Dream Theater
Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory


5.0
classic

Review

by Jorn van Schaïk USER (172 Reviews)
February 24th, 2007 | 1578 replies | 63,015 views


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist


Concept albums are usually discs that are only made by the most pretentious of musicians. It is already quite difficult to write a good song and pull it off, but to write a whole album and succeed is insanely tought, and to combine both into a record that has to flow, be coherent and lyrically solid is just incredible if you can make it work. However, it's been done in the past. Queensryche proved they could do it with Operation: Mindcrime. Pink Floyd have the epic The Wall. Rush has 2112. And make a guess; Dream Theater was influenced by all these guys, and want to sit on the shelf next to them.

And they ***ing made it work, too.

This album is classic in every sense of the word. Every note, every riff, every lyrics, every drum beat works perfectly. No song does not belong on here, everything has its rightful place, although there are of course (as usual) tracks that just blow your mind away. I know that I may be a sucker for this grand, progressive, masturbatory side of metal, but this album shows that these guys possess musicianship, songwriting skills, balls, and ingenuity and can combine all that to pull off a terrific record with aplomb.

It's hard to single out anything here, since everything is all intertwined, but one of the standout songs is the epic "Home." Going from a melodic eastern guitar lick to a singalong chorus to guitar solos that make your neck stand on end, such is the speed with which Petrucci needles out the notes, not to mention Portnoy's drum work which is just out of the wazoo, I believe that this may well contend with their other classics such as Metropolis and Learning To Live (not to mention ACOS), as one of the best things they ever did. And there is more proggy epic goodness. Beyond This Life's intro riff is badass. James LaBrie does a great job on the vocals, he is not annoying in any way on here, superb performance, James. We know you can do it. And oh, talking about solos: Beyond This Life's second part is like a seven minute epic jam monster. Rudess, Petrucci, Portnoy... all these men are just masters at their instruments.

Of course, DT isn't just out to write chunky pieces of metal. To make people catch their breath, they added the fantastic pair of ballads Through Her Eyes and The Spirit Carries On. Particularly the latter stands out as being incredibly moving. If I would have to choose a song to play at my funeral, it would be this. The solo is really in synch with the song, LaBrie's vocals are splendid, the piano interludes are insanely atmospherical and overall it's just a great song. Through Her Eyes is awesome in the same way, although the lyrics are slightly cheesier.

And then I still haven't mentioned my favourite moment of this album. After the "gunshot" bit in Finally Free, Petrucci's guitar solo just knocks me off my chair, bed, or whatever I'm sitting on and makes me bow to my cd player in amazement. You don't have to noodle at 3000 npm to make a good solo. It's short, it's sweet, but damn, is it effective.

Another pair of songs where these guys showcase their "we are progressive musicians look how good we are at our instruments" are the instrumentals. I especially like Ouverture 1928, with another Petrucci solo I cannot forget. Sometimes, this guy can be too much all over the album and kind of tower over his bandmates, but damn, on here every solo just works. I'm impressed with everything the guy puts out on here. Not to do injustice to the rest of the guys, who also showcase some superb class (Mike is a ***ing genius on the double bass here), but this album has JP's signature written all over it without being dominant in any way. I find that to be great.

The Dance Of Eternity is the other instrumental, and it just redefines complex. You can scoff at me now, but I'll be damned if anyone is able to copy that. It's insanely technical, complex, and I'm just amazed how these guys can actually pull the song off everytime. How do you remember to play such solos in such odd time signatures at such speeds? It just stumps me.

The rest of the album serves as a narrative to the story (Regression, Through My Words), or is awesome in its own way, but just is towered over by the masterpieces on this dics. Strange Deja Vu is a pretty loud balls to the wall song, with a pretty aggressive atmosphere, chunky riffs, mouthwatering drums and another dose of LaBrie vocals in excellent shape. Fatal Tragedy is like a mini Beyond This Life, it serves well for the story, but it is just kind of overshadowed. One Last Time is very melodic and atmospheric, and the piano ending is just so sweet.

And on top of it it's the lyrics, to which after many repeated listens I still cannot quite completely figure out what it's about. Yes, I know it's a murder mystery, and who killed who is clear now, but the main threads still have to come together. This may be a good thing or a bad thing, but if it's so hard to decipher, or rather too metaphorical, I just think it's another display of ingenuity. It all nicely ties together too, not giving away the clue before the very last song, so you really need to sit out the ride to understand the record, and to make you want more after every song.

Overall this is just a classic album period. If you love metal, get this. It belongs in your collection. If you like progressive with a set of balls, this cd is your man. If you like excellent musicianship, this album is an excellent bet. Anyone can find something to like on here, and if you're not satisfied with the music you can always try to make sense of the lyrics. It's hard to hand out five stars to a record, as very little can be considered classic, but this one definitely deserves it. Dream Theater get a gold star for this one. Highly, highly, highly recommended to any music fan out there.



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user ratings (2448)
Chart.
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyler
Emeritus
February 24th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just a suggestion: Have you thought of writing any negative reviews? I'm seeing you do lots of 4s and 5s lately...

I love this album, so I'll read the review in a bit.

Altmer
February 24th 2007


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I have, and I will, but I'm just on a roll of digging albums right now. I've been in a particularly good mood lately. Besides I don't listen to bad music :scoff:

Tyler
Emeritus
February 24th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nobody listens to music they consider "bad", I'm just saying it'd be cool to see you step outside the box a little.

Two-Headed Boy
February 24th 2007


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I heard a bit of this from a friend. I gotta tell ya, it's a'ight. Good work, too.

Anyone else notice that in like a quarter of all reviews, after the first paragraph, there's a single sentance exclaiming something? This Message Edited On 02.24.07

Altmer
February 24th 2007


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hah yeah, I think my next review is going to be Into Eternity's The Scattering Of Ashes, god I hate that thing. I don't want to crucify myself listening to it again but maybe...

Mikesn
Emeritus
February 24th 2007


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is my favourite Dream Theater album. Home and Overture 1928 are great songs. Cool review as well.

Tyler
Emeritus
February 24th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Okay, read the review.
First Paragraph

it off, but to write a whole album and succeed is insanely tought,

Typo.
And they ***ing made it work, too.

Made what work? Seems a little awkward and unnecessary.

You don't have to noodle at 3000 npm

*RPM
Pretty good review though, I'm just feeling hyper-critical. Some sentences were a little odd, but maybe that's just me. I agree with mostly everything you said though, I love this album.
This Message Edited On 02.24.07

Wizard
February 24th 2007


19389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fatal Tradegy rules this album and is quite possibly Dream Theaters shining moment (the solo is unreal in that song). A strong review I must say. Do you ever criticize anything? hahahaha! Keep up the good work!

Digging: Mistigo Varggoth Darkestra - The Key to the Gates of the Apocalypse

Doppelganger
February 24th 2007


3124 Comments


I never really liked Dream Theater, though I admire every member's virtuosic playing. I've heard Home and Dance of Eternity from this album, and I liked that latter a whole lot.

Good review, btw.

Jim
February 24th 2007


5110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is very nearly my favourite by them. Metal ain't my scene baby, but this prog-epic is pretty incredible. God it sounds like Pink Floyd sometimes though.

Bfhurricane
February 24th 2007


6197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Excellent album. This is a must have. "The Spirit Carries On" on their live album Score is phenominal, maybe the best song on that album. But yeah, ridiculously good album

WARPATH_88
February 24th 2007


514 Comments


Never did get into DT. But I can apreciate their talent.

Yazz_Flute
February 24th 2007


18783 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review. All I have is Octavarium from them and It's great. I love the keyboard solos on the title track.

Digging: Battles - Mirrored

Thor
February 24th 2007


10191 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Excellent album, but I don't think I could ever give a Dream Theater album a 5.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
February 24th 2007


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

could I get an overrated chant going?

no?

ok.

It's totally LeBrie that kills it for me. The instrumental songs are good though.

Doppelganger
February 24th 2007


3124 Comments


^LaBrie is pretty terrible. I always thought it would've been more awesome if Kevin Moore sang, but his style doesn't really fit DT from what I've heard (even though he's miles ahead of LaBrie).This Message Edited On 02.24.07

Bfhurricane
February 24th 2007


6197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I rather enjoy LaBrie's voice. He's got a good set of pipes

rhyno
February 24th 2007


28 Comments


This album way overrated. Just because these guys can play fast and accurately in crazy time signatures doesn't mean that its good.

Shattered_Future
February 24th 2007


1540 Comments


He's decent. Good range, but GOD. The tone completely kills it for me sometimes.

Altmer
February 25th 2007


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

RPM is revolutions per minute. NPM is notes per minute. XD



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