While ‘Falling Into Infinity’ wasn’t the album Dream Theater wanted to make at the time, it is nevertheless still a good album.
Written by: MilenaG
ARTIST: Dream Theater
ALBUM: Falling Into Infinity
LABEL: East West
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: James LaBrie – vocals * John Petrucci – guitars * Mike Portnoy – drums * John Myung – bass * Derek Sherinian – keyboards
TRACK LISTING: 01 New Millennium * 02 You Not Me * 03 Peruvian Skies * 04 Hollow Years * 05 Burning My Soul * 06 Hell’s Kitchen * 07 Lines In The Sand * 08 Take Away My Pain * 09 Just Let Me Breathe * 10 Anne Lee * 11 Trial Of Tears
WEBLINKS: Site Link
The mid-90’s were a bad, bad time for Dream Theater. James LaBrie lost a lot of his singing voice because of an encounter with strong food poisoning, they’d lost their keyboardist prior to that, and were basically held hostage for about two years by the label, which tried to meddle in the recording process and influence them to write catchier songs. While ‘Falling Into Infinity’ wasn’t the album Dream Theater wanted to make at the time, it is nevertheless still a good album.
The album doesn’t get a very good start – ‘New Millenium’ is an awkward, drawling ‘industrial’ song and ‘You Not Me’ is famously ruined by the outside writer who completely re-made the chorus and some of the other melodies into a commercial pop rock mess, which infuriated Mike Portnoy at the time – but after that everything’s kicking with a lot of jazz and flare, mostly brought in by larger-than-life keyboardist Derek Sherinian, who they brought in to replace the subdued, artsy Kevin Moore.
‘Peruvian Skies’ is essentially a Pink-Floyd-meets-Metallica mishmash that works splendidly. ‘Hollow Years’ is the hit-single which the label coaxed out of a semi-unwilling John Petrucci that’s been revamped in the mid-2000’s and became a song with one of Petrucci’s best regarded solos, immortalized on Live At Budokan, and ‘Burning My Soul’ is groovy, cheesy and fun.
The second half of the album is equally as varied – ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ is perhaps the band’s most uplifting instrumental, and the song it leads to is pretty special in Dream Theater’s career – starting off with Derek Sherinian’s iconic lead keyboard intro and marked by John Petrucci’s fluid, jazzy playing, as well as Doug Pinnick‘s vocals in the chorus.
‘Take Away My Pain’, John Petrucci’s dirge for his dead father, has also been revamped by the label into a pop song that is akin something one would play on a trip to Disney, which was a tad disrespectful by them, but it is still a gorgeous song.
‘Just Let Me Breathe’ is an announcement of apathy and boredom by the then-reigning MTV culture (not much has changed sadly) packed into a punchy song, and ‘Anna Lee’ remains the only song composed by Sherinian, with some help of Petrucci and LaBrie’s lyrical input. It is full of allusions to Elton John, who is the then-keyboardist’s favourite musician.
‘Trial Of Tears’ shows the band hasn’t lost their proggy touch, although it is much calmer and less reliant on flashy playing than a lot of their other songs.
The band sure went through some hardships while creating this album, but internal and external conflicts often give rise to great music. Falling Into Infinity’ is a greatly underrated album, in no small part (in the later years) due to Mike Portnoy who always touted the band would have made a much better album had they been left to their own devices, and the fans simply adopted that opinion.
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