Metal Motiv: Metal Motivation Monday | Illumination Theory
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Illumination Theory


About This Song

Dream Theater released their self-titled album in 2013 with their new drummer Mike Mangini after longtime band leader and drum virtuoso Mike Portnoy left the band. Many were skeptical if the band would sound the same or take an alternate path. In my opinion, this album is their strongest since Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence in 2002. The brilliant and interwoven music of guitarist John Petrucci, keyboardest Jordan Rudess and bass playing of John Myung has never sounded better and the vocal prowess by James LaBrie allows him to own this genré of prog-metal singing.

The track featured here Illumination Theory is one of Dream Theaters epic songs. While not their longest, it does hit home around the 20 minute mark with 5 (maybe 6?) different parts or moments of the song.

Via Loudwire:

“There may be other prog metal outfits that blend dazzlingly crunchy riffs with swirling, dramatic strings and keyboard textures. But nobody does it quite like the supreme lords of the genre… But this is not just some Herculean contest to see how many notes or time changes can be delivered per second or per pound. Remember, what separates this band is their ability to take that rocket power and convert it into regal, elegant, even stately song forms.

As for the true album epic, we are treated to the kaleidoscopic, 22-minute opus entitled ‘Illumination Theory,’ a five-part piece broken down as follows: i. Paradoxe de la Lumière Noire, ii. Live, Die, Kill, iii. The Embracing Circle, iv. The Pursuit of Truth, v. Surrender, Trust & Passion. This is what many Dream Theater purists will have arrived for. The monster. Jam-packed with a head-spinning mix of quiet interludes, face melting jams and, courtesy of bassist Myung and Mangini, forests full of rhythmic majesty, this suite plays like a mini album in itself. Petrucci’s solos in this piece seem to defy logic at times, yet the warmth and emotional tone is never sacrificed. And Rudess scales heights impressive by even his own lofty standards.

Then, as simply as it began, it ends – quiet, peaceful and full of hope. The show is over. Lights, up. Towering and atmospheric, ‘Dream Theater’ pushes the envelope into some new musical dimension, a cosmic realm reserved for the best. The band also seems to be expanding their appeal beyond the faithful with some punchy, stylish and tuneful songs that seduce immediately. Good thing, too. Because the more people that can hear an album like this, the more faithful there will be. Sure, that’s good for Dream Theater. But it’s also good for music.”



[I. Paradoxe de la Lumière Noire]


[II. Live, Die, Kill]

Consider this question
Look deep inside
Deliver a true confession
What are you willing to live for?

Consider this question
Open your eyes
Examine your own reflection
What are you willing to die for?

When your backs’ against the wall
And the time’s uncertain
Consider this question
No standing by
When flesh and blood are threatened
What are you willing to kill for?

We seek to understand
We cry with head in hand

The bridges we build to connect
The distance that makes us forget
Hate dividing us, love reminding us
Of our shared humanity

Hope can be a shadow fleeting
I would rather die believing
Capture it all in a final act of faith

We seek to understand
We cry with head in hand

A story that needs to be told
An answer that begs to be found
The beauty we wish to behold
Is never too far away

[III. The Embracing Circle]


[IV. The Pursuit Of Truth]

Mothers for their children
Husbands for their wives
Martyrs for the kingdom
Fighting for your life
A soldier for his country
A junkie for the high
Teachers for their students
Vengeance for a crime
Rebels for their freedom
A tyrant for the praise
Cowards for salvation
Money, love, and fame

Noble and brave
Lay down our lives for the cause
Death over shame
Grace before glory

[V. Surrender, Trust & Passion]

To really feel the joy in life
You must suffer through the pain
When you surrender to the light
You can face the darkest days

If you open up your eyes
And you put your trust in love
On those cold and endless nights
You will never be alone

Passion glows within your heart
Like a furnace burning bright
Until you struggle through the dark
You’ll never know that you’re alive