Dream Theater

JudasMyGuide

A man for all seasons
I came to know that Dance of Death and Train of Thought were both mixed in the same year by Kevin Shirley.

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That should really put to rest the ridiculous Kevin Shirley hate on this forum. Train of Thought is an excellent sounding album.

Kevin Shirley is never the problem. He’s a glorified button pusher for Maiden, Steve makes all the poor final decisions. Shirley is happy to collect an easy pay check.

Well, if he's willing to put his name there as a producent in order to make a quick buck, he deserves all the blame he gets. Selling his integrity and all that shit. Considering that DoD is almost unlistenable, I don't know what made him to be credited for the final wreck, but if it was indeed just the money, he technically sold his ass for the fans to go medieval on, IMHO.
 

Yax

Ancient Mariner
The client (Steve) wants something done a certain way and to end up with a specific sound and has veto rights all the way. Shirley does it the way his client wants. Steve is happy, says "this is the final product" - lot of people aren't.

Must be Shirley's fault. He should have told his top client how he refuses to put his name on something like this! "So you want to use the scratch master I made? This is not going to happen Steve, I won't stand by it!" That will go a long way to help with his name as a producer/mixer. "Oh and by the way Steve, I know I refused credit for DoD, we had this huge row. You told me to piss off, I told you that you can't recognize good sound if it so spat you in the face. Can I still come back for the next one?
 
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MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
The client (Steve) wants something done a certain way and to end up with a specific sound and has veto rights all the way. Shirley does it the way his client wants. Steve is happy, says "this is the final product" - lot of people aren't.

Must be Shirley's fault. He should have told his top client how he refuses to put his name on something like this! "So you want to use the scratch master I made? This is not going to happen Steve, I won't stand by it!" That will go a long way to help with his name as a producer/mixer. "Oh and by the way Steve, I know I refused credit for DoD, we had this huge row. You told me to piss off, I told you that you can't recognize good sound if it so spat you in the face. Can I still come back for the next one?

Exactly. It’s still the entertainment business. He’s going to get more work out of maintaining relationships than he will lose work based on a few poor sounding albums by a single band.
 

Yax

Ancient Mariner
Exactly. It’s still the entertainment business. He’s going to get more work out of maintaining relationships than he will lose work based on a few poor sounding albums by a single band.
Besides, being the producer/mixer for Maiden is a huge notch on his belt, a badge of honor. Who wouldn't want that on his/hers resumé?
 

LooseCannon

Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
Considering that DoD is almost unlistenable
It's true, the first time I heard the album I suffered an eardrum puncture when Kevin Shirley personally showed up and started slapping my ears with his palms. He kept screaming something about "recreating the sound of a live band" but I'm not too sure.
 
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Yax

Ancient Mariner
I think the intentions behind DoD were good. Prominent guitars, fairly old school drum sound. It just ended up sounding a bit too harsh, distortion in a few spots (this is remedied w. the remaster. It sounds better) and it didn't quite marry together and it was muddy yet harsh at the same time. I've heard far worse sounding albums though.
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
I’m sorry but that makes no sense. More tomorrow
I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding around here over what a producer is supposed to do. I got this sense from the Martin Birch thread as well. Usually when a band is first starting out and is newly signed, the label will assign a producer who often acts as a sort of coach. They will push the band to sound better, try to chisel out the artistic vision, and maybe even help select and arrange the songs (see George Martin and The Beatles). This was Birch’s role in the early days of Maiden. Also worth noting that this was Kevin Shirley’s role when he was assigned to Dream Theater for Falling Into Infinity.

Once a band reaches a certain level of clout, they can make their own production decisions, right up to producing themselves. At that point, if a producer is brought in, their job is to achieve the sound that the band wants. If the sound of DoD is what the band wants, then any deviation of that will ensure that that producer not only never works with the band again, but word will probably get out that this particular producer doesn’t listen to the clients. Considering Shirley works with a lot of legacy rock bands, pissing off Maiden is the last thing he wants to do.
 

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
All I know is that Train of Thought sounds like a beautiful razor and Dance of Death... doesn’t. This tells me that John and Mike know how to make an album sound great to my ears and that Steve... doesn’t.

Also Train of Thought has a better keyboard sound.
 

Saapanael

Ancient Mariner
My favourite song from the album is Glassy-Eyed Zombies.

The lick at 01:46-56 in Gemini is so JP that it's funny. Whenever I try to imitate JP on the guitar, that's my go-to lick. :p
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
I reviewed the new Petrucci album here: https://forum.maidenfans.com/threads/guitar-orientated-instrumental-music.71609/page-2#post-877861

Gonna expand on the Portnoy stuff here because it’s more relevant here. I’m listening to Distance Over Time now and man, the difference is super stark. For one thing, I think D/T is one of their weakest albums, so it’s not a big surprise that Terminal Velocity is better, but it’s better in more than just the songs. The production is better (and not too Sneap-soundy), Petrucci’s playing is better, his tone is better, and, I hate to say it, the drums are better. I think the bring back Portnoy crowd is the most obnoxious segment of the fanbase, so I’m not going to go there, but there’s something to be said about Petrucci/Portnoy compared to Petrucci/Mangini. I believe Petrucci when he says he really likes playing with Mangini, but it definitely sounds different. He makes Petrucci play differently. I think Mangini actually fits Rudess’ style better, I tend to prefer the looser more rock feel that Petrucci and Portnoy bring. I guess what I’m saying is that Rudess and Petrucci bring two different flavors to the band, which is why that lineup works so well, but the drummer really acts a mediator there and maybe Mangini pulls it a little too far to the mathematical Rudess side. The balance just isn’t quite there.

Also, Petrucci has never gotten a good drum sound with Mangini in the band. Portnoy’s drums on Terminal Velocity sound better than any of the Mangini albums and they always sounded good in Dream Theater. Obviously Petrucci didn’t mix his solo album, so maybe it’s a coincidence, I’m also sure Mangini’s drum setup makes him hard to mix, but I really wonder the the deal is there. They just sound so lifeless on Distance Over Time.

Curious to see where Dream Theater goes next. Hope Terminal Velocity has energized and inspired Petrucci a bit more. I always felt like Distance Over Time felt a little defeated after The Astonishing went down like a lead balloon.

edit side note: Distance Over Time has the best album cover since Octavarium.
 
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