- James LaBrie / vocals
- John Myung / bass
- John Petrucci / guitars, vocals
- Mike Portnoy / drums, percussion, vocals
- Derek Sherinian / keyboards
When a listener listens to the album for the first time and he heard DT's previous releases one can conclude that the band got comercialised. It is indicated by:
1) The production, which has never been better before.
2) Mellow, soapy tunes, which have nothing to do with prog rock: “Hollow Years”, “Take Away My Pain” -honestly very good catchy tune, “Anna Lee”
3) Some songs seems to be over-simplified – “You Not Me”, “Burning My Soul” - all Dream Theater fans know that their prefer sophisticated and complex music.
However, thanks to a few songs it is worth buying the CD. To my mind the best tune is “Trial Of Tears” - you can find here jazz influences, the best Petrucci's solo he has ever recorded. Another tune worth paying more attention to is the instrumental “Hell's Kitchen” - not complex but very well-textured. Third composition worth listening is “Just Let Me Breathe” - there is 2-minute-long part where guitars and keybord intermingle with each other in such away that it will be difficult for you to catch a breath when you will be listening to the very moment. Furthermore, the introducing riff so energising that you will feel like doing the most boring chore with pleasure. Great piece to perform on concerts. Quite interesting is “New Millenium” with an intro reminding me of Chinese music. “Lines in the Sand” where you can hear jazzy interplay between Myung and Sherinian.
Now I would like to write something about the musicians. To my mind, James LaBrie has never sung so good. His voice really suits the tunes on the CD. John Myung did great work as well as he contributed a lot to the CD compositionally. Underrated Sherinian does not solo the way Kevin Moore did. His keyboards are much different but he is showing his musical experience and imagination stretching it to a great extent. Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci did their best as well. Hadn't been for these core members of Dream Theater staff I wouldn't recommend the CD.
Out of 5 4.5
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