(All Album Reviews by jethro fish)
Dream Theater is a tough nut to crack. Everyone has an opinion about this band. Whether it's a good one or a bad one they sure do leave their mark. Undeniably they are the reigning kings of "prog metal" and one of the bands that has raised the interest for progressive music to the "mainstream" in the 90's and 2000's. I'm quite ambivalent when it comes to DT.
Most of the time I really like their music but it's when they over-complicate things that I lose interest. Let me try to explain what I mean by "over-complicate": I sometimes feel that DT uses meter changes and complexity for its own sake, just to show their skills. Don't get me wrong, I love meter changes and complexity but not for the wrong reasons. The variations in the music should have some sort of reason, whether it be to push the composition forward or reflect a mood change of the song. Sometimes I feel that DT are just showing off (musical masturbation, for lack of a better term). But as I said, most of the time DT's music really moves me.
Scenes from a Memory was released in 1999 and is IMO DT's masterpiece so far (sorry all you fans of Images & Words or Six Degrees...). On this album everything seems to gel and the compositions and musical performance is top notch. Lyrically however they leave much to be desired but try to ignore that fact because in spite of the poor lyrical content the music is that much better.
It's only on a few occations that there is a little of that "musical w**nking" but apart from that this is a sometimes concrete-heavy, sometimes Floydian atmospheric and sometimes purely beautiful album. I give it my highest recommendations and if you should buy only one DT-album, it's this one. Oh, did I mention that these guys are killer musicians? hehe
My rating: 4.5 out of 5