Author Topic: Dream theater- Distance Over Time  (Read 278 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline svisser

  • Pineapple. I like to eat it.
  • Posts: 159
  • Gender: Male
Dream theater- Distance Over Time
« on: November 13, 2021, 07:25:04 PM »
Here is my review from a few years that has been on metal archives.

They are Out of the Proving Grounds: 78%

I have been a fan of DT since Train of Thought. What got me into this band was originally Mike Portnoy, so seeing him leave was disastrous to me. That was until I realized who took over. I was fan of Mangini long before Portnoy or Dream Theater was ever a part of my musical library. Having said that, the change from Mike 1 to Mike 2 was not without consequence.

The dynamic of the band was shattered in my opinion. That was only proven by the heavy rhythm driven sound that dominated their 2011 release A Dramatic Turn of Events. You can tell it was written with a drummer absent. The album was not objectively bad, but the stark contrast to previous releases was apparent. When their self titled album came out, you could tell they were in trouble. With all the members on board writing, what could’ve been a promising representation of the chemistry of the new line-up tuned out to be an ambitious and next-to-directionless release. The Astonishing was not much better, and being only written mainly by Petrucci and Rudess, there was no way of telling if this album was a genuine reflection of the entire band. On top of that, the already shaky fanbase did not know how to digest this 2 ½ hour monstrosity.

Cue Distance Over Time. This album seemed like a breath of fresh air after walking through an abandoned slaughter house on a hot day. It was no secret that the band went into this album with all members on board and actively involved in the writing process. Even James sat in to give his input where needed. On top of that, we got to hear a song that had lyrics written by Mangini. The album is a beautiful expression of the completeness of the post-Portnoy lineup. All the members shine on this album. The singles did a great job at getting the hype of the album without giving away too much. “Untethered Angel” and “Paralyzed” are worthy of being added to the list of amazing singles like “The Looking Glass,” “Forsaken” and “The Gift of Music.” While “Fall into the Light” does a perfect job of encompassing the DT sound in a smaller song format. “Barstool Warrior” and “S2N” are perfected versions of what I would consider DT’s format of making a prog rock song that has a more pop dominated chorus. This is something that I felt was introduced on their self-titled album with the songs “Behind the Veil,” “The Bigger Picture” and “Surrender to Reason,” but is better represented on this album. Tackling the two epics together, “At Wits End” is everything we would expect a DT epic to be. It comes in with an onslaught of progressive mastery, has a killer instrumental section that is complimented by a strong vocal performance by James. “Pale Blue Dot” is one of the only problems I have with this album. It felt like it was an entire song full of riffs that never really lead to anything. I was always expecting more right up until the end of the song. “Out of reach,” I can take it or leave it. I don’t really find James’s voice that captivating anymore, so to have a song that is vocal led seems uninteresting to me. The bonus song, “Viper King,” was just fun. And it is great to see the guys having this much fun on an album. Not too much to say there. It was just a good fun song and an enjoyable way to wrap up the album.

As for the production side of the album, I love that they went with a more stripped-down approach. Their previous two releases have been torn to shreds by people critical of overproduction. This album gives us the DT sounds in the purest form possible and that just adds to the genuine enjoyment of the album for me. Plus, the room is given to Myung to be heard for once. It is also the first album to feature a drum sound (post-Portnoy) that did not want me to stab my ears out. Mangini’s kit sounds great. It has a lot of punch, and fits in the mix very well. Jordan went with pretty much all Hammond sounds on this album and I approve that 100%. It adds to the simpler feel of the album. James’ voice turned out to be well mixed as well. With the first single being “Untethered Angel,” I was worried about what they did with his voice. It seemed to be lost in the mix for most of the song. Thankfully this is not something that continues past the first song. I was relatively unimpressed with John this time around. Excellent rhythm and melodies from him, but his solos were bland and uninteresting for the most part.

This album is not without sins. As mentioned already, “Pale Blue Dot” was underwhelming. It may have the elements of a DT epic, but the structure of the song as well as the execution of the song makes it fall short of even lesser epics such as “Sacrificed Sons,” “Trial of Tears,” and “Endless Scarface.” Another song that has not been mentioned too much is Room 137. It was mid rate and clunky. Sure, we got some lyrics from Mangini, and those I have no problem with, it’s just wasted on what I would consider the worst song on the album.

Dream Theater had entered proving grounds after Mike left, and I consider them fully out of it. Distance Over Time is a concise and accurate representation of what the band has become. Is it worthy of being placed on top of the DT discography? No. Is it worthy of praise? Hell yes! We have been given what I would consider a promise to fans. The DT we love is still alive and well. They are back on track and have shown us what world-class musicians can really do when the musical chemistry is strong.
Highlights:

- Fall into The Light
- Barstool Warrior
- S2N
- At Wits End

She can turn a drop of water
         Into an ocean
                                           In the room the women come and go
                                                 Talking of Michelangelo.

Offline Evermind

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 14509
  • Gender: Male
Re: Dream theater- Distance Over Time
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2021, 09:26:50 AM »
This album is not without sins. As mentioned already, “Pale Blue Dot” was underwhelming. It may have the elements of a DT epic, but the structure of the song as well as the execution of the song makes it fall short of even lesser epics such as “Sacrificed Sons,” “Trial of Tears,” and “Endless Scarface.”

Would you say this particular song is objectively good?
This first band is Soen very cool swingy jazz fusion kinda stuff.

Offline svisser

  • Pineapple. I like to eat it.
  • Posts: 159
  • Gender: Male
Re: Dream theater- Distance Over Time
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2021, 11:24:05 AM »
This album is not without sins. As mentioned already, “Pale Blue Dot” was underwhelming. It may have the elements of a DT epic, but the structure of the song as well as the execution of the song makes it fall short of even lesser epics such as “Sacrificed Sons,” “Trial of Tears,” and “Endless Scarface.”

Would you say this particular song is objectively good?

That was actually one of the songs that hooked me on DT. It is good in the sense that I conciser it good, it's not as great as others. But I called it one of the "lesser epics" for a reason. It's not as great as, say, Home, Beyond This Life, Metropolis Pt 1, Learning To Live.

I realized that when i wrote that in the review, it is easy to say that I conciser them "lesser epics" because of their lengths, but what I was getting at was that they are lesser in quality and memorability. So I put Pale Blue Dot pretty low in that sense.
She can turn a drop of water
         Into an ocean
                                           In the room the women come and go
                                                 Talking of Michelangelo.

Offline Skeever

  • PR permission
  • *
  • Posts: 1755
Re: Dream theater- Distance Over Time
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2021, 06:31:35 AM »
I agree with every word of this review. A Dramatic Turn of Events was OK, but it didn't feel like a full band to me. DT12 was more of the same, and The Astonishing was... well... the less said about that one, the better.

Distance Over Time is the first album where this lineup seem to have worked out all the kinks, and are sounding like a real band again. And I'm happy to say that this carries through with the new record as well. I don't know what changed - but the results speak for themselves. D/T made me once again exited about where DT will go next, and AVFFTOTW did not disappoint.