DREAM THEATER - Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence
March 10, 2002, 17 years ago
Do these guys ever release a single disc, or are they paid by the track?! Seriously, the latest pair of discs are comprised of only six songs, but the second platter is entirely the title track, subdivided into eight distinct parts. How many bands can lead off an album with a 14 minute cut, yet that's precisely what 'The Glass Prison' does! The initial three minutes are nothing but heavy guitars and when James LaBrie's voice comes in, it's often shrouded in electronic modulation. Throughout, the guitars remain fast and aggressive; none of the wimpiness that non-prog fans often complain about. 'Blind Faith' follows, a mid-tempo piece which begins slowly, built around airy piano and keyboards, with LaBrie returning to his normal register. For the first third of its nine+ minutes, 'Misunderstood' could be a movie soundtrack, somber and acoustic, but then a crash of guitar picks up the pace, every so slightly, as the song veers left of center for an otherworldly guitar-led exploration. 'The Great Debate' starts with several news clips regarding the dangers/benefits of stem cell research. It ends the same way. In between, LaBrie briefly opts for more electronic vocals, even alternating channels. The lyrics deliver both points of view, pro vs. con. The first disc closes with the acoustic-begun ballad 'Disappear', which features some off kilter, sci-fi sounding synths. In the past, it's been difficult to sit through a complete Dream Theater disc without interruption. Here, the frequent changes in dynamics and more aggressive, metallic guitarwork allow even the longest songs to flow effortlessly. If Dream Theater would have quit at one disc, the review would be a few points higher, as Part II returns to more traditional fare, with more importance placed on keyboards. 'Overture' is not merely an intro, it's longer than most band's songs. The classically influenced instrumental is reminiscent of Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The eight tracks melt into each other, no silence between them, as they are all parts of a greater whole. 'The Test That Stumped Them All' is the only cut to approach the sonic fury of the material on the initial disc. Sometimes, less is more.