Customer Reviews


707 Reviews
5 star:
 (561)
4 star:
 (59)
3 star:
 (37)
2 star:
 (21)
1 star:
 (29)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


141 of 144 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning tour-de-force.
In a time when most bands have stopped trying, Dream Theater continues to challenge themselves. Simply put, no band has Dream Theater's bombastic musical audacity...at least, no band with signed with a major record company. After nearly breaking up following the stressful recording of Falling Into Infinity, the band managed to convince their label to let them produce the...
Published on January 29, 2001 by Lord Chimp

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best
I have been a fan since 1989. Each album progressed up until Falling into Infinity, I believe they need Kevin Moore back in the band. Since his departure they have never sounded the same. Never the less they are still my favorite band. The new CD is great but it's no I&W or Awake.
Published on November 1, 1999


‹ Previous | 1 271 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

141 of 144 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning tour-de-force., January 29, 2001
By 
This review is from: Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory (Audio CD)
In a time when most bands have stopped trying, Dream Theater continues to challenge themselves. Simply put, no band has Dream Theater's bombastic musical audacity...at least, no band with signed with a major record company. After nearly breaking up following the stressful recording of Falling Into Infinity, the band managed to convince their label to let them produce the record they wanted all along. As a result, the band has made their finest work.
Extrapolating the saga of Images And Words' "Metropolis Pt.1" is the stunning concept album Scenes From A Memory, an epic suite divided into twelve parts. The original concept was delightfully obscure and nebulous...almost mythical. The band has taken the concept and fleshed out the core ideas, producing a slightly generic two-act murder mystery. Lyrically, the album sometimes comes across flat. Judging from earlier albums, we know Dream Theater can shine lyrically, but given the story approach, their diction is straightforward, generally lacking the profundity of their earlier lyrical work. In terms of writing, this is no Operation: Mindcrime. Nonetheless, the tale is reasonably compelling, with a striking revelatory moment when the listener unravels the mystery of the plot. Despite the prosaic style of writing, between the plot, story, and music, it's barely a fault.
Musically, the band seems to be going all out. The album begins with a tepid acoustic number "Regression" but then floors the listener with the stunning instrumental "Overture 1928." From there, the album's 77 minutes of music covers plenty of ground, from heartfelt piano ballads to eastern chord progressions, from furious assaults of shredding to orchestral sections and a gospel choir. All the musicians make an impression, particularly on the insane instrumental, "The Dance of Eternity." This frenetic six-minute flurry of notes that changes time signatures every bar (with weird stuff like 19/16 and 15/8), swaps between piano and guitar leads, stuns with a mind-boggling bass solo, and a seamlessly incorporates a ragtime piano section. (Fans with keen ears will even pick up a section from Metropolis Pt.1 played backwards.) Scenes From A Memory does an outstanding job establishing musical cohesion by intermittently using familiar riffs, both from this record and Metropolis Pt.1. This is an important artistic choice as it forms continuity, and it is done with notable success here.
Special mention goes to Jordan Rudess, the band's new keyboardist, recruited after Petrucci and Portnoy worked with him on Liquid Tension Experiment. Whereas most keyboardists (in progmetal) do little other than offer a string synth and occasional solo to support the guitar, Rudess is the most original keyboardist around...he shares the spotlight with the guitar rather often. He exacts a the perfect tone during solos (it almost sounds like guitar), which eliminates the "cheese" sound often attributed to the instrument. He employs sitar samples, genuine sounding orchestral synths, stunning piano, and other quirky sounds (like this strange trumpet thing on "Beyond This Life"). His technical brilliance is superlative...seriously one of the best keyboardists on the planet.
The album enjoins a gamut of emotional reactions from the listener. Particularly distinct are the emotions in the respectively heartbreaking and joyful ballads "Through Her Eyes" and "The Spirits Carries On" as well as the underscored anger and hopelessness in "Home" and "Finally Free." This is mainly attributable to vocalist James LaBrie's emotive performance. Compared to his earlier works, his vocals here are less high-key but very refined and expressive. I get uncontrollable chills whenever he sings the final section of "Through Her Eyes," or The Miracle's sinister soliloquy during "Home."
Finally, I will quickly address the accusation that Dream Theater cares more about showing off than writing good songs. This is absolutely untrue. As a metal band, they can be intense, but a solid melodic element is intact. Their solos are not masturbatory; they inject the songs with a high-point of emotion or intensity. Even moments of striking dissonance prove to be engaging.
I think it's understood by now that I regard this album with reams of deference. It's completely awesome. Buy it...it's astonishing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best album ever, period., December 31, 1999
By 
LG (Redwood City, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory (Audio CD)
I assume that if you are not already familiar with Dream Theater's music you wouldn't be reading this. What I can say quickly about this album is that it was the album that I always knew Dream Theater could make.
When I started listening to DT I bought "Images and Words" and immediately I was impressed with how hard it was while still being melodic. My favorite band before that was Iron Maiden and after hearing the first track of Images ("Pull me Under") I knew that after 5+ years they would be toppled. I am a guitar player who has listened to all of the shred bands, metal, etc... and I immediately fell in love with DT.
The "Awake" album is very very good, the older live album from Europe is good, "A Change of Seasons" is awesome, but I disliked "Falling into Infinity".
Scenes hits back with a ruthless vengence. The first time I listened to it I was driving to work and it made me cry for about 5 minutes. Whenever I play it on my stereo at home it makes me cry about 3-4 times per spin. It really is that good. Everything good about their previous stuff has been incorporated. On the "Awake" album the Erotomania song is similar to the overture on Scenes in that it introduces many of the main themes of the album (or song trio in the case of "Awake").
John Petrucci is awesome on the guitar. Besides being a technical wizard on the guitar his musical tastes are very similar to mine in that he likes all types of rock all the way up to thrash metal riffing like Pantera (listen to Lie from Awake). The song "Fatal Tragedy" on Scenes is incredible because it is so hard but at the same time still melodic.
The Steve Morse school of 1 note on hellaciously distorted electric guitar = 1 power chord is adhered to in many places, opening up a very different style of hard music because the typical power chord is abandoned.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Progressive metal in its finest hour (or 78 minutes)., June 9, 2001
By 
This review is from: Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory (Audio CD)
There are a lot of great progressive metal bands around these days. There's the symphonic and stylish Symphony X, the increasingly evolving Fates Warning, the original and daring Pain of Salvation, the technical powerhouses Power of Omens, and many others.
But among them all, Dream Theater remains the best. To me, no one else defines progressive metal like these five brilliant musicians. They strike an incredible balance of power, technique, emotion, and melody with a unified vision possible only with the remarkable degree of chemistry these guys share. And, in many ways, Scenes From A Memory is their best work.
Here's the skinny: It's a 78 minute concept album whose story stems from the original "Metropolis" mystique from their breakthrough album Images And Words. This is the album Dream Theater wanted to make all along, with no pressure from their label, and no regard for commercial success. It's a feast for the music lovers, with a good enough ear for composition and melody that the technique never overshadows the song. Dream Theater's critics love to attack them for going overboard with solos and instrumental sections, but it's never bothered me simply because they play with a lot of heart. John Petrucci is an outstanding guitar player who never restrains his technical ability, but most importantly he plays with a tremendous amount of soul. The encouraging heroics of his solo on "The Spirit Carries On" encapsulate this idea better than anything. It's pure beauty in music.
DT may not be able to repeat the greatness of SFAM, but if they continue to make the music they love, there will never be another good-but-flawed Falling Into Infinity. They will continue to take great strides beyond their peers and continue crunching the mold to their image while making some of the best music out there.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ineffably superlative..., July 7, 2000
By 
This review is from: Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory (Audio CD)
...Let's just get one thing out of the way: Dream Theater isnot for everyone. Let's forget musical nomenclature (progressiverock/metal and what not) and just say this: Dream Theater has a very distinctly delineated style that is markedly etched with reams of talent. While this talent is always prevalent and evident, DT is often accused of being overly technical while sacrificing melodic qualities. All of DT's members are gods and considered by many to be their personal heroes. But they are very pretentious instrumentalists...the extended instrumental sections show this. For those who become bored easily and cannot appreciate everything that is happening (polyrhythms, meter shifts, etc), think twice. Don't get me wrong: you can love this album without being a musician yourself, but it will help and increase your overall enjoyment of the entire experience.
I think Dream Theater is one of the most talented bands in music today, and this comes from someone who listens to everything: classical, jazz, metal, prog...you name it. While others see complain that Dream Theater's music is just "musical masturbation," I think it is important for a band like this to strike a balance between vocals and instrumental components. When you have a band this talented, they just need to play.
Of course, the "musical masturbation" complaint might be justified if Dream Theater -- like many bands -- sacrificed intensity and melody for "wank-factor." Dream Theater doesn't do this. Petrucci's music on the guitar is a thing of beauty -- like Joe Satriani, he is "not of this Earth." (But make no mistake, they are not very similar in terms of style.) DT's new man on the keys, Jordan Rudess, is absolutely stunning. His piano work is simply beautiful, and his stately strings are expertly mixed and add wonderful elements to the music. UNlike many keyboardists, Rudess eschews cheesy "space sounds" and other sounds that often accompany keyboards. Mike Portnoy is hands-down one of my favorite drummers, and bassist John Myung -- who sometimes becomes lost in the mix -- is also a complete virtuoso and lays down wicked bass lines.
Of course, it wouldn't be complete without James LaBrie's stunning vocals. LaBrie has heaps of talent, with unrivaled range, pronunciation, hunger, and emotional intensity. His voice really captures the emotion of the song, especially in the heartbreakingly beautiful ballads "The Spirit Carries On" and "Through Her Eyes." He breathes a little loud at times, but he's so talented you won't care.
Many people are dismissing SFAM's lyrics as disposable, and these woeful individuals are missing the point. What we have here is a concept album that is telling a wonderful story about death, deceit, and love (sound corny? Don't worry, it's not). The lyrics are mostly handled by Petrucci and Portnoy, and they are handled with astonishingly results, and fans of Metropolis Pt.1 will recognize familiar bits from said song. Lyrics are articulate and always sound, well, good! Especially given how touchy it is to wield subject matter like this. People have compared this to The Wall (Pink Floyd), Operation: Mindcrime (Queensryche) and other concept albums, but this isn't a very good comparison. SFAM stands on its own and is simply beyond words...absolutely incredible. Complaints about the ending are also missing the point: It's supposed to leave the listeners hanging...we'll have to wait until part III to find out how it continues...(if they release a part 3, that is).
In the end, Dream Theater really shows what it's made of with SFAM...a band with heart, skill, and impact. The musicianship, studio recording quality, and story line are beyond reproach. Some people may find the instrumental bits a little overbearing, but if you appreciate the talent and the melodies that are in action, you probably love it as much as anyone else who's given it five stars.
Finally, make sure you do your best to figure out the story line. The album transcends mere music to something so much more once you develop an emotional attachment to the events portrayed in SFAM. This is how it is with most people.
Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent after a few listens., December 16, 1999
This review is from: Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory (Audio CD)
The first time I listened to Dream Theater's latest offering I was a bit disappointed. I thought the band was going a bit too far into the Liquid Tension mode. On the second listen I arrived at the last track and was quite spooked by what I was hearing. I immediately logged off of Mike Portnoy's chat room and actually opened up the nice little insert with the lyrics and read as the storyline played out. What I discovered is that Scenes From A Memory maybe the most intense album I have ever heard. I really enjoy the way these guys can make the music as emotional as words. Portnoy does his best work here on the skins, Petrucci and Myung are rock solid like always and LaBrie's vocals are unmatched by anyone. New keyboardist Jordan Rudess plays excellent piano though I kinda miss Derek Sherinian's synth technique. As usual with DT, this CD has travelled with me from the car to the house to the Discman....you get the idea. After a hundred listens or so it still seems to captivate me. The only minor fault I can find is that I sometimes drift away during a few of the longer instrumental parts, but about the time that happens things get well structured again and LaBrie gets my full attention with his incredible gift. I guess that kinda explains why I can't seem to get into the Liquid Tension Experiments but really enjoy Mullmuzzler, (James Labrie's solo effort). Everyone should own this CD for sure though, no matter what part of Dream Theater you enjoy most.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


34 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Dream Theater Ever, December 21, 1999
By 
Cris (Oklahoma City) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory (Audio CD)
This CD is jaw-dropping! Hearing 5 guys play music like this is astonishing! Compare this talent to any other group and Dream Theater will blow them away. To really appreciate this masterpiece, an understanding of music and knowledge of all its complexity is beneficial. Yet those who do not fit into this category will still love every minute. Not only does the music blow you away..the storyline accompanying it is also well-written..the style of the stanzas...the mystery it leaves the listener to decipher..all truly adds to the hard work and thought put into this album. "Scenes From a Memory" (Metropolis Pt. II) continues the story left off from its predecessor, Metropolis Pt. I, which was on DT's 1992 release, "Images and Words". This isn't some "oh i bet i can play that" album that any garage band could replicate..this takes chops! Each member owns their instrument...dominates it. Mike Portnoy's "head shaking" drum patterns, John Petrucci's "eye-widening" guitar solos, John Myung's blazing bass licks, Jordan Rudess' complex, yet melodic piano wizardry, and James LaBrie's breath taking vocals all make this piece of art a must for any music lover, not just the progressive rock audience. Fans of Pink Floyd's "The Wall" will certainly appreciate "Scenes From a Memory". Albums of this caliber are few and far between.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Stuff! (4.5 Stars), November 20, 2001
By 
This review is from: Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory (Audio CD)
An oustanding album. This is where Dream Theater's musicianship shines best. Of course, many people already know that this is a concept album based on a murder mystery that is solved while a character named Nicholas is hypnotized. It's 77 minutes and is a rock opera in a literal sense as it is metal meets opera (Think, Queen/Queensryche/Metallica) sorry for the comparisons. While a great album, it is VERY grand and large-scale so at tmes, it can get tiring, and you must be in the mood for something like this (as with anything).

Every track on here is dripping with jaw-dropping playing from every member of the band, but if I had to pick favorites, I would choose the following: "Overture 1928"; a heavy, theatrical instrumental. "Fatal Tragedy"; one of the strongest tracks on here. The clip here on amazon lets you sample only a crumb of the track, as it starts off heavy and slow, then progresses into a fast paced metal frenzy with crazed guitar solos, crazed keyboard flourishes and whacked-out drumming. I also love how it has great melodious vocal overdubs. "Beyond This Life"; continues the story, once again with crazed musicianship, featuring a guitar/keyboard section reminiscent of Frank Zappa. "The Dance Of Eternity", is a 6-minute instrumental and probably Dream Theater at their most impressive musicianship-wise. It's a frenzied track with tempo and time changes that are insane (it has 13/16 and 14/16) with music ranging from jazz, ragtime and classical to the obvious metal. "One Last Time"; a slower, absorbing piece that ends on an operatic note. Beautiful. "Finally Free", is where the story really unravels, but I'm not going to spoil the ending, but you will find it on this track. "Home" (the longest track on here) is the track I never really liked that much; the Indianesque musings I found not to work well with Dream Theater's brand of music. It just seemed a bit tacky and contrived.

Overall, an entertaining piece of work which is recommended for those that like music made on an epic-scale.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The absolute pinnacle of hard rock, March 2, 2003
This review is from: Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory (Audio CD)
No band, past or present, has been able to push hard rock to the levels of emotional intensity, technical brilliance, ingenious craft, intellectual complexity, and pure rockin'ness (if that's a word) that Dream Theater has been able to achieve. Each member of the band is a virtuoso - John Petrucci's fleet-fingered guitar solos can only be rivaled (if they can be at all) by Steve Vai's, Jordan Rudess burns his keyboard in ways I've never heard before, Mike Portnoy's drumming shifts effortlessly between time signatures that non-music theory majors might never have heard of, John Myung pulls off even the most devilish riffs on bass, and James LaBrie's voice soars and growls through a myriad of moods and styles.
This album is their masterpiece, a 77-minute ride that takes you to every place in the musical universe that hard rock ever can and will. Despite drawing on a complex storyline involving standard concepts like love and betrayal and moving on through reincarnation and hypnotherapy, the music manages to maintain a flow that, for the most part, makes perfect sense. Highlights include...the whole thing, really, but if you really want to hear the band at work, listen to the thrashy Beyond This Life, the stylistic diversity of Home, and the mind-boggling The Dance of Eternity. The album's masterpiece, however, is the gospel-style The Spirit Carries On, in which John Petrucci squeezes more emotional power out of an electric guitar than his very best hard rock peers could ever hope to achieve, followed by a magnificent and magnificently soulful gospel finale.
After owning this CD for 2 years and God only knows how many listenings, I still find something new each time and am thrilled by every minute of it. Recommended above every hard rock album that has ever come out or ever will.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best albums ever., October 16, 2002
By 
Terrence Mangold (Placentia, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory (Audio CD)
In todays age of pop drivel and "bottom line - what have you done for me lately" mentality, its hard to find an artists that will make music for themselves and do it successfully. Dream Theater has done just that.
This is a true progressive metal album, and an expansion of the characters introduced in "Metropolis Pt.1" on "Images And Words". It's a story album about a man named Nicholas who is the re-incarnation of a woman named Victoria. It is a mystery about how Victoria really died.
It starts with a hypnotherapist counting backwards, hypnotizing Nicholas. An acoustic guitar comes for the song "Regression". Then the keyboard gives off a high accent, and the music takes off.
The best part about SFOM is it's balance between hard rock and soft ballads. And they are not afraid to show off their talents. Many songs have long instrumental interludes that are full of energy, and very precise and meticulous at the same time. The ending is mysterious and confuasing on first listen, but when you understand it, it makes sense (for those who don't know the meaning of the ending, e-mail me).
Dream Theater's last album "Falling Toward Infinity" was so overburdened by the record company, and such an unhappy experience for the band that Mike Portnoy went to Electra and told them to let DT make the music they want, or there won't be a band. Fortunately for us, the music execs agreed. If this is the kind of music they put out when left alone, then for goodness sakes leave them alone.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sad but wonderful story, December 13, 1999
By 
Lionel Wong (Singapore, Singapore Singapore) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory (Audio CD)
Dream Theater has come a long way from their debut album "When Dream And Day Unite". Anyone who has been following this Long Island based band for the past 10 years would have noticed something very different about the band: Dream Theater has matured. Not only does it show in their songwriting, but also in the fact that there is very very little sensless shredding on this album. Every piece of music was written very carefully and accurately to convey whatever message required. The melodies are powerful, lyrics are poetic, and the theme is... simply amazing. A far cry from their debut.
Images and Words(their second album) incorporated Metropolis Pt I, but that song was very dense and compact. Now, with a full album at their disposal, DT actually focuses on the story behind the song rather than pure blazing speed and technique. (although there is a bit of that occasionally) Metropolis II: Scenes From A Memory is a powerful and moving audio movie, and probably the best DT has produced in their 10 yr career.
This album is highly recommended for any audience who simply wish to enjoy a nice evening of musical euphoria.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 271 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory
Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory by Dream Theater (Audio CD - 1999)
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.