Dream Theater
Falling into Infinity


2.5
average

Review

by Austin USER (41 Reviews)
May 15th, 2010 | 97 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Falling Into Mediocrity.

The Journey Through Dream Theater, Part 5

Commonly considered to be one of their weakest efforts, Falling Into Infinity is not looked upon too kindly in the Dream Theater discography, although its negative stigma is understandable. It falls between Dream Theater’s most acclaimed works: Images and Words, Scenes From A Memory, and to a lesser extent, Awake. It was an attempt at a more mainstream-accessible album (although this was largely a move by the record company), and it is largely considered to be a commercial and critical failure. While there are moments of excellence, ultimately Falling Into Infinity is Dream Theater’s weakest album since the debut.

A major problem with Falling Into Infinity is James LaBrie’s vocals. After a commanding operatic performance in Images and an improved performance in Awake that showed him handling heavier material, here he digresses due to him rupturing his vocal cords. When he attempts to hit high notes here, most of the time it doesn’t work out very well, so he’s forced to deliver a very dry performance most of the time. The other issue is that the progressive elements of Dream Theater’s music have been scaled back to allow for more radio-friendly tracks.

New Millenium starts things off, and it’s not very captivating. The guitar/keyboard line that runs through the song is pretty good, and LaBrie’s vocals are tolerable, but the band’s insistence of showing practically no technicality throughout the song makes it drag. You Not Me continues the trend, with a simple riff and an overly poppy chorus of “It’s all about you, not me” that shows the lyrical digression on the album as well. From the beginning it appears that Dream Theater had lost their spark.

Luckily there are a few bright spots in the middle of the album. Peruvian Skies is excellent, having the feel of an 80’s Metallica ballad, switching from soft to heavy in the last 3 minutes. This leaves Petrucci a chance to shine, with a strong solo, something that is unfortunately missed on the majority of the album. It’s followed by Hollow Years, the only strong ballad here, with simple but effective acoustic guitar and pleasant vocal melodies due to one of LaBrie’s few strong performances on this album. Hell’s Kitchen is a simple but well-executed instrumental that leads right into Lines In The Sand, one of two epics on the album. LaBrie’s vocals aren’t a highlight, but Lines In The Sand is well executed enough musically that it doesn’t hinder the song too much. The instrumental passages are very well done, and Petrucci provides a great solo in the middle section.

Aside from Hollow Years, the slower material is very weak. Take Away My Pain is a cheesy ballad, something that Dream Theater can get away with from time to time, but it simply lacks the power of other ballads the band has performed, passing by in what is ultimately a boring 6 minutes, with LaBrie’s attempt at dramatic vocals leaving no mark whatsoever. Anna Lee is a little better, with slightly improved vocals, but it’s still mostly unmemorable. It’s a shame, because Dream Theater had already proved before this album that they could write effective ballad material with cuts like The Silent Man and Space-Dye Vest. The heavier material isn’t up to par either. Burning My Soul wants to be a fist-pumping hard rocker, but LaBrie’s poor vocals and groan-inducing lines like “I say it's green and then you tell me it's red” ruin it. Just Let Me Breathe fails in the same vein, a poor attempt at an angst-ridden rocker. The final track, Trial of Tears, is one of the worst epics the band has made, dragging on and lacking any sense of epicness, fully uninteresting save for Petrucci’s wankery in the middle of the song.

While critics of the band would say that their overuse of technicality is their downfall, here on Falling Into Infinity it is exactly the opposite. The band fails to do much interesting most of the time, and LaBrie’s typically poor performance on the album can’t carry most of the songs. While there are a few highlights, ultimately Falling Into Infinity earns its reputation as one of Dream Theater’s weakest albums.

Top Tracks: Peruvian Skies, Hollow Years, Hell’s Kitchen, Lines In The Sand

For Falling Into Infinity, Dream Theater was:

• John Myung – Bass guitar
• John Petrucci – Lead guitar
• Mike Portnoy – Drums, Percussion
• Derek Sherinian – Keyboards
• James LaBrie – Vocals

To Be Continued…



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user ratings (1063)
Chart.
3.2
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
tiesthatbind
May 15th 2010


7375 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'm glad I finally got this done.

shindip
May 15th 2010


3536 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

good review. albums pretty mediocre aside from Lines In The Sand

tiesthatbind
May 15th 2010


7375 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks, yeah pretty much.

FadeToBlack
May 15th 2010


11034 Comments


this is bad even for dream theater

Parallels
May 15th 2010


6641 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i actually like this album. Labries vocals are a fresh to me, but the album is indeed way too overproduced and pressured. A good selection of these songs should have never been made.
Just let me breathe is one of my favorites, its like the polar opposite of Take the Time.

Sound
May 15th 2010


3903 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Aside from some obvious duds I still think this is better than Octavarium and Systematic Chaos. Better music at its core.

And wait until you hear the Budokan version of Hollow Years, blows the album version out of the water.


Parallels
May 15th 2010


6641 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

^ what he said
+ take away my pain > hollow years (Fii version)

AnotherBrick
May 15th 2010


9771 Comments


this album never did much for me

tiesthatbind
May 15th 2010


7375 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Eh, Systematic Chaos and Octavarium>this easily in my opinion.

Sound
May 15th 2010


3903 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hmmm... Good for you then.

If you haven't, please check out Hollow Years Live at Budokan. It's like they took all the elements of the song and improved upon them, especially the solo...


NeutralThunder12
May 15th 2010


8742 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

lalala album blows dick

Bfhurricane
May 15th 2010


6197 Comments


Dream Theater is arguably my favorite band, and I own every Dream Theater album except for this one, just never felt compelled to pick it up. Good review.

Nagrarok
May 15th 2010


8259 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice work, pretty much agree. Might have said it before but:

Dream Theater was:

• John Myung – Bass guitar
• John Petrucci – Lead guitar
• Mike Portnoy – Drums, Percussion
• Derek Sherinian – Keyboards
• James LaBrie – Vocals


It's kind of annoying having this at the beginning of the review. Putting it at the end works much better, and you need to specifiy it's the line-up of this particular album, otherwise you're saying Dream Theater was always like this. Perhaps this is just nagging, but just my cup of tea.

tiesthatbind
May 15th 2010


7375 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks. I'll fix that, Nagrarok.

Edit: fix'd

Douglas
May 15th 2010


9115 Comments


Hell's Kitchen rules

Digging: The Preatures - Blue Planet Eyes

Parallels
May 15th 2010


6641 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hell's Kitchen rules [2]

Yazz_Flute
May 15th 2010


18802 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You really haven't heard this bfh? That surprises me.

Album is quite good I think, i'd take it over Systematic Chaos any day. Also Trial of Tears is one of the best songs they've ever written, both that and Lines in the Sand are classics.

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
May 15th 2010


16403 Comments


Great review, as always. I think the album is decent, but by DT standards it is definitely subpar.

Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

Lakes.
May 15th 2010


28364 Comments


haven't heard it yet, and don't plan to check this out anytime soon. good review.

Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

tiesthatbind
May 15th 2010


7375 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks, and yeah, definitely not a priority to hear this when their other 90's stuff is so good.



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