Dream Theater Distance Over Time Review
By: Elberton Cisnero
Dream Theater is an American progressive metal band formed in 1985 under the name Majesty by John Petrucci (guitar), John Myung (bass) and Mike Portnoy (drums) while they attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. They subsequently dropped out of their studies to concentrate further on the band that would ultimately become Dream Theater. The band has gone through player changes over the years. Three original members remained together until September 8, 2010, when Portnoy left the band. Mike Mangini was announced as the new permanent drummer on April 29, 2011.
The band’s gold-selling Images and Words (1992), is their highest selling album. It reached No. 61 on the Billboard 200 chart. Both the 1994 release Awake and their 2002 release Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence hit the charts at No. 32 and No. 46 respectively. Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory was ranked number 95 on the October 2006 issue of Guitar World magazine’s list of The greatest 100 guitar albums of all time. Also ranked as the 15th Greatest Concept Album (as of March 2003) by Classic Rock Magazine. Fast forward, their latest album Distance Over Time feaures:John Myung (bass), John Petrucci (guitar), James LaBrie (vocals), Jordan Rudess (keyboard) and Mike Mangini (drums). Set to release in February of 2019, will live up to fans expectations in all aspects.
“Untethered Angel” begins Distance Over Time with a musical statement that has all the elements that has made Dream Theater the success they are today. Starting with a ballad styled clean guitar sound with swelling keyboard chords, that track soon erupts into a power house metal figures with the full band playing a hook that is amazingly powerful. LaBrie enters with his agile vocals, building to the chorus, where he is joined with full background vocals. The various sections of the tune all have transition of time signatures and heavy riffs from the huge sound of Petrucci and Myung. Mangini’s drum is as imaginative as ever, propelling each phrase. The interlude leading to the guitar solo is intricate and expertly performed. Petrucci’s solo has an exotic colorization as he effortlessly spins out long lines of switching between slurs, picking, sweeping and tapping. This is the Dream Theater that we all love and remember. The songs are still alive with energy and the band is still pushing, but the band still has their unique sound intact.
With a riff that is a combination of classic rock and heavy metal, “Fall into the Light” brings us an excellent look at Dream Theater’s merging of old and new. LaBrie’s vocal range is vast as he takes us through the melody and various feels and sections. Petrucci’s guitar tone is a big wall of warm powerful fuzz, but each chord and note within the riff is still clear and his right-hand articulations come through the sound to add even more character and movement. The middle section relaxes into and an acoustic guitar supported section that lets the ears breath after all that amazing riffage. The band builds back in and we are off with more beautiful melodies from Petrucci’s singing guitar. The gates are opened and the track ending with a fiery keyboard solo from Rudess. This band is the pinnacle of style, technique and musicality.
Polished and primed Dream Theater is not showing any signs of slowing down. Their fourteenth studio album Distance Over Time is a collection of experiences and a celebration of masterful performances. For this record, the band approached things a little differently. For the first time, the members lived, wrote and recorded together at the secluded Yonderbarn studios in Monticello, NY over the course of four months. The result is a collection of nine stunning songs and a collection of memorable performances.
- Release Date: February 22, 2019
- Label: InsideOutMusic