16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A bit of lost ground recovered...,
This review is from: Dream Theater (Audio CD)
If you read my other reviews of DT stuff you will see I respect and love the band a lot, but have become dissillusioned by recent output - too much navel gazing widdly-diddly virtuousity and not enough emphasis on melody, hooks or great songs. It was almost that either a) DT had hit upon a winning sales formula and wanted to repeat it over and over to get the cash registers singing b) or had lost some of the spark that made the older albums so great, and had padded out the songs with the aforementioned keyboard, guitar and drum gymnastics.
So it was with a little trepidation and nervousness when I first played this new album. First few listens and I was left a bit cold. The sound is more akin to older material, and just like that the melodies and greatness of the songs need to bed in for a while.
We start off with False Awakening Suite that sounds to these ears like a movie Soundtrack. Short and 'nice' but not great and into The Enemy Inside. Just like the last few albums, a song aimed at radio (if they ever get played on it) with more hooks and a general stab in the direction of becoming more radio 'friendly'
Once we are over the first two we then see a marked change to an older more vibrant side of DT. They have thankfully found some of the old attack and vibe and recover some of the ground they had lost with me on the last few releases. Melodies are fresher, stronger, more driven with less showmanship and more focus. Of course it wouldnt be DT without some passages that allow each musician to flex his muscles and show what advanced players they are. The big difference, at least for me, is these passages are within context and *compliment* the song structure unlike the last few releases where it seemed to me to be an exercise in showing off and-to-hell with the song.
Illumination Theory is the closest the band get to discovering the genius of albums such as IAW, TOT, SFAM, and 6D - an epic in the literal meaning of the word, mixing, classical, prog, driving heavy rock, uplifting refrains and crashing melodies that at first engage, and then rivet attention. Fabulous stuff.
Now here's the problem, at least for me, the aforementioned albums showed this kind of consistency pretty much all the way through, quality control was high, attention to the song structure, form was paramount, the virtuosity there, but not drowning the songs. Recent albums did not meet these standards. Sure some bits were good, even great, but this is DT we are talking about and the bar is set high. From anyone else you would be happy, but recent releases seemed to rehash old structures, you could predict the tempo change, the widdly-diddly solo, before it happened. It was becoming DT by numbers and that I do not want, I want the unpredictability of 6D, the emotion of SFAM, the power and tautness of Train of Thought, the majesty of Octivarium (the song not ALL of the album) I want to be surprised, amazed, in awe, lost for words.I want the feelings I had watching them blaze through SFAM at Nottingham Rock City, or the wonderment as they powered through Number of the Beast or Dark Side of the Moon in London.
So does this album regain all that? No, but its getting there, its getting better, and for the first time in ages I will look FORWARD to the next release.
Tracked by 2 customers
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 25 Sep 2013 07:53:49 BDT
Michael A Brennan says:
Your review sounds like what I too was hoping for in this latest. I'll be getting this soon. Hey, where you mentioned Dark Side of the Moon, two questions here as I've wished for years on exactly this: Did they cover the entire Pink Floyd album? And if so, is it available anywhere? Thanks and take care.
In reply to an earlier post on 25 Sep 2013 11:06:14 BDT
Hope you get the album soon and enjoy it. Since writing I've warmed to it a little more. Its still a way off being as good as their best, but as I said its a deffinate step in the right direction
Dark Side of the Moon - yes they did the whole album at their 'Evening with...' concert at the Hammersmith Appolo in Londo about 7-8 years ago. They even had all the sound effects (tills, bells, speech etc) and brought out Roger Waters sax player for the solo in Money, and the backing singer who worked on SFAM to do the gig in the sky wailing bit. It was absolutely awesome - a night I would never forget.
You can get the CD of the performance from DT official Bootleg releases part of their site. I dont want to sound like a salesmen for them, but it is really good, great sound quality, and brings back fab memories for me
You take care too
In reply to an earlier post on 25 Sep 2013 11:51:24 BDT
Amazon Customer says:
This is a cracking review! I'm not an early DT fan and I wasnt really impressed with this album but I thought your review summed it up brilliantly. This isnt the direction that I personally would want them to go in, but I dont remember there being any rule which said they had to check with me before releasing an album. Anyway, your review cleared up what I was hearing as I was assuming there was a reversion to earlier DT but couldnt be sure. Well written and with good analysis.
In reply to an earlier post on 25 Sep 2013 22:29:05 BDT
Well thank you, George. Good to see a fellow guy not thinking that their view is the only view! Each review is as valid as the rest
In reply to an earlier post on 26 Sep 2013 14:05:09 BDT
Amazon Customer says:
Ah well... I've completely changed my mind now that you've called me George :) Your review stinks :) j/k
In reply to an earlier post on 26 Sep 2013 15:13:48 BDT
LOL sorry Gerard, my cockateil is called George!
Posted on 26 Sep 2013 20:12:51 BDT
Michael A Brennan says:
To Davies, a HUGE thank you! I found it on Ytsejam and amazon. I had never known until your review that they had in fact covered DSOTM, et al. I consider myself to be fairly in the loop, but jeeze! And it is a spot strange then how I've wished they would cover Floyd.
Shouldn't they tackle The Wall next? : )
One last question: Is this their best bootleg, or would you recommend another?
Thank you again.
Posted on 27 Sep 2013 15:23:35 BDT
Vaclav Smerda says:
"unpredictability of 6D'', ''power of ToT'', "emotion of SFAM", "majesty of Octavarium" -well written. I would add "smoothness of FII" and "freshness of ADTOE". Each of DT's albums have a different set of attributes and that makes this band amazing.
In reply to an earlier post on 27 Sep 2013 22:24:50 BDT
Last edited by the author on 27 Sep 2013 22:27:51 BDT
Glad you have ordered it!
They have done another Flloyd cover album - A Saucerful of Flloyd which is very varied and covers a lot of stuff from older to more recent flloyd albums. To my ears it not as good as DSOTM, but still worth a listen. I do hope they tackle the Wall at some point but fear that it may be too long for an evening with concert.
The other bootlegs are varied and depending on your music taste you may like them. They have done master of puppets which is ok, it does sound odd with Jordan picking up the guitar parts, and James LB is a different type of singer entirely to James Hetfield, so its different. You may like it, you may not.
Number of the Beast Bootleg is great if you like Maiden, as is the Deep Purple Made in Japan which is very true to the original so if you like that you may like this one.
On my wish list of albums for them to cover would be 2112 and Operation Mindcrime. I can dream!
Away from the covers I have also found James Labrie latest solo album, very very good - well worth a listen
In reply to an earlier post on 27 Sep 2013 22:30:17 BDT
Many thanks - I like your 3 word desctipion of FII but we have to agree to differ on ADTOE! I didnt thank that much to that one!