A personal view on music, all kinds of music.
Artist: Dream Theater
Album: Dream Theater
Review: Diego Camargo
Every new Dream Theater album there’s a rain of reviews everywhere. 90% of them are
separated into 2 categories: The Fanatics and The Haters.
The first one forget everything else give it 5 stars and only focus on the fact this is their
favorite band and this is their best album ever. The second will not listen the album with
attention, give it 2 stars and call it the worst (once again).
I don’t like fanatics and I hate the haters, so…
I always liked DT besides not liking their earlier albums, my favorites will always be Scenes
and Six Degrees. I was avoiding to listen the new album (the same as the latest one) just
because the facts I mentioned before, I was waiting for things ‘cool down’ a bit. Well
yesterday I feel like listening, so, here’s what I think.
Yes, it is a downhill for the band, but I wasn’t expecting anything anyway since I thought
exactly the same about A Dramatic Turn Of Events (2011) but thing in DT HQs are getting
REALLY dull and they’re taking everything for granted.
When Mike Portnoy was on board he was a big driving force for the band together with John
Petrucci, they were sharing lyrics and producer seat, now the guitarrist is alone, and that’s
To begin with, Petrucci lyrics are horrible most of the time and he seems to be writing for
teenagers, and I think he is, intentionally, to ‘get’ this audience. On the producer side
Petrucci pretty much ignores everything but the guitars. Yeah, DT was always guitars and
drums, but now only guitars matter. John Myung is said by many to have a voice now…
where? On the 20 seconds per song he appears? Usually MYung is just… not there, then
out of nowhere his bass will appear for 15 or 20 seconds and then they are gone again.
Mike Mangini had a hard time filling some big shoes and he does pretty well, but the
sounds of the drums… why? Sometimes it even looks like some electronic kit because of
Petrucci is a very good player, will always be, and he can write some good songs and riffs,
but he just can’t play the acoustic, and he tries twice on Dream Theater (2013), both times
looks like a robot playing.
I have never liked James LaBrie voice but I do think it fits the band’s sound, but here…
LaBrie is soul-less in pretty much everywhere, as if tired or just plain bored, no nice hooks
no memorable singing lines. He seems to be happier on his solo project but DT is a safe
job, so he stays.
My surprise for the album is Jordan Rudess, always disliked his style and always thought
he was the weak link of the chain. Despite the fact he uses that kind of Power Metal/Gothic
Metal cheap choir keyboards in some moments he pretty much did very well along the
album and have more variety in his keyboards sounds.
Now, the songs… they’re weak, VERY weak. You know you have a big problem when your
best songs are the single ‘The Enemy Inside’ and the instrumental ‘Enigma Machine’.
‘False Awakening Suite’ is nothing but the worst piece I’ve heard and it should never be
allowed on the record. ‘The Looking Glass’ is an unexplicable AOR track that sees the band
playing some 80’s kind of hair metal, at least here you can hear Myung.
‘The Bigger Picture, as I mentioned before, sees Mangini playing a drum that looks like an
Now, the big suite’Illumination Theory’, an ‘epic’ with over 22 minutes. Well, let me tell you
something, this ‘epic’ has nothing more nothing less than around 14 minutes long indeed
and it is a shame for a band like DT to use this kind of trick just to have a longer piece on
22 minutes, less 2 minutes of ‘nature and illumination sounds’ = 20, right after that less 4
minutes of a really nice orchestral bit but that is COMPLETELY out of place (it could have
been used as the intro though) = 16 minutes. Then, before the 20th minute mark the song
is over, 20 seconds of silence and then… an inexplicable piano (with a guitar on the
background) jam for 2 minutes = 14 minutes of real music…
I said something on my SW review some time ago that fits here completely: DT are great
selers, and it shows on this album. They sell their fans a apretty box but empty inside and
the worst part is that the bans buy it with a smile. Just this time not even the box is pretty…