dream theater the gift of music

Single Review: Dream Theater – The Gift Of Music

The greatest tease to be released this year, we all have been given the first taste of Dream Theater’s extravagant upcoming album “The Astonishing.” I’ve been nerding over this over my social media pages because of the sheer amount of information and detail going into this album. With a steady release of characters, maps, track titles, and more, “The Astonishing” is starting to piece together. Although the album will not be released until early next year, Dream Theater has released the first official single for the album, titled “The Gift Of Music.”

“The Gift Of Music” portrays the differing eras and sounds of Dream Theater in a four minute track. With glimpses of their previous self-titled album, I love the lightheartedness of the guitar rhythms and keyboards, provided by John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess respectively. Imagining tracks like “The Looking Glass” and “Behind The Veil,” the phased out sound of the rhythm section grabs the listeners attention. Another layer is added with the forceful drum beats reminiscent of Dream Theater’s earlier material. Songs like “Erotomania” and “Lie” off their album “Awake” jump up in my mind, something that has been lacking in their last couple albums. Finally, the vocal approach by singer James Labrie reminds me of the second part of the album “Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence,” an album which also utilizes different vocal deliveries depending on the themes of each song. If the quality of “The Astonishing” matches “The Gift Of Music,” the sky is the limit for what could potentially be one of the most sophisticated albums in their discography, better yet the progressive metal genre.

After reading over John Petrucci’s interview with Rolling Stone magazine, I become more aware of the choral presence in the song. Learning that Dream Theater has recruited Beck’s father to conduct choirs and symphonies in this album, I audibly gasped. Recalling the fantastic and original performance of their live album “Score,” which too used the help of conductor Jamshied Sharifi and the “Octavarium Orchstra” to provide symphonic touches to reimaginations of their most popular songs at the time, I could only imagine their usage in this album. I am now most interested in hearing not only their incorporation in this album, but also their inclusion in a live setting. Dream Theater will be performing “The Astonishing” over several dates in Europe using these same orchestral musicians, something I only hope they will recreate in the United States.

So without further wait, enjoy “The Gift Of Music” by Dream Theater. It truly is a gift.


Single Review: Grus Paridae – Passes By

With only a few moments to spare during a busy weekend in Big Bear, I thought I’d share with you all a single submitted to the site weeks ago. Residing in Finland, progressive/art rock band Grus Paridae released their debut single “Passes By” last year. Consisting of two single tracks lasting a total of ten minutes, I was impressed with the overall quality of the band’s orchestrations, but felt differently about the band’s vocal performance.Read More »

Single Review: Moon – Sidewinder

I received an interesting submission to the site the other day, being the first single of Australian post-rock/progressive rock band Moon. With their first album “The Orbitor” slated for an early 2016 release date, Moon decided to release their first song “Sidewinder” a few days ago, the epitome of a teaser.

“Sidewinder” is a four minute instrumental song depicting images and videos of objects in motion, whether it’s the running of a cheetah to the dropping of bombs. An ambitious song, I can definitely hear moments of various influences, from the progginess of Porcupine Tree to the heaviness of The Foo Fighters. I especially enjoyed the freestyle drum solo towards the end of the track, something I haven’t heard in a while.

Overall, I enjoyed the little bit Moon has given me with “Sidewinder.” Although I know hardly anything about the band (including who is in the band), I look forward to what the album as a whole will sound like. Compared to bands like sleepmakeswaves, Mogwai, and Black Sabbath on their site, one can expect short bursts of powerful three to four minute songs using this same formula. You can be sure that I will update you all about “The Orbitor” as more information is released.

Be sure to check out their website and follow them on Facebook for upcoming news.

Check out the official music video of the son “Sidewinder” below:

Single Review: Prehistoric Animals – One Day Came A Ghost

Swedish alternative metal band Prehistoric Animals released their first single last month called “One Day Came A Ghost”. This duo has created a fantastic debut single with great production value, and an interesting mix between heavier, metal pieces with poppy, airy vocals and synthesizers. With influences from bands like Porcupine Tree, Mew, Muse, and Katatonia, I can definitely feel the direction the band is attempting with their music.Read More »

Single Review: Iron Maiden – Speed of Light

It’s been a busy year for Iron Maiden, especially for frontman Bruce Dickinson. After overcoming two cancerous tumors in his tongue and neck, then crash landing a plane in recent months, Bruce has narrowly avoided catastrophe. With a clean bill of health, Iron Maiden has returned to the studio and teased their upcoming album “The Book of Souls” with their latest single “Speed of Light.”

Being one of the shortest songs on the album, “Speed of Light” clocks in at five minutes long, but is jam packed with all the necessary amount of metal. It’s hard to believe that after thirty years, Iron Maiden can still create such high quality songs. Many bands have lost their luster over age, but these guys have continued to show their dominance in the metal scene, even in their prior album “The Final Frontier.” With that signature 80’s wail to start off the song, fans will immediately know that Iron Maiden is back after a five year break, and in full force. The rhythm guitar throughout is very catchy, a chord-heavy sound that has inspired so many current bands. Half way through the song is an amazing dual guitar solo, one of many I can foresee in this album. I’m excited about this song, and can’t wait to hear more.

If the song was amazing enough, the music video is a bonus treat. Mimicking some of the most popular video games, the entire video shows the evolution of gaming. Starting with a Donkey Kong-esque battle, the Iron Maiden mascot Eddie travels through dimensions and different videos games, ultimately appearing in a visually realistic game (most likely Doom). I really enjoyed the video presentation, especially the Mortal Kombat scene containing the song’s solo.

Overall, it’s a great single from a great band. I highly recommend checking out the song, and wait in anticipation of their newest album.

Check out the official music video for “Speed of Light” below:

Single Review: Lydia – Past Life

As I was clocking out of work for the weekend, I heard news that indie rock band Lydia will be releasing their newest album “Run Wild” in September. To coincide this news was the release of their first single “Past Life,” a three minute pop/indie rock taste of what should be an amazing album.

I immediately felt that song was much different than anything off their previous release “Devil.” The heavier drum beats and the tremelo picking during the song’s chorus make the song sound harder than anything they’ve released. These sentiments are confirmed with singer Leighton Antelman describing the album as a “little darker” than their last album. At the same time, the inclusion of orchestra instruments throughout bring a side of Lydia we’ve never heard before. The final few moments introduce a new technique of keyboards and sound manipulation that also hasn’t appeared in previous records, showing of the experimentation and adaptability of having two producers working on this album. And, as always, Leighton’s delivery is so personable, reminding me of a story teller or a narrator.

I enjoyed the song, which reminded me of being influenced by their earlier work. I look forward to this album’s release, and am interested in seeing how dark Lydia will take this album.

Check out the single “Past Life” below: