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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Dream Theater, so don't worry, it's great, 28 Jun. 2007
This review is from: Falling Into Infinity (Audio CD)
You can see it now; a massive battlefield full of angry Dream Theater fans, one side declaring 'Falling Into Infinity' to be the only duffer in the band's back catalogue and their opposition, who believe that it's really not all THAT bad, thank you very much. I'll wedge myself with the latter army, because 'Falling Into Infinity' isn't half as bad as some Dream Theater fans would have you believe.

To start of positively, 'New Millenium' opens the album with a psychedelic edge amongst a driving rock rhythm, 'Peruvian Skies' twists into a tense riff session after a quiet intro, and 'Hollow Years' glides over the listener with it's classical guitar lines and uplifting lyrics. These are just a few choice examples of the quality on offer in 'Falling Into Infinity', because everything the band does well normally is still executed well here. Perhaps the lightest of all the band's albums in terms of a metal influence, the band went for more of a hard rock edge with the albums heavier moments, but it still works. The epics are still here; 'Lines In The Sand' and the closing 'Trail Of Tears' are both fantastically composed as always, and feature enough twists and turns over their courses to keep the listener intrigued against a backdrop of restrained but thoughtful riffing and guitar sound effects.

Yes, fine, don't worry, I'm getting to the bad part; the label pressure, and 'The Desmond Child Abomination', as I'll dub it, or to give it it's correct title, 'You Not Me'. A grooving rock song, it's not actually as bad as I'm making out, but be aware that the band wrote this whole album under immense pressure from the label to produce hits and ditch the long songs. 'You Not Me' feels and sounds like 'hit' territory, even if it didnt materlialise that way when the album came out, with it's slightly juvenlile lyrics and uncharacteristically simplistic delivery.

And it could be that label pressure that forced the band to make this quite noticably less heavier than both 'Images And Words' and 'Awake', which came before it. The heavy side of Dream Theater should always be celebrated, but even if it isnt quite as prominent here as on other albums, the quality of songwriting and the songs more than make up for it.

The whole of 'Falling Into Infinity' almost has an ocean-like quality to it, which might sound daft but for guitarist John Petrucci and his arsenal of guitar effects, which in fairness do trigger oceanic thoughts. So with that description, lets say that 'Falling Into Infinity' might wash over you slightly easier and smoother than say, 'Train Of Thought', but it's still impressive enough to hold its own in Dream Theater's back catalogue.

So there you have it. To me, 'Falling Into Infinity' is definitely not the band's worst, and not half as bad as some would have you believe.
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Location: Derby/Blackburn, UK

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