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Energetic but missing some key elements - 80%

meedley_meedley, July 24th, 2005

This is probably DT's least known album. I dont know why exactly, maybe cause the singer is not James. Maybe cause of the production, which isnt bad when you consider when this album came out (I just dont understand why the guitars are so hard to hear when Petrucci palm mutes). Probably the best thing about this album is that the songs are progressive, but they arent drawn out like a lot of DT songs are in later albums. The songs here build up, are really upbeat most of the time and energetic, basically they get to the point. There's no overlong solos aka Train of Thought. The instrumentals are also very well constructed.

A Fortune in Lies starts the album. I had the unfortunate luck of hearing the live version from Live at the Marquee with James Labrie singing first. He took the song to a new level and the song is a little faster. The album version is good though, but I personally prefer that live version.

Next is Status Seeker. This song is SO 80s. The chorus and the overall sound itself are all 80s. An average song though overall.

Next is the highlight, The Ytse Jam. Fucking Christ this is the best prog instrumental since YYZ. The opening riff is both memorable and exciting to listen to. It goes through the arabian sounds ala YYZ at some times with some great solos. The bass here is also very audible, I enjoy the plucking sound John Myung gives off.

The Killing Hand unfortunately follows. The guitars are ok but Charlie is just whining when he sings here. This is like those 80s ballads at times as well. The song picks up along the way but I find it hard to like this song. This song would be alright if it had James singing it.

Light Fuse and Get Away. I laugh at this title everytime I see it. With a title like this, you'd expect a rapid fire type of song (no pun) Just lots of speed. This is better than the Killing Hand but I also think it gets boring fast. The lyrics are kinda dumb too. I'm not much to care what the lyrics are about, unless it's a cool subject which then makes the music the more greater.

Afterlife starts with some cool riffs with keyboards messing around. When you think it's gonna build up real well, it doesnt, and keeps going. This has a nice atmosphere to it, but lacks the energy found on the other songs. Reminds me of the more melodic songs Rush has done.

The Ones Who Help to Set the Sun takes too long to get going already. This is a disapointment of a song when compared to the rest. DT has long songs, but they usually starts out right away, or within a minute, this takes over 2 minutes to kick in. The song is alright and is kind of a preview for following DT albums.

Final song is Only A Matter of Time. This is one of the best songs on the album, and reminds me of Images a lot too. Great intro and full of power, which is also what the song is about. This, Ytse Jam, and A Fortune In Lies are the best songs here, the rest are ok.

Think of this album as one step before the sound theyre known for. The music is so free and it sounds like everyones enjoying what theyre playing. This is the most case for bands when they start out, because they are younger and the musical drive is at its strongest.

Get this album if you dont have it, even though it's a different vocalist. You may have noticed, I rarely mentioned him. I tune him out a lot here, and when you do, you'll probably enjoy the music more. Because it's a shame a lot of people dont even know about this album.