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Dream Theater => Dream Theater => Topic started by: OptionalPlayer on August 02, 2018, 01:17:21 PM

Title: UPDATED w/Distance Over Time- Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: OptionalPlayer on August 02, 2018, 01:17:21 PM
Long time no post.

Since the announcement of Dream Theater's new album, I've been thinking about what their last great album was. I've been sitting on this for a while and have come to a conclusion: it's Train of Thought. Why? Well I'd post why, but I don't think I can post 6400 words in here.

I go through every album post-Train of Thought and gently dissect most of the songs on each album.

If you don't want to leave a comment on the blog, by all means leave one here. I'll be popping back here to respond when I can.

I feel this may generate some fun discussion. . .

https://uncannyderek.com/2018/08/02/train-of-thought-dream-theaters-last-great-album/

Enjoy!
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: ToT-147 on August 02, 2018, 03:38:51 PM
Great! I'll read it when I have some time off!... But I agree 100% with that statement, as my username might let you guess.. :metal
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Sebastián Pratesi on August 02, 2018, 05:46:16 PM
Hi, Derek. I read your article. I don't agree with the main idea, but you bring up some interesting points. My best friend's favourite DT song is "Honor thy father" as well. Too bad you didn't write much about "Stream of consciousness" - Train of thought was my first DT album, and that was the piece that made me fall in love with the band.

Anyway, here is some feedback, in case you are interested:
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Phoenix87x on August 02, 2018, 05:57:22 PM
TOT was the last DT album that I truly loved, through and through.

Then I checked out for 3 albums and started to get back on board with ADTOE, a decent album and I really like DT as well, but did they lead to obsession as with TOT? No. And I don't think I've listened to TA more than twice. Probably 1.5 really, since honestly I don't think I even made it through the 2nd listen.

Looking forward to the new album though.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: OptionalPlayer on August 02, 2018, 06:26:03 PM
Hey Sebastian! Thanks for reading it and leaving some feedback.
  • You say that "they hadn’t written anything really “new” for The Shattered Fortress at all", but - isn't the 'Responsible' verse -right before the "The glass prison" reprise- exclusive to this suite's song? (Both in terms of lyrics and chord progression/riffs.)
  • DT14 will be the band's first album on their new label. I understood you didn't like Systematic chaos that much, but maybe this can make you hopeful? Plus, it will feature James first lyrics since 2011, and music written by Mangini, who didn't get to do that for The Astonishing. Sounds like something special!
  • What's your favourite album by the band? That would be a great read! (I haven't checked the rest of your blog, so I don't know whether you've written about it or not.)
  • As for your question at the end: I guess it depends on your definition of "last great album" but, to me, The Astonishing was great, and it's their latest. So there! :)
1. Part of my comment was tongue-in-cheek. You're absolutely correct: they did write some new material for The Shattered Fortress.
2. I am definitely hopeful for the new album. I wouldn't still be a Dream Theater fan if I wasn't! I'm definitely excited to hear what Mangini will finally bring to the table in terms of songwriting. I'm growing a bit tired of Petrucci's lyrics and structures.
3. My favourite album of the band is Images & Words. However, I can safely say it is not their best album. I would argue Scenes From a Memory is their best album. Explaining my opinions (even when they would be contradictory when arguing for I&W) on the matter would definitely be its own separate essay.
4. And that's the beauty of it all! You stating The Astonishing is their last great album is super intriguing to me. While I wouldn't expect anyone else to go full throttle like how I did to justify their opinion, I completely can appreciate your feelings for that. I just happen to disagree is all.  ;)
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: KevShmev on August 02, 2018, 07:27:50 PM
Not sure how it can be their last great album when it isn't a great album.  Sounds like a paradox.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: TAC on August 02, 2018, 07:33:42 PM
Not sure how it can be their last great album when it isn't a great album.  Sounds like a paradox.

That post is only 20 words. You've got 6,380 more to explain yourself.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: KevShmev on August 02, 2018, 07:35:52 PM
Not sure how it can be their last great album when it isn't a great album.  Sounds like a paradox.

That post is only 20 words. You've got 6,380 more to explain yourself.

Not sure how it can be their last great album when it isn't a great album.  Sounds like a paradox.
Not sure how it can be their last great album when it isn't a great album.  Sounds like a paradox.
Not sure how it can be their last great album when it isn't a great album.  Sounds like a paradox.
Not sure how it can be their last great album when it isn't a great album.  Sounds like a paradox.
Not sure how it can be their last great album when it isn't a great album.  Sounds like a paradox.
Not sure how it can be their last great album when it isn't a great album.  Sounds like a paradox.
Not sure how it can be their last great album when it isn't a great album.  Sounds like a paradox.
Not sure how it can be their last great album when it isn't a great album.  Sounds like a paradox.
Not sure how it can be their last great album when it isn't a great album.  Sounds like a paradox.
Not sure how it can be their last great album when it isn't a great album.  Sounds like a paradox.

Multiply that by 32 and we're done. :biggrin:
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: TAC on August 02, 2018, 07:39:11 PM
BartShmev
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: KevShmev on August 02, 2018, 07:40:59 PM
(https://bartsblackboard.com/files/2009/11/the-simpsons-s01e02-Bart-the-Genius.jpg)
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: goo-goo on August 02, 2018, 08:49:04 PM
In my opinion, the last great DT album was Six Degrees, the 1st disc. Disc 1 is perfectly crafted where even the instrumental sections of the songs sound very cohesive and actually belong to the song (even the noise section on Misunderstood feels right and fits the song). Disc 1 feels adventurous and experimental, while still keeping the DT signature sound. I do hope that DT14 feels this way.

One of ToT flaws are some sections on the instrumental sections on some songs...like the ragtime piano thing on Endless Sacrifice, the endless instrumental incoherent section on This Dying Soul, and some of the instrumental parts on In the name of God. I believe if those sections on ToT were trimmed and/or made more coherent, the album would have been perfect. I love the heavyness of ToT, balls to the wall, non-stop riffing...but those instrumental parts just feel wrong and out of place, they drag, and are just awfully distracting.

Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Lethean on August 02, 2018, 09:00:23 PM
As I probably said on the FII thread, The Astonishing was their last great album. :)
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: gzarruk on August 02, 2018, 10:55:01 PM
As I probably said on the FII thread, The Astonishing was their last great album. :)

Indeed! :tup
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: pcs90 on August 02, 2018, 11:31:44 PM
I find Train of Thought to be one of DT's most boring albums, to be honest. Lots of filler, the solos are mostly all just noodling and it's basically just heavy all the way through (I realize this was the band's intent.)
I am honestly surprised that the article states there is no excessive noodling. That's basically what all the instrumental sections (and most of SOC for that matter) are to me on this album. I'll take the often disliked instrumental section in Outcry over any of the stuff on here any day.
Now, I will say ITNOG is excellent; by far the best track on the album and it has a lot of impact. I also do like ES although if it was up to me the song would be shortened considerably.

Moving on to the next albums. Why must every album have a similar style throughout? I personally find that boring. Octavarium ranks somewhere in the middle for me, but that album is fairly diverse which I think is good; as a first time listener you never know what to expect.
The continuum part on Octavarium, at least in studio, is great. So is These Walls and while IWBY is pretty generic I don't have a problem with it. SF is very emotional; I agree some of it seems out of place though. I always viewed the middle instrumental as the frantic feelings of people during the event. I did cut a bit of it out on my personal listening copy though.

ITPOE part 1 does contain a lot of themes, yes. And many of them do get revisited in the second part, if only in the instrumental section. ITPOE part 1 is, in fact, the only track on SC that I enjoy.

ANTR has a lot of filler. So does TSF. TBOT's guitar solo is amazing, full of emotion, and quite possibly the best part of that album for me. We certainly hear these songs a lot differently from each other! :)

As for the last 3 albums, I think they're great and disagree with a lot of things said in the article, so I won't go through all of that as it'd take too long.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: MirrorMask on August 03, 2018, 01:10:36 AM
Since the announcement of Dream Theater's new album, I've been thinking about what their last great album was.

The Astonishing, of course.

Next?
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Bertielee on August 03, 2018, 01:23:14 AM
Since the announcement of Dream Theater's new album, I've been thinking about what their last great album was.

The Astonishing, of course.

Next?
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: noxon on August 03, 2018, 02:57:42 AM
Your "analysis" confirms a thought I've had for some time. The people who are unhappy with TA are the ones who prefer the heavier, wankier side of DT. ToT in itself was highly controversial in the fan base when it was released, and it was a kind of watershed moment for DT - it gained a lot of new fans (the metal heads who enjoy extended sections of "wank") but lost a lot of older fans (the prog heads). Your analysis as to which songs after ToT were "okay" for you shows that you expected DT to be more ToT-like - because everything that is not "that" is "filler" to you. The fact that 3-4 minute long songs don't count as songs to you (TA) is telling. But I guess that's also a lack of experience with the actual "musical" format that the TA is using - it's very similar to how Les Miserables or Jesus Christ Superstar is built up.

For me, the strength of DT has always been their ability to do be very multifaceted - my fav DT songs aren't the technical songs - they're usually the more melodic ones.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Destiny Of Chaos on August 03, 2018, 05:22:53 AM
The Astonishing: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: OptionalPlayer on August 03, 2018, 05:31:08 AM
One of ToT flaws are some sections on the instrumental sections on some songs...like the ragtime piano thing on Endless Sacrifice, the endless instrumental incoherent section on This Dying Soul, and some of the instrumental parts on In the name of God. I believe if those sections on ToT were trimmed and/or made more coherent, the album would have been perfect. I love the heavyness of ToT, balls to the wall, non-stop riffing...but those instrumental parts just feel wrong and out of place, they drag, and are just awfully distracting.
I can't help but agree with these statements. They were the weakest parts on ToT.

I find Train of Thought to be one of DT's most boring albums, to be honest. Lots of filler, the solos are mostly all just noodling and it's basically just heavy all the way through (I realize this was the band's intent.)
I am honestly surprised that the article states there is no excessive noodling. That's basically what all the instrumental sections (and most of SOC for that matter) are to me on this album. I'll take the often disliked instrumental section in Outcry over any of the stuff on here any day.
Now, I will say ITNOG is excellent; by far the best track on the album and it has a lot of impact. I also do like ES although if it was up to me the song would be shortened considerably.
I can see what you're saying. In ways, I do agree (especially with ES and parts of TDS as mentioned above). And obviously we both agree with ES. I don't feel that there's excessive noodling on ToT like you do, however. The instrumental moments on ToT feel a lot more restrained and pulled-back than in later albums. I hoped to convey that in my blog post but perhaps I failed in doing so.

Moving on to the next albums. Why must every album have a similar style throughout? I personally find that boring. Octavarium ranks somewhere in the middle for me, but that album is fairly diverse which I think is good; as a first time listener you never know what to expect.
Don't get me wrong: the albums don't need to have a similar style. It's more that I felt ToT was their last great album because it was the last album that was concise and structured. The sort order of the songs, the tightness of the performances, and the overall "feel" of the album all flowed together nicely. While certainly Octavarium and later albums showed a lot more variety (I credit ADToE for the variety and sort order), the remaining albums, in my opinion, failed at what structural magic ToT captured.

That all being said, I absolutely appreciate your take on what I said and about the songs you've listed. Ultimately there's no right or wrong answer here. Just a fun discussion with fans.

Your "analysis" confirms a thought I've had for some time. The people who are unhappy with TA are the ones who prefer the heavier, wankier side of DT. ToT in itself was highly controversial in the fan base when it was released, and it was a kind of watershed moment for DT - it gained a lot of new fans (the metal heads who enjoy extended sections of "wank") but lost a lot of older fans (the prog heads). Your analysis as to which songs after ToT were "okay" for you shows that you expected DT to be more ToT-like - because everything that is not "that" is "filler" to you. The fact that 3-4 minute long songs don't count as songs to you (TA) is telling. But I guess that's also a lack of experience with the actual "musical" format that the TA is using - it's very similar to how Les Miserables or Jesus Christ Superstar is built up.

For me, the strength of DT has always been their ability to do be very multifaceted - my fav DT songs aren't the technical songs - they're usually the more melodic ones.
You're totally right about ToT's release. That's something I probably should have mentioned when establishing the article as it obviously is an important note to make.

I wasn't expecting post-ToT albums to be "ToT" like as in heaviness. I applaud The Looking Glass, This is the Life, Far From Heaven, Beneath the Surface, Vacant, Trial of Tears, the beauty at the end of The Count of Tuscany, and even say that if DT made an album of ballads I'd buy it. I also slam Dark Eternal, Outcry, and other heavier songs. My take was that ToT as an album is stronger than any other album DT released after it. I feel that the songs off of ToT, while sure are heavier, are at least more precise than the rest of the songs.

Regarding The Astonishing: comparing it to something Jesus Christ Superstar would be correct. However, I'd leave writing that to the pros like Pain of Salvation. DT did it and sure, it makes sense. It was as bold to do as releasing ToT. But as a progressive metal band, releasing an album ToT made sense. As a progressive metal band, releasing The Astonishing does not. I feel it shows in their writing (and oh my goodness, dat story tho). I don't dislike the idea of The Astonishing.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: noxon on August 03, 2018, 06:13:24 AM
Why not? There's been a ton of progressive acts that have done rock operas - why would it be different for DT? I mean, PoS would be a perfect example of that - Be is very very different from their previous albums, and was very controversial in their fanbase. And similarly - The Wall wasn't on a format that fans of Pink Floyd would "expect" the album to be - and yet, today, it stands as a milestone among the PF albums.

I'd argue that The Astonishing is still very much DT. It has shorter songs, sure, but they're more like movements in a full suite. If you break up a DT epic like A Nightmare to Remember or Illumination Theory or Octavarium, you find the same "structure". It's just that the Astonishing much more delinated the change between sections with breaks than those epics did - because it tried harder to be a product related to a specific style - the sung through rock opera.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Skeever on August 03, 2018, 07:00:48 AM
Your "analysis" confirms a thought I've had for some time. The people who are unhappy with TA are the ones who prefer the heavier, wankier side of DT.
I don't think it's that binary lol
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Bertielee on August 03, 2018, 07:03:59 AM
Your "analysis" confirms a thought I've had for some time. The people who are unhappy with TA are the ones who prefer the heavier, wankier side of DT.
I don't think it's that binary lol

Lol aside, that's what I was wanting to say : I love TA and I also love ToT. They are not mutually exclusive. And I've been a longtime fan (25 years).

B.Lee
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: noxon on August 03, 2018, 07:29:35 AM
Nothing is binary, it's always a "shades of grey" issue, but the most common complaint I've seen to TA is exactly that - it's not heavy enough, it's not long enough, it's got too few solos.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: The Walrus on August 03, 2018, 07:36:12 AM
ToT tries too hard to be something that isn't a natural part of DT's DNA. It tries too hard to be heavy, brooding, and dark, things that just aren't organic qualities of Dream Theater's music. The Astonishing is far more in line with that (and it should be noted I don't consider myself a 'prog' lover, if given the choice between straightforward but energetic music and ridiculous prog songwriting, I'll go with the former unless the prog songwriting is outstanding).
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Another_Won on August 03, 2018, 08:39:29 AM
One of ToT flaws are some sections on the instrumental sections on some songs...like the ragtime piano thing on Endless Sacrifice, the endless instrumental incoherent section on This Dying Soul, and some of the instrumental parts on In the name of God. I believe if those sections on ToT were trimmed and/or made more coherent, the album would have been perfect. I love the heavyness of ToT, balls to the wall, non-stop riffing...but those instrumental parts just feel wrong and out of place, they drag, and are just awfully distracting.
I can't help but agree with these statements. They were the weakest parts on ToT.


I find it pretty funny how diverse people's opinions of DT are.  I believe those sections to be (IMO) the best parts and why ToT is one of my favorite DT albums.

It's been mentioned before, but one reason why DT is successful is that they appeal to prog and metal fans alike.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: MirrorMask on August 03, 2018, 09:41:13 AM
ToT tries too hard to be something that isn't a natural part of DT's DNA. It tries too hard to be heavy, brooding, and dark, things that just aren't organic qualities of Dream Theater's music.

I'd call Awake heavy, brooding and dark, and it's one of their best album ever.

But I'm not the biggest fan of TOT, because of the reasons addressed by goo-goo.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: The Walrus on August 03, 2018, 09:48:50 AM
Awake is a bit different to me. They're a younger band, they just sound much hungrier, that kind of stuff serves the aggression way better than something like Honor Thy Father in my opinion. Then again, I can't stand Voices and Scarred so what do I know  :lol
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Lethean on August 03, 2018, 10:02:56 AM
I get what Noxon is saying; I do think it's more complicated than that, but what he's saying does apply to some listeners.  I personally love both Train of Thought and The Astonishing, and think it's pretty cool to have both of those albums, which are so different, from the same band.

I think Noxon's take is on the long instrumental passages - Train of Thought losing some of the older fans because of the long extended sections, whereas the metal fans liked that.  Maybe that's true because they were long extended metal section?  I love DT's instrumental sections, but I've heard long extended sections from older prog bands, or just older bands like The Who or Led Zeppelin, that make me wonder when, if ever, they're ever going to end.  I don't think it's because they're not heavy enough... but maybe that has something to do it with?  Just an interesting side note because for me, DT can do it and I love it (yet I also love TA where they don't do it) but that's not always the case with more old school bands.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Dublagent66 on August 03, 2018, 10:34:26 AM
Not again.  All DT albums were the last great album at one point and so on, and so forth.  Just like the next one and the one after that, because everything DT does is great according to some people.   :\
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: TheOutlawXanadu on August 03, 2018, 10:39:43 AM
Not again.  All DT albums were the last great album at one point and so on, and so forth.  Just like the next one and the one after that, because everything DT does is great according to some people.   :\

Well, this is a fan forum. It would be a little odd if we were ranking every album a 4.3/10 like Pitchfork. :lol
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Mladen on August 03, 2018, 11:05:57 AM
I've been around since Black clouds came out. Similarly, every album since then including Black clouds was "the best one since X" for some fans, no exception. It's the same since "the last great album was X" group.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Dream Team on August 03, 2018, 11:18:12 AM
When Dream and Day Unite: DT’s last great album. I have 6,000 words to prove it so I must be right.

Seriously though, a preposterous thread title.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: chucke on August 03, 2018, 11:31:24 AM
In my opinion, the last great DT album was Six Degrees, the 1st disc. Disc 1 is perfectly crafted where even the instrumental sections of the songs sound very cohesive and actually belong to the song (even the noise section on Misunderstood feels right and fits the song). Disc 1 feels adventurous and experimental, while still keeping the DT signature sound. I do hope that DT14 feels this way.

One of ToT flaws are some sections on the instrumental sections on some songs...like the ragtime piano thing on Endless Sacrifice, the endless instrumental incoherent section on This Dying Soul, and some of the instrumental parts on In the name of God. I believe if those sections on ToT were trimmed and/or made more coherent, the album would have been perfect. I love the heavyness of ToT, balls to the wall, non-stop riffing...but those instrumental parts just feel wrong and out of place, they drag, and are just awfully distracting.

I was just listening to Six Degrees. Man that was a very special album. Everything was so well placed and from the heart. Definitely their best work IMO.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Sebastián Pratesi on August 03, 2018, 11:56:33 AM
Well, this is a fan forum. It would be a little odd if we were ranking every album a 4.3/10 like Pitchfork. :lol
You should check out the main fan forum about Morrissey. They complain about every new song/album he releases, and they rate them as garbage not on the level of The Smiths or Vauxhall & I.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: PixelDream on August 03, 2018, 12:02:32 PM
I haven’t read the OP’s dissection, but I basically agree with this statement. It was the last great album, the ones afterwards still have genius in them but are just ‘very good’ in my book.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: pcs90 on August 03, 2018, 12:26:44 PM
I can see what you're saying. In ways, I do agree (especially with ES and parts of TDS as mentioned above). And obviously we both agree with ES. I don't feel that there's excessive noodling on ToT like you do, however. The instrumental moments on ToT feel a lot more restrained and pulled-back than in later albums. I hoped to convey that in my blog post but perhaps I failed in doing so.
I would say it depends on what your view of an instrumental section should be. Now, most of the ones on TOT do stick with a consistent theme, even the one in ES, if you look at the instrumental on its own outside of the song it's mostly one or two basic ideas which slowly change, unlike Outcry for example which is all over the place.
My issue is the solos themselves just sound like they went into the studio, hit record, played some notes and that was that. Now, there's nothing wrong with that in general; I love improv and a lot of music I listen to is heavy on it. But it sounds so uninspiring here.
We probably just prefer different types of solos. For example the guitar solos in BAI and TBOT are some of my favorites and from what I gather, those would rank lower on your list. Nothing wrong with that, and honestly that's what is great about a band like DT -- there's something for everyone...even people who only listen to pop. :lol
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: gzarruk on August 03, 2018, 01:12:16 PM
This might count as a controversial for some, but I think every DT album is great.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Podaar on August 03, 2018, 01:38:24 PM
This might count as a controversial for some only Dublagent66, but I think every DT album is great.

FTFY
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Bertielee on August 03, 2018, 02:37:12 PM
This might count as a controversial for some only Dublagent66, but I think every DT album is great.

FTFY
:rollin
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Dublagent66 on August 03, 2018, 03:48:06 PM
Not again.  All DT albums were the last great album at one point and so on, and so forth.  Just like the next one and the one after that, because everything DT does is great according to some people.   :\

Well, this is a fan forum. It would be a little odd if we were ranking every album a 4.3/10 like Pitchfork. :lol

Well, I said some, not all.  Fans are one thing.  Fanboys are something else.


This might count as a controversial for some only Dublagent66, but I think every DT album is great.

FTFY

Name drop much?  If you think I'm the only one, you're not paying attention.  Besides, you're wrong.  I would've said delusional. :p
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: OptionalPlayer on August 03, 2018, 04:30:06 PM
FYI, I'm super excited to see that the post has generated some discussion. I always enjoy this sort of thing, regardless if we all agree on it or not.

Why not? There's been a ton of progressive acts that have done rock operas - why would it be different for DT? I mean, PoS would be a perfect example of that - Be is very very different from their previous albums, and was very controversial in their fanbase. And similarly - The Wall wasn't on a format that fans of Pink Floyd would "expect" the album to be - and yet, today, it stands as a milestone among the PF albums.
BE, The Wall, Scenes from a Memory, Thick as a Brick, Ziltoid the Omniscient, Nightfall in Middle Earth, Them - all concept albums I enjoy more than The Astonishing by a very extreme margin. I love Ayreon's stuff, but even Arjen's lyrics reach cringe-worthy moments. I feel like The Astonishing is one giant cringe-worthy moment. The idea of a concept album is to have a good story (which is usually the concept part). If the story fails, the rest of the album can struggle. With The Astonishing, in my opinion, the story was lame and the music didn't help it any either. If it was a movie, I'd turn it off because it's bad, or at least I'd hope it'd get the MST3K treatment so I could bear with it.

Jesus Christ Superstar, much like BE, (and in my opinion) are better concepts than The Astonishing. Nothing that I said in my blog was really factual. It's my interpretation of the music and the albums. I doubt we'll ever see eye-to-eye on this matter, but The Astonishing doesn't work for Dream Theater not because they're not allowed to do it, but because it's something (in my opinion) they're not well-verse in creating. To reference back to BE, Daniel Gildenlow is admittedly a fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber. It shows in Pain of Salvation's albums before and after BE. For PoS to make BE isn't necessarily far-fetched for them to do.

The Astonishing isn't an Andrew Lloyd Webber performance. It's more like a movie soundtrack. Dream Theater does not write movie soundtracks, nor does it show in albums before (and possibly not after) The Astonishing. These (and more) reasons why I feel Dream Theater are out of their element. But hey, this isn't about The Astonishing! Let's talk more Train of Thought.  ;)

That all being said, I appreciate your views on the matter. I just have to respectively disagree.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: OptionalPlayer on August 03, 2018, 04:40:15 PM
ToT tries too hard to be something that isn't a natural part of DT's DNA. It tries too hard to be heavy, brooding, and dark, things that just aren't organic qualities of Dream Theater's music. The Astonishing is far more in line with that (and it should be noted I don't consider myself a 'prog' lover, if given the choice between straightforward but energetic music and ridiculous prog songwriting, I'll go with the former unless the prog songwriting is outstanding).
That's an interesting take. I don't feel that with ToT at all. With songs from 6D (The Glass Prison, The Great Debate, War Inside My Head), SFaM (Beyond this Life, Fatal Tragedy, Home, Finally Free), Awake (From 6:00 to Erotomania, The Mirror and Lie), going dark and metal seemed to be their thing, but only in small doses. ToT definitely was a focus of all of those heavy songs into one album. If anything, I feel it was unnatural for Dream Theater to have one album dedicated to heavy music.

I think Noxon's take is on the long instrumental passages - Train of Thought losing some of the older fans because of the long extended sections, whereas the metal fans liked that.  Maybe that's true because they were long extended metal section?
I don't feel that ToT had many extended sections. Outside of ES and TDS, ToT was pretty tame, in my opinion. I do enjoy the riffs and heaviness of the lyrics, however.

Not again.  All DT albums were the last great album at one point and so on, and so forth.  Just like the next one and the one after that, because everything DT does is great according to some people.   :\
When Dream and Day Unite: DT’s last great album. I have 6,000 words to prove it so I must be right.

Seriously though, a preposterous thread title.
Yikes, you two! Let's try to have some fun, folks!
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: OptionalPlayer on August 03, 2018, 04:46:39 PM
I would say it depends on what your view of an instrumental section should be. Now, most of the ones on TOT do stick with a consistent theme, even the one in ES, if you look at the instrumental on its own outside of the song it's mostly one or two basic ideas which slowly change, unlike Outcry for example which is all over the place.
My issue is the solos themselves just sound like they went into the studio, hit record, played some notes and that was that. Now, there's nothing wrong with that in general; I love improv and a lot of music I listen to is heavy on it. But it sounds so uninspiring here.
We probably just prefer different types of solos. For example the guitar solos in BAI and TBOT are some of my favorites and from what I gather, those would rank lower on your list. Nothing wrong with that, and honestly that's what is great about a band like DT -- there's something for everyone...even people who only listen to pop. :lol
I disagree with you're assessment with Endless Sacrifice. They start to lose me at 5:43 up until about 8 minutes in. It's a back and forth solo, but I feel it doesn't help the song do have something like that in there. If they continued with the riffing from before 5:43 and tightened up the solo, I'd feel it'd be a stronger song. ES is DEFINITELY not as bad as Outcry, of course. But I feel ES could definitely be stronger than what it is.

But you're right - there's something for everyone with Dream Theater! This is why they're such a great band and I'm such a fan!

This might count as a controversial for some, but I think every DT album is great.
And that's fantastic! I don't find that controversial at all. I really do enjoy most of the albums as well, save for The Astonishing and the odd song I really ripped into on that blog.

Let's keep up this discussion! I'm digign' it!
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: KevShmev on August 03, 2018, 04:52:34 PM
I think for what it is, a dark album with a large emphasis on playing (in relative DT terms), Train of Thought is a good record.  I still say that In the Name of God is the best post-Scenes songs, and while I could pick nits with each of them, Stream of Consciousness, As I Am and Endless Sacrifice are all very good.  And of course Vacant is really cool.  This Dying Soul and Honor Thy Father both have some great moments, but given the song lengths, they both feel like work to get through.  But hey, when you do 10-minute plus songs, you aren't going to hit it out of the park every time. 

To me, it is kind of their like ...And Justice for All, in that I think a lot more of it when I listen to the songs individually on shuffle rather than straight through. 
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: pcs90 on August 03, 2018, 04:58:37 PM
I disagree with you're assessment with Endless Sacrifice. They start to lose me at 5:43 up until about 8 minutes in. It's a back and forth solo, but I feel it doesn't help the song do have something like that in there. If they continued with the riffing from before 5:43 and tightened up the solo, I'd feel it'd be a stronger song. ES is DEFINITELY not as bad as Outcry, of course. But I feel ES could definitely be stronger than what it is.
Oh, I'm not necessarily saying I think the instrumental section in ES is good the way it is. As said in an earlier post I'd definitely have cut a good chunk of it out. I'm just saying it overall has a similar vibe throughout whereas Outcry has 10000 different themes and ideas which all come and go so quickly. Even so I prefer Outcry hands down from those 2 (and any other on TOT for that matter.) In the context of the song the Outcry instrumental is really random, but on its own I like it more than most people seem to (more than the similar one in Metropolis for sure.)
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: noxon on August 03, 2018, 05:07:43 PM
I do not agree at all that The Astonishing is a "movie score". It owes so much to musical theatre it's insane. The influences are shining through very clearly - with JCS and Les Mis being the two most obvious ones, but there's a bunch of others too. And yes, it comes from two creators who love that genre too - JP has been very clear about his source for inspiration in interviews:
"I was always so impressed with rock musicals like Jesus Christ Superstar, Tommy or American Idiot and it was like 'We´re like the perfect band to do something like this. We´re called Dream Theater.'"
And it's easy to see - stuff like Three Days and A New Beginning is very JCS-like.

I mean, both JP and JR family members have strong ties to the musical theatre. When I last spoke to JP in person, most of the time we spent chatting was about broadway musicals :P
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: pg1067 on August 03, 2018, 06:16:24 PM
So...now we've got a thread proclaiming FII as the "last truly great" DT album and this one proclaiming ToT as the "last great" DT album.  I think that leaves 12 more albums (plus ACoS).
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: ChuckSteak on August 04, 2018, 02:56:46 AM
Their last great album was Six Degrees.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: OptionalPlayer on August 04, 2018, 05:18:41 AM
To me, it is kind of their like ...And Justice for All, in that I think a lot more of it when I listen to the songs individually on shuffle rather than straight through.
Now THAT'S an interesting take on the album.

Oh, I'm not necessarily saying I think the instrumental section in ES is good the way it is. As said in an earlier post I'd definitely have cut a good chunk of it out. I'm just saying it overall has a similar vibe throughout whereas Outcry has 10000 different themes and ideas which all come and go so quickly. Even so I prefer Outcry hands down from those 2 (and any other on TOT for that matter.) In the context of the song the Outcry instrumental is really random, but on its own I like it more than most people seem to (more than the similar one in Metropolis for sure.)
Speaking of interesting takes. . .   ;) To each their own! Even as I showed in the blog, I can critique the living hell out of a song or album but still enjoy it. I'm glad you can do that with Outcry. These kind of differences, as I've said before, is what makes DT great and their fans too!

I do not agree at all that The Astonishing is a "movie score". It owes so much to musical theatre it's insane. The influences are shining through very clearly - with JCS and Les Mis being the two most obvious ones, but there's a bunch of others too. And yes, it comes from two creators who love that genre too - JP has been very clear about his source for inspiration in interviews:
"I was always so impressed with rock musicals like Jesus Christ Superstar, Tommy or American Idiot and it was like 'We´re like the perfect band to do something like this. We´re called Dream Theater.'"
And it's easy to see - stuff like Three Days and A New Beginning is very JCS-like.

I mean, both JP and JR family members have strong ties to the musical theatre. When I last spoke to JP in person, most of the time we spent chatting was about broadway musicals :P
When I spoke with MP in person, he said JP likes to make stuff up and lie to fans and which was what the lyrics to "Lie" were really about.

I'm kidding!

I feel The Astonishing is more of a movie score than a stage production. I can definitely see how one can see it as a stage production though. But that just boils down to how we interpret the album - which is something that is fantastic that Dream Theater can do.

I know we'll not see eye-to-eye with this, but I appreciate your take on The Astonishing.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Indiscipline on August 04, 2018, 05:51:29 AM
First of all, kudos on the blog and the gentleman way you offer your ideas, even if I don't agree. You read like somebody you can pleasantly argue with. On that note:

I feel The Astonishing is more of a movie score than a stage production.

*smiles* I disagree. The Astonishing, structurally speaking, is a rigorously by the numbers stage production score, even more than a lot of current canonical stage productions. I Am Songs, I Want Songs, End of Act Concertatos, Change of Scene Tunes (NOMACS) and so on. Every traditional staple is covered painstakingly, everything is strictly taylored on the blueprint perfectioned by 70's and 80's pop-rock musicals.

Noxon nails it with the JCS (fun fact: it started as a concept album) and LesMiz (ditto!) comparisons, and not only musically speaking.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Sebastián Pratesi on August 04, 2018, 09:03:44 AM
The Astonishing, structurally speaking, is a rigorously by the numbers stage production score, even more than a lot of current canonical stage productions. I Am Songs, I Want Songs, End of Act Concertatos, Change of Scene Tunes (NOMACS) and so on.
So, "End of Act Concertatos" usually are pieces which simply reprise previous musical elements? Or do they introduce new elements as well? I ask because I've already identified most of the reprises in "Astonishing" and "The road to revolution", but I'm having trouble with the latter's instrumental intro, and vocal outro (with whole ensemble). I haven't been able to determine whether they are new chord progressions, or already used. Thanks! :)

Also, what do you mean by "I Am Songs" & "I Want Songs"? Are those songs in which the singer speaks about themselves and their longings?
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: nicmos on August 04, 2018, 09:06:53 AM
Nothing is binary, it's always a "shades of grey" issue, but the most common complaint I've seen to TA is exactly that - it's not heavy enough, it's not long enough, it's got too few solos.

That's not the problem with TA.  it's that you can't listen to it like it's a group of songs.  it's like you're watching an opera where all the lines are sung.  that doesn't make them songs.  with the exceptions of Gift of Music, Life Left Behind, New Beginning, Moment of Betrayal, and a few others, they aren't real songs, they're just plot set to music.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Anguyen92 on August 04, 2018, 09:50:58 AM
How can we define what is a "real song" or not.  To me, aside from the lyrics (which is good, but you still need context of the story), Hymn of a Thousand Voices and Our New World stands up well as standalone songs with or without the concept.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: RandalGraves on August 04, 2018, 09:53:44 AM
Train of Thought will always have a special place in my heart, as it was the first DT album released after I became a fan of the band. If I'm not mistaken, that was also right before the forum move? Anywho, given that I was still discovering all of DT's catalogue, I wasn't too bothered by the "straightforward metal" aspect of TOT. I just thought it was a really fun, rawkin' album! As I Am is a great single, and ITNOG is one of my favorite album closers. Would I rank it as DT's last great album? Not at all, but it's an album I have no issues listening to front-to-back. Now THAT is something I can't say for the remainder of DT's albums after Octavarium.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: OptionalPlayer on August 04, 2018, 03:36:34 PM
First of all, kudos on the blog and the gentleman way you offer your ideas, even if I don't agree. You read like somebody you can pleasantly argue with. On that note:

I feel The Astonishing is more of a movie score than a stage production.

*smiles* I disagree. The Astonishing, structurally speaking, is a rigorously by the numbers stage production score, even more than a lot of current canonical stage productions. I Am Songs, I Want Songs, End of Act Concertatos, Change of Scene Tunes (NOMACS) and so on. Every traditional staple is covered painstakingly, everything is strictly taylored on the blueprint perfectioned by 70's and 80's pop-rock musicals.

Noxon nails it with the JCS (fun fact: it started as a concept album) and LesMiz (ditto!) comparisons, and not only musically speaking.
Thank you for the compliment! Getting angry and heated up over something like this doesn't make for a good discussion. I know my take on ToT is based on bias, conjecture, and flat-out opinion. It would be silly to get upset over people disagreeing with me.

As for yours and take Noxon's take: I'll have to revisit the album again, because I'm not hearing what you folks are hearing. I haven't heard it in its entirely since they performed it live so I'm definitely overdue to sit down again with it. However, that takes me to the next point here by Nicmos:

That's not the problem with TA.  it's that you can't listen to it like it's a group of songs.  it's like you're watching an opera where all the lines are sung.  that doesn't make them songs.  with the exceptions of Gift of Music, Life Left Behind, New Beginning, Moment of Betrayal, and a few others, they aren't real songs, they're just plot set to music.
And here's where I feel like ToT was a stronger album: I'm allowed to pick it out and enjoy it as individual songs or as a full album. With The Astonishing, I'm forced, so-to-speak, to listen to the music as a whole. I can't pull out many songs individually to listen to because they're part of a bigger picture - which is fine if I'm consuming the whole album! But I have to commit to a full album! And unlike Scenes From a Memory, I feel the individual songs on The Astonishing don't hold up as strong as they do when they're a whole. Lord Nafaryus and Act of Faythe are just two I can think of off of the top of my head that stand out like that. They aren't necessarily "songs" per se, but as Nicmos suggested - plots to set music.

As an example: I wouldn't pull out a random track from Devin Townsend's Devlab ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfk6bArTxzQ ) and say they're songs to the average listener, but they are songs. If you were to separate the Devlab songs from the album, they're weird and strange. They don't hold up without the concept in its entirety. I have to listen to Devlab as a whole rather than individual songs. I feel the same with The Astonishing. And I don't need to do that with Train of Thought - which I feel - is another reason why it's so great!  ;)
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: noxon on August 04, 2018, 04:58:50 PM
That's the nature of musical theatre. It's all a part of a narrative. SFAM wasn't a rock opera - it was "just" a concept album with clearly defined songs.

If you look at Les Mis - you'll see the exact same problem. Aside from a few choice tracks such as "I Dreamed a Dream" or "Bring Him Home", most of the tracks aren't really well suited to be listened to out of context. JCS is the same - I doubt you'd go and turn on "hosanna" or "Pilate's Dream" or "Peter's Denial" out of context.

But then again: "People just don't have the time for music anymore" :P
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Indiscipline on August 04, 2018, 05:43:53 PM

So, "End of Act Concertatos" usually are pieces which simply reprise previous musical elements? Or do they introduce new elements as well? I ask because I've already identified most of the reprises in "Astonishing" and "The road to revolution", but I'm having trouble with the latter's instrumental intro, and vocal outro (with whole ensemble). I haven't been able to determine whether they are new chord progressions, or already used. Thanks! :)

Also, what do you mean by "I Am Songs" & "I Want Songs"? Are those songs in which the singer speaks about themselves and their longings?

End of Act Concertatos usually feature every major character stating their intentions dealing with narrative nodes (two acts musicals use to end act I on the cusp of a big transformative event), hence the various character themes are present, but you get a new theme belonging to the number itself most of the times. One Day More from Les Miz is a good reference point for The Road to Revolution.

I Am Songs are tunes introducing the characters, I Want Songs are tunes establishing their will and narrative motor. These are structural labels used when building the show from scratch or for analysis, the end result is often more nuanced and complex.

As for yours and take Noxon's take: I'll have to revisit the album again, because I'm not hearing what you folks are hearing. I haven't heard it in its entirely since they performed it live so I'm definitely overdue to sit down again with it. However, that takes me to the next point here by Nicmos:

Don't get me wrong, you have every right in the world to hear what you hear in TA and to infinitely prefer ToT. Tastes and mindsets are sacred, as far as I'm concerned. It could be helpful - for sheer enjoyment purposes - not considering it something it isn't though, that is a song driven regular album or a movie score. Just for kicks, try to hear every act as a big single song, every NOMAC tune as a physical change of scenery, and visualise characters acting rather than a band playing.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: OptionalPlayer on August 05, 2018, 02:40:59 PM
That's the nature of musical theatre. It's all a part of a narrative. SFAM wasn't a rock opera - it was "just" a concept album with clearly defined songs.

If you look at Les Mis - you'll see the exact same problem. Aside from a few choice tracks such as "I Dreamed a Dream" or "Bring Him Home", most of the tracks aren't really well suited to be listened to out of context. JCS is the same - I doubt you'd go and turn on "hosanna" or "Pilate's Dream" or "Peter's Denial" out of context.

But then again: "People just don't have the time for music anymore" :P
I agree with what you've said here! Perhaps the difference then between Les Mis and The Astonishing is that The Astonishing wasn't that good? I don't know. Obviously one cannot simply pull songs out of context for either album to "enjoy" them as they're better as a whole. However, I suppose I'm finding that a fault of The Astonishing. For me, the music nor the story was particularly interesting, so I hoped for songs that I could enjoy separately from the album. Since I struggle to do that as well, I'd have to give the point to ToT.

Don't get me wrong, you have every right in the world to hear what you hear in TA and to infinitely prefer ToT. Tastes and mindsets are sacred, as far as I'm concerned. It could be helpful - for sheer enjoyment purposes - not considering it something it isn't though, that is a song driven regular album or a movie score. Just for kicks, try to hear every act as a big single song, every NOMAC tune as a physical change of scenery, and visualise characters acting rather than a band playing.
I'll definitely need to give it another spin with those suggestions. The thing is: I find is that I shouldn't be told or suggested how to perceive art to enjoy it (and I know you're not telling me and I appreciate your suggestions!) I just find that I should enjoy it off the bat - regardless if I "got it" or not. (Of course I'll still re-listen to the album with your suggestions).

Only because I referenced it above, let's take Devlab by Devin Townsend. I enjoy that album. It's an album of noise, but I dig it and I just knew that I enjoyed it. It's not like a concert, a performance, or a play. It's just chaos - and something that I couldn't wrap my head around. I didn't have to "get" anything; it was just enjoyable to me. The same goes for Train of Thought. The Astonishing? Not so much, and I wonder why.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: noxon on August 05, 2018, 03:01:49 PM
"Nobody should tell me how to enjoy art, if I say Schindler's List is a comedy, I'm going to enjoy it as a comedy!"

;)
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Sebastián Pratesi on August 05, 2018, 09:21:32 PM
End of Act Concertatos usually feature every major character stating their intentions dealing with narrative nodes (two acts musicals use to end act I on the cusp of a big transformative event), hence the various character themes are present, but you get a new theme belonging to the number itself most of the times. One Day More from Les Miz is a good reference point for The Road to Revolution.

I Am Songs are tunes introducing the characters, I Want Songs are tunes establishing their will and narrative motor. These are structural labels used when building the show from scratch or for analysis, the end result is often more nuanced and complex.
Thanks! I'll check out "One Day More", then.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: bosk1 on August 06, 2018, 11:37:16 AM
First of all, kudos on the blog and the gentleman way you offer your ideas, even if I don't agree.

Yes.  Absolutely, this.  :tup

I feel The Astonishing is more of a movie score than a stage production.

*smiles* I disagree. The Astonishing, structurally speaking, is a rigorously by the numbers stage production score, even more than a lot of current canonical stage productions. I Am Songs, I Want Songs, End of Act Concertatos, Change of Scene Tunes (NOMACS) and so on. Every traditional staple is covered painstakingly, everything is strictly taylored on the blueprint perfectioned by 70's and 80's pop-rock musicals.

Noxon nails it with the JCS (fun fact: it started as a concept album) and LesMiz (ditto!) comparisons, and not only musically speaking.

Yes, exactly.  OptionalPlayer, you are certainly free to have any opinion you choose about the album and its music.  But, really, it ISN'T a "score" in any sense, and it absolutely IS musical theater.  That is true of both the intent behind it, and the execution in terms of its structure and many other elements.  Of course, whether or not you or I or anyone else subjectively feels that it succeeded in being good musical theater is entirely up for debate.  I do.  As do others.  Many feel it did not.  And that's okay too.  But that does not change what the album actually is.

The thing is: I find is that I shouldn't be told or suggested how to perceive art to enjoy it (and I know you're not telling me and I appreciate your suggestions!) I just find that I should enjoy it off the bat - regardless if I "got it" or not. (Of course I'll still re-listen to the album with your suggestions).

I get what you are saying.  But I think the point is that context matters.  Noxon's example with Schindler's List.  Nobody should tell you have you have to perceive it.  But if you go into it holding it to the standards of what makes a good romantic comedy, for example, you are going to be missing the point and judging it in a way that doesn't really make sense.  Or if I, for example, look at an abstract painting and judge it using standards of realism, I may very well be one of those who miss the point and simply dismiss it as "eh, my kindergartener's finger painting is better than this."  Whether I enjoy it and relate to it is a different issue than me missing the point of what it is trying to convey and how it is trying to convey it, so my standard of judging it would be off base in that example.

I don't think anybody, the band included, is telling you you have to enjoy The Astonishing.  And I don't think anyone is telling you how to enjoy it.  Just that understanding what it is is important to how it is evaluated.

That said, I think DT did a very good job realizing their vision.  I think they are indeed very good at doing this sort of thing.  The music is great.  The story is great.  The lyrics are mostly great.  The overall execution and realization of what they were trying to accomplish are mostly great.  If this were a broadway show rather than a rock album, I would see it in a heartbeat, and would like enjoy it immensely and put it up there with a lot of the better ones I have seen.

And that pretty much brings us back to the topic.  I view TA as a very good and perhaps great album.  And I would put every album released after TOT in either the "very good" or "great" categories, with perhaps the only exception being Black Clouds, which is a good album, but also somewhat of a disappointment.  I would also put every one of those albums other than Black Clouds ahead of TOT.  So...TOT as the "last 'great' album?"  Nope.  Not in my opinion.  I still love it.  But I disagree with your thesis because (1) I rank TOT more toward the bottom of DT's discography, despite loving it, and (2) regardless of point #1, I feel they have released several great or near-great albums since.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: ToT-147 on August 07, 2018, 05:58:09 PM
So as I see, I'm the only one that had a different experience while reading your article.. The truth is that I couldn't finish it, not because I don't agree with you (which I don't, because, although I think ToT is DT's best album, I also think their golden years came right along with and after it); I couldn't read more than half the article because of the way you were talking about songs and albums I find to be absolute masterpieces.. And then here you say things like these:

To each their own! Even as I showed in the blog, I can critique the living hell out of a song or album but still enjoy it.

Yeah, to each their own.. Everyone has an opinion, but I'll never get how anyone can criticize so much a work of art that she/he "enjoys".. Is art, a thing some people do for the rest of mankind; some ignore it, some don't like it, and some do.. Yet you (as many others also like to do) couldn't just concentrate in the things you like and love about ToT (which is what I naively expected to find in the article), but had to point out the negative -and almost only the negative- aspects of the albums from your point of view..

Anyways, this is, at the end of the day, also an opinion.. And since we're all here respectfully disagreeing with each other, I also do that, only that in a different matter..


tl/dr: ToT and TA both rules :hefdaddy (?)
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: The Walrus on August 07, 2018, 07:38:29 PM
I dunno. I criticize the hell out of music I love to death. I think it's healthy to keep things in perspective and understand where the flaws in your favorite artists lie. I would also say that going to such length to write this article shows just how passionate he is about the band and their music. That's just my two cents.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: ToT-147 on August 07, 2018, 09:29:55 PM
Yes, I'm not questioning anyone's passion.. Of course he is passionate.. I'm too.. We just have very different ways to express that..
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: OptionalPlayer on August 08, 2018, 09:52:36 AM
I feel The Astonishing is more of a movie score than a stage production.

*smiles* I disagree. The Astonishing, structurally speaking, is a rigorously by the numbers stage production score, even more than a lot of current canonical stage productions. I Am Songs, I Want Songs, End of Act Concertatos, Change of Scene Tunes (NOMACS) and so on. Every traditional staple is covered painstakingly, everything is strictly taylored on the blueprint perfectioned by 70's and 80's pop-rock musicals.

Noxon nails it with the JCS (fun fact: it started as a concept album) and LesMiz (ditto!) comparisons, and not only musically speaking.

Yes, exactly.  OptionalPlayer, you are certainly free to have any opinion you choose about the album and its music.  But, really, it ISN'T a "score" in any sense, and it absolutely IS musical theater.  That is true of both the intent behind it, and the execution in terms of its structure and many other elements.  Of course, whether or not you or I or anyone else subjectively feels that it succeeded in being good musical theater is entirely up for debate.  I do.  As do others.  Many feel it did not.  And that's okay too.  But that does not change what the album actually is.
A fair point, Bosk! Like I've mentioned above, I certainly need to take another step back and re-listen to The Astonishing and give it another fair shot.

I don't think anybody, the band included, is telling you you have to enjoy The Astonishing.  And I don't think anyone is telling you how to enjoy it.  Just that understanding what it is is important to how it is evaluated.
Absolutely this. And perhaps I'm not understanding the album. That all being said - and in comparison to ToT - I still feel that regardless of my understanding of the album, ToT comes out on top because of its conciseness, stronger song-writing structure (as in less fluff/keeps me intrigued the whole way through), and source material (ie. Honor Thy Father is personal, ITNoG is philosophical/every-man discussion).

That said, I think DT did a very good job realizing their vision.  I think they are indeed very good at doing this sort of thing.  The music is great.  The story is great.  The lyrics are mostly great.  The overall execution and realization of what they were trying to accomplish are mostly great.  If this were a broadway show rather than a rock album, I would see it in a heartbeat, and would like enjoy it immensely and put it up there with a lot of the better ones I have seen.
If there was a Broadway production of the album, I'd see it too. Ah, the curse of being a Dream Theater fan. I'd disagree about the music, story, and lyrics, but to each their own! (And this has mostly turned into a The Astonishing vs. ToT thread. I honestly thought more people would go after me over Illumination Theory, but ah well!)

And that pretty much brings us back to the topic.  I view TA as a very good and perhaps great album.  And I would put every album released after TOT in either the "very good" or "great" categories, with perhaps the only exception being Black Clouds, which is a good album, but also somewhat of a disappointment.  I would also put every one of those albums other than Black Clouds ahead of TOT.  So...TOT as the "last 'great' album?"  Nope.  Not in my opinion.  I still love it.  But I disagree with your thesis because (1) I rank TOT more toward the bottom of DT's discography, despite loving it, and (2) regardless of point #1, I feel they have released several great or near-great albums since.
That's a great outlook to those albums. Obviously I disagree, but it'd be foolish to attempt to make you change your mind. All this is is to be a fun discussion, and I'm glad we're having it. I am, however, intrigued why Black Clouds is "good" in your eyes over say their self-titled or Octavarium.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: OptionalPlayer on August 08, 2018, 10:05:26 AM
So as I see, I'm the only one that had a different experience while reading your article.. The truth is that I couldn't finish it, not because I don't agree with you (which I don't, because, although I think ToT is DT's best album, I also think their golden years came right along with and after it); I couldn't read more than half the article because of the way you were talking about songs and albums I find to be absolute masterpieces.. And then here you say things like these:

To each their own! Even as I showed in the blog, I can critique the living hell out of a song or album but still enjoy it.

Yeah, to each their own.. Everyone has an opinion, but I'll never get how anyone can criticize so much a work of art that she/he "enjoys".. Is art, a thing some people do for the rest of mankind; some ignore it, some don't like it, and some do.. Yet you (as many others also like to do) couldn't just concentrate in the things you like and love about ToT (which is what I naively expected to find in the article), but had to point out the negative -and almost only the negative- aspects of the albums from your point of view..

Anyways, this is, at the end of the day, also an opinion.. And since we're all here respectfully disagreeing with each other, I also do that, only that in a different matter.
I appreciate your disagreement!

My friends always ask, "How can you say this is your favourite 'X' but still criticize it?" The answer is: because I can! I like to think that I can objectively see the good and bad in everything - regardless of my bias towards it. For example, I LOVE the 1986 Transformers movie. Is it bad? Absolutely. What's bad about it? I could write an essay over why. Weird Al is first that comes to mind. Do I still enjoy it? For sure! I've probably seen that movie more times than any other. I also own it on VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray. But it's still a bad movie that I love to death.

And honestly, I like to be able to do both - enjoy something and still criticize it. In my opinion, it keeps me honest and open-minded. I can rip apart my favourite TV shows, movies, albums, you name it. There's always something to criticize. But I can see the difference between criticism and enjoyment. I enjoy the discussion! If I didn't state my criticisms about my favourite band, I wouldn't have heard these takes on The Astonishing - an album that I'm now going to-revisit with a new set of ears. I find this sort of stuff healthy and fun. The important thing is not to take any of it to heart - but as I've said, (and you've quoted), to each their own! It's just important to respect that, but also to listen to what others are saying.

I dunno. I criticize the hell out of music I love to death. I think it's healthy to keep things in perspective and understand where the flaws in your favorite artists lie. I would also say that going to such length to write this article shows just how passionate he is about the band and their music. That's just my two cents.
Thanks, Kattoelox! I am passionate about the band and their albums. You hit the point home in that third sentence there.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: bosk1 on August 08, 2018, 10:06:21 AM
I am, however, intrigued why Black Clouds is "good" in your eyes over say their self-titled or Octavarium.

The short answer is, I just don't feel an emotional connection to much of Black Clouds.  Although I tend to gravitate toward DT's longer songs, the problem with having an album full of long songs, and only six of them, is that if a couple of them seem "just okay" that is a significant portion of the album.  If I go song-by-song, I like most of ANTR.  But the things that bother me about it are the same things that drag a few of the songs on TOT--it starts to feel long and repetitive toward the end.  Most of DT's longer songs don't feel that way to me, but this is one that slightly overstays its welcome.  AROP isn't bad, but isn't something I ever find myself actively wanting to listen to.  Wither bores me.  TSF is mostly great.  It also has some parts that feel that they drag on a bit too long.  And there are a couple of reprises I think the song would have been better off without.  But overall, it is one of my favorites on the album.  TBOT is one of my least favorite DT songs.  I really appreciate the subject matter. But it is so literal and specific that I have a hard time connecting with it.  And the music for some reason doesn't do anything for me.  TCOT has more than its share of great moments.  But the volume swell section really kills the momentum of the song and takes me out of the moment. 

That amounts to an album that is merely "good," but DT standards, in my opinion.  There are plenty of other albums where I actively like MUCH more of the content.  On Octavarium, I don't care for The Answer Lies Within, and can usually do without I Walk Beside You.  Otherwise, I love that album from start to finish.  Octavarium is a top 10 song, and a couple of others are close.  So I consider it a stronger album.  The self-titled is my fourth favorite from them, and I like every single song on it very much.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Indiscipline on August 08, 2018, 10:14:10 AM
I dunno. I criticize the hell out of music I love to death. I think it's healthy to keep things in perspective and understand where the flaws in your favorite artists lie. I would also say that going to such length to write this article shows just how passionate he is about the band and their music. That's just my two cents.

Absolutely amen to that.

Lifemates, children, parents, favourite artists and sport teams.

Is there anything else in the world we love - and criticise - more?

 
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Nick on August 08, 2018, 10:16:20 AM
I mean it's hard to put a hard separation on "great" albums, but in general I agree with the sentiment. Better way for me to say it is that I truly love Train of Thought and don't believe they've come reasonably close to topping it since. While Octavarium is my favorite DT song and The Count of Tuscany comes in at #3 neither of those albums has supporting material as strong as Train of Thought.

It helps that ToT was one of my first Dream Theater albums, but it's always held a very special place for me, and even though I now consider Scenes their best work it's still a tossup between ToT and Images and Words for my #2. I've always said it represents "metal" as I wish it to be, and that Dream Theater, mainly known to have a "prog" label attached to their name did a metal album better than 99% of metal bands I know.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Trav86 on August 08, 2018, 10:27:08 AM
I've always said it represents "metal" as I wish it to be, and that Dream Theater, mainly known to have a "prog" label attached to their name did a metal album better than 99% of metal bands I know.
I can’t argue with that.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Sebastián Pratesi on August 08, 2018, 12:00:49 PM
The self-titled is my fourth favorite from them, and I like every single song on it very much.
That's so cool! The self-titled album is my favourite.

What are your first 3 favourites then, and why?
My best friend thinks that our favourite albums are that way because of nostalgic reasons, or the ones we discovered first, but I disagree.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: bosk1 on August 08, 2018, 12:36:41 PM
The self-titled is my fourth favorite from them, and I like every single song on it very much.
That's so cool! The self-titled album is my favourite.

What are your first 3 favourites then, and why?
My best friend thinks that our favourite albums are that way because of nostalgic reasons, or the ones we discovered first, but I disagree.

My top 3 are, in order:
1.  Six Degrees:  Although it is not a "perfect" album, and there are parts that I don't care for as much, it just comes down to there are far MORE minutes of music that I enjoy intensely on this double album than on any other album.  Sometimes, more is just more.  :D

2.  SFAM:  The whole is greater than the sum of the parts on this one, and the whole story and its execution are phenomenal.

3.  ADTOE:  Along with the s/t, this is one of the most consistent albums they have ever done.  The highs may not reach quite as high as those in my top 2, but it is just so consistently good from start to finish.

Incidentally, as far as "nostalgia" and the first album I discovered, that would be I&W, which I discovered in 1992 not long after its release.  Notice that that album is NOT in my top 4.  So I agree with you that that is not necessarily determinative (although I do acknowledge that it can often be a strong reason for liking a particular album from a band). 
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Sebastián Pratesi on August 08, 2018, 05:21:18 PM
My top 3 are, in order:
1.  Six Degrees:  Although it is not a "perfect" album, and there are parts that I don't care for as much, it just comes down to there are far MORE minutes of music that I enjoy intensely on this double album than on any other album.  Sometimes, more is just more.  :D

2.  SFAM:  The whole is greater than the sum of the parts on this one, and the whole story and its execution are phenomenal.

3.  ADTOE:  Along with the s/t, this is one of the most consistent albums they have ever done.  The highs may not reach quite as high as those in my top 2, but it is just so consistently good from start to finish.

Incidentally, as far as "nostalgia" and the first album I discovered, that would be I&W, which I discovered in 1992 not long after its release.  Notice that that album is NOT in my top 4.  So I agree with you that that is not necessarily determinative (although I do acknowledge that it can often be a strong reason for liking a particular album from a band).
Thanks!

Wow! So, you've been a witness of almost the whole of the band's career. :hefdaddy

Whatsmore: you've experienced the changes in album cycles, right?
Do you miss the classic format of not having a clue what your favourite bands/musicians were working on (and suddenly discovering the new album in a store)? Or do you prefer the modern approach, of being constantly updated throughout many months?

By the way: I started buying records in the year 2000, so I was fortunate enough to experience the older format as well.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Lethean on August 08, 2018, 06:58:40 PM


Yeah, to each their own.. Everyone has an opinion, but I'll never get how anyone can criticize so much a work of art that she/he "enjoys".. Is art, a thing some people do for the rest of mankind; some ignore it, some don't like it, and some do.. Yet you (as many others also like to do) couldn't just concentrate in the things you like and love about ToT (which is what I naively expected to find in the article), but had to point out the negative - and almost only the negative - aspects of the albums from your point of view..

On the general topic of criticism, the bolded is where I find myself in agreement with ToT-147's sentiment.  I'm not saying that it applies to anyone in this thread, not even the OP because I haven't read that whole post.  But in general, there are certain people who only, or almost only, focus on the negative and that's what gets tiresome to me.  If I love something, but at the same time don't like certain things about it, I have no problem saying what it is that I don't like so long as I do so in a respectful way and with the understanding that the thing that I don't like could be what someone else likes most.  I'd also want to talk about what I like about it too though. (Again, not directed at the OP). 
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Indiscipline on August 09, 2018, 06:55:19 AM
Do you miss the classic format of not having a clue what your favourite bands/musicians were working on (and suddenly discovering the new album in a store)?

The question wasn't addressed to me, but boy I DO miss that.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: TheOutlawXanadu on August 09, 2018, 07:18:28 AM
Train of Thought is not my favorite album, but I think it is a very memorable one. The approach of dark, relentless, shreddy metal for a full 80 minutes really stands out. Even after the releases of Systematic Chaos and Black Clouds, Train of Thought feels like its own beast. I haven't listened to the whole thing in years, but I revisit As I Am / Vacant / Stream of Consciousness often. Those are great tracks. In the Name of God is epic too, but not as easy to simply pop in, at least for me.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: bosk1 on August 09, 2018, 08:26:01 AM
Do you miss the classic format of not having a clue what your favourite bands/musicians were working on (and suddenly discovering the new album in a store)? Or do you prefer the modern approach, of being constantly updated throughout many months?

They both have their merits.  But I like getting bits of information that tell us what they are up to.  To me, it's more fun.  But I also kind of limit what I know.  I mean, I could probably get a lot more info directly from the band if I wanted to.  But I don't.  Part of that is out of respect for their privacy.  But part of it is also that I don't want to know too much.  Even getting an album promo before release sometimes feels like more than I would like sometimes.  But I'm not complaining.  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: MirrorMask on August 09, 2018, 08:28:06 AM
Says the one who probably "has" to hear the album beforehand in order to shut down potential leaks when the release date is closer  :D you're in a tough place, not wanting to know as any of us but having to know before anyone else certain details...
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: bosk1 on August 09, 2018, 08:39:23 AM
Exactly.  I have mixed feelings about it. 
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: ? on August 09, 2018, 09:34:56 AM
Quote
Train of Thought was Dream Theater’s best selling album since 1997s Falling Into Infinity.
The figure for TOT is from 2005, while the ones for Scenes and Six Degrees are from 2002, so they aren't comparable.

While TOT is not one of my favorites, it's the best post-6D album besides ADTOE IMO.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: pg1067 on August 09, 2018, 10:27:18 AM
Wow! So, you've been a witness of almost the whole of the band's career. :hefdaddy

Whatsmore: you've experienced the changes in album cycles, right?
Do you miss the classic format of not having a clue what your favourite bands/musicians were working on (and suddenly discovering the new album in a store)? Or do you prefer the modern approach, of being constantly updated throughout many months?

From what I can ascertain, Bosk and I got into DT around the same time (although there are obviously folks here who have been fans longer than that).  I first heard "Pull Me Under" on a local hard rock/metal station in Southern California shortly after it was released in late summer 1992.  I bought I&W and immediately became a huge fan.  I saw my first DT show on the first American leg of the I&W tour on November 12, 1992.  As far as your question, I've never really paid much attention to the build up for any band's new album.  Obviously, in the pre-internet era, most bands would release an album and then tour and then go back into the studio almost immediately go back into the studio.  You'd get some news via magazines like Circus and Hit Parader, but for the most part, you'd hear someone say, "hey, the new Maiden album is out" or "comes out next week," and you'd go to the record store and buy it.  Keep in mind that, in the pre-internet era, I was in my early teens to mid-20s and had few responsibilities outside of school, so I had a lot of time to immerse myself into new albums.  I was also getting into back catalogs of established bands, so that filled the void when there were no new albums coming out that I was interested in.  It's also worth pointing out that I'm a very picky music fan, whereas back in the pre-internet era, there were a LOT of bands regularly releasing new material that I liked.

I was never on the old Ytse Jam mailing list and the early versions of things on the internet.  I recall joining MP's forum in the early 2000s but never really paid much attention.  In large part, that's probably because I started a job with a very long commute in 2001 and started having kids in 2002, so my free time was minimal to non-existent.  I don't think I new that SFAM and 6DOIT and maybe even ToT had come out until after the release days.  I vaguely recall hearing about the "Stream of Consciousness" contest, but I'm not sure if that was before or after it was done.  It wasn't really until after 8VA that I really became aware of the build up to new albums, but I only vaguely paid attention to what was going on with SC and BC&SL.  After MP left the band, I didn't really have a source for info; I didn't start posting on DTF until around the middle of last year.  So...this is the first album cycle where I've really been following the build up.  I have to say it's fun, but it is, at times, a bit much, and a lot of that has to do with how much rampant speculation occurs based on the most scant bit of info (e.g., based on a four second clip of drums, folks conclude that the drums on this album will "suck again," or a four second guitar riff will result in speculation that this album will be "SUPER HEAVY!!!!").  The stuff that has come directly from the band, however, has been awesome!
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: bosk1 on August 09, 2018, 10:45:56 AM
Yeah, I think we're fairly close in age and career, from what I have gathered from your posts.  (I think you are just a bit younger, based on the fact that I took a detour between HS and college) 

Although I discovered DT and became a fan in 1992, I wasn't a HUGE fan until several years later.  Some of the songs on I&W quickly became some of my favorites.  But others, I just didn't care for.  And JLB became one of my favorite vocalists.  The album got a fair amount of play for me somewhat regularly through 2000, despite that I didn't buy anything else from the band during that time period.  I was aware of Awake and ACOS.  There was a music store up the street from where I lived for a lot of that time that had used CDs, and you could listen before buying.  I liked what I heard on that album and EP, but just never bought them for some reason.  I heard Burning My Soul on radio after FII came out and didn't care for it, so I never bought that album.  But for some reason, I often would check the DT section whenever I was in a music store to keep tabs on what the band was releasing.  And there were several times when I almost bought Awake or ACOS, but for some reason never did.  When I saw SFAM, I bought it, and then quickly became that HUGE fan of the band.  LSFNY sealed the deal.

In 2001, I joined the official DT forum.  From there, I followed the album release cycles more closely because the info was readily available. 

Then, as far as my more official relationship with the band, I guess that started around 2007.  After Itchy closed the official DT forums in November 2006, we formed DTF.com, and I became one of the moderators sometime in 2007.  My relationship with some of the DT staff began at that time, and this place officially formed in May of that year.  (see this thread:  https://www.dreamtheaterforums.org/boards/index.php?topic=39518.0)

It wasn't until after MP left the band that I developed a direct and more official line to the band and management, which is what we have now.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: pg1067 on August 09, 2018, 11:05:47 AM
Yeah, I think we're fairly close in age and career, from what I have gathered from your posts.  (I think you are just a bit younger, based on the fact that I took a detour between HS and college) 

Well...not so sure about you being older.  I'm just a few months younger than JP.  I got my bachelor's degree nearly 12 years after graduating high school (numerous changes in major, loss of focus, etc.).  I graduated law school and was admitted to the bar in 2001 (about 8 years older than most of my classmates).
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: bosk1 on August 09, 2018, 11:29:03 AM
Oh, okay.  That was an assumption based on the usual path.  I am 6 years "behind" the typical path, so...
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: The Walrus on August 09, 2018, 12:13:26 PM
I like Dream Theater
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Sebastián Pratesi on August 09, 2018, 02:17:12 PM
When I saw SFAM, I bought it, and then quickly became that HUGE fan of the band.
What was it about Scenes from a memory that you were instantly drawn to? Was it the artwork? The "Metropolis pt. 2" thing? The details on the back, with "Acts" and "Scenes"?

Also: cool stories, everyone! I was first aware of Dream Theater's existence when my mom and aunt bought me a Train of thought T-shirt. I had no idea who they were, but my uncle told me I'd like them because I was into Metallica. Six months later, I found a copy of the album during one of my weekly visits to a local store, and immediately bought it. Most songs were way too dark/bleak to me, but I really loved "Vacant/Stream of consciousness". And here I am.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: nicmos on August 10, 2018, 07:31:07 AM

  I first heard "Pull Me Under" on a local hard rock/metal station in Southern California shortly after it was released in late summer 1992. 

me too!  I think it was the relatively new station at that point, 100.3, which focused on hard rock and metal.  I don't think it even went by its call letters like KLOS or whatever.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: bosk1 on August 10, 2018, 07:42:17 AM
When I saw SFAM, I bought it, and then quickly became that HUGE fan of the band.
What was it about Scenes from a memory that you were instantly drawn to? Was it the artwork? The "Metropolis pt. 2" thing? The details on the back, with "Acts" and "Scenes"?

Well, I already loved I&W, and Metropolis was one of the definite highlights.  So when I saw that there was actually a Metropolis pt. II, and it wasn't even just a song--it was an entire album--I was sold instantly.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Sebastián Pratesi on August 10, 2018, 08:29:17 AM
Well, I already loved I&W, and Metropolis was one of the definite highlights.  So when I saw that there was actually a Metropolis pt. II, and it wasn't even just a song--it was an entire album--I was sold instantly.
So was the CD.  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: MirrorMask on August 10, 2018, 08:40:05 AM
That was for me the pre-internet era, and I had just became a fan in the months prior, so I walked to the store knowing exactly that it was the release date of the "new DT album" and nothing else at all.

Imagine my surprise in seeing only right there and then in the store that it was Metropolis pt 2.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: pg1067 on August 10, 2018, 01:06:25 PM

  I first heard "Pull Me Under" on a local hard rock/metal station in Southern California shortly after it was released in late summer 1992. 

me too!  I think it was the relatively new station at that point, 100.3, which focused on hard rock and metal.  I don't think it even went by its call letters like KLOS or whatever.

In 1992, 100.3 (KLQZ) was operating as "Pirate Radio" and was playing a hard rock/metal format (which it abandoned by the end of 1992), so it's possible they also played PMU.  That station has been through a shload of format changes since then and is now a classic rock station.  However, KNAC (105.5 - "Pure Rock") was still on the air in 1992 (it didn't "Fade to Black" until 1995), so I think that's where I heard it.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: nicmos on August 11, 2018, 07:09:15 AM
I"m pretty sure I remember when they (100.3) started playing Perry Mason from Ozzy, and I think that came out in 1995.  so yeah they weren't Pirate Radio at that point, but they were still playing hard rock.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: CrimsonSunrise on August 11, 2018, 08:43:34 AM
Bottom line is there isn't a DT album I don't love.  That being said, when I think about it the album I revisit the least is probably ToT. I think Octavarium is a MUCH better album.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: ytserush on August 11, 2018, 10:20:26 AM
I do not agree at all that The Astonishing is a "movie score". It owes so much to musical theatre it's insane. The influences are shining through very clearly - with JCS and Les Mis being the two most obvious ones, but there's a bunch of others too. And yes, it comes from two creators who love that genre too - JP has been very clear about his source for inspiration in interviews:
"I was always so impressed with rock musicals like Jesus Christ Superstar, Tommy or American Idiot and it was like 'We´re like the perfect band to do something like this. We´re called Dream Theater.'"
And it's easy to see - stuff like Three Days and A New Beginning is very JCS-like.

I mean, both JP and JR family members have strong ties to the musical theatre. When I last spoke to JP in person, most of the time we spent chatting was about broadway musicals :P

Ever talk about lyrics?
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: noxon on August 11, 2018, 01:13:28 PM
Many times - anything in particular you were thinking of?
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: RoeDent on August 11, 2018, 01:16:20 PM
So you dismiss the last 15 years of DT's output...half their career at this point...as worthless?  :facepalm:

DT's last great album was The Astonishing...and their next great album will be DT14. Everything they do is amazing. And no one will ever tell me otherwise.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: The Walrus on August 11, 2018, 05:47:26 PM
So you dismiss the last 15 years of DT's output...half their career at this point...as worthless?  :facepalm:

DT's last great album was The Astonishing...and their next great album will be DT14. Everything they do is amazing. And no one will ever tell me otherwise.

That's cool but don't try to mock his opinion when you then adopt the "everything is and will always be amazing" view. Blind fandom is unhealthy.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Adami on August 11, 2018, 05:53:31 PM
So you dismiss the last 15 years of DT's output...half their career at this point...as worthless?  :facepalm:

DT's last great album was The Astonishing...and their next great album will be DT14. Everything they do is amazing. And no one will ever tell me otherwise.

Not everything they do is amazing.

Boom. I wish we had a bet on whether someone would tell you otherwise, I'd have some more money now then.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Lethean on August 11, 2018, 06:10:30 PM
So you dismiss the last 15 years of DT's output...half their career at this point...as worthless?  :facepalm:

DT's last great album was The Astonishing...and their next great album will be DT14. Everything they do is amazing. And no one will ever tell me otherwise.

Not everything they do is amazing.

Boom. I wish we had a bet on whether someone would tell you otherwise, I'd have some more money now then.
:lol

But RoeDent, while there have been some things here or there that I didn't like, I mostly agree with you.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Silent Man on August 13, 2018, 02:57:26 AM
Train Of Thought was GREAT. MP's drumming was excellent, at it's highest I guess. For me, Octavarium was their last great album. Actually, I think that I've played that one the most, maybe about the same as with I&W. Even a ballad as 'Walk Beside Me' had an inner spirit and a very delicate elegant guitar track that I liked and still like today. After Octavarium, the song writing got downhill IMO. Not that it went bad, but the former high standards set the expectations. The Astonishing hit the bottom for me. A bunch of ballads, cheesy song writing and a storyline consisting of...nothing. So from now on, it can only get better  ;)
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: MirrorMask on August 13, 2018, 03:29:28 AM
The Astonishing hit the bottom for me. A bunch of ballads, cheesy song writing and a storyline consisting of...nothing. So from now on, it can only get better  ;)

You didn't really pay that much attention, did you?
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: OptionalPlayer on August 13, 2018, 05:19:44 AM
I am, however, intrigued why Black Clouds is "good" in your eyes over say their self-titled or Octavarium.

The short answer is, I just don't feel an emotional connection to much of Black Clouds...
Thanks for that answer, Bosk! We'll definitely agree on a lot of points about that album, but I find it's still a bit stronger than Octavarium. But I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree.  ;D

And before I continue on with the next batch of comments, I'll mention, because of this thread I've re-listened to The Astonishing based on the suggestions on what to listen to here.

While I'm not going to go whole-hog about the album, I will concede the point that the album does not really feel like a movie score as so much a theatrical production. While I still dislike the story, I think the reasoning to why I felt it was a score was because - and wait for it - it struggles to be a theatrical production.

I listened to the album on Thursday giving me a few days to think about this. My main idea is that, unlike say, a theatrical play (or let's take Pain of Salvation's BE since we've brought it up before), there's little variation in emotion or story from LaBrie. It's not that he did a bad job at singing - but unlike a production playing out or being performed, I feel like The Astonishing is more narrated. There's little hints of emotion and conveying of the story through LaBrie and as such, takes me out of the "theatrical production" mindset.

And I'm not ragging on LaBrie. I KNOW he can convey emotion and storytelling properly. See: The Human Equation album, Vacant, Beneath the Surface, A Nightmare to Remember, et al. Either his direction or the material wasn't good enough for him to tell it properly.

That being said, thematically, the album works. I hear the music less like a soundtrack and more like a production. I still don't think it's a great job at it, but if I had given The Astonishing a 3/10, I'd bump it now to a 5/10 (I really haven't thought about ranking the album out of 10. I'm just giving you folks an idea to what listening to an album again with open ears can do).

Anyway, this thread was supposed to be about Train of Thought so. . .
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: OptionalPlayer on August 13, 2018, 05:31:47 AM
Train of Thought is not my favorite album, but I think it is a very memorable one. The approach of dark, relentless, shreddy metal for a full 80 minutes really stands out. Even after the releases of Systematic Chaos and Black Clouds, Train of Thought feels like its own beast. I haven't listened to the whole thing in years, but I revisit As I Am / Vacant / Stream of Consciousness often. Those are great tracks. In the Name of God is epic too, but not as easy to simply pop in, at least for me.
And that's something which I applaud the album for. Like I mentioned in my blog post, I definitely forgot a few songs off of albums. ToT nails everything on the head. The album is simply built properly.

Quote
Train of Thought was Dream Theater’s best selling album since 1997s Falling Into Infinity.
The figure for TOT is from 2005, while the ones for Scenes and Six Degrees are from 2002, so they aren't comparable.
That's absolutely fair to point out. However, CDs don't usually uptick in sales after the first year unless something tragic to the band happens. 6DoIT had 32k in sales. ToT had 125k. I doubt 6D has come even close to tightening the gap. SFaM maybe.

I like Dream Theater
Me too!

I do not agree at all that The Astonishing is a "movie score". It owes so much to musical theatre it's insane. The influences are shining through very clearly - with JCS and Les Mis being the two most obvious ones, but there's a bunch of others too. And yes, it comes from two creators who love that genre too - JP has been very clear about his source for inspiration in interviews:
"I was always so impressed with rock musicals like Jesus Christ Superstar, Tommy or American Idiot and it was like 'We´re like the perfect band to do something like this. We´re called Dream Theater.'"
And it's easy to see - stuff like Three Days and A New Beginning is very JCS-like.

I mean, both JP and JR family members have strong ties to the musical theatre. When I last spoke to JP in person, most of the time we spent chatting was about broadway musicals :P

Ever talk about lyrics?
Yeah! Ask him about the source material for the title song from 6DoIT. Had they ever addressed that?

So you dismiss the last 15 years of DT's output...half their career at this point...as worthless?  :facepalm:

DT's last great album was The Astonishing...and their next great album will be DT14. Everything they do is amazing. And no one will ever tell me otherwise.
I never said it they were worthless. I certainly rag on parts of the albums and a ton of songs, but they're all special to me in certain ways. When comparing directly to Train of Thought, I don't feel as if they're as strong. If I thought Dream Theater's output post-2003  was worthless, I wouldn't be seeing them on the next tour for the thirteenth time.

As mentioned above, I feel it's good to have opinions that are different - even about your most favourite things. As mentioned right after your post, blind fandom can be unhealthy and not everything they do is amazing. But damn, it's sure great to debate about.

Train Of Thought was GREAT. MP's drumming was excellent, at it's highest I guess. For me, Octavarium was their last great album. Actually, I think that I've played that one the most, maybe about the same as with I&W. Even a ballad as 'Walk Beside Me' had an inner spirit and a very delicate elegant guitar track that I liked and still like today. After Octavarium, the song writing got downhill IMO. Not that it went bad, but the former high standards set the expectations. The Astonishing hit the bottom for me. A bunch of ballads, cheesy song writing and a storyline consisting of...nothing. So from now on, it can only get better  ;)
I can appreciate this take (obviously), but I'd still say that it's good to give the albums another shot (as I did with The Astonishing). The storyline doesn't consist of nothing: IMO, it's just boring. But having those opinions are a-okay, just as long as you can back 'em up. Maybe make a blog post about it.  ;)

I don't feel like the songwriting went entirely downhill. Obviously the band has some great songs post-TOT and 8VM. Just as a whole, they sometimes feel like misses. As I mentioned in the blog, ADToE was certainly a renaissance for the band. I would definitely suggest giving that album another listen to, if any.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Silent Man on August 13, 2018, 06:25:52 AM
The Astonishing hit the bottom for me. A bunch of ballads, cheesy song writing and a storyline consisting of...nothing. So from now on, it can only get better  ;)

You didn't really pay that much attention, did you?

Yes, I did. I bought it and listened to it, many times. It's just not my sort of thing. Uninteresting and uninspiring from beginning to end.

Train Of Thought was GREAT. MP's drumming was excellent, at it's highest I guess. For me, Octavarium was their last great album. Actually, I think that I've played that one the most, maybe about the same as with I&W. Even a ballad as 'Walk Beside Me' had an inner spirit and a very delicate elegant guitar track that I liked and still like today. After Octavarium, the song writing got downhill IMO. Not that it went bad, but the former high standards set the expectations. The Astonishing hit the bottom for me. A bunch of ballads, cheesy song writing and a storyline consisting of...nothing. So from now on, it can only get better  ;)
I can appreciate this take (obviously), but I'd still say that it's good to give the albums another shot (as I did with The Astonishing). The storyline doesn't consist of nothing: IMO, it's just boring. But having those opinions are a-okay, just as long as you can back 'em up. Maybe make a blog post about it.  ;)

I don't feel like the songwriting went entirely downhill. Obviously the band has some great songs post-TOT and 8VM. Just as a whole, they sometimes feel like misses. As I mentioned in the blog, ADToE was certainly a renaissance for the band. I would definitely suggest giving that album another listen to, if any.
[/quote]

Maybe I confuse nothing with boring  ;) ..but same outcome, it didn't attract me. And I don't wrote that the songwriting went entirely downhill - just that it didn't reach the heights of former recordings.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: ToT-147 on August 13, 2018, 11:04:33 AM
If I thought Dream Theater's output post-2003  was worthless, I wouldn't be seeing them on the next tour for the thirteenth time.

Unfortunately, that's precisely the case for many people I know.. Some even go to see them only having listened to (or vaguely known about) one or two albums, to not say even less than that... which is OK if you ask me.. Then some go with their bf/gf, friends, etc... These are in fact some of the most usual ways to start listening to a band you don't know that well, or don't know at all (thus considering it worthless as a whole)..

Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: pg1067 on August 13, 2018, 12:21:16 PM
I"m pretty sure I remember when they (100.3) started playing Perry Mason from Ozzy, and I think that came out in 1995.  so yeah they weren't Pirate Radio at that point, but they were still playing hard rock.

I don't have any recollection of dates or particular songs, but the Wikipedia article for KKLQ (FM) ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KKLQ_(FM) ), which is what is presently transmitting at 100.3 FM, contains a history of stations broadcasting at that frequency.  It says that, prior to 1989, it was an easy listening station called KIQQ.  In March 1989, it became KQLZ - "Pirate Radio" - and started as a "Rock 40" station, which played everything from Metallica to Milli Vanilli.  Over the next few years, it adopted more of an AOR format.  The name "Pirate Radio" was dropped the day after Christmas 1992, and the format was changed to "modern rock."  In April 1993, the format switched back to easy listening (KXEZ).
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: ytserush on August 13, 2018, 04:51:31 PM
Many times - anything in particular you were thinking of?

Generally speaking on his approach and specifically  Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence (Disc 2), In The Presence of Enemies and The Astonishing.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Phoenix87x on February 28, 2019, 05:34:23 PM
Just wanted to say that I worship this album  :hefdaddy  and always have since the day it came out.

Been listening to it all week.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: lovethedrake on February 28, 2019, 06:59:32 PM
OptionalPlayer... what do you think of the new album.  I really enjoyed your blog and agree with most of it. 

I happen to like Illumination Theory but can understand the complaints.   I also really enjoyed a ton of The Astonishing and considered it their best album since TOT until D/T came out.


Im more of a prog guy so I go back to SDOIT as their last amazing album for my preferences but I can objectively say TOT is their last great album.  I completely agree with that sentiment.

I am quite enjoying D/T though.  I wouldn't declare it a GREAT album but I think its probably my favorite of theirs since TOT or SDOIT.   

Curious as to your thoughts?
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: gzarruk on February 28, 2019, 07:32:33 PM
Many people are saying "_____ is the best album since TOT" and I just don't understand all the praise for TOT. Is it good? Definitely, it's a DT album, but, to me at least, it was a huge drop in quality after releasing two of their best albums ever (SFAM and SDOIT) back to back. TOT feels just like a heavy for the sake of heavy album and it's too one-dimensional because of that. We got a ton of technical moments and shredding, but zero melodic JP solos, for example. While I think it's very solid, it lacks balance, something that other "heavy" DT albums like Awake, SC and now D/T have.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: lovethedrake on February 28, 2019, 07:59:31 PM
As a DT fan... TOT is not my favorite but as a music critic I can marvel at the all out assault of instrumentation and creativity of the album.  I don't believe the drop off in creativity happened with DT until Octavarium... I just don't like modern Metal as much so TOT is a middle of the road album for my tastes.

I think its BY FAR the best of their more metal driven albums though.   I don't count Awake in this because it's a much different type of metal IMO.       

While I definitely agree that SFAM and SDOIT are better albums than TOT, I think TOT mostly achieves what it's going for and is a much better album in every way than SC. 

But thats why I love this board.... its actually truly amazing how everyone has such different opinions about a band we love. 

I said this the other day, I&W and SFAM are generally considered classics and SDOIT is usually up there also but there is such a wide variance of the rest of the albums for people.


Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Dedalus on February 28, 2019, 08:01:51 PM
Many people are saying "_____ is the best album since TOT" and I just don't understand all the praise for TOT. Is it good? Definitely, it's a DT album, but, to me at least, it was a huge drop in quality after releasing two of their best albums ever (SFAM and SDOIT) back to back. TOT feels just like a heavy for the sake of heavy album and it's too one-dimensional because of that. We got a ton of technical moments and shredding, but zero melodic JP solos, for example. While I think it's very solid, it lacks balance, something that other "heavy" DT albums like Awake, SC and now D/T have.

I agree.

For TOT  to be "DT's Last Great Album it should be, first, a great album.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: 1neeto on February 28, 2019, 08:48:11 PM
TOT was my gateway album so it holds a special place in my heart. It ranked at number one for many years, but then I got more and more into their past catalog and started digging their newer releases. Was it their last great album? Come on, Octavarium anyone? ADTOE should also be considered one of their greatest albums IMO.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: KevShmev on February 28, 2019, 09:32:59 PM
Many people are saying "_____ is the best album since TOT" and I just don't understand all the praise for TOT. Is it good? Definitely, it's a DT album, but, to me at least, it was a huge drop in quality after releasing two of their best albums ever (SFAM and SDOIT) back to back. TOT feels just like a heavy for the sake of heavy album and it's too one-dimensional because of that. We got a ton of technical moments and shredding, but zero melodic JP solos, for example. While I think it's very solid, it lacks balance, something that other "heavy" DT albums like Awake, SC and now D/T have.

Train of Thought is not one of my favorites, but I don't think its lack of balance should matter, especially since it's "one-dimensional" on purpose.  A Dream Theater album, or any album for that matter, does not have to have balance to be great, generally speaking.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: gzarruk on February 28, 2019, 10:06:25 PM
Many people are saying "_____ is the best album since TOT" and I just don't understand all the praise for TOT. Is it good? Definitely, it's a DT album, but, to me at least, it was a huge drop in quality after releasing two of their best albums ever (SFAM and SDOIT) back to back. TOT feels just like a heavy for the sake of heavy album and it's too one-dimensional because of that. We got a ton of technical moments and shredding, but zero melodic JP solos, for example. While I think it's very solid, it lacks balance, something that other "heavy" DT albums like Awake, SC and now D/T have.

Train of Thought is not one of my favorites, but I don't think its lack of balance should matter, especially since it's "one-dimensional" on purpose.  A Dream Theater album, or any album for that matter, does not have to have balance to be great, generally speaking.

Definitely, I’m just saying I don’t like the album as much as others from the DT catalog because of it. SOC and ITNOG are still two of my all time favorite DT songs, I just wish the album was a bit more balanced and less “we’re trying so hard to make a super tough guy metal record”.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: OptionalPlayer on March 03, 2019, 05:19:22 AM
 :D

Of course this would've sprung back up.

Hey, folks!

OptionalPlayer... what do you think of the new album.  I really enjoyed your blog and agree with most of it. 

I happen to like Illumination Theory but can understand the complaints.   I also really enjoyed a ton of The Astonishing and considered it their best album since TOT until D/T came out.


Im more of a prog guy so I go back to SDOIT as their last amazing album for my preferences but I can objectively say TOT is their last great album.  I completely agree with that sentiment.

I am quite enjoying D/T though.  I wouldn't declare it a GREAT album but I think its probably my favorite of theirs since TOT or SDOIT.   

Curious as to your thoughts?
Thanks for your thoughts and wanting to hear my opinion. Coincidentally, I was planning on updating this blog/this post to continue the discussion.

The album hasn't been out long enough for me to argue from what I'd believe to be my "objective" standpoint, so I'll be reserving judgment for a little bit longer until I can really absorb the album.

It'll probably be another week or so before I do (which means another few spins of the album), so just hold onto your butts.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: OptionalPlayer on March 03, 2019, 05:30:30 AM
Many people are saying "_____ is the best album since TOT" and I just don't understand all the praise for TOT. Is it good? Definitely, it's a DT album, but, to me at least, it was a huge drop in quality after releasing two of their best albums ever (SFAM and SDOIT) back to back. TOT feels just like a heavy for the sake of heavy album and it's too one-dimensional because of that. We got a ton of technical moments and shredding, but zero melodic JP solos, for example. While I think it's very solid, it lacks balance, something that other "heavy" DT albums like Awake, SC and now D/T have.
I find that interesting that you feel the quality dropped. I can understand, going from a concept album and a 40+ minute long song to a series of shorter, more concise songs can feel like a drop in quality, but I would argue it's actually a tightening of musicianship (save for Endless Sacrifice).

Regarding JP's solos, there's not as much drama or "emotional resonance" in the same way, say, The Spirit Carries On portrays, but that's because ToT is a different album by them. The solos, I'd argue, are melodic at times, but not AS melodic on previous albums. But that's because ToT is its own kind of monster and melodic solos wouldn't work on it. Of course SoC and ItNoG feature great solos with great melody, but they wouldn't hit the same kind of emotional response that I feel you're looking for.

As a DT fan... TOT is not my favorite but as a music critic I can marvel at the all out assault of instrumentation and creativity of the album.  I don't believe the drop off in creativity happened with DT until Octavarium... I just don't like modern Metal as much so TOT is a middle of the road album for my tastes.

I think its BY FAR the best of their more metal driven albums though.   I don't count Awake in this because it's a much different type of metal IMO.       

While I definitely agree that SFAM and SDOIT are better albums than TOT, I think TOT mostly achieves what it's going for and is a much better album in every way than SC. 

But thats why I love this board.... its actually truly amazing how everyone has such different opinions about a band we love. 

I said this the other day, I&W and SFAM are generally considered classics and SDOIT is usually up there also but there is such a wide variance of the rest of the albums for people.
You're opinions are very similar to mine. Awake and ToT are two different "metal" albums. ToT isn't my favourite, but for the band, it's pretty damn good and they really began to slip up with Octavarium. We'll see if we see eye-to-eye on D/T.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Infinite Cactus on March 03, 2019, 07:00:16 AM
For me, this is the album that's aged to worst. It's part of my teen years so I have a bunch of nostalgia. I think every song is great, but TDS, Endless Sacrifice, Honor Thy Father, and SOC are bloated to the point that the album has become an incredibly difficult chore for me to sit through. I still really like As I Am and ITNOG.
Title: Re: Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: OptionalPlayer on April 17, 2019, 04:42:19 PM
OptionalPlayer... what do you think of the new album.  I really enjoyed your blog and agree with most of it. 

Curious as to your thoughts?

Ask and you shall receive! I gave it a couple of months and now have my review for Distance Over Time on the blog!

While I won't post a huge block quote of what I wrote (unless mods let me?), I'll just post a snippet:

Quote
I can safely say, without hesitation, that while Distance Over Time is not the best Dream Theater album, it is now the last greatest Dream Theater album – triumphing over Train of Thought.

Wild, ain’t it? Let’s discuss!

Want to read more?

https://uncannyderek.com/2018/08/02/train-of-thought-dream-theaters-last-great-album/
Title: Re: UPDATED w/Distance Over Time- Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Vmadera00 on April 17, 2019, 07:24:54 PM
Enjoy reading that. I agree with everything except for Paralyzed. I think Paralyzed is a song that had to grow on me, and even though is DT attempting Radio friendly song, it’s a great short tune.
Title: Re: UPDATED w/Distance Over Time- Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: lovethedrake on April 18, 2019, 07:31:11 AM
Thanks for replying and enjoyed the read!

I agreed with most of your blog but I feel like you are selling the first four songs a tad short on this one.

Paralyzed is commercial no doubt, but yet I never get bored with it and the vocals and overall production is excellent.

The mid section of fall into the light is brilliant imo and barstool warrior is probably my second favorite in the album behind AWE.

I agree that untethered angel is boring and a throwaway.   

AWE though... to me, is the first song since six degrees that actually belongs in the “completely classic DT” catalogue.  I just love it from start to epic finish.

Octavarium, breaking all illusions, s2n, bw, pbd, a count of Tuscany, antr, this dying soul, itnog  these are all great “modern”dream theater songs but at wits end belongs up there with the all time classics imo.
Title: Re: UPDATED w/Distance Over Time- Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: bosk1 on April 18, 2019, 08:24:51 AM
I dunno.  Still reads like someone with an ax to grind who just wants to convince the world how everything that isn't their favorite album or two somehow sucks just because it isn't their personal favorite.
Title: Re: UPDATED w/Distance Over Time- Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: lovethedrake on April 18, 2019, 08:38:03 AM
I dunno.  Still reads like someone with an ax to grind who just wants to convince the world how everything that isn't their favorite album or two somehow sucks just because it isn't their personal favorite.

I don't get that vibe from his blog bosk.... He says its a great album despite clearly not loving the first 4 tracks and also says VK is excellent.

I love everything DT does and will always listen to their albums but I agree with the sentiment that the last GREAT album is either TOT or SDOIT.  That doesn't mean the other albums don't all have fantastic songs.

I don't think DT suddenly got less talented after SDOIT... they just made a stylistic choice that IMO is not as well suited for them.  I mean their name is Dream Theater... nobody hears that and thinks "hardcore metal".   They started as a progressive rock band with a hint of hair metal and a slice of 80's metal with an over the top vocalist.  Thats a large distinction from TOT which essentially has none of that. 

If you are a huge metal head, I could see loving SC.   I am a prog guy.  I like dream theater because it sounded like a heavier version of Styx or Genesis.

Anyways,  I guess I'm just defending that guys blog who I actually think is well done. 


Now, with all that said  DOT....  they brought a TON of what made me love them back to the fold and I think the warmth of the production really helps in some of the more metal areas.

AWE is just sooooooo good  :metal
Title: Re: UPDATED w/Distance Over Time- Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: OptionalPlayer on April 18, 2019, 03:46:14 PM
Thanks for replying and enjoyed the read!

I agreed with most of your blog but I feel like you are selling the first four songs a tad short on this one.
No problem! And y'know, maybe the songs will grow on me over time. But my reaction over the past few months - and even seeing a few live - is underwhelming. I just find myself checking out when those songs are on and really focusing on the album when they're over.

I dunno.  Still reads like someone with an ax to grind who just wants to convince the world how everything that isn't their favorite album or two somehow sucks just because it isn't their personal favorite.
I'm sorry you feel that way, Bosk. I certainly don't have an axe to grind with the band. I obviously love them to death. I just felt like voicing my singular opinion on the matter - and who else better to share it with than a bunch of DT fans? If you disagree, that's a-okay too. I certainly hope it doesn't read like I'm trying to convince anyone to hate on their albums. My opinions are no more valid than anyone else's. I just wanted to share some thoughts!

I don't get that vibe from his blog bosk.... He says its a great album despite clearly not loving the first 4 tracks and also says VK is excellent.

I love everything DT does and will always listen to their albums but I agree with the sentiment that the last GREAT album is either TOT or SDOIT.  That doesn't mean the other albums don't all have fantastic songs.

I don't think DT suddenly got less talented after SDOIT... they just made a stylistic choice that IMO is not as well suited for them.  I mean their name is Dream Theater... nobody hears that and thinks "hardcore metal".   They started as a progressive rock band with a hint of hair metal and a slice of 80's metal with an over the top vocalist.  Thats a large distinction from TOT which essentially has none of that. 

If you are a huge metal head, I could see loving SC.   I am a prog guy.  I like dream theater because it sounded like a heavier version of Styx or Genesis.

Anyways,  I guess I'm just defending that guys blog who I actually think is well done. 
Thanks, meng!

That's a good point to make: the band made a stylistic choice with ToT. But post ToT, some songs were metal, some were not. And that's fine, because the band never really were "heavy" in the true sense to begin with (I cringe even typing that because I know what is "heavy" is completely subjective, but I know what I mean when I say it).

I feel, however, that the band never really had an "identity" so-to-speak. I knew a heavy song like The Dark Eternal Night or The Ministry of Lost Souls was truly a DT song because it would meander and ramble on and on. Symphony X or Pain of Salvation songs wouldn't necessarily do that - and if they did, it still felt like part of the song (see my praise of Pale Blue Dot). The technical prowess in the band always seemed to come first rather than the music, so-to-speak. Obviously there are moments in many of the albums where you could negate that statement, but as a whole, that's how I feel.

Anyway, I'm beginning to ramble on and not make sense like Illumination Theory, so I'll shut up now.  :lol
Title: Re: UPDATED w/Distance Over Time- Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Grizz on April 18, 2019, 09:46:09 PM
Eh fuck it, let me throw in my two-tenths of a cent.

SFaM: Classic ofc. I don't think the story is well-executed, as it's kinda convoluted and extremely difficult to piece together without someone else explaining it to you imo. But, the album is so great, that who cares?

6D: I always considered this a "good" album. Sure it's a solid album with lots of classic moments, but I have trouble getting into the first disc beyond TGP. I just can't love this album as much as others can for some reason.

ToT: Also a "good" album, but it's too metallic. I love the energy and it's very solid, but it's only like a third of ideal DT.

8VM: Some of my favorite musical moments are on this album, but it's woefully inconsistent.

SC: Meh.

BCSL: Some of my favorite musical moments are on this album, but it's woefully inconsistent.

ADTOE: I dig it. It's solid. I like the progginess and the melodies, much like I&W, and I think those are pretty well balanced.

DT: I dig it. I feel like it lacks some polish though. CONTROVERSY TIME: Illumination Theory, while beautiful, is a franken-song beyond the level of Scarred.

The Astonishing: burn it and bury it in the backyard. I could write a thesis on how much this album frustrates me.

D/T: I dig it. It seems kinda simple, kinda like DT, but I feel this one addresses a lot of the shortcomings of late DT. I can hear Myung, Mangini sounds in his element, and there is a nice balance between metal, prog, and melody.
Title: Re: UPDATED w/Distance Over Time- Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: OptionalPlayer on April 23, 2019, 07:06:27 AM
Eh fuck it, let me throw in my two-tenths of a cent.

SFaM: Classic ofc. I don't think the story is well-executed, as it's kinda convoluted and extremely difficult to piece together without someone else explaining it to you imo. But, the album is so great, that who cares?

6D: I always considered this a "good" album. Sure it's a solid album with lots of classic moments, but I have trouble getting into the first disc beyond TGP. I just can't love this album as much as others can for some reason.

ToT: Also a "good" album, but it's too metallic. I love the energy and it's very solid, but it's only like a third of ideal DT.

8VM: Some of my favorite musical moments are on this album, but it's woefully inconsistent.

SC: Meh.

BCSL: Some of my favorite musical moments are on this album, but it's woefully inconsistent.

ADTOE: I dig it. It's solid. I like the progginess and the melodies, much like I&W, and I think those are pretty well balanced.

DT: I dig it. I feel like it lacks some polish though. CONTROVERSY TIME: Illumination Theory, while beautiful, is a franken-song beyond the level of Scarred.

The Astonishing: burn it and bury it in the backyard. I could write a thesis on how much this album frustrates me.

D/T: I dig it. It seems kinda simple, kinda like DT, but I feel this one addresses a lot of the shortcomings of late DT. I can hear Myung, Mangini sounds in his element, and there is a nice balance between metal, prog, and melody.
Your summary is almost a TL;DR of my blog.  :D The "woefully inconsistent" line is really what I feel hits the head on some of those albums.

ADToE is a pretty good album and I love your unabashed take one-liner on Illumination Theory, because I agree with you. Compared to Scarred? I feel that's a stretch, but that's technically not what this thread's about (nor do I want to devolve into).
Title: Re: UPDATED w/Distance Over Time- Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: darkshade on April 24, 2019, 07:30:27 AM
Been going through the DT discography lately since DoT came out, and I would say DoT is DT's last great album.

While I defend Octavarium, it isn't the best album ever. I used to skip IWBY all the time back in the day, never hated Never Enough, but never thought it was great. TALW is good, but it's in a terrible spot on the album (but because of the concept and the key it's in... oh well...) Octavarium does have that old school DT feel that seemed to go missing since, but also clues us in to the future of the DT sound. SC and BC&SL both have their problems. ADTOE is a step up, and a good album, but not great, sound production issues, and I feel like the songs are just gasping for air. DT12 has grown on me, but has issues as well, and is near the bottom of my DT list. TA is a Petrucci/Rudess side project featuring the members of Dream Theater.

So I've never felt any albums since have topped anything they did I&W through TOT, but they got close at times, but DoT has, after all this time. Everyone sounds great, though Rudess seems more reserved on this album than any other I've ever heard with him playing. I don't think DoT tops anything pre-Roadrunner/Pirate LaBrie, but it can sit up there with them.
Title: Re: UPDATED w/Distance Over Time- Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: Dublagent66 on April 24, 2019, 11:41:24 AM
Been going through the DT discography lately since DoT came out, and I would say DoT is DT's last great album.

Definitely this.  :tup
Title: Re: UPDATED w/Distance Over Time- Train of Thought: Dream Theater's Last Great Album
Post by: ThatOneGuy2112 on April 24, 2019, 01:41:23 PM
While I don't think D/T is mind-blowing or anything, I agree, it's definitely their best album in a while. Certainly of the Mangini-era so far and maybe their best since ToT personally.