Monday, March 4, 2019

Album Review: Dream Theater - Distance Over Time

Dream Theater’s previous record was the impossibly long, challenging (and, at first glance, indigestible) The Astonishing, a multimedia science-fiction concept that ends up being incredibly rewarding for those patient enough to invest their time and attention. The ensuing tour also tried the listener’s patience and good will but was ultimately successful, at least from an artistic standpoint.

But now the experiment is over and it’s back to business as usual for the prog-metal stalwarts. Which doesn’t mean that Distance Over Time is a short effort devoid of self-indulgence, in fact it’s full of pomp, bombast and face-melting virtuosity and that’s exactly what we’ve come to expect and love from the genre in general and from Dream Theater in particular.
The first song Untethered Angel sets the tone: complex yet melodic, heavy yet atmospheric, shifting between lightning-fast runs and slower, groovier passages, like the instrumental section of 21st Century Schizoid Man as played by Metallica.

This is what distinguishes DT at their best from other American prog-metal outfits: the compositions, while convoluted, still amount to great metal songs with awesome riffs. The instrumental shredding is just the icing on the muso cake.

The tour-de-force of the album is the final track Pale Blue Dot, an immersive piece of sci-fi at once pummelling and atmospheric, that takes the listener on a journey beyond the stars.

This new quality album from the band will not turn the form on its head, and that’s not the point. Much like the planet shooting through space from their aforementioned epic song, Dream Theater is on a trajectory. It’s not a revolution: it’s evolution.

Join Apple Music HERE to listen to the entire album

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