ADTOE is definitely a very strong album. I think that Rudess and Petrucci particularly give one of their best performances to this day. Sadly IMO there's a significant drop in the quality of the albums after this one.I figure social distancing will let me finish off Dream Theaters Discography, and Sons Of Apollo.
A Dramatic Turn Of Events - Dream Theater
A spacy introduction brings in the first Dream Theater album with out Mike Portnoy on drums. Some acoustic guitars soon join the psychedelia as the band builds up the is bursts around the one and a half minute mark with a choir coming in emphasising the musicians. James enters following a nice little keyboard lick. His vocals less fluid than in the past but this broken up approach really suits the track thus far so we will see where it goes. This track really has that epic feeling of their earlier 90s albums. A rather subdued keyboard solo segues into a very melodic guitar solo the track continuing to have that building feeling throughout and the past 7 minutes have just flown by not feeling like the track is as long as it actually is. A rather promising start to the album. Build Me Up, Break Me Down comes up next with a more industrial introduction and the track takes a heavier approach right from the start, the chorus for this track goes towards commercial for the start but ends with a scream which I didn't expect. The verses vocals are distorted slightly, and sound distant they are definetely back further in the mix to allow for the more commanding chorus. I like it quite a bit, a different track but quite good. Lost Not Forgotten opens with a very calm piano piece accompanied by the sound of waves, however as one would expect this wasn't to last as the band comes in strong building up in a way which honestly would have made this first segment a great way to come in to open a show, we will see if the rest of the song fits the show opener slot soon, this is the first track surpassing 10 minutes in length albiet barely. The chorus has some furious drum work from newcomer Mike Mangini. James sounds pretty strong here, once again his voice a little distroted in the chorus. A strong track throughout although I feel it could have been cut down in the length a little bit. The solo section begins at the 6 and a half minute mark or so and does give each member a chance to shine however it quite to the standard the band has set in the past. This Is The Life comes in with a short but emotionally charged guitar solo into some calm piano work, the first ballad of the album, James shines throughout vocally, not their most emotionally charged ballad for the first chunk however the ending of it is pretty darn strong. The keyboard and guitar work are fantastic. Making for another great track. Bridges In The Sky begins with a very low drumbeat and what sounds like a mix of a yawn a snore and some distortion, winds come in and the choir from earlier comes back, this introduction doesn't last too long by Dream Theater standards before erupting in a hard hitting rock epic. This track really falls in line with the opener in terms of calling back to the bands earlier work, I could see this being mixed in with something from Images And Words or Scenes From A Memory sound wise at least. A brilliant and lengthy chorus, this song took a bit to get going but wow is it easily the strongest thus far.
Outcry comes up next, opening with another low rumbling keyboard centred introduction and when that breaks a wall of sound is born, symphonic and powerful there is very little build to this intro unlike previous ones on the album. Very clear imagry calls back to the first world war from the opening verse. The band pulls back after a couple verses into a very mystical segment, before once again erupting with passion and emotion. A lengthy instrumental section ensues which like the previous lengthened one on the album doesn't quite reach the heights I think it could. The closing chorus' are well delivered and empowering. Another consistent album at this point with only 3 tracks left. Far From Heaven opens up very ballad like, which having heard there is 3 ballads on the album I suspect this will be the case, very quickly this track establishes itself as a powerful emotional piece. Amazing. Breaking All Illusions doesn't waste any of its twelve and a half minute runtime getting to the point, picking the speed up from the start this track doesn't have any sort of building intro instead it hits the ground running. However when James joins the band shifts back to a more pulled back style. His transitioning between near whispers to soaring extended notes. The first instrumental section, finally hits the spot which the others didn't quite reach, but the continuation into the second distinct segment of instrumentals does make it go on a little too long for my liking. Beneath The Surface transitions in from the ending of Breaking All Illusions the closing track of the album, another emotional ballad which I feel continues to build on what was started in Far From Heaven. The solo on this track is from an instrument which I cannot name, but it is well suited to the track. I feel like this track would be a great track to play just before Lifting Shadows Off A Dream. A great closer.
On The Backs Of Angels - 9/10
Build Me Up, Break Me Down - 9/10
Lost Not Forgotten - 8.5/10
This Is The Life - 9/10
Bridges In The Sky - 9.5/10
Outcry - 9/10
Far From Heaven - 10/10
Breaking All Illusions - 9.5/10
Beneath The Surface - 10/10
Another really great album.
ADTOE is definitely a very strong album. I think that Rudess and Petrucci particularly give one of their best performances to this day. Sadly IMO there's a significant drop in the quality of the albums after this one.
The Astonishing is a tricky one. It might be better to listen to and review the two discs separately.Considering the run they had up to this point. It was bound to happen but I had heard the next few are worse. I’m not sure I’ll do The Astonishing mainly cause of it being 2 hours long is rather listen to 2 albums than one monstrosity
The Astonishing is a tricky one. It might be better to listen to and review the two discs separately.