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DREAM THEATER ‘Live At The Budokan’
Rhino/WSM (2004)

Although I've always been a fan of progressive metal, it's generally been the more extreme death/jazz or avant garde black metal bands that caught my attention and Dream Theater kind of passed me by so reviewing this live album gives me a chance to listen to the band that has probably influenced a lot of my favourite bands.

Unlike S.O.D.'s similarly titled effort, this "Live at Budokan" was actually recorded there. The album starts with the surprisingly heavy "As I Am" which is reminiscent of `Puppets' era Metallica - an album that is brought to mind throughout the length of this triple- album.

Although there are moments of self-indulgence and some of the instrumental parts are extended almost to the point of tedium in my view, it's generally a very good album with a lot more feeling than those unfamiliar with Dream Theater's work (such as myself, admittedly) might expect. For the most part, they're also heavier than you might believe too, there's definitely a mid-period Metallica influence present in a large part of their work, although the drum parts are significantly better!

The one low point of the album really is how quiet the fans are throughout which means that for the most part it doesn't really feel like a live album.

Although the odd moment of muso-wankery was annoying to me personally I suppose it was to be expected and I certainly enjoyed it enough to make me want to check out the rest of the band's back catalogue.


Review by Neil Woodfin

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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