Author Topic: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.  (Read 8589 times)

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Offline Kotowboy

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- " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« on: January 20, 2017, 02:20:51 AM »
It's almost a year ( 29/01 ) since The Astonishing was released.

• How did you feel about it a year go ?

• How do you fell about it now ?


I liked it a lot and still play it every once in a while. I'm not tired of it yet because I haven't over played it.

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Offline RoeDent

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2017, 02:46:45 AM »
I remember the first listen like it was yesterday. It was very wet outside. I was ill with a cold I'd managed to catch the day before. The album was then, and remains now, a complete and total masterpiece. A touching story, told with the most beautiful music DT have ever written. No superlatives are adequate enough to describe it. I honestly fail to understand how people have reacted so poorly to it. It completely and utterly baffles me, and probably always will. Have you even LISTENED to this music? DT's greatest gift is just writing damn good tunes that are memorable and that tug at the heartstrings and bring the goosebumps, and The Astonishing is just so chock full of them it hurts.

It remains a top-3 DT album for me. The only thing that stops it from ranking higher is the length. It requires some time to listen to it, but in my view, there are few better ways to spend 2-and-a-bit hours. A movie for the ears.

Offline lucasembarbosa

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2017, 03:26:28 AM »
@RoeDent: Agreed, completely. But I'm still reluctant to rank it higher, the album must pass through a longer "time test". Surely it's on my top 5 DT albums...

Offline Kwyjibo

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2017, 03:59:56 AM »
At first I didn't know what to make of it, because it was different from what they've done before and it was such a long record, that I didn't often find the time to listen to from start to finish.

Now I see it as another great DT record, I'm really liking it, although I'm not overly fond of the story. But the same is true for Scenes and not only for DT. Generally I really like concept albums but more often than not I'm not really connecting to the stories.

In the grand scheme of things The Astonishing would rank as a middle tier DT record for, but only because they have so much really great records.


Online MirrorMask

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2017, 04:36:50 AM »
Bought it on release date, heard it a day later, first impression was overall positive but I knew I had to listen to it many more times. I quickly fell in love with it and I consider it one of their best album and a grandiose and daring effort, whose little lows are eclipsed by far by the many highs.

It didn't have a multi-year staying power, by now I rarely, if at all, listen to it, but I'm completely happy with ith and, having enough time, I will never consider a chore going through it.

Offline erwinrafael

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2017, 05:33:06 AM »
The best DT album for me.

Offline Art

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2017, 05:48:10 AM »
I liked when it came out, but the novelty wore off really quick, and i must have listened to it one or two times in this year. It has some really good songs, but it's far from being one of my favorites.


Offline Bolsters

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2017, 05:49:33 AM »
• How did you feel about it a year go ?
Meh.

• How do you fell about it now ?
Meh.

Offline IDontNotDoThings

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2017, 05:58:40 AM »
I think my opinion is quite ironic; that in an album that focuses so heavily on concept, story & overall grandiose that I feel it's one of the most song-focused albums DT has put out, & severely dips in quality once the second disc hits. The whole experience is way less than the sum of its parts (IMO) & that really comes into effect when you consider how extensive the whole experience is.

I think they should've released Act I as it was, (which would've ranked really high in DT's rankings for me), then maybe spending a few extra months on refining what they had for Act II & then going into the studio to record that.

Nonetheless, TA is an album that's incredibly bitter-sweet to me, & for a band like Dream Theater, that's quite disappointing. Act I did take a while to grow on me to realise how much I really liked so, so maybe Act II will do the same some day, but I'm not holding my breath.

Overall it ranks 10th in my DT album ranking, ahead of WD&DU, FII & DT12 & just behind ADTOE.

Offline commanderbob

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2017, 06:20:23 AM »
It's the first album since I became a big fan (after Awake came out) that I didn't immediately snap up on release day in my own little special Dream Theater Day holiday. I still don't own it. I love bits and pieces of it, but not enough to go pick it up. It's quite a miss by DT for me to not even care about it. For comparison, Awake and DT12 are my favs.

Offline Lax

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2017, 06:32:25 AM »
On release it was refreshing and very moving emotionnally.
I haven't listened to it in full lenght since summer and will probably not do it often, several songs joined my playlist of random DT awesomeness :)
I'm the kind of guy who likes to jump from album to album, shuffling

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2017, 06:35:15 AM »
I thought it was good when it came out, and today it sits at the very top as my favorite DT album. I still listen to it in full at least once per week. I have it on now as a matter of fact. Absolutely fantastic album, and if DT doesn't find a way to get a live version of it in my living room, I will never forgive them.

Offline dtvoices94

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2017, 06:39:54 AM »
Loved it a year ago, love it today.  It's tough to rank because it's such an anomaly, but I'd probably put it top five or in sixth place at worst.

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2017, 07:12:00 AM »
Loved it a year ago, love it today.  It's tough to rank because it's such an anomaly, but I'd probably put it top five or in sixth place at worst.

This is pretty much me.

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2017, 07:24:58 AM »
 :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn

It's the only Dream Theater album that I have never purchased.  Listened to the singles, wasn't impressed.  When I learned that the majority of the album was like the singles, I had no desire to buy it or listen to the whole thing.

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2017, 07:34:31 AM »
:tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn

It's the only Dream Theater album that I have never purchased.  Listened to the singles, wasn't impressed.  When I learned that the majority of the album was like the singles, I had no desire to buy it or listen to the whole thing.

So you decided you didn't like the whole album, but never listened to the whole album?  :lol

You can listen to the whole thing for free, it's still up on their YouTube channel, so you don't have to pay a thing. Give it a try if you've got a little over 2 hours of time on your hands.

Online Chino

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2017, 07:35:31 AM »
:tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn

It's the only Dream Theater album that I have never purchased.  Listened to the singles, wasn't impressed.  When I learned that the majority of the album was like the singles, I had no desire to buy it or listen to the whole thing.

That's like saying everything on a restaurant's menu sucks because you didn't like the two things you happened to try.

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2017, 07:45:22 AM »
:tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn

It's the only Dream Theater album that I have never purchased.  Listened to the singles, wasn't impressed.  When I learned that the majority of the album was like the singles, I had no desire to buy it or listen to the whole thing.

So you decided you didn't like the whole album, but never listened to the whole album?  :lol

You can listen to the whole thing for free, it's still up on their YouTube channel, so you don't have to pay a thing. Give it a try if you've got a little over 2 hours of time on your hands.

Yes - I'm a metalhead first, specific band's fan second.  I know what I like and what's worth my money.  I have no desire to listen to an album like The Astonishing when I would rather hear Dream Theater write and play progressive metal.  For the record, this is the same reaction that I had to Queensryche's Dedicated to Chaos album.  Heard a few tracks before the release, decided it wasn't for me and didn't buy it.

If people love the record, that's great.  I don't like what I've heard and am very sure that there's not enough on the album for me to enjoy to warrant needing a copy of it.

Offline erwinrafael

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2017, 07:46:17 AM »
:tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn

It's the only Dream Theater album that I have never purchased.  Listened to the singles, wasn't impressed.  When I learned that the majority of the album was like the singles, I had no desire to buy it or listen to the whole thing.

So you were more impressed by Forsaken?

Offline gmillerdrake

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2017, 07:57:44 AM »
I thought it was good when it came out,

This. I liked it...had a tough time connecting to it right away because it deserves to be listened to in full. But it grew on me...tons of great music


if DT doesn't find a way to get a live version of it in my living room, I will never forgive them.

This. This album was written for a live show. After seeing it live I was so mad at myself for not seeing it on more than one occasion. I was so pumped that DT was coming to St. Louis, that I didn't have to road trip to see them...that I missed the chance to see it multiple times because the tour was over pretty quick after the St. Louis show. They HAVE to record a live version of this....the studio version does zero justice for just how awesome this show and this album is.
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Offline RoeDent

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2017, 07:59:12 AM »
I liked when it came out, but the novelty wore off really quick, and i must have listened to it one or two times in this year.

Well considering this year is only 20 days old, once or twice in that time might be the average amount of listens.  :P

Offline red barchetta

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2017, 08:01:03 AM »
It's their softest album.  I will never buy it because as a whole, I don't like it.  God knows I have tried.
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Online Grappler

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2017, 08:02:42 AM »
:tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn

It's the only Dream Theater album that I have never purchased.  Listened to the singles, wasn't impressed.  When I learned that the majority of the album was like the singles, I had no desire to buy it or listen to the whole thing.

So you were more impressed by Forsaken?

Actually, yes.  I think that's one of Dream Theater's best and most pure SONGS that they've written in the past 10-15 years.  Short, concise, to the point, great riffs, great vocal melodies.  They don't have to be long, widdly-diddly songs to get my attention.  In fact, I dislike most of DT's epic songs, aside from ACOS.  I want them to write great metal songs, period.

What the Astonishing lacks for me is metal.  I want big, heavy, slamming riffs, and I know enough about the record to know that there's not much of those over the course of two hours.  That's the difference between Forsaken and The Astonishing for me.

Offline erwinrafael

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2017, 08:09:35 AM »
Well, Moment of Betrayal is pretty metal to me ala Behind the Veil, but if it still did not work for you, then there won't be much more metal songs in the album than that one.

If you are looking for big riffs though, there are lots of amazing riffs in the album.

Offline bosk1

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2017, 08:46:41 AM »
It's definitely not the type of album that would hold much appeal to a "pure metal head" (for lack of a better term).  Not that there aren't plenty of incredible riffs or metal moments.  But the overall album feel is that of an almost-Broadway-musical rock opera, and even in those songs and moments where they are bringing the metal (and there are plenty of those), that still feels like it is taking a back seat to overall feel and concept they were going for.  So I definitely get what Grapp and others who have expressed similar thoughts about the album are saying. 

As for my thoughts about the album, I liked it a lot from day 1, but didn't quite know what to do with it in terms of how to rank it or compare it to the rest of the DT catalog.  A year later, I can say I love it.  I'm still not quite sure where I would rank it, because it still sticks out as something really different and distinct from what they normally do.  And that's okay.  Interestingly, the few things that bothered me about the album from the beginning (e.g. the crying sample) STILL bother me just as much.  But because the album overall has really grown in my esteem, I find it easier to overlook those things even though they don't bother me any less.  Some of the factors that really enhanced my enjoyment of the album:
-Really getting to take it all in and do nothing but listen to it without distraction on many of 25-mile bike ride home from work
-Getting to experience the live show twice in two very different settings--once early on, and once toward the end of the tour cycle after I had become very familiar with the album
-Having an absolute adoration for Disney-style storytelling and presentation, which is one of the facets John incorporated very well into this album
« Last Edit: January 20, 2017, 08:52:35 AM by bosk1 »
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Offline Metropolaris

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2017, 08:50:38 AM »
With every new DT album since BC&SL, I haven't liked the album upon my first listen, but the album grows on me with each listen. I can't say the same for The Astonishing. I've listened to the whole thing all the way through many times over the past year but my opinion hasn't changed much from my first impression.

The big thing that brings it down for me is the lyrics. I was skeptical about the story from the moment this album was announced. I've listened to the album while reading along with the story, and I just can't get into it. I just don't find it to be an interesting or original story(Not calling it plagiarism, but it's very cliché). It's not even a relatable story, at least not to me. It's just cheesy, generic sci-fi/fantasy.
The moral of the story simply seems to be "Music is awesome!". My response to that: No shit. If I didn't think that already, I wouldn't have spent almost $20 on this album on iTunes and I wouldn't have spent 2 hours of my life listening to it.
James is the saving grace for this album. Despite the cheesiness of the lyrics, I do believe that this is James' best performance in his whole career.

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« Last Edit: January 20, 2017, 11:15:14 AM by Metropolaris »
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Offline bosk1

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #26 on: January 20, 2017, 08:57:37 AM »
The moral of the story simply seems to be "Music is awesome!". My response to that: No shit. If I didn't think that already, I wouldn't have spent almost $20 on this album on iTunes and I wouldn't have spent 2 hours of my life listening to it.

Not trying to talk you into liking something you don't like, but just in terms of your life outlook, here's something to maybe at least consider:  Great stories don't necessarily have to bring something new to the table that you didn't already know.  I would say that, once you reach a certain age or certain level of life experience, very few stories can bring something really "new" to the table for you.  Many simply take a moral or make a point that has been made over and over again, but maybe simply try to strike a chord that just makes the audience think about it in a slightly different way or in a different context.  But many good stories don't even do that.  Just sayin'.
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Offline emtee

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2017, 09:05:36 AM »
I've never given any other album so many attempts for it to click.

In the weeks after release I enjoyed some parts of it. In the weeks and months that followed I would spin it repeatedly to let it sink in
but unfortunately as more time passed it became clear it just wasn't going to connect with me on a large scale. There are some great
moments though.

And while this album isn't for me I am glad they made it and really appreciate all the effort that went into it.

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #28 on: January 20, 2017, 09:11:09 AM »
I still remember the "meh" feeling after my first listen.  Every DT album had rocked my socks off from the first listen and this was the first time I sat back with my friend and we were both like "uhh, it wasn't bad, but it also didn't blow me away and it was a bit too much for one sitting" and then over the course of the next week I'd listen to it a few more times and start to digest and understand the music and then it clicked... it's awesome.  One year later and it is still in my car CD player (although I typically use my phone to listen to music in my car, and I swap between disc 1 and 2).  I still think it's great.

Online Dublagent66

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #29 on: January 20, 2017, 09:19:35 AM »
:tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn

It's the only Dream Theater album that I have never purchased.  Listened to the singles, wasn't impressed.  When I learned that the majority of the album was like the singles, I had no desire to buy it or listen to the whole thing.

That's like saying everything on a restaurant's menu sucks because you didn't like the two things you happened to try.

He said 'majority" not "everything".  If I tried two things at a restaurant and didn't like either one, the chances of going back aren't very likely.  Your analogy doesn't really apply.


:tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn :tdwn

It's the only Dream Theater album that I have never purchased.  Listened to the singles, wasn't impressed.  When I learned that the majority of the album was like the singles, I had no desire to buy it or listen to the whole thing.

So you were more impressed by Forsaken?

Actually, yes.  I think that's one of Dream Theater's best and most pure SONGS that they've written in the past 10-15 years.  Short, concise, to the point, great riffs, great vocal melodies.  They don't have to be long, widdly-diddly songs to get my attention.  In fact, I dislike most of DT's epic songs, aside from ACOS.  I want them to write great metal songs, period.

What the Astonishing lacks for me is metal.  I want big, heavy, slamming riffs, and I know enough about the record to know that there's not much of those over the course of two hours.  That's the difference between Forsaken and The Astonishing for me.

Agreed.  I'm a fan of progressive metal.  Don't mind a ballad or two, but TA is a huge departure from what most progressive metal fans are expecting.


It's almost a year ( 29/01 ) since The Astonishing was released.

• How did you feel about it a year go ?

• How do you fell about it now ?


I dislike it as much now as I did a year ago.
Prog-metal band does musical?  Maybe next time they'll do a prog-metal rendition of The Sound of Music. :p

Offline Ben_Jamin

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #30 on: January 20, 2017, 09:29:50 AM »
I still love it. I find myself humming some lyrics from time to time. "Someone has to lose, and someone has to win."

Easily it has become my 2ND favorite DT album.
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Offline RoeDent

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #31 on: January 20, 2017, 11:17:51 AM »
Clearly there is not much middle ground here. People either absolutely love it or absolutely hate it. DT's Marmite album.

Offline JRuless

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #32 on: January 20, 2017, 11:34:39 AM »
I am more and more seeing the greatness of it...Im not that stickied to a metal sound, maybe that helps..I like the experimental flavour and all the melody. Havent listened for a while but listened a lot again lately as the concert is in sight and realizingits a special product. Magical how the guys come to such different still delivering the DT sound...very nice a year ago, heavily grounded by now. Top 3

Oh. and I have to mention the top sound quality. Even as it is a very layered album all is very audible.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2017, 11:54:27 AM by JRuless »

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #33 on: January 20, 2017, 11:44:07 AM »
I liked it at first then meh.
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Offline jsbru

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #34 on: January 20, 2017, 12:19:02 PM »
I was a bit surprised at first listen.  I also have very vivid memories of what I was doing while listening.  I went for about a 2.5 hour walk.  It was a pretty warm day given that time of year here, but it was damp and misty out, and it was dusk.  During the peak of Set 1, I happened to be walking in a giant park pretty much alone, since it was January, which was dimly lit by streetlights obscured by fog.  It was kind of a perfect setting for the story, especially the part where Faythe sneaks into Ravenskill.

There were some parts I immediately liked.  The intro to ALLB just wowed me, and still does today.  I was kind of mad that they didn't keep going with that theme/style.  I remember being horrified when the guitar solo for ANB ended...I wanted it to go on for another 5 minutes at least.  ONW was a huge immediate hit.

I already knew I liked TGOM at that point, and I more mildly appreciated MOB.

However, I was a little bit uncomfortable with the rest of the album, because it was something different.  But I got used to it quickly.  It now ranks 4th on my all-time DT album list.

The thing about the album is the very best parts don't seem to go on for long enough.  You get little samples of brilliance that this awesome band, despite how good things get, has never touched before.  As I said, the intro to ALLB, the ANB guitar solo, that mega-epic 7-string guitar riff when Ravenskill picks up the pace that is good enough to base an entire song off of, etc.  All of these were truly awesome moments of the album, and were also creatively unique and fresh, and yet the only last for a fleeting moment in the grand scheme of things.  I even think some of the NOMAC tracks would have been really cool if they were turned into an actual track (I love that kind of ambient electronic music).

With that said, it's clear that this album got their creative juices flowing.  They got to write some epic melodies and harmonies like they've never done before, and experimented with a number of new styles.

The album as a whole is, as Bosk says, easier to digest if you just say, "okay, I'm now going to listen to this Broadway musical soundtrack with a bit more classical influence than normal" instead of saying "Time to rock out to some run of the mill DT."  I think once you adjust your expectations like this, it's easier to appreciate how much of a masterpiece this is, with so many layers of complexity, including the choir and symphony in the background.

But I'm still left with this frustration.  Some of the coolest and most unique little clips of music they've written lately are very fleeting.  Aside from the TA portions above, the DT12 easter egg is another one of them.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2017, 12:28:44 PM by jsbru »
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