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Being the first Dream Theater album I was ever introduced to, 6DoIT has always been one of the first things that comes to mind when I think Dream Theater. I still enjoy this album very much but, ever since I discovered their older material, this has been pushed out of the spotlight, and I don't think it will ever find it's way back. Unfortunately, when I compare 6DoIT to Dream Theater's ultimate masterpiece, Images and Words, it just can't reach that same level of divine greatness.
The biggest reason I can see for this, is that 6Degrees is an album of extremes. More than any other work DT has ever done, this album (almost always) clearly sets the line between the soft songs and the heavy ones, and that, in my opinion, provides for a slightly less enthralling listening experience. Nonetheless, there is still more than enough killer progressive rock/metal on these two discs to satisfy almost any Dream Theater fan.
Take your time and look around.
Is this utopia you've found?
1. The Glass Prison
As is always the case, Dream Theater open with a bang. While I've never been a great fan of the really heavy DT songs, this one kept me entertained all the way through. Rudess' guitar samples sound great, and the whole band is in top form. Unfortunately, this song has started to thrill me less and less each time I hear it, although I'm not quite sure why that is. Quite good anyways.
2. Blind Faith
For me, the pride and joy of disc one would have to be Blind Faith. As one of the few songs on the entire album to actually create a really good mix of heavy and lighter musical elements, I loved this one right from the start. Clever lyrics from James Labrie complement the engrossing musical package, which starts out slow, and builds up speed, until it climaxes in the middle with an awesome guitar riff leading into a beautiful piano solo. This is probably my favorite part of the whole album. Incredible song.
Being the first DT song I ever heard, misunderstood holds a special place in my heart. It basically begins with just some light guitar and bass, before adding in some atmospheric keyboards and drumming. The whole song just grows from beginning to end, getting louder and more powerful every little while until it reaches it's peak with a final chorus. While some may find the closing minute a bit boring or distracting, I think it's a very creative use of volume and sound (I'm a Mike Patton fan by the way, so that may explain why I enjoy this passage so much).
4. The Great Debate
As the other real heavy track on DISC ONE, my opinion of Great Debate is very similar to that of Glass Prison. It doesn't encorporate the progressive side of DT enough to become one of my favorites, but it's hardly a throwaway track. It's well written, well played, and has very thought provoking lyrics. Not very much else to say here.
It took me a while to get into this one, but now that I have, it's become a great listen for me. While the overall theme and tone of the song is dark and sad (it's a song by Labrie about the death of a woman in his life), the ending manages to be quite uplifting, and rounds out the track nicely.
(note: the entire second disk is comprised of only one song, the title track. It's an epic song, clocking in at 42:04 minutes in length, and spans a wide variety of music. As the title suggests, each section lyrically deals with a different type of mental distress or illness. The song is divided into the following eight parts for the sake of navigation and refrence, and to represent the different degrees of inner turbulence)
I - Overture
II - About To Crash
III - War Inside My Head
IV - The Test That Stumped Them All
V - Goodnight Kiss
VI - Solitary Shell
VII - About To Crash (reprise)
VIII - Losing Time/Grand Finale
As the center of attention on this album, 6Degrees is a stunning amalgam of many different musical genres and techniques. It starts with the mid-tempo Overture, gains ground and emotion with ATC and explores some heavier ground with WIMH and TTTSTA. Then it cools down with the beautiful GK ballad and returns to the mid-tempo sound with Solitary Shell. ATC (reprise) represents the final hard hitting song on the album, before the epic grand finale in Losing Time. All the songs are technically profound both musically and lyrically. Some are great for driving and rocking out to, while others are more tranquil and relaxing. Overall, it's an experience not to be missed!
So there it is. 6DoIT by Dream Theater. DT fans should find all they need in a good prog album, while others will most likely find certain musical aspects of the album more enjoyable than others. Regardless, all music fans owe it to themselves to give it a shot.