DREAM THEATER — A Change of Seasons

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DREAM THEATER - A Change of Seasons cover
3.87 | 91 ratings | 13 reviews
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EP · 1995


1. A Change of Seasons (23:08)
2. Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding (Elton John cover) (10:49)
3. Perfect Strangers (Deep Purple cover) (5:33)
4. The Rover / Achilles Last Stand / The Song Remains the Same (Led Zeppelin cover) (7:28)
5. The Big Medley: In the Flesh? (Pink Floyd cover) / Carry on Wayward Son (Kansas cover) / Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen cover) / Lovin, Touchin', Squeezin' (Journey cover) / Cruise Control (Dixie Dregs cover) / Turn It on Again (Genesis cover) (10:33)

Total Time: 57:33


- James LaBrie / vocals
- John Myung / bass
- John Petrucci / guitars, vocals
- Mike Portnoy / drums, percussion, vocals
- Derek Sherinian / keyboards

About this release

Release date: September 19, 1995
Label: East West Records

Tracks 2-5 recorded live on January 31, 1995 at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, London, England.

Thanks to negoba, Pekka, diamondblack, adg211288 for the updates


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Considered by fans to be one of Dream Theater's best songs, 'A Change of Seasons' is the bands first venture into an old prog standard; the 20-minute epic! Clocking in at 23 minutes long, the title track of this release was originally intended for the 'Images and Words' album, but left off due to time restrictions.

No problem! Chuck a few live covers in there, and here we have arguably one of the greatest EP's of all time.

With such a lengthy track, you know that each musician will get the chance to show off their skills, and indeed they do! All five members (including newcomer Derek Sherinian on the keyboards), flawlessly show their mastery of their respective departments, with the song twisting and turning through all kinds of time signatures and dynamic changes, crafting a wonderful tale that takes us on a journey through life and reminds us of how quickly it passes by.

As for the other "half" of this EP, there are four live covers that I don't mind, but are kind of hit-or-miss for me. Covering Elton John, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and a medley consisting of Kansas, Queen, Journey and Genesis, none of them are terrible, but in fairness none of them are overly memorable either. Blatant filler.

As a whole, it's a great record, and an absolute must-have for fans of Dream Theater, and whilst the title track itself is entirely worth hearing, it's the covers that prevent this from getting a five-star rating. Still, it's as essential to your collection as any of the bands studio albums.
This EP is well worth seeking out as it captures Dream Theater in all their glory when the band were at their most inventive and one look at the track list would spell this out as it begins with a massive 23 minute epic, the incredible 'A Change of Seasons' that is segmented into 7 parts like the old vintage epics that used to swallow a side of vinyl. This track alone is worth the price of purchase but the EP also has some intriguing covers such as 'The Elton John Medley' and a brilliant version of Deep Purple's 'Perfect Strangers'.

I love the 'Led Zeppelin Medley' reminding me of the melodies of 'The Rover', 'Achilles Last Stand' and 'The Song Remains the Same'. However the real surprise package is found in the live medley at the end simply called, 'The Big Medley'. It features wonderful covers from Pink Floyd, 'In the Flesh?', and Kansas with 'Carry On Wayward Son', Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody', the best bits, and then others include 'Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin', 'Cruise Control' and the wonderful 'Turn It On Again' by Genesis.

Overall it is a great EP with terrific musicianship and energetic covers, along with the colossal title track, all jammed into just under an hour.
Phonebook Eater

"Change Of Seasons": best prog metal song ever? Definitely not the best EP, though.

1996-1997 was a sort of a transitional period for Dream Theater, when they got keyboardist Derek Sherinian, who lasted until the end of the recording of "Falling Into Infinity". As he is a good keyboardist, many think that this brief DT period has been kind of an injustice to him. But he also was in this EP, meaning that he recorded with the band the mighty twenty three minute epic title track, which many fans consider it to be the best prog metal song ever. Even though I do consider that quite the exaggeration, I really enjoyed this amazingly ambitious track.

"A Change Of Seasons" in a way I love because it's the only DT song I can define as progressive ROCK. Obviously the band wanted to create a perfect,nice and long suite that would recall Rush's "2112", Yes' "Close To the Edge", Genesis' "Supper's Ready" or Pink Floyd's "Echoes". The song was a success, and indeed reminds of these timeless masterpieces. The time changes are infinite, the different parts of the suite are very well connected to each other, and the music is very well produced. To give you a pretty precise idea of the sound, it is pretty similar to the Kevin Moore period, especially from "Awake". The drums are sharp, a lot of organ-esque keyboards, nice guitars and occasionally Myung shines as well. Labrie does also a pretty good performance overall, in the relatively few parts where he sings.

But this EP, which is hardly considered one since its almost an hour long, has other four songs apart from this huge piece of music. These four songs are covers, which is something that I almost never enjoy listening to on an album (or EP). I understand that the band is immensely grateful to the bands they give tribute to( Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Pink Floyd, Kansas,Deep Purple.....), and that they have a pretty wide range of influences. They did these covers because they want to acknowledge their heroes, but obviously they did these covers for themselves too, for their own amusement, however they did not do them for the public, that's for sure. That's why I do not enjoy them. I just rather listen to the original songs. Maybe I would listen to these covers once just for curiosity, just to see how Dream Theater interprets them. But one time is more than enough.

Overall I wouldn't listen to this all the way through, but I would gladly revisit the mighty title track. I seem to be one of the few people that doesn't absolutely love to death the "A Change Of Seasons" song, so I really would recommend this EP(the song) to whoever loves prog metal.
A Change of Seasons is an EP that set Dream Theater off in a direction that many (including myself at times) ridicule them for at times with their willingness to embrace the double-digit, epic in length song form. Having grown up listening to the likes of Yes’ “Close To The Edge” and Rush’s “2112”, Dream Theater were dying to make their own version of such tracks. This being their first real stab at it, and having taken care and around 5 years to perfect it, I think they did a wonderful job with it.

The sections really flow great into one another, contrasting from something like the second disc of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, which sounds less fluent and more like shorter songs stapled together. James Labrie’s voice is in excellent form, bringing a calming and emotional delivery that is a perfect match for the lyrical tone and musical structure. The band’s chops are well tuned to add an appropriate amount of technicality and spice to the proceedings without undermining the beauty of the composition. Of course, when performed live, they can’t resist going the extra mile in the instrumental sections, but that’s the charm of the Dream Theater concert experience.

One complaint I have is during some of the heavier passages, the sound gets a bit muddy. The cleaner passages are given much better treatment in the mix. Aside from that, I’m very pleased with the song.

The rest that follows is a series of cover songs that extend this EP to LP length. I basically consider them as bonus tracks, so they don’t play that much into how I rate this recording. Each is well performed, and I didn’t even realize they were recorded live when I first heard the EP, despite the crowd noise that kicks off “Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding”.

Three of these “bonus” songs come in the form of medleys, one a blend of 2 Elton John songs, one a combination of 3 Led Zeppelin songs and the other being a wide range of rock artists. Some of their song choices aren’t the most obvious candidates for a heavily prog influenced band to cover (in particular the Elton John, Journey, and post-Hackett Genesis), but they do great justice to the originals and they blend well within the band’s sound. The one non-medley over, Deep Purple’s “Perfect Strangers”, is also a good fit.

A strong EP that’s easily worth a prog rock/metal fan’s money and time.
"A Change of Season" is an epic track that's spanned as far as 23 minutes which was intended for "Images And Words" at first but eventually didn't make it since it's too complex for that album and they probably already have the colossal "Metropolis" tune to complete the album. And beside, the prior strategy of "Images" is to go slightly commercial to reach a wider audience, so to put another lengthy track isn’t a wise idea in the first place.

Divided into six parts, the song itself was written together with "Metropolis" hence the composition has the same grip, the same feeling. If I have to compare this with "Metropolis", I'd say those two are almost on the same level but “Metropolis” is slightly better overall. Constructed with a heavy metal flavor, "A Change of Season" blossomed with a beautiful arrangement and tense playing by the band. The harmonic vocal is bold and captivating, the difficult notes are handled easily with a skillful demonstration of the rhythm section, the clever acoustical passage with Labrie's commanding voice flew nicely in the upper register, all of them are the strong parts of the song. It ended nicely with a brilliant blistering rhythm finish. Definitely one of their best ever made, utterly amazing!

Dream Theater also offered you some live cover tracks, though I'll still buy this even it's only a single track EP, but yes it's nice to hear some classic rock covers and the big medley with Kansas/Journey hits in it. I don't care much for these tracks as even though it was performed flawlessly, I still prefer the original. Recommended for Dream Theater completist and prog metal enthusiast, buy this for that epic track alone!
I have sentimental feelings towards this EP.I still remember the first time i listened to it on the way to work some time in 2004 and at times laughing out loud because i was so impressed,especially with the heavy sections.This was my first DREAM THEATER experience and the 23 minute title track had me itching to hear more from these guys.This would be the first recording without Kevin Moore as Derek Sherinian makes his debut here.He's in fine form too with some heavy synth work on the title track.I must admit i'm not as enthusiastic towards the live cover songs that follow even though they do a great job overall.And that's why i understand some 3 star ratings for this because the covers make up the bulk of this album.As for me 4 stars is my rating simply for the title track alone.One of their best creations no doubt about it.A Prog-Metal journey if there ever was one.
This gives new meaning to the term "epic" A Change of Seasons, DT's first EP, despite that it's nearly and hour long, really is one track and a bunch of covers. But that one track, A Change of Seasons, is up there with my favorite songs of all time. It is perfection. Not near perfection, it IS perfection. The classic 7-string intro, with accompanying piano, is classic. This is definitely the classic Sherinian track. Falling Into Infinity shined a bad light on him, but this track is so amazing that it should put him up there with Rudess and Moore.

The song, running for more than 23 minutes, basically encompasses someone's life from birth to death and his life philosophy. One of my favorite poems, To The Virgins, is quoted in the song, which only makes it more amazing. The melodies, with James' great work, the rhythms, with Mike's fantastic drumming, the background synths, the leading guitar, that great "rumble from down under," just everything is perfect. Each part has it's own unique contribution to the entire track. The entire track is joy ride from second 1 to minute 23. If this happens to be in a local record shop, this is a release to pounce on before anyone else steals it.

The rest of the album, covers of classic songs from Elton John, Deep Purple, Led Zepelin, Journey, Genesis, Kansas, and more, are fantastic also. Two medleys are played, one of a few LZ tracks, then the "Great Medley", of some classic rock tracks. The arrangements are fantastic, the playing is fantastic, everything is just plain fantastic! 5- stars.
A Change of Seasons is split into two sections. The first is the epic title track, which is over twenty minutes in length. The other is a selection of live cover songs, often made into medleys. While these covers are reasonably entertaining for fans of Dream Theater, it’s the title track that really makes this EP worth owning by their fans. The rest is just filler.

A Change of Seasons is broken up into movements so just as the listener is getting used to a certain pattern within the song it changes into something else entirely. I consider this to be one of Dream Theater’s best songs, which is why the remainder of the EP hardly matters. If this was the only song on here the rest wouldn’t go missed. On its own I would have to give this release a perfect score.

But of course I have to take the whole release into account, and sadly the remainder of this one is going to see the final score suffer. The better of the live songs are the Led Zeppelin Medley (of The Rover, Achilles Last Stand and The Song Remains the Same) and The Big Medley (which includes song segments from Pink Floyd, Queen, Dixie Dreggs and more). Overall not bad stuff, but not a patch on Dream Theater’s original works. I'll say again, they sound like filler songs, perhaps with the only to add some extra length to the A Change of Seasons release, which no fan of the band will care about once they've got through the title track, which is essential Dream Theater listening. Of course that extra length certainly gives the release value for your money, this EP is longer than some albums I own, which in its own way is a bonus.

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven)
Conor Fynes
'A Change Of Seasons' - Dream Theater (8/10)

The obvious attraction to this EP is the epic song, and 'A Change Of Seasons' is truly the essential song of Dream Theater's. It is one of the greatest epics ever to have been written, and deserves at the very least a fair listen by every prog fan, whether metalhead or not. It's one of the few pieces of music that actually deserves not five but six stars. It's not just essential for prog music; it's essential for 20th century music in general.

While this would be worth buying with that song alone, there's an awesome collection of covers here, in a live concert. While I am generally very harsh on 'cover albums' in terms of ratings, while the aforementioned epic would score at least four stars on it's own, the concert is actually amazing to listen to, and even more enjoyable to listen to then some of the original material it's derived from! It's a real experience to listen to Dream Theater performing everything from Led Zeppelin to Journey material over the course of a half-hour set.

While the concert itself doesn't have any actual original material persay, there are original arrangments to the two medleys that really work (IE: compiling all of the songs in such a way that it makes sense and sounds cohesive.) While the concert is epic by any standard, it's still definately not essential Dream Theater material... I mean, how can music they didn't even write be central work for them?

What makes Dream Theater's 'A Change Of Seasons' such a great release is obviously (as I've mentioned several times before) the main, studio-recorded song. It is a powerhouse of artistic expression and emotion from start to finish, and certainly alot better than 'Octavarium' or 'In The Presence Of Enemies.' The song goes from being soft, dark and acoustic and bursts into a very heavy section. When it's time for LaBrie's vocals to come in, the music goes once again soft, but uses some very interesting rhythmic changes.

There's also a great instrumental section in the song. While the song is far too complex and intensive to go into complete detail, it's certainly a classic, and should be checked out by prog fans, and any Dream Theater fan should make it their obligation to delve into this work.

A classic work of Dream Theater's musical mastery. Fantastic.
A Strange Package from the Transitional Sherinian Era

At the time that this package came out, I was probably at the peak of my admiration for Dream Theater. I was in a prog-tinged metal band myself at the time and my band mates were absolutely bonkers for DT. Awake had been my favorite album, an amazing blend of heaviness, virtuosity, and unlike most of the bands of the time, actual complexity. I had been a big fan of the guitar shredder scene, and while this band contained a axeslinger with the typical shred bag of tricks, it also contained an equally amazing drummer, keyboardist, and bassist. (The singer was a very typical 80's high-pitched yodeler. Even at the time, LaBrie's style was already a bit retro, but everyone into metal was very familiar and it was easy to tolerate in context.) The fact that the band produced music where the virtuosic talents complemented each other was really unseen in those days. Many of the shredders played over static grooves and drum machines. Not so DT.

At the time of Change of Seasons, the band itself was in significant transition. They had lost Kevin Moore, one of the creative forces behind the band. They were still learning the place of Derek Sherinian (Rudess apparently was their first choice and when became available Derek was promptly dropped). The nervous energy of that transition comes through in one of their best epics, the title track. Everything that is good about Dream Theater is here, and the weaknesses are in check. Pertucci's riffage is crushing, the complexity in composition abundant, and LaBrie showing his most mature range of emotional expression I've heard. Even the detractors here talk about the excitement of listening to the first minutes of this track. It is, in fact, perhaps the perfect definition of straight prog metal.

However, there is LaBrie's singing. As the focal point of the music, it is difficult to call anything he does true masterpiece. Though his technical skills are more than adequate, he's a standard, not particularly charismatic, cheese metal singer. By 1995, only the most phenomenal of this kind of singers were having any success (Geoff Tate and sadly Mark Slaughter come to mind). Listening to Labrie attempt Steve Perry on "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" demonstrates the point clearly.

More importantly, this album is only half the colossal epic. The rest of the album is a collection of live covers that are fun enough, but not particularly well chosen. Why Elton John, an artist that has nothing in common with DT? Why such a late Deep Purple track? And to pick a Genesis track from the pop era???? The Zeppelin medley is fun, especially Achilles Last Stand, one of the few appropriate picks. The Big Medley contains mainly popish fun and games that would have great live but for an album, a little more edge would have been nice. (How about Orion, YYZ, or Highway Star?) DT would go on to do some covers that made more sense, but at the time, better choices could have made this album more than just an EP.

This is a good album, and belongs in any DT fan's library. The title epic is among their best single songs, and I think some of the development made there went into the opus Scenes from a Memory (which I actually like a little less.) It was well worth the half price I paid in the used rack.

Members reviews

Now, this is not quiet a full Dream Theater album... but it is as much worth getting as any of their full studio albums. In part because it's long enough to be a complete album, and also because the original Dream Theater track is a must have for any fan of the band, and then, the rest of the music (all covers) is also very enjoyable.

The title track is a beautiful Prog Metal Epic, with beautiful intro, great vocals, great instrumental passages, and great metal moments. Then there is a bunch of covers. First we get a cover of an Elton John song (yes, Dream Theater covering Elton John), "Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding"... now, this song will not appeal to anyone who is expecting a full metal album, because this song has absolutley no metal, as a matter of fact DT played it just about the same way the original was played; the first part is a beautiful instrumental prog piece serving as an introduction to the second mainly pop/rock song... for me the first part is the better, but as a whole it is a nice song. Then comes Deep Purple's "Perfect Stranger", also a very good hard rock song, but don't expect much metal in the modern sense. The rest of the album is what puts me of a bit, and that's mainly because I'm not very keen on Meddleys, and that's what follows: first a Led Zeppelin Meddley of "The Rover / Achilles Last Stand / The Song Remains the Same"... the reason I don't like Meddleys is because if I like the songs, then I just end up wanting to hear the whole song, and in this case I wish they had played the whole Achilles Last Stand, instead of just about half the song, with and intro and outro of the other songs which I actually don't really like very much. And then comes the "Big Medley", with songs from different arstist, and it is the same; I do like all the songs represented, some I like a lot, other just a bit, but I whish they had just chosen 2 or 3 of those songs and played them complete... a whole Bohemian Rhapsody would have been awsome. So, it is mainly for this Meddleys that I don't give the 5 stars to this album, I just end up rating it as 4.5.
Dream Theater's last stand

It is almost unbelievable that Dream Theater could expel such a great composition as Change Of Seasons to an EP bound to get fewer listeners than a proper album, while releasing such a disappointing album as Awake around the same time. It has always been my firm opinion that Awake could have been extremely much better had they replaced at least half of its songs with the Change Of Seasons track! Or did they really think that the Awake material was better than this!? It puzzles me.

In my opinion, Dream Theater never again came even remotely close to making such a brilliant album as Images And Words. But outside of that album, the Change Of Seasons track is the closest they ever came to approximating the brilliance of the Images And Words material. It is definitely by far the best 20 minute plus piece they have ever made and a classic of Progressive Metal.

This EP is a very weird release overall, however. It is rightly regarded as an EP even though it has a running time close to an hour. The reason is that half of it consists of covers recorded live while the title track is the sole original studio recording. I usually don't rate EPs; I usually don't like studio/live combination albums and I usually don't enjoy cover albums very much. Add to this that I usually don't like Dream Theater very much(!). But apart from these "obstacles", I really enjoy the whole of this EP even though it is rather incoherent.

The live covers are fun! Such unlikely artists as Elton John, Dixie Dregs, Journey, Queen and Pink Floyd get covered together with the usual suspects such as Kansas, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. When I heard this for the first time I had never heard the original version of Funeral For A Friend. I didn't even know that it was an Elton John until I investigated it further. Imagine my surprise when I found out who it was! The original by Elton John is really good and an excellent choice for a cover version. Dixie Dregs was another band I had never heard before. I like them too now, and I thank Dream Theater for introducing me to them.

I guess that Dream Theater were doing a good thing here, introducing these older bands and artists to a supposedly younger audience. And even if I'm normally not very fond of Dream Theater's own music, I have to say that they have excellent taste in other people's music! So even if I'm not really a Dream Theater fan, I consider them as fellow fans of Kansas, Deep Purple, Queen, etc. some of my favourite bands of all time.

I'm giving this strange EP three and a half stars. But I really think that the very good Change Of Seasons track had been better off on a proper album together with some more original studio material.

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