? No solos? Get used to it. The solos are saved for when they add to the songs here, which is nice. The record continues with You Not Me, one of the weaker songs in their catalog. It's not awful, just below average. A bit much angst in James's vocals, I find. Peruvian Skies follows that with some beautiful guitar and sad lyrics, flying off into a more metal vein about halfway through. It's a good rocker, though not built around Dream Theater's usual highly progressive and complicated riffing. Hollow Years is a gentle pop tune (again, with sad lyrics). In fact, I find it important to note that the album, while featuring some of the band's worst lyrics, also has some of their best.

Burning My Soul falls into the first category there. Angsty, obnoxious lyrics fly over a standard hard rock/metal tune. The voice box effects are nice, though, and something the band hadn't tried before. On the tails of that song is Hell's Kitchen, the first truly amazing song here. An instrumental, this isn't one big solo fest as you would expect. Rather, though it does feature a ripping guitar solo, it is more based around the band. Ending on an epic chord progression and a big note, the sounds suddenly become Lines in the Sand. This is possibly one of the best songs Dream Theater ever wrote, though the serious fans of metal might tell you differently. Atmosphere and ambiance, something almost completely absent from the rest of the band's catalog, not only fill this song but drive it. Petrucci plays what many consider his best and most tasteful solo in the center here. The lyrics, too, are absolutely top of the line as far as Dream Theater goes. Take Away My Pain jumps in next, a Hollow Years sort of sad poppish tune. Not upbeat. Just sad. All these sad songs do add a unique vibe to this album.

Next comes the silly, angsty rocker Just Let Me Breathe. The music is fun, but the vocals and lyrics are a fair bit ridiculous. Derek's pet song Anna Lee follows that again with the haunting and sad music, being possibly one of the most beautiful songs that any progressive metal band ever wrote. The piano is just wonderful and emotive. Lastly, comes the album's epic, Trial of Tears, with some pretty cool lyrics from Myung. James sounds great here, and the band ties some great atmosphere into their music. Unfortunately, this is the song on the album that features a random instrumental section that doesn't fit. Oh well. At least Derek and John got their chances to really rip into some soloing bits, which is nice, because the two didn't get many chances to write back to back solos. The album then closes with the return of the beginning of the song, and many Dream Theater fans sit back and wonder what side project all the members of Dream Theater just labeled their own band's release.

Falling into Infinity is probably the most mature Dream Theater release to date, with a good bit of beautifully melodic and ambient keyboards. The solos are mostly tasteful, and some of the lyrics great. This is, in my opinion, one of their top three releases, though it seems many do not agree. If you want to listen to the band but aren't into excessive noodling or you want some sonic depth, check this one out.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars Dream Theater forth studio album from 1997 named Falling into infinty remains one of my fav DT albums, no doubt. To some of the reviewers this albums doesn't reach the beauty and power of Images and words or Awake, but to me is an excellent album that proves that DT is capable to explore new grounds in prog music, specialy in prog metal, and to be more precise that is all about in prog music to creat, to explore, to find new arrangements and to give to the music a new understanting even the sounds here sometimes is more mainstream than on previouses releases, and with this album DT did it again, big time. I will mentioning that the musiciaship is awesome as always, tight and strong, with beautiful and very fine moments as like : the opening track New Millennium, Peruvian Skies (here John Petrucci simply shines, that's why is considered one of the best guitar players in last 20 years, here he proves why),the smooth instrumental piece Hell's Kitchen, Lines in the Sand , Take away my pain and the last piece and the most experimental one from here Trial of Tears. I always was impressed by John Myung and by abilities on bass , but here on some pieces simply kick ass, excellent musician, and , at least as I find it, one of the best bass players ever, simply because not only he made complicated bass lines and arrangements, but also because of the ethic of the instrument - he remains my fav DT musician. So a strong album and excellent adittion to any collection, DT remains DT all the way with this album. 4 stars without any doubts
Review by MovingPictures07
1 stars This is the biggest possible disappointment after Awake. This continues what I deem the "bad" era for Dream Theater, along with A Change of Seasons.

I'm not going to say much about this album, as I can't really think of a whole lot that needs to be said about it. The entirety (with the exception of Trial of Tears, which is fantastic) sounds like Dream Theater, only stripped down. Less metal, less instrumentation, less shredding, less innovation, more commercialism. Why? This album strikes me as a contract obligation and nothing more. I don't feel Dream Theater's soul in this.

At least the instrumentation is still decent. Not quite up to their usual level, but that keeps it from being an absolute disaster. Lines in the Sand isn't half-bad either, but Trial of Tears is a great closer! I wish most of the album was more like those, even if they still are not typical Dream Theater sound.

Do NOT introduce yourself to Dream Theater with this album. If you are a DT fanatic, it's still hard to recommend this to you. Approach with caution, or just skip this. You won't miss anything. ONLY for completionists.

Falling Into Infinity: Dream Theater in a can! Now with 50% less prog and innovation!

Review by horsewithteeth11
2 stars Falling into contractual obligation and failing at it.

That's the very thing this album is. It's Dream Theater stripped of many progressive tendencies and a huge lean towards more mainstream metal. Sometimes I wonder if that's really a bad thing, but then I go and listen to this album and realize that, in this case, it is. It's a shame that Sherinan couldn't have made it to another Dream Theater studio release, because then we could have actually heard him on a great album by the band instead of one that waivers for me between average and poor. I have to admit though, I really do enjoy Peruvian Skies, Lines in the Sand, and Trial of Tears, the first and last ones being two really amazing tracks and the second being fairly good. However, the rest of the songs on the album range from mediocre to very poor for Dream Theater. I'm not going to rant and rave on this album, as many other people have already done and besides, I would tend to agree with most of them. I've thought about giving this album anything as high as 3 stars and going as low as 1. But I enjoy at least some of the tracks, so that rules out only 1 star. On the other hand, this is subpar Dream Theater, so that rules out a 3 and makes this a definite 2 star album for me. If you're a Dream Theater fan, you should at least check this out for the three songs I mentioned, but even then, some of their fans might not get any enjoyment out of them. If you're not a really big fan of the band, this is a release you don't really need.

Review by The Quiet One
4 stars Falling into Tranquility....

This was my 3rd acquisition from the masters of Prog Metal, already had Octavarium and Images & Words(each with a different keyboardist). I noticed the obvious changes in style with each keyboardist, while maybe not necessarily because of the keyboardist influence: with Kevin Moore(I&W) 90's classic sound Prog Metal with a abundant synths and keys, a bit more melodic making the music lighter, but still it's complex enough; with Jordan Rudess(Octavarium) the music is heavier, less melodic and features un-inspired compositions, no traces of their early sound; finally with Derek Sherinian the music is a bit more accessible due to the restrain of technical wizardry and due to the less amount of heaviness, however there are moments of brilliancy due to Derek's versatility incorporating jazzy touches in ocassions, giving a more eclectic sound, unfortunately his presence is way more subtle compared to Kevin's presence.

To enter in more details of the sound in this album, the softer sound is product of John Petrucci's subtle notes in the calm moments and a wider range of styles included in his playing, which is something very un-typical for John, well for shredders actually. Also Mike Portnoy's fierceful drumming is almost gone, he's way more diverse and has a fantastic style on this one, using a lot the hi-hat, very un-typical for him too. John Myung's bass playing is still top-notch here and far more audible than in future records, while James deivers his best performance with a perfect balance knowing exactly when to use his high-pitched voice and when not, unlike in Images & Words. Now to the songs:

The album opens up with New Millenium featuring a good variation of riffs and moods. The composition is definitely on par with their early works, while the sound/style, like I mentioned before is not really it. New Millenium incorporates some grunge elements in which you can definitely hear influences like Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam. There are also soft parts with some groovy guitar touches, very unlike John's playing. As a whole, for me it's an excellent Prog song, in spite of being a bit uneven for the Prog style of DT.

Peruvian Skies is another great tune in which the song's first half is calm, though not cheerfully(typical Metal or even Grunge), somewhat in the style of Rooster by Alice in Chains, which incorporates the subtle and atmospheric notes from John's guitar which I mentioned earlier, as well as some chilling notes from Derek's keyboards. While the second half is in the style of Metallica's Enter Sandman, with a heavy riff and James' powerful voice making this song in the end rock pretty hard in a great way.

Hell's Kitchen is definitely a must for Drean Theater fans. A rockin' instrumental with an excellent emotional guitar solo, with simply killer drumming backing up. Simply stunning.

This is followed by the excellent, unfortunately overlooked, Lines in the Sand. The composition is on par with almost any song from Images & Words, plus the musicianship is at it's best, with heavy guitar riffs from John plus a gentle guitar solo making this song really incredible. Derek is playing three different types of keyboards, each for different moments; the synths for the classic faster passages; the organ to follow the heavy riffs; finally the piano for the gentle parts, even adding his jazz leanings ala Corea in a superb instrumental bit. The vocal duties are done greatly, plus the addition of Dough Pinnick(King's X fame) in the chorus' giving a heavier sound. Astonishing, probably Dream Theater's finest hour on the song-writing abilities, which in general are lackluster.

To end up this album, Dream Theater brought another very impressive tune, with the same potential as Lines in the Sand. This one is Trial of Tears, "the Learning to Live version of Derek Sherinian", simply jaw dropping. The three parts flow perfectly with the second part being the most impressive with tremendous bass playing, a very well-done shred guitar solo and finally the jaw-dropping synth solo by Derek. An excellent song to introduce the band, while not being heavy as hell, you got all the best elements that make Dream Theater.

Now to the less-progressive stuff: These are the rest of the songs, which are the main reason for fans to dislike the album or tag it as a "sell-out" album. They're definitely more simple-headed but that doesn't mean they're bad. Three of them compromise the grunge/straight-forward metal feel, Burning my Soul and Just Let Me Breathe, both feature great riffs and indeed they rock pretty hard. Then there's also You Not Me, while the style of it is in the vein of the two previous, quite heavy-driven, the lyrics and the way of expressing them are way too cheesy for a heavy tune, sincerely it's the only song I (would) skip from the album.

Then there are the softer tunes which I find the addition of them to be a great way to make the album more diverse and easier to digest. These are Hollow Years, Anna Lee and Take Away my Pain. The latter is the most pop-headed, nonetheless it is very well performed, just like the other two. The other two are quite highlights to tell you the truth; Hollow Years being a great acoustic tune, with some very beatiful chords and vocals, while Anna Lee is more of a ballad ala The Answer Lies Within from Octavarium, however Anna Lee manages to really move me, with some wonderful piano work and fascinating vocals from James, even though they're up in the sky in tone, it's really beautiful, something that The Answer Lies Within was lacking. By the way, Images & Words and Awake also feature these type of songs, so I'm really not sure why fans bash these lovely tunes. The Silent Man and Surrounded, anyone?

While some may state that this album was a contract obligation, true or not, I think this album really shows another side of the band which demonstrates that they don't have to play ultra-complex to make a great song. In here they show that they can still make Prog music while not going very heavy neither being ultra-complex and of course not ripping-off some other bands' styles, just efficiency and elaboration is necessary.

Excellent Modern Prog Rock album.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars So this album tends to be one of division among fans- I loved it from the first time I heard it. Falling Into Infinity sounds a good bit like Alice in Chains in some respects, which I don't mind in the least. At the same time, the music boasts a 1980s Rush sound once in a while. This is probably the most diverse Dream Theater album, at least in terms of sound and songwriting. The musicianship is strong as ever, and I much prefer this keyboardist to Kevin Moore. Amazingly, not only is the bass heard loud and clear, but it's a key instrument that stands on its own in many places, right alongside the keyboards and guitar. There is much more to this album that metal, also- something that always pleases me when I see a band perform so well in other genres. This album is not without dross, but that tends to be an inherent risk of publishing seventy-eight minutes of music on one album. I think Falling Into Infinity takes its lumps partially because of record label interference, something many progressive rock fans rightly frown upon. But sometimes- just sometimes- the record label gets it right.

"New Millennium" After an intriguing bit of keyboards from Derek Sherinian and a killer bit of bass, the band kicks into a crunchy, flavorful piece of music. The lead vocals take a pleasant medium between clear singing and grainier yet tasteful vocalizing, almost sounding like Layne Staley of Alice in Chains (the album Dirt particularly comes to mind). The piece blends some subtle symphonic tendencies with heavier bits.

"You Not Me" This pop song has a great edge with fantastic vocals and exciting guitar, and the chorus is exceptional. This is a very solid song with strong musicianship- not to be missed.

"Peruvian Skies" A swampy guitar and an acoustic work together with some laidback drumming, again sounding like Alice in Chains during the verses (this time making me think of Sap). Acoustic guitar is the glue to the chorus, and the song becomes even fuller after the powerful instrumental section.

"Hollow Years" This was, I believe, the second Dream Theater song I ever heard, and for some reason this song has some visceral meaning for me I can't put my finger on (it has something to do with being young and getting ready to go to college). The classical guitar is one of Dream Theater's most beautiful moments, and James LaBrie sings with such passion and conviction, that it's very hard not to love this gorgeous song.

"Burning My Soul" John Myung's gritty bass accompanies an organ and clean guitar that leads into heavier instrumentation. It's a brilliant metal introduction. The vocals are vitriolic and mesmerizing at the same time. I think his performance in this song demonstrates that Sherinian was, if anything, the more interesting keyboardist compared to his predecessor.

"Hell's Kitchen" Swampy bass and muffled guitar begin this one. A steady build up of instruments climaxes into one of John Petrucci's most soulful guitar solos ever, with plenty of bends and trills that can thrill the soul. The machine gun runs from the whole band are a cool feature to this excellent four-minute instrumental.

"Lines in the Sand" The previous instrumental runs right into this, a lengthy piece that begins with growling guitar and warbling synthesizer. Doug Pinnick of King's X makes a stark contrast with his heavier voice against LaBrie's soft tenor. Petrucci's guitar ranges from soaring leads to subtle rhythm flourishes. Mike Portnoy's drumming is especially tight and creative, especially alongside Myung's wicked bass work. While not my favorite track on the album, this is a strong, unified piece that utilizes the respective strengths of each member to create a cohesive, coherent unit.

"Take Away My Pain" Some light drumming, guitar, and bass begin this softer song, an unusual one for Dream Theater. In spite of that, this is of the best tracks on the album, infusing it with even more diversity and delightful moments. The guitar solo is a wonderful blend of the technical prowess Petrucci is capable of and the stylistic soulfulness he should inject in every performance.

"Just Let Me Breathe" With electric guitar feedback and some heavy thudding on the bass from Myung, this song has a strong introduction, even if it isn't one of the better songs. This is a rush of adrenaline with heavy drums and guitars, not to mention a sweet and funky organ and synthesizer thrown in for good measure.

"Anna Lee" Lovely piano and acoustic guitar make up the main instrumentation of this delicate song. LaBrie sounds very powerful, even in such a breathy mode. The slide guitar solo is a welcome addition, as it adds to the musical palette and injects new life into an already vibrant piece of art.

"Trial of Tears" Almost two minutes of airy synthesizer begins this longest track. The refrain is very strong, as are the keyboards strengthen holding down the background and bracing the mix. Sometimes I feel this track is a bit too long for its own good, but I think that's perhaps a justifiable opportunity to give the band a chance to stretch out and breathe. The keyboard swells and soling, the lead and rhythm guitar, the growling bass, and the taut drumming during the instrumental section are superb.

Review by jampa17
4 stars Falling into a great atmosphere... As usual in DT universe, there are too many different opinions about their music and too many hate and expectations toward them, so I learned to live like that in the prog world, but sometimes I feel people just overreacted: there's always "they should...", "they might...", "They would better..." but at the end the music speak for itself and I do find this album, one of the most interesting and underrated in general. For new fans, or for people not so involved with the prog world this is a good album to Start with. Yes, many tracks aren't really Prog Metal but it might be easier than start with something that really can scare you like "Train of Thought" or leave you wondering like "Octavarium" so here you can decide to jump over a strange style... Yes, this album is not as great as Images&Words or Awake... but it manages to show that Dream Theater can make easy songs, short and some kind of mainstream. If you are not looking for the fastest, the toughest, the greatest you can like this one. If you really like those, go to get whatever album from the Jordan Rudess era you'll find that but this particular album is a good place to lay back a little and try to digest this interesting band. And you will find some overlooked worthy material.

The atmosphere is some kind of dark or I might say, blue, that's it. You'll feel the anger of Portnoy in his lyrics but you will like the soft pace mood from Petrucci and some kind of sadness through the album. And the music really works along with the different themes they are talking. I always imagine been alone in an afternoon on an isolated beach when I'm hearing Hell's Kitchen and Lines in the Sand... like you're away and a little sad 'bout something... the songs are really great on their own... but if you expect to be shock or impress by challenging songs, you won't enjoy this album... You just have to aloud yourself to been take by the songs and lead you to a strange reality, try it... it's a good expirience to dive in especially in the most prog songs...

Put attention to "Peruvian Skies", "Hell's Ktichen", "Lines in the Sand" and "Trial of Tears" and you will get it... that strange atmosphere... kind of sad, blue and beautiful... Here's the prove that DT fellows really can make music with sense and emotion... not just fast solos but a lot of emotion. So, I consider it a strong solid 4 stars album. The album worth enough for prog fans, even those haters of this band. Try it, you won't be disapointed.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Falling Into Infinity is the lowest rated Dream Theatre album here. I think it's pretty good though. The main problem might be that it is not very consistent. Also the vocals are a lot less gripping then they were on the previous album.

New Millenium and Peruvian Skies are really good. I like the more relaxed and mature playing here. It is completely skimmed of the earlier excesses. However, on Burning My Soul and Hell's Kitchen, the more restrained approach doesn't pay off. Those are rather pedestrian hard rock tunes, not too exciting. Oh and the two songs I just skipped I never play at all.

Lines in the Sand has some potential; with some good Rush-alike Roll The Bones interplay. I think that this might really come alive on stage, but it's too tame here. The album closer Trail of Tears suffers the same fate as Lines in the Sand. It's way too lifeless and uninvolved to hold my interest. 2.5 stars.

Review by Andy Webb
3 stars This is what happens when pop mixes with Dream Theater.

There is no doubting this album is good. Classics like Peruvian Skies and Hollow Years made their debut here, but so do the horrid tracks of the discography such as Anna Lee and Take Away my Pain. The producer of this album pushed Dream Theater too hard to make a commercially acceptable album, and not the best thing came out of it. However, one absolutely wonderful thing did occur during the production of this album: the denial of a double album and the forcing of Dream Theater to make Metropolis Part 2 a separate album. I don't want to think about what that would have been like if Metropolis was just a bonus track on a second disk.

New Millennium is a spectacular crossover track. If this song was made by any of the popular Crossover bands on the site, it would make the album. However, this track is on a Dream Theater album, which "detracts" from the album is some way. In some situations, one must not compare the music on a particular album to that of previous or future works. The instrumental section is absolutely genius, as are the melodic meshing with LaBrie and the other guys. This is a great track, just not that of traditional prog metal.

You Not Me is, in simple terms, not good. This is the product of the synthesis of pop rock with prog metal. Who comes out as the main contributor of this song? Pop rock, and lots of it. The riffs are overly simple and depressed. The drumming is extremely uncreative and simple. Vocal melodies belong on the top 40, not a Prog Metal album. This is, sadly, not the only one the album, also.

The band was smart to put Peruvian Skies, a fantastic track in every way, after the weak You Not Me. Dark, moody, and compassionate, the song contributes one of the very few genuinely prog moments of the album. It is certainly one of the better songs in the band's entire discography, with some great moments of distinguishable influence that can be detected, such as Floydian guitar work, Supertramp-like keyboard riffs, and a lot more. The instrumental section is Dream Theater at their finest, with some spectacular soloing and riffing going on. A dark bright spot on the album!

Hollow Years is the next great track on the album, showing the bands more mellow and ballad-friendly side. Tear jerking beauty really makes this song great. The lyrics are touching and deep, as is the great instrumental work backing them. It's a fantastic track full of compassion and feeling.

Burning my Soul is alright, but this is what happens when pop metal and Dream Theater mix and pop metal comes out as the main influence. The lyrics are?.. odd, the instrumentation is a little to traditional with only a little creativity mixed in. The track is overall alright, but it lacks any sense of Dream Theaterness.

Hell's Kitchen is one of my favorite Dream Theater instrumentals. It's, simply, beautiful. The soaring guitar soloing, the fantastically progressive drum and bass work, the simple yet complex piano work, just everything about this song makes me want to break out a lighter and wave it. Not to mention the transition to Line in the Sand, which are spectacular. The song essentially acts as a fantastic intro to the first "epic" of the album.

Lines in the Sand takes a while to open up, but once it does, it really opens up! Spectacular instrumentation, great harmonization, melodic representation, the intro really has it all. When the vocals come in, you can tell it will be a great track. As the track progresses, every single aspect is utterly enjoyable and progressive at its finest. All 12 minutes can be listened to quite quickly, which tells you that you have really enjoyed the track. It is easily one of the best on the album.

The next three tracks are so utterly atrocious that I will sum them up in one little paragraph. Take Away my Pain is a horrid pop song with cheesy lyrics and horrid instrumentation. I mean, there are references to celebrities for god's sake! Just Let Me Breathe isn't even a crossover between pop rock and Dream Theater, it's just pop rock, through and through. Absolutely nothing in this track is prog or even remotely enjoyable. Yes, the feel of the song flows nicely, but it's so not prog that it's just hard to enjoy. Anna Lee is just barely alright, but it's essential a love ballad. It has cheesy lyrics and music, and is just overall really cheesy.

Luckily, the band decided to end the album on a positive note. Trial of Tears is a moody epic which can stand up to Dream Theater's other great 10-minute epics such as Scarred or Metropolis Part 1. Similar to Lines in the Sand, the song has an extended ambient intro, with some really interesting instrumentation used. The song really rips vocally too. LaBrie really uses everything he's got. Some parts are really catchy, some moody, some dark, some bright, some fast, overall, this track is just spectacular. This one is also one of the best on the album.

ALBUM OVERAL: This album is alright. There are really great tracks and really bad tracks. Here you'll find Dream Theater at their best and at their worst. This would definitely be a 4 star crossover album, but sadly Dream Theater's name has been printed on the cover. 3- stars.

Review by baz91
4 stars Falling Into Infinity - Dream Theater's chronically underrated album

When browsing Dream Theater's discography here on ProgArchives, you may note the dramatic drop in rating that occurs between 'Awake' (1994) and 'Scenes From A Memory' (1999). A lot of people dislike this album, and I don't blame them, because this is one of those all too familiar albums where the record label pushed for more commercial songs, which results in crap songs. However, only some of the songs on this album are crap, while the rest stand alongside DT's best recorded material. This album was also the first Dream Theater album I ever heard, and in a way, my introduction to prog as a whole, so it will always hold sentimental value with me.

The album kicks off to a good start with the punchy New Millenium. At eight minutes in length, this is a moderately complex endeavour, certainly not as complex as some of the other work by the band. The verses are all different and the chorus is actually quite catchy. The instrumental is the icing on the cake and with many twists and turns, this is a brilliant opening track.

However, the goodness does not hold for the next track You Not Me. Unsurprisingly, this was one of the tracks that EastWest records decided to tamper with. In the CD booklet, this is the only track which was 'written' by Dream Theater and Desmond Child, with all the others being solely written by Dream Theater. The real story is that this song is in fact a demo that was rewritten by Desmond Child to sound more commercial. The original version of this track is called You Or Me and sounds radically different, owing to an entirely superior chorus, and longer instrumental. If anything the original sounds more commercial as it is simply better. On the studio version, we hear instead a nasty chorus that simply does not flow with the rest of the song, and a seemingly unrealised instrumental, making this a noisy and abrasive song.

Peruvian Skies wasn't modified at all, and it shows. The first three minutes of this track are quiet and moody. The verses contain sorrowful lyrics about a poor Peruvian girl. Oddly enough, the main riff is reminiscent of Pink Floyd's Have A Cigar. At around the three minute mark, the nature of the song is completely changed into a more heavy metal format with double bass drums and a thundering instrumental. This is a completely adrenaline fuelled section, a haven for headbangers everywhere. After one final heavy chorus, the song is done. This is a brilliant song in two parts.

Hollow Years is such a cringeworthy song that you just have to love it. This is an entirely commercial song, with cheesy lyrics and four chord structure included. While I wouldn't blame anyone for disliking this song, I do have a real soft spot for it. Most of the people that I know prefer the 'Budokan' version of this song, where Petrucci extends the guitar solo from 0:25 to 2:30, by adding soaring electric guitar parts. Whilst this is objectively better as a song, I still very much like the old version.

Burning My Soul is another song that was dramatically modified by the record label. Originally an 8 minute prog epic, this castrated version serves as another grating to the ears. I'm probably being quite harsh, as the verses and instrumental aren't actually that bad. You see, once you've heard the better version, the studio version just cannot measure up. This is one to skip.

Hell's Kitchen is a beautiful instrumental track. Before listening to this song, I had no idea that instrumentals could be so brilliant. Ah, how naive I was! With this being a Dream Theater song, there are naturally many time signature changes, but Petrucci's guitar soars over all of them, making you forget how complex it really is. Probably the best thing about this song is the sense of direction. In other words, it's quite difficult to think of a less directionless instrumental. You really feel you are being taken from point A to point B, where point A is quiet and pensive, and point B is loud and epic. The closing to this song is just so epic and symphonic that it rivals the outro to Rush's 2112 and Yes's Close To The Edge.

Lines In The Sand is a long track, at 12 minutes. I've never really been a great fan of this song, because I dislike the chorus. The first 2:45 make up a brilliant instrumental, which leads into a mediocre verse-chorus section. At 5:36, there is a mesmerising two minute Petrucci guitar solo, which makes the whole song worthwhile. I can't get over the fact that the chorus is rather lame, as it is an anticlimax when the song ends on a poor note. However, credit must be given for the wholly prog song structure.

Take Away My Pain is a tragic Dream Theater song in two senses. In one way it is tragic, as it is a song that Petrucci wrote about coping with the death of his father. However, it is also tragic as it sounds completely out of place on this record. The original demo of this song was a straightforward song with a heavy chorus, which really drags out the emotion. The studio version, however, sounds gentler, and quieter, two words which Dream Theater aren't familiar to. I especially dislike the percussion during the verses, which remind me of the beach.

Probably to keep in touch with the fan's anger (or indeed his own) about the record label's decision, Portnoy's third and final opus on the record (after New Millenium and Burning My Soul), is appropriately titled Just Let Me Breathe. Ironically, this is my least favourite track on the record. This song lacks a proper melody, and is just noisy all the way through. The instrumental is sufficiently complex, but lacks the elegance of Hell's Kitchen or Lines In The Sand. Did I mention the irony before?

Mike Portnoy once said that Anna Lee is Dream Theater's most underrated song, and I can entirely agree with this sentiment. In my opinion, this is James LaBrie's best song within the group to date (although he doesn't exactly have the best track record). Whilst it may sound commercial, Anna Lee is a beautiful melodic treat that I can listen to over and over. The song plays like a power ballad, and has all the effect of one too. With simple drumming and simple guitarring, Dream Theater prove that they can take their music back to basics without losing integrity.

Last, but certainly not least, we reach the three part suite that is Trial Of Tears. I remember the day when I was lent this CD marvelling at the impressive 13 minute length of this track, which was far longer than any song I'd heard before, save perhaps the 11 minute extended version of Disco Inferno by The Trammps. After listening to a few of the earlier tracks on the album, curiosity overwhelmed me, and I jumped straight to the end. I made sure I had 13 minutes free so that I wouldn't be interrupted halfway through. I was completely unaware of how 13 minutes of continuous music could sound. Certainly my first impression of the song was how it just seemed to go on and on! I never looked at the timer, as I wanted to be completely unaware of how far I'd got through the song. Needless to say, I was awed after my quarter hour endeavour, and made a decision that long songs were the way to go. For getting me into prog, I say thank you Dream Theater!

The first 1:40 of the track is an ambient section in lieu of Rush's Xanadu. I blush to think that when I first heard this, I thought it seemed extremely long for an introduction. The first part of the suite is titled It's Raining and is essentially a shortish song with deep prog influences. Lots of time signatures and complex riffs permeate this track.

The next part is Deep In Heaven, which is a 4 minute instrumental, supposedly inspired by 70s prog supergroup U.K.'s In The Dead Of Night instrumental. Listen to the two, and you will hear similarities in the guitar part, but Dream Theater's version is more laid back. The drumming at the beginning of the track reminds me of the drumming heard in the bass solo on Yes's Heart Of The Sunrise. A perfect instrumental to link the first and last parts of the suite.

The final part is The Wasteland. This part essentially provides an epic closure to the suite, and indeed the album. I have to say, all of John Myung's songs impress me, and this may just be my favourite of his.

I've managed to go the entire review without mentioning the keyboardist on this album, Derek Sherinian. Though being with the band for 5 years, he only appeared on this studio album (as well as 'A Change Of Seasons' and a live album). You may well be wondering how he fares on this record, and I think the answer is that no news is good news. There is nothing to complain about, and his style, though different to both Moore or Rudess, fits in neatly with the band. He isn't as good technically as Rudess, or stylistically as Moore, but as a keyboardist in the band, he sounds just fine.

I may well be liking these songs because they hold some deep sentimental value, but I truly believe the good stuff on here is really good. True, it has some real turds too, but as a collection of songs, it holds up extremely well against later albums like 'Octavarium' and 'Systematic Chaos'.

Review by Wicket
3 stars It was inevitable that this group would get cut under the knife eventually.

After the "changing of the guard", so to speak, at Eastwest, Dream Theater wasn't really proud of the beast they had created with "Awake", so they wanted to remain a progressive rock band, not necessarily a metal band, so the record label decided to help them, only them.

Instead of creating a prog rock album, they wanted a commercial album from the quintet, to which they really didn't want to, but eventually had to succumb to the pressure.

So...where to begin?

"New Millennium" was one of the few tracks to avoid butchering. Not exactly a prog epic, it's a standard 8 minute track that featured catchy lyrics and choruses from LaBrie and, of course, was the full length debut of Derek Sherinian, who replaced Kevin Moore who contributed in the band's darker atmosphere, which they were hoping to remove from this album.

Well, they did that all right, in return for one big fat synth squeal.

"You Not Me" will go down in history as the ultimate progressive metal casualty. Originally "You Or Me", 2 valuable minutes were cut, as well as the song "Raise The Knife" (with an excerpt of the latter in the final version of the former here). Hey, when your record label hires Desmond Child to help write a song for a band that doesn't even know who you are, you know you're in for a world of pain.

"Peruvian Skies" is a favorite of mine, as it's a slow song that moves from 4/4 to 3/4 in the chorus and picks up the heavy meter at the end. Of course, after heavy guitars, it's gotta be followed by a sad-sack song in "Hollow Years". It would be a decent song if it was the only one of it's kind on here, but obviously during the circumstances, that didn't happen.

"Burning My Soul > Hell's Kitchen" is the best song off the album, by far. I'm still having a hard time whether I prefer this version (with the 2 songs split) or the demo version (with both sections merged together). Both are great, simply because it balances the heaviness from "Awake" with the balance and beauty of "Images & Words".

The whole song is even better segue-ing into "Lines In The Sand", as this is another great track off this record. Catchy lyrics and complex rhythms follow "Burning My Soul > Hell's Kitchen"'s footsteps by taking a few pages from "Images & Words", even if Derek Sherinian's solo made my ears bleed.

"Take Away My Pain", "Just Let Me Breath" and "Anna Lee" are all commercial songs attempting to appeal to the radio listener. Even though "Just Let Me Breath" is a bit heavier than "Take Away My Pain" and "Anna Lee" (as both are ballads), it doesn't really live up to Dream Theater's standards. Not even "Trial Of Tears" made the fall to the bottom better. It's really just a long, extended ballad.

Positives: "Burning My Soul > Hell's Kitchen > Lines In The Sand". The three best songs remotely related to progressive metal and prog rock in general.

Negatives: Pretty much every other song, not to mention Sherinian's performance. DT has a knack of waiting for new members to shine immediately since this keyboard fiasco. I love Sherinian's solo works, but this was just a bad time for him to make his start...and then get "das boot".

Verdict: It's not my favorite DT album, but I still have it, simply because it has it's moments, but it's not exactly a disc to introduce to people who love DT's later material.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This Dream Theater album did not really blow me away as much as Awake, Images and Words, Scenes From A Memory, or Octavarium to follow but it was still an enjoyable listen. There are songs on offer here that have become classics in the DT catalogue. New Millenium is one of the best with a fantastic instrumental overture and infectious hook. Peruvian Skies is one of the greatest DT songs and a fan favourite live with a strong melody sounding something like Rush or Budgie at times. It builds up to a heavier feel as the song progresses. Petrucci is great on the lead break as always. Burning My Soul is a heavy track sounding like vintage Led Zeppelin meets Metallica. The riffing is killer and LaBrie really powers this out. Lines in the Sand features beautiful keyboard work of Sherinian. Trial of Tears is lengthy and there is a well executed acoustic passage from Petrucci. The song is emotively performed and thoughtfully structured.

Unfortunately there are some lowlights that mar a stronger rating for the album. Hollow Years is very commercial sounding and quite dull. The acoustics are okay but it is so radio friendly that it is quite out of place here. Having said this it has been improved on some live CDs. Take Away My Pain is a slow ballad focusing on farewelling Petrucci's late father, however it is dull and floats along on a boring melody that does not sit right with me at all. It is a real fish out of water on this album which is unfortunate given the emotional subject matter. You Not Me is quite appalling with saccharine sweet lyrics and annoying melody. Just Let Me Breathe is a snorefest that does not do anything for me to be honest. The other songs not mentioned here are okay but once again not up to the high standard of DT songs previous or to come.

In conclusion the album is certainly full of solid moments but it is by no means a masterpiece. It is perhaps one of the weaker DT albums for all the aforementioned reasons but it still warrants 3 stars for the few highlights.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Infamously, this is the album Dream Theater made whilst James LaBrie's vocal chords were still on the mend after a nasty food poisoning incident, and he still hadn't recovered his full vocal range. Perhaps that's why to my ears the mix of the album seems to be a bit off - there's several patches where the music threatens to overwhelm the vocals, and I can't help but wonder whether this was down to some sort of attempt to disguise parts where James's performance weren't up to his usual standards.

Then again, the band as a whole seem to be a little put off this time around. The other reason this album is infamous is that it came out at a time when they were at loggerheads with their record company, who wanted them to take their music in a more commercial direction and make another Images and Words. It's an old story, of course, and I'm not one to automatically assume the artist is in the right in these cases - after all, sometimes when people have free reign to pursue their artistic vision without any editorial input they produce horrendous crap - but in this case the band seem to have ended up with the worst of both worlds. The material on the album still isn't that commercially viable because they're still tending towards longer tracks which aren't really ideal for radio play, but their musical approach lacks the technical playfulness and inventiveness of previous works.

On top of all that, you have the inclusion of Derek Sherinian, and boy do you know it. I can't blame the man for wanting to make his presence felt on his first (and, it would turn out, sole) full album with the guys and distinguish his playing style from Kevin Moore's, but his keyboards sound to me a bit overwhelming in the mix and his more laid-back style of playing doesn't seem to be a natural fit with the direction the music is going in.

On the whole, then, a troubled album from Dream Theater - the result of a perfect storm of circumstances. If the label hadn't been breathing down their necks, maybe the band could have found more creative ways to incorporate Derek's playing and compensate for James's vocals. If James's vocal chords hadn't been ravaged by illness, perhaps the album would have had a better mix to bring out its finer qualities. If Derek Sherinian hadn't been so keen to use his own distinctive keyboard style on the album, the band wouldn't have had to adjust to that whilst simultaneously angling for a more commercial direction and compensating for James' limited vocal range. In short, if just one of those hurdles hadn't been there, the band might have had the wiggle room to get over the other two, but as it is the three factors in question ended up sabotaging the album.

That said, it is possible to be a bit too harsh (as I have been with this and other Dream Theater albums in the past). There's points where this album's comparatively simplified direction actually clicks; take, for instance, Peruvian Skies, none of whose sections by themselves are necessarily all that technically demanding - jump into any one patch of the song at random and you might think it's generic metal or a generic alt-rock ballad, especially if it's one of the parts where Sherinian is holding back a little - but it does take the listener on a multi-part emotional journey which is rather effective in its own way (and perhaps helped lay the groundwork for the conceptual outing of Metropolis Pt 2.: Scenes From a Memory).

Nonetheless, if you specifically look to Dream Theater for your flashy, technically proficient prog metal fix, you're going to find material like Hollow Years underwhelming - it's not a bad song, but it's definitely a laid back, mellow, melancholic melodic rock ballad, not anything you'd call proggy. It's grown on me somewhat - as has the entire album - but you can absolutely forgive people for listening to it and thinking "OK, Dream Theater have sold out now".

At the end of the day, Falling Into Infinity is an alright album - even at points quite a good album. But for many, it won't be a good Dream Theater album, because it doesn't really include many of the qualities people look for in Dream Theater's music, bar for the odd glimmering here and there on tracks like Hell's Kitchen/Line In the Sand. If they'd been able to hit on one particular style to concentrate on across the whole album, it might be in a better place than it is, but as it stands it carries just enough reminders of the classic Dream Theater sound to underscore the fact that for a good chunk of the album, you're not getting that.

I'd previously rated this album lower, but I was being unfair. It's not terrible. But it's enough of a misfire compared to their first three stellar albums (plus the Change of Seasons EP) that it feels worse than it is. Basically, at this point people had high expectations of Dream Theater, who'd very consistently hit them, so when you get an album when they hit those expectations about half the time it feels like a bigger step down than it actually is.

Review by The Crow
2 stars Bad songwriting, great musicianship!

Falling Into Infinity is by no means a bad album. It's just an unpleasant one for Dream Theater's fans. It has a production which sounds less metal that previous albums, with the guitars lowered and less double pedal from Portnoy. His drums sounds specially bad this time! And while it maintains some of the great progressive moments and the overwhelming musicianship of the band (although I think that Derek Sherinian was too limited for this band) it also contains compositions that are simply obvious attempts to reach the charts or radio stations which are really unfortunate.

The album opens with New Millennium, a strange sounding song for Image and Words and Awake's lovers. It has an odd Metallica feeling and the vocals are also not really fitting. Not a lousy one, but far from brilliant despite its great bass playing. But much better than You Not Me and its horrendous chorus. This song confirms that the voice of LaBrie was not in top form this time.

Peruvian Skies contains not only terrible lyrics, but also a lot of boredom. Only the Petrucci's solo shines here... And what can we find after this solo? Another Metallica sounding riff! What a mess... But not so bad as Hollow Years, which starts like Dire Straits meets Marc Anthony and it continues with the form of a ballad improper for a band like Dream Theater, despite its sweet piano melodies.

Burning My Soul tries to retrieve the power of Images and words, with good heavy riffing. But again, the strangely doubled vocals of LaBries blurred the result. And the drumming sound specially bad on this one! The high-pitched snare is almost unbearable. Hell's Kitchen is an insipid instrumental dominated by Petrucci, but then comes Lines in the Sand!

It starts with chords which bring the film Blade Runner to mind, and after that we hear a great guitar melody and a complex riffs, which together with a powerful drumming make the best song of the album, and maybe also the most progressive. And Doug Pinnick sings in the chorus! What could be better than that?

Unfortunately Take Away My Pain is another bad attempt to create something appropriate for the masses... Just a lame pop- rock song. And absolutely not lame is Just Let Me Breathe, my favorite of the whole album with its funky metal rhythms, energy and complexity! How can the band managed to make such a great song alongside a cruel thing like Anna Lee, which is really boring and bland again?

Thank God, Trial of Tears closes the album with quality, being a long song divided in three acts with another great bass playing and marvelous guitar solos. Another minor highlight of the album.

Conclusion: Falling Into Infinity has its moments. And they are really good! But it also contains a lot of lousy songs from a band trying to be what they obviously not are. Strangely commercial and utterly irregular, this album is maybe my least favorite of Dream Theater, despite having great songs like Lines in the Sand and Just Let Me Breathe.

Fortunately, the band would do so much better on their next work!

Best Tracks: Lines in the Sand, Just Let Me Breathe, Trial of Tears.

My rating: **

Review by Kempokid
2 stars At this point, basically anyone familiar with the basic history of Dream Theater would know the story behind the label pushing this album to be far more commercial than they wanted it, almost causing the band to split up. This more commercial approach is undoubtedly a large aspect of the reason why this album is often despised by fans, sonething that I can't really argue with in many cases here, as this album has its fair share of bad songs. The production on the album is a much lighter one compared to their other albums, with a decent atmosphere in many places, along with great synth and keyboard tones, along with being one of their only albums where John Myung is consistently audible, revealing that he's just as talented as every other member of the band.

The songs can be put into one of two categories here, and the album on the whole is quite sonically confused due to this. On one hand, you have the poppy, commercial songs like You Not Me, Burning My Soul and Take Away My Pain. The main thing that all these songs have in common is they're almost entirely consistent in their low quality, with them being painfully cheesy, especially Take Away My Pain, Anna Lee, and You Not Me, with the former two being dull, overlong ballads that really don't go anywhere and contain none of the emotional impact that is a vital component of a good ballad, and the latter switching between heavy, metal based sections, and a chorus that is borderline painful. Easily my least favourite song on the album, and one of my least favourite by the band is Burning My Soul, which is clearly trying to show either the band, or just James Labrie being angry at something, but it feels so hard to take seriously, as it feels like there's barely any actual aggression behind it, and it all just comes off as hilarious and honestly somewhat pathetic. The only outlier to this is the stunning Hollow Years, which I most fondly think of for its amazing acoustic guitar tone and the slow progression of it, that never reaches any major high point, but is instead just a really pleasant listen.

Fortunately, the other half of the songs are much more prog focused, albeit much mellower ones, with no real moments of bombast other than the Rush influenced New Millenium, which is simply excellent, even when it does occasioanlly dabble in the field of U2 and Muse. Peruvian Skies is simply amazing, starting off really quietly and pleasantly, and building up to an intense metal passage. The two part song of Hell's Kitchen and Lines in The Sand is one of the best parts of the album, with Hell's Kitchen being one of the most subtle instrumentals the band has ever done, while still fully displaying the insane abilities of the band, especially John Petrucci, who still hasn't quite reached the point in his career where almost every solo ever played by him ends up sounding like just a shredfest. Lines In The Sand is one of the better songs here, filling up its 12 minutes nicely with great riffs and solos all throughout, along with a keyboard intro that sounds quite a lot like Rainbow's Tarot Woman. 2 albums in a row, Dream Theater end their album with the best song on it, this time in the form of Trial of Tears, which sets up a melancholic mood so perfectly and then continues building upon this thoughout the entire song, with a middle instrumental sextion that just builds upon this before returning to the vocals, now being more powerful, and ends the song, and album, with a bang.

While this album is undoubtedly one of the weaker ones put out by the band, there are many songs on here which are amazing, with a much more subtle overall tone that was never replicated by them since. While I can't say I return to this album often, if you look past a few bad songs, what you get is a superb album, it's just a shame that it's marred by such songs to begin with. On a separate note, this is easily one of the worst starting points into DT's discography and I'd recommend listening to quite a few of their other albums before this one.

Best songs: Peruvian Skies, Lines in the Sand, Trial of Tears

Weakest songs: Burning My soul, Take Away My Pain, Anna Lee

Verdict: The most commercial album the band has put out, with many of the most pop oriented songs in the band's discography, which while not bad on principle, doesn't really pan out here. Fortunately, the album is saved by every single proggy song found here, along with Hollow Years, making it a mixed, but enjoyable experience.

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nš 581

"Falling Into Infinity" is the fourth studio album of Dream Theater and that was released in 1997. The writing phases of the album were very stressful periods for the group, and at a point, even almost led them to retire. The commercial and critical failure of the album led to the band demanding to be completely free from the record label from pressures and interferences on their future albums. It was the band's only studio album to feature their keyboardist Derek Sherinian following the departure of their former keyboardist Kevin Moore. Still, Sherinian had already participated on the live tour of their previous studio album "Awake" and on the EP "A Change Of Seasons". He became substituted by their current keyboardist of the group Jordan Rudess on the next studio album "Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory" of 1999.

So, the line up on "Falling Into Infinity" is James LaBrie (lead vocals), John Petrucci (backing vocals and guitars), Derek Sherinian (backing vocals and keyboards), John Myung (bass and chapman stick) and Mike Portnoy (backing vocals and drums). The album had also the participation of Doug Pinnick, the King's X vocalist, on some additional vocals. "Falling Into Infinity" has eleven tracks. All music was written by Dream Theater. The first track "New Millennium" with lyrics by Portnoy is an excellent track with a very catchy feel. It's one of the heaviest tracks on the album that captures perfectly well the powerful vocals and sound of the group. The second track "You Not Me" with lyrics by Petrucci and Desmond Child is a kind of a heavier ballad. It's another excellent track that contains very harmonic vocals and backing vocals, along with excellent lyrics. All those things combined with excellent performances make of it truly a great song. The third track "Peruvian Skies" with lyrics by Petrucci is a track that sounds a little bit strange and dark at a first listen. However, as the song develops we can see the usual musical magic of the band. The song changes into a great prog heavy sound and it makes of it another truly excellent track. The fourth track "Hollow Years" with lyrics by Petrucci is a true very beautiful ballad that breaks the spirit of the album. It's a very well constructed song with an excellent acoustic sound and a nice vocal work by LaBrie. There is no prog in here, but sincerely who needs that in a so beautiful ballad. The fifth track "Burning My Soul" with lyrics by Portnoy is a track where the band get back to their classic heavy sound. It's the heaviest song on the album so far and has a sound somewhat similar to any other band songs. Despite being a nice song to hear, it's one of my least favourite songs on the album. The sixth track "Hell's Kitchen" is an instrumental track that has a bit of "Erotomania" feel from "Awake". This is probably one of their simplest instrumental tracks but is simply amazing. It's majestic, melodic, progressive and beautiful in every sense. It became a classic track by the group. The seventh track "Lines In The Sand" with lyrics by Petrucci is the first epic on the album. Many of the lyrics are sung by King's X vocalist. It's another excellent song but this time with a jazzy and psychedelic touch. Sincerely, I'm sure that we are in presence of one of the greatest compositions by the group. The eighth track "Take Away My Pain" with lyrics by Petrucci is the second ballad on the album. It has nothing to do with metal or with progressivity too, but it's a very refreshing musical moment on the album. It's amazingly, emotional and beautifully written and represents one of the band's greatest ballads. The ninth track "Just Let Me Breathe" with lyrics by Portnoy is a track in the same vein of "Burning My Soul". Heaviness is here once again and the main riff is really great. Even LaBrie manages to sound heavy with his vocal performance. As with "Burning My Soul", I also like the song but it isn't also one of my favourite songs on the album. The tenth track "Anna Lee" with lyrics by LaBrie is the third ballad on the album. This is the piano ballad and definitely a very beautiful song. LaBrie makes a very solid performance on this song and the lyrics are probably the best on the album. Petrucci does another stunning solo on the album. The eleventh and last track "Trial Of Tears" with lyrics by Myung is divided into three parts "It's Raining", "Deep In Heaven" and "The Wasteland". It's the second epic on the album and represents a real trip to prog fans. It's the best track of the album, maybe the only one that many of us were into from the first listening. It could have been an album by itself. It's the perfect way to end this excellent album.

Conclusion: "Falling Into Infinity" is the kind of albums that or you can love or can hate. Personally, I love it and, in my humble opinion, it's an underrated album on Progarchives. With this album, you enter to Dream Theater's musical world into their more soft and emotional side. I know that many of you consider the album as one of their weakest studio albums. It represents clearly a change of their sound with the complexity of the arrangements being a bit stripped down and the sound of the album being a bit jazzy in some moments, especially in "Lines In The Sand" and "Trial Of Tears". On those songs the guitar work of Petrucci reminds me sometimes the musical style of Allan Holdsworth. Concluding, the main problem of this album is, in my opinion, that it was released between the two best studio albums of the band.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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Report this review (#226625) | Posted by Witch | Tuesday, July 14, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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