July 16, 2005

Dream Theater: 2005 A Change Of Seasons

Every time Dream Theater releases a new album it usually takes between three and five listens before I'm really able to wrap my mind around the music and decide if I like it or not. Of course, I always end up loving it and can't imagine them making any new albums that don't sound like this. Then after a couple years they release another album that sounds very different from the last and the whole process starts over again.

Now that I've finally fallen in love with the newest release, Octavarium, and have been listening to it non-stop for well over a week I thought I'd post my personal ranking of Dream Theater's studio albums. I’ll post my thoughts on one album per day, starting with the lowest ranked and moving upward. Here we go!

3. A Change of Seasons

This song only has one studio song on it, but it’s possibly the greatest single song Dream Theater has ever made and it also happens to be the first Dream Theater album I ever bought, which gave it a few extra points. This is everything that an epic length song should be, a single whole tied together by distinct but related movements that run the gamut from slow to fast, rocking to mellow. Each piece sounds great on its own when it’s playing, but there’s no doubt that it’s one song and not several songs simply laid next to each other.

The rest of the album is filled out with some great live cover tunes from several of Dream Theater's musical influences. The live stuff includes "Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" formerly by Elton John, "Perfect Strangers" by Deep Purple, "The Rover/Achilles Last Stand/The Song Remains the Same" by Led Zeplin. Lastly, "The Big Medley", which as you might expect has bits of songs from Pink Floyd, Kansas, Queen, Journey, The Dixie Dregs, and Genesis. Though not on this album, but released on one of the Live DVDs they later released, this live show also included appearances by several guests, such as Steve Howe of Yes fame.

Also of note is that this was the first album for then new keyboardist Derek Sherinian, who came on as a hired gun after the departure of original member Kevin Moore left the band. He didn't last long though, and only appeared on this album and Falling Into Infinity before he was replaced (according to rumors for being too much of a slime with the ladies back stage) and the current lineup took shape.
I know, it seems lame to be giving what’s really a half studio album such a high ranking, but the title track earns it by be so fantastically good. The cover tunes are just the lettering on an already baked and frosted cake.

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