Sound — 10
Anyone remember the 90s? Awesome cartoons, even better music. Dream Theater's "Scenes From A Memory" is probably my favorite album to come out of the 90's. Any genre of music. Which, considering all the different areas covered on this album, is quite a feat. On one hand, you have your typical Dream Theater awesome proggyness ("Overture", "Fatal Tragedy", "Dance Of Eternity"), on another hand you have their metal side ("Beyond This Life", "Home"), and on ANOTHER hand you have gospel-like songs ("Through My Words", "Through Her Eyes", "The Spirit Carries On"). Dream Theater is probably the only band with the musicianship to pull all of that off in just 70 minutes, and to do it so that they all flow together flawlessly? Sign me up. This album was the first recorded with the wizard himself, Jordan Rudess. Where past keyboard players have fit Dream Theater's overall sound really well, Rudess's playing is more of a direct compliment to Petrucci's absurd playing, and some of their exchanges are too awesome to put into words ("Beyond This Life" has an awesome instrumental section). During this album, LaBrie was still recovering from a voice box injury he suffered a few months back, but you wouldn't know it from listening. Whether its the unusual pitch on "Beyond This Life", his soulful tone on "The Spirit Carries On", or his lovingly pure notes on "Through Her Eyes", his singing fits this album amazingly well. I've long since stopped trying to comprehend Portnoy's playing on this album. "The Dance Of Eternity" has about as many time signature changes as I have made in 8 years of playing violin, and yet Portnoy never falters. Myung, the ever mysterious member of the group, really shines on a number of tracks, whether it's his solo in "Dance Of Eternity" or matching Petrucci's riffs on songs like "Fatal Tragedy", his playing is as always amazing and incredibly underrated. This is by far and away one of my favorite albums all time and it is absolutely worth picking up.
Lyrics — 10
This album is a concept album, and is a sequel of sorts to their song "Metropolis Part 1: The Miracle And The Sleeper" off of their 2nd album, "Images And Words". This album, clocking in at roughly 75 minutes, is the first of four albums in Dream Theater's "Meta-Album" (which spans from this album all the way through "Octavarium"). It tells the story of a man named Nicholas, who's dreams are being haunted by a mysterious woman, of whom he has a strange attraction. He goes on to find out that he IS the woman, or rather, that he WAS the woman in a past life. I won't spoil the rest of it for you, because I have to say it is a pretty good story, but I will say that the songwriting on this album is PHENOMENAL. I'm just wondering when the movie of this comes out. Like I said, the story itself is pretty damn good, and it's one of those stories that takes more than one run-through to really fully pick up. The music flows together really well, both lyrically and stylistically, and the boys in DT did a great job writing this. The lyrics really fit the mood of the music, whether its mysterious ("Fatal Tragedy"), aggressive ("Home"), or loving ("Through Her Eyes"). LaBrie does an excellent job on his delivery. Never too shrill or too soft. Although I think his best singing is on the "Octavarium" album, this is not something to overlook. There are two instrumentals on this album: "Overture 1928", and "The Dance Of Eternity". "Overture 1928 musically goes over all of the songs on the album, and gives you a taste of what is to come. Pretty well written and has some awesome solos from Rudess. "The Dance Of Eternity" comes in on the 2nd half of the album, and while I won't give away what it means to the story, I will say that the song by itself is quite diverse. Listen for Rudess's solo somewhere between the 2 and 3 minute marks if you want to see what I mean. Every member of the band has a solo at some point on this song. Overall it is well written and I have no major complaints.
Overall Impression — 10
Why are you still reading this? Go out and get the album already! Seriously though. This album is quite possibly the best written album of all time. There's something that everyone can appreciate on this album, whether you are a casual music fan, a budding musician/songwriter, or a fan of a good story. This is absolutely something you need to have in your collection. If you liked the story as much as I did, there is a DVD of this album which features actors portraying the events of the story live. I highly encourage you check that out as well, if only because the album's end is a little unclear. You could probably guess what happens, but where's the fun in that? My personal favorite song on the album is probably "Fatal Tragedy". It was the first song I had heard off the album and I thought it was really well done. A very mysterious vibe to it, and the guitar solo is absolutely nuts. Honestly though I could pick any song off the album (other than "Regression" because it's only a minute long and half the song doesn't even have music) and justify it as being my favorite. It's an absolutely stunning piece of work.