The Selection : Dream Theater reviewed by Miguel Espinosa (Persefone) E-mail interview, 2018
Dream Theater is a band that frequently divided people, as they were sometimes seen as brilliant pioneers, sometimes as cold and overrated virtuosos. Nevertheless, the band is celebrating their 33rd birthday this year and is working on their fourteenth album. Thanks to this determination, Dream Theater always moved forward, tried new things, despite some unexpected turns of events. One of these tragic moments was Mike Portnoy's brutal departure in 2010. Last year, the iconic drummer started Sons Of Apollo with Derek Sherinian, another former Dream Theater member. This new band will soon headline the Very Prog Festival in Toulouse (Fr.), and Persefone (another great reference of the modern Prog scene) will join the party. This is the perfect occasion for us to ask their keyboardist Miguel "Moe" Espinosa about what he thinks of Dream Theater in this new episode of "The Selection".
As a prelude, how would you describe Dream Theater carreer as a whole ?
"Dream Theater is one of those rare bands that are expected to inspire. From their very beginning, they defined what progressive metal was. They were all the time looking for something new and trying to surprise their fans. From Images and Words to Black Clouds and Silver Linings there's a constant evolution that you might love or not but it is there. In my opinion, with Portnoy, they not only lost an amazing drummer but a producer. I tried to follow them afterwards, but their ability to surprise (in the good sense of the term) got lost in my opinion. Now I don't think they are offering anything new and some other bands are filling in their shoes.
My favourite Dream Theater album : Metropolis Part II : Scenes from a Memory (1999)
I have mixed feelings here. I discovered them with Images and Words, and as a consequence, I love that album. It put a bar on what was good and what wasn't for the music we (Persefone) wanted to do. When thinking about progressive music, we look at old Dream Theater. But the album, THE album, is Metropolis part II : Scenes From A Memory. The addition of Jordan Rudess to the band gave a fresh new side to their music and that, combined with some sort of inspiration they had by that time, ended up on a fabulous album that will be difficult to top by any band in the future, musically, and because of the repercussions it had. A complex combination of factors must happen to achieve something like that again. Some of the best songs ever written are in that album.
What is the Dream Theater album you would recommend to someone who doesn't know them yet : Train of Thought (2003)
It all depends on the music background that person has. If that person loves progressive music, probably Metropolis part II : Scenes From A Memory will be a good start. But if he is into something heavier, maybe Train Of Thought will do a better choice. For someone looking for something cheesier, he can go with The Astonishing hahaha.
And after that one, which one would you recommand to dig deeper into DT : Images and Words (1992) and Awake (1994)
I guess trying to know the roots of the band is a good follow-up for any listener who wants to dig deeper. It will give a better sense of who they are and what they were pursuing back in the day. So Images And Words and Awake.
What is DT's song that evokes the most things for you, which is the most important to you?
There are a lot of songs I really love. Metropolis part I, Lines In The Sand, Dance Of Eternity, The Count Of Tuscany, but to be honest, the one that really got deep into me is The Spirit Carries On. The only song from them that puts me in tears. The music, the vibe, and the powerful lyrics. It really touches me deeply and I come back to it from time to time. Even when I'm in the car with my wife, we both love to sing along with it!
What Dream Theater album did you (re)discovered recently (or long after its release) : Falling Into Infinity (1998)
I loved Kevin Moore's work in the band so much that when he quit, I hated the idea of a new keyboardist, so I was stupid enough not to listen to their upcoming albums, missing some of their best songs. Derek Sherinian put his signature on their music and the songs he played in are incredible. I'm willing to see if Sons Of Apollo play some of those songs when they play at Very Prog Festival, right after our show with Persefone.
What is their most underrated album according to you : Octavarium (2005)
Octavarium!! There are great songs in there. You only need to check that album with different ears. Panic Attack, Octavarium or The Answer Lies Within are great songs. Also I loved the Muse vibe in some of them! They also did a really emotive song as a tribute to the victims of 11th of September 2001.
What is your favorite live-album by Dream Theater : Live at Budokan (2004)
Live at Budokan! Amazing show, amazing perfomance,... To this day we still learn from that show!"
by Miguel Espinosa (Persefone)
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