You will be pleased to learn that after the gargantuan album that was The Astonishing, with its long winded concept and ridiculous 130 minute length, their new album Distance Over Time clocks in at 57 minutes and sees Dream Theater going back to their traditional sound. No Shakespearean plot and bouts of orchestration here just crushing riffs, intricate instrumentation, sweet melodies and huge choruses, all done with a much welcomed succinctness with only one track creeping over the 9 minute mark.
With the hefty riff and the plentiful swirling solos of ‘Untethered Angel’, the returned focus on metal is apparent from the start. Half way through the record the best of the many heavy moments appear, namely ‘Room 137’ and S2N’ – the former with a wondrously crushing riff and a deep set groove all the more impressive for its not even four and a half minute run time. The latter is a tour de force of progressive metal with terrifically sprightly bass and drum lines and, like ‘The Looking Glass’ from their 2013 L.P. Dream Theater, it doffs its cap to Rush.
Another Dream Theater hallmark present is their penchant for melody, which they marry seamlessly with metal and just the right amount of emotive cheese on ‘At Wits End’. ‘Fall into the Light’ is another such track, starting out with an 80s era Metallica intensity it morphs over the course of seven minutes – managing to be simultaneously proggy and melodious, metallic and melancholic.
The closing track is a trademark prog metal offering, a changeable track full of epic drum fills, equally twiddly guitar and keyboard interchanges and sky high levels of melodrama. Whilst these kind of tracks usually go on far too long they have kept it to a manageable, and interest keeping length of eight and a half minutes.
Distance Over Time is a great album that fans of prog and metal alike will love and the perfect riposte to The Astonishing.