I’ve only listened to this album once. I listened to it all the way through from start to finish. It’s a pretty long album ’cause it’s a double album and has a lot of tracks! You know how when Dream Theater does an album, there are like 5 or 6 tracks ’cause all of ’em are like 20 to 30 minute long songs? Well this album is a little different. “The Astonishing” has so many tracks on it ’cause all the songs are pretty short this time around. Fans ever wondered if Dream Theater are capable of writing short songs ’cause they never wrote short songs that much. Finally they did an album of mostly short songs ranging from 2 to 7 minutes. From what I’m seeing, there are no 20 minute songs on this album at all which is cool.
I’m reading a lot of fan reviews saying that this album is a “disappointment” ’cause they say it’s too long and way too mellow. They’re complaining that there are not a lot of heavy songs that shred like they are known for. Yeah most of the songs on “The Astonishing” are pretty mellow and slow but that’s what I like about it. The album shows a different side of Dream Theater. The reason that this album isn’t all that “rocky” is ’cause it’s a concept album. The album wanted to tell you a story by song kind of like Pink Floyd “The Wall” or The Who “Tommy”. When I listened to Dream Theater’s “The Astonishing”, I felt like I was listening to a theatrical play. I felt like I was listening to a staged musical which is what the album is pretty much. The album has characters and stories to tell on it. Since it’s a concept album and wanted to tell a story, you’ll have to expect that not all songs are going to be heavy. There are heavy songs on it if you actually listen to it. The album also has some of John Petrucci’s best guitar playing too.
With that being said I think this is Dream Theater’s best album in their career. I’m gonna give it another listen this week as I’ve just bought my own copy from the Itunes store so I’m now a proud owner of this album. I’m a huge Dream Theater fan. Have been for years. I’ve heard all of their albums and “The Astonishing” is their best record. I knew the band was capable of writing short songs and they proved the doubters wrong.
People are always trashing James Labrie’s singing but in my opinion, I think this album has his best singing too. He’s a good singer, in my opinion and I find it unfair that people criticize him. He just gives what the songs needs. James is a great singer. I wish I could sing like him.
If you’re a Dream Theater fan, you should get this album.