Reviewed by Nuno on 23 Dec 2001
I have been blessed with the possibility of listening to Dream Theater’s new release before the act of being released for the general public. And I do mean blessed for what I’m about to explain in a few words are the bases of an outstanding album, one to figure amongst the best I have ever heard.
I will begin this review backwards, talking about the 2nd CD, where it is featured only one song, the 42 minute epic that gives name to the album.
If I would compare this the song Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence with a famous painting, I would immediately propose Van Gogh’s Self Portrait ! And I would do so because Van Gogh, like Dram Theater was the creator and definer of a genre. A Self Portrait because what Dream Theater are doing in this song is express all their musicallity, exploring each and every feature of their possibilities and past achievements, while securing an obvious inventive and brilliant future.
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (the song) is a complete roundabout trip into Dream Theater’s work, one full of intricate play, changes of rhythm and direction and with countless showdowns of soloing mastery, specially from the likes of Petrucci and Rudess. This is, most probably, the most complete and compelling song I have ever listen to when it comes to progressive metal. There are really about 6 minutes of inner turbulence in the music, where Dream Theater explores some heavier sounds than in previous releases. But all of the song is a totally unexpected new sound within the stated DT sound, more symphonic and progressive (even using occasional orchestrations). Confused? You wont be after listening to this song…
In what concerns to the first CD, it opens with The Glass Prison where, and I would never imagine this, DT explore the most heavy moments of its career. Like seeping from Pantera’s powerful rifs and Metallica’s angry musicality, Dream Theater is able to transport those worlds into a new galaxy of fantastic concept. Less intricate but further virtuoso music than ever.
Blind Faith opens with space alike sounds, evolving to a more known status music, one that we easily focus on as sounding like DT uses to sound. The piano solo by Rudess is one hell of an high moment in this track.
At this point we are already totally aware that this band is not living by its past and is able to continue the quest they have led to date, to be the lighthouse keepers of progressive metal.
Misunderstood is yet another great song. Starting in form of a ballad (and a very beautiful one), the music seems urging to explode at any moment, while an almost unnoticed yet fantastic percussion work by Portnoy sets the bases to ignite that explosion. When it comes, the music evolves to an almost symphonic rock state of art, while Myung is riffing and Petrucci is soloing above an harmonious Rudess keyboarding.
One other thing I notice in this album is the vocal work of La Brie. Also setting his parameters in a better way, with the clear notion that he must refrain his higher notes, for that is what the non-fans usually point as being the great loss of this band.
The Great Debate is another giant leap ahead in DT’s musicality, for it is an experimental voyage through new dimensions of their music. The beginning, set above a number of television statements about human embryonic development by scientists, is also like progressing music in a scientist’s table. The usual DT concept is set aside to let all band try out new structural ADN to their notes, melting them in the usual cromossomes of their sound. This is all progressive music, based upon hard/heavy sounding.
Finally, Disappear quietly ends the album. A ballad where La Brie almost sounds like Bono in the first minutes. This is, nevertheless, a fantastic way to fade away from this album. In
Reviewed by Larry on 31 Dec 2001
I'd just like to say that this cd is fresh, i've always thought dream theater sounded like an 80's metal band, didn't really do it for me, this new cd though is different, alot of it has something more than the others provided in the past, for me anyway,
Reviewed by MJBrady on 09 Feb 2002
Dream Theater, the definitive progressive metal band, returns with this two cd set of all studio material. As time has past since the bands onset, some personnel changes, and many albums, both live and studio have been released, and each album gets press from both sides of the critic's pages. I personally have enjoyed most everything the band has done to date, feeling that even the bands most 'commercial' efforts were still so well done that they are better than many progressive metal bands best material. That being said, brings me to this most recent release for the year 2002. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, shows a natural progression for the bands maturation process, many of the long time metal heads that followed them through the early efforts may again be dissapointed, as the continuation of adding more symphonic, fusion, as well as progressive rock influences drives the bands new direction. They are a band that refuses to stagnate, or create music for any certain genre, as they are superlative musicians, that are perpetually growing and nurturing their well-spring of talent. The addition of keyboardist Jordan Rudess has taken the composition level to new heights, he, being a Juilliard trained musician, is a prodigious, and prolific wealth of musical knowledge, his presence has seemingly inspired the rest of the band to achieve new frontiers outside of the very genre they are defining. It is obvious to those who have heard the Liquid Tension Experiment cds, that his influence has given DT an entirely new identity. Of course DT was never lacking for talent, as each musician is considered and respected as amoungst the very best on their respective instruments. Now, with Rudess, the band has gravitated away from a strictly progressive metal band, to a band that encompasses many styles, that can, and should appeal to many listeners of diverse, progressive musics. Listening to cd two, I hear a magnificent symphonic opus, it is eight songs long, but takes the listener through many songs that simply fixate their hooks and mesmerizing melodies to your memory, as I was finding myself hearing these songs in my mind long after I was done listening to them. Along with these melodies are the intricate instrumental breaks the band is so well known for, no wasted space in any songs, very deliberate. Cd one, is the heavier of the two, though both have their moments, I should add, that singer James LaBrie really has come a long way as a vocalist, he sounds much more in control, and restrained on the lst couple cds. Song one Glass Prison shows the LTE influence, along with some new vocal ideas, very industrial sounding, with some very cool keyboards filling the backdrop. This cd is showing the various lyrical ideas of Petrucci, Portnoy, and LaBrie, which if I am not mistaken is a somewhat new thing for the band. The Great Debate, is a song that touches on the political consequences of the controversial Stem Cell research debate, very insightful stuff. Without breaking down each song, I can highly recommend this cd for long-time fans, and for the inquisitive progrockers who have balked at the band in the past, one cannot deny that DT has now embraced such an array musical idioms, and are so creative, and talented, you are bound to get something from this cd set.