Dream Theater - Distance Over Time review



Reviewer:
7.6

347 users:
8.22
Band: Dream Theater
Album: Distance Over Time
Release date: February 2019


01. Untethered Angel
02. Paralyzed
03. Fall Into The Light
04. Barstool Warrior
05. Room 137
06. S2N
07. At Wit's End
08. Out Of Reach
09. Pale Blue Dot
10. Viper King [bonus]


Dream Theater have trimmed down and are back with a punch.

It's been a bit of a rocky road for the band since Mike Mangini replaced Mike Portnoy. The responses to A Dramatic Turn Of Events and Dream Theater were mixed, and The Astonishing was an extraordinarily bloated +2-hour mess that lacked the content to maintain interest for even a quarter of that run time. Many, including myself, had serious concerns that the band was heading down a creative dead end; however, something clearly happened between The Astonishing and the recording sessions for their latest effort, Distance Over Time, as Dream Theater prove there's life in the old dog yet.

There were 34 songs on The Astonishing, only a handful of which I would be remotely interested in listening to again. Conversely, there's not a single filler track amongst the 9 found on Distance Over Time. But it's not just the length that has changed; Dream Theater are heavier and punchier on this album, throwing out some gnarly riffs throughout. There's also a distinct lack of the ballads (of sometimes questionable quality) that have been prominent on their recent albums; the feel here is focused and streamlined. At the same time, it feels like the band is having fun on this album, perhaps most exemplified by the Owen Wilson "wow" sample hidden a few minutes into "S2N".

Although this album feels like something of a fresh start, Dream Theater demonstrate a willingness to delve into their back catalogue; the heaviness throughout, but particularly in moments like the ending of opener "Untethered Angel", comes from a similar place to Train Of Thought, whereas closer "Pale Blue Dot" sounds to me very much like a lost song from the Systematic Chaos recording sessions. Nevertheless, there are plenty of moments that sound fresh, including some of the vocal melodies on "Barstool Warrior" and the pyrotechnic opening of the obvious album highlight, "At Wit's End". Additionally, the famously immense technical skill is displayed throughout the album, with each band member getting a chance to shine during tracks such as "S2N", another album high point. At the same time, the technicality is utilized more tastefully than at times in previous years, and the band is also willing to show restraint in service to the song, notably during the moving instrumental midsection of "Fall Into The Light".

Despite all these positive words, I would be hesitant to call this a resounding success. There are a lack of superfluous moments here, but at the same time, I would say the band only reaches greatness during the aforementioned "At Wit's End", and parts of "Fall Into The Light" and "S2N". I'm sure Dream Theater are very satisfied with how this album came out, but I would hope they use it as a springboard to reach greater heights now that they've found a convincing sound with Mangini, rather than resting on their laurels. Additionally, as always, the extent to which a listener will enjoy the album will depend on their relationship with James LaBrie's vocals; certainly, I feel here he sounds notably stronger here than on the previous few records, and not having to deal with the inanity of the lyrics on The Astonishing significantly improves the experience. At the same time, he continues to feel like something of a weak link in an otherwise exemplary collective.

Dream Theater have steadied the ship and are eager to remind us all why their name invokes such reverence in progressive metal circles. Whilst this album certainly doesn't re-seat them on the prog metal throne, it at least hints towards a potential challenge in the near future, something that seemed inconceivable not all that long ago.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 8


 



Written on 05.03.2019 by I'm just a guy with an opinion.


Comments

Comments: 19   [ 1 ignored ]   Visited by: 289 users
05.03.2019 - 19:55
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Mangini had some big shoes to feel, since Portnoy is one of the best drummers of all time. Not only that, but he was surrounded by:
- John Myung, one of the best bassists of all time
- John Petrucci, one of the best guitarists of all time
- Jordan Rudess, one of the best keyboardists of all time
- James LaBrie
----
Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
Loading...
05.03.2019 - 22:56
X-FrEaK
Written by RaduP on 05.03.2019 at 19:55

Mangini had some big shoes to feel, since Portnoy is one of the best drummers of all time. Not only that, but he was surrounded by:
- James LaBrie


LOL
----
Loading...
05.03.2019 - 23:04
JoHn DoE
"the technicality is utilized more tastefully than at times in previous years, and the band is also willing to show restraint in service to the song".

very good point, it's what makes this album worth listening to. They haven't done that in quite some time.

good review!
Loading...
06.03.2019 - 01:02
kungfukuya
Kamelotian
Written by RaduP on 05.03.2019 at 19:55

Mangini had some big shoes to feel, since Portnoy is one of the best drummers of all time. Not only that, but he was surrounded by:
- John Myung, one of the best bassists of all time
- John Petrucci, one of the best guitarists of all time
- Jordan Rudess, one of the best keyboardists of all time
- James LaBrie

Who is the vocalist again? Oh never mind, Portnoy left the band right...
Loading...
06.03.2019 - 03:46
mikeprado30
So many prejudices on the review and the comments... As usual about this band.

The Astonishing in my case (and so many other ones more) was another great album released by DT. If that wasn't for so many tr00 kvlt tastes around here is just another thread.

Mangini should not be understimated. Just remember his work on Annihilator and also the nice LaBrie albums.

And talking about LaBrie, I always consider so unfair how people thinks towards him. On some way or another, he's another one of the key elements for what DT is. I could not imagine this band without him (yes, surely anybody would say anything like "remember Dominici album" or "well, same thought about Portnoy and you see" but those are not excuses for the trendy attitude against him).

Even when I don't feel they will release anything better than Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (my favorite album from them and one of my favorite albums ever), I surely will always like their musical works.
----
BARDS WE ARE, BARDS WE WILL BE!
Loading...
06.03.2019 - 12:49
Starvynth
i c deaf people
Written by mikeprado30 on 06.03.2019 at 03:46

So many prejudices on the review and the comments... As usual about this band.

I really don't get your point. I think this is a very open-minded, fair and nonbiased but factual review.
Even if you happen to disagree with some of its statements, after all the bold 7.6 indicates the reviewer's overall impression: more than decent and on the edge of 'very good'.

Obviously, you are a long-time and die-hard fan of the band - and that's just fine.
But your personal ratings (grading every single DT album at least 9/10) do imply that you might have lost your unbiased view quite a while ago.
I can't actually believe that 'excellence' and 'perfection' are the single two characteristics of Dream Theater's 34 years of existence - in particular, taking into consideration that The Astonishing was an undeniable part of their history.

No offence, but please keep in mind that prejudices and stereotypes are lurking at the other end of the scale (your scale), too.
----
signatures = SPAM
Loading...
06.03.2019 - 13:20
nikarg
Old Nick
This is a very good review man. "At Wit's End" is indeed nothing less than divine, it shows you what DT are capable of and no other song comes even close. Most of the rest of the album is quite enjoyable and definitely much better than its predecessor.

And btw I like LaBrie, I wouldn't want or imagine DT without him.
----
Instagram
Loading...
06.03.2019 - 13:31
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by nikarg on 06.03.2019 at 13:20

And btw I like LaBrie, I wouldn't want or imagine DT without him.

We have Liquid Tension Experiment for that. Which should really come back.
----
Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
Loading...
06.03.2019 - 19:45
Daniell
_爱情_
Written by mikeprado30 on 06.03.2019 at 03:46

So many prejudices on the review and the comments... As usual about this band.

An opinion that's different from your own fanboy opinion is not prejudice. It's just a different opinion. If someone likes DT less than you, it's not prejudice. Do you get that? Or are YOU prejudiced?

(You're a fanboy, because you rated ALL Dream Theater albums with either 10 or 9.)
----
Now loving:
Tribulation - The Lament
Tribulation - Nightbound
Tribulation - Subterranea
Tribulation - The World
Tribulation - Here Be Dragons
Loading...
06.03.2019 - 21:59
Mariocalin
Although there are some parts I disagree, I really like this review.

I think this is the reality now for Dream Theater. They've been doing music since 86 and It's almost impossible to get to the right point in every album they make, but I think this album feels more "packed" than DT13, The Astonishing or ADTOE. Even though I find some lacking of connection between some parts of he same song (Barstool Warrior are 2 songs in one with a really poor connection between the parts), songs like S2N or Barstool Warrior are really great great songs in DT's collection.

About drums, I dont like Mangini's drums so much. I feel like they are the same over and over again. May be I'm used to Portnoy's drumming style but I feel like drums are just "passing by".

To be honest I have no complains about James' vocals. They are not that good but he has been doing his maximun effort keeping his voice the best way he can, given his circunstances. At this stage of Dream Theater's carrer there is no sense in saying that "Labrie is off", you know that he's not the best since so many years ago but its really a unique voice and give DT his stamp.
----
We are the priest of the temple of Synix
Loading...
06.03.2019 - 22:23
musclassia
Written by Mariocalin on 06.03.2019 at 21:59


To be honest I have no complains about James' vocals. They are not that good but he has been doing his maximun effort keeping his voice the best way he can, given his circunstances. At this stage of Dream Theater's carrer there is no sense in saying that "Labrie is off", you know that he's not the best since so many years ago but its really a unique voice and give DT his stamp.


True, he does definitely put the effort into trying to preserve it, and also playing to his strengths. I think that's kinda emphasized with the bonus track "Viper King", where I feel like he's a bit out of his element in the chorus at times. Sticking to that lower register plays to his strengths, but at the same time it does limit his range quite a bit.

If I'm honest, I'm not really sure I have an opinion on Mangini's drumming. I listened to this album a fair few times preparing for this review, as well as the last couple before The Astonishing (I couldn't withstand more than one re-listen of that one), and I don't think there was really a time where I found myself focusing on the drums. I'm not saying it's necessarily a bad thing (I don't have any strong allegiance to Portnoy, and haven't really liked anything he's done outside of DT), it's just my listeneing experience.
Loading...
07.03.2019 - 09:41
D88M3R
Written by Starvynth on 06.03.2019 at 12:49

Written by mikeprado30 on 06.03.2019 at 03:46

So many prejudices on the review and the comments... As usual about this band.

I really don't get your point. I think this is a very open-minded, fair and nonbiased but factual review.
Even if you happen to disagree with some of its statements, after all the bold 7.6 indicates the reviewer's overall impression: more than decent and on the edge of 'very good'.

Obviously, you are a long-time and die-hard fan of the band - and that's just fine.
But your personal ratings (grading every single DT album at least 9/10) do imply that you might have lost your unbiased view quite a while ago.
I can't actually believe that 'excellence' and 'perfection' are the single two characteristics of Dream Theater's 34 years of existence - in particular, taking into consideration that The Astonishing was an undeniable part of their history.

No offence, but please keep in mind that prejudices and stereotypes are lurking at the other end of the scale (your scale), too.


He also said that the last Rhapsody album was great, so there is that...
Loading...
07.03.2019 - 10:13
Mariocalin
Written by musclassia on 06.03.2019 at 22:23

Written by Mariocalin on 06.03.2019 at 21:59


To be honest I have no complains about James' vocals. They are not that good but he has been doing his maximun effort keeping his voice the best way he can, given his circunstances. At this stage of Dream Theater's carrer there is no sense in saying that "Labrie is off", you know that he's not the best since so many years ago but its really a unique voice and give DT his stamp.


True, he does definitely put the effort into trying to preserve it, and also playing to his strengths. I think that's kinda emphasized with the bonus track "Viper King", where I feel like he's a bit out of his element in the chorus at times. Sticking to that lower register plays to his strengths, but at the same time it does limit his range quite a bit.

If I'm honest, I'm not really sure I have an opinion on Mangini's drumming. I listened to this album a fair few times preparing for this review, as well as the last couple before The Astonishing (I couldn't withstand more than one re-listen of that one), and I don't think there was really a time where I found myself focusing on the drums. I'm not saying it's necessarily a bad thing (I don't have any strong allegiance to Portnoy, and haven't really liked anything he's done outside of DT), it's just my listeneing experience.


Actually I do not like anything that Portnoy has done since he left DT. He has lowered the bar with his drum style and he just seems ok with that. Knowing who he has been with DT or Liquid Tension Experiment I find it a little bit sad.
----
We are the priest of the temple of Synix
Loading...
07.03.2019 - 19:06
BlankFile
Best Dream Theater CD in over 10 years, since "Black Clouds & Silver Linings". I have to say i´ve enjoyed it a lot. Really powerfull and fast riffs, spectacular melodies, solos, really good vocals (James Labrie back in shape). Best drum work from Mangini in DT, aswell. This álbum took me back in time, to the best DT períod. Im really glad this band is back and they still got it! "Best tracks for me are: "Untethered Angel", "Fall Into the Light", "Barstool Warrior", "S2N", "At Wit´s End" "Out of Reach" and "Pale Blue Dot"

Amazing work, congratulations.
Loading...
08.03.2019 - 04:06
mikeprado30
Written by D88M3R on 07.03.2019 at 09:41

Written by Starvynth on 06.03.2019 at 12:49

Written by mikeprado30 on 06.03.2019 at 03:46

So many prejudices on the review and the comments... As usual about this band.

I really don't get your point. I think this is a very open-minded, fair and nonbiased but factual review.
Even if you happen to disagree with some of its statements, after all the bold 7.6 indicates the reviewer's overall impression: more than decent and on the edge of 'very good'.

Obviously, you are a long-time and die-hard fan of the band - and that's just fine.
But your personal ratings (grading every single DT album at least 9/10) do imply that you might have lost your unbiased view quite a while ago.
I can't actually believe that 'excellence' and 'perfection' are the single two characteristics of Dream Theater's 34 years of existence - in particular, taking into consideration that The Astonishing was an undeniable part of their history.

No offence, but please keep in mind that prejudices and stereotypes are lurking at the other end of the scale (your scale), too.


He also said that the last Rhapsody album was great, so there is that...

Well, there's anything bad about that? Jeez, now if someone says something positive about those bands known by the tr00 palz around here as "overvalued acts", that point of view is undervalued...

Well, it seems that if I want my viewpoint getting a little of seriousness then I'll have to criticize bitterly every release nowadays done for those bands and just listening under-underground acts

Those are some of the reasons about what I can't understand the average metalhead nowadays. My brother's former boss says: "nowadays metaleads just live to criticize music, but rockers back on my days just ENJOYED the music".
----
BARDS WE ARE, BARDS WE WILL BE!
Loading...
08.03.2019 - 04:12
mikeprado30
Written by Daniell on 06.03.2019 at 19:45

Written by mikeprado30 on 06.03.2019 at 03:46

So many prejudices on the review and the comments... As usual about this band.

An opinion that's different from your own fanboy opinion is not prejudice. It's just a different opinion. If someone likes DT less than you, it's not prejudice. Do you get that? Or are YOU prejudiced?

(You're a fanboy, because you rated ALL Dream Theater albums with either 10 or 9.)

Well, in my view mainly seems to be a prejudice, because I don't believe there's little effort or lacking of ability on every release done by them. And always is the same complain about the same things. LaBrie for supposed "lack of talent", The Astonishing just not being "too metal" for the people.

And thanks for the fanboy label. I'm not guilty this band gets me satisfied with every song done from them, not matter which album would be. And those ratings are very deserved for the impact those albums had on my life.
----
BARDS WE ARE, BARDS WE WILL BE!
Loading...
08.03.2019 - 20:19
D88M3R
Written by mikeprado30 on 08.03.2019 at 04:06

Written by D88M3R on 07.03.2019 at 09:41

Written by Starvynth on 06.03.2019 at 12:49

Written by mikeprado30 on 06.03.2019 at 03:46

So many prejudices on the review and the comments... As usual about this band.

I really don't get your point. I think this is a very open-minded, fair and nonbiased but factual review.
Even if you happen to disagree with some of its statements, after all the bold 7.6 indicates the reviewer's overall impression: more than decent and on the edge of 'very good'.

Obviously, you are a long-time and die-hard fan of the band - and that's just fine.
But your personal ratings (grading every single DT album at least 9/10) do imply that you might have lost your unbiased view quite a while ago.
I can't actually believe that 'excellence' and 'perfection' are the single two characteristics of Dream Theater's 34 years of existence - in particular, taking into consideration that The Astonishing was an undeniable part of their history.

No offence, but please keep in mind that prejudices and stereotypes are lurking at the other end of the scale (your scale), too.


He also said that the last Rhapsody album was great, so there is that...

Well, there's anything bad about that? Jeez, now if someone says something positive about those bands known by the tr00 palz around here as "overvalued acts", that point of view is undervalued...

Well, it seems that if I want my viewpoint getting a little of seriousness then I'll have to criticize bitterly every release nowadays done for those bands and just listening under-underground acts

Those are some of the reasons about what I can't understand the average metalhead nowadays. My brother's former boss says: "nowadays metaleads just live to criticize music, but rockers back on my days just ENJOYED the music".


Nothing wrong about that, enjoy whatever you want and i am no one to judge, is just that if you say that a mediocre album is great, is hard to take your taste seriously, nothing personal, but i have seen a lot of a** kissing for The Eight Mountain since it was released, and is an a** kissing it certainly is far from earned because the album ranges from mediocre to decent. No idea about the DT album.
Loading...
10.03.2019 - 21:01
Ahmed Mohamed A
This is by far the best Metal album I have heard for the past 10 years or so, and believe me I heard a lot of shit
Loading...
15.03.2019 - 16:21
Daniell
_爱情_
Written by Ahmed Mohamed A on 10.03.2019 at 21:01

This is by far the best Metal album I have heard for the past 10 years or so, and believe me I heard a lot of shit

Do you realize how ambiguous the last part of your post is?
----
Now loving:
Tribulation - The Lament
Tribulation - Nightbound
Tribulation - Subterranea
Tribulation - The World
Tribulation - Here Be Dragons
Loading...

Hits total: 3260 | This month: 126