Before we have the chance to miss them, The Pinheads will return from the studio …
From lilting, plucked acoustic to balls out heaviness, Distance Over Time makes a formidable statement right from song one.
Untethered Angel throws a dark veil over crooning organ lines and breathy tones from stalwart, clear-as-a-bell vocalist James LaBrie. Drums reach out to the fringes of our perception, thanks to some inspired production from guitarist and virtuoso John Petrucci. Who better to produce Dream Theater than Dream Theater? If you don’t want to feel old, avert your peepers now: Scenes from a Memory, their take on the Great American Songbook, turns 20 this year. Yeah dude, I know. Though Dream Theater have toyed with out-progging themselves (Octavarium, 2005), out-weirding themselves (Systematic Chaos, 2007) and out-Dream Theatering themselves (The Astonishing, 2016), Distance Over Time brings them ever so gracefully back to Earth.
Dream Theater may have been the darlings of the prog metal world since their debut; it’s perhaps time they’re the envy of it once more.
Paralyzed is balls to the wall rock. Petrucci strips himself bare to palm-mute and overdrive, Mark Mangini supporting with percussive firepower. If you’re into Jordan Rudess, my advice is to go listen to one of his solo records. This album is all about the riff and guitar—Fall Into The Light is pure Dream Theater spirit of radio pagentry, made for eager necks hunting a headbang-worthy belter. Tracks like Barstool Warrior and S2N bring them back to their Rush and Yes roots—dare I hear LaBrie’s natural Toronto accent shining through? At Wit’s End is candidate for “Most Likely to Sound Like Dream Theater” all tumbling guitars and duelling keys jockeying for supremacy. Ballad Out of Reach manages to surprise, as does blues-infused Led Zep tribute Viper King, heavy handed on the Hammond organ.
Dream Theater as a unit hung out together and lived together during this album’s production, and it does shine through the notes. It’s possessed of an “anything goes” yet single-minded spirit. Like 1994’s Awake, which remains today a genre classic, it’s familiar while still throwing you for the right kind of loops. Dream Theater may have been the darlings of the prog metal world since their debut; it’s perhaps time they’re the envy of it once more.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Paralyzed, Fall Into The Light, Viper King
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Rush, Symphony X, Fates Warning