Dream Theater are one of those bands that I feel I ought to like more than I actually do. In theory, the concept albums and long complex pieces should be right up my street, but I’m put off by the metal element of their playing which for some reason I can’t quite get along with. You can’t argue with the musicianship and sheer technical virtuosity, but I feel sometimes that the complexity of their sound is somewhat overdone, thrown in just because they can, rather than because it adds something to the finished piece. I also think their vocals have always been a weak point, being rather insipid for my taste. The latest in this excellent series of books takes a long look at their extensive back catalogue, dissecting each album track by track, and throwing in for each release a potted history of what was happening behind the scenes with the band at that time, the recording and writing processes and any changes in line ups. The author is perhaps a little too fond of over flowery prose at times, but he certainly knows his stuff, and as this book will presumably be almost exclusively bought by fans I think that’s unlikely to put anyone off. The thing I like about these books is that they encourage you to relisten to albums you’ve not heard for years, or maybe not at all,, and re-evaluate them – it’s amazing the number of great pieces you’ve simply forgotten about as the years pass!
Length of Read:Short
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
Other books in this series, prog metal.
One thing you’ve learned
Dream Theater are certainly an interesting band with some intriguing musical ideas, which are either very inventive or very self indulgent depending on your point of view. There’s a big back catalogue to go at, from 1989’s debut When Dream and Day Unite right up to last year’s Distance Over Time, which was something of a return to form. I’d recommend prog lovers looking to dip their toe in start with Metropolis Part II: Scenes From A Memory or Octavarium and go from there. If you fancy a single song, maybe have a listen to The Best of Times (from Black Clouds & Silver Linings), a very poignant song that evokes special memories for me,