So the first song here will be “Trial Of Tears” from the progressive metal group Dream Theater.
The first time I ever heard the name Dream Theater was about seven years ago, and if I remember it correctly we listened to “Falling Into Infinity“. To be honest I didn’t take heed of the band following that occasion. Years later (about two years ago) a good friend of mine (who is responsible for like 50% of the music I listen to today) gifted me “Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence”. And I didn’t like it. Back in the days I used to listen to a lot of (maybe even exclusively) Pink Floyd. Thus the sound of Dream Theater was way to heavy for me, every part of the music seemed kind of chaotic and agressive.
It took a long time until I arranged myself with this music. Funny enough the first album that really spoke to me was “Black Clouds And Silver Linings” which starts like if hell was about to collapse.
After the first experiences where I learned to value the tunes step by step the story goes as usual: I bought every album one after another. Unfortunately I don’t know when I bought “Falling Into Infinity” but I remember I liked it because it reminded me in some parts of “A Dramatic Turn Of Events” which I possessed earlier.
Other songs will most likely appear on other blog posts, as the album contains a lot of great tunes but now I will (finally) focus on “Trial Of Tears“:
Starting very calm and putting the set into a very peaceful yet powerless situation the song begins kind of dreamy. The set remains constant when James LaBrie softly begins to sing the lyrics written by John Myung (who only wrote very few lyrics for the band) “(…)The music fades away // Splashing through the rain // I’ll dream with them one day”.
Followed up by “It’s raining, raining // On the streets of New York City” where the voice raises to end up in a sort of plaint (“I may have wasted all those years..”) the lyrical I notices his failures or missings but keeps itself sheltered in “(…) the warmth of my fears”.
The setting is perfect and something one can relate to. A really big city, anonymity, fears and an inner drift to slip into a personal bubble, constantly closing up to the point where you walk through this vivid place only noticing some dull and fading noises.
The song continues to circle around this image, explaining a little more of the situation “Hidden by disguise, stumbling in a world // Feeling uninspired, he gets into his car // Not within his eyes to see, open up, open up // Not much better than the man you hate”. Finally the song presents an image of a disoriented person, perceiving yet again his own mistakes. The rain, serving as an outer effect in the first part of the song becomes an inner phenomenon cleaning (/putting on trial) the feelings of the lyrical I. It finally tries to flee the situation, “(…) look[ing] for a way back home”. It is doubtable if it finds shelter there since the rain is this interior process.
The rain is intonated by the high pitch drums played by Mike Portnoy and the gentle sound of Petruccis guitar at the very beginning and the very end. The song starts the same way as it ends, implying that the catharsis happening in the middle of the song doesn’t change a thing in the end.
As I mentioned before I can easily slip into the feelings of the lyrical I in the way presented here, the setting of a rainy day really fits both as an outer and an inner aspect. You can feel the powerless walk through the streets, being only concerned with the self, wrapping oneself again into the same fears experienced for years. No wonder the lyrical I searches for a safe place to hide from his realisation.
So after all these words, here come the links to the song and the lyrics. Enjoy and lean back 🙂
Music: https://youtu.be/L3u7OaTIFNk (Taken from the DVD “Live in Budokan”)
Full Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/dreamtheater/trialoftears.html