Okay okay, I will admit it, I have a bit of a love hate thing going on with Dream Theater. There can be no discussion about the technical capabilities of the band (even if James LaBrie is not always cutting it live), but for me the music sometimes is a bit to much showing off for the sake of it. I do like the songs that are actually just that, songs. Like for instance on Falling Into Infinity. That one got a lot of criticism for being to commercial, yet ranks among my favourites. Go figure.
So now we have their self titled 2013 release making its rounds. Opening with more orchestral colouring than I am used to from them, it got me thinking this could be another good one. And yes, it turns out to be so! For me this album is a much more song oriented affair. Culminating in maybe the most beautiful part the band have even done, on this album´s epic track Illumination Theory. When that track hits 8 minutes something truly beautiful happens, a symphony like nothing they have ever done before. Orchestral to the max! The Looking Glass and Surrender To Reason bear a bit of resemblance to Rush, but is of course not copying them. Great songs. As are The Bigger Picture, Behind The Veil and Along For The Ride.
Of course we still get plenty of wizardy from all the players. It is Dream Theater after all. Drummer Mike Mangini sounds really at home. A lot of co-writes this time, so they seem to be going from strength to strength and that is a good thing. Easily among their best work.