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"Saved by the EPIC?"

Started by chaossystem, December 10, 2014, 01:56:44 PM

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chaossystem

Quote from: Shadow Ninja 2.0 on December 14, 2014, 07:50:58 PM
Quote from: Randaran on December 14, 2014, 07:39:47 PM
Quote from: chaossystem on December 14, 2014, 07:19:25 PM
If by "wrongness" you mean anyone saying that ItNoG is the WEAKEST song on ToT, I couldn't agree more!

Especially compared to "Endless Sacrifice" and "Vacant!!!"

Endless Sacrifice is the best song on ToT. ITNoG would not even breach my top 50.

Which one?

I like this post.

Stadler

Notwithstanding the notion of "saved by the epic", as I can sort of understand that, I know for me, there is absolutely NO correlation whatsoever between a songs length and how much I like it.    None.

I remember when Flying Colors was about to come out, and there were people that instantly thought they knew what the good songs and bad songs were going to be just from the times.  I think that is ludicrous. 

TAC

Quote from: Stadler on December 16, 2014, 10:17:40 AM
I remember when Flying Colors was about to come out, and there were people that instantly thought they knew what the good songs and bad songs were going to be just from the times.  I think that is ludicrous.
Exactly. They all sucked! ;D

hefdaddy42

Quote from: TAC on December 16, 2014, 10:18:43 AM
Quote from: Stadler on December 16, 2014, 10:17:40 AM
I remember when Flying Colors was about to come out, and there were people that instantly thought they knew what the good songs and bad songs were going to be just from the times.  I think that is ludicrous.
Exactly. They all sucked! ;D
Oh, shut up.  :P

TAC


chaossystem

Is flying colors a band or an album?

bl5150


The Letter M

Quote from: bl5150 on December 16, 2014, 02:15:37 PM
Quote from: chaossystem on December 16, 2014, 02:13:10 PM
Is flying colors a band or an album?

Both  :D

LOL Yes, both. :tup

Ironically, though, the album's 3 longest tracks are three of my favorites from it. So...I guess I fall into that stereotypical prog-lover trope where longer-is-better, but only when there's a good band of musicians and writers involved. Anything with Neal I pretty much trust will be something I love.

-Marc.

ThatOneGuy2112

Similarly, I feel Open Up Your Eyes and Infinite Fire are some of the best songs they've done, regardless of length. However, Peaceful Harbor is still my absolute favorite they've done thus far, so there's something to debunk that typical prog-lover trope. :lol

chaossystem

#149
Ok...

I just listened to some bits and pieces of their music on YouTube.

My first impressions are as follows:

Good, but not the most original-sounding music I've ever heard.

I''m surprised they selected someone OTHER than Neal Morse to be the lead singer.

I really HOPE that Mike Portnoy has FINALLY found a "home."
If he stays with it, who KNOWS what this band could become?
I see a lot of potential here!

Is Steve Morse stiill with Deep Purple?
I kind of hope not, because like I said, this band would be a good full-time gig for these guys.

I think this band's "secret weapon," or maybe NOT so secret, will turn out be Dave Larue.
I became familiar with him when I saw and heard him play on the "Satriani Live!" DVD.
I've been a fan ever since, and I like his playing better than that of Stuart Hamm, the guy that usually plays bass for Satch. At least he used to.

TAC

Steve Morse IS still in Deep Purple.

wolfking

Quote from: chaossystem on December 16, 2014, 04:09:32 PM
I''m surprised they selected someone OTHER than Neal Morse to be the lead singer.

Why?

Shadow Ninja 2.0

Well, Neal is generally the lead singer on most Neal-related projects.

Although that's probably exactly why he wasn't for FC.

Mosh

At first I was disappointed when I saw that Neal wouldn't be doing lead vocals, but Casey turned out to be perfect for the job and his vocals are getting better. I also really like how they've incorporated Neal's vocals into the band.

Chaos: This is definitely not a "full time band" for any of these guys. Which is pretty sad because you're right, there is a lot of potential. It's a shame that this will remain a side project because right now it's probably the most interesting thing any of these guys are involved in.

The Letter M

Quote from: Mosh on December 16, 2014, 07:50:47 PM
At first I was disappointed when I saw that Neal wouldn't be doing lead vocals, but Casey turned out to be perfect for the job and his vocals are getting better. I also really like how they've incorporated Neal's vocals into the band.

Chaos: This is definitely not a "full time band" for any of these guys. Which is pretty sad because you're right, there is a lot of potential. It's a shame that this will remain a side project because right now it's probably the most interesting thing any of these guys are involved in.

Very true. Flying Colors has been a breath of fresh air for all members involved, but it will likely remain a side-project. MP's "home" seems to be The Winery Dogs. He's been very invested in it, doing extensive touring around the world and hosting not one, but TWO (so far) Dog Camps where fans can interact with the band (or something like that...), and it seems like he enjoys his part in that band. Not the project I'd picture him focusing on after Dream Theater, but if he's happy doing that, more power to him. I'd still be more interested in the stuff he does with Neal (Transatlantic, Flying Colors, Neal Morse Band) than anything else he's done or is doing (Adrenaline Mob, The Winery Dogs, PSMS).

I did enjoy his gong-work in the latest Haken EP, though! :rollin

-Marc.

Stadler

I think "Kayla" is perhaps the perfect song, and Flying Colors will always be special to me simply because of that, "The Storm", and "Better Than Walking Away" (which has personal implications for me).  I haven't connected yet with the second album, in large part because of the topic of this thread:  it's not concerned with the "artificial" constraint of the need for "epics".  I have Neal, TA, and DT for that, when it is organic and the idea calls for it.   I think perhaps it is harder in some ways to write the concise 4:00 "pop" song, to self-edit, and to get to the concise heart of the message of the song, and so in many cases, the notion of an "epic" isn't positive, but rather a negative.   

Zydar

Quote from: The Letter M on December 16, 2014, 09:52:19 PM

I did enjoy his gong-work in the latest Haken EP, though! :rollin

-Marc.

Yeah, that was an outstanding performance :lol

chaossystem

I got the "Flying Colors Live in Europe" DVD earlier this week, and I've watched it a couple of times.

Interesting variety of music.
Good musicianship.

I didn't realize until after i brought it home that they were only on tour for their first album, so there are no "newer" songs in the show.

The two opening songs are really good.
I thought some of the songs from the album around the middle or two-thirds of the way through were a little weak, but then it gets better towards the end.

There are, of course several covers.
"Can't Find a Way" is a song that the main lead singer did with one of the other bands he was with. Kind of a "pop ballad," and not the sort of thing I normally listen to, but I like it.
Neal Morse sings a Spock's Beard song called "June." It's more acapella and acoustic than a rock song, but still good. Neal does a lot of lead and solo vocals in this show, which sounds good, but I wish his instrumental sound was more out-front than it is. He's a very talented keyboard player, and that side of him should be heard more.

I didn't like the song "Kayla" as much as other people seem to like it.

Mike Portnoy, in addition to sounding great on the drums, sings a lot more than I expected him to. He does the lead vocal on a song from the FC album  called "Fool in My Heart," and then after a brief but excellent solo by Dave LaRue, he does the lead vocal on their "cover" of DT's "Repentance." I like his vocals, even if no one else does!

Speaking of solos, I wish there had been a drum, guitar, and keyboard solo as well. They could have left out some of the weaker songs and replaced them with the solo spots.
Actually I think there WAS a guitar solo, because at one point about half or two-thirds into the show, Steve Morse was introduced, but then there was what HAD to have been an edit, and then they went into the next song.

The last two or three songs were pretty good, and for an encore they played the album's version of an "epic," a song called "Infinite Fire," which is a little over twelve minutes long.

However:

The DVD does KIND of have an "Easter egg"-
After the band says good night, takes a bow, and the credits are done rolling, they come back out on stage and play a song that isn't listed anywhere in the credits:
A cover of the Deep Purple song "Space Truckin' " which has McPherson, Morse and Portnoy each singing a verse of it.
Good stuff.

hefdaddy42

Gee, I thought this was a DT thread.

chaossystem

Well, Mike Portnoy was DT's original drummer, and they DID play the DT SONG "Repentance"

Plus I did make a comparison about what constitutes an "epic."

The Letter M

Back to epics...anyone hope that the band DON'T put another 18+ minute epic on the next album? Since 8VM, we've had 4 out of 5 albums containing side-length tracks (8VM, ITPOE, TCOT, and IT), with only ADTOE giving us a break from them. It's felt like a bit of a DT staple, but I don't want the band to be expected to make another epic like that. They're not Transatlantic after all. :lol

I think another album like ADTOE or FII with a couple 10-13 minute tracks would be nice, especially since I think they work best in that range of song lengths. I suppose it largely depends on the format of the album, though, like for instance, if it's a concept album, they may do all shorter tracks and no epics. They could also go the other route with concept albums and do long stretches of songs that sound like side-length epics (that is, 2-4 songs linked together to form suites of 18-25 minutes, or something like that).

-Marc.

BlobVanDam

I think ADTOE was a perfect balance of song lengths, with shorter songs, and longer songs, without a super long epic to take away time from having a variety of song types. I feel DT12 was lacking in variety in that regard.

erwinrafael

DT did epics only every other album since SDOIT. ITPOE, for me, are composed of two separate tracks and they are composed as bookends of an album.

The Letter M

Quote from: erwinrafael on December 20, 2014, 09:50:12 PM
DT did epics only every other album since SDOIT. ITPOE, for me, are composed of two separate tracks and they are composed as bookends of an album.

Except the song was composed as one song. If you watch the "Making Of" documentary that came with the album, you'll even noticed that when JP is tracking his guitar solo at the end of the 2nd movement, just before it fades into wind sounds, you hear JM's bass come in 8 beats after the final note of the guitar solo. The song was conceived as ONE piece, not as two. It wasn't until the album was further along that they decided to split it for various reasons, mostly because the first parts felt like a good album opener, but the ending felt like a good album closer, and to avoid doing two albums in a row with a major epic at the end, they decided to split the epic on the album, but perform it as one piece when given the chance.

I'm glad they made that choice, though, because otherwise, the track record for ending albums with epics would've nearly been every album since SDOIT - "Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence", "In The Name Of God", "Octavarium", "In The Presence Of Enemies", "The Count Of Tuscany", and eventually "Illumination Theory". Heck, even going backwards, "Finally Free" was pretty epic, though not the longest track on the album, and "Trial Of Tears" was fairly epic and the longest track on FII, and without "Space-Dye Vest", "Scarred" would've ended Awake, while "Learning To Live" also closed IAW (and was also the longest track on the album).

It always seems that their epics, which are usually the first tracks they write when going back into the studio, happen to end up at the end of their albums. I'm OK with this, really, but it has been a bit predictable, hasn't it?

-Marc.

erwinrafael

Well, albums have to close with a proper climax so I am ok with having epics or epic sounding songs closing albums. BAI and Scarred provided proper climaxes ro the albums as well, with some propee epilogue-type songs affterwards.

The Letter M

Quote from: erwinrafael on December 20, 2014, 10:37:32 PM
Well, albums have to close with a proper climax so I am ok with having epics or epic sounding songs closing albums. BAI and Scarred provided proper climaxes ro the albums as well, with some propee epilogue-type songs affterwards.

ADTOE and Awake have this unique triptych of songs that close their albums that I really enjoy. The run of "Lifting Shadows Off A Dream"/"Scarred"/"Space-Dye Vest" is a wonderful way to close that album just as much as "Far From Heaven"/"Breaking All Illusions"/"Beneath The Surface" was, although the latter was a bit more cohesive as a side of vinyl and a closing set.

If DT would produce another set of three songs (totalling in 18-24 minutes) like this for their next album, I'd be happy with that.

-Marc.

?

Quote from: BlobVanDam on December 20, 2014, 09:19:21 PM
I think ADTOE was a perfect balance of song lengths, with shorter songs, and longer songs, without a super long epic to take away time from having a variety of song types. I feel DT12 was lacking in variety in that regard.

chaossystem

Quote from: The Letter M on December 20, 2014, 07:53:51 PM
Back to epics...anyone hope that the band DON'T put another 18+ minute epic on the next album? Since 8VM, we've had 4 out of 5 albums containing side-length tracks (8VM, ITPOE, TCOT, and IT), with only ADTOE giving us a break from them. It's felt like a bit of a DT staple, but I don't want the band to be expected to make another epic like that. They're not Transatlantic after all. :lol

I think another album like ADTOE or FII with a couple 10-13 minute tracks would be nice, especially since I think they work best in that range of song lengths. I suppose it largely depends on the format of the album, though, like for instance, if it's a concept album, they may do all shorter tracks and no epics. They could also go the other route with concept albums and do long stretches of songs that sound like side-length epics (that is, 2-4 songs linked together to form suites of 18-25 minutes, or something like that).

-Marc.

The general consensus on here seems to be that most of us don't care if they record another really long song on the next album, as long as they do something GOOD.

I don't care if the longest song on the next album is 15 minutes, or TWICE that length.
But I do hope it's better than "Illumination Theory."

Another reason I don't care about the length of the tracks is because just like longer isn't always better, shorter isn't a guarantee of quality, either.
In my opinion, some of their worst songs have been some of their shortest, such as "Disappear," Vacant," "Beneath the Surface," and "Far From Heaven."

On the other hand, some of the shorter songs have also been some of my favorites, such as 6:00 being a close second after scarred, and As I Am or A Rite of Passage.

If they do another over 15 min. epic, I hope it can match or exceed the quality of ACoS, or Octavarium.


hefdaddy42

Quote from: chaossystem on December 21, 2014, 01:24:04 PM
In my opinion, some of their worst songs have been some of their shortest, such as "Disappear," Vacant," "Beneath the Surface," and "Far From Heaven."
Those are all great songs.

erwinrafael

Quote from: hefdaddy42 on December 21, 2014, 09:06:59 PM
Quote from: chaossystem on December 21, 2014, 01:24:04 PM
In my opinion, some of their worst songs have been some of their shortest, such as "Disappear," Vacant," "Beneath the Surface," and "Far From Heaven."
Those are all great songs.

Wait for it, somebody will predictably bring out the opinion/taste/subjectivity cue card. Wait for it.

TheGreatPretender

Quote from: hefdaddy42 on December 21, 2014, 09:06:59 PM
Quote from: chaossystem on December 21, 2014, 01:24:04 PM
In my opinion, some of their worst songs have been some of their shortest, such as "Disappear," Vacant," "Beneath the Surface," and "Far From Heaven."
Those are all great songs.

Unless by worst he means least awesome, in which case, they're still awesome.

The Letter M

Quote from: TheGreatPretender on December 21, 2014, 09:30:43 PM
Quote from: hefdaddy42 on December 21, 2014, 09:06:59 PM
Quote from: chaossystem on December 21, 2014, 01:24:04 PM
In my opinion, some of their worst songs have been some of their shortest, such as "Disappear," Vacant," "Beneath the Surface," and "Far From Heaven."
Those are all great songs.

Unless by worst he means least awesome, in which case, they're still awesome.

Indeed. And looking at the songs mentioned, they're all softer ballads, mostly piano-driven with minimal instrumentation. Not what one would typically associate with Dream Theater's more progressive, heavy and complex metal side, but music like this is a great way for the band to flex their musical muscles. I guess chaossystem just doesn't like songs like that from Dream Theater, but that being his personal taste, I think the general consensus regarding those songs (and those types of songs) within the DT catalog is generally positive.

-Marc.

TheGreatPretender

Quote from: erwinrafael on December 21, 2014, 09:27:17 PM
Wait for it, somebody will predictably bring out the opinion/taste/subjectivity cue card. Wait for it.

Quote from: The Letter M on December 21, 2014, 09:57:29 PM
I guess chaossystem just doesn't like songs like that from Dream Theater, but that being his personal taste,

You called it, erwinrafael.  :lol

erwinrafael

Quote from: TheGreatPretender on December 21, 2014, 10:06:28 PM
Quote from: erwinrafael on December 21, 2014, 09:27:17 PM
Wait for it, somebody will predictably bring out the opinion/taste/subjectivity cue card. Wait for it.

Quote from: The Letter M on December 21, 2014, 09:57:29 PM
I guess chaossystem just doesn't like songs like that from Dream Theater, but that being his personal taste,

You called it, erwinrafael.  :lol

It's one of the hallmarks of English speaking forums.  :lol

The Letter M

Quote from: TheGreatPretender on December 21, 2014, 10:06:28 PM
Quote from: erwinrafael on December 21, 2014, 09:27:17 PM
Wait for it, somebody will predictably bring out the opinion/taste/subjectivity cue card. Wait for it.

Quote from: The Letter M on December 21, 2014, 09:57:29 PM
I guess chaossystem just doesn't like songs like that from Dream Theater, but that being his personal taste,

You called it, erwinrafael.  :lol

To be honest, I wasn't even going to reply until erwinrafael said that, so it's not so much that he called it but that I just responded in kind. :lol :tup

I mean, it all really is up to the individual anyway, but I think we're all smart enough here to know that that's implied, but it's good to be reminded of it every now and then.

Back to the topic at hand, songs like "Vacant" and "Far From Heaven" I think really add to an album, even if they're soft ballads and often the shortest track on an album. In some ways, they're the polar opposite of DT's epics, which are long and sprawling, full of various sounds and large amounts of instrumentation. I think they work well to compliment the band's longer tracks. If it weren't for them, we'd have albums with a lot of the same loud, heavy material all over it.

I can't imagine TOT being as good if it didn't have "Vacant" in the middle of the album, especially as the set-up to "Stream Of Consciousness". Likewise, the placement of "Disappear" before the title track on SDOIT is quite strategic, giving the listener a breather between the previous 40 minutes of long tracks and the next 40 minutes of an epic. Other ones, like "Far Form Heaven" and "Wait For Sleep" set up their following epic pretty well, while others like "Through Her Eyes" and "The Silent Man" come between large portions of long and heavy tracks.

Without them, the epics might seem like too much in the full scheme of an album. So I say, the epics are rather saved by the ballads in some respects, at least, to provide the contrast that DT likes to have, to show their diversity. Even an album of nearly all epics such as BC&SL needed the soft ballad in "Wither", just to give us a break between all the epics. Otherwise, it would've been a bunch of long songs without much variety.

-Marc.