5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
An incredible development in Dream Theater's discography,
This review is from: Train of Thought (Audio CD)
I am a great fan of Dream Theater, so i may have a slightly biased judgement...
As I Am starts the album, and as i see it is a response to the modern music industry, focussing as i see it on recording labels, who look for simply how well their new five piece all singing band will be accepted by the braindead modern music industry. "To those who understand, I extend my hand, To the doubtful i demand, take me as i am.."
it also has a great instrumental section. This song is not the most musically challenging, (read: it's mainly in a 4/4 beat) This of course however is not necessarily a bad thing, and the band deals with it extremely well
This Dying Soul extends the themes of The Glass Prison from the previous album, and explores the theme of the program set by Alcoholics Anonymous to rid oneself of alcohoism by a 12 step program. It also develop themes from The Mirror, a track from the album Awake. It again is a heavy song with a metal feel to it. It is varied throughout of course, and sometimes you can get confused as to what song you're listening to because of the sheer scale of the number of different themes throughout the album.
Endless Sacrifice starts off with a good riff (ominously similar to a Michael Jackson riff) and then descends into full a blown progressive metal track, with extremely proficient guitar / keyboard duets. This is a common occurence in the album, when John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess play the same notes extremely fast for a few bars, and then go into harmony. Its very impressive seen live, i was amazed that it was possible to do it so proficiently without some time keeping method such as a conductor. The theme i guess is confusion and frustration and is in the form over all as a metal ballad (if that is not an oxymoron.)
Honor Thy Father is "a hate song" written about the Step Father of a friend of a band member, and is a powerful explosion of emotions with speech samples. This (if again possible) is the essence of modern dream Theater, this is a great song
Vacant is a welcome break from the metal thus far, and is an emotive song with keyboard 'cello and guitar, and voice. It puts the 'cello (in my opinion one of the best and most variable orchestral instruments) to very good use. most importantly it does not sound cheesy or pretentious.
Stream of Conciousness is a very proficient and impressive instrumental, up there with the Ytse Jam and The Dance of Eternity. Quite simply its a showcase of the incredible talent of each member of the band (with exception of course of James LaBrie.)
Finally "In The Name of God", my favorite song on the album is an exploration of religious fanaticism, and is a powerful track with varied themes. It discusses ideas of Cult and of course violence in the name of God. I do not see it as an exploration of faith of the band. Eight minutes in is one of the best keyboard/guitar duets i have heard. Again live it is mind blowing. I also love the way that the musical themes are so varied in their dynamics and timing. Again i see this track as the essence of modern Dream Theater.
Overall i think this is a fantastic album. It is not my favorite Dream Theater album (at the moment) yet it harks back to Awake etc whilst looking forward to what the metal and progressive genre can produce in the future. I think it is a quite groundbreaking album, and it of course will never get the recognition it deserves.
To those who like metallica, if you hear this, i'm afraid your opinion of the more popular band may decrease. For those with a musically trained mind this is a must. I cannot recommend this album and band enough.
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Initial post: 23 Jun 2011 21:58:39 BDT
Dave Hall says:
Good review, but your understanding of the lyrics is way off. As I Am was written by Petrucci in response to the Queensryche guitarist who kept criticising his guitar playing and trying to give him tips (yes, the guitarist from Queensryche giving John Petrucci tips!) on how to play the guitar. And Honor Thy Father was written by Portnoy not about a friend's step-father but about his own step-father.
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