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Thread: Dream Theater - What happened?

  1. #126
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Bails View Post
    Much like Labrie in that regard.
    It's weird, because Labrie started writing more on Six Degrees. I figured that he would finally start contributing more regularly, but it stopped after that. It's not mandatory that a rock singer contribute to the writing (see Daltrey, Roger), but it is a bit unusual that they don't--especially when they do actually have talent in that regard.

    Labrie's breathy singing on the ballads has always been annoying, but worse for me is the consistent refusal of Petrucci and Portnoy to write songs that comfortably fit within Labrie's range. He really is a good singer, but he constantly has to stretch beyond the pleasant part of his range to sing the music he's given.

  2. #127
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    LaBrie's style, to me, reflects too much of a hangover from the hair-metal days- very whiny, for want of a better word. (Neal Morse is also somewhat '80s'- first time I heard him, I thought 'Richard Marx'!) Somehow, that robs the band of a little edge, IMHO.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasKDye View Post
    However, when Rudess does that live, he replaces it with a silly ragtime thing... which DOES bother me. It sounds awful in context and does make me wonder if he's capable of any other kind of "fast piano" than just ragtime.
    It always comes off as jokey and flippant, that's the worst thing. Emerson had some ragtime/boogie-woogie influences as well, once or twice used to comedic effect ('Benny The Bouncer' and 'The Sheriff' spring to mind) but I think he genuinely respected the music- see his straight-forward, irony-free covers of Scott Joplin and Meade Lux Lewis.
    Last edited by JJ88; 03-19-2018 at 01:39 PM.

  3. #128
    I was at that gig!

    Quote Originally Posted by MudShark22 View Post
    As a fanboy since DT opened for Marillion at The Ritz
    Sleeping at home is killing the hotel business!

  4. #129
    ALL ACCESS Gruno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    LaBrie's style, to me, reflects too much of a hangover from the hair-metal days- very whiny, for want of a better word. (Neal Morse is also somewhat '80s'- first time I heard him, I thought 'Richard Marx'!) Somehow, that robs the band of a little edge, IMHO.
    Funny thing here. The #1 reason I am not a Dream Theater fan is due to LaBrie's voice -- yet, I love 80s hair metal! His voice just sucks, to me. Never cared for Neal Morse's voice, except for most of Snow. Having said that, I enjoy Richard Marx and have a few of his CDs and have seen him in concert a few times.

  5. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gruno View Post
    Never cared for Neal Morse's voice, except for most of Snow.l
    That's kind of weird. I can't think of anything different about his voice on that album from anything else he's done.
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  6. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilcox660 View Post
    I was at that gig!
    Fucking awesome show. Bought the WDADU cassette from the merch stand.
    No one plans to take the path that brings you lower

  7. #132
    As for Jordan's ability to play fast piano besides "ragtime," check out his tune "Interstices" from his solo cd "Feeding the Wheel." It's nothing but piano in a many styles, with plenty of fast moments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dregsfan View Post
    As for Jordan's ability to play fast piano besides "ragtime," check out his tune "Interstices" from his solo cd "Feeding the Wheel." It's nothing but piano in a many styles, with plenty of fast moments.

    Which rather begs the question why he doesn't do more of that with Dream Theater. Incidentally, I love Rudess's contributions to the Liquid Tension Experiment albums, but really dislike his work with DT. In particular, his selection of sounds with DT is often distinctly unimaginative or truly awful and inappropriate, with some of his lead sounds being especially jarring. I'm not sure if it's quite the right phrase to employ in the context of a band that so fetishizes technical complexity for its own sake, but there seems to be a real 'dumbing down' of the various members of DT that isn't visible when they work in other contexts. It's clear that since at least SFOAM they've been working to a formula that's become more hackneyed and worn-out with successive iterations, but yet they seem either unable or unwilling to depart from.
    Last edited by kid_runningfox; 03-21-2018 at 11:13 PM.

  9. #134
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Maybe Rudess played a bit of Jingle Bells in Octavarium because he wanted to sleigh, not slay.

  10. #135
    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    [Jordan's ragtime thing] always comes off as jokey and flippant, that's the worst thing. Emerson had some ragtime/boogie-woogie influences as well, once or twice used to comedic effect ('Benny The Bouncer' and 'The Sheriff' spring to mind) but I think he genuinely respected the music
    Quote Originally Posted by dregsfan View Post
    As for Jordan's ability to play fast piano besides "ragtime," check out his tune "Interstices" from his solo cd "Feeding the Wheel." It's nothing but piano in a many styles, with plenty of fast moments.
    Well, of course we knew the guy could play fast (it's one of the main things he's known for). His opening slot for Blackfield on the '07 (?) tour was pretty much nothing but lightning solo piano, though I remember liking it well enough for a half-hour set. The flash got excessive but was all hung on some pretty solidly melodic pieces.

    I'd guess his respect for ragtime (or most genres) is probably genuine like Emerson's, but what bothers me is the laziness of the joke. Do it once for a quick laugh in the middle of some complex metal thing, fine. It can work well enough at the right moment. Go back to that same well again and again and it's just tiresome shtick. This is probably representative of the bigger issues many of us have with DT as a whole--things could be so much fresher they could if they just tried thinking their way out of the mold more.

  11. #136
    Quote Originally Posted by Spiral View Post
    Well, of course we knew the guy could play fast (it's one of the main things he's known for). His opening slot for Blackfield on the '07 (?) tour was pretty much nothing but lightning solo piano, though I remember liking it well enough for a half-hour set. The flash got excessive but was all hung on some pretty solidly melodic pieces.
    I saw that tour as well, and have to say, i was doubtful it was going to be worth seeing. And was moved to tears. He plays beautifully. I had a different experience of him that evening.

    This has been a really interesting thread, and it seems like everyone is in some form of agreement, the issue is with the whole, not the sum of its parts. And seems like Petrucci is the issue? Everyone on their own or away from DT are TOTALLY different when away from this band. The case with Mangini being the most glaring. He's pretty much left himself at the door and has fallen in behind the rest, following Petruccis unemotional uninspiring shred fest (My personal feeling about his playing, not fact) not wanting to, seemingly rock the boat or disturb the "Machine." I thought it was Portnoy originally. He seems after following the thoughts expressed throughout this thread, to have been on to something much bigger than I originally thought.
    So, ditch Petrucci, get another guitarist in there, problem solved!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gpeccary View Post
    So, ditch Petrucci, get another guitarist in there, problem solved!
    I still say: bring in a proper producer, a guy who can reign in Petrucci & Rudess and bring out much more of the melodic side of their playing. A guy who can firmly say "No, we are not extending this track an extra four minutes to fit in more aimless soloing." A guy who will tell them that their bass player should be heard in the mix. A guy who helps them understand that there is middle ground between technical workouts and sappy ballads.

    Naive, perhaps, but I do wonder what might be accomplished if Petrucci & Rudess sat down with an acoustic guitar and a piano and composed some songs that sound good before they are embellished, and then let Mangini help in the arrangements.
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  13. #138
    Quote Originally Posted by Progatron View Post
    I still say: bring in a proper producer, a guy who can reign in Petrucci & Rudess and bring out much more of the melodic side of their playing. A guy who can firmly say "No, we are not extending this track an extra four minutes to fit in more aimless soloing." A guy who will tell them that their bass player should be heard in the mix. A guy who helps them understand that there is middle ground between technical workouts and sappy ballads.

    Naive, perhaps, but I do wonder what might be accomplished if Petrucci & Rudess sat down with an acoustic guitar and a piano and composed some songs that sound good before they are embellished, and then let Mangini help in the arrangements.
    I think it would have to take someone really strong and a willing Petrucci...

  14. #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpeccary View Post
    This has been a really interesting thread, and it seems like everyone is in some form of agreement, the issue is with the whole, not the sum of its parts. And seems like Petrucci is the issue? ...........not wanting to, seemingly rock the boat or disturb the "Machine."
    Quote Originally Posted by Progatron View Post
    I still say: bring in a proper producer, a guy who can reign in Petrucci & Rudess and bring out much more of the melodic side of their playing. A guy who can firmly say "No, we are not extending this track an extra four minutes to fit in more aimless soloing." A guy who will tell them that their bass player should be heard in the mix. A guy who helps them understand that there is middle ground between technical workouts and sappy ballads.
    Release an album wherein every song is written, arranged and produced by anyone in the band BUT PETRUCCI................
    It would not only be original DT material with a different objective/direction, it would also not be THE ASTONISHING.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gpeccary View Post
    I think it would have to take someone really strong and a willing Petrucci...
    Well, therein lies the problem. Portnoy never thought they needed a producer either, and although I like the albums he was on MUCH more than the last three, they still could have been better IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleDrummer View Post
    Release an album wherein every song is written, arranged and produced by anyone in the band BUT PETRUCCI................
    It would not only be original DT material with a different objective/direction, it would also not be THE ASTONISHING.
    Even less likely that he would accept such a backseat role in the band, relegated to 'player' status only.
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    ALL ACCESS Gruno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progatron View Post
    I still say: bring in a proper producer, a guy who can reign in Petrucci & Rudess and bring out much more of the melodic side of their playing.
    Make it an all instrumental album and I am in for that!

  17. #142
    Studmuffin Scott Bails's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progatron View Post
    I still say: bring in a proper producer, a guy who can reign in Petrucci & Rudess and bring out much more of the melodic side of their playing. A guy who can firmly say "No, we are not extending this track an extra four minutes to fit in more aimless soloing." A guy who will tell them that their bass player should be heard in the mix. A guy who helps them understand that there is middle ground between technical workouts and sappy ballads.

    Naive, perhaps, but I do wonder what might be accomplished if Petrucci & Rudess sat down with an acoustic guitar and a piano and composed some songs that sound good before they are embellished, and then let Mangini help in the arrangements.
    Right - all of that, plus better songwriting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gruno View Post
    Make it an all instrumental album and I am in for that!
    That's an issue, too. Labrie has been a weakness for a long time, now.
    Music isn't about chops, or even about talent - it's about sound and the way that sound communicates to people. Mike Keneally

  18. #143
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gruno View Post
    Make it an all instrumental album and I am in for that!
    I've got the instrumental version of Black Clouds and Silver Linings.....................I kinda like it.

  19. #144
    It's funny, the thing I always hated about DT was LaBrie. For some reason though, on the Astonishing, I find his vocals to be the best I've ever heard from him. Sadly, the music on that album is just not very good to my ears (let alone the lyrics, which are about as terrible as prog lyrics get, which is really saying something). I guess he has been getting vocal training from an opera singer or something (basically, a really good vocal coach) for several years now. I also thought he sounded really good on Ayeron's The Human Equation. I do agree though, that the band should at least make some effort to cater to his natural range, as the high pitched wailing does get old fast.

    For myself, I didn't like DT much the first time I heard them, which was Images and Words. I thought it was overblown and they were Rush meets metal wannabees. To be fair, I was deeply into 70's prog at the time, so DT really couldn't compete with the greats of 70's prog for my ears at the time.

    Years later a friend got the Live in NY DVD from the Metropolis Part 2 tour, and I was actually blown away. I still didn't like Labrie, but I was really impressed with the playing. So I started buying their albums. None of them ever fully pulled me in, though I still love the second CD of 6 Degrees (and most of the first, for that matter) and I think Octavarium is a good album with their best song ever, the title track. After that though, I started to wonder why I was buying their albums. Black Clouds was actually a step up from the previous one, I thought, in that there seemed to be return to more proggy melodicism. Of course, Petrucci's lyrics on the epic had me in tears......from laughter. So bad, they were funny.

    I bought ADTOE when it came out, and while it seemed like they'd tightened things up a bit in the writing and the growls were gone (thank god!), I could never remember anything about it when it was over. After a dozen listens and still not being able to recall a single melody or lyric or musical phrase, I gave up on DT. For some reason, I decided to get the Astonishing, because I thought maybe that format would suit them. I was terribly wrong and it's easily the worst thing they've ever put out, IMO (though, like I said, I actually find Labrie's vocals at their least annoying on the album, so it's a shame the lyrics and music are so awful).

    I think Portnoy was a lot more important to the band then the band realized (and still probably doesn't). However, he did create issues as well, like the growling and probably the Metallica worship that seemed to happen for a few albums (to my ears, anyway). So, yeah, never a favorite of mine but there are a handful of song and epics that I still like by them.

  20. #145
    ALL ACCESS Gruno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleDrummer View Post
    I've got the instrumental version of Black Clouds and Silver Linings.....................I kinda like it.
    Was that available commercially?

  21. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gruno View Post
    Was that available commercially?
    Yes, it's the third disc of the 3-CD deluxe edition.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progatron View Post
    I still say: bring in a proper producer, a guy who can reign in Petrucci & Rudess and bring out much more of the melodic side of their playing. A guy who can firmly say "No, we are not extending this track an extra four minutes to fit in more aimless soloing." A guy who will tell them that their bass player should be heard in the mix. A guy who helps them understand that there is middle ground between technical workouts and sappy ballads.
    Isn't that exactly what Kevin Shirley did on Falling Into Infinity? The fans hated it. I think it's the best thing they ever did.

  23. #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeFrog View Post
    Isn't that exactly what Kevin Shirley did on Falling Into Infinity? The fans hated it. I think it's the best thing they ever did.
    Yes, and another album like Falling Into Infinity is exactly what I'd love to hear from them again! I can still happily listen to that one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progatron View Post
    Yes, and another album like Falling Into Infinity is exactly what I'd love to hear from them again! I can still happily listen to that one.
    I thought it was just me! This thread actually made me pull it out the other day for the first time in years and it's even better than I remembered it. Sherinian's playing is spot on without being flashy. I didn't remember you could actually hear Myung so well. Petrucci's playing is actually tasteful and restrained in many instances which is not imaginable today.

  25. #150
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progatron View Post
    Yes, and another album like Falling Into Infinity is exactly what I'd love to hear from them again! I can still happily listen to that one.
    Agreed. But it's become legend how they had such a hard time with that one, and how they hated working with Shirley, so they'll never repeat that again.

    It's a shame - that's one of their best, IMO, but their experience recording it is what led to their issues going forward, IMO.
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