Dali’s Dilemma – Manifesto for Futurism – 4/5
Welcome to the album Dream Theater should have made.
Now I make no secret of the fact I haven’t been impressed by anything Dream Theater have produced since ‘Images and Words,’ finding their subsequent releases rather uninspired and similar to what came before it, and whilst the sound presented here is rather similar, straddling the line between rock and metal, contained within the lone album this band has produced is more creativity and idea’s than all but the best in the genre. With a drummer who would later go on to work with Steve Vai and Friedman, and a keyboard player who can now add Zero Hour and LaBrie’s solo project to his list of accolades, this is a group of highly talented musicians who are not afraid to let that fact be known.
From the jazzy bass solo in ‘Miracles in Yesteryear’ to the keyboards very own solo track ‘Whispered’, even the minor players in this album demonstrate they know how to wield their instrument. Along with the drums, they perhaps feel a little bit too quiet in the final mix, but frequently enough present us with an interesting atmosphere within which the guitars are able to create.
And create they do, echoing of the emotion found in ‘Awake,’ combining with the upbeat technicality shown in ‘Images and Words’ the guitars utilise both acoustic and electric in producing a memorable track. Never feeling overstated, or playing quickly for the sheer sake of it, it all adds up, to work with the rest of the bands performance, rather than above it. The vocals are likely to be the issue to split opinions, not as capable of the power of LaBrie, he opts for a more highly varied approach, ranging his tone of voice more effectively. Both are apt vocalists, but yield different approaches.
Despite all this, there is the nagging problem that at the end of they day, they are a complete clone. If it weren’t for the vocals, certain tracks such as the opener ‘Within a Stare’ could happily slot in any of Dream Theater’s albums and nobody would be any the wiser. Even down to the guitar tone, the manner they weave in out of the bass, the utilisation of the keyboards, down to the solo’s screams of being a clone. Whilst originality isn’t their strength, after hearing the promo track from the upcoming Dream Theater album ‘Black Clouds and Silver Linings’ it seems prudent to point out that you should probably save your money, for this album has succeeded where they have failed for all too long.
Highlights: Within a Stare, Miracles in Yesteryear, This Time Around,