First things first: the Dream Theater pre-order is now open. But if you’re a fan, you probably know that With over a month to go the band have released a trailer in the form of The Enemy Inside…
Truth be told, this shows the facet of DT‘s repertoire I like the least. When Radiohead said ‘anyone can play guitar’ they were perhaps being a little tongue in cheek – and certainly not everyone can play guitar like John Petrucci – but this kind of ‘speed metal for radio’ doesn’t really do justice to the embarrassment of musical talent in the DT camp. In spite of protestations that the band have been masters of their own musical destiny – most notably since Scenes from a Memory (1999) – there have been occasional signs that the band have tweaked their sound to appeal to a more mainstream/trendy metal/rock audience – Never Enough (very Muse), The Dark Eternal Night (pseudo-’Death growls’, A Rite of Passage and strayed from the essence of their sound in the process. This sounds like another one of those times to me. …Enemy… is a very pedestrian slice of metal by DT standards: fast-paced, suitably-shredding, dizzyingly-widdly but finally not that memorable.
Previous excursions into full-on metal – most notably with Awake (1994), Train of Thought (2003) and Systematic Chaos (2007) – remain the weakest episodes in DT’s career to date, in my opinion anyway.
I didn’t miss Mike Portnoy‘s playing on A Dramatic Turn of Events at all, but I do on this song – I think his ‘manic Moon’ splashes and fills would have lifted this song in a way that Mike Mangini‘s precise yet predictable batterie doesn’t. And Jordan Rudess is criminally underused here. When his solo spot arrives at 4.43 my heart almost skips a beat, but then it settles back down pretty quickly when I realise I’ve heard these kinda figures done before, and better.
It’s a shame, because I don’t think this song will either sate the appetite of established fans or win them any new ones. This is a crucial album for them in many ways and they need to impress. Much as the lacklustre A Rite of Passage (accompanied, like …Enemy… by a pretty lame video clip) didn’t put me off pre-ordering Black Clouds and Silver Linings this won’t stop me going ahead and purchasing Dream Theater but it has dampened my enthusiasm a little. ADToE came on the back of two albums that only really shone half the time, sporting a freshness and economy of writing that put it up there with the band’s best work. I’m looking for more in the remainder of the tracks, and I doubt I’ll be entirely disappointed, but lets wait and see…
- Opus Eponymous continued… (musicbugsandgender.wordpress.com)
- First Listen: Dream Theater’s new single, “The Enemy Inside” (progarchy.com)