DREAM THEATER — Falling Into Infinity (review)

DREAM THEATER — Falling Into Infinity album cover Album · 1997 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Dream Theater had a massive following after two of their greatest albums, Images & Words along with Awake. Fanbase wise they were at their peak. It is unfortunate that this album should be released immediately after these two, because unfortunately this is where they dropped a lot of the complex prog technique, something they were champions of. That being said, there's still great prog metal to be found here, and plenty of substance still.

Overall, this album is very soft for a metal album. Derek Sherinian plays keys here, and his tone is very smooth and clear, a stark contrast to Moore's proggy synth tones or Rudess' unusual experimental sounds. This smooth tone ties the album together into a more etherial feel, and since the band is playing fewer jagged time signature twists and angular note choices, it gives the impression of a more pop-oriented sound.

This may be the case on a couple songs. "You Not Me" is an unforgivably annoying pop rock song, and "Take away my Pain" and "Anna Lee" could also easily be heard on your mainstream radio station. That being said, the softer feel works in the band's favor on a lot of the songs. "New Millenium" and "Lines in the Sand" are rocking songs with a very King's X feel to it to give some good feeling edges (the latter even features Doug Pinnick on vocals, so it makes sense). "Trial of Tears" is a long form song with lots of beautiful atmosphere and wonderful lyrics from John Myung behind it. The band even hits a peak at an instrumental track "Hell's Kitchen", which is a stunning testament to the skills of the musicians, where it is beautiful and shows some wonderful technique all around, it's probably their best instrumental track.

There is some nice metal on here, though none of it's very heavy. "Just Let Me Breathe" is a very energetic track, and the best example of prog on this album with a demanding bridge section and some fantastic instrumental interplay. "Peruvian Skies" is also great, starting off as a grungy ballad but going into some heavy energetic riffs, giving some dramatic light to an incident of a girl being kidnapped. "Burning My Soul" is also metal, but unlike the other is slow and churning, maybe the darkest on the album.

All in all, Falling into Infinity is still a great album. It is only maligned because it isn't what Dream Theater fans are looking for. It's true to an extent, with a couple pop songs that mar the album. But as for the rest, I feel it is a collection of music that is Dream Theater at their best when they learn to drop the showoff crap and really play.
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