Author Topic: Your Controversial Opinions on DT  (Read 802996 times)

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Offline Onno

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3920 on: February 28, 2014, 04:01:06 PM »
^I agree too.

Offline lithium112

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3921 on: February 28, 2014, 05:30:26 PM »
Yeah, I kind of agree with this. All things considered, I think it's forgivable, but it does make it a little more difficult to find what truly makes each song its own unique entity.

That's a good way of putting it. The thing is, they're really good at that sound. But for whatever reason I find that it saturates the latest album a bit too much. And it's a trend that I think has been increasing recently. I've never noticed it until listening to ADTOE for the first time and I had the same thing listening through DT12.

Offline theseoafs

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3922 on: February 28, 2014, 05:35:20 PM »
But it's easy to stick with the obvious format-breakers. I don't think Surrender to Reason has a clear comparison in the band's catalogue. I think it's got a very curious vibe to it - and that huge bass-driven break in the middle is a brand new thing. In fact, the band's been criticised, so hard, for their constant squandering of John Myung, and this is their first album since Dream and Day where the bass has carried anything like this much weight, melodically. All these major keys, those quick-shifting riffs - they've never in their lives been so lean, so crafty, so disinclined to milk a riff that doesn't need milking. The band covers a whole load of ground they haven't touched since they were in their twenties, and - as then - it sounds very like they've got something to prove.
Cool points, but I think the way it sounds so much like Rush breaks the sense of it being novel, or outside DT's typical domain.

The comparisons to Rush are sometimes overstated.  The intro/outro sounds like Rush, and maybe you could cite an influence in the bass break in the middle, but on the whole the song doesn't sound much like Rush at all.  Too heavy, too dark.

Offline kingshmegland

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3923 on: February 28, 2014, 08:23:41 PM »
Well as a Rush nut the bass break and the first half of the solo is very Rush influenced and I remember JP asking how Alex got his solo sound on the Permanent  Waves album and the producer, who has worked with Rush many times set him up.  So no big deal because I just think it's a nod toone of his idols.  It's not the whole song but that one section.
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Offline 425

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3924 on: February 28, 2014, 09:34:43 PM »
I rather think Mike Portnoy was the one who went in with preconceptions of what people would "accept" on a DT album, and I think BCSL suffered for it. ADToE sort of restated their identity - largely out of necessity - but I think all bets are off from here on out.

I'm going to have to disagree with you yet again.

https://www.mikeportnoy.com/forum/m2352022.aspx

"In the end, JP and I discussed it and he just couldn't hang with the cookie...he thought it was just TOO radical for DT fans to swallow... "

Assuming that Mike is faithfully reporting here the discussions as they occurred, it is clear that Mike was trying to test the boundaries of what people would "accept" on a DT album (as you put it), and that John was the one to shoot it down in the name of what DT fans would "swallow."

And I agree with Perpeptual Change, for the most part, in this conversation. In my judgement, it is clear from ADTOE and DT12 that Mike was for the most part right about John's attitude towards these things. Those two albums are at least mostly safe.

They're also difficult albums for me, as I've said before. There are a number of songs on both albums that I really love, including OTBOA, FFH, BAI, TBP and IT. These are all quite simply among the band's best songs. But the albums on which they appeared were largely safe, largely in keeping with what is expected of Dream Theater. I'm not prepared to judge them negatively as albums for that, since that can often be good and I really do love the albums. But I definitely don't feel like nothing is off the table. I mean, yeah, there is the string/ambient section in IT, but the fact is that they did similar things in TCOT, 8VM and the overture of SDOIT. Same deal with some of the electronic stuff on BMUBD and Outcry—it first cropped up in ITNOG.

Again, this is not necessarily a condemnation of the albums, it is just an expression of my view that there's certainly a lot that is, in fact, off the table. I don't expect the band to ever really surprise us again, at least not more than the string section in IT was a surprise. I don't expect to hear another moment where I think "hey, they never tried anything at all like this before this album!" I do on all the pre-ADTOE albums (examples, working backwards: Day After Day, POW rap, 8VM intro, Vacant, SDOIT overture, TDOE ragtime, Chapman Stick on NM, SDV, sax on AD, WDADU was the debut). Meanwhile there's not been anything like this on ADOTE (electronic stuff can be heard on ITNOG, BAI surprised me by how good it was—and it's now my very favorite—but not with any new elements of the sound) or DT12 (ambientish/symphonic stuff they've done in the past, and The Embracing Circle, FAS and the BTV intro are really the only things that make a bit of a claim to being new sound elements).

It's hard for me to be exacting or harsh in this because I love ADTOE and DT12. They're fantastic albums, the both of them. But they don't excite me as much as the albums with Mike Portnoy. Not only do I prefer the feel of the band with Portnoy's drumming, but I also feel like each album with Mike went out of its way to be unique within the catalog and bring a certain sound characteristic of that album. If you asked, I could describe the sound of each of the albums and do so pretty specifically. Even Black Clouds & Silver Linings, which is accused of being "generic DT," stands apart to my ear. I'd call it the most gothic Dream Theater album, and one that is extraordinarily evocative of the image described in its title. It's also the last DT album (in terms of most recent) that I love without reservation.

To conclude this very long post, I'll reiterate my agreement with Perpetual Change. The last two DT albums sound homogenous to me where the ten that preceded them each stand apart from the others to me. I will add that I understand that Mike is probably gone forever and that we're not getting him back, that I'm okay with this, and that I'm happy with Mike Mangini as the best choice of replacement. And I'm okay if we get like five more albums like ADTOE and DT12 because they have very good songwriting and, though they don't excite me as much as the first ten, they are in all honesty very good albums.
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Offline Shadow Ninja 2.0

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3925 on: February 28, 2014, 09:39:30 PM »
I feel like JP saying the growls didn't fit was a diplomatic way of telling Mike that he can't growl. At all.
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Offline ThatOneGuy2112

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3926 on: February 28, 2014, 09:49:27 PM »
I wouldn't be surprised if some of the more contemporary technical/death metal bands with harsher vocals of the time played a large part in Mike's direction for the band just prior to his departure. I recall him saying that Colors from BTBAM was his favorite album of that year, so I can see why he wanted to incorporate growling backing vocals. Whether they worked for DT, well that's all around pretty subjective of course.

Offline XB0BX

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3927 on: February 28, 2014, 09:50:53 PM »
DT's career from SC and on is better than their career before SC.

Offline 425

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3928 on: February 28, 2014, 09:54:05 PM »
I feel like JP saying the growls didn't fit was a diplomatic way of telling Mike that he can't growl. At all.

I'm no expert on good vs. poor growls, but I think the mp3 of the actual growls (not the final version, though that is excellent, just not growling) is far from being bad, and I think if they'd double tracked it perhaps he probably would have been good to go for that section.

But in any case, note that MP isn't quoting John as saying that the growls didn't fit, but that the DT fanbase couldn't take them. I think if MP is quoting that accurately, I think that is significant evidence, along with the overall musical direction of the band with JP as producer, that JP was more concerned than Mike was with what the fanbase expected from a DT album.
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Offline BlobVanDam

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3929 on: February 28, 2014, 10:07:12 PM »
The only flaw with JR that I see is that they've restrained him too much on recent albums, and are missing a huge element I love about SFAM/SDOIT.
Whenever I hear anything by one of the DT guys outside of DT (ie. JR/JP/JLB), I often think "they'd never do this in DT now", whereas I think a progressive band with such diverse players should consider nothing off limits. I think they need to write music without any preconception of what fans say they want, and just do whatever awesomely wacky thing they want to.

What they did in SFAM/SDOIT stays in SFAM/SDOIT.

Unfortunately. :(

I feel like anyone who's complaining that Dream Theater are homogenous these days hasn't really paid much attention to the new album. They stop for two minutes to play wind chimes!
Eh, disagree completely. DT12 has its moments, but ultimately I think "homogenous" is the perfect way of describing their sound. There are no more spicey risky moments for me; just "safe" ones which 1.) sound a heck of a lot like  JP songs, and 2.) have obvious precedent in previous recordings. And... that's OK. For a band that's pushed the envelope as often as DT have, fine. You can't expect any artist to reinvent the wheel so many times. But I'd sure like it better if the direction was more open-ended and exploratory.

I agree with you on this and all follow up posts, PC.
The few curveballs I can think of on DT12 do have precedent in previous recordings, and despite being less safe than ADTOE, the album is still safe and familiar. Not that safe or familiar are necessarily bad things, but I'd like something unexpected.
I don't hear so much of each band member's individual range lately, like they have too defined an idea of what DT is supposed to sound like.
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Offline NotePad

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3930 on: March 01, 2014, 12:37:12 AM »
I'v been outspoken here about a lot of DTs past music, particularly the majority of albums like I&W, SFAM, ADTOE to name a few. Of course there are some I really love, Awake for example. It's odd how a bands discography could split my opinion so much.

But I really like what they've done with DT12. Some say they're playing it safe, and it could be seen that way. DT have been becoming more known in the 'mainstream' and one might say the new album was a way to capitalize on that. But DT does a lot of things, like i'v said, the next album may have another 45 minutes song preceeded by 8 minute songs. You can't predict it. But DT12 surprised me very much. I was becoming so tired of these guys, ADTOE was just so goddamn typical, like I&W part 2 ;p DT12 had more of a groove then usual DT albums overall. I love the Rush influence, but i also sense Journey-like melodies in a couple parts. Either way, great stuff. Illumination Theory though, eh, my least favorite atm. They always gotta throw in something like that, don't they?

Offline rumborak

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3931 on: March 01, 2014, 09:51:09 AM »
Here's a small rant of mine: Is James' only way of singing softly these days by breathily moaning into the microphone as if he was a gay lover asking for round 2 in bed? He didn't do that all that much back in the early days, but these days it seems for him *the* way of singing softly.
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Offline Jamesman42

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3932 on: March 01, 2014, 10:37:17 AM »
Even though he has gotten better/healed up some, comparing him to his glory days makes them almost incomparable.

Offline jakepriest

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3933 on: March 01, 2014, 10:53:12 AM »
Here's a small rant of mine: Is James' only way of singing softly these days by breathily moaning into the microphone as if he was a gay lover asking for round 2 in bed? He didn't do that all that much back in the early days, but these days it seems for him *the* way of singing softly.

This also annoys me, especially in the first verse of The Bigger Picture.

Offline Shade

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3934 on: March 01, 2014, 11:00:06 AM »
I think it's genuinely remarkable how little JLB's voice has changed in the 20+ years he's been in the band. Look at many other prog metal bands who've been around as long, and they're vocalist has usually changed (often for the worse) over time, or been replaced.

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3935 on: March 01, 2014, 11:34:30 AM »
I think it's genuinely remarkable how little JLB's voice has changed in the 20+ years he's been in the band. Look at many other prog metal bands who've been around as long, and they're vocalist has usually changed (often for the worse) over time, or been replaced.

Agreed, although there are still noticeable changes. I think not his midrange sounds a lot better now, and he's somewhat re-attained the raspier side of his voice that he hasn't used since maybe 2002.
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Offline 425

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3936 on: March 01, 2014, 11:40:27 AM »
Agreed, although there are still noticeable changes. I think not his midrange sounds a lot better now, and he's somewhat re-attained the raspier side of his voice that he hasn't used since maybe 2002.

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Offline rumborak

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3937 on: March 01, 2014, 12:08:37 PM »
Even though he has gotten better/healed up some, comparing him to his glory days makes them almost incomparable.

I can see how some things are done out of necessity, but I think that breathily moaning is a stylistic choice. As jakepriest points out, that "... more than they take, aaaahaaaaa...." makes me wonder how that got past everybody during recording.
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Offline Jamesman42

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3938 on: March 01, 2014, 12:12:23 PM »
Do you think it may also be in how it's recorded? Modern day mixing for DT is very different from back then.

Also, why are you not signing "rumborak" after each post? :lol

Offline Perpetual Change

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3939 on: March 01, 2014, 01:09:41 PM »
James' vocals are unnaturally breathy at times.

Offline 425

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3940 on: March 01, 2014, 01:12:53 PM »
The breathy stuff isn't nearly as much of a problem for me as the fact that on the new album, almost everything that isn't breathy is sung with significant rasp but also a little bit of a nasal element as well (I don't know precisely how to describe it), like the Bridges in the Sky chorus but for every line of every song. I used to think that was on account of the vocal effects, and I think maybe some of it is, but after seeing Luna Park (where he even does it on ballads like BTS), I think that's just how he sings now. I think actually "more than they take" is an instance of this, not breathiness (and it's on Surrender to Reason, not The Bigger Picture which is the song jakepriest mentioned).

I mean, he still has a great voice, and this particular technique is good in moderation (before DT12 came out, I really loved the BITS chorus because of it), but it feels so overused at this point to me on account of the new album using it so much. I hope on the next album he pulls back on it some and just does some straight-ahead singing.
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Offline Viking of the Sagas

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3941 on: March 01, 2014, 01:49:59 PM »
I actually agree with a lot of what 425 said.

Dream Theater IS playing it safe right now. Or in other words, they've become pussies.

That being said, I've grown a new sort of love for the DT12 album after hearing it live. I really do like the "sing-along" elements there. Not to say it's new, really, but it feels very emphasized on this album. And OTBOA of course was amazing as well.

Offline Perpetual Change

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3942 on: March 01, 2014, 02:41:22 PM »
I hope on the next album he pulls back on it some and just does some straight-ahead singing.
Agreed, especially since a lot of the breathy stuff is probably studio magic. Live, those lush breathy parts turn into basically whisper sounding singing. Funny, but ever since The Human Equation came out, I've felt James could be utilized so much better in DT. Since then, he's been utilized very much the same as ever, except now there's the solo albums adding to the evidence.

Offline 425

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3943 on: March 01, 2014, 02:50:38 PM »
On Luna Park, there's times when he just breathes right into the mic and it distorts the sound. I don't mind the breathy stuff too much, but I think he's resorting to it, like with the BITS-chorus stuff, too often lately.
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Offline Sycsa

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3944 on: March 01, 2014, 02:51:29 PM »
Even though he has gotten better/healed up some, comparing him to his glory days makes them almost incomparable.

I can see how some things are done out of necessity, but I think that breathily moaning is a stylistic choice. As jakepriest points out, that "... more than they take, aaaahaaaaa...." makes me wonder how that got past everybody during recording.
I like that little "aaaahaaa" a lot, reminds me of David Byron (Uriah Heep).


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Offline Perpetual Change

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3945 on: March 01, 2014, 02:53:48 PM »
On Luna Park, there's times when he just breathes right into the mic and it distorts the sound. I don't mind the breathy stuff too much, but I think he's resorting to it, like with the BITS-chorus stuff, too often lately.
I didn't realize it was his breathe distorting the sound, but that does make sense I guess.

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3946 on: March 01, 2014, 02:59:09 PM »
On Luna Park, there's times when he just breathes right into the mic and it distorts the sound.
Yeah, and I noticed the same thing during the first verse of Finally Free when I saw them live. I don't mind the breathy singing on albums, though.

Offline TheGreatPretender

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3947 on: March 01, 2014, 03:02:14 PM »
Even though he has gotten better/healed up some, comparing him to his glory days makes them almost incomparable.

I can see how some things are done out of necessity, but I think that breathily moaning is a stylistic choice. As jakepriest points out, that "... more than they take, aaaahaaaaa...." makes me wonder how that got past everybody during recording.
I like that little "aaaahaaa" a lot, reminds me of David Byron (Uriah Heep).

 :tup


I always find it funny when someone says, "I can't imagine how this got past everyone at the studio." Like there was no chance in hell they actually LIKED that particular decision and decided to go with it.
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Offline wasteland

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3948 on: March 01, 2014, 04:01:42 PM »
Even though he has gotten better/healed up some, comparing him to his glory days makes them almost incomparable.

I can see how some things are done out of necessity, but I think that breathily moaning is a stylistic choice. As jakepriest points out, that "... more than they take, aaaahaaaaa...." makes me wonder how that got past everybody during recording.
I like that little "aaaahaaa" a lot, reminds me of David Byron (Uriah Heep).

 :tup


I always find it funny when someone says, "I can't imagine how this got past everyone at the studio." Like there was no chance in hell they actually LIKED that particular decision and decided to go with it.

That's exactly what I though myself! I like that little part, it fits well the moment and compliments the riff to come.
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Offline 7deg_inner_happiness

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3949 on: March 01, 2014, 06:46:11 PM »
Even though he has gotten better/healed up some, comparing him to his glory days makes them almost incomparable.

I can see how some things are done out of necessity, but I think that breathily moaning is a stylistic choice. As jakepriest points out, that "... more than they take, aaaahaaaaa...." makes me wonder how that got past everybody during recording.
I like that little "aaaahaaa" a lot, reminds me of David Byron (Uriah Heep).

 :tup


I always find it funny when someone says, "I can't imagine how this got past everyone at the studio." Like there was no chance in hell they actually LIKED that particular decision and decided to go with it.

That's exactly what I though myself! I like that little part, it fits well the moment and compliments the riff to come.

"In moments of pain
Where heart and mind collide
Self reflection
Helps me decide

I believe
The sacrifices in life
Give more than they take"

Myung's wisdom expressed through these lyrics are magical and revelatory.  IMO James could not have delivered this message in a better texture or tone.  It is indeed an "aha" moment.

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Offline 425

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3950 on: March 01, 2014, 08:25:28 PM »
On Luna Park, there's times when he just breathes right into the mic and it distorts the sound. I don't mind the breathy stuff too much, but I think he's resorting to it, like with the BITS-chorus stuff, too often lately.
I didn't realize it was his breathe distorting the sound, but that does make sense I guess.

I'm almost certain that's what it is. Listen to the beginning of The Spirit Carries On: he's singing that first line in an extraordinarily breathy manner, if you see the video he's very close to the microphone, and most of what we can hear on that line on the recording is just his breath obscuring practically everything else.
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Offline rumborak

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3951 on: March 01, 2014, 11:05:01 PM »
"In moments of pain
Where heart and mind collide
Self reflection
Helps me decide

I believe
The sacrifices in life
Give more than they take"

Myung's wisdom expressed through these lyrics are magical and revelatory.  IMO James could not have delivered this message in a better texture or tone.  It is indeed an "aha" moment..

Errrrr... o_O?

I don't want to be a dick, but "I believe the sacrifices in life give more than they take" is as cliché as it can get.
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Offline NotePad

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3952 on: March 02, 2014, 12:36:53 AM »
You know, I actually don't mind Labrie singing in that soft whispery way. At least not all the time, like mostly with the new album. He was great on Through Her Eyes. But there have been times where's it's bugged me, but IMO with The Looking Glass and Through Her Eyes they melodies and lyrics were just so perfect, him singing like that just made it better. At the same time, there were parts of ADTOE where Labrie's singing just made me go, 'really?.....dude..really? give it up man....'. I didn't say this aloud of course ;p...

Offline Tis BOOLsheet

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3953 on: March 02, 2014, 08:33:10 AM »
On Luna Park, there's times when he just breathes right into the mic and it distorts the sound. I don't mind the breathy stuff too much, but I think he's resorting to it, like with the BITS-chorus stuff, too often lately.
I didn't realize it was his breathe distorting the sound, but that does make sense I guess.

If you breathe into a microphone it will amplify your breath, obviously. You shouldn't really be breathing directly into the microphone. The issue is not a technical one with the technology or amplifying equipment. It's that his singing is extremely breathy. It's just not good vocal technique.

To be sure, there was indeed a technical problem, that night. But it wasn't with the set up or equipment.

Offline TheGreatPretender

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #3954 on: March 02, 2014, 12:27:56 PM »
If you breathe into a microphone it will amplify your breath, obviously. You shouldn't really be breathing directly into the microphone. The issue is not a technical one with the technology or amplifying equipment. It's that his singing is extremely breathy. It's just not good vocal technique.

To be sure, there was indeed a technical problem, that night. But it wasn't with the set up or equipment.

Even when he's been breathy in the past, it wasn't that bad. If you want to call it bad vocal technique, that's fine, but the problem was amplified by the equipment. I believe someone already mentioned that it was most likely the overcompression that made it so problematic.
"How's that for a slice of fried gold?"