Dream Theater
Dream Theater


3.5
great

Review

by Kenneth E. Rathburn USER (71 Reviews)
August 5th, 2014 | 77 replies


Release Date: 09/23/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Simplified and streamlined.

Bands releasing self-titled albums well into their careers has become increasingly commonplace. It’s essentially the new musical trend. Frequently listed reasons include going “back to their roots” or “finding themselves” by “starting over.” For Dream Theater, the choice comes twenty-five years in for their twelfth studio album, featuring 2013’s least interesting cover art, all while running a few minutes short by the band’s standards. With that information, it’s easy to predict the direction Dream Theater will take, something listeners will either embrace or call foul at.

Only one track passes the eight-minute mark, which almost implies that Dream Theater would contain cues from Awake. But if anything, this is more Images and Words meets Falling Into Infinity. Dream Theater is full of accessible material; even the relatively heavy “The Enemy Inside” has a distinctly metal-radio vibe. Both “Surrender to Reason” and “Along for the Ride” are completely guilty of approachability, the latter of which is so relaxing, it’ll make any day feel like Sunday.

When the album does start escalating, it never goes too far. The forced metal sound Dream Theater have often frequented in is MIA here. Set the lyrical enigma that is “The Bigger Picture” and the effectively solemn “Behind the Veil” aside and we have an album practically devoid of brooding moments. In a way, this means Dream Theater have lost a bit of their edge, especially since they’re going for a simpler sound. Yet it also means that, in addition to some tonal variety, we get a fluent, natural sounding album.

Dream Theater haven’t felt this at-ease in years, which might have to do with age gradually catching up to them. Nevertheless, the band are willing to treat us to another epic in the form of “Illumination Theory,” which comes off structurally similar to “The Count of Tuscany,” thanks to a tranquilizing mid-section. The difference here is that the ante is upped thanks to a moving string ensemble. As is routine with lengthier Dream Theater tracks, this piece can be argued as out of place, but when the music ultimately sounds this good, who’s going to complain?

At this point in Dream Theater’s career, it’d be unrealistic to expect the unexpected. Dream Theater isn’t a way to get fans excited for the future, but rather an attempt for the band to have some fun. Picky listeners won’t find much staying power in this eponymous piece, but those wanting an enjoyable album that works well, both in and out of context, should be content with the results.



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user ratings (549)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenorazr
August 5th 2014


459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Praise sputnik for italics!

TalonsOfFire
August 5th 2014


8124 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This used to be my exact opinion of this. Give it a few months, it'll grow off fast...

Digging: Stella Luna - Stargazer

Artuma
August 5th 2014


14334 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

never liked this album tbh

Digging: Fleurety - Min Tid Skal Komme

Xenorazr
August 5th 2014


459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

In a way it already has. But I still think it's consistently enjoyable. I have a tough time calling any of the tracks "duds," which helps.

ChoccyPhilly
August 5th 2014


7176 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Woo! End of the series and shortest review yet. Now where are them lists at?

I thought it was ok when I first heard it, but it personally just got worse and worse and now is probably their worst IMO

Digging: Swallowed - Lunarterial

Evatallica
August 5th 2014


110 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I enjoyed reading all of your reviews!

And I used to love this album but it has fallen so far out of favor for me.



ChoccyPhilly
August 5th 2014


7176 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The Enemy Inside and Behind The Veil are decent, but more of the same of cheesy DT is perhaps the last thing I wanted going into this album

Evatallica
August 5th 2014


110 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

What does the band need to do in order to get themselves back in shape, musically I mean. LOL

DT hyped this up so much too, it's a shame its so mediocre.

ChoccyPhilly
August 5th 2014


7176 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Less solos. More subtleties and a bit of sonic variation too (like in Learning To Live)

LepreCon
August 5th 2014


4141 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Least spun DT. Still pretty cool imo

Green Baron
August 5th 2014


20000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I don't hate this.

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

ChoccyPhilly
August 5th 2014


7176 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@green you have this at the same rating as Oct and ToT? This is much worse in comparison

sonictheplumber
August 5th 2014


4621 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

still amazed that people on the rush forum were calling this the best since awake

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
August 5th 2014


50510 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

lol damn

TheSpirit
August 5th 2014


17927 Comments


The only DT song I've ever liked is "Never Enough" but I'd probably dig a more streamlined version of them. Maybe i'll give this a shot.

TheSpirit
August 5th 2014


17927 Comments


Also, nice review. Short but sweet.

BMDrummer
August 5th 2014


8632 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

never liked this album

beefshoes
August 5th 2014


4206 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

You're being way too generous with your rating Xenorazr.

Digging: Devin Townsend Project - Z2

Xenorazr
August 5th 2014


459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I'd rather be generous than be harsh.

emester
August 5th 2014


3906 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

LaBrie's voice is irritating beyond fucking comprehension

Digging: Falls of Rauros - Believe in No Coming Shore



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