Author Topic: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread  (Read 232930 times)

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Offline NunoTenniscourt

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #35 on: January 28, 2016, 08:03:38 PM »
I am thoroughly impressed so far, and very relieved, because I was worried this was going to be an embarrassing disaster. I envisioned myself having to attempt forcing it to grow on me at best. Thankfully, that has not been the case. Many songs made an immediate positive impact.

I know fans of the shred and metal side of Dream Theater will likely be disappointed in this album, but for fuck's sake, they needed a break from all of that, in my opinion. I'm glad Jordan went with a real piano on this album. The difference is quite noticeable. His presence on the album is huge to say the least.

So far, the stand out tracks for me:

A Life Left Behind - bad ass intro reminiscent of Yes, then evolves into a great melodic song.
Ravenskill - Beautiful all around.
Our New World - I knew the second the guitar intro started this was going to be stellar, and I was right. This song has "monster hit" written all over it. It's that good.
Heaven's Cove - really nice acoustic guitar intro.
The X Aspect

I'm sure this album is only going to get better with every listen.


Offline RMGadelha

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #36 on: January 28, 2016, 08:05:29 PM »
I'm gonna say it right now. I want to see a couple who likes Dream Theater dancing Lord Nafaryus' beautiful tango. :lol

Offline Bertie_Wooster

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #37 on: January 28, 2016, 08:07:09 PM »
I heard some Les miserables at the end of side one.    Several Phantom of the opera moments scattered throughout the album.
Jordan should be given a trophy.   This is the first album he earned MVP over JP.    Not that JP didn't bring his A game.
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Offline MegaDTSX

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #38 on: January 28, 2016, 08:08:38 PM »
Can anyone tell me how Evangeline is related to any of the other characters? 

From someone who doesn't have the album I can tell the Empress/Nafaryus/Daryus/(and maybe Faythe..?) are like the royal family while Arhys and Gabriel are more than likely brothers and Xander is a child in the rebel army..?

Offline RMGadelha

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #39 on: January 28, 2016, 08:09:26 PM »
Can anyone tell me how Evangeline is related to any of the other characters? 

From someone who doesn't have the album I can tell the Empress/Nafaryus/Daryus/(and maybe Faythe..?) are like the royal family while Arhys and Gabriel are more than likely brothers and Xander is a child in the rebel army..?

Evangeline is Arhys' wife.

Btw, are full blown out spoilers liberated on this thread?

Offline Train of Naught

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #40 on: January 28, 2016, 08:11:31 PM »
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Three Days is fucking awesome and might become a top 20-10 DT song for me. Yes, even separated from the story, I really love this song.

Offline dvargas

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #41 on: January 28, 2016, 08:12:39 PM »
So far, there are several tracks I love, but the rest just blur together, and so far I don't really like Act II at all.
The high points on this album are way up there, and reminds of the type of writing they haven't done since SFAM/SDOIT, and are easily the best I've heard in the MM era, but there are too many misses for me at this point, and too many songs that felt like they started the same. Three Days is classic DT, and the kind of thing I've been itching to hear for a long time. Hits the spot goooood. I've already listened to it more than anything from ADTOE and DT12 combined.

Let's see how I feel after a few more listens though. :)

Agree with a lot you say here. A lot of songs begin exactly the same and many end the same too...

A big blur.

And I'll say it: I miss some wankery, like DT wankery.

What I really DON'T like is the fact that there are no songs, with the exception of A New Beginning that have segments that I actually look forward too. And that really disappoints me.

Offline rumborak

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #42 on: January 28, 2016, 08:12:48 PM »
My mini "review" (yes, I admit to having listened to it already, because I'm going on a ski trip and will not get my hands on it for quite a few days):

There is some really cool stuff on that album. It is absolutely clear that this is a JP+JR+JLB album, and they have some great, great moments.
That said, I actually plan on making a "fan edit" of the album, because there is a lot of stuff that doesn't pull its weight. Most of the ballads kinda blur together, and so I will identify the (for me) strong parts and hopefully successfully blend them together into something I will repeatedly listen to. In its entirety it is not something I expect to feel desire to listen to.

I really, really like Our New World. It is so light-hearted, it's a breeze of fresh air blown into a stale room. As I said, best thing they have done in a long time. Even just for that tune it's worth purchasing the album.
"Inspiration corner" is weirdly clustered in one part of the album. You go from a "Waiting for the worms" song (Brother Do You Hear Me) into a "Tempus Fugit" right after. Luckily not much Rush this time, at least musically.

And now to the dreadful part of the review: As I said, this is a JP+JR+JLB album. And that's all it is. JM and MM, sorry. I really don't know how to put it otherwise, but MM managed to put 3 hours of lifeless drumming onto that album. At least JM gets that delightful groove on "A New Beginning".
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Offline RMGadelha

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #43 on: January 28, 2016, 08:12:56 PM »
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Three Days is fucking awesome and might become a top 20-10 DT song for me. Yes, even separated from the story, I really love this song.

I love all of the Empire's sections. Daryus sounds like a spoiled brat in one moment, haha. "Don't make me ask again, DO AS MY FATHER SAYS!"

Offline El Barto

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #44 on: January 28, 2016, 08:14:08 PM »
Not really what I was expecting. Like Blob said most of it seems to blur together. I don't dislike it, but I haven't heard anything that made me think "hey, that was a great song." I hear passages throughout that I really dig, but it's a bass line here or a guitar solo there as part of something I assume to be one the songs.

Still don't like the drums.

I think it'll be pretty damned fun to watch played live.
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Offline Train of Naught

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #45 on: January 28, 2016, 08:14:52 PM »
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Three Days is fucking awesome and might become a top 20-10 DT song for me. Yes, even separated from the story, I really love this song.

I love all of the Empire's sections. Daryus sounds like a spoiled brat in one moment, haha. "Don't make me ask again, DO AS MY FATHER SAYS!"
Right on mate, I now understand why people said James really shined on this one, he really makes the characters come to life!

Offline The Letter M

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #46 on: January 28, 2016, 08:15:17 PM »
Is it just me, or does the melody, most prominently featured in "Brother Can You Hear Me?" remind anyone of the vocal melody from the middle of Rush's "Hemispheres, Part IV: Cygnus, Bringer Of Balance"? The lyrics in that song go -
."I have memory and awareness
But I have no shape or form
As a disembodied spirit
I am dead and yet unborn
I have passed into Olympus
As was told in tales of old
To the city of Immortals
Marble white and purest gold..."

The melody in BCYHM is VERY reminiscent of that verse for me, and I'm hoping I'm not the only one who felt that way...it also reminds me of parts of "The Wall", too. There's tons of Rush and Pink Floyd all over this album, at least to me.

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #47 on: January 28, 2016, 08:15:33 PM »
Indeed. It is what I like to call "the love theme". You hear it the first time at the end of A Savior in the Square when Gabriel first sees Faythe.

Works for me (although it makes me think of the Love Theme From Kiss :lol ). It's a really catchy and memorable theme, and Act of Faythe is my favourite variant of it, like it's the full version.
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Offline RMGadelha

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #48 on: January 28, 2016, 08:17:04 PM »
Indeed. It is what I like to call "the love theme". You hear it the first time at the end of A Savior in the Square when Gabriel first sees Faythe.

Works for me (although it makes me think of the Love Theme From Kiss :lol ). It's a really catchy and memorable theme, and Act of Faythe is my favourite variant of it, like it's the full version.

Yeah, there's even a more upbeat version of it that's also interesting during The Road to Revolution. :)

Offline Skeever

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #49 on: January 28, 2016, 08:18:34 PM »
Not really what I was expecting. Like Blob said most of it seems to blur together. I don't dislike it, but I haven't heard anything that made me think "hey, that was a great song." I hear passages throughout that I really dig, but it's a bass line here or a guitar solo there as part of something I assume to be one the songs.

Still don't like the drums.

I think it'll be pretty damned fun to watch played live.

I've enjoyed a good deal of the album, but I pretty much agree with all of this. I feel it's a wee bit bogged down by the musical "format", and the result is something that's really tiring and repetitive to listen to all the way through. I also agree with rumborak above about Our New World. To be honest, I think it might be one of the best short songs they've EVER done.

I will say, I was not expecting this at all. What an amazing effort. I'm not sure it paid off completely, but they really seem to have given it their all and props to the band for having an idea and then being 100% committed to it.

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #50 on: January 28, 2016, 08:19:01 PM »
Indeed. It is what I like to call "the love theme". You hear it the first time at the end of A Savior in the Square when Gabriel first sees Faythe.

Works for me (although it makes me think of the Love Theme From Kiss :lol ). It's a really catchy and memorable theme, and Act of Faythe is my favourite variant of it, like it's the full version.

Yeah, there's even a more upbeat version of it that's also interesting during The Road to Revolution. :)

Road to Revolution feels like a little medley of all these different sections to act as the intermission, so it doesn't leave me as satisfied as the slower burn of Act of Faythe. I do like that song though.
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Offline RMGadelha

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #51 on: January 28, 2016, 08:20:35 PM »
I would also like to add that The Walking Shadow was one of the most interesting things they've ever done. James is insane there and the ending is really creepy sounding in a good way.

Offline Sacul

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #52 on: January 28, 2016, 08:20:46 PM »
Needs more listens, but this is already better than the last 2, even 3 albums... Which is not much to say :lol

I'll take this slowly, since it has a ridiculous amount of ballads and cheese :P

Three Days tho  :metal.

Offline Bertie_Wooster

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #53 on: January 28, 2016, 08:21:04 PM »
1:27 of "the path divides" sounds like space dye vest.

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #54 on: January 28, 2016, 08:21:33 PM »
I will say, I was not expecting this at all. What an amazing effort. I'm not sure it paid off completely, but they really seem to have given it their all and props to the band for having an idea and then being 100% committed to it.

I forgot to mention this. Regardless of what my final opinion will be, I'm glad DT went all in and were inspired to do something so ambitious, and hope they continue to try new things regardless of fan opinions. The best parts of this album excite me like I didn't think DT still could, and prove they're still capable of magic.
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Offline erwinrafael

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #55 on: January 28, 2016, 08:22:15 PM »
I really don't know how to put it otherwise, but MM managed to put 3 hours of lifeless drumming onto that album.

If you still find the drumming in this whole album lifeless, then you will never ever like Mike Mangini's drumming in whatever form. This has been his style from the very very start.

Offline rumborak

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #56 on: January 28, 2016, 08:22:40 PM »
As I am not in possession of the booklet yet, can anybody please, PLEASE, fill me in what the fuck is up with the intro of Losing Faythe? Are they crying, laughing, fondling each other?

If you still find the drumming in this whole album lifeless, then you will never ever like Mike Mangini's drumming in whatever form. This has been his style from the very very start.

I realize that now, yes, but I always hoped he was holding back as the "newbie". I must admit, I have now written off MM.
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Offline Sacul

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #57 on: January 28, 2016, 08:23:18 PM »
All of them :zydar:

Offline dvargas

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #58 on: January 28, 2016, 08:30:16 PM »
The biggest mistake I made today:

While at work I listened to SDOIT disc 1.  :facepalm:

TA... not even remotely close.

Offline FiberglassMoon

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #59 on: January 28, 2016, 08:32:54 PM »
I have a feeling that this album is going to be among the most polarizing in DT's catalog.

Myself, I'm quite enjoying it.  It's just really refreshing to hear them go in a different direction, regardless of what that direction is. This album definitely has it's own unique feel, which has been missing from DT's records for the better part of a decade now (imo).

As for the music - there are some truly fantastic and touching moments.  And for as many ballads as there are, they're very well done for the most part.  It's such an enormous disc that it's gonna take a lot more listens to fully absorb it all.

Also, it really does play out like a musical. Even though that's not a surprise because of the number of tracks, it's another thing all together to finally hear it.  It's so much different than SFAM in that aspect - TA has strings of songs that, for me, represent a movement in the album, where on SFAM it was more the individual songs playing that role. I would have liked TA to have a few more longer songs that were more fleshed out, just to help break up that whole 4-6 minute song range (which I think is responsible for a little bit of that blurring together of tracks).  There are some tracks that I feel build up well, only to end abruptly as we're rushed into the next song.

Now that I think about it, I feel like the need to drive the storyline forward kind interfered with their ability to expand or extend some of the stronger sections.

To early to tell, but let's hope this one gets better with more spins!
« Last Edit: January 28, 2016, 08:44:32 PM by FiberglassMoon »

Offline dedSurroun

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #60 on: January 28, 2016, 08:33:51 PM »
Listening all day.

Easily best since 6DOIT. At least on part with it.

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #61 on: January 28, 2016, 08:34:43 PM »
Listening all day.

Easily best since 6DOIT. At least on part with it.

Anyone who thinks differently is wrong.

Anyone who thinks they've done anything on par with SDOIT since is wrong. :biggrin:
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Offline Sir Walrus Cauliflower

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #62 on: January 28, 2016, 08:37:13 PM »
Anyone who tries to compare anything, anwhere, anytime, by anybody to SDOIT is wrong

Anyways, going to bed now and getting up at midnight to listen to the download. See you all on the other side  :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:
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Offline erwinrafael

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #63 on: January 28, 2016, 08:39:21 PM »
The biggest mistake I made today:

While at work I listened to SDOIT disc 1.  :facepalm:

TA... not even remotely close.

Why would you compare them? SDOIT is written as a typical music album. TA is written as a musical.

If you listen to TA as a musical and judge it as a musical production, the musical choices all make sense, especially the recurring themes, the  not so lengthy development of "instrumental" ideas, etc.

TA is not even comparable to SFAM because SFAM, while a concept album with a narrative, is still written mostly as a typical music album, like Haken's Aquarius and Visions. TA, based on the flow and the composition, is really writeen as a musical theater production. Even the last song would give you the impression that it is where the "actors" would come back to the stage to take their bows and receive audience applause.

I am getting a sense here that DT has more plans for this project and they might actually explore making this an actual theatrical production because that is how it is written.

Offline El Barto

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #64 on: January 28, 2016, 08:40:58 PM »
I must admit, I have now written off MM.
Yeah, I think I have to concur. Up until now he's merely been a disappointing reminder of what's lost. Now I'm considering him a detriment, despite perhaps being the most gifted one in an amazingly talented band.

edit: and completely unrelated, but every time I venture into this strange and creepy corner of DTF, which is not very often, I'm fascinated by all of the people I've never heard of despite being a very active member of this forum, and in particular I love seeing some of the usernames. I feel strangely honored to be following up a post from Sir Walrus Cauliflower.
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Offline rumborak

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #65 on: January 28, 2016, 08:44:08 PM »
Yeah, I think I have to concur. Up until now he's merely been a disappointing reminder of what's lost. Now I'm considering him a detriment, despite perhaps being the most gifted one in an amazingly talented band.

I really don't want to harp on this too long, but yeah, I had the same thought when I was listening to the album. Especially for the softer sections, subtle, organic drumming would have been wondrous and added so much to the songs. But it just stays at the same "bup ... chick", the whole time.
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Offline DarkLord_Lalinc

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #66 on: January 28, 2016, 08:46:39 PM »
Wow, wow. I love it. There is indeed some songs that I wouldn't listen without the context of the album, but the album as a whole is just beautiful. I actually liked the story!

Can I point out how beautiful Act of Faythe is? It reminds me of sections of Octavarium. Great buildup, satisfying payoff, beautiful harmonies and melodies, and JLB of course slays it as usual.

Indeed. It is what I like to call "the love theme". You hear it the first time at the end of A Savior in the Square when Gabriel first sees Faythe.

From the plenty of themes I've heard so far, that's the one that has caught my attention the most. It's beautiful.
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Offline erwinrafael

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #67 on: January 28, 2016, 08:48:35 PM »
Yeah, I think I have to concur. Up until now he's merely been a disappointing reminder of what's lost. Now I'm considering him a detriment, despite perhaps being the most gifted one in an amazingly talented band.

I really don't want to harp on this too long, but yeah, I had the same thought when I was listening to the album. Especially for the softer sections, subtle, organic drumming would have been wondrous and added so much to the songs. But it just stays at the same "bup ... chick", the whole time.

Yes, because When Your Time Has Come and Act of Faythe has "bup...chick" drumming all over. Maybe I am just imagining all those ghost notes.

Offline Shadow2222

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #68 on: January 28, 2016, 08:51:22 PM »
I'm really enjoying this album. It flows very well in my opinion. Even when I pick a song to listen to individually, I end up listening to quite a bit more after that because it just draws me in.
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Offline The Presence of Frenemies

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Re: *Official* The Astonishing discussion thread
« Reply #69 on: January 28, 2016, 08:52:08 PM »
Yeah, I think I have to concur. Up until now he's merely been a disappointing reminder of what's lost. Now I'm considering him a detriment, despite perhaps being the most gifted one in an amazingly talented band.

I really don't want to harp on this too long, but yeah, I had the same thought when I was listening to the album. Especially for the softer sections, subtle, organic drumming would have been wondrous and added so much to the songs. But it just stays at the same "bup ... chick", the whole time.

I've got to completely disagree here. MM's drumming on ADTOE and DT12 did nothing for me, but to me his performance stood out a ton on first listen here. Really got that BTFW/air drummable vibe in a plurality of the tracks. He's not quite as much of a presence as JP, but as much as JR, and more than James and JM. And the snare tone finally is not only reasonable but actually well above-average.
Yeah, I have no idea what the cakeless person in that analogy is meant to be eating. If he's got some sort of cake substitute, it should really have been worked into the narrative at some point. As it stands, the options are:

  • Hoard a cake just to stare blankly into its doughy edifice.
  • Make futile chewing motions with your mouth while starving to death.