Dream Theater - Dream Theater

Dream Theater - Dream Theater

I must confess that I’m new to Dream Theater...and progressive rock/metal too. This seems like the perfect place to start – a brand new record by one of the pioneers of prog and they’ve named it after themselves! It’s their 12th studio album, so it must be extra theatrical and dreamy for them to finally give one of their releases the self-titled treatment.

If someone was to ask for a band featuring “guitar wankery” or “keyboard wankery”, then you would certainly point to Dream Theater. These terms shouldn’t be considered insulting however. This album is crafted with ambition and technical proficiency. Combine unconventional song structure with melody, speed, Jordan Rudess and John Petrucci’s guitar/keyboard duel solos, and James LaBrie’s high vocal range and you’ve got one hell of an album here.

Yet despite the epic nature of the album, there’s still something accessible about it. The songs are catchy and memorable, not just impressive. The music video of the lead single ‘The Enemy Inside’ (see below) tells the story of a war veteran suffering post-traumatic-stress-disorder and that memorable guitar/keyboard duel solo late in the song fits in perfectly. The solo is unhinged and all over the place (in a good way) that sounds like someone descending into insanity. It’s to the band’s credit that they can tell stories through solos not just through lyrics.

Things do slow down on ‘Along for the Ride’, a story about all the crazy things that happen in the world which we have little control over. It’s a short and soft song by Dream Theater standards, but compared to other bands it still sounds epic. It sure says something about the band, where their less ambitious efforts still seem grander than other rock and metal bands’ collections of four minute songs.

The guitar riffs on ‘Enigma Machine’ are some of my favourite moments on the record. It’s just great to turn up the volume on a decent set of speakers. That goes for the rest of the album too, and even though it goes for over an hour, you’ll savour every note... almost. The last song however, goes for 22 minutes in five or six parts, and chances are you’ll tune out. In saying that, songs that go over 20 minutes is what Dream Theater do, so I’ll no doubt have to get used to it.

Melodic, impressive, bold, mind-blowing, ambitious, fast, epic. I’m now officially a Dream Theater fan thanks to this album, so of course I’m going to recommend it.

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