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Friday, June 5, 2009

Dream Theater - Scenes from a Memory

Just as Rush brought the sound of heavy metal and progressive rock to the core with 2112, A Farewell To Kings, and Hemispheres in their hometown in Canada, one of the bands from Long Island, New York took that quality and made the music a gigantic crossover and what is now considered Progressive Metal. That band is Dream Theater and their fifth album had made a time machine story set in a dreamland like story in 1928 between; love, death, betrayal, and murder. The result was a classic and dark magnificent beauty of a rock opera.
Formed in 1985 by drummer Mike Portnoy, bassist John Myung, and guitarist John Petrucci, they started out as a group called Majesty. The group recorded some demos on the Majesty-era before settling on the name Dream Theater with the release of their debut album, When Dream and Day Unite featuring the dynamic Charlie Dominici on vocals as he soars from the songs like a cross between Geoff Tate and Robert Plant. After Charlie left, James LaBrie came into the scene and was a perfect match for his vocal ranges. The sounds of the Prog and Metal strengthen when they released Image and Words, Awake, and Falling into Infinity as if they couldn’t back down and never turning back on their fans, but it was time to do something that no other band could have done, a concept album. Scenes from a Memory: Metropolis Pt. II is like no other. Clocking in for 77-minutes, this is a mysterious story told through the mind of Nicholas, who has a love for a woman who lived in the past by the name of Victoria Page in the late ‘20s. The songs which have a highly organized environment in a free rein environment of the sounds of Frank Zappa, Queen, ELP, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin while Jordan Rudess who replaced Kevin Moore as a keyboardist shines on and delivers some magnificent keyboard sounds including the pounding drums of Portnoy, the shrieking guitar sounds of Brian May and Zappa of John Petrucci and the melodic vocals of James Labrie and then bassist John Myung is doing a Chris Squire like sound on the bass.
There aren’t any lacking excuses on the songs and instrumental pieces, though; but there are four centerpieces of the band’s finest work that would close the ending of the ‘90s. The militant rockin’ instrumental of Overture 1928 mixed army metal, keyboard, drums, and guitar swirls that seems very Math Rock like sound and very World War II like quality that came straight out the soldier’s diaries. More balladry lukewarm textures is the acoustic emotions on Through Her Eyes, featuring Pertucci on guitar, Portnoy slowing down the beat making it more of a smooth jazz sound on the drums while LaBrie is almost crying during the number as if he was singing a song to an alternate soundtrack to a romantic movie.
Similarity to the sounds of grunge and thrash metal, Home has more of a difference with 90s experimental metal band Tool and grunge heroes Alice in Chains than Metallica, while Beyond this Life describes a dedication musical montage that could have been lifted from the minds of Brian May and Frank Zappa as if they could have done an album and tour together in the mid ‘80s. It maybe that Scenes from a Memory would have had a new generation of fans who admire the sounds of metal and ‘70s rock bands that would have appreciated the music of Dream Theater and their heroes for over 10 years now.
After the album was released, the band went on tour to support the album and did a live version of the piece in its glory featuring actors to do the story as they were the conductors to perform it in the background in 2000. Also, the music was also used for the soundtrack to Funimaton's Dragon Ball Z story on the History of Trunks for a TV special. To this day, the music sounds fresh and its hard to explain why its one of their finest pieces of work.

1 comment:

Alana said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Maria

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