Author Topic: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...  (Read 11350 times)

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Offline erwinrafael

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #140 on: January 06, 2021, 08:50:52 PM »
If you think about it, I&W and Awake do not really have long songs with crazy instrumentals. The wankfest is really just Metropolis Pt. 1, and that is what made that song special to me at that time. That it is a wankfest that stood out and not all of the songs in the album are as crazy instrumentally.

The problem with me during the Train of Thought to BC&SL era was almost every song was trying to become a wankfest. DT12 was a drastic turnaround sacrificing the instrumental virtuosity that we became accustomed to, but D/T was a step towards finding that balance again. FITL, BW, S2N, and AWE for me were exemplars of that balance.

Online Ben_Jamin

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #141 on: January 06, 2021, 08:57:14 PM »
Here's my theory:  Portnoy created a certain type of creative energy that pushed the band one way and Petrucci was kind of the opposing creative force.  When you put them together it's like mixing valium and alcohol.  The effects and relative efficacy of both are enhanced by the presence of the other.  But when you take one side of those opposing forces out of the equation and the songwriting settles into a different rhythm, well, you end up with a little bit less consistency and some of that "magic" or "secret sauce" that made Dream Theater special was diminished by Portnoy's departure. 


It's just a theory but I base it on my own songwriting experience.  My songs were...good.  Nothing really special, until I hooked up with my writing partner.  The push/pull of him and I working together created something that me working alone or him working alone would never have achieved.  It's why I like to allow the musicians I collaborate with to actually modify my songs if they have a good idea.  In fact, I encourage it.  Anyway, I think the reduction in that creative tension has changed the contours of Dream Theater's songs in ways that haven't always resulted in the best output.

I'm a BIG fan of this theory; I call it "the clubhouse" (a sports term about the attitude of the team back in the locker room).  There are countless examples of this; Jagger/Richards.   Page/Plant (he's one of the greatest guitar players of all time, but seems to be a lost foundling without Robert Plant). There's no denying that the Lennon/McCartney numbers benefited from having both those men in the studio at the same time.  I've long said that even though Iommi holds the name and is on all the records, there is no Black Sabbath without Geezer Butler.   

The idea that bands all have to be best friends and love-y dove-y is crap; but it's the rare talent (Bruce, Dylan) that can survive in a vacuum.   Even the great Eddie Van Halen needed a partner in crime; some of the solo stuff, while amazing guitar playing, is... slight without a Dave, or Sam, or (later) Wolfgang to sort of whip it into shape.

That's called Chemistry. Some people have great chemistry and others do not, and sometimes that chemistry can wane and that spark is lost.

But, in all, if you don't get along together at all. Your band will never be a touring band, and a lot of situations can happen off stage and behind the scenes. Remember, these guys have to live with each other, in a tight confined space, for how many months.

Wouldn't that be tensions? Tensions between people that can arise.

But yeah, then there are those bands that are record label made and tour and then you end up with the next album from that project has  different lineup. Because one member said, fuck this shit...

That's patently false, though, Ben.    Jagger and Richards.   Motley Crue.   Aerosmith (someone here I think it was, mentioned that he had inside information that Perry and Tyler rarely speak to each other outside of music).   Anderson and Howe.   Gillan and Blackmore.   I think it's a myth that bands have to be like Rush, best buds and brothers in arms.

I agree with you. That all bands don't have to be lovey dovey.

What I mean is. Bands have members that can start out as friends, or maybe, just get along together enough to recognize, they should tolerate the bullshit, because what they have with the band is big and would be a wasted opportunity not to. They recognize the chemistry they have there that's brewing.

As the band gets bigger, and you made a name for yourself. You can eventually, leave that bullshit, and say I am gone, and start a solo career. Can't think of examples now, but I am sure there are members that have left the band, once gaining a name for themselves.

I mean, you can see the tension in those members sometimes being reflected in the shows. I say sometimes, because they won't show they're not having a good time playing on stage. But, when you've had enough of the bullshit, you say screw it, and pull a Blackmore performance like he gives on Come Hell or High Water.



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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #142 on: January 06, 2021, 09:02:08 PM »
If you think about it, I&W and Awake do not really have long songs with crazy instrumentals. The wankfest is really just Metropolis Pt. 1, and that is what made that song special to me at that time. That it is a wankfest that stood out and not all of the songs in the album are as crazy instrumentally.

The problem with me during the Train of Thought to BC&SL era was almost every song was trying to become a wankfest. DT12 was a drastic turnaround sacrificing the instrumental virtuosity that we became accustomed to, but D/T was a step towards finding that balance again. FITL, BW, S2N, and AWE for me were exemplars of that balance.

Well said. I think it is also noteworthy that the Metropolis instrumental section totally fits the song and flows so well with the rest of the song.  It felt like quite a few of the longer instrumental sections in the 00's were just dropped into the song as an excuse to have it in there regardless of whether it really fit with the regular part of the song (if you know what I mean).  *cough* The Ministry of Lost Souls *cough*

Offline Architeuthis

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #143 on: January 07, 2021, 12:56:18 AM »
When you think about a band like Rush, they went in a completely different direction every album especially since Moving Pictures onward.  They didn't return to the long songs all the way up until Clockwork Angel's which is their only full length concept album btw.
 Dream Theater has changed to a degree but nothing like Rush did over the years. I mean Rush sounded like a different band from one decade to the next, whereas DT stayed true to their sound.  I think Distance Over Time is a great balance of good song writing and musical chops all in one. It's kind of like Permanent Waves, and Pale Blue Dot is their Natural Science lyrically and musically....  WWRD??   :coolio
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Offline MirrorMask

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #144 on: January 07, 2021, 06:00:52 AM »
If you think about it, I&W and Awake do not really have long songs with crazy instrumentals. The wankfest is really just Metropolis Pt. 1, and that is what made that song special to me at that time. That it is a wankfest that stood out and not all of the songs in the album are as crazy instrumentally.

The problem with me during the Train of Thought to BC&SL era was almost every song was trying to become a wankfest. DT12 was a drastic turnaround sacrificing the instrumental virtuosity that we became accustomed to, but D/T was a step towards finding that balance again. FITL, BW, S2N, and AWE for me were exemplars of that balance.

Well said. I think it is also noteworthy that the Metropolis instrumental section totally fits the song and flows so well with the rest of the song.  It felt like quite a few of the longer instrumental sections in the 00's were just dropped into the song as an excuse to have it in there regardless of whether it really fit with the regular part of the song (if you know what I mean).  *cough* The Ministry of Lost Souls *cough*

I agree 100% and this is basically the only thing about DT's entire carrer that I dislike.

As crazy and outlandish the solo section of Metropolis is, it's a journey through the mood of the song and I guess I could hum my way through most of it. Play me a random snippet from any of the solo sections you mentioned of the latter Portnoy years, and I would have a very hard time to recognize which song is which.

I believe those solo sections were written in LTE mode.... "we need a solo section, how should we contruct it?" "eh, let's jam a bit like we used to do with LTE".... and the first 5 minutes of the jam become the solo section.
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Offline Stadler

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #145 on: January 07, 2021, 06:54:18 AM »
When you think about a band like Rush, they went in a completely different direction every album especially since Moving Pictures onward.  They didn't return to the long songs all the way up until Clockwork Angel's which is their only full length concept album btw.
 Dream Theater has changed to a degree but nothing like Rush did over the years. I mean Rush sounded like a different band from one decade to the next, whereas DT stayed true to their sound.  I think Distance Over Time is a great balance of good song writing and musical chops all in one. It's kind of like Permanent Waves, and Pale Blue Dot is their Natural Science lyrically and musically....  WWRD??   :coolio

I'm as big a Rush fan as most here, but with a few exceptions, that's slightly overstating the degree of change.  Granted, GUP sounds little like Fly By Night, but it's not like each album was careening through a series of styles.  The Sector box sets are on to something in terms of the cohesiveness of what's in them.

And - and I'm not saying this to you but as a general comment - the concept of the "long songs" here is baffling to me.   I can remember when Flying Colors came out, and Mike published the titles and times, and there were multiple posts about how "great" Infinite Fire and Blue Ocean would be, unheard!, based solely on the time stamp of the song.   I had to drive an hour each way yesterday and used that time to listen to SC and BC&SL.   Honestly, the one thing that set it apart for me wasn't the wankery, wasn't the length of the songs, it was simply that it sounded so generic.  The growly vocals, the quasi-metal interludes with token blast beats and low string chugging... FOR ME, it's the first time inspiration corner - where the band took outside influences and incorporated them into their own world - slipped into mimicry, and the influences BECAME the world.

Offline emtee

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #146 on: January 07, 2021, 07:00:04 AM »
I felt it was on 8V, when MP'S world was so impacted by Muse. I mean, he even had JLB sing in the same way on one song. The album is loved by most though, so there's that.

Offline Trav86

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #147 on: January 07, 2021, 07:19:22 AM »
As controversial as this may be...the “drop a random instrumental section in the song” style, started with Scenes. It got worse with every album, then got significantly better with ADTOE. It has gotten better with each album since.
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Offline Dublagent66

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #148 on: January 07, 2021, 07:37:38 AM »
Can somebody say honestly that when they heard the beginning of AWE the first time, they predicted that the song would end with that soaring dramatic guitar solo?

Not in a million years, because DT songs hardly ever end with soaring dramatic solos.  :lol

Seriously, something like that can't be predicted, but when it happens, it's not surprising.

Online Ben_Jamin

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #149 on: January 07, 2021, 07:40:35 AM »
When you think about a band like Rush, they went in a completely different direction every album especially since Moving Pictures onward.  They didn't return to the long songs all the way up until Clockwork Angel's which is their only full length concept album btw.
 Dream Theater has changed to a degree but nothing like Rush did over the years. I mean Rush sounded like a different band from one decade to the next, whereas DT stayed true to their sound.  I think Distance Over Time is a great balance of good song writing and musical chops all in one. It's kind of like Permanent Waves, and Pale Blue Dot is their Natural Science lyrically and musically....  WWRD??   :coolio

I'm as big a Rush fan as most here, but with a few exceptions, that's slightly overstating the degree of change.  Granted, GUP sounds little like Fly By Night, but it's not like each album was careening through a series of styles.  The Sector box sets are on to something in terms of the cohesiveness of what's in them.

And - and I'm not saying this to you but as a general comment - the concept of the "long songs" here is baffling to me.   I can remember when Flying Colors came out, and Mike published the titles and times, and there were multiple posts about how "great" Infinite Fire and Blue Ocean would be, unheard!, based solely on the time stamp of the song.   I had to drive an hour each way yesterday and used that time to listen to SC and BC&SL.   Honestly, the one thing that set it apart for me wasn't the wankery, wasn't the length of the songs, it was simply that it sounded so generic.  The growly vocals, the quasi-metal interludes with token blast beats and low string chugging... FOR ME, it's the first time inspiration corner - where the band took outside influences and incorporated them into their own world - slipped into mimicry, and the influences BECAME the world.

Don't forget about Forsaken being a love story about a Vampire, and to me, sounding like a mix between Evanescence and the rhythm to Static-X Cold.
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Offline Architeuthis

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #150 on: January 07, 2021, 09:00:17 AM »
You're right Ben. When I first heard Forsaken my initial thought was Evanescence.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2021, 09:15:51 AM by Architeuthis »
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Offline Architeuthis

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #151 on: January 07, 2021, 09:14:53 AM »
When you think about a band like Rush, they went in a completely different direction every album especially since Moving Pictures onward.  They didn't return to the long songs all the way up until Clockwork Angel's which is their only full length concept album btw.
 Dream Theater has changed to a degree but nothing like Rush did over the years. I mean Rush sounded like a different band from one decade to the next, whereas DT stayed true to their sound.  I think Distance Over Time is a great balance of good song writing and musical chops all in one. It's kind of like Permanent Waves, and Pale Blue Dot is their Natural Science lyrically and musically....  WWRD??   :coolio

I'm as big a Rush fan as most here, but with a few exceptions, that's slightly overstating the degree of change.  Granted, GUP sounds little like Fly By Night, but it's not like each album was careening through a series of styles.  The Sector box sets are on to something in terms of the cohesiveness of what's in them.

???   I can't hear any similarities between GUP and FBN whatsoever.  I'm interested to know what you are hearing.
You can do a lot in a lifetime if you don't burn out too fast, you can make the most of the distance, first you need endurance first you've got to last....... NP

Offline hunnus2000

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #152 on: January 07, 2021, 09:55:11 AM »
When you think about a band like Rush, they went in a completely different direction every album especially since Moving Pictures onward.  They didn't return to the long songs all the way up until Clockwork Angel's which is their only full length concept album btw.
 Dream Theater has changed to a degree but nothing like Rush did over the years. I mean Rush sounded like a different band from one decade to the next, whereas DT stayed true to their sound.  I think Distance Over Time is a great balance of good song writing and musical chops all in one. It's kind of like Permanent Waves, and Pale Blue Dot is their Natural Science lyrically and musically....  WWRD??   :coolio

I'm as big a Rush fan as most here, but with a few exceptions, that's slightly overstating the degree of change.  Granted, GUP sounds little like Fly By Night, but it's not like each album was careening through a series of styles.  The Sector box sets are on to something in terms of the cohesiveness of what's in them.

???   I can't hear any similarities between GUP and FBN whatsoever.  I'm interested to know what you are hearing.

I got the impression that he was trying to GUP sounds nothing (little) FBN. As opposed "sounds a little like".

Offline Architeuthis

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #153 on: January 07, 2021, 10:34:30 AM »
Whoa, I think your right.  That went right over my head.   :justjen
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Offline gzarruk

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #154 on: January 07, 2021, 10:59:37 AM »
When you think about a band like Rush, they went in a completely different direction every album especially since Moving Pictures onward.  They didn't return to the long songs all the way up until Clockwork Angel's which is their only full length concept album btw.
 Dream Theater has changed to a degree but nothing like Rush did over the years. I mean Rush sounded like a different band from one decade to the next, whereas DT stayed true to their sound.  I think Distance Over Time is a great balance of good song writing and musical chops all in one. It's kind of like Permanent Waves, and Pale Blue Dot is their Natural Science lyrically and musically....  WWRD??   :coolio

I'm as big a Rush fan as most here, but with a few exceptions, that's slightly overstating the degree of change.  Granted, GUP sounds little like Fly By Night, but it's not like each album was careening through a series of styles.  The Sector box sets are on to something in terms of the cohesiveness of what's in them.

And - and I'm not saying this to you but as a general comment - the concept of the "long songs" here is baffling to me.   I can remember when Flying Colors came out, and Mike published the titles and times, and there were multiple posts about how "great" Infinite Fire and Blue Ocean would be, unheard!, based solely on the time stamp of the song.   I had to drive an hour each way yesterday and used that time to listen to SC and BC&SL.   Honestly, the one thing that set it apart for me wasn't the wankery, wasn't the length of the songs, it was simply that it sounded so generic.  The growly vocals, the quasi-metal interludes with token blast beats and low string chugging... FOR ME, it's the first time inspiration corner - where the band took outside influences and incorporated them into their own world - slipped into mimicry, and the influences BECAME the world.

Don't forget about Forsaken being a love story about a Vampire, and to me, sounding like a mix between Evanescence and the rhythm to Static-X Cold.

I don't own and haven't read Lifting Shadows yet, but I read somewhere online that Mike P said in the book (which was also written around the SC/BC&SL period) that he wanted a different kind of singer for DT, and the direction they were taking, and that "they only kept James around because fans seemed to like him somehow". I don't know if this was the exact thing he said or not, but still a pretty bad thing to say, if you ask me.
It sounds like, "ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk." Instead of the more pleasing kick drum sound of, "gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk."

Offline Madman Shepherd

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #155 on: January 07, 2021, 12:22:08 PM »
He didn't really say that. Not that what he said was much better. He essentially said, "if we were picking a singer today, james would probably not be the guy but to the fans he's the voice of dream theater."

Offline erwinrafael

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #156 on: January 07, 2021, 03:31:09 PM »
Good thing we got James as he is one hell of a lyricist.

Offline Stadler

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #157 on: January 08, 2021, 07:02:38 AM »
When you think about a band like Rush, they went in a completely different direction every album especially since Moving Pictures onward.  They didn't return to the long songs all the way up until Clockwork Angel's which is their only full length concept album btw.
 Dream Theater has changed to a degree but nothing like Rush did over the years. I mean Rush sounded like a different band from one decade to the next, whereas DT stayed true to their sound.  I think Distance Over Time is a great balance of good song writing and musical chops all in one. It's kind of like Permanent Waves, and Pale Blue Dot is their Natural Science lyrically and musically....  WWRD??   :coolio

I'm as big a Rush fan as most here, but with a few exceptions, that's slightly overstating the degree of change.  Granted, GUP sounds little like Fly By Night, but it's not like each album was careening through a series of styles.  The Sector box sets are on to something in terms of the cohesiveness of what's in them.

???   I can't hear any similarities between GUP and FBN whatsoever.  I'm interested to know what you are hearing.

No, you hear right.   I was trying to say (and may have missed a word) that Grace Under Pressure doesn't sound anything like Fly By Night.

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #158 on: January 14, 2021, 02:07:17 PM »
I am watching this Interview with JP and JLB about Distance Over Time, and something caught my ear.

https://youtu.be/ilIFuCe7TuY?t=1078

They are talking about signing the record contract during Images and Words. JP says how they stupidly made the mistake of signing a long record contract, which ended up being 8 albums. And that they never got dropped by the label. and laughed when JLB said "It's like...LET US GO!!!"

Damn, so they were bound by that contract until they recorded Systematic Chaos. No wonder why that album making of looked like they were having the time of their lives. Because they were free.... :lol :lol




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Offline darkshade

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #159 on: January 24, 2021, 08:48:49 AM »
Safest Dream Theater album in their entire catalog, for better or worse.
A couple of nuggets, mainly the last 3 songs, not counting the bonus track, and Barstool Warrior.
Otherwise, to me its the Mangini era version of Systematic Chaos, but even SC had some surprises.
This album also really showed JLB's age, and I'd rather he go back to the pre-Mangini, dry sound he had on the earlier recordings. He's soaked in effects now.
When the bonus track is the most interesting song, you have to wonder who's steering the ship, if anyone.

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #160 on: January 24, 2021, 09:22:31 AM »
Safest Dream Theater album in their entire catalog, for better or worse.
A couple of nuggets, mainly the last 3 songs, not counting the bonus track, and Barstool Warrior.
Otherwise, to me its the Mangini era version of Systematic Chaos, but even SC had some surprises.
This album also really showed JLB's age, and I'd rather he go back to the pre-Mangini, dry sound he had on the earlier recordings. He's soaked in effects now.
When the bonus track is the most interesting song, you have to wonder who's steering the ship, if anyone.

How is this a safe Dream Theater album?
What are these nuggets?
James LaBrie was likely the one who chose to be soaked in effects. He always has used effects, the effects he is using this time are just more noticeable in the mix, and I think they work well with the music.
The Bonus Track is an interesting song because it's something they jammed for fun, and then just said screw, let's record this. It's why JP felt to also include the ending they did for At Wit's End during the live rehearsal for the song, and just loved how it all turned out, and it couldn't be replicated again, so he took that recording and added it to the end.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #161 on: January 24, 2021, 09:36:47 AM »
I think it was safe in that they by their own admission went for the more classic DT sound than anything else on most of the record, probably as a result of the divisive reaction to The Astonishing, but it was cool to get something like Viper King as a bonus track. I'd love to see them do a record of mostly short catchy songs like Viper King and Our New World.

Offline darkshade

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #162 on: January 24, 2021, 09:53:53 AM »
Safest Dream Theater album in their entire catalog, for better or worse.
A couple of nuggets, mainly the last 3 songs, not counting the bonus track, and Barstool Warrior.
Otherwise, to me its the Mangini era version of Systematic Chaos, but even SC had some surprises.
This album also really showed JLB's age, and I'd rather he go back to the pre-Mangini, dry sound he had on the earlier recordings. He's soaked in effects now.
When the bonus track is the most interesting song, you have to wonder who's steering the ship, if anyone.

How is this a safe Dream Theater album?
What are these nuggets?
James LaBrie was likely the one who chose to be soaked in effects. He always has used effects, the effects he is using this time are just more noticeable in the mix, and I think they work well with the music.
The Bonus Track is an interesting song because it's something they jammed for fun, and then just said screw, let's record this. It's why JP felt to also include the ending they did for At Wit's End during the live rehearsal for the song, and just loved how it all turned out, and it couldn't be replicated again, so he took that recording and added it to the end.

Safe because they stuck to shorter, concise writing (for them), most of the songs have a generally standard pop structure. They did not allow for any longer instrumental sections, and they upped the old school metal in their sound again, at the detriment of the prog, likely because of mixed reactions to The Astonishing. At least when they upped the metal on Train of Thought it was progressive, in the sense that they were pushing their metal sound forward, as opposed to ripping of Dave Mustaine and James Hetfield's riff styles as they have done from SC to DoT, or trying to sound more like modern acts. When DT get heavy these days, it still sounds like they're trying to stay hip and current within the metal framework, so I don't know why people think that that stopped happening when Portnoy left the band. All they did when MP left was bring back more melodic/major key stuff, which was already happening on BC&SL anyway, on The Best of Times and Count of Tuscany.

I meant nuggets as in "classic tunes among not-so classic songs", not nuggets like on Octavarium or other Portnoy era albums.

Viper King is an example of doing something different, but still cool, something I think the band has earned the right to do. Some say that is what The Astonishing is, and well, OK, but I didn't care for that particular approach, so I'd like to see the band try something else, not take a step back and play it safe. They kind of did the same thing with ADTOE, when you think about it.

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #163 on: January 24, 2021, 10:01:58 AM »
I think it was safe in that they by their own admission went for the more classic DT sound than anything else on most of the record, probably as a result of the divisive reaction to The Astonishing, but it was cool to get something like Viper King as a bonus track. I'd love to see them do a record of mostly short catchy songs like Viper King and Our New World.


D/T to me is an album that shows great progression from the Self-Titled, which was their last album where they showed growth in experimenting and "not playing it safe". Since, The Astonishing was a massive concept, it was not going to be a next step evolution of the Self-Titled. Instead of creating new sounds, and even, experimenting with new sounds and ideas, they used their knowledge to create a concept and used their musical knowledge to create music that would go with that concept.


They could go in with that Idea in mind (short catchy songs), but you may not end up enjoying the end product. That's the risk we take with our expectations for every new album by a band. And why, I don't bother expecting anything. I go based off what they say in the press releases, and still don't expect anything, I can have an idea, but I won't have it in my mind that they will fulfill my expectations, if they do than that is just amazing.

People, right off the bat, hear a band is doing a new album and instantly go to their expectations, or more, the dream album they wish their favorite band would make. "I hope it sounds like this, I hope it's not like this".

Not having any expectations, allows me to enjoy an album by a band, when they "play it safe", or go into the extreme experiment realm and is entirely different than the sound they've come to be known for, I.E. Steven Wilson - The Future Bites, and Pain of Salvation - Panther for experimental, and Transatlantic for the "play it safe", it's sound is still easily recognizable as Transatlantic.


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Online Ben_Jamin

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #164 on: January 24, 2021, 10:07:46 AM »
Safest Dream Theater album in their entire catalog, for better or worse.
A couple of nuggets, mainly the last 3 songs, not counting the bonus track, and Barstool Warrior.
Otherwise, to me its the Mangini era version of Systematic Chaos, but even SC had some surprises.
This album also really showed JLB's age, and I'd rather he go back to the pre-Mangini, dry sound he had on the earlier recordings. He's soaked in effects now.
When the bonus track is the most interesting song, you have to wonder who's steering the ship, if anyone.

How is this a safe Dream Theater album?
What are these nuggets?
James LaBrie was likely the one who chose to be soaked in effects. He always has used effects, the effects he is using this time are just more noticeable in the mix, and I think they work well with the music.
The Bonus Track is an interesting song because it's something they jammed for fun, and then just said screw, let's record this. It's why JP felt to also include the ending they did for At Wit's End during the live rehearsal for the song, and just loved how it all turned out, and it couldn't be replicated again, so he took that recording and added it to the end.

Safe because they stuck to shorter, concise writing (for them), most of the songs have a generally standard pop structure. They did not allow for any longer instrumental sections, and they upped the old school metal in their sound again, at the detriment of the prog, likely because of mixed reactions to The Astonishing. At least when they upped the metal on Train of Thought it was progressive, in the sense that they were pushing their metal sound forward, as opposed to ripping of Dave Mustaine and James Hetfield's riff styles as they have done from SC to DoT, or trying to sound more like modern acts. When DT get heavy these days, it still sounds like they're trying to stay hip and current within the metal framework, so I don't know why people think that that stopped happening when Portnoy left the band. All they did when MP left was bring back more melodic/major key stuff, which was already happening on BC&SL anyway, on The Best of Times and Count of Tuscany.

I meant nuggets as in "classic tunes among not-so classic songs", not nuggets like on Octavarium or other Portnoy era albums.

Viper King is an example of doing something different, but still cool, something I think the band has earned the right to do. Some say that is what The Astonishing is, and well, OK, but I didn't care for that particular approach, so I'd like to see the band try something else, not take a step back and play it safe. They kind of did the same thing with ADTOE, when you think about it.

The vocals during a certain verse in This Dying Soul, is totally not a Dave Mustaine rip-off and is them pushing their metal sound foward.  :lol

As I said in my latest post here...They could do something different and try something else, but as you said with The Astonishing, it could end up that "You won't care for the particular approach". So what expectations must the band fulfill for you?

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Offline darkshade

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #165 on: January 24, 2021, 10:26:12 AM »
Sure you'll hear some influences on ToT, but the album as a whole is a bit of a departure from the albums that came before and since, I would never confuse a post-ToT heavy song with a song from ToT, both because the style and recording itself is so drastically unique compared to anything else in the DT catalog. This was mostly dropped on Octavarium, and instead of playing it safe, they released a varied album where each song had it's own identity musically, while also being a themed album.

With or without Portnoy, since SC, the albums have all been samey (with the exception of Black Clouds & Silver Linings, it's a flawed album, but quite diverse.)

I'd rather see them try something else that is different or new for them post-Astonishing, instead of playing it safe because some fans might have been turned off by TA, as I explained with ToT / Octavarium.

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #166 on: January 24, 2021, 10:53:46 AM »
Sure you'll hear some influences on ToT, but the album as a whole is a bit of a departure from the albums that came before and since, I would never confuse a post-ToT heavy song with a song from ToT, both because the style and recording itself is so drastically unique compared to anything else in the DT catalog. This was mostly dropped on Octavarium, and instead of playing it safe, they released a varied album where each song had it's own identity musically, while also being a themed album.

With or without Portnoy, since SC, the albums have all been samey (with the exception of Black Clouds & Silver Linings, it's a flawed album, but quite diverse.)

I'd rather see them try something else that is different or new for them post-Astonishing, instead of playing it safe because some fans might have been turned off by TA, as I explained with ToT / Octavarium.

I would too, like to see them do something so drastic of change that it'll alienate the fans again.  :biggrin:

But, I see it this way. The band has found a style that they all gel in, and they feel like staying in and exploring it, rather than dipping their toes in it, feeling it's warm and relaxing and even therapeutic, and then getting pulled out and moving on to the next one. And I feel they did that with their Self-Titled album. That is the album that truly defined the present day Dream Theater sound and style.
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Offline darkshade

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #167 on: January 24, 2021, 11:15:23 AM »
I get what you're saying, but that is a recent trend of wanting to stay within certain confines. It doesn't matter if the music is fast, slow, heavy, ballad, everything in the Mangini era has this general feel and mood and it's generally cold and serious, which is opposite to most of DT's first 8 or so albums, where there was a sense of fun and adventure, while showcasing many moods and emotions. As I said I think SC started that, but it's been a gradual shift, as I said, BC&SL was still plenty diverse.

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #168 on: January 24, 2021, 11:26:34 AM »
I get what you're saying, but that is a recent trend of wanting to stay within certain confines. It doesn't matter if the music is fast, slow, heavy, ballad, everything in the Mangini era has this general feel and mood and it's generally cold and serious, which is opposite to most of DT's first 8 or so albums, where there was a sense of fun and adventure, while showcasing many moods and emotions. As I said I think SC started that, but it's been a gradual shift, as I said, BC&SL was still plenty diverse.

And maybe, the band likes basking in that Cold and Serious mood and feel.

I don't know but, S2N has a sense of fun.
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Offline geeeemo

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #169 on: January 24, 2021, 03:07:08 PM »
S2N needs to be played live. :metal It totally sounds like a live song.

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #170 on: January 24, 2021, 03:51:54 PM »
S2N needs to be played live. :metal It totally sounds like a live song.

And EVERYBODY in the audience needs to yell "Wow!" at the appropriate moment.

As far as the other discussion, I just don't know what to say in response to the opinion that everything sounds "cold" and the "fun and adventure" are missing.  I don't get that at all.  Not even a little bit. 
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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #171 on: January 24, 2021, 03:58:26 PM »
For me, looking at the Mangini era and setting The Astonishing aside:

- I find ADTOE to be wildly uneven. Breaking All Illusions is still the best song they've put out since Portnoy left and an overall top 10 DT song for me. There's some other really strong material, but also plenty of very meh/forgettable stuff on there.

- XII in contrast is much more even to me, but just consistently decent. No real high points.

- D/T manages to thread the difference of the two. There aren't any tracks that I feel tempted to skip, and while Barstool Warrior doesn't quite match BAI, the rest of my Mangini era top 5 might well come from this album. Barstool is probably a top 15 DT track for me and I hold a few other songs in quite high regard as well.
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Offline Architeuthis

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #172 on: January 25, 2021, 02:16:53 AM »
I get what you're saying, but that is a recent trend of wanting to stay within certain confines. It doesn't matter if the music is fast, slow, heavy, ballad, everything in the Mangini era has this general feel and mood and it's generally cold and serious, which is opposite to most of DT's first 8 or so albums, where there was a sense of fun and adventure, while showcasing many moods and emotions. As I said I think SC started that, but it's been a gradual shift, as I said, BC&SL was still plenty diverse.

And maybe, the band likes basking in that Cold and Serious mood and feel.

I don't know but, S2N has a sense of fun.
Oh, and Viper King is really cold and serious..
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Offline Architeuthis

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #173 on: January 25, 2021, 02:22:58 AM »
S2N needs to be played live. :metal It totally sounds like a live song.
Heck Yeah,  I'd take that way over Untethered Angel and Paralyzed.
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Offline darkshade

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Re: Distance Over Time - TWO Years on...
« Reply #174 on: January 25, 2021, 07:30:44 AM »
I get what you're saying, but that is a recent trend of wanting to stay within certain confines. It doesn't matter if the music is fast, slow, heavy, ballad, everything in the Mangini era has this general feel and mood and it's generally cold and serious, which is opposite to most of DT's first 8 or so albums, where there was a sense of fun and adventure, while showcasing many moods and emotions. As I said I think SC started that, but it's been a gradual shift, as I said, BC&SL was still plenty diverse.

And maybe, the band likes basking in that Cold and Serious mood and feel.

I don't know but, S2N has a sense of fun.
Oh, and Viper King is really cold and serious..

See, that's the irony. The one song that is not cold and serious is relegated to being a bonus track. I never said cold and serious is a bad thing, though, but it's the rule, not the exception these days in DT's music.