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Dream Theater

Entry updated 21 August 2012. Tagged: Music.

US prog rock band, formed in 1985 by guitarist John Petrucci (1967-    ), bassist John Ro Myung (1967-    ) and Michael Portnoy (1967-    ). Their first album When Dream and Day Unite (1989) is an energetic reworking of classic 1970s prog-rock musical idiom, and included the long song "The Killing Hand", which concerns a future war between an evil genius and a messiah-figure. The various tracks on Images and Words (1992) include, especially in the melodramatic and elongated "Metropolis Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper", nonspecific Dystopian musings. This song eventually produced as sequel the entire concept-album Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory (1999) which fleshes the story out (it concerns the complicated connections between a modern-day man travelling to 1928 by hypnagogic-trance Timeslip and becoming involved with a murdered woman). Less coherent and more hyperbolically pretentious was Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (2002), an overlong album that includes a song about stem-cell research and a forty-minute suite detailing a number of manifestations of insanity and mental breakdown. Dream Theater's music is always played with technical proficiency and usually possesses a layered complexity, but it nevertheless fails to go beyond a rather bland generic ordinariness. A fondness for portentous spoken-vocals and an adolescent belief in the profundity of vatic generalized banalities ("love is the dance of eternity"; "we can learn from the past, we can hope for the future") detract from the overall effect. [AR]


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