DREAM THEATER — Falling Into Infinity (review)

DREAM THEATER — Falling Into Infinity album cover Album · 1997 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
This is what happens when pop mixes with Dream Theater. There is no doubting this album is good. Classics like Peruvian Skies and Hollow Years made their debut here, but so do the horrid tracks of the discography such as Anna Lee and Take Away my Pain. The producer of this album pushed Dream Theater too hard to make a commercially acceptable album, and not the best thing came out of it. However, one absolutely wonderful thing did occur during the production of this album: the denial of a double album and the forcing of Dream Theater to make Metropolis Part 2 a separate album. I don't want to think about what that would have been like if Metropolis was just a bonus track on a second disk.

New Millennium is a spectacular crossover track. If this song was made by any of the popular Crossover bands on the site, it would make the album. However, this track is on a Dream Theater album, which "detracts" from the album is some way. In some situations, one must not compare the music on a particular album to that of previous or future works. The instrumental section is absolutely genius, as are the melodic meshing with LaBrie and the other guys. This is a great track, just not that of traditional prog metal.

You Not Me is, in simple terms, not good. This is the product of the synthesis of pop rock with prog metal. Who comes out as the main contributor of this song? Pop rock, and lots of it. The riffs are overly simple and depressed. The drumming is extremely uncreative and simple. Vocal melodies belong on the top 40, not a Prog Metal album. This is, sadly, not the only one the album, also.

The band was smart to put Peruvian Skies, a fantastic track in every way, after the weak You Not Me. Dark, moody, and compassionate, the song contributes one of the very few genuinely prog moments of the album. It is certainly one of the better songs in the band's entire discography, with some great moments of distinguishable influence that can be detected, such as Floydian guitar work, Supertramp-like keyboard riffs, and a lot more. The instrumental section is Dream Theater at their finest, with some spectacular soloing and riffing going on. A dark bright spot on the album!

Hollow Years is the next great track on the album, showing the bands more mellow and ballad-friendly side. Tear jerking beauty really makes this song great. The lyrics are touching and deep, as is the great instrumental work backing them. It's a fantastic track full of compassion and feeling.

Burning my Soul is alright, but this is what happens when pop metal and Dream Theater mix and pop metal comes out as the main influence. The lyrics are?.. odd, the instrumentation is a little to traditional with only a little creativity mixed in. The track is overall alright, but it lacks any sense of Dream Theaterness.

Hell's Kitchen is one of my favorite Dream Theater instrumentals. It's, simply, beautiful. The soaring guitar soloing, the fantastically progressive drum and bass work, the simple yet complex piano work, just everything about this song makes me want to break out a lighter and wave it. Not to mention the transition to Line in the Sand, which are spectacular. The song essentially acts as a fantastic intro to the first "epic" of the album.

Lines in the Sand takes a while to open up, but once it does, it really opens up! Spectacular instrumentation, great harmonization, melodic representation, the intro really has it all. When the vocals come in, you can tell it will be a great track. As the track progresses, every single aspect is utterly enjoyable and progressive at its finest. All 12 minutes can be listened to quite quickly, which tells you that you have really enjoyed the track. It is easily one of the best on the album.

The next three tracks are so utterly atrocious that I will sum them up in one little paragraph. Take Away my Pain is a horrid pop song with cheesy lyrics and horrid instrumentation. I mean, there are references to celebrities for god's sake! Just Let Me Breathe isn't even a crossover between pop rock and Dream Theater, it's just pop rock, through and through. Absolutely nothing in this track is prog or even remotely enjoyable. Yes, the feel of the song flows nicely, but it's so not prog that it's just hard to enjoy. Anna Lee is just barely alright, but it's essential a love ballad. It has cheesy lyrics and music, and is just overall really cheesy.

Luckily, the band decided to end the album on a positive note. Trial of Tears is a moody epic which can stand up to Dream Theater's other great 10-minute epics such as Scarred or Metropolis Part 1. Similar to Lines in the Sand, the song has an extended ambient intro, with some really interesting instrumentation used. The song really rips vocally too. LaBrie really uses everything he's got. Some parts are really catchy, some moody, some dark, some bright, some fast, overall, this track is just spectacular. This one is also one of the best on the album.

ALBUM OVERAL: This album is alright. There are really great tracks and really bad tracks. Here you'll find Dream Theater at their best and at their worst. This would definitely be a 4 star crossover album, but sadly Dream Theater's name has been printed on the cover. 3- stars.
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