It’s been a massive couple of months for Brisbane’s Monsters Up North. MORE: BULLET FOR MY …
Dream Theater have been at the top of the game for such a long time they no longer have to prove anything to anyone—not themselves and certainly not the legions of fans who dissect, obsess over and criticise their every move.
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For 30 years they have set a standard few other acts can match, and as they unleash their fifteenth album onto the world, Dream Theater seem to almost defy criticism at this point. They will simply do what they’ve always done, and that is whatever they chose to do at the time.
A View From the Top of the World is the logical follow-up to Distance Over Time. That album was Dream Theater focusing on tighter song writing, where View maintains that aesthetic while dabbling in longer tracks. Part of this band’s skill set has been the ability to make those long songs engaging, keeping the listener’s interest through every twist and turn, time signature change and sweeping instrumental break, and here they continue that tradition.
A View From the Top of the World offers no innovation or drastic shifts in style or substance, but after fifteen albums Dream Theater no longer needs to show anyone how capable they are.
After a hearty intro from drummer Mike Mangini, The Alien steers the album in a heavy direction at first but A View From the Top of the World is a more laidback effort than the last—less of the fearsome metal side and more of a lean to the 80s-era Rush aspect they can sometimes display. It takes nothing away from their usual breathtaking musical precision nor the inner complexities of their music. Subtlety is as important here as drama: look for John Myung’s looping bass moves just ahead of the towering instrumental section of Sleeping Giant where John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess provide glorious interplay for several minutes.
The title track serves as the album’s closing epic, a saga that ebbs and flows from a melodic opening to a grand showcase for Petrucci and Rudess to shred each other’s faces off ahead of a prodigiously climactic ending. A View From the Top of the World offers no innovation or drastic shifts in style or substance, but after fifteen albums Dream Theater no longer needs to show anyone how capable they are. Everyone knows. The obsessives will once again have plenty to pick apart and over-analyse; everyone else can just enjoy another brilliant and majestic Dream Theater album.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Sleeping Giant, Transcending Time, A View From the Top of the World
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Rush, Fates Warning, Symphony X