RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Dream Theater – Dream Theater
Roadrunner Records

Rating: B+

Dream Theater is one odd band.  They range from being the Kings of Progressive Rock to a Metal band at the drop of a hat, and often in the same song.  They have created albums that are considered masterpieces and they have created a lot of what I call Prog Metal Jazz…in other words music made for musicians. 

When they get over indulgent, their music becomes hard to listen to by the common man and they tend to satisfy themselves more than the average music fan.  This time out, however, they have managed to please both, as this is a very listenable and dynamic album. 

The musical composition is mind-numbingly good.  The skills on their instruments, including voice, are out of this world.  The songs are also well written and while fanciful, musically, they stay within bounds when it comes to what is fun to listen too.

“The Enemy Inside” is a perfect example of how they mix the best of both worlds.  The song is a great hard rocking track, yet it has that musician’s vibe the band love to stamp on their music.  From the opening notes of the opening track “False Awakening Suite” the epic-ness of this album is clear.  The band move past this song with confidence and bravado that remains throughout the rest of the album.  There is still a huge rock nerd number, however, as the 22-minute long “Illumination Theory” is all over the map, musically, and has the makings of a Dream Theater fanatics favorite. 

At the end of the day, the band is in a groove and a good place at the time of this release and it shows in both the musical composition and attitude on the album. 

With a history as diverse as this band has, making a run of the mill album is not a choice.  Instead of going over the top, as they often do, this time they reined it in, just a bit, and hit a home run. 

By Jeb Wright