After 1992’s incredible ‘Images And Words’ album I kind of lost interest in Dream Theater and only passively skimmed/listened to the albums they put out after that. I may have done myself a disservice, but as any other avid music fan; my ear gravitated towards other and different types of music at that time and I found the epic/lengthy/prog of Dream Theater to be self-indulgent and masturbatory. I don’t know what re-kindled my interest…maybe the prospect of seeing Fates Warning and Queensryche, but fast forward to 2019 and I decided to give the brand new record entitled ‘Distance Over Time’ a concerted listen and I am so glad I did.
I figured the best environment and time to put my best ear forward would be in my car while driving to Austin. During the course of that drive I listened to the record almost three times in a row. By listen number two I was singing out loud along to the beautiful melodies and hooks on this fantastic album. Hooks you say? Yes, while still containing all the complex and technical instrumentation to please any prog-Metal geek out there; the record is at the same time very accessible and memorable. James LaBrie’s voice is beautiful and majestic. ‘Out Of Reach’ is such a beautiful song…it brought a joyful tear to my eye and makes the hair on the back of my neck stand…the opening lyrics resonate perfectly with me right now personally. ‘Viper King’ has a killer almost funky groove to it. Even the longer more epic tunes are captivating and song-like rather than exercises in sonic noodling. Newcomer and drummer extraordinaire Mike Mangini makes his presence felt with tasty and technical fills and double-bass work. John Petrucci’s guitar playing is awesome and expected with killer riffs and soaring solos abound.