Dream Theater is without a doubt a musical magnitude. For almost a decade, however, waiting for every other record of this party has turned into tension if they (finally) manage to cross their own shadow and at least match the older top recordings. Now there’s “A View From The Top Of The World”. How did it turn out now?
In recent years, Dream Theater has not made fans very happy. Here they beat them with a rampant epic (“The Astonishing”), the latter they gave more space to hard guitars, but somehow forgot about the main ideas (“Distance Over Time”). The current album, on the other hand, emphasizes the progressive side of the American body compared to the previous one, and it is a step, or more precisely a step, which I personally consider quite positive. They even dust off a concept seemingly similar to the sixteen-year-old “Octavarium”, which was also dominated by an extensive suite.
Return to prog had a positive effect on the overall sound of the recording. He is no longer just on John Petrucci’s guitars, but Jordan Rudess will also bite the inaudible space. They often sound like this Párplovské hammonds or piano. Of course, there are a lot of guitars on the record, but even Petrucci is obviously more interested in the moments when he can slow down and draw the atmosphere with his rich tones or, on the contrary, riffen it with riffs. Unfortunately, his favorite discipline in the form of fast fingerboard runs has somewhat lost its charm. On the other hand, for some time now all the ranks of this group have been somewhat groping. This is clearly indicated by the unconceptual jumping from progmetal opera to a hard album and now progressive influences – after all, they don’t hide it in any way: in the title suite, something like jethrotullovská transverse flute or allusion to Genesis. The strength of the old Dream Theater was mainly in the combination of the metal and the progressive and at the same time in the creative tension between the individual musical personalities. And lately, either ideas have run out or they just don’t want to. “A View From The Top Of The World” plays too much for sure. Sure, the rocky, uncritical core of the fans gets what they want, to a great extent. But the novelty is hardly looking for something that we would not have heard in several variations a long time ago. Some moments will be pleased – the song “Sleeping Giant”, the introductory riff of the entire collection, some bass and keyboard beats, surprisingly used percussion in “The Alien”,… But these are just sparks that do not ignite the fire. Which is about it, it will run away quite well, it can be listened to, but it all somehow merges together and leaves no deeper mark. And a slight shortening would not hurt either. The last quarter of the title twenty-minute monument has a bit of a number.
No, I don’t want to act like a nostalgic and write something about that “it was better in the nineties” or “that without Mike Portnoy it’s not that anymore”. That’s unnecessary. The bare fact, however, is that for some time the Dream Theater has lost its direction and vision. And yet they go, somewhat clueless, over and over. But let’s be forgiving, maybe it will turn out next time, because this is a step better than “Distance Over Time”. It merges, but it doesn’t cause a bored stamp in the hope that something fun will finally come (or just the end). However, it is not exactly a good business card for the band, when the listeners do not jump out any motif from it immediately after finishing the album, but on the contrary, flashes from old studios …
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REVIEW: The overview announced by the name helped. Dream Theater is still a little confused on the album “A View From The Top Of The World”