2021 Best of Metal: #6 Dream Theater-A View From the Top of the World

Origin: Long Island, NY

Release date: 10/22/2021

Personnel: James LaBrie-vox, John Petrucci-guitar, John Myung-bass, Jordan Rudess-keyboards, Mike Mangini-drums

I’ll be honest. This is probably the most shocking entry this year. After some bloated misfires on their past few albums, I had zero expectations when this one popped up on the calendar. Look, Dream Theater was a big band for me in the 90’s and they definitely took the baton from Rush as the leading prog rock/metal group of their time. But their earlier work was definitely the product of a metal band. It has felt like since the departure of Mike Portnoy that the band has kind of forgotten that the metal side of themselves is really the foundation of the band. It feels like A View From the Top of the World is a step in the direction of them embracing their metalness once again. The songs are long as usual, but they don’t veer into the overindulgent fests of years past. It feels as though they really attempted to craft some very coherent and self-contained songs on this one. Maybe this was a case of very low expectations being somewhat surpassed, but I was really happy to hear them returning somewhat to form.

4.5 flip flops out of 5

The list so far:

6. Dream Theater-A View From the Top of the World
7. Exodus-Persona Non Grata
8. Khemmis-Deceiver
9. Carcass-Torn Arteries
10. Omnium Gatherum-Origin
11. Be’Lakor-Coherence
12. Hooded Menace-The Tritonus Bell
13. Quicksand-Distant Populations
14. Harakiri For the Sky-Maere
15. Converge and Chelsea Wolfe-Bloodmoon: I
16. At The Gates-The Nightmare of Being
17. The Vintage Caravan-Monuments
18. Nervosa-Perpetual Chaos
19. Baest-Necro Sapiens
20. Agrypnie-Metamorphosis