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Falling Into Infinity

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  • Falling Into Infinity is the often-maligned album by Dream Theater. Hard-core DT fans will tell you that this is the sell-out album, the one where they abandoned their roots and tried to make radio-friendly music. So it may come as some surprise that this is one of my favorite albums by Dream Theater. It’s not perfect, and there are a few rotten apples. It has a lot less technical prowess than many of DT’s other albums, but it does feature the best of John Petrucci’s guitar playing, and many of the best vocal melodies written by the band. My opinion about technicality is that it is a route towards expression of what the band might aim for, if they choose to take that route; it is not in itself successful music. Fortunately they realized that when they wrote this album.New Millenium (7/10): The keyboard intro is a little whacko, but the guitar/bass parts that follow are great. Overall, it is an okay song. You Not Me (5/10): James LaBrie’s attempts to sound rough aren’t convincing. The song as a whole is very uninteresting.Peruvian Skies (9/10): Beautiful chorus, a good mix of heavy and light moments, and a great guitar solo.Hollow Years (8/10): Call it mainstream, call it sell-out, call it catchy… I don’t care. This is a great song, and even greater live. It does have a very mainstream sound to it, with a mostly accoustic guitar and catchy chorus line.Burning My Soul (6/10): Has some good riffs, but the vocals are annoying, and the lyrics cheesy.Hell’s Kitchen (9/10): An instrumental with some great soaring guitar work and weird but good key changes. One of DT’s best instrumentals.Lines in the Sand (10/10): Starts off with some back and forth change between a lonely synthesizer and a lonely distorted guitar. From here it builds to make a true Dream Theater classic. It features a phenomenal bluesy solo. Petrucci has never poured as much emotion into a solo as he does in this song. If it were much longer, it could well be the greatest guitar solo of all time. There are some other great instrumental parts which follow later in the song.Take Away My Pain (8/10): The vocal melody here is great, especially the bridge which then leads into another gem of a Petrucci solo.Just Let Me Breathe (6/10): It has some decent riffs, but other than that the song strikes me as too direct with its intent, and often cheesy. I don’t particularly like the vocal melody either.Anna Lee (9/10): This song is so gorgeous. A lot of people seem to hate it though. It’s another one with a somewhat mainstream sound, but who cares about that? The vocal melody is breathtaking, and Petrucci pulls off a great guitar solo full of feeling.Trial of Tears (10/10): Dream Theater’s best song ever? It’s debatable; it certainly has some competition with a few other songs. What I will say is that this song is an incredible epic, and one of the few songs to feature lyrics written by the bassist, John Myung. It’s a shame, because it shows he should clearly be given more opportunities to write lyrics. The vocals are great, and carry a sadder emotion than most of the rest of the album (even Take Away My Pain, which sounds more upbeat than it should). The guitar solo is out of this world, and probably my favorite solo ever by JP. It is loaded with emotion, but not only that, it feels as though it drastically changes emotion every time the solo changes from one key to the next. And when that’s over, you get a great keyboard solo by Derek Sherinian. Normally I really don’t like what DT has tended to do with synthesizers, but this part is great, and it continues much of the same emotional turmoil that the previous guitar solo accomplished.Other DT fans will surely disagree, but I tend to recommend this album first for people looking to start getting into Dream Theater. So many potential fans are turned off by the pretentious wankery that overflows many of DTs other albums. This album is all about the songs. 7.9 / 10, or 4 out of 5 stars. Could have been a 5 star album if a few of the bad apples in the bunch were just a little more inspired.

    Posted on February 2, 2010