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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Awake

Continuing my tendency to revert back to bands I once devoured, the current band is one that is still incredibly divisive. As appealing as starting a conversation about Dungeons & Dragons or calculus, talking about Dream Theater can draw a few smirks.

I know the band is very steeped in the exact ideology punk rebelled against, but music is still notes and beats to me. You want to run around all sorts of sociological implications, you could miss out on merely listening to music as music.

Dream Theater introduced me to progressive rock roughly around the same time Rush entered my life. The exact timeline is rough, but "Pull Me Under" definitely had an impact on me as an 8th grader. Not too long after Awake and A Change of Seasons, I found myself listening to more Everclear and Therapy? and eventually, more punk rock and post-hardcore.

I simply didn't have the time or energy to listen to a band who felt rather constrained by the 74 minutes you could squeeze onto one CD. Give me the guts of the song, please.

Given my enjoyment of bands like Converge and the Dillinger Escape Plan over the past few years, it's not too far of a leap to enjoy other bands who play challenging music. In my mind, this includes Dream Theater.

I've heard plenty of how founding drummer Mike Portnoy left the band. Matter of fact, I'm still skeptical about the band moving on after his departure. Could you imagine Metallica without Lars Ulrich? I can't.

Yet I was convinced the band could continue as I watched most of the band's "Spirit Carries On" series on YouTube. Maybe this was the whole point of the band doing this series. Applause to the marketing and PR department at their label and their management.

Anyway, there's more than enough music to digest over time, given their numerous albums since Awake. I know I'm not the biggest fan of songs that feel more like endless chop-fests (read: show-off moments) but the band has always had a melodic side that rises above. This part is what I look forward to hearing more and more of.

Just don't plan on me getting a DT tattoo or driving 23 hours to see one of their shows.

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