Album Review: Dream Theater - Distance Over Time

Artist: Dream Theater

Album: Distance Over Time

Genre: Progressive Metal

Release Date: 22 February 2019

Review by Sam Radojcin

It’s been 30 years since Dream Theater dropped their debut album When Dream And Day Unite and it’s hard not to say that they have been through a lot over the years with many highs, some lows and in turn, gained a lot of respect within the musical community with a storied career and a very dedicated fanbase. Well, it’s 2019 and they have unleashed their 14th full length album entitled Distance Over Time.

Their last album entitled The Astonishing was quite an album in many ways. While it was a grandeur filled concept album and a fine DT release by all means, it was a bit long winded and generally a bit too much for even the most hardcore of fan emanating in a mixed response from many. Following this, the band sat back analysed the situation and went to maximise their strengths and minimize their weaknesses / downfalls.

Right as "Untethered Angel" spills out of the speakers, you know they aren’t here to play games; you are hit with some heavy riffage, driving rhythms / groove, delicate melodic sensibility and James LaBrie putting in one hell of a performance. It’s perfect blend of the elements of what makes Dream Theater what they are.

In a similar vein to 2004’s Train Of Thought, Distance Over Time tends to lean towards the metal side of their repertoire and is in full force in tracks such as "Fall Into The Light" and "Room 137" with it’s grooving tribal pulse (with drummer Mike Mangini contributing the lyrics for the first time), the down-tuned sledgehammer of "Paralyzed" where guitarist John Petrucci riffs and hits like Mike Tyson in his prime and "Pale Blue Dot", a cinematic, yet hard hitting soundscape that builds and builds to an climactic crescendo.

Those who prefer the progressive melodic side, don’t worry, you are well catered for in "S2N", which moves like a melodically fuelled, high speed musical rollercoaster with an abundance of twists and turns, the pure unbridled shredfest of "At Wit’s End" and the bright and fun Rush-esque rocker that is "Barstool Warrior."

What sets Distance Over Time apart from their last few efforts is it possesses a punchy and dynamic mix that allows every instrument to breathe on it’s own and as a whole, especially the drum sound that was let down a bit in the last few releases, which is quite a step up and reminiscent of the classic era.

Distance Over Time is Dream Theater accentuating the positives of their sound, they are re-energized and focused, delivering a refined and focused sound that anyone from the hardest of hardcore fan to a casual listener can enjoy. For those who haven’t given them a chance since Mike Portnoy’s departure, you owe yourself to give Distance Over A Time a chance.

When John Petrucci himself said in a recent interview “This is the best sounding Dream Theater record we’ve made”, it can seem cliché to say, but it’s truly hard to argue. The proof is there in Distance Over Time, a Dream Theater album that can sit proudly within their vast back catalogue.

9 out of 10. Distance Over Time is out worldwide February 22nd via Inside Out / Sony Music Australia

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