From Limelight to Looking Glass

The new Dream Theater is officially out today. So let’s celebrate! This digital wonder is chock-full of mind-blowing prog virtuosity.

I’ve had it on the playlist all day (after downloading it last night, when I was first alerted that my pre-order was ready). Oh man, it is excellent.

Yet I must admit that “False Awakening Suite” sounded to me like a musical practical joke. It’s so overblown it’s hilarious. An intentionally head-fake false start? Oh well, great fun, however it was intended.

And then “The Enemy Inside” was already familiar, and much enjoyed, ever since it was first available for download back in August.

But finally, as of track three, I was irrevocably won over to this awesome album. “The Looking Glass” will thrill every Rush-loving prog soul out there. The guitar riff and faster-than-light drum fills, for example, are reminiscent of “Limelight” in the best possible way. What we have here is a tribute to musical geniuses by other musical geniuses. Simply superb…

Dude, it doesn’t get any better than this!

(Song of the Year, anyone? I will not argue with you; I simply direct you to the face-melting guitar soloing.)

Dude, it’s like “Limelight” multiplied to the power of five!

Yes, “The Looking Glass” has become an instant favorite of mine, along with “Along for the Ride.”

So… calling all Rush fans: I hereby put you on red alert. There are so many awesome shout-outs on this disc for you to get ecstatic over. (I love the invocation of the Peart Muse at the opening of “Surrender to Reason, for example.) Further, above and beyond paying stunning tribute to their masters, they are doing their own righteous thing and delivering all the prog goods you could ever ask for.

Go enjoy this solid slice of excellence, my prog metal-minded friends. You can’t go wrong with this album, especially if you were raised righteously—on Rush!

But if you need further testimony to convince you, here’s Simon Ramsey:

Closing colossus Illumination Theory is a conceptual 22 minute roller coaster delivered in five movements.  A feast of thrilling sequences hurl from the speakers one after the next before an existential narrative unfurls. After eight minutes of head-spinning riffs, the band fade out as ambient electronic soundscapes give way to a sweeping symphonic section that’s beauty and grace incarnate.

It then lifts off again as feisty soloing from Jordan Rudess and John Petrucci leads to a grandstanding climax rich in personal epiphany. It’s a telling finale that sends out a clear message — Dream Theater are a band creatively reborn, thriving in the here and now without relying on trusted formulas and past glories.

5 thoughts on “From Limelight to Looking Glass

  1. Kevin Williams

    Nice review of TLG here…you totally nailed it! Only possible issue with “Song of the Year” is that with THIS album, that award could change with every listen – nice “problem” to have. Cheers!


  2. carleolson

    Nice review, Chris. I’ve listened to it about five times now, and I’m very pleased with it as the last couple of DT albums have left me largely cold. And the overt Rush references are fun–and work perfectly.


  3. Pingback: First Prog Obsession | Progarchy: Pointing toward Proghalla

  4. marcooooos

    Great review. In truth this album is a combination of all DT albums. Which naturally means a giant homage to all influences from king crimson to rush and genesis to yes. Petrucci and and the band have been transferring this history of prog to a new more metal sound and more intense sound. Unashamed ballad’s, uplifting solos, relative lyrics and an insane drummer to back it make the album essential to prog fans. The illumination theory is a different track every listen.


  5. Pingback: Album Review: Dream Theater — A View from the Top of the World – Progarchy


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