Dream Theater - Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence
Elektra Entertainment Group Inc.
Progressive Metal
Disc 1: 5 songs (54'16) Disc 2: 1 songs (42'04)
Release year: 2002
Dream Theater, Elektra
Reviewed by Marty
Archive review
In the world of progressive metal, Dream Theater needs no introduction. As a matter of fact, they practically invented the genre and are the benchmark to which all other bands attempting to travel the same waters are ultimately compared. This album, is a feast for the ears for die-hard Dream Theater fans but may confuse or go over the heads of those with only a casual interest in the band. This album is what I call the band's Physical Graffiti as it really reminds me of the time when Led Zeppelin released that monumental album back in 1976. This may not go down as being the band's best album (depending on your tastes) but it certainly shows a maturity and constant attention to every detail that this band has come to be known for. Few other bands could accomplish the feat of 12 to 13 minute songs on 1 CD and then top it off with a 42 minute opus taking up the entire second CD.

The most striking thing about this album is that it encompasses a vast array of modern influences including de-tuned guitars on several tracks all the while still maintaining a balance between great song writing without being too self-indulgent with the very technical instrumental passages. The opening track, The Glass Prison, begins with a typical quiet Dream Theater intro before launching into a very powerful and heavy guitar riff. The song then rips into an almost thrash metal frenzy of wild guitar riffing and very fast drumming. They even manage to pull of some great European power metal style speedy double bass sections creating a very fierce sound that is both darker and more sinister than anything I've ever heard them do before. Excellent technical precision abounds every second of this track. James LaBrie's voice ranges from a more typical style to a John Bush (Anthrax) shouting style and he sings about the quest for personal salvation and the need to shed all our personal demons to finally find freedom. The song overall has a very uncharacteristic abstract style and not much as far as a typical verse/chorus structure. Blind Faith is a quieter and more atmospheric track and has more of the great melodies with the voices, guitars and keyboards that we've come to expect from the band. The chorus section gets heavier and some great instrumental interludes with guitar, organ and lead synthesizer by Jordan Rudess finish off the track. Lyrically, the song questions our faith and chastises any divine power about the lack any "divine presence" in our everyday lives nowadays. Misunderstood, a track about self-reflection and the image of what others perceive us to be, begins with a quiet layered guitar passage that really reminds me of the opening to Ten Years Gone by Led Zeppelin from Physical Graffiti (coincidence?). The song builds in emotion and power as it progresses and gets much heavier all the while keeping the same melodic structure. The song has great melodies and a solid chorus and also sees guitarist John Petrucci letting loose on some wild feedback and flash guitar effects. The Great Debate tackles the very controversial subject of stem cell research. Using voices from newscasts and interviews with experts in the field as well as religious and moral leaders, the song tackles the more important question of whether we are now more than ever in a position to be in total control of our destiny and survival as human beings. Not only are we on the brink of major breakthroughs in medicine to cure disease and prolong life, but we are inching ever so closer to a global conflict, the consequences of which could mean massive loss of life and catastrophic global climate changes. A more abstract vocal style combined with some heavy and aggressive sections result in a very intense song both musically and lyrically. John Petrucci's leads are a major highlight as well. Disappear ends disc one and is a quiet reflective track with mainly acoustic guitar and piano before getting heavier. Eerie synthesizer effects also create great atmosphere and mood with this one.

The second CD of this set is the title track, Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence, a mammoth 42 minute opus dealing with the tragedy of having to deal with someone with severe mental illness. The track opens with a big fanfare overture with march-like military snare and builds to a big orchestrated epic with lots of thematic elements. The song is broken up into 8 parts and encompasses many different styles from spirited and uplifting melodies, frantic and almost tribal beats, thrash metal riffing, classic progressive rock, great melodic acoustic guitar work and wonderful keyboard melodies. This track basically is a tour-de-force and everything that any Dream Theater fan could ask for.

The drumming of Mike Portnoy is simply out of this world! They've created some of the best recorded drums sounds I've ever heard from the band and it's no wonder that he gives regular drum clinics. He plays beats and styles that are very technical and are of the level of difficulty that goes way above and beyond most drummer's abilities. John Myung also provides a very tight bottom end on bass and jumps in periodically with some great melodies to enrich the tracks

The overall tone of Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence is very different than most other Dream Theater albums. I don't think I've ever heard the band be so aggressive both in the music and in the vocal style and lyrical content of their music. Being a New York based band, I remember reading that the events of Sept. 11th, 2001 had a very profound effect on the members of this band. The world somehow seemed like a different place after that day and it certainly had an effect on the sound and content of this album. This is a changed band and I don't think this album would've sounded this way had it not been for 9/11. Never one to repeat themselves, Dream Theater has delivered a monumental album that demands more than a couple of listens to fully appreciate. Some may argue that it's too self-indulgent and too long, but one thing's certain, every second of this album has been carefully written and recorded to provide the listener with the ultimate Dream Theater experience. It may not be their best album, but it's still of very high quality and with this band, we should expect nothing less.

Killing Songs :
The Glass Prison, Blind Faith, Misunderstood, The Great Debate and Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence
Marty quoted 90 / 100
Keegan quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Dream Theater that we have reviewed:
Dream Theater - Distance Over Time reviewed by Goat and quoted 82 / 100
Dream Theater - Dream Theater reviewed by Rob and quoted 79 / 100
Dream Theater - Live At Budokan reviewed by Aleksie and quoted no quote
Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn of Events reviewed by Crash and quoted 73 / 100
Dream Theater - A Change Of Seasons reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
To see all 18 reviews click here
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