I Tried Again, But Not Happening (Dream Theater Semi-Rant)

TSJMajesty

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Today I figured I'd give A View From The Top Of The World a complete listen thru. But it still ain't happening for me. (Last few releases too, for some reason.) Just something about the music and the riffs..., and several songs have the same chunk-chuc-chuck-chuck vibe going on. Like, what's that all about?

But, the depth of the musicianship is still there, if not elevated even higher than before. I mean, I can't believe some of the shit JP is playing on this album. He switches from 16th notes, to triplets, to melodic sweeps, then right into terrifying 16th-note triplets & 32nd notes with ease. It's melodic, and articulate... I swear his playing is tighter than ever. And I love how he lays whatever he's playing right over the underlying chords.

But to my ears, that's not enough. There was this one really cool-sounding riff near the end of the title track, and a JP-signature clean, arpeggiated part in one of the songs that I really liked, but the rest of it...? And I hear a bunch of cliche lyrics too. I think I finished one of the lines before I even heard it. (Which is bad imo, cuz I can't write lyrics worth a shit.)

Idk. Guess I'm just disappointed that I can't relate any more to my favorite band. I suppose it's not just me, with them or other bands.

And I know others have the opposite reaction too. I had no problem when Rush started using more keys (other than they were a bit too hot on Signals), but I know they lost a lot of fans around that time.

What band(s) lost you after a certain point?
 
Today I figured I'd give A View From The Top Of The World a complete listen thru. But it still ain't happening for me. (Last few releases too, for some reason.) Just something about the music and the riffs..., and several songs have the same chunk-chuc-chuck-chuck vibe going on. Like, what's that all about?

But, the depth of the musicianship is still there, if not elevated even higher than before. I mean, I can't believe some of the s**t JP is playing on this album. He switches from 16th notes, to triplets, to melodic sweeps, then right into terrifying 16th-note triplets & 32nd notes with ease. It's melodic, and articulate... I swear his playing is tighter than ever. And I love how he lays whatever he's playing right over the underlying chords.

But to my ears, that's not enough. There was this one really cool-sounding riff near the end of the title track, and a JP-signature clean, arpeggiated part in one of the songs that I really liked, but the rest of it...? And I hear a bunch of cliche lyrics too. I think I finished one of the lines before I even heard it. (Which is bad imo, cuz I can't write lyrics worth a s**t.)

Idk. Guess I'm just disappointed that I can't relate any more to my favorite band. I suppose it's not just me, with them or other bands.

And I know others have the opposite reaction too. I had no problem when Rush started using more keys (other than they were a bit too hot on Signals), but I know they lost a lot of fans around that time.

What band(s) lost you after a certain point?
It's not just you...I absolutely love the early DT stuff...alot of the new stuff to me seems like regurgitated old stuff....which tends to bore me. Not to say I'm not still amazed when John rips through a solo or crazy cool melodic lines.
 
DT for me is basically Images and Words up through Scenes - everything after that I just don't care about. They lost the magic for me afterwards.
90's JP was just awesome with his fusion-y flavour. It seems that once JP started producing everything I turned off.

The last thing they put out that I still regularly listen to is the covers disc from Black Clouds. :(
 
I have very little interest in any Rush after Hemispheres. There's some good tracks smattered here and there throughout the rest of the catalog but having a whole album experience fizzled out for me after Hemispheres.

I've no interest in any Van Hagar studio stuff. I loved them live but meh on the studio stuff.
 
I'm the same way with DT. Loved everything up to Scenes from a Memory, but not much has grabbed me since that album.

I liked them much better when they were prog/fusion with a few metal elements rather than metal with a few prog/fusion elements. Their fusion inspired stuff was always the best to me. They've lost their creative spark.
 
I’m not sure I’ve even heard the album all the way through. It’s still crazy to me that there is nearly 20 years of Dream Theater music that I don‘t have memorized, fill for fill, lick for lick because of how much I loved this band when I was a teenager. I did really dig Distance Over Time, that album actually has a fun feel to it and actually has some energy going on.

Octavarium was really the beginning of the end for me and I knew it was coming when I first listened to that album. There’s stuff on it I really dig, but there was a staleness to it that only made me agree with Portnoy when he spoke of the hiatus he wanted DT to go on before he quit.

I’ve said this before but I really believe their best stuff came from them letting the songs write themselves as a result of spending hours in a rehearsal space improvising and exploring where the songs could go. The first LTE and SFAM were lightning in a bottle in regards to them writing/recording on the spot. I love the first half of 6 Degrees, but the Ruddess solo album on the 2nd half….bleh.

Train Of Thought was fun because the metal factor, but that was literally written by arranging everything on a dry erase board and is exactly what I think is where they’ve gone wrong.

I honestly believe Portnoy will end up back in the band and I might cry a tear of joy when it happens. I love Mangini, but not in Dream Theater. My dad always used to say DT was too robotic and everything was too perfect, NOW I agree with that. Especially live where they’re playing everything to a click and sticking to the album tempos; the best part about a DT show was when they’d get rockin’ and Portnoy would crank up the tempo. And don’t even get me started on the difference in drum sounds. I LOVE Portnoy’s drum sounds from Awake-6DOIT, with SFAM being the highlight. His snare on SFAM is…..gadddamn. Mangini got the sh*t end of the stick on the first couple albums but the dude plays so robotically in this band that all the drums might as well be programmed.

Where did THIS Mangini go?!?!


He tears that song UP! So much energy in his playing, killer dynamics and he’s all over the beat; before it, on it, after it, whatever the part calls for. With DT the dude is just on the beat with every thing it sounds quantized more than my programmed drums do. His playing on the two Mullmuzzler albums is fantastic as well.

Sorry for the book, I ripped a couple bong hits as soon as I got home. :banana
 
Today I figured I'd give A View From The Top Of The World a complete listen thru. But it still ain't happening for me. (Last few releases too, for some reason.) Just something about the music and the riffs..., and several songs have the same chunk-chuc-chuck-chuck vibe going on. Like, what's that all about?

But, the depth of the musicianship is still there, if not elevated even higher than before. I mean, I can't believe some of the s**t JP is playing on this album. He switches from 16th notes, to triplets, to melodic sweeps, then right into terrifying 16th-note triplets & 32nd notes with ease. It's melodic, and articulate... I swear his playing is tighter than ever. And I love how he lays whatever he's playing right over the underlying chords.

But to my ears, that's not enough. There was this one really cool-sounding riff near the end of the title track, and a JP-signature clean, arpeggiated part in one of the songs that I really liked, but the rest of it...? And I hear a bunch of cliche lyrics too. I think I finished one of the lines before I even heard it. (Which is bad imo, cuz I can't write lyrics worth a s**t.)

Idk. Guess I'm just disappointed that I can't relate any more to my favorite band. I suppose it's not just me, with them or other bands.

And I know others have the opposite reaction too. I had no problem when Rush started using more keys (other than they were a bit too hot on Signals), but I know they lost a lot of fans around that time.

What band(s) lost you after a certain point?

Van Hale....... errrr.... I mean.... Van Hagar. :sofa

That whole bad-ass, street vibe with all that machismo and swagger just went
out the window with Sammy. They went from "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" to
"Why Can't This Be Love" and "Love Walks In."

Blech! :barf

And another one I am gonna need to hide on---Pink Floyd sans Roger Waters.
Just a bunch of down-tempo tunes laden with synths so Gilmour could solo over
it all at 60 to 80 bpm. I stand by my critique, too. ;)

Roger was the angsty punk in the band, and they lost their edge when he split.
All of Gilmour's and Wright's sappy sensibilities had no counterweight to balance
the band out. I am sure it was great for them to be able to indulge themselves
without Roger yelling that the band was losing its balls, but Roger was right. Too
much sugar and no acid or spice.

I'll leave now. :sofa
 
I need to find a study I was reading a few weeks back about how when
you condense the greatest periods of any kind of artist their peak is really only
5 to 7 years long. It's just hard to maintain a level of greatness longer than that.
And those who seem to are just outliers amongst outliers.

I feel like all of the great bands (unless you are Led Zeppelin) end up eating their own
tail and repeating themselves if they go on long enough.

That 5 to 7 year sustained level of really great work (and not revisionary output done
later) seems to make sense when I think about a lot of the bands I love and how long
I truly was moved by their output.
 
I have very little interest in any Rush after Hemispheres. There's some good tracks smattered here and there throughout the rest of the catalog but having a whole album experience fizzled out for me after Hemispheres.

I've no interest in any Van Hagar studio stuff. I loved them live but meh on the studio stuff.
Aw man that's too bad. I think Rush was great up till about Counterparts. And they didn't really stop being good; they just tried to turn back around to "rock" in a way that didn't really speak to me.

Van Hagar could be great and for me, lyrics certainly aside most times; was.
 
One other thing about DT: I think Petrucci’s playing was better on the older albums.

He’s always had crazy fast technique, but the thing that most impressed me in the old days was his phrasing. He had some of the best phrasing I’ve ever heard and that was what drew me to him more than his speed.

I feel like after SFAM he started to focus too much on speed and flash and traded some of his better qualities for it.
 
Yes, absolutely agree with the change in phrasing! JP was interesting to me in the old days because he was so melodic and dynamic.
Now it feels like he could be replaced by *insert super-shredder* and the band wouldn't sound any different. :(
 
gotta be honest but most prog doesn't do much for me. i appreciate the talent and respect their amazing level of skill. but its like music that makes you want to just stand there and be like wow they can play vs music that makes you wanna party, or sing along, or mosh, or break stuff, or get rowdy, etc...
 
Van Hale....... errrr.... I mean.... Van Hagar. :sofa

That whole bad-ass, street vibe with all that machismo and swagger just went
out the window with Sammy. They went from "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" to
"Why Can't This Be Love" and "Love Walks In."

Blech! :barf

And another one I am gonna need to hide on---Pink Floyd sans Roger Waters.
Just a bunch of down-tempo tunes laden with synths so Gilmour could solo over
it all at 60 to 80 bpm. I stand by my critique, too. ;)

Roger was the angsty punk in the band, and they lost their edge when he split.
All of Gilmour's and Wright's sappy sensibilities had no counterweight to balance
the band out. I am sure it was great for them to be able to indulge themselves
without Roger yelling that the band was losing its balls, but Roger was right. Too
much sugar and no acid or spice.

I'll leave now. :sofa

F*ckin BANNED!!!!

Though I‘m not in total disagreement. “Take It Back”, “Learning To Fly”, “One Slip”, “Coming Back To Life” are great Gilmour solo songs but don’t really have any business on a Floyd album (Well, “Take It Back” I wouldn’t consider a great song…)

But stuff like “Poles Apart”, “Terminal Frost”, “Dogs Of War”, “Sorrow”, “High Hopes”, “Yet Another Movie”…..there’s quite a bit I think definitely fits in the Floyd vibe enough to be on an album, just a different era of Floyd. Gilmour himself will admit Momentary Lapse fell prey to the 80’s.

And I’m not sure how much I’d want to hear a successful musician or group of musicians continue to release angst-ridden music. Tool is a great example of this; I knew the last album wasn’t going to be Maynard going off and screaming. The dude was writing lyrics over 20 years ago about trying to get away from life’s frustrations and so much of his lyrics are about exactly that, that coming out 20 years later after the success they’ve had, if he were still writing that same stuff it’d be like, “So…..you don’t take your own advice, or were you just talking out your ass that whole time?”
 
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gotta be honest but most prog doesn't do much for me. i appreciate the talent and respect their amazing level of skill. but its like music that makes you want to just stand there and be like wow they can play vs music that makes you wanna party, or sing along, or mosh, or break stuff, or get rowdy, etc...

Yeah, I love prog music, but not so much the technical prog stuff. Non-standard arrangements, not giving a sh*t about song lengths, using whatever instruments to make a song a song; that’s the stuff I love about prog. I could give two sh*ts about the technical aspects of it which is probably why DT fell off the radar as time went on for me and why I have a massive love for Devin Townsend and Mastodon.

I consider my own music half-assed semi-prog mainly in reference to the lack of technical playing because the times I have mentioned ‘prog’ in reference to it, some ‘I sweep pick cuz my dick is small’ turd comes out and says something about how not-prog it is, but I rarely stick with standard arrangements, most of it is over 4 minutes long and the songs rarely end where they begin.

Take “Echoes” from Floyd, a 20+ minute song, there’s no crazy technical playing, but it’s definitive prog music to me. Or “A Change Of Seasons” from Dream Theater; there’s definitely some technical stuff in there, but that song is perfect. So many moods and it feels like a cohesive song from beginning to end, despite where it goes.
 
F*ckin BANNED!!!!

Though I‘m not in total disagreement. “Take It Back”, “Learning To Fly”, “One Slip”, “Coming Back To Life” are great Gilmour solo songs but don’t really have any business on a Floyd album (Well, “Take It Back” I wouldn’t consider a great song…)

But stuff like “Poles Apart”, “Terminal Frost”, “Dogs Of War”, “Sorrow”, “High Hopes”, “Yet Another Movie”…..there’s quite a bit I think definitely fits in the Floyd vibe enough to be on an album, just a different era of Floyd. Gilmour himself will admit Momentary Lapse fell prey to the 80’s.

And I’m not sure how much I’d want to hear a successful musician or group of musicians continue to release angst-ridden music. Tool is a great example of this; I knew the last album wasn’t going to be Maynard going off and screaming. The dude was writing lyrics over 20 years ago about trying to get away from life’s frustrations and so much of his lyrics are about exactly that, that coming out 20 years later after the success they’ve had, if he were still writing that same stuff it’d be like, “So…..you don’t take your own advice, or were you just talking out your ass that whole time?”

Haha! Did you know I own a vineyard now?




Vineyards are full of angst. :LOL:
 
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