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Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory

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  • There are a lot of great progressive metal bands around these days. There’s the symphonic and stylish Symphony X, the increasingly evolving Fates Warning, the original and daring Pain of Salvation, the technical powerhouses Power of Omens, and many others.But among them all, Dream Theater remains the best. To me, no one else defines progressive metal like these five brilliant musicians. They strike an incredible balance of power, technique, emotion, and melody with a unified vision possible only with the remarkable degree of chemistry these guys share. And, in many ways, Scenes From A Memory is their best work.Here’s the skinny: It’s a 78 minute concept album whose story stems from the original “Metropolis” mystique from their breakthrough album Images And Words. This is the album Dream Theater wanted to make all along, with no pressure from their label, and no regard for commercial success. It’s a feast for the music lovers, with a good enough ear for composition and melody that the technique never overshadows the song. Dream Theater’s critics love to attack them for going overboard with solos and instrumental sections, but it’s never bothered me simply because they play with a lot of heart. John Petrucci is an outstanding guitar player who never restrains his technical ability, but most importantly he plays with a tremendous amount of soul. The encouraging heroics of his solo on “The Spirit Carries On” encapsulate this idea better than anything. It’s pure beauty in music.DT may not be able to repeat the greatness of SFAM, but if they continue to make the music they love, there will never be another good-but-flawed Falling Into Infinity. They will continue to take great strides beyond their peers and continue crunching the mold to their image while making some of the best music out there.

    Posted on February 14, 2010