Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory review by Dream Theater

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  • Released: Oct 26, 1999
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9.9 (180 votes)
Dream Theater: Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory

Sound — 10
I consider this to be Dream Theater's high point so far. This album is an incredible example of progressive metal. There is a very prominent storyline to this concept album, which comes in at about an hour and seventeen minutes. There are some painstakingly heavy songs, like "Beyond This Life" and "Home", but then there are some melodic ballads, such as "Through Her Eyes" and "The Spirit Carries On". This and Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence are tied as my favorite DT albums.

Lyrics — 10
The lyrics tell a story, and are overall extremely well written. James LaBrie is totally playing his "A" game on this album. The whole explanation for the story is here.

01. Scene One: Regression - an interesting way to start this album, contains acoustic guitar and vocals only. Segues into "Overture 1928".
02. Scene Two, Part I: Overture 1928 - what an instrumental! Great opening riff, and some unbelievable solos by John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess.
03. Scene Two, Part Ii: Strange Deja Vu - this song is actually surprisingly catchy, but in a good way.
04. Scene Three, Part I: Through My Words - a fairly light, very short song, segues into "Fatal Tragedy".
05. Scene Three, Part Ii: Fatal Tragedy - this song gives me goosebumps. It's that good.
06. Scene Four: Beyond This Life - one of the more important scenes in the story. Great instrumentation, awesome soloing section.
07. Scene Five: Through Her Eyes - this song was this close to bringing me to tears the first time I heard it. One of DT's best ballads to date.
08. Scene Six: Home - my favorite song on this album. What a badass sounding riff once the distortion kicks in! This is another important scene in the story. Amazing solos by John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess.
09. Scene Seven, Part I: The Dance Of Eternity - the better of the two instrumentals on the album. It's also a lot longer than the other one. Great solos once again.
10. Scene Seven, Part Ii: One Last Time - this song is relatively short, but it's still really good.
11. Scene Eight: The Spirit Carries On - another tear-jerking ballad. John Petrucci does an awe-inspiring solo on this one.
12. Scene Nine: Finally Free - this scene closes the album with a twist, you'll have to read the explanation above to understand it. This song has a weird structure to it, but it's great nonetheless. Segues into "The Glass Prison" from the following album, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence.

Overall Impression — 10
This is Dream Theater's magnum opus. In other words, it's their best, and it's my favorite along with Six Degrees. It's a concept album, and the story is divided up into different scenes. Every scene is classic, even the first one. There is nothing to hate about this album. If someone stole this album, I would buy it again in the blink of an eye. This is the only Dream Theater studio album I've given a perfect 10, and I've reviewed all of them. Scenes totally deserves this score. It's incredible to think that a band could make something this good, and throw an intriguing story on top of it. If you're new to Dream Theater, starting here would be a good idea.

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    hiimwilson2010 : dude, it all is bout the same thing cuz its a concept album.... durr. try again. it;s their first concept album. and if u need a refresher, a concept album is and album with a consistant story line to go with the album. it's bout a murder, so all the songs are gonna relate to a murder. but either way. they r great lyrics. listen to the album again buddy
    The lyrics just fit with the story, so it is hard to judge. I would give the lyrics a 7, no really cool quote's can be taken from it
    A lot of you are forgetting the twist at the end too. The whole concept is also about rebirth and the main character is like the murdered woman reborn and in the end he is killed by the hypnotherapist who is the murderer reborn. And the creepy "Open your eyes Nicholas" brings it all together at the end. OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE!
    The other part of the album it's more experimental (the dancing of the eternity) and other songs are quietly, and one last time it's like a summary of the album.
    lolol "the dancing of the eternity" awesome album
    Big Tommy P
    This was the first DT album I heard (and subsequently got) and is still my favourite to date (now that I have them all, and in 6 months, all storebought, I'm proud of myself). The Dance Of Eternity is THE greatest instrumental I have every heard (yes, it even beats YYZ). Can't wait to see them in Feb.
    easily dream theaters best and probably one of the best albums ever also best story i've ever heard on a concept album
    just got this album and its definatley worth all the hype. My favorite will always be Awake though, its just so dark and moving.
    Story [edit] Act 1 Scene One: Regression -- The album opens with Nicholas relaxing to the sounds of the Hypnotherapist's voice and entering a hypnotic state in the pursuit of regression therapy. Scene Two: I. Overture 1928 -- Nicholas is in a hypnotic trance and marveling at the surreal peace and comfort. As he settles into his trance, he begins to focus on the subject of his regression therapy, a girl named Victoria and a life that feels strangely similar to his own. In this song, there are many parts included from other songs from the album. At the beginning of "Overture 1928" (005-00:11) and at the guitar solo (01:35-01:51) there are riffs from Metropolis Pt. 1. The "Strange Dj Vu" chorus appears from 00:44 to 011 and from 028 to 02:25. The main theme from "One Last Time" is used from 02:26 to 02:42. A part from "The Dance Of Eternity" is sampled from 02:45 to 038. Scene Two: II. Strange Dj Vu -- We hear a little more about previous dreams that have led Nicholas to his therapy, and also continue deeper in the current trance. We learn that every time he closes his eyes, he is taken to this very vivid, recurring dream of another (yet just out of reach of conscious understanding) life. We understand that it is what he's been dreaming previously that has led him to his regression therapy. The dream is as follows: there is a pathway to a house. Inside the house and upstairs is a room where a girl appears in a mirror. All of this seems very familiar to him, but it logically shouldn't. In this dream, probably because this is actually a hypnotic trance and not just a regular dream, some things seem clearer than ever before. He can see the face of a young girl and poses the question, "Young child, won't you tell me why I'm here?" He sees that she has something to share with him, that there is a reason she is leading him here, a story to be told, and this story is of something terrible that is "tearing at her soul". Victoria now expresses her first hint at why she is haunting Nicholas. She has been searching for a way to reveal the truth about her murder. She also expresses great lament, "tears my heart into two". This along with the next line, "I'm not the one the Sleeper thought he knew", is her guilt that Julian Baynes (in the story also called The Sleeper) never knew about her relationship with his brother, Senator Edward Baynes (called The Miracle), which we learn about much later. She feels guilty for what she did to Julian. Now Nicholas is out of his therapy and back in real life. Even though he is awake, the thoughts and events of this other life are beginning to permeate every second of his day, and this is the beginning of his obsession with resolving this whole thing. He desperately wants to know why this is happening and would cross over to this other world consciously if he knew how. Nothing in the current day matters to him, only learning more about his new obsession. It is here that he has his first inclination that he may have actually lived in the world of which he dreams. He knows that this dreamland holds the key to his peace, and he will not rest until he unlocks that door. Scene Three: I. Through My Words -- Nicholas realizes the link between Victoria and himself. He now knows why he feels so drawn to her and her world as they share the same soul. Scene Three: II. Fatal Tragedy -- It starts with Nicholas 'alone at night'. He knows who Victoria is now, but not why she is so torn or how he is involved. Sometime later, he goes to visit an older man, who the story makes a point to tell us is 'alone'. Whose house this is, and who the old man is, are things that are never made clear throughout the story. The importance of the older man is that he knows a little about a murder that happened a long time ago and shares what he knows with Nicholas. We learn that a girl was murdered, and that she was young. Nicholas sits and listens to the older man's tale and finds that it is still a mystery today. Nicholas is then realizing that until he unveils the truth about what happened to Victoria, he cannot live his current life. He is stuck in this obsession and cannot turn back. We learn then that Nicholas understands that without faith and hope, 'there can be no peace of mind', therefore Nicholas encourages himself to be strong and have faith that he will find the truth, because without the truth, he will never rest. This song ends with the Hypnotherapist speaking. The next session starts with taking Nicholas back to the point of the murder of Victoria. Scene Four: Beyond This Life -- We learn the newspaper account of what happened in 1928. The story is that a witness, Edward Baynes heard a horrifying sound and upon reaching the scene of the sound he discovers a woman who's been shot dead, and the shooter standing over her. The witness tries to help and the shooter commits suicide and falls on top of the dead woman. The newspaper account talks of a sad close to a broken love affair. This indicates that the victim and the murderer are identified as previous or maybe even current love
    The Album is so great. I love these lyrics, and we can't forget the guitar! John is putting out some of his greatest guitar parts in this. Plus the lyrics are so great it fits with the music so well. Easily in my top 5 favorite albums of all time!
    i read the explanation of the lyrics (the same as the ones in the comment by soggybomb, except i got em from wikipedia and i think he did too, lol)before i listened to the album and that made it really easy to understand... and about the album... im ****ing speechless, this album is godly. holy shit. the storyline is amazing and the instrumental technicality is mindblowing! dt at their best and nothing they ever wrote tops this...
    Dream Theater12
    I am already six minutes into my favorite song on this CD Home On the guitar it is a simple song and fun to learn