Dream TheaterDistance Over Time

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✦✦✧✧ Props to DT for coming out with a grittier, tighter version of themselves on this album (somewhere in the musical ballpark of “Scenes From A Memory”). The shorter compositions lead not only to a sharper focus often missing in the past, but this feels in some ways like the best-yet fusion of DT’s twin penchants for heavy technicality and pseudo-emotive composition. And while the band are uniformly faultless in their musicianship, Mike Mangini gets MVP this time for finally delivering a masterful yet fitting drum performance. And yet… as always, I just can’t get past Jordan Rudess’ too-on-the-nose prog synth habits, almost as cringeworthy as a DJ. Also, apparently “grittier” sometimes means “unforgivably cheesy riffs.” In summary: if you’re already a DT fan, I’m not going to sway you either way with my words; if you’re not, this may not be the best introduction for you.