|UserSoundoffs 42Album Ratings 1499Objectivity 75%Last Active 06-06-13 11:24 amJoined 05-30-12Forum Posts 0Review Comments 12
|The Many Faces of Dream Theater, pt.1|
The technically proficient guitar playing of John Petrucci, virtuoso talents of drummer of Mike Portnoy and rkeyboardist Jordan Rudess and calculated techniques of bassist John Myung have elevated Dream Theater rto the upper echelons of contemporary heavy metal. While its lineup has continuously evolved (Mike rMangini replaced Portnoy in 2011 following a much-publicized audition), the Boston-based quintet has rconsistently delivered sharp-edged music. Dream Theater is known for its high-energy concert rperformances. They have 12 albums, an EP, and various live CD's/DVD's - a stunning feat. However, the rband has become a topic of hot debate after each album, rand the band-members can be very hit or miss rat times, especially the singing style of James LaBrie. Here is an evaluation of each album from best to rworst. Happy 30th, Dream Theater!!
Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory
An intoxicating musical journey about a modern man haunted by a heinous crime, "Scenes from a Memory" is a triumph of musical storytelling
and unabashed rock and roll. Even though a couple songs could be trimmed for time, the musical content here is just breathtaking. This is quite
possibly the peak of Dream Theater's musical career, and the best progressive rock album since Rush's "Moving Pictures".
Images and Words
An excellent release in every sense of word, Dream Theater's "Images and Words" hits all the right notes. It combines the best of pop
sensibilities with the best of heavy metal and progressive rock sensibilities. Every song here is killer, and every
bandmember is at their A-game; there's very good chemistry this time around, and the songwriting is impressive to say the
A darker, heavier album than its predecessor, "Awake" features some of the best guitar work from Petrucci to date, and values songwriting over
wandering. Portnoy has never sounded better behind the kit, and LaBrie's vocals are also more confident. This is one of the finest albums that
Dream Theater would ever put out.
A Dramatic Turn of Events
An admirable effort, with a renewed focus on songwriting, "A Dramatic Turn of Events" is Dream Theater's true return-to-form. It is focused,
cohesive, and best of all, very melodic. The songwriting is purely original and really stands out - it puts their last few albums or so to shame.
And newcomer Mike Mangini shows a ton of promise, even though his drums are a little soft in the mix. I know I'll get scorned for saying this,
but I'm not afraid to say it: this is Dream Theater in their best shape since 1999. And that says a lot.
Dream Theater continues to impress with their self-titled 12th LP. The album was supposedly influenced by every last one of their works, and it
shows. It's a natural progression for the band, and represents all they have worked on up to this point. The tracks are diverse and very
enjoyable; the band reincorporates some of their old trademarks while adding a contemporary twist. Mike Mangini's impact on the writing style
is tenfold. Songs are vibrant, and pack alot of punch - both musically and lyrically. It's also tighter than some of their older works.
A Change of Seasons
"A Change of Seasons" is a true love letter to the fans. The 23-minute title track, is both heavy and passionate at the same
time, and may possibly be the best song they ever made. You have to hear it to believe it. A true example of musical evolution. The four live
covers that complete this record may be worth a listen, but they simply lack the impact of the title track.
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
"Six Degrees" is an ambitious production that finds a post-"Metropolis" Dream Theater trying to meet impossible expectations. The result is a
double-album (produced just before the 9/11 attacks), torn between innovation & excitement, and the wretched excess & pretense that would
unfavorably characterize the band from this point on. The first disc is wildly experimental, with mixed results. The second disc is entirely
composed of the 42 minute title-track, which recalls the likes of Rush's "2112". The album shows some maturation and musical growth, but at
the same time, there's some of that wild stuff here that people don't like. This album is decent enough, but it's no "Images and Words".
Train of Thought
A crunchy album that features dark lyrics and some over-the-top jams, "Train of Thought" is a stripped-down version of the
Dream Theater we all love and know. It's an engaging album, but as it progresses, it gets weighed down by some technical
It's a more accessible album compared to its peers, and there is some fun to be had here (the titular track is excellent), but I can't help but say
that it disappoints as well. Why? Because it sounds quite commercial at times, but not enough to warrant the band a sellout tag. They did cut
back on the excess. And the songs here are varied, so the listener has much to choose from.
Black Clouds & Silver Linings
Dream Theater attempt to reinstate the songwriting abilities of their golden days, but the album is a bit too bloated. The
band's penchant for musical wandering had overwhelmed some albums like "Systematic Chaos", and some of that album's bad reputation
carried over here. But still, there was some good music on this album, proving that DT still had life left in them. The copy I heard contains a
second disc, full of cover songs that fully embrace Dream Theater's origins and actually do justice to the very bands they were inspired by.
"Systematic Chaos" is a regularly scheduled letdown that may have a good jam or two, but said jams are too excessive to make a full
impression. The band's decision to look at their contemporaries (i.e. Opeth, Porcupine Tree), coupled with poor lyrics, hammy singing by LaBrie
and a lack of unifying themes really killed this album for me. It's also a big problem that plagues many other bands in the progressive rock field.
This album was an ego trip of sorts, and I think its easy to see why Portnoy jumped ship in 2010.
Falling into Infinity
A good chunk of Dream Theater fans (Portnoy included) disowned this album, and for good reason. "Falling into Infinity" is a purely commercial-
minded album, lacking the kind of passion and innovation that defined them in the early 1990's. Some of the rhythms are good, but there's no
technicality here, and the second half of this album represents the very worst of the band since that obscure debut of theirs from '89. It is the
only album in which James LaBrie actually annoys the listener.
When Dream and Day Unite
Dream Theater got off to a pretty rough start with this hard-to-find debut. The poor production throughout, coupled with
cringe-worthy lyrics, Charlie Dominici's inability to add power and vibe to the songs, and the inconsistent music all contributed to a instant
failure. Not as bad as Celtic Frost's "Cold Lake", but still a horrendous experience. And don't get me started on the cover art! Dream Theater
would eventually shift gears in order to become the band they are today.
|6 > 4 and 5|
|12 > 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11|
|Jamie with the HUGE putdown. |
|Jamie, it seems like you almost always prefer bands' older albums. Not sure, but it just kinda seems that way|