DREAM THEATER – Falling Into Infinity [Remastered Ltd SHM-CD] Out Of Print

DREAM THEATER - Falling Into Infinity [Remastered Ltd SHM-CD] full

After the excellent new DREAM THEATER album featured here, one of you requested the band’s albums released in Japan on high quality SHM-CD. “Falling Into Infinity [Remastered Ltd Release SHM-CD]” (now out of print) is the fourth full length studio album by Dream Theater, the band’s only studio album to feature keyboardist Derek Sherinian, following the departure of Kevin Moore in 1994.

While each Dream Theater album is different in its own right, “Falling Into Infinity” is a very unique Dream Theater album for many reasons. It’s the only full length with Derek Sherinian on keyboards. It’s the only studio album that does not have the classic Dream Theater logo. It’s the only album produced by Kevin Shirley, who did go on to mix their next few albums.
The album came at a time when the band was forced to change directions, due to both internal and external forces.

Following the recording of their classic “Awake” album, original keyboardist Kevin Moore abruptly quit the band. Kevin was key to not only the sound of the first three albums but he also was one of the main lyricists.
As a bit of a stop-gap the band released the “A Change of Seasons” EP featuring an updated version of the title track. Since Kevin co-wrote the song, it still was nothing new to the new lineup which now had Derek Sherinian on keys.

According to the band, their label, Elektra had a series of job shifts and changes, and the new executives were “over” the progressive sounds of bands like Dream Theater. The band had penned nearly 2 albums worth of material, but the top brass didn’t see much hit potential, and the band was not permitted to record for over a year.
The band was apparently so frustrated that they almost retired. But, after deciding to go on tour, and inviting a few record executives to see how energized the Dream Theater fanbase was, they were finally given the green light to record, with some stipulations.

The record label conceded, to a degree. Dream Theater could release their prog album. However, they had to include a few radio friendly hits in order to justify the investment.
Certain members of the band were open to this idea – most notably John Petrucci – while others were vehemently opposed. Mike Portnoy has not exactly been silent about his disdain for this period of the band (the 3 songs he penned for the album were really obviously about his disgust for the entire process).
The final result was an album that struggled to find its balance between its more ambitious, progressive elements and its more mainstream, rock&pop oriented elements.

One of the concessions involved John Petrucci co-writing a song with hitmaker Desmond Child, who had helped people like Bon Jovi and Kiss write radio friendly hits. The result was “You Not Me”, a very commercial tune.
Other tracks, like “Anna Lee” and “Take Away My Pain”, also have a a really accessible melody.
While rabid DT fans hate these songs, I love ’em all.

But don’t be fooled.. . “Falling Into Infinity” sould be as well Dream Theater more complex album ever. It begins with the very proggy opener, “New Millenium”, an 8 minute track that features some really exciting prog – the instrumental breakdown that starts around the 5 minute mark is one of my favorite Dream Theater moments, ever. With odd time signatures, amazing unison runs on the keyboard and guitar, and trademark Portnoy freakouts, this song is just as progressive as anything Dream Theater had released previously.

A DT classic now, “Peruvian Skies” starts with a psychedelic, Floydian intro, as LaBrie introduces us to Vanessa, along with a tragic story about domestic violence. The slow intro picks up midway through, and launches into a Vai-like solo, which is cut off by a very heavy, chunky, double bass driven breakdown. The song ends with a faster and heavier reprise of the previous chorus, sang over the backdrop of heavy instrumental work. Portnoy steals the show with double bass flourishes and melodic drumming.
A highlight of the album.

I would pick “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Lines in the Sand” to represent the absolute best of this album. Dream Theater has always struggled with a characterization that they are without soul or emotion, and focus more on fast notes than tasteful playing. But I think “Hell’s Kitchen” is a gorgeous musical expression that shows Dream Theater at its best- difficult musically, but focused on strong melodicism and expressive playing.

”Lines in the Sand” embodies everything that makes Dream Theater great. Portnoy plays in a way that is both super flashy and perfectly suited for the song. The keyboards range from heavy and technical, to subdued. Petrucci plays one of his most Gilmour-ian solos from his career, and the chorus features guest vocals from none other than dUg Pinnick!
“Lines In the Sand” is an exceptional track, and doesn’t get the recognition it deserves as a truly standout track in Dream Theater’s body of work. Every member of the band shines, and they combine their immense talents to create one of their all-time best tracks.

DREAM THEATER - Falling Into Infinity [Remastered Ltd SHM-CD] booklet

The final track, “Trial of Tears”, is an underrated gem. Many fans feel like it’s inconsistent and repetitive, but I feel like it’s another great blend of what makes Dream Theater great.
The verse is highly metaphorical and the music is mellow and subdued, but midway through the song, Derek and John Petrucci have some really exciting musical moments as they trade solos. The last part of the song, “The Wasteland”, returns to the slower and quieter tone of the beginning, only to return to the heaviness of the midsection at the end of the song. The song actually ends in a brilliant bass solo that is then carried away by synth pads.

Despite the record label pressure for more commercial material, on “Falling Into Infinity” includes some of the most complex an exciting Dream Theater prog ever.
As happens with each DT album, it’s different an varied, ranging from rock&pop tunes to crazy prog metal. Derek Sherinian keyboard sound was heavier and dirtier as well. This gives the whole album a different feel and it was something that his sucessor Jordan Rudess continued to use.
One of my favorites from the band. The remastered sound shines on this stupendous, now out of print, SHM-CD release.
HIGHLY Recommended

Warner Music JapanLTD SHM-CD / WPCR-13486】

01 – New Millennium
02 – You Not Me
03 – Peruvian Skies
04 – Hollow Years
05 – Burning My Soul
06 – Hell’s Kitchen
07 – Lines In The Sand
08 – Take Away My Pain
09 – Just Let Me Breathe
10 – Anna Lee
11 – Trial Of Tears

James LaBrie – lead vocals and backing vocals
John Petrucci – guitar, background vocals
John Myung – bass, Chapman Stick
Mike Portnoy – drums, percussion, backing vocals
Derek Sherinian – keyboards, backing vocals
Doug Pinnick – additional vocals (track 7)

Out Of Print

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