Whenever I hear from someone that they listen to everything, I laugh. With 11 siblings ranging from the ages of 22 to ... somewhere in their mid 30s, and 10 nieces and nephews ranging from newborn to graduated from high school ... I HAVE HEARD EVERYTHING. Whether I like it or not, it is very hard to surprise me when it comes to music. I have actually heard Satanic Metal Folk Polka, and I am not making that up.
And while the mood may take my ADD and I might get the urge to fly all over the map, there are certain brands of music that always brighten my day. Alice Cooper and Poets of the Fall are two of these. Creedence Clearwater Revival is one of the best bands of all time (seriously don't believe me? Randomly pick from their discography and tell me the majority of their songs weren't classic hits). But I'm here to talk briefly about Dream Theater.
The first time I heard these guys was in 1998 when they released Metropolis: Scenes From a Memory and I fell in love. It was the first time I encountered Progressive Rock/Metal, and 22 albums of King Crimson later I ... still like AC/DC, which according to my brother makes me a freak of nature, but that's not the point.
Prog Rock has become a pretty large part of my music library (not just because the average song is 10 minutes long), because there is real talent involved. While the rest of the music world is drifting off into corporate synthesis, Prog Rock is still a small isolated corner of "F*** YOU WE ROCK."
Now, over the years, I grew less and less interested in what Dream Theater had to offer. They had started so strongly, and broken the mold for themselves time and again, that ... sooner or later it felt like they had built a box around themselves. Also, I was never a fan of their drummer Portnoy. Out of the whole group, I felt like the guy was a tool. He was talented and probably pretty likable, but something about that blue goatee just got to me.
So when he was replaced I was super excited, (and I could dedicate an entire blog post to my belief that they should have picked Marco Minnemann) it was finally a chance for the band to go in a new direction! Breath new life into the band!
The next album was pure Dream Theater, and I mean that in the unexciting way. THEN THIS ALBUM CAME OUT. They let Mike Mangini write on this album, and while it's not strictly a new direction, there is an epicness to the sound and scope of the album that had me sit through all 1:08 several times.
If you are a fan of this band, it is a lot of fun and carries with it the weight of albums like Octavarium and In the Presence of Enemies. It's good to be surprised again.