Album Reviews, Artists / Bands, Culture, Metal / Hard Rock — October 7, 2013 at 5:40 pm

REVIEW: Dream Theater – Dream Theater



Artist Name: Dream Theater
Title Name: Dream Theater
Label: Roadrunner records
Reviewed by: Fabio Marraccini


Godfathers of progressive metal with a career spanning for more than 25 years, Dream Theater continue to make music – but it’s not for everyone. If seventies prog challenged pop-oriented listeners with their long songs, unusual arrangements, odd tempos, and eclectic musical variety, the addition of the term metal – and the heaviness associated with it – makes things even more challenging. Even so, Dream Theater have been hugely successful. Their future has however been endangered by the departure of legendary founding member / drummer Mike Portnoy a few years ago.

The new album cleverly titled Dream Theater is really the cornerstone of a new period for the band. Second after Portnoy left (and was replaced by the supernatural Mike Mangini) and twelfth overall, it is indeed more defining and definitive than its predecessor, the transitional A Dramatic Turn of Events. This is the band returning to their best era (early to mid-nineties) and then reinventing themselves once again.

After a quick intro, “The Enemy Inside” opens the opus in grand style, and is one of the standouts (also first to hit all social media and streaming services). It has all the elements that made this band one of the greatest of all times: heavy but clean riffs, perfect execution, trippy melodies, and majestic vocal delivery. “The Looking Glass” follows, not dropping the ball, and bringing back the melodies and memories of seminal releases such as Images and Words. Later on, highlights to “Surrender to Reason” for its eighties Rush intro and brilliant transition from an acoustic ballad to a monstrous progressive voyage of melodic textures. Almost saving the best for last, the delight for proggers in general is the closing track “Illumination Theory”, a long, multi-faceted suite that shows that Dream Theater’s musicianship and taste for good music is almost beyond reach.

Do we fans miss Portnoy ? Maybe we do, guy is a genius. But even without him, the band managed to re-invent themselves and delivered one of their best albums in years.