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Falling Into Infinity

Track Listing
1. "New Millennium" - 8:20
2. "You Not Me" - 4:58
3. "Peruvian Skies" - 6:43
4. "Hollow Years" - 5:53
5. "Burning My Soul" - 5:29
6. "Hell's Kitchen" - 4:16
7. "Lines in the Sand" - 12:05
8. "Take Away My Pain" - 6:03
9. "Just Let Me Breathe" - 5:28
10. "Anna Lee" - 5:51
11. "Trial of Tears" - 13:07
I - "It's Raining"
II - "Deep in Heaven"
III - "The Wasteland"

East/West 1997

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More Dream Theater:
Images & Words - 1992
Awake - 1994
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence - 2002
Similiar In Sound:
Dream Theater - Awake 1995
Dream Theater - Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence 2002
Vanden Plas - The God Thing 1998


It took me awhile before I finally decided to tackle this album mainly due to the fact that it has received numerous harsh critiques from Dream Theater fans. The idea of trying to write a positive review seemed too big a mountain to climb. It wasn't that I felt I would be stretching it by writing positive comments about Falling Into Infinity, but rather it was the idea of throwing out a gallon of positive analysis into a sea of negativity was overwhelming to me. I know that statement seems overly dramatic, especially since Dream Theater fans are divided on this album, but that's how I felt. So with some trepidation I sat down and finally wrote a review of Dream Theater's Falling Into Infinity.

1. "New Millennium"
This mid-tempo rocker has an intriguing Middle- Eastern slant to it thanks to the keys and vocal melodies. The song is fairly light (as far as complexity) but contains an interesting undercurrent of darkness which adds depth to the overall feel of the song. Vocalist James LaBrie's aggressive vocals fit this quality song perfectly.

2. "You Not Me"
Although track two does feature some catchy rhythms and atmospheric keyboards, this mid-paced song's cheesy, cliched chorus is a big turn off.

3. "Peruvian Skies"
The song starts off slow and ominous. The vocal melodies are haunting and do a good job of utterly capturing my attention. As the song progresses, the pace picks up and the band breaks out and delivers a powerful performance. This is the best song on the disc and one of Dream Theater's best songs ever.

4. "Hollow Years"
A song that features a moving performance by vocalist James LaBrie, "Hollow Years" is one of Dream Theater's best ballads. This is a beautiful track.

5. "Burning My Soul"
Though the lyrics leave a lot to be desired (something that plagues post-Kevin Moore Dream Theater), the music and the overall Awake feel to this heavy rocker more than make up for it's weaknesses. Memories of Awake's powerful duo of "The Mirror" and "Lie" are both conjured with this excellent song.

6. "Hell's Kitchen"
A good instrumental that approaches musical masturbation, DT reins it in enough to make this a solid if somewhat less than inspired track.

7. "Lines in the Sand"
This song opens with mystical and portentous introduction. The song sounds promising in the very beginning, but has trouble taking off. However, guitarist John Petrucci does pull off a moving guitar solo in the middle of the song and the second half of the song does have better melodies thus saving "Lines in the Sand". While it's no "Home" or "The Glass Prison", this song does end up being one of Dream Theater's better epics.

8. "Take Away My Pain"
Though this track has some excellent vocal melodies and some interesting musical bits scattered throughout, some saccharine moments both lyrically and musically "take away" from the song's overall impact.

9. "Just Let Me Breathe"
A heavy rocker that has some splashes of creativity and Awake-like aggressiveness, this song still fails to deliver. Maybe it's the less than inspired vocal melodies or the mundane technical flashes that do this song in. Whatever the reason, this song, while still good, feels like it goes on too long.

10. "Anna Lee"
Nearly as brilliant as "Hollow Years", this well- crafted ballad is another testament to song writing winning out over musical masturbation. It's unfortunate that so many so-called progressive bands, including Dream Theater at times, cannot tell the difference.

11. "Trial of Tears"
This epic starts off quietly with a soulful guitar solo. LaBrie's vocals soon come in as smooth and graceful as ever. The song has a nice rhythmic flow to it that is dynamic and calming at the same time. The song also contains some wonderful and beautiful instrumental stretches that are intricate without being unnecessarily complex. The album concludes with an excellent epic.

I don't understand the harsh reaction that Falling Into Infinity still receives from many Dream Theater fans. To me, Falling Into Infinity continues where Awake left off as the band crafts some wonderful songs here (even if it's a less consistent album). And while Dream Theater would forget most of the lessons they learned while making Falling Into Infinity (and Awake) when they made the somewhat sloppy and overly technical Scenes From A Memory (excessive technical masturbation couldn't make up for too many weak songs but still a good number of fans still fell for Dream Theater's attempted technical cover-up of SFAM's complete lack of depth), this album remains a CD of well-crafted melodies and moving music. Fortunately, Dream Theater would rediscover song craft with 2002's Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. So my final word on this CD is that it is Dream Theater's third best disc only ranking behind the masterful Awake and the inspired Six Degrees. While it would be wrong to totally ignore the negative criticism Falling Into Infinity receives, I think it's important to read some positive critiques of this album as well. One last note: It seems to me that keyboardist Derek Sherinian, who departed Dream Theater soon after Falling Into Infinity, was unfairly labeled the scapegoat for Falling Into Infinity by both the fans and the rest of the band. I mean, c'mon, Sherinian's post-Dream Theater work is arguably more progressive and inspired than anything Dream Theater has done since Sherinian left. It's regrettable that Dream Theater and many of their fans have tried to distance themselves from this wonderful CD.

a strong album underrated by many

Review by Joe White -

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