Dream Theater - Metropolis Pt. 2 Scenes From a Memory
Different From Most Metal
Dream Theater is a progressive metal band formed in the 1980s. If you're new to metal, Dream Theater isn't the band that would sound similar to the very popular Metallica, Megadeth, etc. They are completely different. "Prog" is more like jazz and classical music with a metal twist, just so you know.
This album in particular is a concept album, meaning all the songs in this album have some sort of connection to each other. This album has a pretty complicated story in it as well, so I'll be going through the majority of the songs and kind of analyzing them.
Song By Song Analysis
The first song, "Regression," opens up with a sort of clock, ticking back and forth. There's a hypnotherapist talking, counting down from 10 to 1, then entering in acoustics. What I like about this song is that it's a great introduction. It's slow and relaxing, and it opens up to the later songs.
"Overture 1928" is an instrumental, so not really much story telling going on here. It's upbeat, with some nice keyboards in the background. It's mostly a guitar solo though, so that's nice.
"Strange Deja Vu" begins with singing this time. This song is about Nicholas, the main character, and his recurring dream. It's not really clear at first, but since he's in hypnotherapy, he can see this scene vividly. So he meets this girl named Victoria, who's essentially haunting Nicholas. Something about what she did in the past "tearing at her soul," which would be cheating with another person. Even after the dream is done and Nicholas is out into the real world, it still gnaws at him, and he has to solve this to "be at peace."
"Through My Words" talks about Nicholas being Victoria in a past life, that's why she keeps haunting him to find the answers. It's pretty short, and it's mostly just narration.
"In Fatal Tragedy," Nicholas meets an old man, who tells him about with happened to Victoria. We find out that Victoria was murdered a long time ago, but why she was isn't that clear. So now Nicholas has to solve this mystery, because without solving it, "there can be no peace of mind." He goes back to the hypnotherapist to try to unveil what happened in the past. The instrumentals in this song are great. In the beginning, you can hear what sounds like a choir, and towards the middle is a nice guitar solo. It gets pretty aggressive around that area as well, with some heavy double bass from the drums. Then after that is a keyboard solo. Then more guitar solos! This one is more high pitched and fast paced.
"In Beyond This Life," Nicholas is in 1928, a pretty long time ago for a mystery to not be solved, but whatever. It's about 11 minutes long, the first of the 3 songs above 10 minutes. It opens up with some heavy riffs, following up with keyboards and aggressive drums and double bass later on. Here, Nicholas finds a newspaper describing the events of the murder that happened. An "anonymous" witness hears a noise and finds out that a woman had been shot. He sees a man with the gun, who's probably the murderer, and tries to help, but he shoots himself. The newspaper reading closes with "a sad close to a broken love affair," so we can assume that Victoria was murdered for cheating on somebody. Later, we find out that Victoria broke up with her lover because she "can't love a wayward man," although she would've forgiven him if he changed. Back to the newspaper article, we find out that there was a switchblade and a suicide letter on the scene, stating, "I feel there's only one thing left to do. I'd sooner take my life away than live with losing you." Seems to be a pretty bad suicide letter and doesn't really explain why he murdered Victoria, so it may or may not be forged evidence. After all of this mumbo jumbo, there's a pretty lengthy solo, with keyboards and guitar. Some parts of it feels Jazz inspired.
"Through Her Eyes" opens up with a woman humming, which sounds pretty solemn and slow. It's very much the opposite from the last song, with the fast paced rhythm, this one is very slow and sad. It's mostly about Nicholas being overcome with sadness about Victoria's death. He visits her grave, and it feels like he's lost someone he had loved. Although he is filled with grief and sadness, he can move on with his life and accept her death.
This album in my opinion is one of the best Dream Theater albums out there. It's a great story with many twists, especially the last song. There's so much attention to detail in this album as well. It has all the elements Dream Theater is known for, plus a whole lot more. If you want to hear a great album and are willing to pay full attention to it, this album is a great choice. If you're a person that doesn't really pay attention to the lyrics and doesn't look deeper, it's probably not for you.
The full experience from this album is all about paying close attention to detail, such as subtle vocal pitches determining who is speaking or who is narrating, etc. It is filled with many different feelings as well. Throughout the album, there's happiness, adventure, fast pace, aggressive feelings and there's sadness, slow pace, grief, and solemnness.
In conclusion, I would give this album a 9.5/10. You know this is just my opinion, right?!
Ryan Dang volunteers for the Pacifica Sharp Park Library from home.