Author Topic: Your Controversial Opinions on DT  (Read 803691 times)

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Online kingshmegland

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4200 on: March 17, 2014, 08:10:59 PM »
Though I remember Neil Peart around the Presto album saying he learned all he could about drumming only years later did he say he was wrong so don't fret yet.
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Offline rumborak

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4201 on: March 17, 2014, 08:24:20 PM »
If anything, it would probably help with that production hole they dug themselves into lately.
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Offline Volante99

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4202 on: March 17, 2014, 09:08:20 PM »


That quote really is unfortunate.  :-[ Hearing one of your favorite bands say that there are limits and comfort zones to the music they make... Doesn't really make since since they are indeed a progressive band. "Appreciation and respect for who we are"? That quote really rubs me the wrong way.

Agreed.  I remember one of them had something similar about Liquid Dreams from the 2nd LTE album, like, "We could never do a song like in DT."  Uh, why not?  It is your band, so you can do whatever you want with it.  Being a rock band didn't stop U2 from doing a lot of the electronic stuff they did in the 90s, so are you telling me DT cannot write out of their progressive metal comfort zone?  No way.  And no, I don't think they should do something different just for the sake of it, but if they have a great idea, like Rudess talked about in that earlier quote, why not expand it and write a DT song around it? Just because it's not part of the pre-existing DT sound doesn't mean it cannot become part of the DT sound.

You raise some good points. I can understand DT's point of view though. DT is a working band. U2 could make fart noises for 45 minutes, record it, sell 100,000 copies the first week, and follow it with a $300 million revenue tour. DT is completely dependent on it's fans, and while DT fans are probably the most loyal of any band I know, metal/rock fans in general can be very cruel and adverse to change. DT are truly survivors in the rock (I would put Rush in that category as well). And part of their survival has been maintaining some sense of musical parameters and identity. You do something too different and you risk of alienating your fan base.

Offline TheGreatPretender

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4203 on: March 17, 2014, 09:13:19 PM »
You raise some good points. I can understand DT's point of view though. DT is a working band. U2 could make fart noises for 45 minutes, record it, sell 100,000 copies the first week, and follow it with a $300 million revenue tour. DT is completely dependent on it's fans, and while DT fans are probably the most loyal of any band I know, metal/rock fans in general can be very cruel and adverse to change. DT are truly survivors in the rock (I would put Rush in that category as well). And part of their survival has been maintaining some sense of musical parameters and identity. You do something too different and you risk of alienating your fan base.

Something Rush DID learn the hard way, back in the 80s. Sure, in retrospect, a lot of us can recognize that Spirit of the Radio, Time Stand Still and Roll The Bones are fun, interesting songs with some great themes to them, but back then, Mike Portnoy is the perfect testament of how off putting some of that stuff was to hardcore Rush fans.

Same with Megadeth and Risk.
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Offline Lucien

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4204 on: March 17, 2014, 09:15:00 PM »
But, just like Rush, there's the core fanbase that will stay with Dream Theater, hungry for whatever they put out.
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Offline TheGreatPretender

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4205 on: March 17, 2014, 09:20:47 PM »
But, just like Rush, there's the core fanbase that will stay with Dream Theater, hungry for whatever they put out.

I'm pretty sure that Rush's fanbase at its peak was bigger than DT's though. So even losing a good amount of them, the 'core' is a lot more substantial. I don't think DT can afford to have its fanbase whittled down to the 'core' of it.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4206 on: March 17, 2014, 09:28:41 PM »
Rush was still drawing like crazy well into the 90s, filling up many of the arenas they toured (16K plus), so even though a portion of fans didn't like their post-Moving Pictures direction, they stayed with them for the live shows for many years.  It helped that they kept ticket prices relatively low, until their comeback in 2002, when their prices shot up.  The increase in DT's ticket prices is probably a big reason why some have said their live shows are not filling up like they used to.

Offline Volante99

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4207 on: March 17, 2014, 09:41:39 PM »
But, just like Rush, there's the core fanbase that will stay with Dream Theater, hungry for whatever they put out.

I'm pretty sure that Rush's fanbase at its peak was bigger than DT's though. So even losing a good amount of them, the 'core' is a lot more substantial. I don't think DT can afford to have its fanbase whittled down to the 'core' of it.

100% correct. DT doesn't have that luxury. For all the talk of us on this board, complaining DT plays it safe and shouldn't box themselves in to a certain sound, one can understand where they are coming from.

That said, how amazing is it that a band almost 30 years old is still making relevant records that stack up against some of the best material they've ever done, and enjoying the largest fanbase they've probably ever had, all without compromising their sound. To me, that's what makes DT so special. I literally can't think of another single  band that fits that bill.

Offline TheGreatPretender

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4208 on: March 17, 2014, 09:48:22 PM »
DT IS THE BEST!!!!  :metal

Though that's not very controversial.

Umm...

Forsaken is way better than Space-Dye Vest. There.
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Offline Bolsters

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4209 on: March 17, 2014, 09:50:38 PM »
Forsaken is way better than Space-Dye Vest. There.

Offline Tis BOOLsheet

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4210 on: March 17, 2014, 09:53:49 PM »


That quote really is unfortunate.  :-[ Hearing one of your favorite bands say that there are limits and comfort zones to the music they make... Doesn't really make since since they are indeed a progressive band. "Appreciation and respect for who we are"? That quote really rubs me the wrong way.

Agreed.  I remember one of them had something similar about Liquid Dreams from the 2nd LTE album, like, "We could never do a song like in DT."  Uh, why not?  It is your band, so you can do whatever you want with it.  Being a rock band didn't stop U2 from doing a lot of the electronic stuff they did in the 90s, so are you telling me DT cannot write out of their progressive metal comfort zone?  No way.  And no, I don't think they should do something different just for the sake of it, but if they have a great idea, like Rudess talked about in that earlier quote, why not expand it and write a DT song around it? Just because it's not part of the pre-existing DT sound doesn't mean it cannot become part of the DT sound.

You raise some good points. I can understand DT's point of view though. DT is a working band. U2 could make fart noises for 45 minutes, record it, sell 100,000 copies the first week, and follow it with a $300 million revenue tour. DT is completely dependent on it's fans, and while DT fans are probably the most loyal of any band I know, metal/rock fans in general can be very cruel and adverse to change. DT are truly survivors in the rock (I would put Rush in that category as well). And part of their survival has been maintaining some sense of musical parameters and identity. You do something too different and you risk of alienating your fan base.

Good post. DT have worked very hard to gain this loyal and picky fan base. You put out one or two albums that's too great a risk and you could really do some harm to what you've spent all this time building. All genres including (yes) progressive metal build expectations. Going way outside of those expectations and calling it "Dream Theater," is probably not a great idea. It's a tremendous risk for these guys to take in their 50s. The business side -- how you build your brand and market yourself and keep your fans (customers) -- is a very important thing that a lot of music fans and even musicians don't really understand.

DT could do something very different and it could be a huge hit. I don't think that is very likely, but it's possible. The more realistic outcome is that the fanbase at large listens to it and goes "..........what?" Someone brought up Megadeth's Risk album. That's a good example. It sounds nothing like the band that put out "Peace Sells" but it is widely perceived to be a failure. The album was exactly what they called it: a risk. If you want to do something totally different in this situation, you probably don't do it under an established name. You go off and do a side project and call it something else.

Offline robwebster

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4211 on: March 18, 2014, 02:17:44 AM »
If we're all done focusing on the scariest bits of the quote like a messageboard full of tabloid journalists, let's see what Jordan actually said...

"If we look at the bigger picture, on this latest album we have the “Illumination theory” and in the middle of that one it goes into this very lovely orchestral and sensitive thing, which is a new thing for Dream Theater. I wrote this music that I probably would never picture would go on a Dream Theater album."

There we go. That's the qualifier. "We wouldn't mess with our core sound, except when we do, spectacularly, right at the heart of the centrepiece of our newest album where everyone can see it."

I don't think DT are beyond reproach. That "this would never fly in DT" thing made my heart hurt a little, too, after that electronic jam. I thought, "try me," but equally, I didn't hear the jam! I'd always like more experimentation, though. Muse are where I set the watermark. I loved Black Holes and Revelations - I loved that mortal terror, when I first heard Supermassive Black Hole, and that gradual yawning realisation when I started to notice I was falling in love with the track. I'd love Dream Theater to do something as shocking as Supermassive Black Hole was at the time, going from apocalyptic piano-rock to some synthy drum and bass odyssey. But Muse will tell you exactly the same thing as Dream Theater - they had a song, Soaked, which didn't make it to Black Holes and Revelations. I've listened to it, and it's brilliant, but Matt Bellamy on Soaked:

"I wrote a song called ‘Soaked’ when we were making Black Holes and Revelations, it is just like ‘Nikita’ by Elton John or one of those kind of tunes from the 80s. According to our publisher, it’s an Adam Lambert-esque song, who took second place in American Idol. I want to write various genres of music, classical music, pop music, and anything. I suppose Muse have the clear distinction that we must not go overboard, however, I sometimes cross that threshold as a songwriter. When I’m about to do so, it's made clear thanks to Chris and Dom.”

That's from the Japanese magazine Crossbeat, transcribed for Musewiki.

Alternatively, Steven Wilson seems to be the Patron Saint of ~True Art~ on this messageboard, so let's invoke him. Far and away the lead songwriter for Porcupine Tree, he's a total auteur, but he sees it as a totally different hat to his solo work:

"It would have been so easy for me to have done another Porcupine Tree album after The Incident. We were told that the next record was going to be the “big one” and that the next tour would gross $5 million. We had just sold out Radio City Music Hall. But I was bored. I didn’t want to do it. I wanted to do something different. I went back to playing smaller clubs, performing with a new band and losing money every show. But it was so fulfilling creatively. It all comes back to what we were discussing at the beginning—the idea of not wanting to regret that you didn’t do what you should have done when you could."

From Innerviews.

This is not a Dream Theater specific thing. But frankly, it's not black and white, is the main thing. A strong identity can be a bad thing if it's all you write, if everything you do has to fall into an archetype. But if you don't have a character, if you're that all over the place, there's nothing to stretch and surprise people. It's a starting point, something that can be warped and manipulated at your own leisure. That expectation becomes a privilege, because it's something to defy.

Yes, Dream Theater are a band with a distinct identity. But they're also a band who put their instruments down for five minutes of their latest signature piece. They're not interested in rehashing Images and Words. They're not even interested in rehashing A Dramatic Turn of Events.

"With A Dramatic Turn of Events, that album was more or less about us letting everyone know that we are still the same band and we’re going to continue to write music and not lose our identity. So with that being done, Dream Theater was more or less about us just remembering and saying, “You know what, we’ve done that, we’ve proven that, let’s just get back into having a great time together and writing an amazing album and that we can say this is the beginning of something new for us.” This is a whole new chapter in Dream Theater’s career that we feel this album will be the kick-start to that."

- James LaBrie. October 2013.

Offline NotePad

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4212 on: March 18, 2014, 03:03:37 AM »
DT12 is a much better album then ADTOE, in my opinion. I felt ADTOE was just really typical DT, to me it comes off as being like a I&W pt. 2.

But DT12 i like a lot. It sounds like DT, and there are definitely moments typical for the band, like a lot of the instrumental sections and intros. JP's guitar sounds is amazing, so full and crushing, i love it. I'd love to see them continue in this direction.

Offline erwinrafael

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4213 on: March 18, 2014, 03:40:57 AM »
DT12 is a much better album then ADTOE, in my opinion. I felt ADTOE was just really typical DT, to me it comes off as being like a I&W pt. 2.

But DT12 i like a lot. It sounds like DT, and there are definitely moments typical for the band, like a lot of the instrumental sections and intros. JP's guitar sounds is amazing, so full and crushing, i love it. I'd love to see them continue in this direction.

Are you stating this as a controversial opinion? Because I don't think it's controversial at all.

And robwebster, you nailed it.  :tup

I do think there is a band who was successful in sounding different every two albums or so: QUEEN.

Offline lithium112

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4214 on: March 18, 2014, 10:36:27 AM »
Would be nice if they make an album influenced by music they're digging in the present other than prog (based on their best 2013 albums, Rudess = Boards of Canada, Sigur Ros... Petrucci = Some metalcore bands).

I think this would be cool to hear. Maybe not on an "official" DT release but more like the Clear EP Periphery just released. I'd love to hear them do some just-for-fun songwriting.

Offline ThatOneGuy2112

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4215 on: March 18, 2014, 10:53:03 AM »
DT12 is a much better album then ADTOE, in my opinion. I felt ADTOE was just really typical DT, to me it comes off as being like a I&W pt. 2.

But DT12 i like a lot. It sounds like DT, and there are definitely moments typical for the band, like a lot of the instrumental sections and intros. JP's guitar sounds is amazing, so full and crushing, i love it. I'd love to see them continue in this direction.

Are you stating this as a controversial opinion? Because I don't think it's controversial at all.

I'd say the forum is fairly split in regards to DT12, and I've seen much more love for ADTOE than DT12 so I could see how this qualifies as somewhat controversial.

Offline Shadow Ninja 2.0

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4216 on: March 18, 2014, 11:59:34 AM »
I prefer ADTOE, personally. Though both rank rather low overall.
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Offline Implode

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4217 on: March 18, 2014, 12:33:36 PM »
I find it surprising that JR thinks that the orchestra section is outside of what DT would normally do. After SDOIT and Octavarium, I'd say that fits right into their typical sound.

Offline theseoafs

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4218 on: March 18, 2014, 12:39:02 PM »
*snip*

Good post, rob.  I'd also add that having a strong band identity is important for commercial reasons.  DTF does not represent the general DT fanbase; we're not the casual fans, we're generally the people who own all (or most) of the albums, know the band's history and side projects, and so on and so forth.  To us, it probably seems like no big deal for the band to explore jazz or electronica, because we like the musicians and their songwriting and we understand the result would probably be cool.  But if you're not a diehard fan, really big departures from the status quo can be confusing or offputting. 

There are a lot of examples of this in rock.  Rush is the first one that comes to mind.  It's extremely common among classic rock fans to hear that they stopped listening to Rush after Signals.  Synthy Rush just doesn't sit well with them.  And, lo and behold, the crowd at a Rush show goes quiet if you play an obscurer track off of Power Windows or Grace Under Pressure.  If DT cuts a jazz fusion track, a fraction of DT fans might be into it, but a fraction of fans will probably also say "what is this shit?" and put the disk away and never bother with DT again.  Messing with your core sound isn't necessarily a good thing.  Setting boundaries about what your band will and won't do is good sense to generate and retain a fanbase, and that's why so many of the artists evoked in Rob's post advocated for it.

Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4219 on: March 18, 2014, 12:45:05 PM »
Yep.  Sure, they are artists, but this is also their livelihood.  Besides, DT isn't the be-all and end-all of any of the members, they all have other opportunities to express themselves in any style they want.  No big deal.
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Offline robwebster

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4220 on: March 18, 2014, 12:51:36 PM »
I find it surprising that JR thinks that the orchestra section is outside of what DT would normally do. After SDOIT and Octavarium, I'd say that fits right into their typical sound.
They've used a bit of orchestra, in the past. They've not stopped a song to cycle one idea for three minutes and let it ache and ache and ache.

The lazy, cookie-cutter stereotype about Dream Theater is that they're all about showing off, and not about writing good songs. Which is obviously hogwash, just look at this message board - very few threads are about how many notes and time signatures are in each song, and the vast majority are about the way the songs sound and feel, DT are clearly writing on a level way beyond pure acrobatics. But the wankery truism has never been less true than when they literally put their instruments down and walk off the stage in the middle of one of their 20+ minute epics. It's pure feeling, it's pure heartstrings.

You could argue they did something similar in The Count of Tuscany, but I think the only real similarities are structural. The sound of Illumination Theory, the character - it'd be brave for Muse!



*snip*

Good post, rob.  I'd also add that having a strong band identity is important for commercial reasons.  DTF does not represent the general DT fanbase; we're not the casual fans, we're generally the people who own all (or most) of the albums, know the band's history and side projects, and so on and so forth.  To us, it probably seems like no big deal for the band to explore jazz or electronica, because we like the musicians and their songwriting and we understand the result would probably be cool.  But if you're not a diehard fan, really big departures from the status quo can be confusing or offputting. 

There are a lot of examples of this in rock.  Rush is the first one that comes to mind.  It's extremely common among classic rock fans to hear that they stopped listening to Rush after Signals.  Synthy Rush just doesn't sit well with them.  And, lo and behold, the crowd at a Rush show goes quiet if you play an obscurer track off of Power Windows or Grace Under Pressure.  If DT cuts a jazz fusion track, a fraction of DT fans might be into it, but a fraction of fans will probably also say "what is this shit?" and put the disk away and never bother with DT again.  Messing with your core sound isn't necessarily a good thing.  Setting boundaries about what your band will and won't do is good sense to generate and retain a fanbase, and that's why so many of the artists evoked in Rob's post advocated for it.
I don't disagree by any means - but to give the other side its dues, I don't think Synthy Rush is a cautionary tale, it's not a reason to shirk experimentation. I'm hot-and-cold on... well, on Rush in general, but the 80s stuff especially. There are whole swathes I just can't abide. (I do love GUP and RTB, mind - nineties, yes, but similar era.) But even though I'm not a fan of the music they produced, I'm glad they chose to take that risk rather than play it safe.

I think risks are a good thing, but I think a signature style and a distinct voice is something a lot of homogenous bands would absolutely kill for, and I think it's something to treasure - and the two aren't incompatible. Listen to all the copycat prog metal bands, who really, really can't do it. It's not as simple as "risks good, safety bad." I think it's very important to feel free, to feel creatively rich, and to feel that you can push that envelope when you want to. But I think it's often very canny not to destroy the envelope entirely, and I think even when you're working in a familiar style, that doesn't mean there's nothing new to say.

Having a signature sound doesn't make you creatively bereft. Frankly, it's a gift, and all the best artists know it. There are absolutely times when I've wished DT would take more risks, and I think Mike Portnoy, by the end of his leadership, genuinely was running out of things to say, but from the vibe of these interviews it sounds like they've got their heads screwed on right - they're clearly aiming for balance, rather than safety. But everyone's just taking the "must sound like DT" bit and spinning it like it's the whole statement.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 01:06:32 PM by robwebster »

Offline KevShmev

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4221 on: March 18, 2014, 01:00:46 PM »
Some good discussion going on here. :coolio

Sometimes, experiments can be a turnoff at first, but time can be kind to them.  For example, Train of Thought was DT going full metal and full tilt with their showing off, which was a bit turnoff for me at first, and I was openly critical of that album on the old dt.net, but time has been kind to it, and when you look at in the context of the entire discography, it snuggles in nicely in between the experimental Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and the more laid back, prog-driven Octavarium. 

Same with 80s synth era Rush.  I do sometimes wonder how I would have reacted to albums like Power Windows and Hold Your Fire had I been a fan at the time, but being that I didn't get into the band until late '91, I kind of got hit with the first 14 albums all at once (or more accurately, over the course of 9-10 months), so I never experienced that "I am used to Rush doing this, and then all of a sudden, they took a wide turn and did this" feeling.

Actually, U2 is a good example.  While my interest in them was waning in the 90s anyway thanks to classic rock and then prog taking over my musical soul for years, stuff like Zooropa and Pop were total turnoffs at the time.  But when I got back into the band big time about five years ago, I discovered that those albums are actually good (albeit not among their best). 

In other words, hindsight and time can really help. :biggrin:

Offline robwebster

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4222 on: March 18, 2014, 01:17:32 PM »
Sometimes, experiments can be a turnoff at first, but time can be kind to them.  For example, Train of Thought was DT going full metal and full tilt with their showing off, which was a bit turnoff for me at first, and I was openly critical of that album on the old dt.net, but time has been kind to it, and when you look at in the context of the entire discography, it snuggles in nicely in between the experimental Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and the more laid back, prog-driven Octavarium. 

In other words, hindsight and time can really help. :biggrin:
It's funny, innit! I think one of the problems, is that when an album's released, that's not "just another Dream Theater album," it's every two years. That's rarer than Christmas! After the six week promotion period, everyone's fully hyped, and for the entire cycle, it's that album's job to be all things to all people. And it never can be - especially not if it ploughs a very particular niche. As soon as it's not the present album, it stops being a threat, it becomes just another Dream Theater album, and it's easier to appreciate a non-current album for what it is rather than dwell on the missed opportunity of what it wasn't.

The other thing, is that people interpret the latest album as a direction. It's their current trajectory. This doesn't tend to bare out with Dream Theater in real life, the following album has more often been an equal-and-opposite reaction. (Six Degrees, ToT, Octavarium, Systematic Chaos are a great example!) I'm guilty of this, too, I found BCSL disappointing because I figured it was them rehashing SC, I figured it was a band whose batteries were running out. In hindsight, there might've been some truth to that - Mike Portnoy (or, as he was at the time, Mr. Dream Theater's) batteries were running out, and he'd achieved everything he really wanted to with the band, and needed to take a break. The following album didn't continue that trajectory, though. Although it was another relatively safe album, (arguably safer than BCSL!) it sounded like they were re-invigorated. That's the difference between taking risks and having something to say. For me, anyway.

All albums get reappraised. Generally, the older they are, the more liked they are. Depressingly, at least a little bit of that is because the people who were truly repelled by the album don't come back, so the fanbase is increasingly made of people who are basically okay with the majority of their catalogue. (Not that depressing - the fanbase is swelling, not shrinking, so for every person an album sheds more are arriving!) But I think the former two are bigger factors. It wasn't that long ago SDoIT was fairly controversial. I remember constant criticism of Misunderstood, The Great Debate, etc. etc. ToT's probably being reassessed now, I think we're at that phase, but it's SC I'm really looking forward to. I prefer Octavarium, but SC pressed (and continues to press!) a lot of buttons, for me, which I don't think it necessarily did for everyone else. I've got no delusions it's ever gonna be up there with Images and Words, but I think time will, eventually, be kind to it!
« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 01:24:46 PM by robwebster »

Offline theseoafs

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4223 on: March 18, 2014, 01:22:39 PM »
I don't disagree by any means - but to give the other side its dues, I don't think Synthy Rush is a cautionary tale, it's not a reason to shirk experimentation. I'm hot-and-cold on... well, on Rush in general, but the 80s stuff especially. There are whole swathes I just can't abide. (I do love GUP and RTB, mind - nineties, yes, but similar era.) But even though I'm not a fan of the music they produced, I'm glad they chose to take that risk rather than play it safe.

To be clear, I'm not suggesting Synthy Rush should be taken as a cautionary tale either -- I'll be the last guy to complain about Marathon or Red Sector A.  Risks can be a great thing and if DT does something totally out of left field, I'll support them every step of the way.  However, as you say, having a signature sound is an extremely valuable thing, and for better or for worse popular bands who shirk their signature sound are taking a risk from a commercial standpoint.  There's a good, sane, reasonable reason to say "this is the kind of music Dream Theater does, and if we release an album that doesn't fit in the box, we're not going to call it a Dream Theater album", and my comment was mostly meant to address the people in the thread who failed to understand why the band would intentionally box themselves in. 

There's a balancing act between doing something new or creatively interesting and keeping with the identity you've always had, and I think DT's done a pretty great job of doing that so far.  You've pointed out how adventurous the orchestral bit in IT is, which I agree with.  I don't think DT has any other song quite like Surrender to Reason, Behind the Veil, or Beneath the Surface, despite the fact that all of these songs have the signature DT sound.  I also think the importance of the brevity of the new album can't be overstated -- I've been so used to DT filling their albums with 10, 11, 12 minute songs that I forgot their first few albums weren't organized that way at all.  DT12 is the band at their punchiest.  Not to mention that the setlist for this tour is, on the whole, entirely unexpected, and entirely unlike what has come to be the "typical" DT set.  These aren't huge risks, but the band is clearly not content to churn out the same album over and over.

Offline robwebster

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4224 on: March 18, 2014, 01:28:41 PM »
To be clear, I'm not suggesting Synthy Rush should be taken as a cautionary tale either -- I'll be the last guy to complain about Marathon or Red Sector A.  Risks can be a great thing and if DT does something totally out of left field, I'll support them every step of the way.  However, as you say, having a signature sound is an extremely valuable thing, and for better or for worse popular bands who shirk their signature sound are taking a risk from a commercial standpoint.  There's a good, sane, reasonable reason to say "this is the kind of music Dream Theater does, and if we release an album that doesn't fit in the box, we're not going to call it a Dream Theater album", and my comment was mostly meant to address the people in the thread who failed to understand why the band would intentionally box themselves in.

There's a balancing act between doing something new or creatively interesting and keeping with the identity you've always had, and I think DT's done a pretty great job of doing that so far.  You've pointed out how adventurous the orchestral bit in IT is, which I agree with.  I don't think DT has any other song quite like Surrender to Reason, Behind the Veil, or Beneath the Surface, despite the fact that all of these songs have the signature DT sound.  I also think the importance of the brevity of the new album can't be overstated -- I've been so used to DT filling their albums with 10, 11, 12 minute songs that I forgot their first few albums weren't organized that way at all.  DT12 is the band at their punchiest.  Not to mention that the setlist for this tour is, on the whole, entirely unexpected, and entirely unlike what has come to be the "typical" DT set. The band is clearly not content to churn out the same album over and over.
I think we're on exactly the same page. I agree with everything you say, particularly about the (fantastic!) twelfth album - seriously, I could go on for pages!! - but it's the bit in bold that I think is crucial, and borne out in their words just as much as their actions! The blind spot, I'm sure, isn't conscious, but it's curious.

Offline Outcrier

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4225 on: March 18, 2014, 01:49:34 PM »
The lazy, cookie-cutter stereotype about Dream Theater is that they're all about showing off, and not about writing good songs.

It happened a lot since Systematic Chaos but i don't agree when people say this about all their discography.
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Offline robwebster

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4226 on: March 18, 2014, 01:55:09 PM »
The lazy, cookie-cutter stereotype about Dream Theater is that they're all about showing off, and not about writing good songs.

It happened a lot since Systematic Chaos but i don't agree when people say this about all their discography.
It's patently bollocks re: any album.

Offline Outcrier

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4227 on: March 18, 2014, 02:22:51 PM »
Opinions.
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Offline robwebster

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4228 on: March 18, 2014, 02:30:50 PM »
Opinions.
Yeah, and you piggybacked mine to slag off the new stuff! Basically, "Hahaha, no."

DT12, along with Octavarium and FII, is the least culpable of the lot!

Offline Outcrier

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4229 on: March 18, 2014, 04:19:43 PM »
?
The important part was "i don't agree when people say this about all their discography." so  :chill
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Offline robwebster

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4230 on: March 19, 2014, 02:20:12 AM »
?
The important part was "i don't agree when people say this about all their discography."
I'm astonished I'm responding to this again, but here I am...

"The last four albums haven't really engaged me on an emotional level, they might as well just be a flurry of notes." That's an opinion. But I wasn't talking about personal reactions, I was talking about the physical body of the music - the notes that actually make it up. They verifiably and measurably work on more levels than just "look at all the notes" - even if they don't for you personally, you can measure both in the physical design of the product and in the way the fans engage.

I'm not saying "Oh, the pope's lovely, he's such a gentleman," I was saying "He doesn't have tentacles or a pierced labia." And you came along and said "You're mostly right, but actually, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Frances do."

...No, they don't! You're welcome to challenge a fact, and you're welcome to your opinion - in fact, I think BCSL is among their weakest albums, too, so we'd probably get along - but I don't think it's fair to expect you can shoehorn that opinion into funky places and have everyone go, "Oh, yeah, that's a really interesting idea you've brought up, thanks for that Outcrier, I hadn't thought of it that way, you're really expanding our minds, man, 'preciate it."

Offline Invisible

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4231 on: March 19, 2014, 02:54:38 AM »
I have to give a big :hefdaddy to robwebster posts, except where he mentions Muse, a band that I used to love but now it doesn't do much for me.(I'm not talking about their latest album, but the previous before that)

I'm one of the heartbroken ones when I read that JR interview, but I can't really blame them. Every time DT tried something different the fans gave them a hard time for it, Six Degrees is very praised now, but if you read comments from back in the day it wasn't. At all. I can do a mea culpa for it, even if I became a fan around 2010, it took me two years for everything post SFAM to finally click in. Probably since I was never a metal fan in the first place, and I still aren't, by the way :lol.

The same goes for other bands, especially on their U.S. fanbase, someone here mentioned U2, and Pop happens to be one of my favourites from them, but it wasn't well recieved back in the day and even a big band like U2 struggled during that day, playing to stadiums with only 10k people on them after having invested in that huge stage. It sold very well on everywhere else, but not the US, and since that is the biggest market, well... there you go. U2 went immediatly back to their roots after that, and they haven't ventured outside it since. And if U2 can't take that much risks, DT definetly needs to be more careful. Actually, both bands histories share some similarities as they both started shifting their styles from record to record until they reached their "core sound", All That You Can't Leave Behind and A Dramatic Turn Of Events, respectively.

Pink Floyd is another example of changing directions but staying within the framework. Yes, they were very innovative within their framework and released some true masterpieces, but they always stayed within their sound. I have trouble spoting one place where you say "WTF??? Is this Pink Floyd??".

Erwinrafael said Queen(the band that, along the other three I mentioned(DT, U2 and PF), conforms my personal "Big Four"), and that's a band with dramatic changes every time on their careers, but I think it's different than the other three I mentioned. The big difference is that Queen always sounded to me like four solo artists playing each other songs*. Unlike DT, who have very different creative forces but ultimately throw everything in the same pot and work each others ideas, Queen songs were written individually by each bands member. And, if you separate every track by member and follow their history, the evolution becomes much less dramatic. 9 times out of 10 I can spot a John Deacon song, or a Brian May song, not only on the lyrics but on the style as well. The only one who changed radically, was the genius mastermind that was Freddie Mercury, the others kind of stayed withing their frameworks only to come out of it on special ocassions.
That difference is, I think, what allowed Queen to go into any direction without suffering as much. Still, there are quite a few fans who frown upon their '80s direction.

Going back to DT, I have to jump on the FII wagon, all the other albums you can pair them or group them with similar others, not FII. Even when they play live you can tell that stuff is different from anything else they made, New Millenium, Trial of Tears, Lines in the Sand, Peruvian Skies, Just Let Me Breathe stand out immediatly more than anything else in the DT catalog IMHO. And if you go to its B Sides, Speak To Me or Cover My Eyes would stand out too, even if they wouldn't on a mainstream radio. DT goes so over the top with every song, that anytime they stay "traditional"(The Looking Glass) those song sound out of the box in their world :lol. It's like a novel that always goes to somewhere different in their argument, so the time when the argument goes in the expected direction, it surprises you more than any of the other times. Seriously, do the experiment, play DT on shuffle, every time a FII shows up it stands out even more than any of the "crazy" tracks, probably because in a world where crazy is the norm, it stops being crazy.

Finally, and I hoping someone gets here and isn't bored to death by my ramblings, I wouldn't take everything a DT band member says as written in stone. I heard numerous 2005/06 interviews of JP saying he preferred personal non-fictional songwriting to his early fantasy lyrics, even going so far as saying they were "juvenile and immature", the next thing he did was Systematic Chaos :lol. Personally, I would prefer a mix bag, not pulling a "Kid A" but incorporating some new stuff mixed with "classic DT". But, unlike this last album or previous ones, I would prefer "the experiment" to be a full song instead of a little section on a "classic DT" song. Prophets of War inside Systematic Chaos or Space Dye Vest inside Awake come to mind.

--------------------------------------
*I KNOW, that on The Miracle and Innuendo there were collaboratives efforts, but other than those, my description still stands.

Offline Outcrier

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4232 on: March 19, 2014, 07:43:15 AM »
?
The important part was "i don't agree when people say this about all their discography."
I'm astonished I'm responding to this again, but here I am...

"The last four albums haven't really engaged me on an emotional level, they might as well just be a flurry of notes." That's an opinion. But I wasn't talking about personal reactions, I was talking about the physical body of the music - the notes that actually make it up. They verifiably and measurably work on more levels than just "look at all the notes" - even if they don't for you personally, you can measure both in the physical design of the product and in the way the fans engage.

I'm not saying "Oh, the pope's lovely, he's such a gentleman," I was saying "He doesn't have tentacles or a pierced labia." And you came along and said "You're mostly right, but actually, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Frances do."

...No, they don't! You're welcome to challenge a fact, and you're welcome to your opinion - in fact, I think BCSL is among their weakest albums, too, so we'd probably get along - but I don't think it's fair to expect you can shoehorn that opinion into funky places and have everyone go, "Oh, yeah, that's a really interesting idea you've brought up, thanks for that Outcrier, I hadn't thought of it that way, you're really expanding our minds, man, 'preciate it."

You shouldn't have replied, i understood what you said but i'ts not like i care anyway, i mostly meant what i've bolded (some songs, not all of them) so it's not like i am challenging any fact or whatever.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2014, 09:11:51 AM by Outcrier »
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4233 on: March 19, 2014, 08:56:19 AM »


Erwinrafael said Queen(the band that, along the other three I mentioned(DT, U2 and PF), conforms my personal "Big Four"), and that's a band with dramatic changes every time on their careers, but I think it's different than the other three I mentioned. The big difference is that Queen always sounded to me like four solo artists playing each other songs*. Unlike DT, who have very different creative forces but ultimately throw everything in the same pot and work each others ideas, Queen songs were written individually by each bands member. And, if you separate every track by member and follow their history, the evolution becomes much less dramatic. 9 times out of 10 I can spot a John Deacon song, or a Brian May song, not only on the lyrics but on the style as well. The only one who changed radically, was the genius mastermind that was Freddie Mercury, the others kind of stayed withing their frameworks only to come out of it on special ocassions.
That difference is, I think, what allowed Queen to go into any direction without suffering as much. Still, there are quite a few fans who frown upon their '80s direction.

 

All very true.  I remember one of the members of Queen saying that they lost the U.S., but won over the rest of the world in the 80s, alluding to the fact that their popularity dwindled a bit here in the States, but their popularity soared everywhere else.  Like we have said, when you go off the rails and do radically different things, you can't please everyone.  Hell, even when sticking to what most fans love the most, you still can't please everyone. :lol :lol

Offline aprilethereal

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Re: Your Controversial Opinions on DT
« Reply #4234 on: March 19, 2014, 11:22:58 AM »
My controversial opinion of the day: TROAE kind of suffers from being disjointed and most transitions between parts being not that great. Which is why it's probably my least or second least favourite on Octavarium, which doesn't really mean anything, since 8VM is an almost perfect album imo and I love every single song on it. But yeah, TROAE could probably have been even better with better transitions.