Dream Theater - 2002 Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence

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ARTIST: Dream Theater
ALBUM: Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence
LABEL: Elektra
SERIAL: 7559-62742-2
YEAR: 2002

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: James LaBrie - vocals * John Petrucci - guitars * Jordan Rudess - Keyboards * John Myung - bass * Mike Portnoy - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Glass Prison * 02 Blind Faith * 03 Misunderstood * 04 The Great Debate * 05 Disappear * 06 Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence: I. Overture * 07 II. About To Crash * 08 III. War Inside My Head * 09 IV. The Test That Stumped Them All * 10 V. Goodnight Kiss * 11 VI. Solitary Shell * 12 VII. About To Crash (Reprise) * 13 VIII. Losing Time / Grand Finale

RATING: image

Background

With the resounding success of 'Scenes From A Memory', the band, bolstered by the star keyboardist Jordan Rudess (the comments at the time were that Dream Theater finally found 'their' keyboardist, in style perfectly fitting to their new style of extra technical progressive metal), the band got together and recorded a double album which is, perhaps, the most experimental of their career.

The Songs

'The Glass Prison' kicks off this album, and also Dream Theater's 'Twelve Step Suite', which is a sort of a concept album within five Dream Theater albums, speaking about Mike Portnoy's battle with substance abuse and his path to sobriety.

It is perhaps the first modern-metal-a-la-Dream-Theater-tune in their career, containing rapping, call-and-answer vocals, completely monster riffs and dueling solos that are now a trademark of their style.

'Blind Faith' is my favourite song of the bunch, and if 'The Glass Prison' is carried by guitars, 'Blind Faith' is completely carried by Rudess' pianos, and probably the best piano break in the middle of the song I've ever heard, as well as an ass-kicking Hammond solo, and James LaBrie's stunningly poignant lyrics - if you ever thought he had no talents but his voice, you were very much mistaken.

'Misunderstood' is the first in the row of three highly experimental tracks - unusual, slowly reaching its climax, and the climax is in the trickily recorded John Petrucci solo (reversed it, learned it, recorded it reversed, then reversed it again) and about a minute and a half of pure noise. Not everybody's cup of tea, but it worked for me.

'The Great Debate' has a strong Tool vibe and it is almost completely reliant on spoken-word samples that open and close it (seems that the guys have taken a leaf out of the book of their ex-keyboardist Kevin Moore, and listened to his post-Dream Theater work which abounds in samples), which is something they haven't done since.

'Disappear' rounds off the first CD nicely, and it is one of a kind: a slow, creepy and off-beat song that was performed only twice, probably due to the fact it brings everyone but the very heartless to the brink of tears.

The sidelong title epic clocks at 42 minutes long and it is Dream Theater's most ambitious work to date, filled to the brim with the band's usual nods at classic prog rock (and also featuring two metal movements, 'War Inside My Head' and 'The Test That Stumped Them All', which are often played together), pomp, and appealing to our emotions and our reason in the same time, which at the time was still the band's forte (though, sadly, not anymore).

In Summary

No matter how you slice it - and many have tried to 'slice' Six Degrees in many ways, and approached it from many angles - this is one of Dream Theater's top albums simply because it contains ninety minutes of consistently good music.

In today's ADD world, where everyone juggles between tasks and keeps dozens of tabs open in their browser, it's rare to come across an album from the last decade that is so good at holding your attention. All hail.


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