Analog Thoughts on a Digital Age

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Album Review: DREAM THEATER "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence"

In the rock and roll world, when you hear the name Dream Theater, your'e talking hard guitar and keyboard licks complex chord progressions, odd time signatures but most important of all, netherworldy melodies and rhythms so difficult to reproduce that even the most accomplished musicians in the rock and roll world would be left scratching their heads saying, "how the f*&k did they do that?"

I had been looking for their album "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" for the longest time. I had already previously purchased their latest album "Train of Thought" from one of my "Quiapo contacts" (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). "Six Degrees..." was never released locally. It took me two years to finally get myself a pirated copy.

I was not dissapointed.

The album starts off with "The Glass Prison". This song picks up where the left off in "Scenes from a Memory"...static, but what comes after that is everything but.

The highight of the first disc is the epic "The Great Debate". A song with the the controversial experimentation on stem cell research as the theme. On some of the message boards, the fans provide very interesting commentary on the objectiveness of this song with regards to the morality of the topic.

The second disc contains just one song, the 43 minute theme of the album "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence". This song, is in my opinion, Dream Theater's crowning achievement in terms of song lyrical content. It does not fall short of the technicalities of the first songs in their early albums, although they save up on showing off their chops on this one, which is always a good thing. Its good to know that they have finally concentrated on really making songs that one can ponder on instead of their extended music tutorials. They had also previously made some real lyrical content improvements with "Scenes from a Memory", this one takes it to the antiseptic-smelling hospital halls, the screams from the isolation chambers and the silent cries for help in the suburban front yard.

The central theme of the song is a six part study on mental instability. The first cut is the "Overture" or a summary of the music thgemes throughout the song. It then kicks off with "About to Crash" which is about manic depression. A very toouching portrait of a man's love for his delusional wife.
"War Inside My Head" is a heavier section with a take on Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, or war shock. One may relate to this as John Rambo's condition in "First Blood".I didn't quite get the exact theme on "The Test that Stumped Them All" other than some references to shock treatment and solitary confinement on a padded cell.
It slows down with "Goodnight Kiss" about a child dealing with the loss of her mother.
My favorite part is "Solitary Shell" which is about autism. It's jazzy, almost alternative tone kind of sets this section apart from the rest of the song and kind of gives it a reverent homefront type feel. have a cousin who is autistic and could relate to the lyrics narrating the behavior.

"As a boy he was considered somewhat odd,
kept to himself most of the time...
...but in every other way, he was fine".

I bet he'd like this song too if he could get
a chance to hear it. I gave him my Rush "Test for Echo" and I heard he he loves it.
We are all a little insane, sometimes we have the guts to admit it, but often times it is much easier for us to just label someone elsa as insane to make ourselves feel better.

All in all, this is probably is the best album I have listened to in the past two years. Ironically, this album had already been previously released for two years. This album restored my faith in music as an escape to another world, which is always a good thing, considering the present situation.


Blogger jowch said...

jinam ko parts ng glass prison sa hawaii with a Japanese-Hawaiian bassist and a Hispanic drummer from San Diego... only on an Ibanez RG7, only on and Ibanez 7 string...

1:57 AM

Blogger the rocketboy said...

Jowch: Yeah. I was able to watch John Myung play "Glass Prison" when he did a clinic here. Azteeg.

5:59 AM


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