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Review: Dream Theater - A View from the Top of the World
Dream Theater
A View from the Top of the World

Label: Inside Out Music
Year released: 2021
Duration: 1:10:19
Tracks: 7
Genre: Progressive Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: November 12, 2021
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
A View from the Top of the World

Rated 4.25/5 (85%) (8 Votes)

The name Dream Theater should be familiar to everyone reading this review. They are the premier progressive metal band, the one that solidified the parameters of the subgenre and as a result have been quoted as influences and points of reference countless times. They are very good at what they do. They've had ups and downs, but since original drummer Mike Portnoy left after 2009's Black Clouds & Silver Linings they've settled into a remarkably consistent groove, with A View from the Top of the World their fifteenth album overall.

The members of Dream Theater have balanced their blend of metal bombast, progressive songwriting, technical playing and accessibility beautifully on A View from the Top of the World. There are complex passages featuring acrobatic playing set cheek-by-jowl with catchy and easily digestible melodies and choruses that invite the listener to sing along. The band's sound is easily identifiable with singer James LaBrie's vocals leading the pack, but someone familiar with '70s prog rock will easily pick up on some of the bands that probably inspired the band members to pick up their instruments. "Transcending Time" at times evokes Yes and at other late-period Rush while "Awaken the Master" has a structure that wouldn't be out of place on an Emerson, Lake and Palmer album. Don't get me wrong; just because there are rock overtones, A View from the Top of the World isn't rock, it is most definitely metal. Dream Theater metal. Guitarist John Petrucci and bassist John Myung can crank out riffs with the best of them and drummer Mike Mangini is every bit the perfect replacement for Portnoy's creative fills. I haven't enjoyed a Dream Theater album this much since Black Clouds and I found myself hitting repeat nearly every time the 20-minute title track that closes the record wrapped up.

If you aren't a fan of Dream Theater or progressive metal in general, A View from the Top of the World isn't likely to change your mind. It doesn't necessarily transcend genres. On the other hand, it is a very entertaining album from a band that knows how to write a metal song (or seven) that is both catchy and musically complex at the same time.

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