Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory

(1999), 8.5/10
On their 1992 album Images And Words, Boston progressive metal band Dream Theater included the fan favourite song ‘Metropolis-Part 1’, causing speculation about the existence of a sequel. When this sequel emerged seven years later, it wasn’t merely a song, but an entire eighty minute concept album about a young man haunted by the spirit of a girl who was murdered in 1928. Metropolis is Dream Theater’s first concept album, and it’s very much a throwback to the big thematic works of progressive rock’s 1970’s heyday, with repeated instrumental themes. Dream Theater’s collective virtuosity is lifted even further by the addition of keyboardist Jordan Ruddess, whose ragtime interludes (‘The Dance of Eternity’) help to boost the band’s arsenal of sounds even more. James LaBrie’s voice has lost the pretty high end that he had on earlier albums, and he’s a little unconvincing on the more emotive songs. Highlights include the thirteen minutes of ‘Home’, with the sitar-like guitar leads, and the delayed gratification of the harmonised chorus. ‘The Dance of Eternity’ has lots of entertaining jamming, while ‘Fatal Tragedy’ has plenty of plot exposition and hooks. While I’m not brave enough to venture too much further into Dream Theater’s discography, Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory is generally regarded as their magnum opus, and it’s a cohesive and accomplished concept album.

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