Author Topic: - " The Astonishing " - One Year -- er, TWO YEARS On.  (Read 70718 times)

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Offline Ben_Jamin

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year -- er, TWO YEARS On.
« Reply #980 on: September 16, 2020, 01:02:27 PM »
For me, the story is...not very compelling.  That's probably because it's grounded in reality and I always felt there was a weird disconnect between the extremely serious sounding music and the lyrics, which I can only describe as...mostly not too great.

JP's not really that great of a lyricist and it's why, I feel, he went to the lengths he did in trying to convey the story.

If you want to get into the story, I recommend the book.

I applaud JP for bringing us this story. It's one that needs to be done in a theater show with an orchestra, choir and different vocalists to really have that full effect. And one I really hope he gets to do one day. And why I feel it should've been released as John Petrucci presents The Astonishing performed by Dream Theater.
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Offline pg1067

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year -- er, TWO YEARS On.
« Reply #981 on: September 16, 2020, 01:24:06 PM »
For me, the story is...not very compelling.  That's probably because it's grounded in reality and I always felt there was a weird disconnect between the extremely serious sounding music and the lyrics, which I can only describe as...mostly not too great.

How do you mean?  I'd never heard that before.
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Offline DTA

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year -- er, TWO YEARS On.
« Reply #982 on: September 16, 2020, 02:14:02 PM »
I think they did such a great job of building up the album, but they dropped the ball after its release. I remember they made a website about which faction you were, sent out cryptic message/emails, etc. and they should've hired someone to do more in that vein to continue through the life-cycle of the album.

I haven't listened to it in awhile, but that's mainly because I've been exploring a lot of other stuff. I'd easily rank it in my top 5 favorite DT albums and wish more bands that far into their career would try something so ambitious. The fact that it's so heavily disliked makes me actually appreciate it more. Plus, I just think the music absolutely kicks ass and I can ignore the story-line so that's not any sort of detractor of my enjoyment.

Offline Trav86

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year -- er, TWO YEARS On.
« Reply #983 on: September 16, 2020, 05:04:12 PM »
I still give TA a listen at least once a month. I still think it's DT's best album.

Completely agree! I gave FII a spin the other day and I found it hard to get through and I really like the songs. I don't think people understand or appreciate what it takes to write an Opera.

Hold on a second...are you suggesting that those of us who don't think highly of TA lack an understanding and appreciation of the effort they put into writing and producing it?  Can't one have an appreciation and understanding but not enjoy it?  I thoroughly understand the effort that JP and JR undoubtedly put into writing TA and that the band put into producing it.  But I don't enjoy it.  It's as simple as that.

Yeah - pretty much.

But I don't mean that in a denigrating way. I actually grew up in a period where musicals and operas were the theme of the day. Did you?

For example, with Hamilton, we've actually seen a renaissance in operatic activity but with rap music.  TA has some exceptional moments that make this the very definition of what it means to be Dream Theater. Frankly, if you have an appreciation for something, you're enjoying it at SOME level. It's as complicated as that.

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Offline Dedalus

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year -- er, TWO YEARS On.
« Reply #984 on: September 17, 2020, 12:23:15 AM »
I guess JP could spend the rest of his career recording boring albums like Terminal Velocity and be successful (if he always could have MP on drums, that's for sure). But luckily he is restless enough to do multiple things, including a "DT-esque musical."

That is why I like him.   :biggrin:

Offline kirksnosehair

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year -- er, TWO YEARS On.
« Reply #985 on: September 17, 2020, 07:44:47 AM »
For me, the story is...not very compelling.  That's probably because it's grounded in reality and I always felt there was a weird disconnect between the extremely serious sounding music and the lyrics, which I can only describe as...mostly not too great.

JP's not really that great of a lyricist and it's why, I feel, he went to the lengths he did in trying to convey the story.

If you want to get into the story, I recommend the book.

I applaud JP for bringing us this story. It's one that needs to be done in a theater show with an orchestra, choir and different vocalists to really have that full effect. And one I really hope he gets to do one day. And why I feel it should've been released as John Petrucci presents The Astonishing performed by Dream Theater.


Oh, I definitely applaud Petrucci as well for branching out like this and trying something a little different.  I have nothing but huge respect for all of them, but especially for John because I know what it's like to put yourself out there like this and it's not easy.  And criticism can be hard to deal with, hard not to take personally.  Which is why I always try to avoid using words and phrases like "it sucks" because honestly, I don't think Dream Theater have ever released anything that truly "sucked."  At least not in my opinion.


So, even though the story of this album is not something I'm able to connect with, and despite the fact that this is not the kind of music I expect or want from Dream Theater, I still purchased the CD and I'd do it again if I had a do-over because I know what kind of enormous effort goes into making something like this and I know the emotional toll putting it out there can take, but most of all, I want him -Petrucci- to continue.  I want Dream Theater to continue.  So I support pretty much whatever they do, even if I don't always particularly like it.  I respect the work.

Online Vmadera00

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year -- er, TWO YEARS On.
« Reply #986 on: September 17, 2020, 09:19:13 AM »
Just listened to the album while going through budget numbers (fun).

This album was in the middle of the pack for me (7-9 depending on my mood) and it still sits there. I think it is a good album. The one thing that pushes it down for me is the end of the story. Up until "The Walking Shadow", I thought it was interesting and well written. After that is when they lose it and I find it a little "cheese", for lack of a better word.

If SFAM would have ended with TSCO, it would be on the same boat of a good album with an uninteresting ending. But Finally Free gives it that plot twist at the end that elevates the album. I think that's what TA is missing, a strong ending to the story. Just my opinion.

Other than that, I think the music itself its great.

Online MirrorMask

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year -- er, TWO YEARS On.
« Reply #987 on: September 17, 2020, 10:02:51 AM »
I don't mind the happy ending, I just feel that the pacing is a bit off and that both time and story wise, there's a lot of difference between disc 1 and disc 2.

The first album is filled to the brink defying the physical capacity of a CD and we have to go through a lot of story, the second disc is 20 minute shorter and concentrate to the detail on just the pivotal scene at the end.  I mean if you turn this into a Broadway production and have actors playing it out, Faythe lies in agony for TEN full minutes if you consider "real time" what happens between Darius stabbing her and Gabriel singing her back to life. Not that it's not uncommon in plays to have the action precipitate at the end, it's just that if you look at the pacing you notice the sharp contrast between the lenght of the two discs, and the speed of the action.
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Offline ThatOneGuy2112

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year -- er, TWO YEARS On.
« Reply #988 on: September 17, 2020, 11:40:50 AM »
I can't even remember the last time I listened to the album in its entirety, but since the time if its release, I have not even been close to compelled to do so. For me this is definitely DT's worst album by a pretty decent margin. It's the perfect amalgamation of everything I disliked about the band. These same qualities are what others might like most about the band's music, and if that's your bag, then more power to you.

Also, I don't agree at all that in order to appreciate a work of art's efforts and ambitions you have to enjoy it. I'm sure most people have thought "I appreciate this work's significance, but it's not for me" at some point or another. I might not like TA, but that doesn't mean I don't understand that it must have been quite the undertaking for the band. Creating over two hours of new music is no easy feat. It was a risk in many regards that just didn't really pan out is all, at least not for me and for many others.

Online Dublagent66

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year -- er, TWO YEARS On.
« Reply #989 on: September 17, 2020, 02:33:39 PM »
I guess JP could spend the rest of his career recording boring albums like Terminal Velocity and be successful (if he always could have MP on drums, that's for sure). But luckily he is restless enough to do multiple things, including a "DT-esque musical."

That is why I like him.   :biggrin:

Boring albums like TV? :rollin  I like JP because he's a great guy, phenomenal guitar player, songwriter and producer.  I don't particularly like TA that much, but that has nothing to do with his talents and who is or isn't playing drums.
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Offline emtee

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year -- er, TWO YEARS On.
« Reply #990 on: September 17, 2020, 02:56:22 PM »
Never in my life have I tried so hard to like an album. I felt like I owed it to the band, after the effort that went into this. However, after too many attempts to count, I just can't ever make it past the first couple songs. Total respect for them though. And then DoT came out and blew me away.

Offline Dedalus

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year -- er, TWO YEARS On.
« Reply #991 on: September 17, 2020, 10:42:07 PM »
I guess JP could spend the rest of his career recording boring albums like Terminal Velocity and be successful (if he always could have MP on drums, that's for sure). But luckily he is restless enough to do multiple things, including a "DT-esque musical."

That is why I like him.   :biggrin:

Boring albums like TV? :rollin  I like JP because he's a great guy, phenomenal guitar player, songwriter and producer.  I don't particularly like TA that much, but that has nothing to do with his talents and who is or isn't playing drums.

Yes. I don't like this type of record. I don't like Suspended Animation too.

Online Dublagent66

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Re: - " The Astonishing " - One Year -- er, TWO YEARS On.
« Reply #992 on: Today at 08:02:10 AM »
Bummer for you.  :loser:
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