CD review DREAM THEATER ‘Distance Over Time’

(9/10) NY-based prog metal veterans Dream Theater premiered in 1989 with the mind-blowing ‘When Dreams and Day Unite’, followed by the even more impressive ‘Images & Word’ album, which includes with ‘Pull Me Under’ a timeless prog metal anthem.

Since then Dream Theater released many more albums, all excellent when it comes to music and sound. The band’s discography doesn’t know any downer, while constantly enriching and evolving their music with new nuances and twists.

Three years after the well-done ‘The Astonishing’ longplayer hit the record stores it is ‘Distance Over Time’, being the next delivery coming from Long Island. The new album features nine songs, of which, in contrary to many of the earlier releases, none is longer than nine minutes. Usually there were a number of 10 minutes masterpieces on Dream Theater albums, but not this time. This doesn’t do any harm to the songs at all since we’re still talking about exquisite progressive metal music, just more condenced.

‘Distance Over Time’ reminds of the earlier Dream Theater days. The 14th album comprises of songs that are complex and approachable, all in one. While it took some time to get familiar with some of the earlier delivers it is this album that blossoms right away.

One of the reasons for this might be the way the band recorded ‘Distance Over Time’. The full-length album is the result of a writing and recording session with all band members being at the Yonderbarn Studios at the same time for four months. It was the first time in more than two decades that Dream Theater worked on album in such a way and I think the result speaks for itself.

‘Distance Over Time’ sounds fresh, modern and dynamic. There is a density that comes with this longplayer, reminding me of the ‘Images & Words’ days. Rather than being a result of individual puzzle pieces it is this record that sounds like a total work of art. It is a band that recorded this longplayer and not five very skilled musicians.

An acoustic guitar kicks-off the opener ‘Untethered Angel’ and it’s a heavy riff that adds immediate heaviness to the song. Together with melodic vocal lines the songs is an excellent start into the album. ‘Paralyzed’ is next. It is a melodic tune that was unveiled earlier before ‘Fall Into the Light’ offers some thrash-like riffs together with a great sense for catchiness.

‘Room 137’ is another song you shouldn’t miss. It comes with a darker expression and belongs to the best ones on ‘Distance Over Time’. ‘Out of Reach’ shows the soulful aspect of Dream Theater’s music. Compared to most of the other tracks it’s this one that’s calmer while being very emotional too. To add contrast to the track listing ‘Pale Blue Dot’ brings back the heaviness to the table. The song is a heavy masterpiece combining all Dream Theater trademarks. Complexity, galloping rhythm passages, melodies and furious solo parts, all in one song with the ‘blue planet’ earth as the thematic centerpiece.

As mentioned in the beginning, Dream Theater always release excellent progressive metal and the newest album doesn’t change this pattern. ‘Distance Over Time’ is a highlight in the bands successful musical career and an album that belongs to the best the band ever released. You shouldn’t miss ‘Distance Over Time’, an album that sets the standards when it comes to progressive metal.


(9/10)

Tracklist:

  1. Untethered Angel
  2. Paralyzed
  3. Fall into the Light
  4. Barstool Warrior
  5. Room 137
  6. S2N
  7. At Wit’s End
  8. Out of Reach
  9. Pale Blue Dot

Label: Inside Out

Genre: Progressive Metal

Release Date EU: February 22nd, 2019

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