Dream Theater, Self Titled, 2013

dream theaterOkay 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.

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Dream Theater, Black Clouds & Silver Linings, 2009

dream theater - black clouds and silver liningsEveryone into progressive metal will know Dream Theater. Or should. And probably a lot of people into symphonic rock as well.
The band is regarded as one of the founders of the current genre and sure as hell kick major ass with their often mind boggling combination of technical prowess and musicianship.

Led by drummer extra-ordinaire Mike Portnoy and guitar wizard John Petrucci, they have recorded another set of songs to set your world on fire.
By adding more vocals (mostly Portnoy) they even succeeded in broadening their already broad horizon. But I guess we already know what to expect when we see 6 tracks clocking in at over 75 minutes.

Yes, that would be a lot of time changes, various moods within and between the songs, excessive soloing and ultra fast playing from all members, and James LaBrie trying to hold it all together with his singing. And while the latter has often been ” accused”  of screaming, I think he does a terrific job here. More natural, more feel and more melodies. Great.
Also I feel that there is more room for the songs to breathe here. And that space works really well. At least I had little problem listening to the album a couple of times in a row. Whereas some previous albums suffered from too much ideas in too little time. And too many notes at the same time.
So I my book this is one of DT´s better albums in recent years. No personal play tips, you get what you expect here.

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