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The under rated Hercules of prog - 96%

lopez_dreamfan, May 29th, 2005

So this is the album that started it all. I’ve read other reviews and heard opinions of your average metalhead, and I’ve become truly disappointed towards everybody’s apparent disillusion to this album. First of all, it is their first album, the one that later became essential for them to evolve in the complex amalgam of music they are known worldwide for. The songs are somewhat repetitive, but after hearing it so many times one cannot help but to fall in love with this CD.
From the majestic intro of “A Fortune in Lies”, one feels a special connection with the music, as if John Petrucci and Kevin Moore were playing their solos and extremely demanding melodies right in front of you, and especially for you. The 80’s style of “Status Seeker” is relaxing, and the chorus is catchy and nice. The famous “Ytse Jam” has such killer solos, with intriguing time signatures and crazy melodies, that one could think it rather belongs in “Images and Words” or “Scenes From a Memory” (Very probably the two most virtuoso DT albums as to “technical difficulties”). “The Killing Hand” has an emotive guitar intro, followed by a very epic song with very difficult vocals and hidden bass solos (Of course, we DT fans would not know the definition of “epic” until hearing the ambitious “A Change of Seasons” and later on the 42 minute giant “Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence”). Followed by that is “Light Fuse and Getaway”, another song with a catchy chorus and rather intriguing key signatures. In this song, you can really hear their influence for ideas of songs such as “Scarred” and “Learning to live”. After that is the aggressive “Afterlife”, with marvelous religious lyrics (somewhat corny in the chorus though) and very intricate guitar and keyboard solos. Following is a song with a beautiful intro, which rather reminds me of “Wait for Sleep”, but a certainly mediocre rest of the song. The vocals need more emphasis, and the way the drums start is rather abrupt and awkward. The last song, “Only a Matter of Time”, is in my opinion, the BEST song in the album overall. The chorus really portrays magnificence and beauty, and the keyboard solo is absolutely enchanting. It is a truly superb work of art by this admirable quintet, and the fact that it is played much later in “Budokan” is simply captivating and enthralling.
Overall, Kevin Moore’s feeling is fascinating and delightful, John Petrucci’s solos are assassinating, Portnoy’s drums are complex and interesting to listen and Myung´s bass, although difficult to hear because of the recording, boasts fast, complicated solos sometimes. Charlie Dominici’s vocals, although somewhat weird and too light, were not exactly a walk in the park and are something he should be recognized for still today. After all, his legacy was left for James LaBrie to personalize and therefore repair. Overall, a must for DT fans and anybody interested in the bec¿ginning of modern progressive metal.