Dream Theater - Falling Into Infinity
EastWest America
Progressive Metal
11 songs (78:18)
Release year: 1997
Dream Theater
Reviewed by Thomas
Archive review

The prog metal monsters Dream Theater needs no introduction. This is their fourth release excluding The Change of Seasons EP, and had the nearly impossible task to continue and maintain the overwhelming and successful path Images & Words and Awake took. Did they make it? A loud and clear No would do, but before you lot go all suicide on Dream Theater there are a few points to be made. Firstly and most important, Dream Theater was pressured into a way more commercial and "radio-friendly" approach here by their label. This was meant to be an 140-minute opus, and the label even hired Desmond Child to help out with some of the lyrics. Due to the band-member's unhappiness with the label's meddling back and forth, this is the last Dream Theater album featuring a traditional producer (Kevin Shirley for the record). Later albums have been produced by the band, and mainly John Petrucci.

The fans and critics shared mixed opinions. Some called this sell-out and trimmed-down, while others hailed it as Dream Theater's finest moment. This is indeed more commercial, and not nearly as complex as earlier releases. However, Falling Into Infinity isn't all about soft accoustic songs with cheesy lyrics. Some of the songs here shows signs of the real potential, creativity and extreme skill that comes with this band, however, it is given way too little space to shine.

Take the terrific opener New Millenium as an example. The spaced out intro grabs your attention at an instant. The tempo-shifts, atmospheric keyboards, and the soaring more aggressive, yet a little weaker vocals by James LaBrie, leaves you thinking that nothing's wrong, that the prog-fest has just started. The jazz influenced rhythms are there and so is the complexity and the insane interaction. The only downpoint is that you can hear, that no matter how hard he tries to cover it, LaBrie does struggle with the higher notes. Then the re-written and poppy You Not Me kicks in. It's soft, and it has got a fun little bluesy fill in the end, but this isn't anything like the soft Dream Theater we're used to. Not Another Day or Surrounded. This has a whole different groove and feeling to it.

And the snooze-fest continues. Peruvian Skies is the next song up, and even though it has a great guitar solo that nearly saves it, this just isn't what you want or expect to hear. Hollow Years is a beautiful ballad, and the guitar solo Petrucci does live should most definitely have been included here. Although it's a great song by itself, it just doesn't belong here. This album is so full of accoustics and slow songs, that it takes time to really appreciate it. Maybe after you've heard the stunning live version. Burning My Soul adds a little attitude with, surprise surprise, distorted guitars and more aggressive vocals. After a disappointing first half, Hell's Kitchen and the remarkable epic Lines In the Sand is almost making up for it. Hell's Kitchen places itself in the line of great intrumentals, and I don't really know where to begin with the latter. It's so technically diverse, melodic, emotional and entertaining, I don't know why they were able to keep it at all! The catchy rhythms and temposhifts, the wailing chorus, and the absolutely incredible guitar solo showed the critics that the band was still able to make stunning and diverse music without putting the listener to sleep.

Enjoy it while you can though, Take Away My Pain is just another sleeping pill, and while the complex Just Let Me Breathe does a good job waking you up, Anna Lee slows it all down again. Trial of Tears closes the album with it's 13 minutes and pretty much sums up my feelings about this. It's pretty slow and unexciting, sometimes shining bright with the amazing talent this band possess. If you're not out to complete your Dream Theater collection, I suggest that you head for their two previous releases, or skip onto the incredible comeback that is Metropolis pt. 2: Scenes From a Memory

Killing Songs :
New Millenium, Hell's Kitchen, Lines In the Sand
Thomas quoted 59 / 100
Goat quoted 88 / 100
James quoted 67 / 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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