Dream Theater has maintained a rare combination of stellar musicianship and unwavering passion for nearly a decade, selling millions of albums and filling concert venues worldwide. The band once again confirms its status as progressive hard rock's standard-bearers on their latest studio epic, the double CD Six Degress Of Inner Turbulence.
Never a band to do things by halves, Dream Theater's Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
is a two-disc extravaganza with a title track that clocks in at a prog-tastic 42 minutes. Following very much in the style of their previous studio release Scenes from a Memory
, the "Six Degrees" piece, which occupies the entire second disc, is divided into eight movements beginning of course with the now-obligatory "Overture". It's all good, meaty stuff, but the quasi-symphonic structure isn't really justified by the music, which alternately noodles and thrashes about in a somewhat haphazard manner; while singer James LaBrie's elliptical storytelling struggles to make an impression over the rest of the band's stunningly virtuosic onslaught. The other disc has five chunky shorter pieces (averaging about 10 minutes each) which hearken back to the grungier sound of their Awake
album. Guitarist John Petrucci dominates proceedings here perhaps more than he should, and only fearsome drummer Mike Portnoy can compete in the sheer volume and notes-per-second competition. The result is an album that fulfils all the fans' expectations of what this band do best. Despite the "progressive" tag, Dream Theater have, it seems, found a formula and they're sticking to it.--Mark Walker