Dream Theater- Distance over Time
‘Distance over Time’ is Dream Theater’s fourteenth album and fourth with Mike Mangini on drums and was released in February 2019. The album was recorded in a cabin in upstate New York from June to September 2018. It is just under fifty-seven minutes long, has nine songs but all the songs are shorter than ten minutes.
"Untethered Angel" was released as the lead single in December 2018. It has that distinct Dream Theater style with its six-minute running time. The chugging riffs in the verses work well with the organ. The song also features a fantastic Hammond organ solo alternating with the guitar solo.
"Paralyzed" is just under four and a half minutes long, lowers the tempo and changes the style slightly but keep the crunchy guitar riffs. There is some subtle piano work in there. One of the album highlights.
"Fall into the Light" is a lot faster and sounds quite a lot like early Metallica. It has a wonderfully serene middle eight about half-way through as the tempo drops and acoustic guitar comes in. The song features another fantastic Hammond organ solo (this one is a bit longer). The seven-minute song is a definite highlight.
"Barstool Warrior" begins with one of those guitar lines that Petrucci does that are almost solos but not quite. The song has quite an epic feel to it. I especially love the part at four minutes in when all the other instruments drop out leaving just the piano. This is just before everything comes back in for the guitar solo. Another definite highlight and third in a row.
"Room 137" features the first lyrics written by Mike Mangini. It is not one of the best songs on the album but does feature some nice guitar playing and even an influence from The Beatles and despite being very heavy it is still quite a funky song.
"S2N" opens with an awesome bass part. At four minutes and one second, listen carefully for a certain Hollywood actor. There is a very fine guitar solo and a continuum solo not long after it.
"At Wit's End" is the longest song on the album. It opens with those brilliant fast arpeggios the band do so well but then leads into some of the heaviest playing on the album. It also has a beautiful but pained chorus where the riff becomes softer but there is both a synth solo and a guitar solo in the first half. Things quieten down to just a piano and vocals about halfway through with a very moving guitar solo from about six minutes in and for the rest of the song. It is monumental and probably my favourite song on the album.
"Out of Reach" has a ballad style and is the shortest song on the album. It has a wonderful combination of electric guitar arpeggio and piano. The drums do not kick in until around halfway in and even then, it is used very sparingly.
"Pale Blue Dot" opens with some space sound effects and samples. When the drums come in, they are almost machine-like while Petrucci plays a fast riff. There are also short orchestra stabs and synth pads. There are also some short instrumental sections where Mangini plays some great snare drum work. A superb song to close the album.
After the last album ‘The Astonishing’ which divided both critics and fans, the band have made use of writing and recording the album on location while living together. Dream Theater have made a shorter and more focused album while going back to basics (as much as a progressive metal band can). They have stuck to what they do best, remained committed to their style. It also has some of the best production sounds of any Dream Theater album I have heard with both a warmth and power to all instruments and vocals and Mike Mangini has once again proven why he was chosen to replace Mike Portnoy. His drumming is outstanding, powerful but never overstated.