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« Reply #60 on: September 14, 2011, 05:00:16 AM »

You can watch the entire metal masters clinic here:

http://www.livestream.com/anthrax/video?clipId=pla_5130e83c-0d81-435e-9bf2-847a123bf80a&utm_source=lsplayer&utm_medium=ui-play&utm_campaign=click-bait&utm_content=anthrax

Portnoy, Benante, Ellefson, Bello, King, Ian and Anselmo rocking hard.
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« Reply #61 on: September 14, 2011, 09:11:00 AM »

On the back of angels video:

http://www.roadrunnerrecords.co.uk/page/News?news_id=113323
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« Reply #62 on: September 14, 2011, 09:29:15 AM »

There's a lot to digest here so I'll give my opinion later. First impression is very positive though.
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« Reply #63 on: September 15, 2011, 12:35:37 PM »

First impression is kinda neutral here, but I haven't finished "Breaking all Illusions" which is rocking my ass. I'm still not digging their nuMetal guitar sound that's been prevalent since Train of Thought. I just wish they would branch out a little more like in the old days. Some hard rock, some jazzy bits, some Pink Floyd, a little Yes here and there. Breaking All Illusions does a bit more of that thought, easily my favorite on the album.
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« Reply #64 on: September 15, 2011, 07:26:41 PM »

I'm actually looking forward to purchasing this album soon. Heard some of it and love it while other parts I'm left with the same feeling I had with the last 3 previous albums...more metal less creativity. Breaking all Illusions is my favorite by far. The other long epic tracks just feel rushed and the tempo changes don't feel like the mesh right. Outcry is pretty good but the other 2 (forget names...oh one is Bridges in the Sky)...that one is okay I guess. I do like On the backs of Angels and I like all the slow tracks. So all in all this album is better than the last 3, but why does James sing so magical and emotional on some tracks and then they have to have a couple tracks where it is just aggressive and angry sounding? To me that isn't DT. It's DT doing what everyone else does. Going to listen to more after I pick up the album. Does anyone know if you can buy the instrumentals of all the tracks without buying the deluxe version? I don't have that kind of cash.
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« Reply #65 on: September 15, 2011, 08:07:05 PM »

There's also a vocal production effect that they're doing that's just really obvious. On the slow emotional songs, you can tell that they overdubbed LaBrie whispering the words, and then mixed his breathy whisper sound in over top of the normal vocals. This is a common practice in the music industry today to get really emotional sounding vocals. But they fucked it up here, and it literally sounds like, "Oh, it's a person whispering along", which it's NOT supposed to make you think of. Bad Bad production error, destroys the realism.

Outcry is pretty good too. Doesn't it quote a melody from some previous DT album? like something off of Systematic Chaos or Octovarium (I don't know, those two run together for me). Bridges in the Sky isn't very good... too bad because it's a REALLY cool title. I don't remember Lost Not Forgotten being very good either.

But Breaking All Illusions... possibly the best DT track since 6 Degrees. I mean, Count of Tuscany had some amazing stuff, but it had a lot of fluff too. These Walls and Never Enough off Octovarium were pretty good too, but the latter was SO close to Muse: Stockholm Syndrom (which is better), that it's really difficult for me to really enjoy it.

But fuck, what happened? 6 Degrees was just amazing (though everyone hated it at the time), and had so many different stylistic ideas, but after that, it's like they chopped out half of their stylistic repetoir. Solitary Shell, Blind Faith, Missunderstood, Disappear Test that Stumped Them All... upbeat neoprog, high energy fusion, moody builds, outlandish vocal fun... Peter Gabriel, Yes,  Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Queen, Talking Heads, Radiohead, Iron Maiden, all rolled into one. What happened? They used to be so diverse. Now they're just pigeonholing themselves into a corner. Diversity MADE Dream Theater special... their ability to meld distant styles. Breaking All Illusions has it, but it's pretty much absent everywhere else.

That brings me to an interesting observation. So many artists talk about finding "your own voice"... but at the same time, I think that doing so is what KILLS many artists. The exploration and mad search for ones own character is often what makes music interesting. Many of my favorite bands, if you asked me what they sound like, it's not that they have one particular sound, but it's the way in which they bring different material together that makes them unique. I'd like to count myself among that tendancy too. But it's not a question of age, but of group mentality, either your band memebers or fans or producer think they've got "your sound", and you're stuck. Fire your producer, respectfully disagree with your fans (they'll thank you for it in the end), get new bandmates, and keep searching. I should have seen this was coming when, during the Drum auditions, they were looking down at drummers trying to come up with new material for old songs.

I hope I never find my voice. The day that I feel like I know who *I* am is the day I need to stop writing music.
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« Reply #66 on: September 16, 2011, 02:36:27 PM »

Still haven't found the time to really wrap my head around these songs but here's my early opinion on some songs:

I already said I like on the back of angels, it's a good song.
Build me up, break me down might be my least favorite, the whole thing is driven by a (to quote Prime) nu-metalish riff and there's really nothing interesting going on in it. One thing I like about this album is Jordan's use of orchestral and choire sounds, I think he did a fantastic job from start to finish.
Lost not forgotten is pretty good imo.
This is the life is beautiful, I love it.
Bridges in the sky is fantastic. The chorus is very nice, the main riff is great, there's some great drumming going on, the instrumental section is great, I think this one represents DT at their best. This album also seems to be a step up when it comes to lyrics.
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« Reply #67 on: September 16, 2011, 02:42:56 PM »

Getting some serious LTE vibes from Outcry. There's definitely more prog and less metal in this album.
Far from heaven is basically Vacant 2. I like it, James is at his best in this type of song.
Breaking all ilusions is amazing. What a fantastic instrumental section, it's because of stuff like this that JP is my favorite guitarrist. Their approach to the instrumental sections is so good on this album, there's none of that tasteless and pointless shredding. Jordan also delivers, this is his best performance since SFAM, there's none of that nonsense like that stupid break in endless sacrifice, everything flows and fits. I think flow is the keyword here, the songs don't feel like different pieces randomly thrown together.
The mix is also better than in previous albums.
Fortunately I didn't miss MP, MM delivered like I expected he would.
Beneath the surface reminds me of the ballads James writes for his solo albums, it's a nice ong but nothing memorable.

Looking back on what I wrote there are indeed several highlights and I completely agree with Prime, best album since SDOIT.

« Last Edit: September 16, 2011, 03:11:09 PM by CDFN » Logged

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« Reply #68 on: September 16, 2011, 03:53:25 PM »

Well, I'm glad you're digging it, because it's kinda left me a bit empty. Yes, best album since 6DOIT, but that's really not saying much, since I've pretty much disliked every album since 6DOIT with a few exceptions (Count of Tuscany, These Walls, etc). And I STRONGLY disagree with you about the mix, man. By in large, not terrible (not "Vapor Trails" terrible, anyway), but the drums are mixed low, which is a really tasteless mistake to make when introducing a new member of the band. And the vocal effects I talked about really bother me... and on second listen, I realized it's not just the slow tracks too, they're doing the wisper overdubbing all over the place... bad. And honestly, I can't think of a single non-ballad tune on this album that ISN'T driven by low B-string Korn-style metal riffs, not just "Build Me Up".

Remember when DT was a progrock band with a nice metalic sheen? Now it's a just metal band with a slight progrock hue. What happened to the Trial of Tears? The Blind Faiths? The Six O'Clocks? The Under a Glass Moons? They got funky, they got bluesy, they had fun driving riffs that made you want to run around like a hyper 8-year-old! DT didn't used to be all about METAL METAL METAL... And when they were, it tended to be more Iron Maiden influenced power metal, not uber-aggressive angst-thrash. If I want aggressive shit, I'll listen to Devin Townsend, he's far more unique in that field, and has a much better sense of humor about it all.

I think I'll stop buying DT albums for a while, and check back in 6 years and see if they've gone anywhere I'd like to hear.

The day before I bought ADTOE, I picked up the new Yes album "Fly From Here"... now THAT'S a comeback album if I've ever heard one! Squire and the boys sound fresher and more youthful at 70 than DT do at 45. Instead of regurgitating their old glory days, you can really hear them stretching their stylistic muscles, there are times where it really sounds like old Dream Theater, or Pink Floyd, and there are times when they don't sound like anything I can think of. It's got a darker tone than I've ever heard on a Yes album before, but pops out into really upbeat driving rockers. Possibly their best album since Drama in 1980... though The Ladder is pretty awesome too. I have a feeling this is going to be the year of Yes and Rush for me... "Clockwork Angles" looks to be un-fucking-believable.
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« Reply #69 on: September 16, 2011, 04:05:06 PM »

I really don't hear all that agressiveness you're talking about. For a band that has albums like Train of Thought and Systematic Chaos under it's belt, I think the prog to metal ratio on this album is refreshing. I'll see how it holds up but I think it will age better than DC&SL, I only listen to a nightmare to remember and count of tuscany.
The mix isn't perfect but the loudness war syndrome isn't as bad as it was in SC for example. Drums are lower than usual but some people argue they were too loud to begin with. At least now you hear the bass and the instruments don't seem to be competing with each other, they definitely have more room to breathe. They probably would've lowered the volume of the drums sooner but that obviously wasn't going to happen with MP in the band.
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« Reply #70 on: September 16, 2011, 09:35:21 PM »

I remember when BC&SL debuted and I listened to it and was so disappointed...still am after I've forced myself to listen to it thinking it would get better with age. It hasn't nor has SC. Actuallly, over time SC sounds worse now than when I first heard it. Both these albums just say metal with some progressive elements to me. And MP and JL screaming and grunting is just horrible. I'm ashamed to even play them because up until those albums all the others seem so creative and I was proud to introduce someone to DT because I knew how talented they were. Now, BC&SL and SC seem like any metal act with no magic. From SC my favorite track is probably Ministry of Lost Souls followed by...can't even think of the name of it but I believe it was the first track. That's really it for me on that album. BC&SL my favorite track (believe it or not is Wither. Beyond that track there is not one other one I can listen to completely. Not one song gels together. There are parts of them that I love...for instance, the slow part in A Nightmare to remember. Then it gets all thrash metal sounding. No thanks. Count of Tuscany, I thought was magical. The beginning few minutes is awesome then it gets far too fast and aggressive for me. Then I loved its ending. So again, love pieces just not the whole compositions.

I listened to Awake today and it still sounds great. Okay, there are a couple tracks where James' singing is anything but...for an example, parts of Voices(think that was the title, it was the second part of 3 pieces), there are moments when he sings beautifully in that song and then later in the same song he's screaming or sounding real angry. It just ruins songs in my opinion. There's a couple like that on Images and Words too. Still I&W, Awake and A Change of Seasons are probably my favorite albums by DT. I can get through the whole thing without skipping pieces or tracks.

Enter the new album ADTOE. Now a few more listens in and On the Backs of Angels is good. Build me up, Break me Down is okay or would be okay if it wasn't for that annoying scream in the background. Why? Why is that necessary. Take it out and nothing is lost in the song at all. The rest of the album is generally good to great in spots. The real problem I had and still have with DT other than the screaming at times, angry yelling and the generic metal junk is the overall sound. It sounds distorted. Awake and Images sound so crisp and clean and still a lot is going on in those songs. But it sounds so much better.

I know nothing really about making music but I know what sounds like art to me. Older DT (6DOIT and prior) sounds creative, inspiring, rocking and just pure art. MOST everything since sounds like generic metal. Only now with this album has my decision been swayed back a little more to the positive where I find myself saying "Okay, they are really trying to get back to their roots while still exploring new territory." But for whatever reason they still find the need to put songs like BMUBMD on a mostly well crafted album. Heck, I wouldn't even have minded another beautiful slow or slower song instead of BMUBMD. Is it possible to have a slow but yet long progressive epic song? Without 2 guitar solos for a total of 5-7 minutes. Maybe a ballad sounding song with an orchestra. A song that still runs 10 minutes maybe. I know JP is probably the best guitarist on the planet I just don't need to be remind every other song.

Recently, I have discovered other bands that seem more creative and inspiring (Touchstone, Seventh Wonder and even Nightwish). But I am happy that DT seems to be headed back in the direction I had hoped they would. I just hope they continue on this path and get more creative and loose even more metal weight.

Oh, and is it possible to purchase the instrumental versions to the new album without buying the dexluxe $100+ set? I would gladly pay around $20 for the original album and the instrumentals. Didn't BC&SL have a release like that for under $20? Thought they did.
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« Reply #71 on: September 17, 2011, 05:05:43 AM »

The I&W influence is obvious, some people who know more about music than I do say that they even borrowed the structures of some songs. MP said that it's almost a remake of I&W.
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« Reply #72 on: September 17, 2011, 03:49:24 PM »

That really is bull. He's just trying to subtly bitch about things. There's very little of I&W on this album. I&W had a lot of upbeat songs, everything was warm and playful, even if it was driving and metallic. Also, I&W did a lot more sectional changeups, one song went through a lot more material on I&W than on ADTOE, so even if there was a section that didn't float your boat, they didn't repeat it to death like they do now. Again, stylistically it's also worlds apart. Tempo feels slower: less driving, more brooding.

There's no DT album that comes anywhere close to I&W, even SfaM. Now, I&W is probably not my favorite DT album (That would probably be Awake, FII, or 6DOIT), but to say that they've recaptured it is just flat out wrong IMO.
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« Reply #73 on: September 17, 2011, 04:02:57 PM »

I think there are some parts that are reminscent of that album but saying that they tried to write another I&W is way over the top. Some people apparently found bits and pieces that are almost identical to parts of I&W songs. If it's true I guess MP spotted them right away and that's why he made that comment.
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« Reply #74 on: September 17, 2011, 08:41:05 PM »

Why do many tracks have a drum machine/synth drum opening? What's with the nu-metal guitars? Why is James so lifeless the last few albums?

I think Octovarium was a great release after Train of Thought, but it seems ever since they signed with Roadrunner, they've been trying to prove they're real metal or something like that.

I&W and their earlier works had emotion. I feel nothing from these latest releases. Yes, some songs kick ass, but there are many more bands who kick more ass than Dream Theater, and that's not what Dream Theater (used to) be about.
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