I want to say that I just got this yesterday and have been through all the bonus material once around while my familiarity goes back to the first week of its initial release.
The demos are just that demos. Depending on your “Point of View” (bad pun for FW insiders), listening is either good for laugh or interesting perspective on the evolution of the songs. Personally, I can take it or leave it. It’s somewhat interesting to hear a couple of these tracks that include Steve Zimmerman on drums though. While Mark Zonder is probably the better drummer of the two the story of Steve Zimmerman’s exit from FW has never been 100% clear to me.
For me, the DVD content is what makes the purchase worthwhile. I actually bought the Awaken the Guardian re-issue which includes a DVD of a FW show during the John Arch era for this specific reason. Now that footage left a little to be desired but FW did acknowledge this in the liner notes of that re-issue. I’m happy to say that this footage from the Perfect Symmetry re-issue by comparison is much better (in some cases by orders of magnitude). The DVD material covers several different gigs and samples a number of tracks from the FW catalog (some 2-3 times…..specifically “Through Different Eyes” and “Part of the Machine”…..hey it is video of the Perfect Symmetry tour though!).
As for the album, what can I say? I bought it when it first came out in 1989 (yes I am that “old”) and don’t think that I can add much to what’s already been written. Great album by a great band which reflects the time in progressive metal before Dream Theater really took the mantle over from the Queensryches, etc. My first impressions at the time were, “wow, this isn’t anything like No Exit” and “where the hell is Steve Zimmerman?” I kept listening though and eventually over a period of several weeks I started to “get it.” Thinking back (and this disc brings back memories galore including attending their gig at the old Living Room in Providence, RI back in early 1990), I don’t think that ANYONE had put out anything quite like Perfect Symmetry. Hell, they didn’t even rip themselves off but instead threw out the old book and started fresh in my opinion. To throw out a tired cliche (which works here), this album was ahead of it’s time. To me, it’s fair to sat that this falls somewhere between the great Queensryche and Dream Theater albums of the era that Perfect Symmetry was released.