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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Dream Theater

Master Of Puppets

Review by Greg Olma

From the beginning, Dream Theater always gave the fans something special. When they go out on tour, if they have a 2 night stay at any venue, the second night becomes “cover” night. The band chooses an album that is special or influential to them and they play it from start to finish. The first of these albums to be covered is Metallica’s Master Of Puppets. I previously reviewed their Number Of The Beast cover CD and I think that worked a little better for them. The main reason is because James LaBrie is too good of a singer. His vocals fit with the Iron Maiden classic but here, the vocals need to be rougher and he sang them a bit too smooth. He did an admirable job and some tracks worked better than others but overall, the vocals don’t quite fit the original sound. Having said that, if you were going to have any band cover an album, you would be hard pressed to find a better group to do the job.

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Track by Track Review
Battery
Right off the bat, the music sounds very close but James LaBrie’s vocals are too smooth. They need to be “barked” out more and James sings them. John Petrucci has no problem covering the solo and Mike Portnoy keeps the beat better Lars.
Master of Puppets
The music is pretty much exactly like the original. The only part that sounds different is the middle section but overall it is very close. Aside from the vocals, which sound better here, you could be convinced that it is a Metallica bootleg.
The Thing That Should Not Be
James LaBrie lowers his vocals to fit this cut and it works much better. As the album progresses, his singing fits the music more. John Pertucci is even able to get that same guitar tone/sound that Hetfield and Hammett have. This is also where you really hear Jordan Rudess. He does the guitar solos on his keyboards and that gives it more of a Dream Theater sound.
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
This one sounds close to the original but during the verses, it seems like it is missing something. The guitar work is spot on and the solos sound exactly like the original version. LaBrie’s vocals sound good on this track also.
Disposable Heroes
Jordan Rudess makes his presence felt again on this track. Most of the time he must be playing rhythms but here he is also playing on top of the song giving it a prog sound. I don’t think this one is played as close, but it really works because they are injecting their sound into it also. If you are looking for an exact remake, then you won’t find it here.
Leper Messiah
James Labrie sounds good on this one. After giving the Dream Theater treatment to the previous track, they play this one closer to the original except for the keyboard solo replacing a guitar solo.
Orion
This track is a prog-influenced classic by Metallica so it works really well here. Not only is the original long, but Dream Theater managed to tack on another minute. Being an instrumental also makes it sound really close to the original.
Damage, Inc.
As with the original, the boys play this one really heavy. The song demands it and even James Labrie sings this one heavy. If he had started with this type of vocal, the whole affair would have been a remarkably close copy of Metallica. 
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