Author Topic: My thoughts on DT so far...  (Read 4329 times)

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Offline Ninjabait

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Re: My thoughts on DT so far...
« Reply #105 on: May 10, 2018, 12:06:35 PM »
This analysis might help you appreciate Octavarium a little more. It points out a lot of the details and stuff that aren't apparent on first listen. You may want to check out The Astonishing threads here too, since there's a lot of nuggets and deeper layers of meaning that people find and post there.

Awake isn't for everyone, for sure. I know I personally have never cared for it. Don't beat yourself up for not diggin it.

And I'm curious to see what the Yes/The Silent Man connection is. The only thing I can think of is the coda to Roundabout.

Offline pg1067

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Re: My thoughts on DT so far...
« Reply #106 on: May 10, 2018, 01:34:27 PM »
And I'm curious to see what the Yes/The Silent Man connection is. The only thing I can think of is the coda to Roundabout.

The only thing that occurred to me is that TSM is not dissimilar to the "Soon" section at the end of "Gates of Delirium," but that seems to be quite a stretch, so I'll just wait for Bosk to clarify.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: My thoughts on DT so far...
« Reply #107 on: May 10, 2018, 09:29:24 PM »
The Silent Man is a perfect ending to the suite. Not every long piece of music has to end in bombastic, over the top fashion.  It is easy to miss at first, but I love how the chorus to The Silent Man is first heard as a theme in Erotomania (JP's lead somewhat near the end). 

As someone who considers Awake DT's best record and one of my five favorite records by anyone ever, I will say that it can be a tough obstacle at first.  I got it the day it came out and I was taken aback by how different it was from I&W.  I was like, "I don't know about this," but a cool part here and a cool part there kept me listening to it and then one day it all just came together out of nowhere and it was like winning the musical lottery.  I had a similar experience with Queensryche's Promised Land shortly thereafter.

Offline RKW

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Re: My thoughts on DT so far...
« Reply #108 on: May 11, 2018, 12:42:22 AM »
Now that's a lot to answer, I'll try to keep it organized...

I take it you aren't a fan of Yes then, or else the connection and the reason for doing a song like that to conclude the suite would be obvious.

Well I don't know much about Yes so I can't tell you.

The Silent Man is a perfect ending to the suite. Not every long piece of music has to end in bombastic, over the top fashion.  It is easy to miss at first, but I love how the chorus to The Silent Man is first heard as a theme in Erotomania (JP's lead somewhat near the end). 

I agree it does not need to be bombastic, and I get what it wants to convey, a kind of intimate conclusion, I've nothing against the idea itself; it's the execution that doesn't work for me. The verses are bland except for the melody "Pray the won't ask/Behind the stained glass. I did notice the chorus melody in Erotomania, but I can't put my finger on why it sounds good in the Erotomania bit but just feels awkward in the song itself. If at least it was not a "chorus" and appeared only once, ending the song with the more sad note of the verses maybe I'd prefer it. I think this songs suffers from the issue that a lot other songs have, something that feels forced to me, but since it's so short it doesn't have anything else that can save it for me. For instance, while I still don't like IF chorus, I'm starting to see the "bigger picture" of the song and enjoying it more as a whole, even though I still regret its flaws.

That being said, I'm starting to like Scarred more and more, it doesn't elevate as one of their best songs to me, but I'd put it somewhere near songs like TTT/UAGM. I feel like the song has two vibes, a more fun, light one and a darker one, and the transitions between the two are a bit confusing because the song feels like it can't really settle on an idea. The chorus, which is not exceptional but at least sounds natural, should have appeared only twice I think; it feels a little out of place in the middle after the emotional "How come..." section. But it's starting to sound really good anyway, the drums and the bass work are rather impressive! I've yet to really dig the solos but they sound good too.

In the same way, I'm starting to like AMBI more and more, except TSM, but I still wish Erotomania had a better introduction, because it just starts without creating any special emotion, even though that comes later - plus I really hear ACOS every time, I can't be the only one? I think that's one issue I have with this album; now I realize most of their songs always have a good introduction, something that puts you in the right mood, and this is lacking a bit here for some - the worst still being CIAW, because of that I haven't listened to it as much as the others and still don't really know it (plus the chorus just sounds so unnatural once again, and once again it sounds better in Erotomania if my ears are not deceiving me? sounds like they did a lot of little connections, like I also heard SDV in Scarred I think?).

This analysis might help you appreciate Octavarium a little more. It points out a lot of the details and stuff that aren't apparent on first listen. You may want to check out The Astonishing threads here too, since there's a lot of nuggets and deeper layers of meaning that people find and post there.

Don't worry, I've already checked a lot of that and yeah, it's still kind of really impressive to see how much thought they put into this. I really appreciate Octavarium, as I've already said the song was my introduction to the band and like everyone here I think it's pure genius; the others are great too even if Never Enough is a bit subpar and I love TALW more and more each time it pops up; I am pleasantly surprised because I thought I would skip it most of the time. As for the Astonishing, it's probably ranking 3rd for me now, and part of it comes from all of this layered construction.

I see you haven't tried ADTOE, which has now become my favorite! lol! I have had several favorites along the way, as when I first listen (SFAM!) I cannot get enough! But for now anyway, I have settled here. I Love Every Song. The ones I kinda went 'Meh" at first I gave more time to and then, just oh..Far From Heaven makes me cry - I learned from an interview it is about how a child feels inside when parents have their own expectations. I wondered about my kids.....And so on..

Yeah, ADTOE is going to be the last one I will get, and it sounds like a very promising album, plus I could not resist and listened several times to OTBOA and BAI and they are really good, especially BAI, wow, that's the band at its best! Wish I had resisted though to keep the surprise. :-X


Offline bosk1

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Re: My thoughts on DT so far...
« Reply #109 on: May 11, 2018, 07:57:22 AM »
Now that's a lot to answer, I'll try to keep it organized...

I take it you aren't a fan of Yes then, or else the connection and the reason for doing a song like that to conclude the suite would be obvious.

Well I don't know much about Yes so I can't tell you.

Seeing my quote again in context, it comes across a bit differently than I intended.  Sorry if it may have sounded a bit condescending or "know-it-all"-ish.  That wasn't my intent. 

I remember the band commenting on it, but I don't remember for sure where.  I think it may have been the liner notes in the Awake Demos, or in the commentary on LSFNY.  But I remember either Portnoy or Petrucci saying that they intentionally modeled the suite after a Yes album that had either a suite or a long epic that ended with an acoustic section, and that it was a very intentional homage that Yes fans would pick up on.  I also remember fan reaction agreeing.  I wish I could remember the specifics, but like yourself, I am not a yes fan, so the connection is not obvious to me either. 

As to TSM itself and the suite as a whole, both took awhile to grow on me.  What ultimately did it was the aforementioned LSFNY.  Dream Theater isn't necessarily a band where I go out of my way to recommend live performances over studio.  But the LSFNY DVD is just amazing.  The performance is far from flawless, but it is a joy to watch.  The suite is part of the "bonus" footage at the end, which also includes fantastic renditions of Learning To Live and A Change of Seasons.  But it really brings the AMBI suite to live for me, especially the version of TSM with its beefed-up ending.  If you have time to sit down and actually watch a show, do it.  I don't think you will be disappointed.
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Offline pg1067

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Re: My thoughts on DT so far...
« Reply #110 on: May 11, 2018, 11:08:16 AM »
I remember the band commenting on it, but I don't remember for sure where.  I think it may have been the liner notes in the Awake Demos, or in the commentary on LSFNY.  But I remember either Portnoy or Petrucci saying that they intentionally modeled the suite after a Yes album that had either a suite or a long epic that ended with an acoustic section, and that it was a very intentional homage that Yes fans would pick up on.  I also remember fan reaction agreeing.  I wish I could remember the specifics, but like yourself, I am not a yes fan, so the connection is not obvious to me either.

I've watched the LSFNY commentary more times than I can count, so I don't think it's on there (especially since the commentary doesn't cover the bonus material).  I don't have the Awake Demos, so maybe it's there.  Are the Awake Demos sufficiently different from what's on the album that it's worth picking up?


But the LSFNY DVD is just amazing.  The performance is far from flawless, but it is a joy to watch.  The suite is part of the "bonus" footage at the end, which also includes fantastic renditions of Learning To Live and A Change of Seasons.  But it really brings the AMBI suite to live for me, especially the version of TSM with its beefed-up ending.  If you have time to sit down and actually watch a show, do it.  I don't think you will be disappointed.

I couldn't agree more.  LFSNY is one of my all-time favorite live DVDs.  The commentary track alone is worth the price.
"There's a bass solo in a song called Metropolis where I do a bass solo."  John Myung

Offline bosk1

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Re: My thoughts on DT so far...
« Reply #111 on: May 11, 2018, 11:36:40 AM »
I remember the band commenting on it, but I don't remember for sure where.  I think it may have been the liner notes in the Awake Demos, or in the commentary on LSFNY.  But I remember either Portnoy or Petrucci saying that they intentionally modeled the suite after a Yes album that had either a suite or a long epic that ended with an acoustic section, and that it was a very intentional homage that Yes fans would pick up on.  I also remember fan reaction agreeing.  I wish I could remember the specifics, but like yourself, I am not a yes fan, so the connection is not obvious to me either.

I've watched the LSFNY commentary more times than I can count, so I don't think it's on there (especially since the commentary doesn't cover the bonus material).  I don't have the Awake Demos, so maybe it's there.  Are the Awake Demos sufficiently different from what's on the album that it's worth picking up?

Ah, that's right.  I had forgotten that there was no commentary on the bonus material.  I think it must be on the Awake demos liner notes then, but I could be misremembering the source.  I meant to check at home last night and forgot.  Where is Scotty when you need him?  I'm sure that guy knows the answer.

As far as whether it is worth picking up, it depends.  As far as the music itself, it doesn't really bring much to the table.  If you are looking for alternate versions, or something like that, it will be disappointing.  The mix is more raw, and there are subtle differences here and there.  But by and large, the demos don't really bring anything new to the table.  I bought it simply as a completest, and because of all the amazing insight you get from MP's liner notes commentary.  From that perspective, I'd say, yeah, it's worth it.  But if you wouldn't buy it for only those reasons, I would probably not bother.
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Offline gzarruk

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Re: My thoughts on DT so far...
« Reply #112 on: May 11, 2018, 11:43:18 AM »
But the LSFNY DVD is just amazing.  The performance is far from flawless, but it is a joy to watch.  The suite is part of the "bonus" footage at the end, which also includes fantastic renditions of Learning To Live and A Change of Seasons.  But it really brings the AMBI suite to live for me, especially the version of TSM with its beefed-up ending.  If you have time to sit down and actually watch a show, do it.  I don't think you will be disappointed.

I couldn't agree more.  LFSNY is one of my all-time favorite live DVDs.  The commentary track alone is worth the price.

Yeah, very underrated live album for sure. It, along with SFAM, was one of the first DT records I listened to (and watched) and, man, I loved the band inmediately :metal
It sounds like, "ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk." Instead of the more pleasing kick drum sound of, "gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk."

Offline pg1067

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Re: My thoughts on DT so far...
« Reply #113 on: May 11, 2018, 11:47:53 AM »
As far as whether it is worth picking up, it depends.  As far as the music itself, it doesn't really bring much to the table.  If you are looking for alternate versions, or something like that, it will be disappointing.  The mix is more raw, and there are subtle differences here and there.  But by and large, the demos don't really bring anything new to the table.  I bought it simply as a completest, and because of all the amazing insight you get from MP's liner notes commentary.  From that perspective, I'd say, yeah, it's worth it.  But if you wouldn't buy it for only those reasons, I would probably not bother.

I love the liner notes on the I&W demos and the making of SFAM, but those two have a lot of other stuff that make them worthwhile buys.  I'm not a completist, so it sounds like the liner notes would be the only real selling point for me.  Thanks!   :tup
"There's a bass solo in a song called Metropolis where I do a bass solo."  John Myung

Offline RKW

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Re: My thoughts on DT so far...
« Reply #114 on: May 12, 2018, 01:21:49 PM »
The album is slowly growing on me. I'm getting more familiar with it and am trying to get more and more what they wanted to convey with it. I feel that I was maybe wrong in the beginning to say that they tried to create something dark and failed - they did not try to create something THAT dark in the first place I think. Sure, there are dark moments but no song feels completely this way, except for SDV and maybe the mirror. Instead, I find it has a lot of energetic stuff going on and is a very sing-along album. My new thoughts with a quick ranking (which will most probably change soon anyway):

10. Caught in a web: the intro is still really awkward, the chorus slowly feels more and more natural even though not really impressive, but the angry bits are really great now, the singing really serves them.

9. The Silent Man: the verses are really great and I would have loved the whole song to be that way, the chorus should still have appeared only once in my opinion. But I am no longer absolutely angry after this song; it could have been pulled off better but it sounds nice.

8. 6'00: a great opener, I still think the vocals aren't the best for this one, especially the chorus where the way "melody" is sung feels weird compared to how "window" is sung but it has a great vibe - the energetic stuff I was mentioning earlier. The instrumental bits are really cool.

7. Innocence Faded: man, I really, really wish the chorus was better, because I'm starting to think it could be phenomenal. The atmosphere here is incredible, the best being the pre-chorus, what an amazing arrangement. Also, I now like the instrumental ending.

6. Erotomania: remains their worst instrumental, but no longer a bad one per any means. I could definitely do without the ACOS-driven sections but the rest is really inspired and the way other themes are re-used works well. I still have not memorized it perfectly and could not tell what my favorite section is.

5. Lifting shadows off a dream: a kind of Innocence Faded that turned out great, it's not their best ballad but it's definitely beautiful and has great lyrics.

4. The Mirror/Lie: I have to count them as one song, because I REALLY cannot listen to The Mirror on its own. It just stops. It's not even like those songs where the ending transitions into the next one, here there is like no transition. Anyway, this duo is really great, I have a preference for The Mirror that I now consider to be the beginning and the end of the huge track that it creates, kind of like Lie is a song within the song. And I believe it was not intended to be a song originally but just a part of TM until JLB pointed out it was great enough to be expanded upon - so yeah it's really like a song within the song. So The Mirror parts, beginning and ending, are really, really great, with a kind of Halloween vibe, I could almost picture a vampire roaming inside an eerie mansion late at night... okay the lyrics deal with Portnoy's alcoholism but hey. One of the most unique thing of their discography. Lie, while not as great, does not take away from The Mirror and feels natural in between. This time it is the more angry and energetic stuff brought forward, a bit of a mix between CIAW and 6'00 bests parts. I still don't understand what the lyrics are supposed to be about on this one though, they are a bit weird.

3. Scarred: Hearing it right now. Love the intro, the most unexpected drum intro of their catalogue I think, it feels so smooth, almost jazzy. From their it evolves into several interesting sections, they are not mind-blowing but are great altogether, even though the transitions are kind of unexistant and the riffs kinda bland for DT. The "How come" section is still the greatest and one of the finest moment of the album. The chorus is also really smooth, the instrumental section is great, starting with a bit that reminds me Metropolis Pt.1 I think, and then the solos are really enjoyable. The outro is not as epic as LtL but is a great way to end it on an unexpected note just like the progression has been strange throughout the whole song.

2. Voices: I knew it would grow on me, and now all I can say is I love it. Has all the elements included in Scarred but is more coherent and the guitar solo is just so tasteful... might become number 1 soon, but for now it is still...

1. Space-Dye Vest: the perfect closer, the point where the album finally settles on this really dark mood, I can't help but love it. It is such a personal song for KM I guess, you can hardly judge it, it comes straight from the heart. But the band as a whole is doing a great job on it. I really can't say much about it, you all know the feelings this one evokes, it's really moving stuff. I know it's not a universally loved DT song though, but I guess either we completely love or hate it. I also find that the final lyrics just hit so hard.

I am noticing that Awake is almost a complete opposite from Black Clouds - BC&SL I started a bit underwhelmed because it felt a bit like the most "classic" DT album and then I started liking it more and more because it showcases some of the best aspects of the band. You can tell it was written following a routine that had settled in but still this same routine is kind of what allowed them to write material that would satisfy you if you liked all their different aspects. Awake is completely different because you can tell they are still searching their sound, and thus the songs are flawed, balancing between really creative moments and more awkward ones; but at the same time it gives to those songs a completely unique taste, it is flawed but feels fresh. In the end, what surprises me the most now I guess, is how I&W feels so well-balanced that I thought they had already found their sound from that album, hence why I was not expecting something like Awake to come after. So I guess it is more of a great coincidence that I&W works so well, I swear if I did not know the order of their discography I would believe Awake came before, because to me that would be the logical evolution of their musical identity. Anyway, the opposite way I started liking BC&SL more and more, I am now liking Awake more and more, because it is this flawed record with a unique flavour. Now, I don't even want to begin to think about how hard it will be to rank them when I will finally be familiar will all of their material...

Offline Kattoelox

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Re: My thoughts on DT so far...
« Reply #115 on: May 12, 2018, 02:10:03 PM »
I love the spoken word samples in Space-Dye Vest, they complement the beautiful, sorrowful lyrics perfectly. What an incredible song that is.

Love is an act of blood and I'm bleeding a pool in the shape of a heart
Beauty projection in the reflection, always the worst way to start

Offline bosk1

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Re: My thoughts on DT so far...
« Reply #116 on: May 16, 2018, 08:32:45 AM »
Regarding the AMBI/Yes connection:

Quote from: Mike Portnoy
[from the Awake demos]We had the idea of doing a trilogy that would be broken up into 3 parts: the 1st part being a crazy instrumental, the middle part being a big soaring epic, and the final part being an acoustic piece to close out the trilogy on a somber note. (in the vein of the endings of Yes' Gates of Delirium or Rush's Hemispheres). What a surprise it was to us when later in the year, Yes used the EXACT same trilogy formula for the closing tracks of their new "Talk" album!
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Offline gzarruk

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Re: My thoughts on DT so far...
« Reply #117 on: May 16, 2018, 12:34:17 PM »
Regarding the AMBI/Yes connection:

Quote from: Mike Portnoy
[from the Awake demos]We had the idea of doing a trilogy that would be broken up into 3 parts: the 1st part being a crazy instrumental, the middle part being a big soaring epic, and the final part being an acoustic piece to close out the trilogy on a somber note. (in the vein of the endings of Yes' Gates of Delirium or Rush's Hemispheres). What a surprise it was to us when later in the year, Yes used the EXACT same trilogy formula for the closing tracks of their new "Talk" album!

Very interesting! I still donít like TSM too much, though  :-\
It sounds like, "ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk." Instead of the more pleasing kick drum sound of, "gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk."

Offline pg1067

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Re: My thoughts on DT so far...
« Reply #118 on: May 16, 2018, 04:31:50 PM »
Regarding the AMBI/Yes connection:

Quote from: Mike Portnoy
[from the Awake demos]We had the idea of doing a trilogy that would be broken up into 3 parts: the 1st part being a crazy instrumental, the middle part being a big soaring epic, and the final part being an acoustic piece to close out the trilogy on a somber note. (in the vein of the endings of Yes' Gates of Delirium or Rush's Hemispheres). What a surprise it was to us when later in the year, Yes used the EXACT same trilogy formula for the closing tracks of their new "Talk" album!

This is interesting.  Although I hypothesized earlier in the thread that maybe there was an analogy between TSM and the "Soon" section at the end of Gates of Delirium, I also commented that it's a bit of a stretch to compare them.  The "crazy instrumental" part of Gates is in the middle, and it serves to advance the plot of the song, whereas Erotomania never felt to me like "part of" Voices.  Also, "Soon" is more hopeful in tone than it is somber (although I don't really see TSM as being somber either).  I also don't see Hemispheres as a good analogy, although "The Sphere" is more similar to TSM than is "Soon."  But I get that those were the things they had in mind and AMBI is where they ended up from that starting point.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: My thoughts on DT so far...
« Reply #119 on: May 16, 2018, 07:38:05 PM »
Talk was released 7 months before Awake.  I am sure DT had the demo of AMBI going before Talk's release, but just wanted to point that out.

Offline pg1067

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Re: My thoughts on DT so far...
« Reply #120 on: May 17, 2018, 11:38:25 AM »
Talk was released 7 months before Awake.  I am sure DT had the demo of AMBI going before Talk's release, but just wanted to point that out.

DT's last I&W show was November 28, 1993.

Talk was released on March 21, 1994.

Recording for Awake started in May 1994.  When the structure of AMBI and any demos first existed is, I think, a matter of complete speculation.
"There's a bass solo in a song called Metropolis where I do a bass solo."  John Myung