DREAM THEATER Ė SIX DEGREES OF INNER TURBULENCE
Elektra - 2002
Yes, I realize that this album was released in late January and we are now in April. So then why is this review so late? To simply put it, it has taken me this long to finally sit down and do this review. Dream Theater
are one of my favorite bands despite having one bad album (admit it, Falling into Infinity
is not good) and this album has taken me a long time to decide what my thoughts of it are. Should a person take so long, have that many listens to realize if this album is good or not? With me, that was exactly the case and the final verdict is that Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
leaves me with the taste of being disappointed. I truly wanted to listen to it as many times as possible in order to finally "get it" but it just didnít happen.
I will first talk about the parts of the album that I like. "The Glass Prison" is definitely one of the best songs that Dream Theater
have ever recorded. Its surprisingly heavy and also very diverse. The entire band is "on fire" with their performance in this song especially James LaBrie, his singing ranges from his usual style to a more "angrier" one. Both Johnís (Myung and Petrucci) are phenomenal with their respective instruments, Jordan Rudess sounds more comfortable and does more things with the keyboards and finally Mike Portnoy just shines with his work in the drum kits. The last four minutes of this song are almost all instrumental and right there you realize (if you havenít already) how amazingly talented these four guys are. "Misunderstood" is a sad, somber and dark musical journey and one that really builds up slowly. For the first three minutes and a half, the song is at a slow pace but when it picks up the tempo it becomes absolutely fantastic.
The song "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" is forty-two minutes long. divided into 8 parts and comprises the entire second CD. First negative, I could have done without "Overture". Itís completely boring. Sure it introduces the musical themes that are going to be explored throughout the rest of the song but it just doesnít do anything for me. However, the rest of the song is awesome! "About to Crash" (despite the title) has a very happy and up-beat vibe to it. It definitely reminds me of some of the moments from Scenes From A Memory
. In contrast the next couple of parts "War Inside My Head" and "The Test that Stumped them All" are both heavier especially the latter. James once again sings in that aggressive manner and right after he sings the title of the song, I really love the drumming and guitar riffing. "Goodnight Kiss" then takes the song back into a more tranquil and peaceful journey and this is where John Petrucci has the best solos of the entire album. It starts at about 3:15 and goes all the way into the end of this part and its just simply awesome to hear all that and the way it segues into "Solitary Shell" without missing a beat and not feeling odd at all is a great feat. The acoustic guitar mostly leads the verses and the vibe in this song is absolutely catchy, especially the vocal melodies of the chorus. "About to Crash (reprise)" is faster but manages to keep the same feeling as the original part. Finally, "Losing Time/Grand Finale" basically ties up everything together in a great fashion. Now I swear to you that besides "Overture" I have never hit the forward button with this song. This song really does fly by and it doesnít feel like its more than 40 minutes long. Sure you can choose to hear the certain parts you like but this song should be experienced in its entirety.
So I have now gone with (mostly) the positives of the album and now its time for the negatives. "The Great Debate" heads into stem-cell research arena and there are two major problems with this song. The first is the simple overuse of spoken samples from newscasts. There are too many and it takes away from the song. The second major problem I have is that Dream Theater
tries to sound like Tool
and I think that is just silly. I like Tool
, one of the most original bands out there and the reason they are so unique is because no one can duplicate their sound. Dream Theater
shouldnít have tried it either. They should stick to what they know what works for them and they do show that in certain parts of the song, I love the chorus, but this mix of styles just doesnít work. "Disappear" is an absolutely boring song. I think they tried to hard to duplicate "Space-Dye Vest" and it just fails miserably. Finally, "Blind Faith" could have been a lot shorter by cutting the slow parts of the beginning and the end. Keep all the fast and heavy parts as well as the totally cool instrumental section and you end up with a much better song, this should have shaved about three and a half minutes from the song. Sometimes less is more!
So there it is. I like about 2/3 of the album. Shouldnít that be enough to like the album? Well a 66% in a school test should either give you a "D" or an "F". When a band takes it up on themselves to write an album thatís 95 minutes long, they better make sure that a lot of it is worth listening. But no matter how much I like about it or how much I donít like about it, it all boils down to the fact that I just didnít fully warm up to it and it ultimately leaves me disappointed. I will still listen to it for the songs that I enjoy the most because there is some fantastic material in here but I think I will probably end up playing my older Dream Theater
albums more than this one.
Dream Theater Official Website