The fifteenth studio album from prog legends Dream Theater finds the Bostonian act with nothing left to prove but still in the form of their lives. At a mighty seventy minutes in length yet featuring a mere seven tracks, A View From the Top of The World (InsideOut Music) explores and probes new ideas while reinventing the past with gleeful abandon. Complex compositions which could seem forced, unwieldy or contrived in the hands of others, Dream Theater pulls off with unerring and enviable ease.
After much teasing on social media, Progressive Metal legends Dream Theater has announced their new album, their 15th, dubbed A View From The Top Of The World, due out on October 22nd, 2021 via InsideOut Music. The album is composed of seven-songs with artwork created by long-time cover collaborator Hugh Syme (Rush, Iron Maiden, Stone Sour). A View From The Top Of The World was produced by John Petrucci, engineered and additional production by James “Jimmy T” Meslin, and mixed/mastered by Andy Sneap.
Progressive Metal legends Dream Theater have shared a new live performance video, “Fatal Tragedy”, from their upcoming live album Distant Memories – Live In London. Pre-orders are live at the link below. .The video is taken from the second set of the show where James LaBrie, John Petrucci, Jordan Rudess, John Myung and Mike Mangini celebrate the band’s seminal concept album Metropolis Part 2 – Scenes From A Memory. Watch “Fatal Tragedy” now!
Bands with twenty-five-plus years under their belts often have to wrestle with the temptation to become a nostalgia act or to continue pushing the musical envelope which, in turn, carries its own set of risks. For Dream Theater, the past few years have been particularly difficult for the band: with drummer Mike Portnoy leaving in 2010 and filling the role with Mike Mangini, the band has been trying to reconfigure its soul.Continue reading
With the likes of Dream Theater’s John Myung and Ty Tabor of King’s X in their ranks (alongside Winger’s Rod Morgenstien), one would expect The Jelly Jam to be an ambitious and challenging progressive band, with a wide range of influences in their arsenal. In contrast, over their lifespan, their sound has been a much more direct, song based affair; and latest album Profit (Mascot).
With a plethora of ambitious works and journeys under their belt, Profit still shows them flexing their impressive creative muscles and offering virtuoso performances, but in a more refined and concise manner. This is more straight-forward grunge infused rock with some shades of AOR and the like, for a more gritty but no less immediate hard rock sound. Album opener ‘Care’ is a particularly heavier moment to kick of proceedings and provides an immediately anthemic chorus, preceding the softer, acoustic ‘Stain On The Sun’, before picking pace again.
Herein lies the album’s problem, of an undefined sound which seems to try and encompass too many tones and paces without flowing all too well. Immediately following one of the album’s heavier points with a complete contrast proves somewhat jarring in a manner such rock shouldn’t do. Fortunately the strength of the songs alone, whilst not groundbreaking by any stretch, do hold up strong enough to return to on numerous occasions.
Those unfamiliar with the band before hand may have expected wildly different when noting the personnel involved, but The Jelly Jam are a chance to prove that these guys are not just one trick ponies and can do short, sharp and catchy just as well as sprawling, complex epics. It does still need some refining in their sound to feel truly wholesome; but they have certainly succeeded in making a straight forward, fun album; and that is most definitely the mission.
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It seemed that fans of Dream Theater were torn between the performance of their two and a half hour opus and new album, The Astonishing (Roadrunner). Fans always want to hear classic songs along side the new ones, but you can’t always get what you want. Call it a concept album or rock opera, whichever you prefer, it was a damn fine night of music.
Aided by an impressive video wall to bring the story of “The Great Northern Empire of the Americas” to life, you felt like as if you were watching a movie with a live soundtrack. Guitarist and story mastermind John Petrucci along with his ever growing beard, played the heaviest mix of acoustic an electric guitar throughout the night I’ve ever seen him do. ‘The Answer’ clearly demonstrates that statement. From ‘The Gift of Music’ to the title track, James LaBrie’s vocals just drew you into the world of Nomacs and musical rebellion. With song a like ‘A New Beginning’, it covers the spectrum of darkness and light that the album portraits. As well as some solid bass grooving from John Myung too.
After a fifteen minute intermission, they returned to the stage for the second half of the this massive album. Drummer, Mike Mangini just makes everything look easy, we get a few flourishes for insanity on ‘Moment of Betrayal’ and on ‘Three Days’. The second half of the creative team Jordan Rudess, brought his atmospheric tones is the bridge from song to song. He carries the themes and regal-ness through ‘Brother, Can You Hear Me’ and ‘Begin Again’. Overall, the show was good if you were prepared just to hear this album. Simple in some parts complex in others, “The Astonishing Live” was the right show for a venue like Radio City Music Hall.
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY OMAR CORDY
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