First, I hate it when such an important album is not given a title! Now try searching a review for this album and it's takes a couples of works to get it right. Second, well... finally another release by our legendary progressive band, Dream Theater released their 12th studio album titled...Dream Theater, supposedly. Quick stats, this is the second to feature Mike Mangini as drummer. On this notes, this is the first to have Mike M integrated in writing process, since, surprises, Mike M was actually interpreting John P's drum programming on the last album. This is the newest album with full instrumental track since Train of Thought ...hmm can't be sure about it Wikipedia? So, what r u waiting for, unleashed the plastic wrap and push it in.
False Awakening Suite is not far from the nuance of Six Degree of Inner Turbulence orchestra-progressiva styles. The two minutes compositions is intense, for those never listen to DT this is quickly an eye opener and I bet they will all fell in love. But for die hard listener, it is a good one at least, to rise the mood to entering the next song. The Enemy Inside, already released months prior and I do like the song. It's back to the heavy riff leading intro approach. Listen to that background hi-hat at 00:27 by Mike M, surely it's that very tiny details that made the bands happy with him. A whole minute for a riff improvisation intro, then a keyboard layer comes in with James L soon singing altogether. As we know since Octavarium, the song writing in Dream Theater haven't changed into much extreme direction and the song feel at home as advance version of Scenes of Memory-era, and suitable to any other albums after that. The Looking Glass is the third DT song titled with "glass" (Under the Glass Moon, The Glass Prison). The feel of this song is rather oldish, YES kind of riff maneuver with a singing not far away from that concept. Lots of interesting breakdown, the ultra fast double pedal attack, the bass-theme + John Petrucci solos makes this another qualified Dream Theater title. Enigma Machine at least finally offered some new interesting idea. It's newest full length instrumental that not act as only a prelude. Now, Mike M is unleashed fully. Listen to his Pearl rocket toms. Though the composition not have one single strong theme, it's just feel like four extremely high class musicians jamming each other, some of the highlights are great. Especially after Mike M's seven seconds solos (at 4:59) that seems like he hit everything on the drum set, the ending climax section after this just mind blowing. The Bigger Picture continue the epic mood with a moment of straight forward rhythm followed by calm piano leading parts. James L once again given a soft spot to sing in a slow tempo ballad. This is by far the most standard tunes, with only extreme breakup in the last part of the song. Behind The Veil, not sure about that majestic synthesizer intro that ended with a bang of half-Metallica inspired riff. A bit of unveil feeling for me because the song writing again a repeated of DT's ideas in the past. Surrender to Reason is influenced by Rush on the given intro. John Myung, is noted as lyricist and contributed for his aggressive progressive slap bass. Along for the Ride anyone? It did steal the attention and perhaps one of my enjoyable moments in the album, or maybe my favorite I should say. Nice ballad composition. And the highlight of this album is on the last and longest composition. Following the tradition, here the newest 22 minutes song for you. Illumination Theory, a promising title. Five movements / or parts to wrap it up. The longest since The Count of Tuscany in Silver Lining album. But It's seem a bit of time-cheating since there is a lengthy new-age-Kitaro-like synthesizer parts in between. Highlight is John M's bass attack that rarely got in front of the line just after that string break up.
One thing that significantly noticed is where Jordan R's rules looks slightly decreased to make rooms for more interaction between others. For there, John P's guitars works are more dominating. On Mike M, he is actually more a rhythm drummer that his highest interest is to accompanied the song with best creativity, rather than a 'soloist' as per Mike P before. We got a tight drum pattern as a results. James L, is hardly having his moment on this album, because I only see composition that leaning more to its musical parts. Something that James L actually already having fun in his solo album released before. Overall, up to standard progressive album by Dream Theater caliber. If there is only a small step of musical step up from their rest album, this self titled / untitled Dream Theater album is still one big hell of progressive album with killers musicianship inside. Certainly a must have.
Metal Harem class: ********* nine stars out of ten
Dream Theater - Dream Theater 2013
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1. False Awakening Suite
I. "Sleep Paralysis"
II. "Night Terrors"
III. "Lucid Dream" (Instrumental, music by Petrucci, Rudess) 2:42
2. The Enemy Inside 6:17
3. The Looking Glass 4:53
4. Enigma Machine (instrumental, music by Petrucci, Rudess, Myung, Mangini) 6:03
5. The Bigger Picture 7:41
6. Behind the Veil 6:53
7. Surrender to Reason (Lyrics by Myung) 6:35
8. Along for the Ride (Music by Petrucci, Rudess) 4:45
9. Illumination Theory
I. "Paradoxe de la Lumière Noire"
II. "Live, Die, Kill"
III. "The Embracing Circle"
IV. "The Pursuit of Truth"
V. "Surrender, Trust & Passion"
James LaBrie – lead vocals
John Petrucci – guitars
Jordan Rudess – keyboards, Continuum
John Myung – bass
Mike Mangini – drums, percussion
Eren Başbuğ – orchestral arrangements, conducting
Richard Chycki – engineering and mixing
Dream Theater 2013 album review