The Astonishing Review

Well, being a huge Dream Theater fan I figured I had to do this after all. I’m reading a lot of mixed reviews here and there, so here’s my take on it.

Dream Theater The Astonishing

I believe DT finally broke the bad streak of similarity in their few last albums featuring the extremely technical 200mph/song, of which if you ask me which song is from which album. I can’t even tell you. Where else you can easily distinguish any DT song prior to and including Octavarium.
So far this album is pretty relaxed, and there’s some really good music I can enjoy listening to. I don’t know, maybe I’m getting old… But all the fast paced DT songs are not my thing.

The Astonishing feels like old DT of the 90′s is back, I hear a lot of Scenes from a Memory, and Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence in it, even The Wall from Pink Floyd. In fact, once again I wasn’t planning on seeing them live this year; last time I saw them was in 2010 with Iron Maiden. But now I have my tickets reserved after I heard the full thing.

After a few listens I can tell the album is complete, it has the nerve touching guitar solos by Petrucci, I love the drum sound and again you might disagree with me here, Mangini (and everyone else) have toned down and changed their playing style. Labrie is shining throughout the album, the only thing is that you’d expect a different voice for each of the characters on the album which is what’s missing, but Labrie is doing a great job nevertheless. The album is packed with all the Christmassy, funky, Circus and even TANGO beats and Luigi’s Mansion theme in “2285 Entr’acte“, it’s all in there, something you’d always expect DT. But I never expected to hear Tango honestly. That 5/8 and 6/8 riff though in Three Days is just too badass.

By the way you can listen to the entire album on Dream Theater’s official YouTube channel for free. I’m not entirely sure why did they take this risk but my guess is to draw bigger crowds to their shows.

Anything after Octavarium is nothing but a musical masturbation of their extremely technical capabilities.

Honestly, I’d take this album any day over their extremely technical (and only technical) albums like Black Clouds.. A Dramatic Turn.. or the self titled Dream Theater albums. basically anything after Octavarium is nothing but a musical masturbation of their extremely technical capabilities.
It hasn’t even been a week The Astonishing is out so I can’t rate it just yet, but so far I can tell it’s not on par with any of their masterpieces I&W, Awake, A Change of Seasons, but I can rate it as good as Six Degrees; and I love Six Degrees.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m doing this review because I love DT. And as a musician I have learned a LOT from every single member and former-member of this band.

People nowadays rate albums based on the technical level of the musicians. We forget that this is actually art, it’s not a race or a competition. Hell, “The Gift of Music” song is pretty much about this, people stopped enjoying music a long time ago, they just want to hear the next guitarist do something extremely crazy, so they can go and show their friends what their favorite band’s guitarist can actually do.

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Basement Home Studio Update 3

Alright, I owe you yet another update from my upcoming home studio renovations.

It’s been almost a month since the last one, but you know with the holiday season, things go slower than expected.

But, we are getting there. Actually, I think we should be done in a matter of another 2-3 weeks.

If you missed the previous updates, here are the links to Basement Home Studio Update 1 and Basement Home Studio Update 2

I started installing decorative stone on the wall where the giant screen is going to be.

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These are the decorative stones
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Half the wall is done already. Don’t mind the tire rim, we didn’t have a ladder available so we improvised.
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And here’s the wall completed waiting for the speakers and the gigantic 135″ screen.IMG_0159All done and ready, missing the sub-woofer on the lower left where the wires are coming out.
IMG_0162We got this beautiful fireplace finally connected. It’s very slick.
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This is the opposite wall, where my workstation and amp are going to be. We decided to install a different looking flat and square brick.
IMG_2808No mortar needed, in fact it looks nicer without mortar in between the pieces.
And in case you were wondering… Yes, I had “The Wall” playing during the installation, but I had to stop the music at “Tear down the waaaaalll”. Cause you know that wouldn’t work very well.
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And this is where we are right now,more than half the way up. And the sexy LED lighting is now in operation as you can see.IMG_0331I need to pick it up in the next few days and finish this wall, cause the computer desk, bar and receiver cabinets are coming in next week. AND, I want to get done already.

More to come, I think the next update will be the last. Stay tuned, always.

Cheers and happy new year!
-Shant

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Nurtured All My Guitars

Just oiled all my guitars’ fretboards today. Glorious!

Follow me on Instagram @SemantiSat

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Basement Home Studio Update 2

I’m back this week with another update from the basement. You can see the first update here in case you missed it last week.

The painter started working last week on the ceiling niches, and prepared the walls and ceiling niche for plastering.

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The ceiling painted…

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The entrance and the rest of the room has been painted as well.

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Meanwhile, we passed some wires through the wall for the workstation. There are lots and lots of wires going through the walls, USB cables, Firewire, DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI … you name it.
This will keep things super tidy and there won’t be any wires cluttering the work space.

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I prepared the openings for the electrician on this plywood, we decided to use plywood instead of regular drywall to help support all the devices that are going to be wall-mounted. Yes, even the monitors will be wall mounted to maximize the space being used by the monitor stands.

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Here are all the custom wall-plates that cost me a small fortune to order. But I’m excited to see them mounted.

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The electrician also installed the new spotlights and light switches, they look sick!!

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I also decided to add some plywood to the other wall around the electric fireplace. They will serve as a support for the finished wood that you will see later on, and will help support the wall mounted guitar hangers. Yep, I’ll be hanging all my guitars on this wall… Maximizing space!!

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The plywood is up, and starting the finished wood installation.

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So I had this idea to make a time-lapse video of the installation process, and it actually turned out pretty nice. The entire thing took us 8 hours to finish, my wife helped me :)

Here’s the video, it’s nice and short, enjoy.

And, below you can see how the whole rooms looks like right now. There’s more to be done in the next couple of weeks, as you can see there are some wires hanging around and a couple of bare walls on the sides.

My babies will be hung (I mean guitars) either on the side of the fireplace or right above it. I’m not so sure yet if it’s a good idea to put them right above the fireplace, I’m concerned about the guitar wood going dry because of the heat. Any ideas?

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And finally, I started assembling a giant 135″ projector screen.

The room will also be my man-cave after all.

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And here it is, it has to stay like that for a couple of days to cure and minimize wrinkles caused during packaging.

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Well… That’s all for this one folks!
Stay tuned for the next update, I will probably post another one next week.

Cheers!

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