Well I have been a DT fan since 2000 when I first heard their music in the US release of The History of Trunks which featured most of Metropolis 2 : Scenes from a Memory. It is still one of my favorite prog rock albums of all time but my love affair with Dream Theater has slid into a less happy place since the years after they released Octavarium, which I think was their best album. After that the sound got heavier and you could almost feel the bands synergy breaking apart. It felt like Mike Portnoy was pushing the band in a direction they didn’t want to go and when the opportunity came they went on without him. I appreciate Portnoy for his talents as a drummer and the music he and the other members of DT created for 20+ years but as they say “all good things must come to an end.”
Now DT has Mike Mangini drumming and while I enjoyed the previous album with Mangini drumming but I found I didn’t really go back to it, much like the last two releases with Portnoy. There are some good tracks here and there but it feels like something is missing from each of the last 4 albums and this newest release is no different. I will say the songs I like are really good but the rest of the album feels like a bunch of boring b-sides. I need a more complete experience. Maybe I am being picky, but I don’t feel I could get anyone to listen to this album if they weren’t already a DT fan even then I doubt the reception would be any warmer.
Now I mentioned there are some songs I like. Well this part is what made listening to this album hardest for me. Tracks one and two are among the best stuff I have heard from DT in many years.
The First “False Awakening Suite” is an instrumental that could rank with the best boss music in video game history. Can’t say much else but go listen it is pretty awesome.
#2 “The Enemy Inside” another great song. I get to this point and neither realize it is no longer Portnoy playing, Mangini is a boss for sure. I am also thinking holy shit this is the DT I once loved. Jordan Rudess fucking murders everyone’s mom with his fingers on this track too god them keys are legit.
#3 “The Looking Glass” ugg fucking shoot me now or give me uppers. I am bored thinking about that song. How did you go from those first two songs to this? Sad face.
#4 “Enigma Machine” whoo hoo another awesome instrumental track. The guitar in this is quite awesome John Petrucci is damn good. As are the drums and keys and the no James LaBrie.
#5 “The Bigger Picture” It wouldn’t be bad except Labrie’s vocals are putting me to sleep through half the song. Ballady and meh.
#6 “Behind The Veil” Oh here we go this is not bad……….fuck he is serenading me again I need a Cliffsnotes version of this album where it cuts all that out and replaces it with a guy saying boring lets move on and going to the next good part.
#7 “Surrender to Reason” Ok this is not a bad song, kind of reminds me slightly of 80′s Rush in parts. So it gets a pass.
#8 “Along For The Ride” another bore fest.
#9 “Illumination Theory” one of their 20 minute closing tracks that has some great parts but not anything I’d go out of my way to hear.
Thoughts overall? The tracks I mentioned as good I’d say give em a listen and even buy them on Itunes or Amazon but I wouldn’t really recommend the whole album to anyone who doesn’t love DT already.