Released: 2002, Elektra/Asylum
Any Dream Theater review should probably be divided into three parts. One would be for the diehard fans, one for the Dream Theater haters and one for the average metal fan. Let me tackle the first two parts quickly.
DIEHARDS: You will love this album and consider it a masterpiece. SIX DEGREES showcases the guys at the top of their games. Some great individual performances, especially from Rudess, Petrucci and Portnoy. A lot of extended soloing and a masterpiece of a song on disc two. One that will probably never be matched in it’s sheer scope and length. Did somebody say “42 minutes”? Wow. Let’s not kid ourselves though, SIX DEGREES has been out for a couple months now and you picked it up the day it was released. You’ve got every note memorized by now. You could care less what I have to say.
HATERS: You will find nothing on this album that will change your mind about Dream Theater. In fact, it may make you hate them even more. There are only five songs on disc one, which means the band still thinks a song isn’t any good unless it’s at least 10 minutes long. Plenty of “instrumental masturbation” to go around. Even worse, the second disc is one song that clocks in at over 42 minutes! The lyrics are, as usual, formulaic, cliché and uninspired. But honestly, if you hate the band, move on with your life and find something you do like. Then listen to that.
AVERAGE FANS: I have an unbiased review to offer you. I stand somewhere in the middle when it comes to Dream Theater. I really liked IMAGES & WORDS and SCENES FROM A MEMORY. I yawned my way through AWAKE and FALLING INTO INFINFITY. So what do I have to say about this album?
To make a long story short, just check out the score. A 3 out of 5, per the ratings guide established by EvilG, means “not overly amazing, but recommended for serious fans”. That about sums it up for me. Sure, I like “The Glass Prison”, “About to Crash” and “Solitary Shell”. I have officially decided that “The Great Debate” is one of my favorite Dream Theater songs of all time. It’s a great song that clocks in at nearly fourteen minutes without becoming tedious. But in the end, my feelings about Dream Theater remain unchanged. I can’t deny the amazing ability these guys have. You get the feeling they could sit down and crank out an album in a week, simply by writing the music as they jam. Yet, the music seems hollow and uninspiring. It just doesn’t feel like Dream Theater invest a lot of emotion into their music, with the exception of the two albums I mentioned above. Which is a shame, considering the amount of god-given talent these guys have. So to the average fan out there, I suggest you save your money. This is not a cheap purchase and there are better CDs in the Dream Theater catalogue. Why spend $25 on this one album when you get far more bang for that same money by purchasing IMAGES and SCENES? Enough said.
Official website: http://www.dreamtheater.net/