Author Topic: - " The Astonishing " - One Year -- er, TWO YEARS On.  (Read 42910 times)

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Offline Kotowboy

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #350 on: May 04, 2017, 12:10:36 PM »

Also, I feel that after 'My Last Farewell' I lose interest and stop listening. These last tracks drag on way too much in my opinion.

I stop listening after " The Astonishing "... :neverusethis:

Offline MirrorMask

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #351 on: May 04, 2017, 12:36:08 PM »
My abridged version is probably the longest of them all, I just cut some things here and there and removed the songs I liked least:

01 - Descent of the NOMACS (1:10)
02 - Dystopian Overture (4:33)
03 - The Gift of Music (4:00)
04 - The Answer (1:52)
05 - A Better Life (4:39)
06 - Lord Nafaryus (3:28)
07 - A Savior in the Square (4:13)
08 - When Your Time Has Come (4:19)
09 - Act of Faythe (3:54)
10 - Three Days (3:44)
11 - Brother, Can You Hear Me? (5:11)
12 - A Life Left Behind (4:00)
13 - Ravenskill (6:01)
14 - Chosen (4:32)
15 - A Tempting Offer (4:19)
16 - A New Beginning (4:58)
17 - The Road to Revolution (3:35)
18 - Moment of Betrayal (5:48)
19 - The Path that Divides (4:46)
20 - The Walking Shadow (1:58)
21 - My Last Farewell (3:44)
22 - Losing Faythe (3:54)
23 - Hymn of a Thousand Voices (3:38)
24 - Our New World (4:12)
25 - Astonishing (5:51)

1h42'19''.

I've left the song lengths to show the cuts here and there I did, basically they are:
- Dystopian Overture: cut the little noodling back and forth between the single instruments in the middle of the song, I felt it was the only self-indulgent part of the overture
- Act of Faythe: removed the entire intro, it starts right with the piano
- A Life Left Behind: cut almost entirely the intro (yeah, I know, blasphemy) and the choruses in the middle, to get faster to the "I'll plan to return well disguised" section
- A New Beginning: this will probably get me banned  :biggrin: , but I cut a lot of the outro solo, I've done a long fade out before the final Petrucci solo kicks in
- Moments of Betrayal: cut the whole coming-from-Entr'acte intro, it starts right when the instruments come in
- The Walking Shadow: cut a bit of the section that leads to the final part, when you hear the steps of Faythe
- Losing Faythe: removed all the cheesy crying at the beginning, to start right when James sings
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Offline Evai

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #352 on: May 04, 2017, 02:50:10 PM »
I wonder if it's feasible to edit the tracks to transition into each other instead of having so many 'epic endings'
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Offline deggs37

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #353 on: May 05, 2017, 09:30:28 AM »
Thoughts after all this time:

At first I thought this album was amazing. Musically they did some new and exciting things like the ragtime blast beats thing which was awesome.

But like a lot of others have said, their are too many epic endings. I keep thinking it's over and then more music starts again.

In my opinion, there are way too many ballads. I was never really big into DT ballads. They tend to be just a tad too cheesy for my taste. And this album is chock full of them.

And lastly, I am seriously getting the impression that JP wants to turn DT into a Christian Prog Rock band. It's no secret he is a devout christian (no big deal) and listens to a lot of christian rock and metal bands (Red for example - build me up break me down. -  again, no big deal.) But it seems like most of the songs on Astonishing were first written as a desire to write christian music, and then salvaged later to make it DT music. Act of Faythe... really? Gabriel? This is a christian album in disguise. I would know, in 12 years of catholic school I've heard my fair share of christian music and The Astonishing is giving me PTSD flashbacks. "OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD HE REIGNS FROM HEAVEN ABOVE." Kill me please.

Offline bosk1

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #354 on: May 05, 2017, 09:50:55 AM »
But like a lot of others have said, their are too many epic endings. I keep thinking it's over and then more music starts again.

Well, since it's supposed to be structurally patterned in the broadway musical vein, that was intentional and is to be expected.  If you don't like it, that's all well and good.  But it is exactly what it is supposed to be in that regard.

And lastly, I am seriously getting the impression that JP wants to turn DT into a Christian Prog Rock band. It's no secret he is a devout christian (no big deal) and listens to a lot of christian rock and metal bands...

:lol  What?  Trying to turn DT into a "Christian Prog Rock band?"  No.  "Devout Christian?"  Strike 2.  Listens to a lot of "Christian rock and metal bands?"  Other than Red (and not sure he listens to them anymore), not that I'm aware of.  Strike 3.  Sorry, but you have no idea what you are talking about.

The Astonishing is not a "Christian album" and DT is not a "Christian band."  (although I would love it if either of those were true)  You are mistaken.

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Offline deggs37

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #355 on: May 05, 2017, 10:23:32 AM »
But like a lot of others have said, their are too many epic endings. I keep thinking it's over and then more music starts again.

Well, since it's supposed to be structurally patterned in the broadway musical vein, that was intentional and is to be expected.  If you don't like it, that's all well and good.  But it is exactly what it is supposed to be in that regard.

And lastly, I am seriously getting the impression that JP wants to turn DT into a Christian Prog Rock band. It's no secret he is a devout christian (no big deal) and listens to a lot of christian rock and metal bands...

:lol  What?  Trying to turn DT into a "Christian Prog Rock band?"  No.  "Devout Christian?"  Strike 2.  Listens to a lot of "Christian rock and metal bands?"  Other than Red (and not sure he listens to them anymore), not that I'm aware of.  Strike 3.  Sorry, but you have no idea what you are talking about.

The Astonishing is not a "Christian album" and DT is not a "Christian band."  (although I would love it if either of those were true)  You are mistaken.

Thanks for your condescending response.

Offline bosk1

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #356 on: May 05, 2017, 10:34:58 AM »
Not sure what is condescending about it.  You posted some things as facts, but your facts are unequivocally wrong, so I'm not sure how else to say it.  I mean, when you say, for example, that it is no secret that JP is a devout Christian, when that is in fact NOT the case, I'm not sure what else can be said other than, "No, that's not accurate at all."  :dunno:
« Last Edit: May 05, 2017, 10:51:28 AM by bosk1 »
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Offline rumborak

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #357 on: May 05, 2017, 10:59:10 AM »
Yeah, I don't see much reason to believe he is a devout Christian. That kinda of thing would have shone through a lot earlier than on TA. Honestly, the Gabriel/Jesus thing was rather a literary low-hanging fruit for JP I think.
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Offline DragonAttack

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #358 on: May 05, 2017, 11:42:50 AM »
This thread was basically dead, I comment on other bands, TV shows, etc....so I thought I would comment on 'how I feel' about the album.

And, now, I'll point out 'specifically':  yes, the album is 'preachy' (for lack of a better term).  I heard this from friends of mine that I provided the discs for.  And it ruins my enjoyment because of it.

'Overreacting'?  No.  Just as those who thought DT was overpreaching on 'ITNoG', 'PoW' and 'Sacrificed Sons' (tracks that I thought were basic 'feelings' of 'what was going on', and not anti-religious).

Do I need to curb my feelings in regards to TA and its semi blantant regious overtures?

Nope.

My opinion. 

After being a fan for 14 years....whether right or wrong, I am entitled, because the album didn't match what I had hoped it would be.

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Offline bosk1

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #359 on: May 05, 2017, 12:08:12 PM »
^Oh, absolutely, man.  I wasn't calling you out.  If you felt like I was, I apologize.  I thought my posts were reasonably clear that I just disagree and was asking for clarification as to why you felt that way.  Nothing wrong with having the discussion.
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Offline DragonAttack

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #360 on: May 05, 2017, 01:42:34 PM »
^
Yes, sir.....I did think you were 'calling me out'.  I was simply trying to discuss what was 'amiss' on TA, because I was so hyped on the 'hype' of the latest release. 

No harm, no foul.  I do appreciate your comments.  This is what  'discussion' is, after all.  And, I am looking forward to other observations of what DT fans think 16+ months later.

I wish the LP was better.  And shorter.  I do love so much of the different aspects, but am disappointed in how I feel about other aspects.  Just wish it had fit into what I had hoped for.
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Offline Kotowboy

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #361 on: May 05, 2017, 03:32:36 PM »
Petrucci has said a number of times that he is Catholic and " it's important to him ".

I dunno if you could call him a devout catholic though. He hasn't gone into depth about it.

Offline bosk1

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #362 on: May 05, 2017, 03:34:24 PM »
Petrucci has said a number of times that he is Catholic and " it's important to him ".

Correct.
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Offline bill1971

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #363 on: May 07, 2017, 07:16:11 AM »
Love the Astonishing album and Mangini's playing on it! It's refreshing to be on this forum and actually having the freedom to say that without being banned. I enjoy the topics sometimes on the MP forum and do post there but that aspect of it seems constricting.

Offline pantsofeternity

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #364 on: June 07, 2017, 04:25:38 PM »
I still dig this album a hell of a lot these days and still have the same minor quibbles (an awkward lyric choice here, an awkward sound effect there).  I think if I could change one thing I'd have wanted them to forgo the CD "act" format and digitally release the "complete" version (i.e. the dorky narration at the beginning and the non-faded New Beginning... wouldn't mind the fixing of a few production glitches either).  But I still love singing along like a cheeseball to its infinite bombast.
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Offline LCArenas

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #365 on: June 07, 2017, 06:56:30 PM »
Oh, it's a great album. I think I do like the first disc better.
One year on and I'm still nitpicking on "Our New World". It's supposed to be one of the big closers, man! ACT LIKE YOU'RE A BIG FUCKING SONG!

Offline gzarruk

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #366 on: September 18, 2017, 04:50:16 PM »
Just listened to the whole album today, and, imo, it still holds up pretty well. It's such a fantastic record! I currently rank it 3rd on my DT list, after SFAM and SDOIT.
It sounds like, "ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk." Instead of the more pleasing kick drum sound of, "gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk."

Offline |KirK|

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #367 on: September 19, 2017, 01:50:53 AM »
I still love the album like the first time I listened to it. Anyway, it's not perfect.
I think that the fact JP and JR worked by themselves on the writing process influenced the result.
Too many songs with a piano intros and a lack of energy. It should have been just a bit more "metal".

And the plot has nothing to do with SFAM, but probably because I'm much more into thrillers than sci-fi...
Anyway I love TA and I would have loved to have a live version on DVD!

Offline Pettor

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #368 on: September 19, 2017, 06:40:12 AM »
I agree! The lack of energy, prog and maybe a more metal is my biggest complain. Piano is my favorite instrument and I love listening to musicals like JCS, but it just falls in the same soft spot to many times. Sometimes when I hear Gift of Music is wonder what could have been if it followed that energy a bit more.

I think cd 2 is a good example of where the energy just jumps too much for me. It builds so nicely after leaving us with A New Beginning and after short interlude a Moment of Betrayal sets the tone perfectly. Just when it seems the drama and real prog energy is coming Begin Again starts. It just breaks my energy every time. Suddenly we're back to the "oh you are all in life,  bla bla I dream we are awesome bla bla life is great with you bla bla". Feel like I heard that song 5 times before on cd 1. Then A Path that Divides takes place and the energy is back 1000% and I just love it. Everything is perfect up until the ending of My Last Farewell where it just goes back to the same slower energy and basically ends there.

Feels like a movie where the director don't dare to cut anything out because it's actually a good scene by it's own, but it just don't flow perfectly with the rest.

Still, it's a very good album with some awesome highlights.

Offline RodrigoAltaf

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #369 on: September 19, 2017, 08:41:24 AM »
The Astonishing is proof that DT needs a producer.

Offline gzarruk

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #370 on: September 19, 2017, 09:37:53 AM »
The Astonishing is proof that DT needs a producer.

I don't think anything went wrong with TA (or, at least, nothing big), but I also think it would be good for DT to work with an external producer this time.
It sounds like, "ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk." Instead of the more pleasing kick drum sound of, "gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk."

Offline RodrigoAltaf

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #371 on: September 19, 2017, 10:00:47 AM »
The Astonishing is proof that DT needs a producer.

I don't think anything went wrong with TA (or, at least, nothing big), but I also think it would be good for DT to work with an external producer this time.

I think it lacks dynamics, and a sense of conclusion...it just ends, and musically you don't get the sense of epiphany that the story is willing to convey. The whole album did not captivate me for repeated listens, and it was the first tour I skipped after becoming a fan.

Offline Lethean

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #372 on: September 19, 2017, 03:42:25 PM »
I don't think I could disagree more. To my ears, it's incredibly dynamic and for me there is a kind of euphoria by the time I've reached the end.

Personal, I don't think the album needed to be any heavier. It was beautifully done and is an amazing addition to their catalogue.  When I want heavier I have plenty others to choose from.

That being said, I get that it was always going to have the "not heavy enough" criticisms.  Just as Train of Thought has the "too heavy" criticisms.

Offline Dublagent66

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #373 on: September 19, 2017, 04:03:56 PM »
Production isn't the issue for me at all, one way or another.  I simply do not like the album musically as a whole.  Sure it has moments, but they are too short lived and few and far between.  A progressive metal band should be on the heavy side.  That's what metal is.  I don't think there were nearly as many complaints about ToT being too heavy as there are for TA not being heavy enough.
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Offline gzarruk

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #374 on: September 19, 2017, 04:39:07 PM »
Production isn't the issue for me at all, one way or another.  I simply do not like the album musically as a whole.  Sure it has moments, but they are too short lived and few and far between.  A progressive metal band should be on the heavy side.  That's what metal is.  I don't think there were nearly as many complaints about ToT being too heavy as there are for TA not being heavy enough.

I think TOT is too heavy just for the sake of being heavy.
It sounds like, "ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk." Instead of the more pleasing kick drum sound of, "gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk."

Offline erwinrafael

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #375 on: September 19, 2017, 06:09:01 PM »
I just listened to this again yesterday. Still amazing.

Offline Phoenix87x

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #376 on: September 19, 2017, 07:03:57 PM »
I have listened to TA in its entirety only twice since its release. So that pretty much says it all. Its not a bad album and its not a great album. Its just there, much like tofu. Its just there.
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Offline Pettor

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #377 on: September 20, 2017, 01:24:27 AM »
I think external producer would be nice in case of TA, not other albums necessary. It is really a big complex project and because it's more driven as a movie it's good to have someone say "I think we need to cut this out", or direct the flow of the whole story. It's just complex as is to write the music, which they did a wonderful job at!

Offline Lethean

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #378 on: September 20, 2017, 06:24:08 AM »
I might be the only one, but I don't want them to get an external producer. TA I'd one of my favorite DT albums, and I love the two before it as well.  If at some point JP decides he wants to work with someone else, great.  Otherwise, I looking forward to what comes next just from DT.

Offline Evai

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #379 on: September 20, 2017, 07:06:22 AM »
Anyone else in the same boat as me? I really love The Astonishing and listen to it loads, but have no interest in DT's next album, as it's probably gonna be more along the lines of DT12.
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Offline TheOutlawXanadu

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #380 on: September 20, 2017, 08:05:46 AM »
I haven't given The Astonishing a spin in a while. To be honest, I think I burned myself out on it last year. :lol I definitely need to make time to do it again soon.
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Offline Kattelox

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #381 on: September 20, 2017, 09:15:09 AM »
I treat The Astonishing like any Ayreon album. I heard it in full a few times, really enjoyed it, and from there I was able to whittle down which songs are my favorites, the ones I'll put on in any given mood. I haven't spun the entire thing or either disc in full for quite some time but I still listen to Lord Nafaryus and Three Days regularly. Three Days might be the greatest song the band's written in a long time imo - short, sweet, it has it all, I've expressed my love for it here and at MP's forum.

A year and a half later I think The Astonishing is the best Dream Theater album since Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. The production is great, there's beautiful playing from every member, James's voice is on fire, and despite Petrucci bashing you over the head with not so subtle religious messages and nomenclature it's an awesome record with a fun story. Seeing it live really drove the story point home - this is an album meant to be experienced live like theater, this would be so good if they had real actors in the background performing the story.

Anyone else in the same boat as me? I really love The Astonishing and listen to it loads, but have no interest in DT's next album, as it's probably gonna be more along the lines of DT12.

EDIT: Move over, I'm jumping in. DT12 is one of my least favorite DT albums. Even the couple of songs I like I don't listen to much because the production is somehow worse than on ADTOE. Illumination Theory has its moments but it feels more disjointed and less fluid than their other epics. That string section, and the crack of Mangini's fill before the 'to really feel the joy in life' lyric, hooboy. That's magic.
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Offline gzarruk

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #382 on: September 20, 2017, 09:38:44 AM »
I might be the only one, but I don't want them to get an external producer. TA I'd one of my favorite DT albums, and I love the two before it as well.  If at some point JP decides he wants to work with someone else, great.  Otherwise, I looking forward to what comes next just from DT.

I love the last 3 albums as well! I rank them very high on my DT list, and donít think thereís anything wrong with JP being the only producer for the band. However, Iíd love to see them bring an outside producer with a fresh approach for the next album. It would still sound like and be DT, but with a different feel to it, and that would be a really nice change, only if itís just for one album. Sometimes itís good to collaborate with someone with a different approach to help you push the boundaries.
It sounds like, "ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk." Instead of the more pleasing kick drum sound of, "gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk."

Offline bosk1

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #383 on: September 20, 2017, 09:53:24 AM »
I love the last 3 albums as well! I rank them very high on my DT list, and don’t think there’s anything wrong with JP being the only producer for the band.

Same here.  Rethinking my album rankings and TA's place in that list, I came to re-realize how the band's entire career has produced some really stellar music, and TA fits right in.  Interestingly, my top 6 divides neatly into pairs of albums from each of the band's three major eras, as follows:
1.  Six Degrees
2.  SFAM
3.  ADTOE
4.  DT12
5.  I&W
6.  Awake

Those are the "stellar" albums for me.  In the middle, I have the "great albums" (not necessarily in order) of FII, Octavarium, SC, and TA.  TA probably leads them.  I still really like it.  I was just trying to place it in historical context in my mind when, say, we are 2 more albums down the road rather than it being the "latest."  I think I will still enjoy it.  But the dropoff for me between disk 1 and disk 2 knocks it down into that second tier.  But disk 1 has become the soundtrack for my 25-mile bike ride home from work, and I really enjoy immersing myself in it on those rides.
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Offline TheOutlawXanadu

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year On.
« Reply #384 on: September 20, 2017, 09:58:42 AM »
Dream Theater have produced some really good music over the years, and I think they're in great shape for a band of their tenure. To me, they're the equivalent of an NBA Hall of Famer who's maybe not quite as good as he used to be, but he's still putting up All Star-caliber seasons into his mid-30s.  He may not be winning MVP awards anymore, but you don't really expect him to, and it's remarkable that he's still this good this late.
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