Written by Alex Mrkonjic
Fall Into The Light
At Wit’s End
Out Of Reach
Pale Blue Dot
Viper King (Bonus Track)
Release Date: February 22, 2019
Label: Inside Out Music
James LaBrie - Vocals / John Petrucci- Guitars / John Myung - Bass
Jordan Rudess - Keyboards / Mike Mangini - Drums
For this latest outing, Distance Over Time, the boys from Boston decided to do something a little different. Over a four month period, they lived, wrote, and recorded together in the secluded Yonderbarn Studios in Monticello, NY. Something they have not done in over two decades. As guitarist John Petrucci described it: "This time around, we approached things differently; up at Yonderbarn there were no distractions so we were able to just focus on being creative, spending twelve-to-fourteen hours a day working while also having fun in between the writing sessions. We'd take turns cooking for each other like brothers in a fire house and since it was summertime, the upstate New York weather was beautiful. There's something about jamming and writing as a unit while you're bonding, eating, drinking bourbon and just hanging out that helps infuse the music with a special feeling and a raw, palpable energy."
You can feel that energy with the opening track and lead single “Untethered Angel”, which touches on the subject of fear and not letting it win and preventing you from taking life in a different direction. "Subject-wise, it's about me seeing that a lot of people, especially our youth, are afraid to take their lives in certain directions because of fear," explains Petrucci. "They have fear of the unknown, fear of what other people think, and fear of not being good enough. So, the song urges letting go of yourself, not letting fear win, and untethering yourself from the feeling of fear that stops you from doing things."
It is a great way to kick off the album and it pretty much gives you a taste of what is to come. This album mark’s the first time since Images & Words that an album of theirs is at a run time of under 1 hour, and also their second consecutive album to not have a song over 10 minutes. Fear not Dream Theater fans, because the 9-minute “At Wit’s End” has everything classic fans will love. It starts off with a killer riff from John Petrucci and wicked drumming from Mike Mangini. Just think of it as a nine minute version of any of your favourite classic Dream Theater song. It also paints a very intense picture of the aftermath of abuse.
In addition, keyboardist Jordan Rudess also shines on this song as him and Petrucci have one of their classic "keyboard vs. guitar" moments. This album also markes the first time drummer Mike Mangini has contributed lyrics to a song, with the track “Room 137”. The final song on the album “Pale Blue Dot”, feels like any classic 12 minute or longer Dream Theater song. The moment I heard the first two minutes of the song, I felt I was in familiar territory almost instantly. This song portrays Earth as a “Pale Blue Dot” that we need to cherish and to take better care of. At 8:26 in length, it is a perfect way to end the album. Around 4:35 into the song, you are treated to one of my favourite things about Dream Theater: the mid song instrumental. This is where the song shines the most, as it goes on for a good 3 minutes. It doesn’t feel like the song is only 8 minutes by the time the song ends, but honestly it was worth every minute.
The deluxe edition of the album come with the bonus track “Viper King”, but honestly there isn’t much here. The song just feels out of place and it throws off the flow of the rest of the album. Having said that, it's best that it was left as a bonus track. Overall, I have missed this from Dream Theater. It is the DT record I never knew I was dying for. Look for them to come to a city near you.
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