Album Review #1: Dream Theater's Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory

DenyYourMaker
Yeah, I'm back on this godforsaken website now, so I might as well get into the album reviewing game again, but I'm doing it right this time. No more mindlessly praising the album like a typical godawful G18er.

Now...to kick off my boredom reducing series of ramblings about albums, I'm gonna do what may be my favorite album of all time. Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory. I'm not doing scores for songs cause that's friggin' retarded and takes away from the point of a review, I'm not converting anything into numbers like an accountant. Cause accountants having boring lives. And I'm cool. And my life isn't boring at all. It totally isn't.

Anuwah, this is a concept album, so I'm going to review both the songs themselves and the story. Starting with a little overview of the story.

A guy named Nicholas keeps having dreams about a girl named Victoria Page, so he goes to see a hypnotherapist to see if he can find out the story behind this girl. The hypnotherapist puts him through past life regression therapy. He sees Victoria, and her life feels very familiar to him, despite the fact that he hasn't lived it. He learns that Victoria was murdered and he was her in a past life, hence the past life regression therapy theme. He then realizes Victoria is trying to make him realize the truth about her death. And then as we get into the backstory of Victoria more, we find out she was cheating on her drug addicted gambler boyfriend Julian Baynes (the guy I named myself after) with his brother Edward Baynes. Nicholas thinks Julian killed Edward and Victoria out of jealousy, but doubts this, and goes to an older guy who is implied to be a reincarnation of Julian to seek answers. Nicholas knows he'll never live his life properly until he solves her murder.

Then we get into Act II. It starts by describing Julian's cocaine addiction and gambling habit, which Victoria leaves him for. Edward loves Victoria and feels bad for doing this to Julian, but he can't help himself. Nicholas goes to Julian's old house and thinks he's solved the mystery: Julian went to Victoria for forgiveness and when she wouldn't forgive him, he shot both Julian and Victoria, and made himself out to be a witness in the papers. Nicholas says goodbye to Victoria after this, and the hypnotherapist pulls him out, despite Victoria's memories begging him not to.

Oh man, we're getting to the twist. It's so good.

It goes back to Edward, and he wishes he could've had more with Victoria than just a shallow affair he had behind his brother's back.

And, then...oh man.

Edward kills Julian and Victoria after they make up, and HE makes himself out to be the witness. In the flashback, Edward tells Victoria to open her eyes before he shoots her.

It goes back to the present, where Nicholas arrives at home. He walks in only to find the hypnotherapist, who shoots Nicholas after telling him to open his eyes. The hypnotherapist was Edward's reincarnation.

This...this is an amazing story. The best story behind any album I've ever heard. I'm positive this would make a friggin' amazing movie if it were to be adapted into one, and the music to back it up is just as good as the story. Now, time to get into this shizz.

We begin the album with Regression, a sort of intro track. It's only a little over two minutes long and it's not really a song you go back to for any reason other than you're listening to the album, but it's quite a nice introduction to the album. It's not just another album opener with dissonant noises and/or epic guitar lines. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, but it gets tiring sometimes. It's still great on songs like The Glass Prison, but when most other artists do it, it comes across as cliche. But here, it's just the audio of the hypnotherapist hypnotizing Nicholas, followed by a nice progression and melody you'll hear later on in The Spirit Carries On. It's a really good way to open the album up, and I love the way they used the technique of using a melody earlier on in the album you'll hear later on in the album as a sort of reprisal. Like in The Root Of All Evil on Octavarium. Hey, speaking of using melodies you'll hear later on the album...

Ah, Overture 1928, the first of two instrumentals on the album. This track doesn't at all contribute to the story, it just shows you all of the melodies that'll be reprised later on in the album, like, you hear the solo from Finally Free and the intro of The Dance Of Eternity. It's really great, honestly. And the fact that they managed to pack all of this into three minutes is just a huge middle finger to all the people who say Dream Theater songs are "too long" and it's also a huge middle finger to all of the people who say Dream Theater's shorter songs aren't as good. Gotta love them instrumentals.

We transition into Strange Deja Vu, and this is where the story really begins. We're now at the point where Nicholas is seeing Victoria's memories. This track is quite intense, and after the little interlude and instrumental this album starts off with, it's quite a surprise. But it's the best kind of surprise. The overdubbed vocals in this one really do make the song, and the lyricism is so well thought out. Once again, it's not one I return to super often, but it's still a great song to hear in the context of the album.

We get another interlude after that one with Through My Words, which is when Nicholas realizes how he's connected to Victoria. It's a really good addition to the album storywise and music wise, it provides a little softness after Strange Deja Vu. Not much to say about this one. It's a nice little piano track. Next.

Now is when we start getting REALLY good. Fatal Tragedy, one of my favorite shorter Dream Theater songs of all time. This one is such a badass and fun song to groove to. The riffs in this one are so Pantera-esque, and that can never, ever be a bad thing. It's a very well structured song, and it's got more of the Petrucci/LaBrie harmonizing every Alice In Chains fan will love. Now, we're at the point where Nicholas finds out about Victoria's murder. And Dream Theater really friggin' delivers on this one. I absolutely love every second of this song, and it's so worth listening to, even if you aren't listening to the album, or if you're not listening to the album for the story. It's god tier. It really is.

After Fatal TWagedy, the album hits us hard with the first of three songs that eclipse the ten minute mark. Beyond This Life. One of the heavier songs. This one isn't quite as memorable as, say, Home and none of the songs on here are quite as memorable as Finally Free, but it sure as hell is one good song. This album will never let me live the opening riff of this song down, because I've gotten it stuck in my head more times than I care to figure out. Overall, it's one of the best songs off this album.

(By the way, in case you're at all invested in, you know, the story of this album, this is the part when Nicholas begins to suspect Julian as the perpetrator of Victoria's murder, but doubts it.)

And now, Through Her Eyes, one of the most beautiful songs Dream Theater has ever put out. It has one of the things about this album that really hits me in the feels: Victoria's harmonizing. The female singer. I don't know who this girl is, but her voice is so amazing and so pretty, I can't help but tear up whenever I hear her on this album. This is the point when Nicholas goes to talk to the reincarnated Julian, and god does the music fit. It's such an incredibly well done but incredibly calm song. The perfect transition into the heaviest song on the entire album and one of the heaviest songs Dream Theater has ever put out.

Home.

Hell.

Yes.

The most addictive song on this album, easily. I consider this song basically just Tool done better. (I'm sorry, they're okay but I really just cannot get into them)

The rhythms in this song are so incredibly beefy and well written. I love John's use of the-
Okay, I won't talk about music theory here cause then you'll be bored and stop reading my review that took me hours to write.

Anyway, this song is really heavy but also really dark sounding. When the vocals kick in...that's when you know this album is not at all one you're going to regret listening to, cause the harmonizing between Petrucci and LaBrie is the best you'll ever hear in Dream Theater, better than anything AIC ever did and that's saying something considering that's the one band known for their vocal harmonies. This is the song that describes Julian's cocaine and gambling habits, which alienate Victoria, and also Edward's seduction of Victoria. It's a wonder music this creative and amazing can exist. It isn't quite my number one favorite from the album, one we'll hear a little later is the absolute best for me, but god, this is one amazing track.

And, now, a fan favorite. The Dance Of Eternity, the second instrumental. No real story in this one, but it's such a chaotic battlefield of insane musical technicality, it's so difficult on every instrument that even the band members have complained about how hard it is to play live. The funny thing is, it's actually not too hard on guitar. If you know how to sweep pick, it's really not that difficult in comparison to, say...In The Name Of God, one of, if not the hardest guitar song of all time. But the drum track is what everyone knows as the hardest from the song. And the bass...come on, it's John Myung. Have you heard the Metropolis Pt. 1 bass solo? Almost nothing this man writes is easy. And, of course, Jordan Rudess's insane keyboard wankery. I mean wankery in the best way possible, cause he goes into borderline carnival music at one point. Yeah. I'm not joking.

As someone who plays all of these instruments except drums...it's not an easy song. At all.

But...let's keep going.

We're in the home stretch now. The last three songs of the album. Here's One Last Time, a pretty emotionally heavy song. This song is really one of Rudess's tracks musically, this is where he shows what he's capable of. He writes some of the most beautiful things, I swear. This one isn't really too notable in the grand scheme of this masterpiece of an album, so I'm gonna cut it short after I say: this is the part where Nicholas gets pulled out of therapy.

Oh, you thought One Last Time was emotional.

Haha...

That's nothing in comparison to what comes next.

Yeah, that's right.

The Spirit Carries On.

Oh, Jesus. This song is hard for even someone like me to listen to. It's...hard to put into words the insane amount of emotion this song has. I literally cannot hear it without breaking down and sobbing. This is the only song that does that to me. The only song in existence that, without fail, makes me cry every time I hear it. Snuff by Slipknot is emotional, yes. A Change Of Seasons is emotional, yes. But none of them even hold a candle to this absolute masterpiece of a ballad. It's about Nicholas's final goodbye to Victoria, basically, and it's just really heart wrenching to listen to. I want this played at my funeral. I don't care about the context of the story. This is the song I want people to hear after I die. I love this, more than almost any song Dream Theater has ever done. It's the best penultimate track of all time, and that's saying something even as far as Dream Theater goes, since they also have The Ministry Of Lost Souls, Stream Of Consciousness, The Best Of Times (hey, another heart wrenching song that's almost, if not just as bad as this one), etc. I love every second of this song. It's truly beautiful.

But if you thought that was my favorite song off this album...

...you...

...are...

...sorely...

...mistaken.

There's only one song off this album that can possibly be my favorite.

And that is the masterpiece of a closer that is Finally Free.

Finally Free is the song that ties up the album, that patches all of the holes in the storyline. If you thought you found a plothole in the story before, you didn't, cause this song explains it.

This is the ending of this story, where it cuts back to the flashback. It's told from Edward's perspective. You hear him confess to murdering the both of them and positioning himself as the witness, and you hear the hypnotherapist, AKA Edward's reincarnation kill Nicholas. It's such an amazing twist to such an incredibly well put together story, and the music is a wonderful way to conclude an album. As far as Dream Theater goes, this song is one of their best. I can't even explain what makes it so amazing. Just listen to it yourself.

Please. I am begging you. Listen to not just Finally Free, but this whole album. Because you will not regret a second of it. This is my favorite album of all time, and for very, very good reason. I love everything about it, and I cannot say that for any other album. There isn't one flaw here.

So, in conclusion...

This album is amazing.

Okay, so...yeah. First album review I've done in over a year now. I stopped cause I, haha...sucked at reviewing albums last year. But now that I actually know what I am doing...yeah. Expect more to come. This was just the first one, and I'm gonna be looking at lots of albums. Bad and good. If you want me to look at a particular album, request it in the comments. Or DMs. Whichever. Oh well, I'm out.

Comments

This was a really good review. I have a suggestion but it’s fine if you don’t want to do it. If you want to, could you review confessions of a dangerous mind by logic? - sadical

Thanks

Yeah sure, I've got a few I wanna do first but I can squeeze it in - DenyYourMaker

I think it would be interesting for you to challenge yourself and do a review of something that you may not entirely be familiar with, just to see how deep your level of understanding is beyond your selective choice of taste. - Archived

^ - DenyYourMaker

If you need any recommendations I won’t hesitate. - Archived

Well thanks - DenyYourMaker

This is actually one of the best album reviews on this site. I didn't see any grammatical errors and it's written really well and it made me really understand what the album's about. - BananaBrain

I actually made two grammatical errors

I said Edward instead of Julian when describing Edward's affair with Victoria and I said "here" instead of "hear" when I was talking about The Spirit Carries On - DenyYourMaker

Oh I didn't notice that - BananaBrain

Haha, for ages you avoided the truth, and now it has fallen upon you, yes. In my mind, there's absolutely no doubt that this is Dream Theater's greatest work, it isn't filled with their absolute greatest songs for the most part, but the verage quality of the song is so amazingly high, and then we get tracks like Home. All around just an amazing album - kempokid

Yeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeah, whatever, you win

Train Of Thought is extremely close to the point of it also being in my top three albums of all time - DenyYourMaker

Bro! This album sounds awesome! - PhoenixAura81

Great album review - visitor

I rate this review a Mike Portnoy/10! - OnlyInDreams

Same! UwU! 🤗🤗🤗🤗 - DenyYourMaker

Very high quality review - Userguy44