Hopefully everybody had a good and safe New Years. I woke up at 10:30 and feelin way better now. Since we are starting our year end lists here I wanted to get this knocked out. On w/ the countdown.
#4 Dream Theater - Dream Theater
Over 20+ years of being together and I still think Dream Theater is one of the more consistent bands as far as albums go. From their first 4 albums, w/ the exception of Images & Words, those albums just seemed to lack a certain something. Everything after Falling Into Infinity have all been fantastic albums. Their new S/T does nothing put continue the great streak of albums that DT has had since 1999.
Out of 9 total tracks, subtracting 2 of the songs because honestly I'm just not a huge fan of instrumentals, there are 5 songs of the remaining 7 songs that I think are really great on this album. Alot of people probably already heard The Enemy Inside when it got released as the 1st single. I fell in love w/ that song as soon as I heard it. It just has all the elements that are great about DT into a great 6 minute song. It may not be the best song on the album but its very deserving of a Grammy nomination. The Looking Glass is another highlight, even more shocking, its only 4:53. Its more stripped down straight up metal/hard rock song w/o too many of their more proggy elements. For this song less is definitely more, great infectious chorus. Sometimes its kind of nice to have a DT song that isn't 6-7+ mins even though I do like the longer songs as well. Also really like The Bigger Picture & Behind The Veil. The Bigger Picture being a little more mellow and Behind The Veil being a little more uptempo but both w/ a common theme of having just huge infectious chorus'.
The gem of this album is the 22 minute monster that is Illumination Theory. Their longest track since the title track off Octavarium. There's so much to go into it's tough to know where to start. It's 1 song that is broken into 5 different parts. Part 1: Paradoxe de la Lumière Noire - starts out as a slower piece that really sets the stage for the whole song, starts slow and keeps building to the next part. Part 2: Live, Die, Kill - is a straight up hard rocker with some fantastic key work by Jordan. Part 3: The Embracing Circle - slows everything down and gives us a little break, has a very orchestral feel to it. Part 4: The Pursuit of Truth - this is where it gets even better, its even more uptempo than part 2. Crazy keyboard work, fantastic drumming, Petrucci doing what makes him so great. My favorite part of the song. Part 5: Surrender, Trust & Passion - this to me is kind of the inverse of part 1, starts out as uptempo and progressively slows down and finally ending w/ a beautiful piano outro. I'm not normally a fan of songs this long, usually half of it is just boring and drags. This one really doesn't do that at all. Part 3 is the only part that might drag a little, instead of it being 4 min piece, maybe cut it in half. But really that's my only minor complaint. For anybody who enjoys this type of music and hasn't heard this song, you owe it to yourself to take 22 minutes out of your day and give this song a shot.
Surrender to Reason didn't do much for me, kind of a mid tempo song that doesn't really go anywhere to me. Loved the keys in the song but the rest of it is just kinda meh to me. I knew after hearing it once I hated Along For The Ride. I love DT ballads when they are done right and this is just not one of their better songs. To me it reeks of radio ballad. But still not liking 2 out of 7 songs is pretty good to me. This is a band who really hasn't done too much wrong in the last 15 years (sans the Portnoy drama / drummer audition stuff on YouTube) and they continue to make beautiful amazing music.
The Enemy Inside