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Dream Theater - The Astonishing CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.38 | 709 ratings

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4 stars Can this album get to be "A New Beginning" in the Progressive Metal scene?

This "The Astonishing" has been released in January 2016 as the 13th one of DREAM THEATER. Sorry I've listened to this stuff without any knowledge of the background but it's no good to have only half a pure impression for this album ... it's not amazing, not astonishing.. Through the whole album, a definite homage to some Symphonic Progressive Rock combos can be heard ... I know enough that a massive expectation when the newest album of theirs is released always calls various opinions, namely pros and cons, and my humble opinion for this album is "they play lots of melodious appearances fully with metallic essence, and launch some slush- core moments or acoustic passions here and there as well ... exactly precariously mysterious weirdness is weaved into musical / atmospheric stability.

Regardless to mention how splendid their play technique is, extreme dangerous movement filled with digital, inorganic sound elements just from the beginning arouses our appetite aka curiosity. Guess it might be DT's speciality and one of their newer phases to blend tight, hard-edged metallic vibrations with melodious heartwarming phrases, where symphonic texture can be apparently heard, with magnificent synthesizer play or female harmonies sometimes merged in the sound basis effectively. James' voices, which never get blurred as usual, are so smooth and relaxed for us enough to enjoy safe and sound in a sense. More dramatic and theatrical development seasoned with their soundtrack-ish interpretation upon this whole album is squeezed into our ears.

Orchestration featuring violins or other strings should be effective indeed, but it's not their potential for Symphonic Progressive Rock but one of their original strategies already furnished. Always appreciated to find their courage that they have featured unpredictable instruments (especially in Progressive Metal scene) e.g. bagpipes or trumpets. Very impressive and amazing for me is "Three Days", featuring violently depressive view in the main stream and swing-jazzy, lazy points in the flank ... each of them scatters or pops out of a jewel box and suddenly settle down with others into the box. This phenomenon can be felt they have done all they wanted to do. And another pleasure is "A Life Left Behind", an excessively superb catchy pop song (a sudden alteration be heard at the last stage though).

If I'm permitted, please let me say boldly this first material reminds me of such a rock opera giant "Bohemian Rhapsody" by QUEEN.

Anyway, the second one can be thought as a stuff for the outfit to press or urge progressive pop freaks to accept. Metallic colour, namely the core, has got so attenuated and exactly fantastic "easy-to-listen" music pole has been built so rigidly. Indeed each of the tracks sounds not bad, but at least for me, it might not so easy to understand their obvious strategy or music method, to appeal what they want to shoot in this album. Yes, eventually cannot clarify their foci to their important fans. We should appreciate they have constructed another "road to revolution" against Progressive Rock World, that's true. However, I cannot help feeling they have over- participated such a popularity or commercialism for infiltrating their creation through much more music intellectual strata, sad to say.

By the way, finally let me say as follows; if somebody asks me whether it be good or not to purchase this album, I'll say YES, of course. ;)

DamoXt7942 | 4/5 |


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