Skip to main content

Distance Over Time by Dream Theater - Album Review

The fourteenth studio album from the world's premier purveyors of progressive metal, (for those unfamiliar with the genre imagine equal parts Yes and Metallica), arrives 3 years after their double concept album "The Astonishing". 

This time the band went back to basics, setting up, playing and writing as a band in a room. If this is the result, more please. Tight and focused, with a return to punch-the-air riffs like "Outcry" from 2011's "A Dramatic Turn Of Events" or "The Looking Glass" from their eponymous 2013 album.



Things kick off on a high with lead single "Untethered Angel", a brief moody intro before it erupts with a riff that says buckle in for the ride.
Given that these are some of the finest practitioners  in the world on their respective instruments what you get is the standard, for Dream Theater, impeccable musicianship with jaw-dropping feats of virtuosity. Gone is the bloat of "The Astonishing",  and in its place are catchy riffs, memorable choruses and stunning instrumental sections.

Amongst the highlights are the aforementioned opener with guitarist John Petrucci and keyboardist Jordan Rudess going full Iron Maiden with some dual lead work. 
"Fall Into Light" begins with another great riff to kick off before taking it down for a moody and expansive lead section. 
"Out Of Reach" provides a nice change of pace, with a big chorus and more nice lead work.
"At Wit's End" again has some furiously quick riffage before the big chorus comes in, leading to pyrotechnics from Rudess and Petrucci again in the solos.

After being hugely disappointed with "The Astonishing", this is a real return to form and I hope the band will at least taking the writing approach used for this album again, even if they will inevitably want to keep pushing forward in different directions. I really feel that the "live band" feel that they've managed to capture shows them in their best light.

"Don't leave me now, don't leave me now...."



Comments

Popular Posts

October New Music - Rockin' The Suburbs

Be sure to listen to the latest episode, 736, of Rockin' The Suburbs podcast to hear me talk about some of the new songs I enjoyed in October. You can listen here or via your usual podcast provider. The songs I talk about, along with a little cricket, NFL & rugby are: "Run Away" by Lightning Dust "In Good Faith" by Bonnie 'Prince' Billy "Hard Times" by Whyte Horses featuring John Grant "Favourite Boy" by Half Moon Run "In The Air Tonight" by Lucy Dacus Be sure to listen every day...........

Eraserland by Strand Of Oaks - Album Review

A new album from Tim Showalter which, barring a final misstep, hits all the Americana, (and more), marks. This album is heartfelt, sleazy, uplifting, classic and referential all at the same time whilst still pointing forwards. The beginning is inauspicious. "Weird Ways" starts out like a standard Ryan Adams ballad, but takes off halfway through in a way that reveals the pedigree of the other musicians on the album. After hearing this track I thought it sounded like the aforementioned Mr Adams playing with My Morning Jacket(MMJ). The reverb drenched sound kept rearing its head and a little research revealed that, minus main man Jim James, they were the backing musicians on the album . No wonder I kept hearing them! As a band who has produced much that I like this was a good thing.  After "Weird Ways" heads for the stars we stay there with "Hyperspace Blues" which is one for fans of Jason Pierce's Spiritualized, and sounds just as a song w

Josh Rouse - Love In The Modern Age Review

I picked up Josh Rouse's latest album at the show reviewed earlier , purely on the strength of the new songs he'd debuted that night. Firstly, the songs are almost uniformly great, and whilst some might complain at only 9 tracks on an album, less is sometimes more. "Leave 'em wanting more" is a good policy. I find it hard to accept, for example, that The Beatles "White Album", to pick a famous example, wouldn't have been improved by being cut to a single disc. A topic for another day perhaps? Back to matters in hand. The album starts out with what is my favourite track from the set, "Salton Sea" . It sets out the album's pop stylings and productio n, gated snare and prominent synths, occasional vocoder flourishes, etc. that continue throughout the album. With a nice build at the end to some instrumental guitar, it is a great start.  The tunes keep coming, with the title track , "Businessman" , and "Women And The

A Musical Epiphany: Bruce Springsteen

Have you ever struggled to understand the appeal of an artist?  In the case of Bruce Springsteen I was in this camp until August 2002. I appreciated that he was a significant figure in music, and enjoyed some of his hits, "Born To Run" and "Thunder Road" in particular. "Born To Run" and "Greatest Hits" were the only albums of his I owned, and found the almost religious fervour of his most passionate devotees baffling. All that changed in early August 2002 when on the basis of many positive reviews at the time I bought his just released, (9/11 addressing & E-Street Band reuniting), album "The Rising". I was walking the dog, listening on headphones, and had found the first 10 tracks, enjoyable, if not spectacular.  Track 11,   "Mary's Place" , changed all that. The old time gospel hall feel with it's saxophone licks caught my attention. I wasn't prepared for what happened at 3:34 on "...drop the needl

Great British Beer Festival: Day 2

Day two is done, and more excellent beers consumed. 1. Krausened Lager, Budweiser Budvar 4% After the Tankove Pivo being my beer of the day yesterday,  hopes were high for the Krausened. An unfiltered and unpasteurised lager. Not quite up there with the tank beer, but still very refreshing. A slight aftertaste that wasn't there on the Tankove, and overall I preferred the temperature controlled option. A good start though. 2. Cinnamon Porter, Boulder Beer Company 5.9% A lovely Porter, the cinnamon being very subtle. Sweet and smooth, I'd happily return to this. 3. Kölsch, Cölner Hofbräu Früh 4.8% Clean, crisp and clear with a softness on the tongue that surprises. Could easily go a few pints of this on a hot summer's day. 4. Make America Juicy Again, Heretic Brewing Company 6.5% A New England IPA, hazy and fruity as you'd expect from this style, but more tart and lacking the rich smoothness of other NEIPAs I've had. 5. Salted Caramel Lucaria, Thornbridge 4.

Iron Maiden & Killswitch Engage: Live at the O2 Review

One of the glaring gaps in my live music experience was filled on Friday night, after catching Iron Maiden at the O2 in London. Before the main event though, support was provided by a band I'd happily pay to watch a headline set by, Killswitch Engage. The Massachusetts natives hit the stage at 1930, tearing into "Strength Of Mind" to a decent reception. Given that everyone was there for Maiden, the arena was far fuller than normal for an opening act, indicative of the quality of the metalcore pioneers. The power of their performance and material really struck me at the end of the 2nd track "A Bid Farewell" and the beginning of the following song, "Hate By Design" . The two guitars of Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel, along with the bass of Mike D'Antonio all locked in on the same riff, doubling and then tripling for a visceral audio punch. " My Last Serenade" from the seminal "Alive Or Just Breathing" was a

Hello Sunshine by Bruce Springsteen - New Song Review

After the Broadway experience comes a new song, and m y initial thoughts upon hearing it were not about this track specifically, but what it means for the upcoming "Western Stars" album in June. As Bruce has said, this is a different type of album, not a rocker but a 'return to sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements'.  My hope is that we are going to get Bruce's version of "Nashville Skyline", as the track has a laid back, country feel, with a rhythm that immediately evokes "Everybody's Talkin' ".  Another one of his early influences, the great Roy Orbison, also shines through, and as a defender of "Outlaw Pete" from "Magic", (more on that here ), this can only be a good thing. His vocal has a country tinge and the pedal steel and strings complete the image.  Given his battles with depression, documented in his autobiography, the lines about "being too fond of the blues" and "loving t