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« Reply #45 on: July 09, 2011, 12:14:27 PM »

Been a DT fan since '92. Have to say I still think Images and Words is their best album. There are times I love James' singing...Another Day, Wait For Sleep, Wither. I guess I love his singing on slower tracks. His singing style is still very good on harder tracks, but many times it just sounds like he is screaming without carrying notes. It then hurts the instrumentation. Any other thoughts from anyone else on this? Lately, the last few albums in my opinion just sound like any other metal album. The reason I initially got in to DT was because they didn't really sound like metal...if that makes sense. They sounded like an "epic" progressive rock band.

The new track off this new album sounds promising. Maybe, my musical tastes are changing and I'm too picky, but I do hear sounds from the last album in this track. I like James' singing here though. No screaming. He doesn't have to scream...he has a great voice at times.
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« Reply #46 on: July 09, 2011, 01:14:26 PM »

Been a DT fan since '92. Have to say I still think Images and Words is their best album. There are times I love James' singing...Another Day, Wait For Sleep, Wither. I guess I love his singing on slower tracks. His singing style is still very good on harder tracks, but many times it just sounds like he is screaming without carrying notes. It then hurts the instrumentation. Any other thoughts from anyone else on this? Lately, the last few albums in my opinion just sound like any other metal album. The reason I initially got in to DT was because they didn't really sound like metal...if that makes sense. They sounded like an "epic" progressive rock band.

The new track off this new album sounds promising. Maybe, my musical tastes are changing and I'm too picky, but I do hear sounds from the last album in this track. I like James' singing here though. No screaming. He doesn't have to scream...he has a great voice at times.

James is very hit and miss. He sounds better on slower tracks, no doubt about it. When he has to sing fast and high simultaneously it's a disaster live, take the time is a good example. His "metal voice" sounds forced, he just doesn't have that growl in his voice like Russel Allen or to use a better known example, James Hetfield. That obviously isn't his fault but the band's musical direction in the last decade has forced him to use that style of singing a lot. In his latest solo album he actually uses another singer (who also the drummer, he actually auditioned for DT) to the growls and screams.

The lyrical content seems to be very political which I think is bad news. I think Myung contributed to fill in for MP, let's see if he hasn't lost his touch.
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« Reply #47 on: July 09, 2011, 02:51:56 PM »

Been a DT fan since '92. Have to say I still think Images and Words is their best album. There are times I love James' singing...Another Day, Wait For Sleep, Wither. I guess I love his singing on slower tracks. His singing style is still very good on harder tracks, but many times it just sounds like he is screaming without carrying notes. It then hurts the instrumentation. Any other thoughts from anyone else on this? Lately, the last few albums in my opinion just sound like any other metal album. The reason I initially got in to DT was because they didn't really sound like metal...if that makes sense. They sounded like an "epic" progressive rock band.

The new track off this new album sounds promising. Maybe, my musical tastes are changing and I'm too picky, but I do hear sounds from the last album in this track. I like James' singing here though. No screaming. He doesn't have to scream...he has a great voice at times.

James is very hit and miss. He sounds better on slower tracks, no doubt about it. When he has to sing fast and high simultaneously it's a disaster live, take the time is a good example. His "metal voice" sounds forced, he just doesn't have that growl in his voice like Russel Allen or to use a better known example, James Hetfield. That obviously isn't his fault but the band's musical direction in the last decade has forced him to use that style of singing a lot. In his latest solo album he actually uses another singer (who also the drummer, he actually auditioned for DT) to the growls and screams.

The lyrical content seems to be very political which I think is bad news. I think Myung contributed to fill in for MP, let's see if he hasn't lost his touch.

I know what you mean about James' live voice...hurts my ears actually. I just don't understand why a band would write music that commands a vocal style that their lead singer just can't excel at? Why not write to James' strengths which are the slower tracks. In the more epic tracks try to write segments that don't demand screaming and trying to hit notes that just ultimately don't work. Or dare I say maybe their style of  writing requires a different lead singer. I'd rather see them write music more suited for James' voice strengths.
I recently stumbled across the band Seventh Wonder and I must say I was amazed. Musically amazing and the lead sing can really sing. Love is singing style.
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« Reply #48 on: July 17, 2011, 03:48:09 PM »

I never cared for LaBrie. I love DT despite the vocals (maybe one reason I love LTE so much). Sometimes he's okay. I would say he's more technically competent on the slower songs, but I don't like his delivery in them, as he tends to be too melodramatic. I also just hate most of their slower songs. The majority of DTs slow songs are incredibly cheesy. But they HAVE improved. The old Kevin ballads (Wait for Sleep, Space Dye Vest, To Live Forever) were great, but John and James couldn't write a decent ballad if their lives depended on it. I happen to HATE Another Day (sounds like Kenny G) and all the ballads on Falling into Infinity and SfaM. Disappear is where things improve, they tempered the schmaltz in exchange for moody atmosphere, which they do a much better job of.

But back to your basic point, I agree, the "7-String Metal" direction that they've taken doesn't lend itself to LaBrie's voice very well. I'd love to see them do more progrock and genre crossing. What I've heard from the new album sounds very promising, though.
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« Reply #49 on: July 17, 2011, 05:55:11 PM »

James must've been really happy with the news of Mike's departure, it becomes more obvious with every interview.

"So it's where things should be on stage, where it's not somebody in the background trying to grab the limelight when maybe they should just be grooving or whatever."

Oh come on, really? So the singers can do whatever the hell they want and the other peasents should just stick to playing their instruments in the most discrete way possible? If I didn't know better I'd think that MP came to the front of the stage and stole James' mic.


http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=160578
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« Reply #50 on: July 18, 2011, 07:18:18 AM »

Everyone knows that they just let LaBrie stand out in front, just to be nice.

Seriously, LaBrie isn't even the frontman for Dream Theater. He may talk the most, he may be IN FRONT, but for a band like DT, it's the instruments that do the REAL talking. It's always been John P and Mike.

BUT, for what it's worth, Portnoy is an attention whore. He's always yelling stuff during songs, making goofy faces, trying to do fancy stick tricks (and screwing up, most of the time). LOL, when you get a reputation for doing "stick misses" (as he calls them) several times in the show, you know you're trying too hard. But at the same time, it was fun and mostly harmless. And it really never got in the way of the show or the music.

But LaBrie... the guy has no charisma. He's the least riveting personality on stage, aside from Myung. Sure, he yells a lot between songs. But it's all "pump up" bullshit with no content. Ya know what LaBrie is? He's a fucking CHEER LEADER!

"All right New York, we're having a GREAT TIME! Keep those hands in the air! When this comes out on [fucking] DVD this is going to look awesome because of you!" (dumbest line ever)

Best live banter I hear is contextual. Tell me a little about the song, or an interesting story about a recent tour mishap. Give me some idea that you're actually part of the band, and not just shouting generic cheer squad lines. LaBrie's a boring mother fucker, when you think about it. I just try to ignore him live.
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« Reply #51 on: July 27, 2011, 09:30:00 PM »

Been listening to (or trying to listen to) a bunch of DT lately. Call it studying for the new album. I actually find myself skip songs on a lot of their albums. I mean maybe my musical tastes are changing also, I don't know what it is but there music (especially over the last 3 albums) doesn't wow me anymore. It just seems so generic metal which is why I liked them so much nearly 20 yrs ago. They didn't seem like generic metal. Why I liked songs like "Another Day," "Space Dye Vest," and "Learning To Live" so much was due in part to them sounding fresh and not like every other band. The current stuff is just so irritating actually to listen to. I feel like each member is just trying to show off without playing cohesive songs. There are so many bizarre sounding guitar solos on Black Clouds that just are all over the map. Doesn't feel like they fit with the song. To this day "Learining To Live" still sounds amazing and James' voice and they way he sings is perfect. He isn't forcing the lyrics.
I do like the new song but again it still has that "Black Clouds" sound. "Wither" in my opinion is the best song from that album. Others had potential, "The Count of Tuscany" started off amazing but then it gets all fast and too fast. And the growl in there I can't stand. The song ends amazing too. It's just the fast middle I can't stand. And I like the chorus except for the growl.
I hope this new album restores my faith in the band I have followed for about 20 years. I think Mike leaving might be good for them. Seemed like he was taking over musically. He is though one of if not the best drummer around. I just don't like when he sings.
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« Reply #52 on: July 28, 2011, 09:21:41 PM »

Agreed to a certain extent (about them sounding generic metal recently), however, I think it's just as much Petrucci's doing as Mike's. Petrucci's been the one pushing the 7-string crunch. His 7-String usage started off like Steve Vai's: using the low B for technical efficiency during fast solo material. But now it's just been relegated to Pantera/Korn influenced low chugging, which is cool when done sparingly, but they've practically become a "chug band" as of late. Not so interesting. Because Mike is big, personally loud and aggressive, and does the majority of the growling, people give him the flack for a lot of the recent aggression in DTs sound. But John does quite a bit of growling live too, and quite a bit of the big annoying tunes are his. I'm not saying Mike is blameless, but people are starting to use him as a scapegoat, just like they used Derek as a scapegoat when he was basically the only one coming up with great musical material on FII.

Also, Jordan annoys the hell out of me. He insists on taking the seriousness out of every instrumental section. Now every mid section features ragtime piano, circus music, strange noises, or some such goofball bullshit. It works great for Spock's Beard, but I don't think so much in DT. It feels like he's making every DT song into a mockery of itself. His own albums are horrendous (except for his cover album, which is wonderful), and thank GOD he doesn't write lyrics in DT... and you thought LaBrie's text was cheesy!

I think there's a lot of blame to go around. I'm hoping that Mangini will kick the guys into a new direction, and wake them from their overly-dirivitive self-mockery. But if he succeeds, don't for a second believe that it was getting rid of Mike that fixed it, it's because everyone else shaped up in the processes.
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« Reply #53 on: August 01, 2011, 02:49:37 PM »

Very interesting review of the new album:

http://www.rich-wilson.com/

I agree completely with everything you say Prime.

Others had potential, "The Count of Tuscany" started off amazing but then it gets all fast and too fast. And the growl in there I can't stand. The song ends amazing too. It's just the fast middle I can't stand. And I like the chorus except for the growl.

That song had potential to be one of their very best pieces, the first 3 minutes and the ending are among their finest moments. The vocal melodies are what ruins it for me.
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« Reply #54 on: August 04, 2011, 03:16:48 PM »

Very promissing to hear. I thought they had lost their prog edge recently. Most of their songs were either METAL or SOFT ROCK. Ultimately, Dream Theater started as a band that walked the line between Hard Rock and Metal, stylistically: driving, hard, but not really aggressive. Sorta like Iron Maiden, or a heavier Rush. More recently, they've taken on a split personality, neither of which I typically appreciate. Either their material is outlandishly aggressive, or yawningly slow and cheesy. I think they're best when their combining drama with drive, instead of trying to separate the two.

I've just been listening to LTE1 for the last few days, and missing the hell out of the turn of the century DT. In some ways, those were their finest days. As much as I LOVE Images & Words, I'd say that the material from Awake through 6 Degrees is the stuff that I was hoping would become the anchor for their stylistic development. Unfortunately, I think Train of Thought became that, a mediocre nu-metal foray that they've been recreating ever since. But LTE1 (and LTE2 as well), were just amazing works of brilliance, especially between Petrucci and Rudess. Universal Mind, Kindred Spirits, Biaxident... so much brilliance, so much drive, so much FUN! I think that's what they've been missing ever since 6 Degrees, is the shimmering brilliance and FUN: Blind Faith, Hell's Kitchen, Lines in the Sand, Dance of Eternity, 6 O'Clock, Solitary Shell. There's just something really magical about the material from those albums, something playfull, interesting, and sophisticated. Unfortunately, their playfull side died and became idiotically goofy, their sophisticated side became trite, and their interesting side became bland and repeatitive.

Every DT album since, I TRIED to look for a glimmer of the charm that they once had. Black Clouds was the first in a while that had glimpses of that playfullness, but it was still a far cry. At least it wasn't the disaster Systematic Chaos was.

But, I recommend going back and listening to LTE. There's something magical about those albums. Maybe it was because it was one of the first prog albums I got (along with Images & Words), but I think it more had to do with the unbriddled fun that the guys were having with eachother. I miss that. Maybe this new album, having a change in social dynamic, will help to revisit some of that spark.

I'm causiously hopefull... something I really couldn't say since Train of Thought.
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« Reply #55 on: August 04, 2011, 08:05:59 PM »

Oh I still listen to LTE regularly, those are my favorite instrumental albums ever. Acid Rain is my favorite track. SFAM and 6DOIT are my favorite DT albums, I enjoyed systematic chaos, I think it's their best post 6doit album.
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« Reply #56 on: August 05, 2011, 12:50:58 PM »

Probably Kindred Spirits is my favorite LTE track. That tune was just immensely emotional/joyous for me, and kind of marks a certain part of my life somehow, when I was just getting into prog. I love how it starts with this raucous, almost bluesy, hard rock section, and suddenly, the clouds part and there's this beautiful, uplifting piano melody. From there, they just morph it into a number of directions, and just when you've forgotten it, they bring it back, and build it into a huge, fun climax! Short tune, but so worth it!

Universal Mind is another one, sorta similar. Jordan seemed to love it so much, he used the mid section as his live piano solo for quite a few tours. I used to play it a lot back in college.

LTE2 was just as strong an album... wait, what am I saying... it was a STRONGER album, by far, with less filler. And Acid Rain, Biaxident, and the first 6 minutes of WTWB (which they ALMOST named the album, btw), are absolutely brilliant. But somehow LTE1 has this shimmer on a few of the tracks that I've almost never heard since, with any group.
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« Reply #57 on: August 05, 2011, 02:21:20 PM »

Personally I think LTE2 was a big improvement over LTE1.

Here's a snippet from bridges in the sky DT just released:

http://www.youtube.com/user/dreamtheater
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« Reply #58 on: August 06, 2011, 05:06:19 PM »

Well, no doubt that LTE2 is much more polished, a bit more of an ensemble effort, and longer (30 minute warning doesn't count). And as I mentioned, I think it's a better album overall, but there's a raw magic that LTE1 had that I'll never forget.
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« Reply #59 on: September 12, 2011, 01:49:27 PM »

Here it comes...  I'm psyched.

Though, speaking of old favorites releasing new material, I just snagged the new Yes album yesterday, and I gotta admit, it's REALLY GOOD, far better than I was expecting. It doesn't have Jon Anderson, but I'm not sure that's a bad thing, for the first time since Drama, the lyrics are actually coherent! It's got a very moody vibe, but rocks much harder than most of their more recent albums.
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