Dream Theater - Falling Into Infinity review
|Album:||Falling Into Infinity|
|Release date:||September 1997|
01. New Millennium
02. You Not Me
03. Peruvian Skies
04. Hollow Years
05. Burning My Soul
06. Hell's Kitchen
07. Lines In The Sand
08. Take Away My Pain
09. Just Let Me Breathe
10. Anna Lee
11. Trial Of Tears
1 - It's Raining
2 - Deep In Heaven
3 - The Wasteland
12. Take Away My Pain [demo] [Japanese bonus]
13. Speak To Me [demo] [Japanese bonus]
"Falling Into Infinity" is Dream Theater's fourth full-length album and it was released in 1997, following the very complicated "Awake". So what could you expect more from this record? Surely a lot seeing the amazing work produced on "Awake". And their music meets again fans' expectations while bringing new people into their pool of listeners. Why? Let's see...
First, let's talk about the band a little bit. The lineup is almost the same as on "Awake" with Mike Portnoy [drums], John Petrucci [guitars], John Myung [bass], Derek Sherinian [keyboards] and James LaBrie [vocals]. The bad news is, their previous talented keyboard player Kevin Moore is now gone, taking with him a part of the uniqueness of Dream Theater's sound for ever. That starts not really promising but the newcomer Derek Sherinian is not anybody either. And it doesn't take long to the listener to find out.
As a result, the music is less complicated and the keys are definitely heavier, almost sounding like a second guitar sometimes. That's already true on the first track, 'New Millennium'. From that point, the tone of this album is set: it's going to be progressive, sometimes heavy and... progressive. The magic trio Portnoy/Petrucci/Myung is in trance throughout the entire album and masters they are. 'You Not Me' has that same strange soft heaviness, meaning only the sound of the guitar is heavy but the melody is soft, almost a pop song in fact!
Then, the first big track of "Falling Into Infinity" is on: 'Peruvian Skies'. It's clearly a nice ballad, with acoustic guitars and mellow voices until... the mutation of the drums around 3:20 and then it changes into a prog/heavy anthem [who has never heard these drumming parts in his life?]. Clearly one of the best Dream Theater's songs ever.
'Hollow Years' is a true ballad, no fooling around this time. But, honestly, it could have been kept for a further EP or something. Not that I don't like it, I think that's a great song but I think it breaks the "spirit" of the album. 'Burning My Soul' is a return to heaviness and is even the heaviest song so far. Very catchy chorus, great progressive lines, enigmatic keys, you can feel the premises that something important is coming soon. And you're right! I'm not talking about the cool instrumental entitled 'Hell's Kitchen' but of track number 7, 'Lines In The Sand'. That has to be one of the best compositions ever: the beginning has something to remind you of Jean-Michel Jarre's work but then Petrucci and co. take things seriously with dynamiting the rhythm and they succeed! During these 12:05 of creativity, you can only be receptive to one feeling: love! That song rules!
"Falling Into Infinity" contains three ballads [plus 'Peruvian Skies'] and the second one is called 'Take Away My Pain' is the best of the three. It has nothing to do with metal, nothing to do with progressive either, but it's a refreshing ballad. Now, in my opinion, there are too many ballads in this album! When you have songs such as 'Lines In The Sand' and 'Burning My Soul', you don't need to include three ballads to make a good album. That is too much, a bad point for that you guys. The third ballad is 'Anna Lee' and is also the mellowest.
Another highlight is 'Just Let Me Breathe' in the same style as 'Burning My Soul', but even better. Heaviness is there once again and the main riff is a killer one. Even James LaBrie manages to sound heavy on that one, which is kind of a rare thing!
Finally, Dream Theater wouldn't be Dream Theater without an extended musical trilogy, this time called 'Trial Of Tears'. And as sarcastic as I am right now, I ought to say that it's also a huge track. Maybe, the only one I was into from the first listening. The line "It's raining, raining deep in heaven!!" is very catchy and returns throughout the entire trilogy as a linking anthem. That could have been an album all by itself!
I've read somewhere that "Falling Into Infinity" is the album that you either love or hate. Well, I have to say that it must be true. Personally, I love it despite the "too many ballads thing". With this album, you enter Dream Theater's world during one hour and eighteen minutes, so it's a real trip to "progland". Finally, if you've never listen to them before, I would recommend "Images And Words" first, then "Awake" and then this one.
Written on 09.01.2004 by
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