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When I won this item in an online auction, I was initially ecstatic. I paid up, waited, and it arrived two days before this review was written. And, quite frankly, I am obsessed this amazing compilation.
Being made up of un-heard of songs, you might initially think that it's nothing worth talking about: "they're obviously songs that were rejected for album release." Unfortunately no. What we have here is a collection of songs that were unreasonably hidden from the public. And you can identify when they were written just by listening to them, to be honest.
Don't Look Past Me opens with a sample from "The Deer Hunter". I don't think it makes much sense, but then it flicks forward to the actual song. It gives off a very Images-and-Wordsy vibe to me, but doesn't manage to match the style of any of the tracks on that album. Very melodic and progressive.
I'm going to review To Live Forever as one song. They're just two subtly different tracks... There's a slight difference in production quality and singing between the two, and an extra verse written by Kevin Moore in the 1994 version, but not much else. It's quite mellow, and feels very similar to songs like Lifting Shadows Off A Dream - One sign that DT were getting ahead of themselves when they wrote it in the eighties. It's sort of erratic in parts, but the harmonious singing is fantastic.
Eve was from the same era as To Live Forever, and was a b-side on the Silent Man single. It's a lovely, slow keyboard-based instrumental that you'd be better off imagining as a film soundtrack. It's probably the most melodic song on this cd, to tell the truth.
The rest of the tracks are dead ringers for those on Falling Into Infinity.
Raise The Knife... I'd heard it on a live bootleg as an instrumental before, and I don't hugely enjoy it as much with lyrics. It drags on a bit, but it's not really "bad"... Just comparitively weak.
Where Are You Now is pretty melodic... It was the only song I couldn't "get into" on this release. Not a great track, to tell the truth, and like Raise The Knife, it's far too long even at 7.27.
The Way It Used To Be is a worthwhile listen. It's got some good bass lines, and the lyrics are well-written and applied. The beat's a bit off at times, but the chorus is a fantastic piece of work.
I can't believe Cover My Eyes didn't get a release before this. It's catchy as hell, and the backup vocals are beautiful. The distorted guitar works amazingly, and the lyrics are some of the best DT have ever produced. Hell, it's metal, but that's barely noticable.
Speak To Me is the best song on the cd, in my opinion. The chorus, the bridge, the verses... Everything about this song is catchy. And it runs on for just the right amount of time. The bass line gives a kind of mournful tone to this track, and the lyrics... The lyrics and the vocals are incredibly moving. I would have bought the cd for this song on its own had I known how amazing it was.
This cd's production was hugely worthwhile in my opinion. There are some *great* tracks here that should have seen the light of day much sooner.
Oh, and there's a tenth track that's not listed on the case or the track list here. It doesn't have a name as far as I know, but at two minutes into the song, it plays the sample of the fight, screaming and gunshots present in the song Finally Free. Without the music. Not worth much, but still interesting.
Cleaning Out The Closet is a fan club CD, and so you can hardly find a copy anywhere (except on the internet) *cough*. So, yes, I downloaded it, and since it isn't sold in stores it could technically be legal. Anyway, I was expecting to hear some of the best prog metal ever to rock my ass when I popped in the CD, but...well, what I got was a heapin' helpin' of mediocrity.
Every song on here has never seen an official release, and there's a good reason: every song is subpar! That's right, here you get a bunch of Falling Into Infinity rejects, most of which are ballads. And if you've read my other reviews, you may have gathered by now that I hate ballads, for the most part. Which is why this doesn't appeal to me too much. I mean, we have the first song, Don't Look Past Me, which is filled with a bunch of gay-sounding samples from some movie, and then we have some lyrics about love, and then...that's it. That's all. And then we have To Live Forever '91, which is a ballad similar to the end of Take The Time, complete with Celine Dion-esque vocals. I don't know why they bothered to put To Live Forever '94 on here, because it's exactly the same song as To Live Forever '91, but with an extra verse written by Kevin Moore.
The rest of the songs continue that way. It really isn't that bad, but it certainly isn't Images & Words. If you can find *coughdownloadcough* a copy, you should, but don't waste your money on a used copy. Stick with Scenes From A Memory if you want quality Dream Theater.
And one other thing: Open Your Eyes, Victoria! isn't actually on the album. I don't know why it's there.