Artist: Dream Theater
Album: Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence
Release Date: January 29, 2002
The music of Dream Theater — a prog-metal blend of Styx drama and ELP grandeur — generates little gray area when it comes to appeal. Listeners either love the band passionately or hate them. (God knows I’ve had my issues with them, having walked out on one of their shows three years ago when the Siegfried & Roy aspects of the Las Vegas-style Rock Extravaganza got out of hand. That is to say, I was bored). The band’s sixth album, an ambitious double CD entitled Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence is unlikely to alter that dichotomy. But here’s the thing, with Dream Theater, you know what you’re getting when you sign on: musical virtuosity and technical perfection. Here’s an example of what I mean: You’ve got Vocalist James LaBries’ narrative command of each song; Drummer Mike Portnoy’s effortless ability to demonstrate as many double-bass-triplet-rudiment-fills as possible from the top of a song to the bottom; Guitarist John Petrucci’s astoundingly fluid, classically influenced playing; Jordan Ruddess’ swelling layers of Rick Wakeman-esque keyboards; and bassist John Myung, who, like John Entwistle, lays down a solid groove and says out of everyone’s way. One can hardly fail to be impressed with any of that.