Author Topic: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater' (***SPOILERS***)  (Read 58267 times)

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Offline cyberdrummer

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My thoughts on 'Dream Theater' (***SPOILERS***)
« on: August 15, 2013, 02:25:09 PM »
Disclaimer: I might be remembering the album all wrong, so don't rip me apart when you all hear it! These are just my memories and opinions.

I've just got back in, and they didn't tell us anything about keeping quiet. I can't promise a huge amount of detail, it 's hard to remember anything, so I'll just provide some general thoughts, then you can ask me questions that might jog my memory.

Before that, I'll just describe the night as a whole - first the guys came in (JR, JLB and JP) and we had professional photographs with them. I mentioned I was a moderator on DTF, they seemed pretty interested! Then we did a short Q&A - I asked whether they'd do anything to mark the 15th anniversary of SFAM. They hadn't thought about it, but they seemed encouraged to do something - JP said he'd love to see MM play the album.

More was said about what a joy MM has been to record and write with. JLB seemed especially enthused.

Onto the album:

For those concerned that this was going to be a lot like SC and BC&SL, it's not. There are certainly heavy parts, but I think the word I'd use in general is cinematic.

False Awakening Suite is Symphony X-esque, and will be a stunning intro tape. It also includes the bit previously converted to a MIDI file.

The Looking Glass - reminds me of Rush and Images and Words.

The Enigma Machine - a heavier version of Ytse Jam in parts.

Surrender to Reason was a highlight for me.

Along for the Ride is very catchy, certainly good for a singalong. Includes JR's Beneath the Surface sound.

Illumination Theory felt a lot less than 22 minutes. More cohesive than ITPOE and TCOT in my opinion. A beautiful orchestral section. Some incredible bass and drum combinations. And one of JLB's vocal sections in a while.

Overall, I think the instrumental sections have a strong SDOIT vibe. The songs (apart from the first and last tracks and the instrumental) are more straightforward in structure.

The mix is raw, and the snare sound is growing on me.

In terms of ranking, I'll have a think, but on first listen it's promising, and will certainly be better than WDADU, 8V, SC, BC&SL and ADTOE.

Fire away with questions, hopefully I'll remember more.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2013, 03:18:28 PM by cyberdrummer »

Offline TheGreatPretender

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2013, 02:28:04 PM »
How were the vocals?
I enjoy TGD but all I can think of when I think of it is "TUUUURN TOOOO THE RIIIIIIGHT!" from the theoretical Dream Theater GPS unit I hope to one day own.

Offline PixelDream

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2013, 02:30:09 PM »
How did the mastering come off? As loud all the way as TEI's or did it have room to breathe as well?
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Offline cyberdrummer

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2013, 02:30:54 PM »
Vocals were still relatively low in the mix. But I'd say there were a few more high sections than we've heard in recent years. None of the vocal melodies stick out at the moment, but after one listen that doesn't mean much.

How did the mastering come off? As loud all the way as TEI's or did it have room to breathe as well?

Yes it's all as loud. There are quiet, more dynamic sections, but there's an element of 'rawness' running all the way through - which JP said they were intending.

Offline goo-goo

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2013, 02:31:06 PM »
The mix/master?

JM, JLB lyrics?
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Offline emtee

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2013, 02:31:52 PM »
You said the mix is raw but do you feel like the instruments were clear and were the drums more audible than on ADToE?

Thanks in advance.

Offline wasteland

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2013, 02:32:09 PM »
Could you elaborate on FAS being Symphony-X-esque?

And what about The Bigger Picture? :D
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Offline 425

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2013, 02:32:47 PM »
Surrender to Reason was a highlight for me.

Can you say more about the overall sound or vibe of this one, since it was one of your favorites?
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Offline TheGreatPretender

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2013, 02:34:31 PM »
Vocals were still relatively low in the mix. But I'd say there were a few more high sections than we've heard in recent years. None of the vocal melodies stick out at the moment, but after one listen that doesn't mean much.

The high sections are what I was wondering about, so that's good to know.
I enjoy TGD but all I can think of when I think of it is "TUUUURN TOOOO THE RIIIIIIGHT!" from the theoretical Dream Theater GPS unit I hope to one day own.

Offline aXygnus

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2013, 02:35:12 PM »
You forgot "The Bigger Picture", DOES IT MEAN IT'S FORGETTABLE

Offline goo-goo

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2013, 02:36:17 PM »
You should of shown JP the thread on TEI mix/master LOL
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Offline Joshin U

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2013, 02:36:21 PM »
How was Enigma Machine, especially compared to their other instrumentals? Was it heavier, faster, cinematic? And how about the bass solo? Did you enjoy it on first listen, or would it have to grow?

Offline cyberdrummer

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2013, 02:36:49 PM »
You said the mix is raw but do you feel like the instruments were clear and were the drums more audible than on ADToE?

Thanks in advance.

Drums were certainly more audible. The cymbals in general were not particularly well-defined in my opinion, though the ride was a lot louder than on ADTOE.

Could you elaborate on FAS being Symphony-X-esque?

And what about The Bigger Picture? :D

FAS is very symphonic, very heavy. Reminds me a lot of Oculus Ex Inferni. It also includes the drum section from the latest In the Studio clip.

Surrender to Reason was a highlight for me.

Can you say more about the overall sound or vibe of this one, since it was one of your favorites?

This was the one that would have fit best on SDOIT. The instrumental section was very Blind Faith/TGD-esque. That's all I can remember at the moment.  :lol

Offline cyberdrummer

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2013, 02:38:18 PM »
How was Enigma Machine, especially compared to their others? Was it heavier, faster, cinematic? And how about the bass solo? Did you enjoy it on first listen, or would it have to grow?

It is very heavy. Not quite the djent-heavy in Raw Dog. It's a bit more all over the place. Fast in places. Some ridiculous drum fills. The bass solo wasn't particularly long, but it was nice to hear JM for once!

Offline cyberdrummer

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2013, 02:38:51 PM »
You forgot "The Bigger Picture", DOES IT MEAN IT'S FORGETTABLE

No. It means I have a poor short-term memory! It was a lot to take in!

I think it was in Illumination Theory, MM does the most insane drum break. Cannot wait to see the acrobatics live.

Offline 425

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2013, 02:41:59 PM »
Did you get any sense of what the lyrical content is on any of the songs, or was it too hard to pick out the words without having them in front of you?

Thanks for answering my last question btw!
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Offline cyberdrummer

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2013, 02:43:10 PM »
Did you get any sense of what the lyrical content is on any of the songs, or was it too hard to pick out the words without having them in front of you?

Yeah, the latter. On one listen it was almost impossible to work out meaning, or who wrote them.

Offline emtee

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2013, 02:43:29 PM »
Thanks again for answering. Very cool of you.

I'm kinda shocked they didn't tell you folks to keep quiet until a certain date. I'd say this will open the flood gates for reviews and I
wouldn't be surprised to see a few pop up at Progarchives very soon.

Congrats and glad you liked the album.

Now we all wait...

Offline cyberdrummer

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2013, 02:45:02 PM »
Thanks again for answering. Very cool of you.

I'm kinda shocked they didn't tell you folks to keep quiet until a certain date. I'd say this will open the flood gates for reviews and I
wouldn't be surprised to see a few pop up at Progarchives very soon.

Congrats and glad you liked the album.

Now we all wait...

No worries.

I guess they realise that people aren't going to be able to go into huge amounts of detail after just one listen.

One further point in general, this album is anything but Dream Theater by numbers. It is different from anything they've done before, especially in terms of the cinematic nature of it - I cannot emphasise that enough. I never got the sense that any of the instrumental sections were written for the sake of it (like on ARoP or TMoLS, for example). It seems more organic, yet more straightforward, in terms of structure, but the virtuostic element is of course still there.

Disclaimer: I might be remembering the album all wrong, so don't rip me apart when you all hear it! These are just my memories and opinions.

Offline faizoff

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #19 on: August 15, 2013, 02:45:12 PM »
Did you tape the session?

/jk

Thanks for the info. Good to know. I really can't wait for this album. I only hope there is no obvious clipping and audio crackling.

Offline cyberdrummer

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #20 on: August 15, 2013, 02:49:04 PM »
Did you tape the session?

/jk

Haha, if only. Our phones and cameras were confiscated as we walked in.

Offline TheGreatPretender

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #21 on: August 15, 2013, 02:49:44 PM »
Wish I could've been there.  :sadpanda:
I enjoy TGD but all I can think of when I think of it is "TUUUURN TOOOO THE RIIIIIIGHT!" from the theoretical Dream Theater GPS unit I hope to one day own.

Offline RoDT

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #22 on: August 15, 2013, 02:50:56 PM »
Does the album deserve the name "Dream Theater"?

Offline faizoff

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2013, 02:52:45 PM »
Does the album deserve the name "Dream Theater"?
To further expand this question, how much different did you feel it is from previous albums

Offline RoDT

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2013, 02:55:22 PM »
Does the album deserve the name "Dream Theater"?
To further expand this question, how much different did you feel it is from previous albums

And what was the overall response by all listeners? Was there a certain kind of mood overall in the room?

Thanks for doing this, I bet you are still in some sort of adrenaline rush (hopefully)

Offline cyberdrummer

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2013, 02:56:57 PM »
Does the album deserve the name "Dream Theater"?

Honestly? I wouldn't have called it Dream Theater. As I say, it's different. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. And who am I to question the band's thinking?

Of course there are elements that hark back to previous albums - there always is. It's a mixture of the heaviness of recent years (I even got a ANTR vibe at one point) with the experimental side in SDOIT and the more straightforward prog side from Images and Words. I'm not sure exactly what's different, but the cinematic and symphonic elements certainly make a difference. It's also the first album in a long time that I don't think includes a song that was long for the sake of it (Outcry, ANTR, TMoLS, Sacrificed Sons). 

Offline TheGreatPretender

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #26 on: August 15, 2013, 02:57:24 PM »
Does the album deserve the name "Dream Theater"?
To further expand this question, how much different did you feel it is from previous albums

And what was the overall response by all listeners? Was there a certain kind of mood overall in the room?

And will this album stand the test of time as a true DT classic for decades to come?


 :lol

j/k, I just wanted to join in with the overwhelming of the questions.
I enjoy TGD but all I can think of when I think of it is "TUUUURN TOOOO THE RIIIIIIGHT!" from the theoretical Dream Theater GPS unit I hope to one day own.

Offline cyberdrummer

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2013, 02:58:27 PM »
Does the album deserve the name "Dream Theater"?
To further expand this question, how much different did you feel it is from previous albums

And what was the overall response by all listeners? Was there a certain kind of mood overall in the room?

Thanks for doing this, I bet you are still in some sort of adrenaline rush (hopefully)

That's an interesting question actually, because it raises one negative part of the evening - there were some people talking pretty much all the way through! Fortunately it was loud enough that it didn't matter too much. The atmosphere was jubilant, spontaneous rounds of applause at certain points.

Offline Kotowboy

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #28 on: August 15, 2013, 02:58:37 PM »
It's also the first album in a long time that I don't think includes a song that was long for the sake of it .


:clap: :clap:

Offline cyberdrummer

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #29 on: August 15, 2013, 02:59:28 PM »

And will this album stand the test of time as a true DT classic for decades to come?


 :lol

j/k, I just wanted to join in with the overwhelming of the questions.

I can definitely say that this is DT's greatest ever album.

Offline Kotowboy

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #30 on: August 15, 2013, 03:00:13 PM »
I can guarantee that Dream Theater will go down in History as their 12th album.

Offline cyberdrummer

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #31 on: August 15, 2013, 03:02:08 PM »
One thing that might please a few of you: the band love it when people pick their music apart - they think that's what this kind of music is meant for!

Offline nikatapi

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #32 on: August 15, 2013, 03:02:13 PM »
Did you notice any song structures-rhythmic parts that are new to DT, possible MM influence?

Do you think that the drumming is a step up from ADTOE?

Is JR prominent in the mix, and are there many keyboard solos?

Thanks! :)

Offline 425

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #33 on: August 15, 2013, 03:03:28 PM »
It's really awesome that you're answering all these questions. Thanks again!

Since you don't seem to mind terribly being inundated, I'll ask one more. This may be another where you can't remember well enough to say, but I do want to ask in case you do remember.

How much was the orchestra used on this album? To give a frame of reference you could maybe compare it to Octavarium, where it was used only on parts of a few songs, and say whether it was used more or less than that. Again if this is too much detail where you can't recall then obviously don't worry about it, but I figured I'd ask anyway.
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Offline TheGreatPretender

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Re: My thoughts on 'Dream Theater'
« Reply #34 on: August 15, 2013, 03:05:11 PM »
So, on behalf of all those bleeding heart audiophiles, did you petition the guys to master their next album 'more thoughtfully'?  :lol
I enjoy TGD but all I can think of when I think of it is "TUUUURN TOOOO THE RIIIIIIGHT!" from the theoretical Dream Theater GPS unit I hope to one day own.