After the controversial album “The Astonishing,” it makes perfect sense for Dream Theater to get back to the basics. “The Astonishing” was initially an album that sounded good to me overall but with a poor story line and too much filler, the album is not aging well for me (I’d give it a 5/10 at this point). I am one of the people that actually gave the album a fair chance. And that’s the problem with DT fans, they are an unforgiving bunch (not all of course).
So regardless of whatever I say here, there are people who will say “they haven’t been good since _____” or “as long as it’s not ‘The Astonishing’ I’ll check it out” or worse “I stopped listening to them back in ____.” Not many bands keep so many ex-fans around! Ok enough fucking rambling.” What about the new album? “Distance Over Time” is heavier, tighter and one of the best SOUNDING Dream Theater albums they have ever done. People have heard the first three tracks on the album by now and they are a fair representation.
But there’s more. “Barstool Warrior” is a killer song with an awesome hook and ranks as a classic DT song. “Room 137” features lyrics from Mike Mangini and has an infectious riff and vibe that DT really has never done. Similarly, “S2N” has an odd structure and a shitload of riffs. Plus it marks the second lyric from John Myung, with the great “Fall Into the Light” being the other. Even the ballad “Out of Reach” is different than DT usually does.
Speaking of lyrics, after the last album, it’s nice to have 4 different lyricist on this one. None of the lyrics sound cheesy and some are quite good! “Room 137” and “Pale Blue Dot” are both excellent examples. Musically though, the band sound VERY energized and are in full attack mode. The mix by Ben Grosse is one of the best the band have had. Anyone who complains about Mangini’s drum sound now is just Portnoy in disguise.
Even the bonus track “Viper King” is a good tune. It’s shorter (as are most tracks) and reminds me a little of Deep Purple, albeit on steroids. It’s a solid end to a solid effort. While “The Astonishing” wore out its welcome with me, “Distance Over Time” is one of those Dream Theater albums that’s easy to listen to. Each track has a clear identity and each one stands on its own. That all said, I am sure people will complain but hopefully not after actually listening to “Distance Over Time”…all the way through…more than once.
- Untethered Angel
- Fall into the Light
- Barstool Warrior
- Room 137
- At Wit’s End
- Out of Reach
- Pale Blue Dot
- Viper King (Bonus Track)
Label: InsideOut Music
Release Date: 22 February 2019