Monday, April 13, 2009

Masterpieces of Music: Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence

Dream Theater is one of my favorite bands. They were one of the first I discovered when I was looking into newer prog. I had already gotten a Spock's Beard album and a Flower Kings album, and it seemed from my research that the next logical step was to get a Dream Theater album. At the Best Buy, I couldn't help myself so I actually got two Dream Theater albums: Scenes From a Memory and Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (their two newest albums at the time). I immediately became a fan when I listened to these two albums and still consider them to be the best two Dream Theater albums.

One of my favorite Dream Theater moments is their performance of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence on the Score DVD. They unveil a full orchestra who proceed to play the complete overture. It is brilliant and really shows how great of a composer Jordan Rudess is. The overture on the album is already brilliant, being mainly a keyboard piece, but the orchestral version really takes it to new heights. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence is an epic song split in to 8 parts. It fills the entire second disc of the double album Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. It really showcases all the things I love about Dream Theater, from the Proginess, the heaviness, and even some heartfelt, slower parts. It is truly a remarkable piece of work.

It opens with the Overture, which I mentioned in the previous paragraphs. The overture highlights the whole rest of the piece, giving you a preview of the brilliance to come. There are even some bits that sound like they are straight from Disneyland's "Fantasmic". It is very exciting and epic and gets the listener ready for the song. I love it. This leads into "About to Crash" where the actual song starts with some brilliant keyboard playnig from Jordan Rudess before the whole band kicks in to start this rocking section. It has a great groove to it due to Mike Portnoy's brilliant drumming. I don't how to describe it, but the song just makes me really happy due to its uplifting melody. It is so great. There is a great guitar solo near the end that really allows John Petrucci to shine, he is one of the greatest modern guitarists. This all leads tot he next part...

"War Inside My Head" is a heavy piece that really takes the mood in a different direction. While "About to Crash" is more fun, this is more metal. But, that is why I love this piece, each section has a different mood to it. Everybody is playing at the top of their game here, down to the impeccable druming, crunchy guitar riffs and pounding bass lines. I like the trade-off vocals between James LaBrie and Mike Portnoy during the chorus, it really illustrates the war inside the head. This leads to the next section, kicked off by some amazingly fast guitar and keyboard. The next section, "The Test That Stumped Them All" is even heavier than the previous song. It allows for James Labrie to add some growl to his vocals. I love the drumming in this piece, it is killer! There is also another amazing guitar solo followed by a great keyboard solo--a trademark Dream Theater solo-off.

Then, things slow down considerably for "Goodnight Kiss". It is like a beautiful lullaby with a fantastic keyboard solo and James LaBrie at his most tasteful vocally. Not to be outdone by Jordan Rudess, there is a heartmelting guitar solo from John Petrucci in this piece towards the end that is truly one of my favorite moments of the whole song. This leads to a very fun piece called "Solitary Shell" which starts with some light-hearted acoustic guitar playing complemented by some great proggy keyboards. This is a great section with a wonderful sing along chorus. There is also a great acoustic guitar solo in there which really gives this section almost a Morsian Latin flavor, followed by a great little solo bit by Jordan Rudess. They are always complimenting each others solo never giving the other a chance to upstage them.

This leads into the fantastic guitar-led opening of "About to Crash (Reprise)" which is an incredible section that obviously harks back to "About to Crash". The whole band is rocking on this piece and it is one of my favorite sections of the whole song. The end is a soaring instrumental section that is simply too awesome for words with everybody having their moment to shine- it is very classic progressive stuff, and I love it that way! What would an epic be without a grand finale? The last section is appropriately called "Losing Time/Grand Finale" and it definitely lives up to the title. I really can't describe the heavenly beauty of this closing section. James LaBrie gives what I consider his best vocal performance ever, and the band complements him in epic fashion.

I just love this song because it shows everything that Dream Theater is about. There are plenty of amazing solos from both Jordan Rudess and John Petrucci. There are heavy, rocking sections. There are light, more progressive section. There is a ballad. Everything about Dream Theater is summed up in this one song. I love Dream Theater and am thankful to them for providing me with so much great music over the years. I am very excited to see them live this year at Prog Nation. This song is a monument to the greatness that is Dream Theater. Hopefully, their new album contains a song (or more) that can top this one, but I have my doubts because of how brilliant this song is. Keep on rocking/proggin'!

No comments:

Post a Comment