An oustanding album. This is where Dream Theater’s musicianship shines best. Of course, many people already know that this is a concept album based on a murder mystery that is solved while a character named Nicholas is hypnotized. It’s 77 minutes and is a rock opera in a literal sense as it is metal meets opera (Think, Queen/Queensryche/Metallica) sorry for the comparisons. While a great album, it is VERY grand and large-scale so at tmes, it can get tiring, and you must be in the mood for something like this (as with anything).
Every track on here is dripping with jaw-dropping playing from every member of the band, but if I had to pick favorites, I would choose the following: “Overture 1928″; a heavy, theatrical instrumental. “Fatal Tragedy”; one of the strongest tracks on here. The clip here on amazon lets you sample only a crumb of the track, as it starts off heavy and slow, then progresses into a fast paced metal frenzy with crazed guitar solos, crazed keyboard flourishes and whacked-out drumming. I also love how it has great melodious vocal overdubs. “Beyond This Life”; continues the story, once again with crazed musicianship, featuring a guitar/keyboard section reminiscent of Frank Zappa. “The Dance Of Eternity”, is a 6-minute instrumental and probably Dream Theater at their most impressive musicianship-wise. It’s a frenzied track with tempo and time changes that are insane (it has 13/16 and 14/16) with music ranging from jazz, ragtime and classical to the obvious metal. “One Last Time”; a slower, absorbing piece that ends on an operatic note. Beautiful. “Finally Free”, is where the story really unravels, but I’m not going to spoil the ending, but you will find it on this track. “Home” (the longest track on here) is the track I never really liked that much; the Indianesque musings I found not to work well with Dream Theater’s brand of music. It just seemed a bit tacky and contrived.
Overall, an entertaining piece of work which is recommended for those that like music made on an epic-scale.