If one was to make the mistake of judging the entire music scene by Sputnik and her sister sites, one would make a huge mistake: that Tool and Dream Theater are the most popular modern rock bands. Neither of these currently get any air time, but their massive fan base is what keeps them alive. Dream Theater, in particular, is a band that has always gone against modern trends. To this day they continue to write multi minute epics, filled with blistering solos. The band's amazing line up at the time was:
James LaBrie: Vocals
John Petruci: Guitar
Kevin Moore: Keyboards
John Myung: Bass Guitar
Mike Portney: Drums and Percusion
James LaBrie is an underrated vocallist, with people go so far as to say the band would be better off without him. His signiture high pitched way of wailing out lyrics is evidencesed on this album quite well. John Petruci really needs no introduction as a gutarists, he's one of the greatest ever, playing with speed that few can equal. Some dislike him (and Dream Theater as a whole) because many of his solos are increadably fast and technical just for the sake of being so. I myself think his solo's go far beyond technical wankery. Although the bands current keybordist Jorden Rudess has more talent than Moore, Moore easily prooves himself as a better composer, as well as a brilliant player. John Myung is sometimes hard to hear over the rest of the band, but when he solos its always increadable. Finally, Mike Portney is an increadable drummer, using double bass drum hits wonderfully and never falling into repitition.
The album itself is their second studio album, released in 1992 and prooved them to be the champions of modern Progresive Rock.
Pull Me Under:
The album is kicked off with a simple clean guitar riff, soon joined by drums and keyboards. The song gets a heavier about a minute in with the guitar gaining distortion, and continue to hold the song up with the keyboards until a minute later with LaBrie entering the song. These certainly aren't his best vocals, but the work pretty well. Petruci severs up a mini solo, before LaBrie sings "Pull Me Under/Pull Me Under/Pull Me Under/I'm not afraid!" The songs slows down a bit later, with Petruci soloing until LaBrie sings the reframe. The song faids out to a heavy riff. A fairly good opener, although not of it really strikes me as genius
One of the most un Dream Theater songs the band has released, Another Day is far from a fan favorite. Its short (clocking in at about four minutes) and features no fashy solos. Its actually rather inspirational. It deals pretty much with living another day, and not giving up. They use an alto sax, which, doesn't really seem to fit their style, although it comes off pretty well. By far the best part of the song, though, is LaBrie, who serves up some amazing vocals. A lot of people won't like the song, but I actually do. Its improved quite a bit on the version from Live Scenes From New York, as well.
Take The Time:
Some real classic Dream Theater, it starts of with some odd keyboards, before a simple bassline comes in. Petruci comes in soon, and Moore pulls off and increadable solo, before Myung segues into the vocals. The vocals themselves are actually pretty weird at first. Portney complements the vocals perfectly, and the fast continues, untill about three and a half minutes in when the piano makes an entrance. It speeds up a bit with some excellent playing from Petruci and Myung. Petruci and Moore serve up a great syncronized solo, before some awesome riffage comes in from all the instruments. Another awesome keyboard solo comes in, and continues until LaBrie returns to the song, and piano comes in to harald a slower guitar solo, untill vocals return, and the song fades out to a killer guitar solo.
A cool synth/piano part opens at a slow temple, before LaBrie comes with some soft vocals. Bass and Guitar don't come in until a minute and a half have passed. Theres not really much I can say about this song, its probably my least favorite on the album, although its in no way filler.
This is pretty much recogized as the fan favorite, for some very good reason. Every members of the band is absolutely amazing. It starts off with a bit of percusion, and a quiet, lonely keyboard part and a bit of guitar. Portney and Petruci explode into the song, with Petruci playing one of my favorite of his riffs. Portney owns throughout the whole song. LaBrie's vocals are amazing, with him singing his signiture style the best he ever has, with much of it at the top of his range. The intstumentals in the center are unbelievable, with both Portney and Myung getting their chance at the center stage. I'm not sure how this song ties in with their later release Metrapolis Pt. 2 Scenes From A Memory (probably their best album after this one) but this song pretty much sums up everything I like about Dream Theater definitly a:
Under A Glass Moon
Another amazing song, its started with a heavy, slow guitar riff, before Portney begins to pound away on the drums, and Myung comes in. Its also a great song for LaBrie with him singing pretty much like he does on the previous track (although the lyrics make no
sense.) By far the best part is Petruci's insane solo, heralded by a quick bass fill. Petruci prooves why some consider him such a guitar god. Truely a:
Wait For Sleep
: A short song, which somehow feels like the centerpoint of the album to me. Its just piano and vocals, and serves as an intro into Learning to Live, both musically and lyrically. I'm not going to rate it though, because of this, although its one of my favorite Dream Theater songs.
Learning to Live:
F-ing fantastic is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of it. Its the logest track on the album at nearly twelve minutes in length. Its started off with a great keyboard pattern from Moore. The lyrics deal with someone who's observing the world, and learning how to become part of it. I've always thought that Wait For Sleep is a specific description of something this person has observed. The excellent vocals continue, until another great keyboard solo. The song takes another change with a nice acoustic solo from Petruci. The songs continues on track wonderfully, with Petruci's guitar now distorted, and LaBrie does a great scream, before a really strong guitar solo, and an awesome repeated riff. The song stops for a second, and Moore plays the exact some piano intro to Wait For Sleep, except a lot faster. The rest of the band joins him soon, and play excellently until LaBrie comes in to sing an increadable reframe of: " The way your heart sounds/makes all the difference/It's what decides if you'll endure the pain that we all feel/The way your heart beats/makes all the difference In learning to live/ Spread before you is your soul/ So forever hold the dreams within our hearts/ Through nature's inflexible grace/ I'm learning to live." Myung the takes center stage with a nice bass solo, before the rest of the band come in to majestically end this increadable song, and increadable album.
I'd recomend this band to any fan of Progresive rock, Metal or just excellent musicionship. This is my favorite prog metal album, and one of my favorite albums of all time. All the musicians are virtuosos. If your looking for other great Dream Theater albums, I'd recomend A Change of Seasons, Scenes From a Memory, or Live Scenes in New York.