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Album Review: Dream Theater Distance Over Time

 

On February 22nd 2019 Progressive metal titan Dream Theater released their latest album Distance Over Time. With this being their fourteenth full length release. While one couldn’t call this album a polar opposite to their last release The Astonishing, It does have all the things that fans of Dream Theater have come to expect of their beloved band; intense complex musical arrangements, and top notch songwriting. A couple of differences between these two releases is length, and this release has a much heavier sound as well. Their 2016 release The Astonishing clocked in at over 2 hours with its 34 tracks. Distance Over Time though is an hour in comparison with its 10 songs. Not to mention that The Astonishing is a concept album and this one isn’t. When the band wrote and recorded this album, they all retreated as a group to their Yonderbarn studio in Monticello, NY for four months. It seems as though closing off the world and just concentrating on the recording and being together raised the bar on the cohesiveness of this latest effort. The album kicks off with “Untethered Angel”. This track is everything that fans love about Dream Theater; incredible musicianship especially from John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess and of course the stunning lyrics. “Paralyzed” and “Fall Into Light” both start out with some really nice chunky, heavy chords delivered by John Petrucci. Of the two songs, “Paralyzed” at about four minutes is a very radio friendly song. In contrast “Fall Into Light” is a 7 minute epic about the underlying themes of life’s journeys. “Room 137” is the first song with lyrics written by drummer Mike Mangini and his style of writing is a perfect fit. Of course, John Petrucci’s playing and arrangement on the song gave it a nice heavy feel to it. For fans of John Petrucci’s guitar work, they will love “S2N”. His playing is amazing as it has ever been. “At Wits End” may be the longest track on the album at a little over nine minutes, but you are in for a real treat with the interplay between John Petrucci’s guitar work and Jordan Rudess’s keyboards. “Pale Blue Dot” is a one of the best tracks on this excellent album. Every member of the band gets a chance to showcase their formidable skills. Yet none of their work falls into a self-indulgent trap, the sum of these excellent parts really does exceed what each member brings to the song. Overall this is a great effort. It flows beautifully from one track to the next. Of course, the musicianship is what you expect from musicians of this caliber, impeccable; as is the song writing. The guys in Dream Theater pulled off an amazing feat, they created an expansive record that is befitting of their catalog yet is by their standards short at just over an hour. While it doesn’t break any new ground, It doesn’t need to. What it does do is deliver everything that fans have come to expect, well written songs with awesome musicianship in a clean well balanced package.

Dream Theater:

Track List:

  1. Untethered Angel               6:14
  2. Paralyzed                            4:17
  3. Fall Into Light                      7:04
  4. Barstool Warrior                 6:43
  5. Room 137                            4:23
  6. S2n                                       6:21
  7. At Wit’s End                         9:20
  8. Out Of Reach                       4:04
  9. Pale Blue Dot                       8:25
  10. Viper King(bonus Track)   4:00

 

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