Dream Theater - Reincarnation For The Progressive Nation
by Martin Popoff

It's been a career of fits and starts for Dream Theater. Four proper studio albums, one odds "n' sods, and two live releases have not sufficiently shaken fans to move ahead with this unique band, folks still pining back to the band's second album Images And Words as the standard against which Dream Theater records must be harshly measured. This seems to happen with most progressive or progressive metal bands, fans fixating on a record way back, upset when they receive the dark lumbering force of an Awake, or more incensed at the moody mellow strains of a Falling Into Infinity.

The new record however, will probably have Dream Theater's fanatic fanbase dancing a furtive fingers a' flyin' fretboard jig. Can't tell you what the thing's called though, only that it is subtitled Scenes From A Memory. Seems the main title is a secret, one of the items lead singer James LaBrie can't divulge (note: this feature was written in October. The album is since out and it's called Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory).

James explains with an apologetic laugh, why they are being so mysterious. Basically because we really wanted to keep the interest and excitement very much alive when the album finally does hit the street. We found that with the way the Internet works now, you can get soundbites from the upcoming albums, you can get the total scoop, you can get advance copies left right and center. And by the time it comes out and it's been all talked about, there's mainly two things happening. One is that people have over-anticipated the album and it's worse than they thought and they're disappointed. Or second, the excitement has dulled because everything has been accurately divulged already. All I know is that they wanted it to be stressed to all journalists that all the details about the album are strictly for use for their articles and are not to be posted or reproduced anywhere on the Internet before Oct. 26."

But it seems everything else is pretty much fair game, so deep into the record we go, Scenes From A Memory being well worth the wait and worth a bit of explaining, given that it's the band's first full-blown concept album, smacked upside the head with all sorts of bright, combative progressive metal playing that is likely the most vital the band has ever projected onto shiny aluminum. James sets the stage for the story, again, without giving away too much. The concept is that it's a story of a young man, whose name is Nicholas. And he's constantly being haunted at night by dreams from another lifetime. And upon his being regressed by his psychotherapist, he discovers that he is indeed a reincarnated soul of a young girl whose name was Victoria, who lived earlier in this century. So once he does this regression and he finds out that, hey, there is such a thing as past lives, he starts to investigate the details of his past life. And through his investigation he is horrified to learn that Victoria was tragically murdered at a very young age. So throughout the story Nicholas finds out more and more about this secret life that Victoria was leading, and that she was, in fact, involved in a dangerous life of lies and deception and a love triangle involving two brothers."

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