DREAM THEATER – A View From The Top Of The World (2021)
Even after hundreds of shows, 15 million records sold, two Grammy Award nominations, and almost four decades together, DREAM THEATER continue to look ahead. Their collective gaze never wavers from the future.
Instead, the progressive metal trailblazers – James LaBrie (Vocals), John Petrucci (Guitars), Jordan Rudess (Keyboards), John Myung (Bass), and Mike Mangini (Drums) – consistently explore uncharted territory with the same spirit of sonic adventurousness.
On their upcoming fifteenth album to be released October 22, ”A View from the Top of the World”, the New York quintet rush forward at full speed again with seven tracks equally steeped in articulate arrangements, groove-laden guitars, and skyscraping melodies bringing to mind their early works.
DREAM THEATER was in the middle of a sold-out world tour in support of their last release “Distance Over Time” and the 20th anniversary of “Scenes From A Memory” when a global pandemic brought the world to a stop. The musicians found themselves at home, with LaBrie in Canada and the rest of the group in the States.
As fate would have it, they’d just finished construction on DTHQ (Dream Theater Headquarters) — a combination live recording studio, rehearsal space, control room, equipment storage, and creative hive. With LaBrie in Canada, he initially wrote with the band via Zoom on a monitor in DTHQ. In March 2021, he flew down to New York, quarantined, and recorded his vocals face-to-face with Petrucci.
We think opener “The Alien” could honestly be shown as an introductory track to someone new to Dream Theater, because it encompasses so many of both their old style, but also shows the new direction the band has taken. That’s something that Dream Theater has always practiced wonderfully – each and every album sounds different than the last and all other ones before.
Sure, they have common elements that are present through their entire discography, such as mind-blowing guitar solos, complex time signatures, and soaring vocals from James LaBrie, but that’s what makes the band what they are, and this epic nine minute song is a great showcase of that.
As a longtime fan of Dream Theater, all over ”A View from the Top of the World” I can hear influences from their 1994 album ‘Awake’ all the way to albums such as 2011’s ‘A Dramatic Turn of Events’, and even 2019’s ‘Distance Over Time’.
We have that time signature changes with intricate melodies, sounding heavy at places with metal-esque groove that’ll make even extreme metal fans bob their heads in rhythm. LaBrie is in top form, and it isn’t necessary to remark the rest of the band member performances. DT simply kills.
There are multiple instrumental passages in which the band breaks into the technical prowess they are (in)famous for, with gorgeous solos from John Petrucci, masterful leads by Jordan Rudess, punchy grooves by John Myung and unreal fills n’ beats by Mike Mangini.
01 – The Alien
02 – Answering The Call
03 – Invisible Monster
04 – Sleeping Giant
05 – Transcending Time
06 – Awaken The Master
07 – A View From The Top Of The World
James LaBrie – lead vocals
John Petrucci – guitars, backing vocals, production
John Myung – bass
Jordan Rudess – keyboards
Mike Mangini – drums