This is my favorite Dream Theater album, I'm glad that you didn't smash it to the ground like some others do.
It has some really strong and interesting parts, and honestly for me is just missing a little something to push about half the songs into the stratosphere. I suspect Endless Sacrifice
will end up being the first to fully click, although As I Am
is a track which I have had in my playlist since I got the albums a month or so ago. Going to try to get through another album or two this week since my workload has been dropping as of late
EDIT: Moving this here instead of having it as part of the archive post.
A Change Of Seasons - Dream Theater
Released inbetween the bands third and fourth studio album comes an EP called A Change Of Seasons,
the mini-album is nearly twice the length of your typical AC/DC album
and features only a single new track while the remaining 4 are live covers ranging from Elton John
to Led Zeppelin
and Deep Purple
. The Title track
opens up, and it is clear from the start that we are in for a bit of a trip. Shifting from acoustic to more electric on the opening instrumental component of this seven part track. Furious keyboard work is present from newcomer to the band Derek Sherinian
. While Portnoy and Petrucci
deliver some great performances early on. James
comes in around the 4 minute mark singing softly his voice full of power as they transtion fully into part two Innocence. James'
really reaches upwards throughout this section. And his vocals don't falter one bit as he does so. Each component of the song works really well individually as the song changes adding different context and feelings to it without becoming disjointed at any point. Individually I'm sure these 7 short tracks could be forgettable but together they truly come together into something bigger. Part 4 The darkest winter's
introductory portion has some really strong guitar and keyboard harmonies happening before taking a darker turn then returning with a keyboard centered solo component. This section continues towards this darker and heavier apporach. It is phenomenal and doesn't feel like it is only 3 minutes in length. James
returns and once again his singing is some of the best I have heard from him in my brief look into Dream Theater.
Somehow he is singing softly but with so much force behind every word. Incredibly emotive. Another World
is impeccable and brilliant, adding anger to the mix the song has really been going through the different emotions one feels through dealing with loss and in a very natural manner. A masterpiece start to finish.
The covers component of the EP begins with Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
by Elton John
. The progressive piano based track follows its original formula, with the instrumental opening being incredibly symphonic, the raw emotion from Funeral For A Friend
is present and the track is taken to a heavier realm as one would expect based on Dream Theater
covering it. They took on a work of art, put their own spin on it while keeping it very close to the original. The sped up segment roughly half way through is powerful, energetic and heavy as James
comes in singing with pure conviction. His vocals powerful and upbeat, sounding not too far off from Elton
to my ears at least, which still being distinctly different from the Rocket Man
. I was hesitant as to what to expect, seeing as the song is so very different from Dream Theater's
style in terms of the tone of such a song however they nailed it, an incredible cover. The second cover track is the title track
from Deep Purple's
comeback album Perfect Strangers
a much more natural feeling cover from a choice perspective. Derek's
keyboards introduce the mid 80s rock mini-epic wonderfully. James
sounds great on the high notes but something just feels a little off in terms of his delivery, I think it might be my familliarity with the original version of the track and Ian Gillan's
amazing performance on that rendition. But yea his delivery of the chorus is bit weaker than the original. Portnoy
pounds the drums in a way which would make Ian Paice
proud and Pertrucci
delivers those Blackmore riffs
wonderfully. Musically a pretty darn strong cover but James
just doesn't fit the song for me, although it is still quite the enjoyable listen. The Led Zeppelin Medley
is up next, opening with my dads favourite Zeppelin
track in The Rover
, opening up in a way which honestly doesn't sound like a live recording the track thunders and very quickly segues into Achilles Last Stand
another roaring track from the British Supergroup. James
sings in a way that is quite reminiscent of Plant
his voice soft and powerful once again. Myung's
bass is quite prominent in this section and is quite notable in keeping the driving pace going strong. The song does eventually segue into the third component of the medley being the opener from Houses Of The Holy, The Song Remains The Same
. As a whole the medley feels a little disjointed in terms of song selection and I think Dream Theater
could have done any of the three songs justice had they done them in full but the medley is still quite fun. Another medley finish off the set, opening with In The Flesh?
From The Wall
building up symphonic and moody the track sets the stage based on the other tracks included in the medley for quite the spectacle assuming they figure out some smooth transitions inbetween. Carry On My Wayward Son
comes up next starting with the breakdown after the opening chrous having been skipped, which based on how they handled the previous portion is probably the correct way to segue. The guitar tone is phenomenal from Petrucci.
Opting to only cover the instrumental section the band segues into Bohemian Rhapsody's solo
section and bridge, which James
honestly sounds weak on, an incredibly hard section to cover and he falls short and the band transitions into Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin
delivers vocally here sounding much more comfortable with the track. The band then transitions into the final two sections of the medley neither of which I'm familliar with but the band does a fairly good job with them.
A Change Of Seasons - 10/10
Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding - 10/10
Perfect Strangers - 8/10
The Rover/Achilles Last Stand/The Song Remains The Same - 8/10
The Big Medley -8.5/10
That title track is amazing