“The Boogies were cranking”: Dream Theater brings the riffs on “concise” new album, “Distance Over Time”

Credit: Mark MaryanovichNot many people would call an hour-long album “short,” unless you’re a Dream Theater fan. Distance Over Time, the latest effort from the prog-metallers, runs about 57 minutes, but compared to its 2016 predecessor — the over two-hour sci-fi/fantasy epic The Astonishing — it’s downright lean.

Speaking to ABC Radio, guitarist John Petrucci says that the band deliberately set out to make a more “concise” album after The Astonishing. To do that, Dream Theater headed to a secluded, five-acre property in Monticello, New York, where they lived and recorded together, in-person and under one roof, for the first time in 20 years. 

“Something that we haven’t done since [1992’s] Images and Words 25 years ago, where it’s an hour-long Dream Theater record,” Petrucci explains. “Something that you could listen to on a train ride or in the car or in a workout session.”

He adds that Dream Theater tried to be “conscious of the song lengths,” which was, as you might expect, “a discipline that was really hard to stay on top of.”

“We didn’t want an hour-long album to have two songs on it, as proggy as that might be,” Petrucci says. “We wanted to write a bunch of different types of songs.”

While that might seem like blasphemy to Dream Theater fans, you might be too busy headbanging to care, since Distance Over Time is one of the band’s most riff-heavy albums in some time.

“We were in this big, beautiful barn that just sounded amazing,” Petrucci says. “And the Boogies were cranking, the drums were loud, everything’s bouncing off the walls. It lends itself to wanting to play more primal guitar riff[s].” 

Distance Over Time is out now.

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