Score review by Dream Theater

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  • Released: Aug 29, 2006
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (78 votes)
Dream Theater: Score
7

Sound — 10
There's a reason why John Petrucci was one of the elite guitarists chosen to take part in a G3 Tour with Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. If you listen to Score, the latest concert CD release from Dream Theater, you'll never again have a doubt in your mind as to why. Petrucci and Dream Theater's 20th anniversary concert at Radio City Music Hall is one that feels very much like a symphonic production - with or without the Octavarium Orchestra that takes the stage with the band in the second set.

With two decades of work under their belts, the musicians in Dream Theater play a small sampling of it in Score and even add in lesser-known tunes like Raise The Knife during the concert. Probably the most incredible aspect of the three-hour show is the band's precise synchronicity. In a song like the 41-minute long Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence, they never miss a beat, even with the addition of a 30-piece orchestra.

The biggest feat that Dream Theater faces is to make their blend of highly skilled music accessible to a general public. Amazingly, vocalist James LaBrie, guitarist Petrucci, bassist John Myung, keyboardist Jordan Rudess, and drummer Mike Portnoy do it rather well considering that your average listener could get antsy. Plenty of musicians feel the need to show off their talent by making songs revolve around solos that don't connect at all to the melody, but Dream Theater's songs actually are cohesive and memorable after the first listen. The best example is the opening track, The Root Of All Evil, which takes it time in first introducing the running skills of Petrucci, or for that matter, keyboardist Rudess. Instead, the song starts off with a driving groove that is more like a wall of sound when you get all of the musicians playing the same melody.

One drawback for those unfamiliar with Dream Theater is the length of the CD, but you shouldn't be intimidated too quickly. The longer songs do tend to have several segments that could be considered separate tunes on their own. An example would be Metropolis, which begins with a Pink Floyd-like a la Marooned. Rudess actually plays the intro in Metropolis, taking a break from his keyboards to play a steel guitar. Following the last note of Rudess' intro, the song takes it's first of many changes in a more acoustic-based, stripped-down ballad. It's these continuous changes that make the song feel like an epic song and not necessarily like a tune that's just way, way too long.

Lyrics — 8
The lyrics to the songs performed on Score are all from albums that Dream Theater has made over the last two decades. The band has found a niche for itself in terms of songwriting, with their lyrics often involving introspection and melodramatic imagery. But when you're listening to a Dream Theater song, the average love song is definitely not what immediately comes to mind.

In The Spirit Carries On, the band explores plenty of questions in life right off the bat. LaBrie sings, Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where do we go when we die? What lies beyond? He goes on to explain his theory of life and death, which is transcendental enough that it actually fits pretty well with the music. There is nothing too earthly about the talent that Dream Theater has, so why not let the virtuosos reflect on a few of life's mysteries?

With Afterlife the theme stays perhaps too close to that of The Spirit Carries On. LaBrie sings, In the Afterlife; Will dark be bright? Will cold be warm? Will the day have no night? The lyrics do lay it on pretty deeply for the average listener, so some people might find themselves a bit annoyed. When it comes down to it, however, Dream Theater's music will likely be what most people remember, not the lyrics.

Overall Impression — 9
Dream Theater's Score can be an overwhelming listen if you take it all in at one time, so be sure to pace yourself. In smaller doses, it's a lot more accessible to the ear and allows you to appreciate the melodies rather than just the obvious solos. There are a few songs like Octavarium and Metropolis that are more like chamber pieces with the full orchestra behind them, but it's fascinating to hear how the rock and classical worlds meld together pretty smoothly.

If you're not real familiar with Dream Theater, be warned: the entire concert is almost three hours long and may be more than you might expect. But the compositions take several different turns and actually seem to be more like five or six songs in the end, which keeps thing continuously interesting. While the band does allow plenty of time for solos, it's refreshing to hear a band that is able to write melodies that are strong enough to survive on it's own.

38 comments sorted by best / new / date

    laparsons
    awesome, im a huge dream theater fan and will be getting my hands on this album asap. little_black is right though, no good bands ever come down here
    SmittyMan90
    DaBlackE wrote: In the November issue of Guitar World Mastodon said these guys were gay. Not brokeback gay but just gay. I dont listen to Dream Theater but would love to own John Petrucci's amps.
    Well Mastodon is a perfect example of lame cookie-cutter modern metal. Dream Theater can write incredible pieces of music unlike that band.
    dPark
    I am some kind of fan if dream theater. So I would have bought this anyway but... Now that I read this... I want to buy right now! =D
    little_black
    oo, sounds tops. this is as close as i'll ever get to witnessing dream theater live, as theyd never get themselves down to aust. ah well, good on em.
    drmbdrummer
    Once again Dream Theater never disappoints. It seems however that this was Petrucci's off day as he seemed to have a few timing issues in Sacrificed Sons and other solos but Portnoy was dead on...but hey, an off day for John is still 20x better than an on day from anyone else. Awesome album
    DaBlackE
    In the November issue of Guitar World Mastodon said these guys were gay. Not brokeback gay but just gay. I dont listen to Dream Theater but would love to own John Petrucci's amps.
    denied
    not to mention his pedals... . seems like a decent album. be getting it pretty soon!
    mojomike
    holy shit i thought at 23 minutes "A Change Of Seasons" was their longest song but now there's a 41 minute long song. I'm sooo buying this cd.
    chrispozzobon
    Is there any new material on the CD? Either way I'll still buy it. Anyone know when they're comin' out with the next one?
    DTFatesWarningX
    DaBlackE : In the November issue of Guitar World Mastodon said these guys were gay. Not brokeback gay but just gay. I dont listen to Dream Theater but would love to own John Petrucci's amps.
    One more reason for me to hate Mastodon That show was freaking amazing, the Metropolis encore was one of the best moments possibly in my life
    DTFatesWarningX
    chrispozzobon : Is there any new material on the CD? Either way I'll still buy it. Anyone know when they're comin' out with the next one?
    Portnoy's site said they're heading into the studio in September and plan a relatively early 2007 release
    fluffylump2
    i thought it was kinda boring. i watched some of it on tv and it didn't seem nearly as good at Budokan.
    dreamtheater91
    This review is referring to "Metropolis" as the epic track, but i think they're referring to "Octavarium"
    -spayed-
    this cd kicks ****in ass. im writin a review on it in my School Paper....i think u know wut im gonna write.
    kornflipsk8er
    i went to pick up the dvd today but they didn't have it.which sucked but one of my band mates bought it so we are having a party tomarrow to just get together and watch it and get drunk,lol.Score!!!
    AngryGuitarist
    Dude alexi laiho indirectly talked about dream theater as " A sport, not an f-ing band" I respect alexi and his descisions and i also like children of bodom.. but john petruccie rules!!
    drms&gtr_player
    yeh, mike portnoy is my fav drummer, I also play with his signature drumsticks, they rock, but I love the other members too, I'm going to buy this album very soon!
    Modernmusich8er
    DaBlackE wrote: In the November issue of Guitar World Mastodon said these guys were gay. Not brokeback gay but just gay. I dont listen to Dream Theater but would love to own John Petrucci's amps.
    I'm gonna type this and go kill every single member of Mastodon, pricks. Anyway, Dream Theater is great and I can't wait to get Score.
    PinkFloydrulez
    mojomike wrote: holy shit i thought at 23 minutes "A Change Of Seasons" was their longest song but now there's a 41 minute long song. I'm sooo buying this cd.
    umm dude.. disc 2 of six degrees of inner turbulence, the song (also called six degrees of inner turbulence)is the 42 minute song split into 7 or 8 parts or however it is.
    cubedeathk
    Mastodon is just mad because they are trying to go proggressive but they will never be as good as DT
    Jwest6005
    dream is deffinaltely a great band and they produce great music. watched there last show on vh1 classic and it was great
    PetrucciStringz
    I was at that concert and it kicked ass. I was rocking out right in front of pettrucci and it was awesome.The drums and guitars sounded great,labrie`s voice was in tune and Rudess had a little solo that rocked and Myung was his quiet self making sound cool bass riffs.Once you go Dream Theater You Never Go Back!!!
    Rageslave
    I love Dream Theater, I cant listen to anything else. Portnoy, Rudess, and Petrucci are all musical geniuses, and cool guys to meet in person
    laparsons
    will be getting my hands on this album asap but little_black is right...no good bands ever tour down here
    Th3Tempest
    THIS IS THE BEST CD EVER FREAKING SWEET. IF YOU HAVE VH1 CLASSIC YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN ITS THE DVD AND CD AND THE CONCERT IS FUCKING SWEET!
    BrokenWingman
    I wasn't aware Guitar Virtuoso was a music genre...lol. Other than that, once I get some money i'm buying that. It's the shit.