Author Topic: "Saved by the EPIC?"  (Read 43860 times)

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Offline chaossystem

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"Saved by the EPIC?"
« on: December 10, 2014, 01:56:44 PM »
It has been mentioned on a previous thread that this seems to be the trend that Dream Theater is following.

I don't know if that means that at least a few of you think that the band is depending on longer, more elaborately arranged tracks to boost album and/or ticket sales or what.

Given the way at least half of you are voting in the polls, as well as the opinions that being posted by many of you, that seems to be the case.

I also know that it's not always easy to define what it is that makes one say "This is why I like this song, but I don't like THAT one."

For me, at least, it doesn't always depend on length, or arrangement.

I think it's interesting to note that on their last two albums, they did things in kind of an opposite way between the two: "Dramatic" has several songs that are over ten minutes in length, but NONE that are fifteen or more, while "12" is made up of tracks that are all under eight minutes long, except for the epic, which is almost twenty minutes, or over twenty, depending on how you count it ("Easter Egg").

A couple of things I would REALLY like to learn from this is: How do you define an "epic?" Is BAI  (for example) an epic even though it's not quite thirteen minutes long, or does HAVE to be at least TWENTY? Personally I think Metropolis-at about nine and half minutes-is PLENTY long enough to be considered an epic.

One more thing I would like to ask is: Are there some of you who would still love the band if they kept all of their songs under ten minutes in length, or are ALL of you "dependent" on the epics?
Or are most of you like me, in that you love everything that DT does, as long as they do it well?

Personally, I LOVE most of the epics, but I also think that they have several shorter-even "radio friendly" length songs-that are every bit as good.

Let's see what you people think!:
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Offline bosk1

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2014, 02:30:40 PM »
I don't know if that means that at least a few of you think that the band is depending on longer, more elaborately arranged tracks to boost album and/or ticket sales or what.

Given the way at least half of you are voting in the polls, as well as the opinions that being posted by many of you, that seems to be the case.

For the nth time, stop making stupid, wrong assumptions about the entire forum population.  Just stop.  I will not ask again.

How do you define an "epic?" Is BAI  (for example) an epic even though it's not quite thirteen minutes long, or does HAVE to be at least TWENTY? Personally I think Metropolis-at about nine and half minutes-is PLENTY long enough to be considered an epic.

This topic has been discussed to death.  Any reason you could not use the search function?

Short answer:  There is not a simple, easy answer.  It has to do mainly with song length, but there is no hard, fast cutoff for exactly how long a song must be.  Songs having multiple separate movements can also (but does not have to be) a factor.  At or near 10 minutes is a good "rule of thumb," but isn't necessarily always the line.  Songs like A Change of Seasons, Octavarium, and Six Degrees are clearly epics.  Songs like Another Day, Forsaken, and 6:00 are not.  Songs in between...tough call.  I think many fans would consider the songs that you mentioned to be epics; others would not.

Are there some of you who would still love the band if they kept all of their songs under ten minutes in length, or are ALL of you "dependent" on the epics?

I don't know of even a single fan, on this forum or otherwise, who is "dependent" on the epics.  Surely, there is one out there somewhere, and surely, he or she will now post to let us know.  But by and large, I think most people just like what they like.  Many (but not all) feel that Dream Theater are particularly good at writing epics.  Many of us, for perhaps different reasons, feel that many of the longer epics are some of Dream Theater's best work. 

I know for me personally, for the most part, I really like the vast majority of what Dream Theater does musically.  I think they write at a consistently VERY high level of quality.  So when a song is longer, it often simply means a higher quantity of high quality.  And in addition to that, the band is just good at taking their time to develop various ideas in a song and explore different themes in different ways, which is not always possible in a shorter song, so the longer songs often have extra layers and extra things going on that shorter songs often do not.  That is why songs like A Change Of Seasons, Octavarium, Six Degrees, Metropolis, Bridges In The Sky, and Scarred are in my top 10.  But by the same token, there are also plenty of long songs (In The Presence of Enemies, The Count of Tuscany, Illumination Theory, for example) that I like, but are nowhere near my top 10 or top 20, for that matter.
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Offline JiM-Xtreme

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2014, 02:35:56 PM »
I would certainly not go as far as to say I am "dependant" on the epics, however I will admit that they are always the tracks I look forward to hearing the most whenever a new album comes out.

Also, in terms of which albums I personally rank the highest, I generally put BC&SL at #2 and ToT at #3 or #4, which comprise 6 and 7 songs respectively.

I am just inclined towards the "meatier" songs, I guess. I like it when musical ideas are fully explored and not confined within a short song structure.

Offline chaossystem

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2014, 03:30:38 PM »
I don't know if that means that at least a few of you think that the band is depending on longer, more elaborately arranged tracks to boost album and/or ticket sales or what.

Given the way at least half of you are voting in the polls, as well as the opinions that being posted by many of you, that seems to be the case.

For the nth time, stop making stupid, wrong assumptions about the entire forum population.  Just stop.  I will not ask again.

How do you define an "epic?" Is BAI  (for example) an epic even though it's not quite thirteen minutes long, or does HAVE to be at least TWENTY? Personally I think Metropolis-at about nine and half minutes-is PLENTY long enough to be considered an epic.

This topic has been discussed to death.  Any reason you could not use the search function?

Short answer:  There is not a simple, easy answer.  It has to do mainly with song length, but there is no hard, fast cutoff for exactly how long a song must be.  Songs having multiple separate movements can also (but does not have to be) a factor.  At or near 10 minutes is a good "rule of thumb," but isn't necessarily always the line.  Songs like A Change of Seasons, Octavarium, and Six Degrees are clearly epics.  Songs like Another Day, Forsaken, and 6:00 are not.  Songs in between...tough call.  I think many fans would consider the songs that you mentioned to be epics; others would not.

Are there some of you who would still love the band if they kept all of their songs under ten minutes in length, or are ALL of you "dependent" on the epics?

I don't know of even a single fan, on this forum or otherwise, who is "dependent" on the epics.  Surely, there is one out there somewhere, and surely, he or she will now post to let us know.  But by and large, I think most people just like what they like.  Many (but not all) feel that Dream Theater are particularly good at writing epics.  Many of us, for perhaps different reasons, feel that many of the longer epics are some of Dream Theater's best work. 

I know for me personally, for the most part, I really like the vast majority of what Dream Theater does musically.  I think they write at a consistently VERY high level of quality.  So when a song is longer, it often simply means a higher quantity of high quality.  And in addition to that, the band is just good at taking their time to develop various ideas in a song and explore different themes in different ways, which is not always possible in a shorter song, so the longer songs often have extra layers and extra things going on that shorter songs often do not.  That is why songs like A Change Of Seasons, Octavarium, Six Degrees, Metropolis, Bridges In The Sky, and Scarred are in my top 10.  But by the same token, there are also plenty of long songs (In The Presence of Enemies, The Count of Tuscany, Illumination Theory, for example) that I like, but are nowhere near my top 10 or top 20, for that matter.

I wasn't making assumptions about anything.
I was asking questions. So if you want to say that my questions are stupid and wrong, that's fine.
You're entitled to your opinion.

But then you actually did answer my questions, which I do appreciate you taking the time for.

I agree with most of what you said, especially in your last paragraph. I would rank some of the songs differently, but you raised some valid points.

I wasn't trying to tell anyone what to think, and I thought I had made it clear that I was asking questions and wanting to know what anyone who chooses to participate thinks.

Sorry I didn't use the search function.

The Reason I got specific about song length is because some of the posts that I read on some of the other threads lead me to believe that for the most part, people on here define an "epic" as being at least CLOSE to 20 min. in length.
I never said that I couldn't be wrong.

Also, I wasn't accusing anyone of being dependent on the epics, I was asking if anyone felt that way.

So I just want to say again that, while I don't appreciate that harsh words that you started with, I do appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions, and  I just wanted to throw this topic open and let people debate about it, as well as like said, to learn what people think in this area.

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Offline Shadow Ninja 2.0

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2014, 03:37:04 PM »
With the exception of DT12, my favorite songs on their recent albums have tended to be the longer ones. But I wouldn't say that the albums are "saved" by those songs, as that would imply that I don't like the other songs, and for the most part I do.
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Offline lucky7

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2014, 03:47:20 PM »
I think it comes down to the music, the length of the track hardly matters, but some epics are just great and really show how talented DT are, not to mention some are very memorable.... but then some shorter songs like Hell's Kitchen are a fave for me too.

But when you do a poll on an album for fave track for me the epic may stand above the others...in my opinion.

But as far as being dependent on the epics, I would say no....after all we are fans for all their music.

Offline fadetoblackdude7

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2014, 04:53:57 PM »
I wouldn't say I depend on the epics, I love DT's music no matter how long their pieces are.

However, whether it's a coincidence or not, I feel that DT's best/most creative musical ideas typically dwell within the longer pieces.

And whether or not a piece is classified as an 'epic' usually depends on the length, but the quality of the music is important too. Take Learning To Live for example - I think it's in their top 5 most epic tracks and it's only 11:30 in length. That's a 'quality over quantity' scenario.

Offline bosk1

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2014, 04:59:21 PM »
So I just want to say again that, while I don't appreciate that harsh words that you started with, I do appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions, and  I just wanted to throw this topic open and let people debate about it, as well as like said, to learn what people think in this area.

Well, it is actually an interesting topic and you raise some interesting questions.  What triggered the harsh response was that, as you have done in other threads, you start off by saying something along the lines of "it seems like most of you think X."  Just don't do that.  You start off by alienating anyone who DOESN'T think that.  And since your assumptions aren't generally correct about what most of the forum thinks, you end up alienating most people. 
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Offline TheCountOfNYC

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2014, 05:43:46 PM »
Dream Theater has seven songs that are more often than not considered epics with five that are almost always considered epics. For the sake of the discussion we'll go with the seven songs (I'm in the five camp personally). Those songs would be in chronological order: A Mind Beside Itself, A Change of Seasons, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, Octavarium, In the Presence of Enemies, The Count of Tuscany, and Illumination Theory. Of those, only ACoS isn't on an album. So I'm gonna go album by album and analyze wether or not they were "saved by the epic" (in my opinion of course).

A Mind Beside Itself (Awake)- This album took awhile to grow on me with AMBI being one of the last songs to click. Awake is a very consistent album meaning that no one song really shines above or stinks up the joint. All of the songs are in the good to great range. This album wasn't saved by the epic because the epic isn't better than the rest. It's just as awesome.

Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence)- This is a killer album from start to finish. The title track is definitely the standout track, but that's certainly no knock on the rest of the album. The Glass Prison and Blind Faith are classics as well, and Misunderstood, The Great Debate, and Disappear are only slightly below that. This album didn't have to be saved by the epic but SDoIT made the album other worldly.

Octavarium (Octavarium)- This is where many on this forum say the "saved by the epic" mentality started, but I don't think this album was. I have made it very clear on here that 8VM is my favorite DT song by a lot. The amount of thought that went into it is amazing, and the end result is one of the greatest pieces of music in history. But to say an album with The Root of All Evil, These Walls, Panic Attack, and Sacrificed Sons is only good because of one long song is ludicrous. This is another case of the epic being the clear standout on a overall fantastic album.

In The Presence of Enemies (Systematic Chaos)- This is the closest I say an album has come to being saved by the epic. This is a weaker effort than the band usually puts out, but it's still a fantastic album. With that said, ITPoE is easily the best song on it because the rest is overall just ok. Except for the fact that it isn't. This may be controversial, but Forsaken, Constant Motion, and Repentance are all great songs. Prophets of War gets way more hate than it deserves, and is actually a very enjoyable song if given a chance. The Dark Eternal Night is also a fun song. And The Ministry of Lost Souls is very close to the top tier of Dream Theater songs and has one of their best instrumental sections. The epic this time around is a little weaker. It's the best song on the disc, but to say it saved a weak album is just plain wrong.

The Count of Tuscany (Black Clouds & Silver Linings)- This album gets a ridiculous amount of hate but TCoT is generally liked. Once again the clear standout, but this album also has A Nightmare to Remember and The Shattered Fortress. Also, The Best of Times is vastly underrated and has one of John Petrucci's best solos. Wither and A Rite of Passage are good songs as well, although nowhere near the quality of the four long songs. But with four great and long songs, this album isn't only saved by the longest of the bunch.

Time for some controversy.

Illumination Theory (Dream Theater)- A big part of what makes these long songs so great is that they usually close the album and offer a great ending to a great group of songs. Learning to Live, Trial of Tears, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, In the Name of God, Octavarium, In The Presence of Enemies Pt. 2, The Count of Tuscany, and Illumination Theory are all the longest and last song on their album. With the self titled album, you have eight short songs that are all about the same quality with Surrender to Reason probably being the best of those. The last song is the 22 minute and 17 second (19:15 if you don't count the easter egg) Illumination Theory. The big payoff. But it leaves a lot to be desired. In this case, the epic actually brings the album down, because the climax and resolution to the collective journey that is the album isn't as strong this time. The album feels incomplete because it didn't end well. Illumination Theory is a good song, but not strong enough to enhance a generally decent album and brings it down to ok level.

Overall, Dream Theater has never relied on their long song to make their album good. They just are really good at writing music. They don't have a bad song. With so much quality music, quantity does start to come into play. And 20 minutes of amazing music trumps 8 minutes of amazing music any day. Also, with progressive rock, it's all about the adventure that the music goes. There's more exploration possible when a song is longer. The Count of Tuscany can go to more places than The Enemy Inside can. It doesn't mean the short songs are bad, because they're great. It's just a different writing process. In the end, I'll listen to anything Dream Theater puts out, but I look forward to the journey that their longer songs bring me on just a little more than the shorter songs. Still, it's just a small part of the overall journey that the whole album takes you on, and that's always the best 75 minutes of my life.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2014, 05:50:10 PM by TheCountOfNYC »
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Offline Mosh

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2014, 05:59:48 PM »
The epics are definitely the clear favorites but I wouldn't say the band depends on them. Octavarium and DT12 maybe had fans who only really liked the epics but there are also plenty of fans who enjoy the whole albums.

If you want an artist who better fits this bill, try Neal Morse. It's almost reached a point where you could listen to just the epic on an album and disregard everything else. This is less true on his collaborations like Transatlantic and Flying Colors, but even then the focus (especially in TA) seems to be on the epics.
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Offline chaossystem

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2014, 06:36:34 PM »
There seems to be a pretty even split regarding "Illumination Theory."

Initially it appeared to be one of their universally-loved songs, but now it appears that about half of you on here agree with me:
while it is a good song, it is not one of the best things they've ever done.
I actually like the ending, but I think it would have been better if the "Easter egg" was either omitted or included as an entirely separate track.
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Offline Randaran

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2014, 07:03:42 PM »
For me, the cutoff for an epic is around 20 minutes, though there is some leeway in that. It also needs to have multiple movements, whether they are explicitly named or not. For example, I would not consider BTBAM's Swim to the Moon to be an epic despite its 18 minute runtime, as it follows the standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus structure (with some twists in the verses, but not enough to completely change the structure).

With DT, I am also in the 'five epics' camp. I also do not like the epics nearly as much as most seem to: though Octavarium is my #1 DT song, and ITPOE is in the top 20, the others are in the mid-thirties or lower. I prefer the 10-15 minute 'mini-epics', as these tend to showcase DT's songwriting strengths more effectively. DT songs longer than that usually feel like a bunch of different musical ideas thrown into one track rather than a single coherent work.
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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2014, 07:22:48 PM »
Personally, for me length doesn't really matter, it's the structure that defines an epic. I mean, ideally, there needs to be enough time to digest every single bit of music, so an epic typically has to have length, but as far as I'm concerned, Learning to Live is an epic, BAI is an epic, Trial of Tears is an Epic, they all have not only length, but also they're extremely progressive, and the music changes and grows into something new and great as the song progresses, that's far more important than the length of a song. I mean, A Nightmare to Remember is 15 minutes long, but it's heavy parts that bookend the song are very concise and similar, and so as a result, I wouldn't call that song an epic.
Whereas The Dance of Eternity is constantly changing and growing into something new as it goes on, so even short of 7 minutes, I consider that instrumental an epic. Mini epic, at least.

But no, there's no "Saved by the epic" going on. If DT12 had 2 or 3 more short songs instead of Illumination Theory, it would still be a fantastic album.
OTBOA, its best songs aren't epics. BC&SL, the epic in it is just as inconsistent as the rest of it. SC is fantastic all the way through.
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Offline fischermasamune

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2014, 07:35:25 PM »
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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2014, 07:54:18 PM »
I don't think any of their albums are saved by the epics.
People mention Octavarium, but I love much of that album just as much or more than the title track (and I think the title track is amazing).
I love ITPOE too, but it's not near my favourites on SC.
I don't think there is a clear epic on BCASL, as that's an album of epics.
ADTOE doesn't have a clear epic, but that's pretty balanced overall.
And in the case of DT12, it's not saved by the epic. Nope, not even the epic could save that album. :P

Yet again I think this is a case of not reading and understanding DTF at all.
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Offline TheGreatPretender

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2014, 07:56:55 PM »
I don't think any of their albums are saved by the epics.

To clarify, you are saying that the albums don't need saving, because they're already good, right? The way you phrased it sounds like you're saying that the albums so bad that even the epics can't save them.  :lol
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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2014, 07:59:21 PM »
I don't think any of their albums are saved by the epics.

To clarify, you are saying that the albums don't need saving, because they're already good, right? The way you phrased it sounds like you're saying that the albums so bad that even the epics can't save them.  :lol

Nope, I mean the albums are all strong enough that they don't need the epic to save them. I thought my opinions on the individual songs would have clarified that! I'm much more into the shorter songs than many people, so I don't put the epics on a pedestal.
In the case of DT12 though, well that's another matter. :biggrin:
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Offline ThatOneGuy2112

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2014, 08:11:32 PM »
I don't have a standard cut-off point for how long a song should be to be considered an epic. Other factors are considered, such as having various movements within them, though that in itself is not a requirement. I really only consider ACOS, SDOIT, 8V, ITPOE, TCOT, and IT to be their epics. Some people are probably gonna cry foul for including TCOT, but whatever, it makes the cut in my book.

8V is really the first DT album that comes to mind when it comes to being "saved by the epic". The rest of the album just fringes on being average, but the title track is so far and away more amazing than the rest of the songs, it's insane.

TCOT comes pretty close to "saving" BC&SL as well, as it is such a fantastic song overall, though not quite 8V level for me.

Can't say DT12 was saved by its epic. The rest of the track listing is still pretty fantastic. IT  closes the album amazingly; it's the icing on the cake.

Offline rumborak

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2014, 09:59:45 PM »
I actually coined that phrase many years ago, and to me it referred to the 8V-BCSL era, where the epics really saved the enjoyment of the albums for me.
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Offline erwinrafael

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2014, 12:13:44 AM »
I don't think DT's albums are saved by the epic. I think it is better to say that DT just really knows how to write good long songs with many transitions.

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2014, 02:14:54 AM »
.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2014, 05:44:33 AM by puppyonacid »
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Offline RaiseTheKnife

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2014, 03:36:02 AM »



As a forum user, I'm going to say here and now that I am not making any assumptions about your character or personality. What I will say is that I find your posts and posting style extremely irritating and arrogant. The questions you pose almost come across like "I think all the users here are idiots. Let's see who agrees or if any idiots disagree."


Arrogant?  Not my impression at all.  Although I agree about the "poll littering."

Chaos has taken a TON of flak lately (from me included, see above), but he's taken it all in good stride and good spirit I think.  It appears that he is simply trying to reach a purer understanding of DT fandom.   This sometimes means lumping things together into generalities to determine a more finite answer out of the wash.   Whether or not this can be or is worthwhile to achieve is another topic.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2014, 03:52:34 AM by RaiseTheKnife »

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2014, 03:55:55 AM »
I'm in the minotrity, but I&W, FII, TOT and ADTOE are the only albums on which the longest song is my favorite. I enjoy most of DT's 10-14-minute songs, but the only "big" epic (over 20 minutes long) that I love is ACOS, so I can't agree that the later albums have been saved by the epics - in fact, they usually drag the albums down IMO. :P I think the 90s albums and ADTOE had a good balance between shorter and longer songs.

Offline wolfking

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2014, 03:58:03 AM »
One more thing I would like to ask is: Are there some of you who would still love the band if they kept all of their songs under ten minutes in length, or are ALL of you "dependent" on the epics?
Or are most of you like me, in that you love everything that DT does, as long as they do it well?

Well, the first part of this statement to me is invalid, as DT are a band that ventue into long song territory.  I don't think DT would be DT if all their songs were under 10 minutes, that's a different band.

Also, I don't see how anyone could be 'dependant' on epics.  That doesn't make much sense to me.
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Offline Skeever

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2014, 04:59:42 AM »
I mentioned this idea in the other thread, but I don't totally agree with it. Here's why:

1. It's not true for the first 6 albums. At all.
2. For the second 6:
  • Train of Thought - In the Name of God is the best song, but is it an epic? Are there other epics on the album? I'm just not sure. Not saved by the epic.
  • Octavarium - This one is indeed "saved by the epic". Not much else to see here aside from the title track. SAVED BY THE EPIC.
  • Systematic Chaos - Well, this is not a very good album, but there is an epic. However even the epic is probably my least favorite DT epic, so I can't say it saves anything. Not saved by the epic.
  • Black Clouds - I would say The Count of Tuscany is the only song on this album I enjoy. SAVED BY THE EPIC.
  • A Dramatic Turn - The majority of this album is pretty good, so no.
  • Dream Theater - On par with Systematic Chaos for me. Not a great album, and the epic does little to change that. Not saved by the epic.


Offline puppyonacid

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #25 on: December 11, 2014, 05:01:02 AM »
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« Last Edit: December 11, 2014, 05:44:41 AM by puppyonacid »
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Offline Skeever

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #26 on: December 11, 2014, 05:23:40 AM »
I also am going to throw this out there, and see what people think: Length doesn't always make something an epic.

To me, an epic is more about the number of different musical ideas and sections seeming together in a cohesive whole that makes the listener feel like he's been on a long journey once the song is finished. It has nothing to do with an arbitrary number, i.e. "10 minutes and up is an epic".

Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" is just barely 6 minutes, but it's just as epic as anything DT have done. Even DT's "Learning to Live" is extremely epic despite being only around 10 minutes long, which would just make it a normal song these days. Compare those genuinely epic songs to something like "A Nightmare to Remember" where, sure, the song is very long - but it's mostly just the same or very similar musical ideas over and over again. After listening to ANtR, I really can't say I feel like I've "been" anywhere.

There's a difference  between "epic" and "normally structured song with a 5 minute solo between the 2nd chorus and third verse". A lot of DT's old songs were more genuinely "epic". A lot of DT's new songs are just normally structured songs with longer intros and solo sections. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but that doesn't make them epics.

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #27 on: December 11, 2014, 06:17:49 AM »
I mentioned this idea in the other thread, but I don't totally agree with it. Here's why:
  • Train of Thought - In the Name of God is the best song, but is it an epic? Are there other epics on the album? I'm just not sure. Not saved by the epic.
  • Octavarium - This one is indeed "saved by the epic". Not much else to see here aside from the title track. SAVED BY THE EPIC.
  • Systematic Chaos - Well, this is not a very good album, but there is an epic. However even the epic is probably my least favorite DT epic, so I can't say it saves anything. Not saved by the epic.
  • Black Clouds - I would say The Count of Tuscany is the only song on this album I enjoy. SAVED BY THE EPIC.
  • A Dramatic Turn - The majority of this album is pretty good, so no.
  • Dream Theater - On par with Systematic Chaos for me. Not a great album, and the epic does little to change that. Not saved by the epic.

My only disagreement about this list is that i don't think Black Clouds is saved by TCOT or any song at all :-\
« Last Edit: December 11, 2014, 06:52:08 AM by Outcrier »
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Offline Sycsa

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #28 on: December 11, 2014, 06:58:20 AM »
"Saved by the epic" - it's a though I often associated with classic prog.


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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #29 on: December 11, 2014, 08:01:40 AM »
 :lol  Yeah, the length of a song doesn't automatically make it good and "epic" can mean several things.  For example, Illumination Theory technically does fit the definition of "epic" but not really in a good way as the slang #5 definition would suggest.

1.  Noting or pertaining to a long poetic composition, usually centered upon a hero, in which a series of great achievements or events is narrated in elevated style:
    "Homer's Iliad is an epic poem."

2.  Resembling or suggesting such poetry:
    "an epic novel on the founding of the country."

3.  Heroic; majestic; impressively great:
    "the epic events of the war."

4. Of unusually great size or extent:
   "a crime wave of epic proportions."

5.  Slang. Spectacular; very impressive; awesome:
    "Their burgers and fries are epic!"


I mentioned this idea in the other thread, but I don't totally agree with it. Here's why:

1. It's not true for the first 6 albums. At all.
2. For the second 6:
  • Train of Thought - In the Name of God is the best song, but is it an epic? Are there other epics on the album? I'm just not sure. Not saved by the epic.
  • Octavarium - This one is indeed "saved by the epic". Not much else to see here aside from the title track. SAVED BY THE EPIC.
  • Systematic Chaos - Well, this is not a very good album, but there is an epic. However even the epic is probably my least favorite DT epic, so I can't say it saves anything. Not saved by the epic.
  • Black Clouds - I would say The Count of Tuscany is the only song on this album I enjoy. SAVED BY THE EPIC.
  • A Dramatic Turn - The majority of this album is pretty good, so no.
  • Dream Theater - On par with Systematic Chaos for me. Not a great album, and the epic does little to change that. Not saved by the epic.


I agree with most of this.  Although, I do rank SC higher than DT12 and BC&SL does have a few other songs going for it beside TCOT.  ANTR (for the most part), AROP, and Wither.
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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #30 on: December 11, 2014, 09:00:48 AM »
The only album that I would describe as "saved by the epic" is Octavarium.  The title track is amazing, but the rest of the album is average at best.

Also, although most people classify ITPOE as an epic, and it is certainly long enough, it doesn't FEEL like an epic to me.  It just feels like a really long song.  I mean, I like it, but it doesn't feel the same as ACOS, 8VM, or 6DOIT to me.
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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #31 on: December 11, 2014, 09:10:56 AM »
In my book BCSL was definitely saved by the Count. SC, well, that whole album isn't all that great, but ITPOE is probably still the best track.
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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #32 on: December 11, 2014, 09:18:03 AM »
I also am going to throw this out there, and see what people think: Length doesn't always make something an epic.

To me, an epic is more about the number of different musical ideas and sections seeming together in a cohesive whole that makes the listener feel like he's been on a long journey once the song is finished. It has nothing to do with an arbitrary number, i.e. "10 minutes and up is an epic".

Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" is just barely 6 minutes, but it's just as epic as anything DT have done. Even DT's "Learning to Live" is extremely epic despite being only around 10 minutes long, which would just make it a normal song these days. Compare those genuinely epic songs to something like "A Nightmare to Remember" where, sure, the song is very long - but it's mostly just the same or very similar musical ideas over and over again. After listening to ANtR, I really can't say I feel like I've "been" anywhere.

There's a difference  between "epic" and "normally structured song with a 5 minute solo between the 2nd chorus and third verse". A lot of DT's old songs were more genuinely "epic". A lot of DT's new songs are just normally structured songs with longer intros and solo sections. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but that doesn't make them epics.

good points here :tup

I like the idea that after one has listened to an epic they feel like they've "been" somewhere else.  To me, that is more of a determining factor as to whether something is an epic or not more than simply being long.

I didn't realize that Bohemian Rhapsody was so short (relatively speaking).

As for the OP's question, TheCountOfNYC really answers that.  I would say the only DT release that was saved by the epic is the Change of Seasons EP.

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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #33 on: December 11, 2014, 09:25:02 AM »
There's not a single DT album where I'd say the epic is that much better than at least a couple of other songs on the album.

On the vast majority of DT albums even from IaW (and arguably WDADU), the longest song is overall considered the favourite of the album, regardless of whether it exceeds this imaginary arbitrary line of what DTF has agreed on as "epics". The longest songs are almost always considered the better songs of the album, but they're never dis-proportionally better that they're "saving" an album. I think it's just a matter of the longest being the favourite, combined with a bleak jaded fan outlook on a low opinion of an album.
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Re: "Saved by the EPIC?"
« Reply #34 on: December 11, 2014, 09:27:40 AM »
As for the OP's question, TheCountOfNYC really answers that.  I would say the only DT release that was saved by the epic is the Change of Seasons EP.

Yeah, but all the covers on that album, I pretty much consider to be bonus material. I've actually never heard of any CD that consisted of one studio song, and the remained consisting of live covers, so in itself, it's very unusual and hard to classify. It was supposed to be an album, but was forced an EP classifcation upon because of lack of original material. In the context of the Octavarium, it was counted as a live album. Like I said, I consider the live songs on it to be bonus material to fill CD space and make it worth the purchase, but the whole thing could even be considered like two releases in one.
Anyway my point is, when the whole purpose of it was the epic, it's hard to save that the album is saved by it, because without it, the album wouldn't have been released at all.
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