A Change Of Seasons [EP] Review

artist: Dream Theater date: 11/15/2007 category: compact discs
Dream Theater: A Change Of Seasons [EP]
Release Date: Sep 19, 1995
Genres: Progressive Metal, Neo-Prog
Label: Elektra
Number Of Tracks: 5
"A Change of Seasons" is a strange disc. There are only five tracks but with a total time that approaches an hour anyway.
 Sound: 9
 Lyrics: 8.5
 Overall Impression: 9
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 Reviewer rating:
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reviews (2) 11 comments vote for this album:
overall: 8.3
A Change Of Seasons [EP] Reviewed by: petrucci_owns86, on november 15, 2007
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: This album is a great example of progressive metal. The title track is widely regarded as one of Dream Theater's finest works, and the lyrics discuss the death of drummer Mike Portnoy's mother. This is DT's first release with new keyboardist Derek Sherinian. The overall sound of this EP is fairly heavy, with the title track played on seven-string guitar. Although, "A Change of Seasons" does switch to clean guitar several times over the 23 minute song. // 9

Lyrics: The lyrics are well written by Portnoy. I read them, and I can understand how the lyrics comply with the death of his mother. At times, the lyrics don't fit with the song, but for the most part, it sounds fine. James LaBrie doesn't sound as good as he can be on this record. It took me a while to figure out what he was singing in the last couple of lines of the title track. The second half of the album is a collection of covers that DT recorded at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London on January 31st, 1995.

01. A Change Of Seasons - one of my favorite songs by DT. The lyrics were written entirely by Mike Portnoy, their drummer. The full explanation for the different parts of the song is here. This is Dream Theater's fourth longest song in their history.
02. Funeral For A Friend/love Lies Bleeding (Elton John cover) - this is DT's take on the Elton John classic. And I must say, they did it well.
03. Perfect Strangers (Deep Purple cover) - the DT version of the Deep Purple song. Sounds like John Petrucci is using a seven-string guitar. Very heavy, great soloing by JP also.
04. The Rover/Achilles Last Stand/The Song Remains The Same (Led Zeppelin cover) - this is the Led Zeppelin medley that DT recorded. It's pretty good, not one of my favorites from this album, though.
05. In The Flesh?/Carry On Wayward Son/Bohemian Rhapsody/Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'/Cruise Control/Turn It On Again - a nice long medley of classic rock songs. It's ok, could have more soloing, though. // 8

Overall Impression: It's pretty good compared to other albums by Dream Theater, but it's only an EP, so it's not really classifiable as an album. The most impressive song is the title track, of course. It's also one of my favorite DT songs. I love the instrumentalism on this EP, and some of the live covers they did are actually pretty cool. Although, LaBrie's voice gets kind of irritating on the title track. But the instrumentalists make up for that. Buy this EP if you would like to hear one of the most exciting Dream Theater songs in their 22 year history. // 8

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overall: 9.3
A Change Of Seasons [EP] Reviewed by: Big Tommy P, on june 23, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Not an actual album, but a great record nonetheless. The twenty-three minute epic title track stands as a crowning achievement, both musically and lyrically, and is one of the bands' highest regarded songs. With lyrics by Mike Portnoy about the death of his mother to cancer, the song takes on a general melancholic atmosphere, which is in turn, reciprocated by the music. It showcases some fine musicianship by all the members, including a recently inducted Derek Sherinian on keyboards. The latter four consist of some live covers varying in style a bit, but performed well. Different songs suit different members at times, with LaBrie and Sherinian feeling more at home in Elton John's "Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding", whereas John Petrucci seems to wrap his fingers around the Led Zeppelin medley with more enthusiasm. They have a peculiar tendency to shine on an album with a new member, for example: When James LaBrie joined, Images and Words happened; when Jordan Rudess joined, Scenes from a Memory happened. Well, in this case, Derek Sherinian joined, and this happened. It overshadows its successor Falling Into Infinity in both energy and atmosphere, and is the jewel of the bands' time with Sherinian. // 9

Lyrics: The lyrics, by one Mr. Portnoy, are that of genuine emotion and showcase some of, if not, his best work. The song works as well as it does due to the matching themes in music and lyrics; minor and diminished chord structure, alternation of volume, tempo and distortion give it the sound of a true epic. Unfortunately, singer James LaBrie suffered some severe damage to his vocal chords, prior to the record, and as such, seems to have lost some of his vigour, and struggles at a couple of moments to reach the quality he could easily attain from the Images and Awake days. He performs well, nonetheless, yet the drop in vocal quality is easily noticeable when compared to Awake. He sings very well for the majority of the original, and absolutely nails the Elton John cover. The Led Zeppelin cover is a little strained, though that may be more to do in the contrastin vocal qualities with Robert Plant. For the lyrics, I'll give a 9, and for the singing, I'll give an 8, as James still performs like a true professional, and manages to pull it off well enough. // 9

Overall Impression: As stated earlier, the title track is one of exceptional quality (even by DT standards), and will please both proggers and metalheads. The covers are more likely to please the former (in which category I fall). The Elton John cover strikes me as the most well performed, and just sounds fantastic (even my metalhead friend, who dislikes Elton John, acknowledges the degree of grace and elegance, to which the quintet performs). The Deep Purple cover of Perfect Strangers is a mediocre performance by the bands' standards, and the Zep medley seems to be lacking in places. The concluding Big Medley is an impressive finish, with superb covers of In the Flesh?, Carry On Wayward Son, and Cruise Control. Guitarists who only believe in the guitar and worship Petrucci unconditionally may be disappointed in the lower that average quantity of guitar solos, but musicians, and the lay listener, are more likely to be drawn to it, for it's wider encompassing sound, and overall conglomeration of musical styles. // 10

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