Dream Theater

1. False Awakening Suite
2. The Enemy Inside
3. The Looking Glass
4. Enigma Machine
5. The Bigger Picture
6. Behind the Veil
7. Surrender to Reason
8. Along for the Ride
9. Illumination Theory

James LaBrie – lead vocals
John Petrucci – guitars
Jordan Rudess – keyboards, GeoSynth App, Seaboard
John Myung – bass
Mike Mangini – drums, percussion

When Dream and Day Unite (1989)
Images and Words (1992)
Awake (1994)
A Change of Seasons (EP) (1995)
Falling into Infinity (1997)
Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory (1999)
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (2002)
Train of Thought (2003)
Octavarium (2005)
Systematic Chaos (2007)
Black Clouds & Silver Linings (2009)
A Dramatic Turn of Events (2011)


Richard Chycki – engineering and mixing
John Petrucci – producer
James Meslin – assistant engineer
Eren Başbuğ – orchestral arrangements, conducting
Hugh Syme – cover and album design
John Arbuckle – intern

Released 2013-09-23
Reviewed 2013-10-03


It seems like september, october is kind of like christmas time for anyone who enjoys progressive metal. Fates Warning, Dream Theater and later Ayreon all release new material around this time. Great bands and great expectations from myself is what it is about, and this album marks the full dozen for the american quintet and the second album with drummer Mike Mangini who took over from Mike Portnoy before the latest album. That time he had no real involvement in the song writing, this time he has. And the cover artwork feels nicely understated just to add to the excitement, there is a lot to be excited about coming to this album. Especially considering that this band has more brilliant albums than any other I know, and they have several timeless classics (in my opinion) in their catalogue. How many bands can truly say that?

Progressive metal are two words deeply connected with this band, they are an archetype of that genre, the biggest player in the complex world of progressiveness and the band many try to emulate. Complexity is another word, as is musicianship, these guys are excellent musicians and they perform complex musical compositions. I also think that we should say simple and straightforward about Dream Theater as they build their music around strong melodies and choruses and add some grandness to that and voila, Dream Theater music is born. They build their songs like songs, not like many of their emulators who builds their songs to be complex and difficult. It is actually quite easy to get into Dream Theater music but then of course the skill and complexity they have in their music makes it last for many listenings.

I think it sound like Dream Theater and in many ways it is what you can expect from these guys, an album with their classical sound yet distinctly different. An album you cannot directly compare with any of their previous albums yet one that you can compare with all their previous albums. Excellent production, the sound is magnificent no other word for it. James LaBrie sings brilliantly as he usually does, it is clearly a top class album. Complex yet built around this simple recipe I alluded to earlier in this text. It may not be up there with their absolute best albums but it is a great album nonetheless and one of the best albums of 2013 which seems to be shaping up quite nicely these ending months.

This album is a bit shorter than many of their albums, just 68 minutes of playing time, but they do have their signature ending epic which this time is a 22 minute song called Illumination Theory which is a brilliant ending track. A majestic, beautiful, grande, powerful and just awesome track. But the thing is that several of the tracks are magnificent and I can mention them all by name as standouts but that would just be wasting words so I go on to say that this album is one that I have to buy. Mainly because I had to stream it from the web which is a way of reviewing music that I really hate, I want to have the songs in my little music player anywhere rather than sitting at home listening to it while I write about other albums, it is not a good way to do things Warner and it also stops me from reviewing all the albums you promote. Anyway, this does not neglect the fact that this album shows Dream Theater in a very good form, maybe not their best but not too far from their best.

I think though that before I sign off I have to mention one more track, the penultimate one Along For The Ride which is an excellent calm, beautiful song that nicely leads us to the ending epic, this part is Dream Theater at its best. I think this is a fantastic album and almost any other band would have outdone themselves if they had done anything like this. However, Dream Theater is just better and this is what we have come to expect from them, greatness.




Label: Roadrunner Records
Three similar bands:
Pagan's Mind/Vanden Plas/James LaBrie
Rating: HHHHHHH (6/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

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