F.X Escarmís


Dream Theater - Scenes From A Memory (1999)

Say yeah!

When in 1992 Dream Theater created the masterpiece called Images And Words, they included a song called Metropolis Pt 1: The Miracle And The Sleeper, which explained a strange story of 3 characters: Love, The Miracle and The Sleeper. As the title unveiled, this story had only begun, and there would be a second part.

It lasted long: 7 years, 5 discs (3 from the studio and 2 live recordings) and 2 keyboard player changes after, in 1999 they continued the story with this monumental disc: Metropolis Pt 2: Scenes From A Memory. It is a conceptual disc, explaining the story of Nicholas, a man who, through a hypnotism session, discovers a tragedy that happened in 1928. You will find very detailed resumes of the story at the Wikipedia and at the Dream Theater FAQ. I recommend that you read them to know the details of the story. You will also find a very detailed musical analysis at Fabien Labonde’s web. The album has a fantastic cover illustration by Dave McKean.

The album begins with Regression, a soft introduction of acoustic guitar and voice.

The instrumental Overture 1928 follows, picking pieces of all the other songs of the album and also from Metropolis Pt 1 to take us into the story, and sets the musical tone of all the work.

The disc follows with Strange Déjà Vu, a powerful song with many rythm changes and a very emotive chorus, with the voices of James LaBrie and the drummer Mike Portnoy mixed.

The calmed Through My Words, with only voice and piano, brings the intensity down for a moment.

The next song is Fatal Tragedy, which title fits very well the music for its rhythm changes, the harmonics that remind us the guitar of Brian May from Queen, the genial alterned keyboard and guitar solos…

The strange Beyond This Life uses voice filters to emulate radio effects, and has a chorus with waltz rhythm, lots of rhythm changes, rocker moments…

The next song is the ballad Through Her Eyes, sad and emotive, with the fabulous and warm voice of Theresa Thomason giving it a spiritual touch.

After that comes the fantastic and epic Home, the largest of the album, with arabic riffs, a sitar and one of the songs that more parts of Metropolis Pt 1 takes back. From my point of view, the highlight of the album.

The instrumental The Dance Of Eternety shows all the potential that the musicians of the band have, with lots of rhythm changes, various musical styles, with parts of all the songs of the album and from the part 1 too.

One Last Time follows, with one of the parts where James LaBrie’s voice has more protagonism.

The Spirit Carries On comes next, with a gospel choir in all its splendour, in a very spiritual song which helps us take force to face the final section of the album.

The album ends with Finally Free, the epic ending of the story, with an unexpected conclusion.

To sum up, a rounded album that is much more than it seems at first listen, and surprises you every time with something new…

Updated: 26/11/2011 - 14.24h.

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