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FirebathDan
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Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2004 2:32 pm
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:58 am 
 

Mediocre. Much like "Untethered", there's lots of good individual playing, but it's hardly a mindblowing complete package. Both songs could be called acceptable at the very best. I certainly appreciate the more compact song lengths/structures for not dragging the mediocrity out in a grueling way.

Mangini is playing like a house afire in both songs, can't really deny that.

I would've been crushed if you told the 2005 version of me that in 15ish years from then, the best DT could muster is "acceptable".

They are just very complacent at this point being Dream Theater Industries serving up Dream Theater-like products.
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Dembo
Dumbo

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:06 pm 
 

Part 3 of their in-studio video interview:

Youtube: show

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kluseba
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Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2010 2:36 am
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:22 pm 
 

The two songs are much better than almost anything on The Astonishing and Dream Theater. That's good enough for me. However, I would really like the band to try out something completely different and step out of its comfort zone like they did throughout the last decade with records like Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, Train of Thought and Systematic Chaos.
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blackmantram
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Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 12:51 pm
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Location: Colombia
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:39 pm 
 

I actually liked that song, as others have pointed out it's better than anything on astonishing but it's still average at best. Yeah, that's how low my expectations for this band are.

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Zelkiiro
Pounding the world with a fish of steel

Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:30 pm
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:52 pm 
 

Well this album officially sounds like it'll be about as boring as The Astonishing was. Just because you increased the tempo doesn't mean it's more exciting to listen to, DT.
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PeteGas
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Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 2:34 pm
Posts: 59
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:15 pm 
 

kluseba wrote:
The two songs are much better than almost anything on The Astonishing and Dream Theater. That's good enough for me. However, I would really like the band to try out something completely different and step out of its comfort zone like they did throughout the last decade with records like Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, Train of Thought and Systematic Chaos.

Agreed. These guys are talented enough to play pretty much anything. Doesn’t even have to metal as far as I’m concerned.

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Thiestru
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:13 pm 
 

I've really enjoyed both new songs, especially 'Fall into the Light'. It's hard to be modern Dream Theater (or Queensryche) in these parts, but consider me excited for 'Distance Over Time'.
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:48 pm 
 

"Fall Into the Light" isn't bad at all - very safe and signature-sound though. They're clearly just writing stuff for their brand now after the bizarre experiment on The Astonishing didn't work for a lot of people. It's pop Dream Theater - it's how Metallica wrote on Hardwired, just catering to the fans in a way that at least sounds somewhat energized. I'll probably enjoy this as a kind of easy listening thing to play in the car or whatever.
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idunnosomename
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Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:47 pm
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Location: England
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:04 pm 
 

exsiccation wrote:
It's like music written by the best Dream Theater cover band in the world.

I think that's been Dream Theater since after Scenes From a Memory. They started writing longer and longer songs ("you know Change of Seasons?! Well this song is twice as long woooOOoAah"), with great big long solo sections (the like of which Awake never had), more elaborate concepts, played entire cover albums like Metallica and Iron Maiden. Portnoy kind of acted like the biggest fan of his own band, and propelled this a bit. The way they played extremely obscure material in some ways is commendable (and certainly that Mike would check what they played at a town before so they got different material was great) but it all seemed a bit... self-conscious of themselves. Like a cover band. There's something to be said for "always leave 'em wanting more". When you play three hour shows and everything from all of Change of Seasons, obscure FiI b-sides and Space-Dye Vest, there's not much left to want.

I guess Portnoy had a lot of ideas, some good, some not so. But his five-year break one would have done them a world of good. Shame it was the one time John and James said no and he left.

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exsiccation
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Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2016 9:49 pm
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:55 pm 
 

idunnosomename wrote:
I think that's been Dream Theater since after Scenes From a Memory.

There was definitely a shift around then, though I think that Six Degrees and Train of Thought are still great albums. They clearly went in a more groove-oriented and instrumental direction, and while it' s pretty obvious there was some trend-seeking going on there, I don't think it led to a reduction in songwriting quality; some of those songs are among the band's best and most memorable.

Octavarium was a real decline, though. Standard verse/chorus structure for almost every song, more conventional melodies, a reduction in interesting transitions and time signatures; even the lyrics were phoned-in. That's been pretty much the story up until now, with the band reheating the same microwaved ideas over and over again.

The only thing that's genuinely surprised me has been The Astonishing, and that was only because it was such an incredibly awful, overblown piece of self-indulgent shit. I don't think I've heard a more genuinely awful, blindly self-obsessed album from such accomplished musicians.

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Dembo
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:33 am 
 

Some talk about Falling into Light:

Youtube: show

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Dembo
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:37 am 
 

A studio walk-in interview for the album:

Youtube: show

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Twisted_Psychology
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Joined: Sat May 16, 2009 8:22 pm
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:30 am 
 

Youtube: show


I put this on in another tab and forgot it was even Dream Theater playing until LaBrie started singing.
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Zelkiiro
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:52 am 
 

Snooooooore. I mean, I'd rather have this over The Astonishing, but I'd also rather have a big fat nothing over this.
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FirebathDan
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:03 am 
 

So basically a melding of "Forsaken" with "Build Me Up, Break Me Down"? No thanks.

Zelkiiro wrote:
Snooooooore. I mean, I'd rather have this over The Astonishing, but I'd also rather have a big fat nothing over this.


Very well put.

DT has lost their way without Portnoy. Should be crystal clear at this point.
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Temple Of Blood
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 12:47 pm 
 

Why do we assume Portnoy can help right this ship? His projects on his own suck, and most of the albums he recorded with DT sucked.

I think only the rejoining of Kevin Moore can fix anything in this camp. So in other words, only the impossible.
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Temple Of Blood
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 2:11 pm 
 

idunnosomename wrote:
But his five-year break one would have done them a world of good. .


Not to their bank accounts. DT is not the kind of band who has made it to the point where they can sit on their butts for five years. This is their bread-and-butter, and in order to stay profitable they have to keep releases coming and stay on the road at a regular pace.

It's one thing to be in a band and be single, and be content being broke. It's another when you have a wife and kid counting on you to keep the money coming in just like it was before.
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kluseba
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 2:13 pm 
 

''Paralyzed'' is a pretty generic half-ballad. It's fairly average. I like LaBrie's more natural vocals even though they had to throw in some effects again to weight the track down, especially towards the end. The keyboard work is solid and features some emotional melodies. The drum play has a few interesting technical fills and breaks. On the other side, the guitar work is terribly unspectacular. The bass guitar also fails to shine. The song writing is bland as the track sounds much longer than it actually is. And the video looks like it tries hard to jump on the bandwagon of dystopian videos. This looks like the mixture of Stryper's music video for ''Take It to the Cross'' and a trailer for ''Cloud Atlas''. This is the weakest song I have heard from the new record so far.

I have to agree that I start missing Portnoy's input as well. A Dramatic Turn of Events was a decent record and Bridges in the Sky might be among Dream Theater's greatest tunes ever but what followed so far was disappointing.
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DarthVenom
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 3:47 pm 
 

Quote:
Not to their bank accounts. DT is not the kind of band who has made it to the point where they can sit on their butts for five years. This is their bread-and-butter, and in order to stay profitable they have to keep releases coming and stay on the road at a regular pace.


On a related note, there was an interview pretty recently where LaBrie cited this as a reason he decided to keep touring in the 90s after the impact of the food poisoning tore his throat. He talked about how he might have actually been able to regain his full range from the glory days of his first two DT records, if he had stayed at home and gotten better, but financially the band couldn't have tanked the loss of revenue and still kept at it as a full-time job. (at least, with LaBrie on singing duties) So he quite literally played through the pain, and ended up permanently destroying his upper range and taking a decade to restore his live pitch control. On one hand, it's refreshing to see an older singer be completely honest and say "yeah, this is what happened, and this is how much range I lost", but on the other hand, it's a reflection of just how much you need to devote completely to this in order to be a musician living off your music.
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exsiccation
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Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2016 9:49 pm
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:12 pm 
 

I kinda like the new song. The main is alright, the verse riff has a cool little progression, and the drum sound is pretty huge.

Unfortunately, it goes absolutely nowhere after that. Running on autopilot, simple song structures, and unchallenging to listen to. That's not really the prog I expect. Maybe this is an over-correction?

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Temple Of Blood
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:25 pm 
 

Labrie: Dream Theater spent 2 years writing "Images and Words" and NINETEEN DAYS writing their upcoming album :lol:

https://www.inquisitr.com/interview/530 ... er-time/2/
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GOOFAM
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Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2015 10:06 am
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:46 pm 
 

Not really out of the ordinary. Images & Words was written when they all still had day jobs and they didn't have a label, so they had to work slower and also had nothing else to do other than write, rewrite, etc. (they never were a band who played a bunch of local gigs to get a following; they concentrated on writing/attracting labels). Most of their modern albums were written quite quickly: Train of Thought was written in basically the same fashion and timeframe as Distance over Time, for instance.

That said, the general implication that the quality control has sagged over the decades is one I largely agree with.

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colin040
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Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 6:00 pm
Posts: 5432
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:21 am 
 

DarthVenom wrote:
Quote:
Not to their bank accounts. DT is not the kind of band who has made it to the point where they can sit on their butts for five years. This is their bread-and-butter, and in order to stay profitable they have to keep releases coming and stay on the road at a regular pace.


On a related note, there was an interview pretty recently where LaBrie cited this as a reason he decided to keep touring in the 90s after the impact of the food poisoning tore his throat. He talked about how he might have actually been able to regain his full range from the glory days of his first two DT records, if he had stayed at home and gotten better, but financially the band couldn't have tanked the loss of revenue and still kept at it as a full-time job. (at least, with LaBrie on singing duties) So he quite literally played through the pain, and ended up permanently destroying his upper range and taking a decade to restore his live pitch control. On one hand, it's refreshing to see an older singer be completely honest and say "yeah, this is what happened, and this is how much range I lost", but on the other hand, it's a reflection of just how much you need to devote completely to this in order to be a musician living off your music.


I've probably mentioned it before but I will mention it again: if he was really honest, he'd have talked about how his vocal approach live, starting in 1993, would have affected his voice. As cool as his vocals were back then, he most likely messed his vocals up in the live settings. The Images and Words material was already challenging to sing - but to do it with distortion on basically every track (save for the ballads) , while improvising certain vocal melodies by singing even higher notes here and there? That's asking for trouble. It was no coincidence his voice started to become shaky quickly once he applied this style of singing (which weirdly enough he didn't get rid of after the incident, either.)

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Zelkiiro
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:11 pm 
 

Someone uploaded the full album on YouTube, so I'm listening to it now. The first three songs are the singles, and they're still merely okay. Here's to hoping the album at some point rises above being "merely okay."
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Don Karlos
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Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:44 am
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Location: Finland
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:12 pm 
 

I used to like them a lot , up until Six degrees. After that its like Faceless blur PT I, II, etc.., Music is too soft, powerless, "emotional", and it has some weird whining quality on it, that i can't stand.

Baffles me that musicians of that caliber cant produce coherent music, when they have done so in the past.(or maybe i'm too simple to get it)
I always check them however, and hope they have changed.
That doesn't mean they should try to write Metropolis PT2 again, only to stop forcing it and do something from the heart, i get the financial point as its their job,
and if they are satisfied how it sounds its ok for me.

I think Portnoy is very happy with Neal Morse, latest is fine piece of prog-rock.

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Twisted_Psychology
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:17 pm 
 

So Distance Over Time is the "heavy" version of their self-titled album. It's not awful but the songs are in perpetual "almost but not quite" territory. So exactly what I expected on first listen.
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GOOFAM
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 7:06 pm 
 

Well, the rest of the album on the whole is better than the singles, and "At Wit's End" is actually in the running for the best thing they've done in awhile. But man, LaBrie's voice just falls apart every time he goes for anything above a B-flat or so. The only times he sounds in his element are "At Wit's End" and "Out of Reach," which (not coincidentally, I think) he wrote the lyrics for. Petrucci and Rudess have dialed way down on the excessive jammy riffs and out-of-place shredding and really are quite strong and tasteful throughout, and the drum sound is finally quite strong, but most of the tracks just don't quite get there. It's frustrating, because the band still show plenty of potential to reach past triumphs but just can't assemble the pieces enough. I don't think the shorter song lengths help--the journey of "Barstool Warrior," for instance, would be much more fitting across, say, twelve epic minutes.

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kluseba
Making Metal Archives Reviews Great Again!

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:22 pm 
 

I like the album, it's much better than the two tedious predecessors. The music sounds like spontaneous, fresh and creative jam sessions yet manage to have concise song writing that doesn't overstay its welcome. My favourite songs are the instrumentally stunning ''S2N'' and the great ''Viper King'' which shouldn't have been a bonus track but the album's lead single.
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Zelkiiro
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2019 12:18 am 
 

My Verdict: It's certainly better than The Astonishing, but holy shit do I not remember a single minute of any of it.
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FirebathDan
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2019 11:38 am 
 

Just got through my first listen, and am shocked to my core to say that I'm impressed. This is by far and away the best post-Portnoy album, without question.

I was expecting to dismiss this as a safe DT-like product for DT fans, based on the first three singles (especially “Paralyzed”, which I still don't exactly care for). But in reality, this has quite a bit of adventurous playing, and every song has something going for it (outside of “Paralyzed”).

I was alarmed by the whole “19 days” thing, but the songwriting is super tight and the condensed length and song structures go a long way to wash the foul taste of The Astonishing out of my mouth.

This is Mangini's best performance with DT, easily. Just completely shreds the kit on every song. Not that he was slouching before (his playing is a highlight regardless of the quality of the past albums), but he turns it up to 1000 here.

LaBrie is still a weak link, and is really starting to show his age (as it has been discussed ad infinitum), but they do a decent job of covering that up.

I really appreciate how loud Myung is in the mix throughout.

The only true negative I'd say is that I personally would like more from Rudess, both in terms of mix prominence and wild, out-there playing.

I was ready to rip “Barstool Warrior” to shreds just on the title alone, but it's one of their best ever songs, regardless of era, chock full of Fish-era Marillion-isms. Petrucci's paying is outstanding on this one.

The bonus track “Viper King” is one of their weirdest songs, but not in the way you might think. It should have been on the album proper, but I do not agree about it being the lead single.

I really was expecting to despise this, as all of the post-Portnoy albums have left me cold in some way or another (although I have softened on A Dramatic Turn Of Events over time), but I could not be more wrong. Time will tell how it holds up and if it will stand alongside any of the best albums with Portnoy, but for now, this is the best album they could have possibly put out in 2019.

Holy shit.
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exsiccation
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2019 11:54 am 
 

Zelkiiro wrote:
My Verdict: It's certainly better than The Astonishing, but holy shit do I not remember a single minute of any of it.

Yup. In one ear, out the other. Every song blends together into the same chuggy verse riffs, melodic choruses with sustained chords, and trademark solos/clean sections in between. I cannot distinctly remember a single song or moment of the entire album.

Say what you will about some of the weaker mid-period output, but at least those songs were memorable and distinct.

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Metal_On_The_Ascendant
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:46 am 
 

Distance Over Time is probably the finest DT album in their post-Portnoy era.
I agree in full with what this Invisible Oranges review had to say; sums it up perfectly
http://www.invisibleoranges.com/dream-t ... me-review/

Barstool Warrior is probably my favorite. When I first saw that title I thought, "what the hell?" but it has really good lyrics and a great concept and the music fits it so well. James LaBrie sounds good on every song. To be honest, the man has sounded good on every post-Portnoy album. The incessant complaining about his on stage delivery should take into consideration that they perform excessively long shows and he is hardly at his peak anymore but on the records he still sounds pretty damn good and much better than he did on Black Clouds and Silver Linings.

The whole record works because they finally rein themselves in. The songs are filled with tension and finesse and the delivery from Petrucci, Myung and Ruddess is totally on point. Mangini shines intensely.

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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:46 am 
 

Listening to this now and I'm digging it alright. The production is good, the band sounds solid and energetic, Labrie is as good as he has been for the last several years. It's digestible and compact.

If I had to single out a critique I'd just say the instrumentation and writing are very samey and homogenous. The instrumentals are sort of a one-trick pony here - just the same types of chuggy riffs and spacey melodic moments throughout, so far. They didn't seem to want to do anything else but a fairly stodgy mid-tempo groove with that sound. It ends up making the songs feel somewhat stilted and interchangeable - like, you could put any song's lyrics and chorus melody over any other and it wouldn't sound too incongruous or odd. The vocal lines, too, are very similar to one another all the time, not varying in tone much at all.
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InnesI
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 2:13 am 
 

Metal_On_The_Ascendant wrote:
James LaBrie sounds good on every song. To be honest, the man has sounded good on every post-Portnoy album. The incessant complaining about his on stage delivery should take into consideration that they perform excessively long shows and he is hardly at his peak anymore but on the records he still sounds pretty damn good and much better than he did on Black Clouds and Silver Linings.



I feel much of the problem with the vocals hinge on the bad vocal melodies. Mostly that they feel predictable and all heard before. Now I haven't heard the new album yet but the feeling I get when listening to later era LaBrie is that the vocal melodies sometimes feel like they are phoned in. The actual performance vary, it can be good, but a good performance coupled with an uninspired vocal line doesn't help that much. The Astonishing had this in bulks (although that whole album was about 20 minutes of good ideas dragged out over 2 full CD's).

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emax
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Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:17 am
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 3:45 am 
 

colin040 wrote:
DarthVenom wrote:
Quote:
Not to their bank accounts. DT is not the kind of band who has made it to the point where they can sit on their butts for five years. This is their bread-and-butter, and in order to stay profitable they have to keep releases coming and stay on the road at a regular pace.


On a related note, there was an interview pretty recently where LaBrie cited this as a reason he decided to keep touring in the 90s after the impact of the food poisoning tore his throat. He talked about how he might have actually been able to regain his full range from the glory days of his first two DT records, if he had stayed at home and gotten better, but financially the band couldn't have tanked the loss of revenue and still kept at it as a full-time job. (at least, with LaBrie on singing duties) So he quite literally played through the pain, and ended up permanently destroying his upper range and taking a decade to restore his live pitch control. On one hand, it's refreshing to see an older singer be completely honest and say "yeah, this is what happened, and this is how much range I lost", but on the other hand, it's a reflection of just how much you need to devote completely to this in order to be a musician living off your music.


I've probably mentioned it before but I will mention it again: if he was really honest, he'd have talked about how his vocal approach live, starting in 1993, would have affected his voice. As cool as his vocals were back then, he most likely messed his vocals up in the live settings. The Images and Words material was already challenging to sing - but to do it with distortion on basically every track (save for the ballads) , while improvising certain vocal melodies by singing even higher notes here and there? That's asking for trouble. It was no coincidence his voice started to become shaky quickly once he applied this style of singing (which weirdly enough he didn't get rid of after the incident, either.)


I imagine it was presumed to be a give that LaBrie's attempts to recreate Images and Words and other classics live was a critical contributor to his voice suffering. In general I think DT's massively extended shows and demands in terms of vocal melodies was tantamount to sprinting a marathon. And of course continuing that route after his vocal chords were damaged hardly helped. I also would imagine the personal disputes and behind the scenes feuding with Portnoy and others weighed down on his abilities as well, along with being unable to let his vocal performances take center stage as the band was getting increasingly over the top in their instrumental work (there was an informative review that suggested the same thing). Unfortunate regardless, because I actually think if he could have consistently churned out vocal performances over the years on par with Images and Words that he could have been mentioned as one of metal's true greats when it comes to vocalists, alongside Dio, Tale, Halford, Dickinson, Kursch and the rest.

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GOOFAM
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 3:43 pm 
 

Don't forget that a lot of the time, a singer might feel like it's easier to sing with distortion like that. It's entirely possible that was the way LaBrie was most comfortable singing live around 1993 and he struggled to adjust out of it. The high note stuff obviously was more taxing than it needed to be, though it's pretty obvious that he mostly abandoned the super-high improv stuff after his vocal injury. If memory serves, he was already moving that way on their 1994 shows pre-injury (probably because with grunge and what not, going for the stratosphere wasn't seen as cool anymore, or something).

My general understanding is he continued to struggle with that stuff through the '90s because he didn't figure out how to adjust that approach, but then on the Scenes tour he came out with the cleaner, thinner strategy that has subsequently helped him avoid voicecracks and what not, but has resulted in a lot of the strained/tired-sounding stuff/weird pronunications that he's often criticized for. Basically, after struggling with it for five years, he's pretty much opted to play it safe.

LaBrie's also on record in past interviews as saying he was particularly frustrated with the inconsistency of his voice in the '90s--that some days it was as if nothing had happened and he was back in 1993, and other days he couldn't do anything. Could be that there were enough positive days mixed in that it didn't sink in for awhile that a permanent approach change was needed. Who knows. Would be interesting if someone went more into detail with him about it all.

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colin040
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 4:17 pm 
 

A vocal coach I've spoken with, told me LaBrie used to take cortisone shots back in the 90s - even before his incident if I remember correctly. I'll ask where this guy got that info from again.

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Metal_On_The_Ascendant
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Joined: Fri May 22, 2015 6:38 am
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:17 pm 
 

BARSTOOL WARRIOR Y'ALL
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Temple Of Blood
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:58 pm 
 

colin040 wrote:
A vocal coach I've spoken with, told me LaBrie used to take cortisone shots back in the 90s - even before his incident if I remember correctly. I'll ask where this guy got that info from again.


That's typical. I don't blame him one bit. I bet those tours were very hard to get through if was feeling vocally impaired.
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colin040
Metal freak

Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 6:00 pm
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Location: Netherlands
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 3:25 pm 
 

GOOFAM wrote:
Don't forget that a lot of the time, a singer might feel like it's easier to sing with distortion like that. It's entirely possible that was the way LaBrie was most comfortable singing live around 1993 and he struggled to adjust out of it. The high note stuff obviously was more taxing than it needed to be, though it's pretty obvious that he mostly abandoned the super-high improv stuff after his vocal injury. If memory serves, he was already moving that way on their 1994 shows pre-injury (probably because with grunge and what not, going for the stratosphere wasn't seen as cool anymore, or something).


I've never heard any singer mentioning distortion is easier to sing with than in a non distorted way. Also, LaBrie was still sounding gritty in 1995; see Awake in Japan for instance (found on YouTube) which makes me wonder why he wasn't backing off already at the time. You'd think that with his condition, he'd go back to the cleaner style he demonstrated in 92, but somehow he wouldn't.

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