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Review: Dream Theater - Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From a Memory
Dream Theater
Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From a Memory

Label: Elektra Records
Year released: 1999
Duration: 77:12
Tracks: 12
Genre: Progressive Metal

Rating: 2/5

Review online: June 2, 2009
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
Readers Rating
Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From a Memory

Rated 3.67/5 (73.33%) (93 Votes)

Dream Theater are a band of many talents and wonders. Their ambition has always fueled them to go to greater heights, and after the monolithic Awake topped the seminal Images and Words in epic scope and artistic vision, where could they possibly go next? Well, apparently the answer to that in 1997 was Falling into Infinity, which I still haven't heard in its entirety, but what came after that? I guess they didn't like the accusations of commerciality against them on that record, so they went with a complete 180 and released this, the most bloated and sprawling thing anyone had ever heard in metal. There is epic, there is canonical, there is planet-sized and then there is Scenes from a Memory, and all it really does is put me to sleep.

I mean, how am I supposed to enjoy this? It's like Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime multiplied by three, the most excessive and floridly proggy album the band ever recorded. It's boring. Nothing on here really kicks up much excitement, no matter how many notes they can play per minute or how many drum fills they can put in a four minute song before they stretch it out to eight minutes. There is some sort of conceptual storyline here, but frankly, it doesn't sound very good, and even if it were, it wouldn't save this stinker much. This album is almost impossible to listen to in one sitting, and this is coming from the guy who just sat through Tribuzy's musical torture chamber of fuckery. Dream Theater, I think you deserve some sort of commendment for that.

So the album starts off with an introduction piece, with the sound of a clock ticking and a man narrating calmly, telling us to close our eyes, take a deep breath and relax. Preparing us for the grueling chore ahead of us, perhaps? Well, whatever. "Overture 1928" is next, and it's another intro piece. I really don't get why bands would ever do this - one introduction piece is more than enough! To be fair, though, this is the best song on the album, with some rumbling guitar progressions and some nice build-ups. It's really all downhill from here, though, so grab your pillows and your sleeping pills and try not to hit your head on the floor when you go down.

There is really not a lot wrong with this that I can't say would also be wrong with the other Dream Theater albums, it's just that this one doesn't seem to have the emotional intensity of some of the later stuff or the exciting grandeur of Images and Words. I'm not the biggest fan of Awake either, as it just left me cold, but this is just ridiculous - it is so elaborate and mechanical that it might as well have been made by a fucking computer in itself. This has a lot of bells and whistles, and the songwriting is certainly complex, but it's too hollow, skimping out on the more personal feel that the Dream Theater songs I like have. I think another thing wrong with this is the way all of the songs are sort of seamlessly connected - this makes them feel much longer than they should, as they don't seem to have any veritable starting or ending points. It is easy to see the intention here, but it doesn't work.

Oh, and "Finally Free" is probably the worst Dream Theater song ever. Completely enervated, painful crap with some truly awful, awful vocals. Good god, this sucks.

This album fails to incite any emotional response, and so despite whatever nonsensical reasons people have for liking this, it's not worth picking up. Avoid.

Other related information on the site
Review: A Dramatic Turn Of Events (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: Awake (reviewed by 4th Horseman)
Review: Awake (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Black Clouds and Silver Linings (reviewed by Hermer Arroyo)
Review: Black Clouds and Silver Linings (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Images And Words (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From a Memory (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Systematic Chaos (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: Systematic Chaos (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
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