With an impressive career spanning nearly thirty years, you’d be forgiven if you thought Dream Theater have already given all they’ve got, but honestly, their self-titled twelfth album is easily one of their strongest releases to date.
The album kicks off with one of the most impressive and majestic-sounding intros ever – honestly, words cannot do this two and a half minute epic justice. To say False Awakening Suite is the perfect way to kick off an album is certainly an understatement, as it builds up the release fantastically and instantly gives the impression that is going to be a release to remember: with an intro like this, the full-length tracks are bound to be of a similar quality!
The first full track, The Enemy Inside, has all the momentum and energy of False Awakening Suite and features a magnificent keyboard/guitar battle at the end, with John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess flinging ideas and complex riffs at one another. As well as showing off exactly what this band is capable of, it also highlights their musical abilities and is a great way to give the listener a feel of what’s about to come. Enigma Machine is another great track. An instrumental number, it has the same repeated idea interwoven into the track and played in many different ways and makes for a very engaging listen.
It just wouldn’t be Dream Theater without a suitably long track, and this is where Illumination Theory comes in, which is one of the band’s longest tracks to date. Sometimes, it is the case with long tracks that they do tend to drag and repeat the same things over and over again, but Dream Theater have the art of writing unique and engaging long tracks completely sussed. Exploring many different ideas and sounds, it makes for a truly gripping listen and is the perfect way to end what is an overall great album.
Dream Theater is certainly one of the band’s best releases to date and it’s clear why they chose this album to be their first self-titled release of their career. Another fantastic release from this gripping five-piece.