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Extremely Underrated, Not Heavy, but Still Great - 91%

PowerProg_Adam, February 23rd, 2003

This album is considered to be a waste of money by most fans, but it is probably tied with Images and Words as my favorite Dream Theater album. Some of it does sound slightly commercial, but when you are a progressive metal band, there really isn't such a thing as being commercial. Most people's problem here is that the album is nearly half ballads. IMO these are some of the bands most spiritual and enjoyable songs.

New Millenium starts the album off on the right foot. A very up-tempo track with an extremely catchy feel to it throughout. This is one of the few heavier tracks on the album, but captures the power that James LaBrie is capable of singing with.

You Not Me is sort of one of the bands heavier ballad type songs. Probably my favorite off of the album. Containing very harmonic vocals and backing vocals, along with excellent lyrics makes it an all around great song.

Peruvian Skies is a bit of a disappointment. I've never really been able to get into this song. It does have some nice bass work, but it just seems to lack emotion. IMO the worst song on the album.

I am confused as to why Dream Theater made a video for this song. It is a very heart-felt song, but sounds kind of sappy at times. Pretty nice lyrics, but doesn't sound like something the band should make a habit out of doing. Its a pretty decent song, but hearing modified versions of it won't make me or too many other Dream Theater fans happy.

Burning My Soul is where Dream Theater gets back to their basic ass-kicking formula of old. Without a doubt, the absolute heaviest song on this album. Very doomy, has a sound unsimilar to any other of the bands songs, but it I would be very please to hear songs this damn good in the future from these guys.

Hell's Kitchen is the basic Dream Theater instrumental. Has a bit of an Erotomania feel. Not a bad song, but they have better instrumentals than this. I am glad that they decided not to drag this on though for any longer than they have to. Dream Theater, as UltraBoris puts it, has been known to wanker for the sake of wankering at times, and luckily they don't do it here.

Lines in the Sand is probably the bands longest song ever that doesn't show any really exceptional musicianship. Most of the lyrics here are sang by King's X's Doug Pinnick. This sounds more like a King's X song than one for Dream Theater, so I'm not really too big of a fan of it. Its just too long, and rather uneventful.

Take Away My Pain IMO is by far the band's greatest ballad. Its amazingly emotional, and beautifully written. I believe its supposed to be about the death of John Petrucci's father, and it inspired him to write some magnificent lyrics. My only complaint here is that the guitar solo isn't long enough, it's absolutely amazing, it just ends way too soon.

Just Let Me Breathe is a bit of a corporate song. It contains all of the anti-MTV elements of alot of bands and the fact that they even acknowledge the existence of MTV and the deaths of Shannon Hoon and Kurt Cobain make this song worse than it already is. Not bad musically, but not much lyrically at all.

Anna Lee sounds rather popish, but I still rather like it. IMO it sounds like something that Pink Floyd would have done. The way that LaBrie sings on this track reminds me much of Floyd. Once again another song that is very uncharacteristic of Dream Theater. This song however is rather nice lyrically, but lacks really any musicianship.

Trial of Tears honestly does not seem like a 13 minute song. This track probably displays James LaBrie's voice at its best. Its a pretty nice way to end the album.

My mainly complaint about this album, like many others is the restricted drumming of Mike Portnoy, he is not really allowed to do what he is capable of here. All of the other Dream Theater elements are still here though, and I still believe that this is an album worth having.