Boy I jump from project to project, don’t I?
This was initially a post for The Divisive Albums Podcast. I’ve moved that here, so go check it out.
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I am many things. Information Technology worker for a bank. Former Speedrunner of video games (A Google-provided list of my runs is here). Reviewer. One-time Game Designer
Solid take on not only the album, but the premise of Dream Theater as a whole. I can safely say I’m not alone in thinking that listening to Dream Theater can be an exhausting experience—it’s kind of the curse of bands who just have to let you know how skilled they are. A follow-up point to that in a minute –
As to Falling Into Infinity… that really is as radio-friendly as Dream Theater gets. Their DNA won’t allow them to just rock out a simple 4/4 time tune, at least not one without a zillion-note-a-minute solo or a drum fill meant to be played by an octopus. Dream Theater can no more play rock n’ roll than Nirvana could play prog-metal. Dream Theater is like an overly-rich dessert, enjoyable in small doses but painfully bloated if you take too big a portion.
Oh, that follow up point. There’s a legendary story that Primus’ Les Claypool was rejected by Metallica because he was “too good”. This, in fact, is actually true. Claypool’s cartoon-inspired, manic, virtuoso playing isn’t what Metallica needed. Over the years, I have a new appreciation for musicians like Michael Anthony of Van Halen and John Deacon of Queen (not to pick on bass players, Charlie Watts of The Rolling Stones fits here too) who were content to provide solid accompaniment to the more flashy musicians.
With Dream Theater, you have a collection of musical egos and talent that just are always fighting to let you know how good they are at what they play. And that’s fine – if you have the endurance to sort out the sonic complexity, DT really does some neat stuff. They’ve likely maxed out the audience that appreciates that. And while there are some who love to feast on the diverse, complex, and subtle dinner of Falling Into Infinity, most people will be content with a good old fashion rock n’ roll hot dog.
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