I posted a review of “The Astonishing” a while after the release and decided not to get into grading the story. My view of the music remains unchanged. I really love the music throughout the album. I also still love James LaBrie’ performance. He sounds amazing.
I do like many of the lyrics for the songs on the album. Usually they revolve around either the Narrator or Lord Nafaryus. But what about the story and its characters? Well, that’s different. First off, I am not a big fan of concept albums that stick to a plot line. For as much as I love “Scenes From a Memory” or “The Wall,” the plots just never do very much for me.
“The Astonishing” is no different. In fact, the story is quite cheesy which is fine since there was really no avoiding it. The characters names are way too obvious. It’s fine to want a character to be a metaphor but Faythe and Nafaryus are so obvious, it’s rather silly.
Combining themes from 2112, Game of Thrones, and Star Wars isn’t terribly original but the flaws are not with the setting or even how close the plot seems to other concept albums. The biggest issue I have is how music heals Faythe from what seems to be a fatal wound. That’s a bit too cute for my liking. Had her death led to everyone changing their ways, it would have been a better story.
Sure it seems rather odd that the future would be a mix of medieval times and robots but even that doesn’t really bother me. The story could have been about how people should unite but instead it sticks to the idea that music heals everything. There are worse things I suppose. If I was grading this as a story for an English Lit class, it would get a C or C-.