Trial of Tears is from the Falling Into Infinity album released in 1997.
The Falling Into Infinity album is a controversial subject for Dream Theater fans. Some say it is incredible, others cry that it was a sell out and others say it’s crap. Mike Portnoy said he hated it, and that by releasing the Official Bootleg of the album in a Double CD format, he felt that he has corrected that hate and given the album its due justice. If the other members agree with that statement is an entirely different matter.
Trial of Tears is a three movement song. John Myung owns this song. His groovy bass lines are all over it and for any aspiring bass player, this is a song that should be in your bible of bass songs to learn.
I: It’s Raining
The vocal melody on the chorus below is George Harrison’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps. It comes back again in the third movement.
On the streets of New York City
Raining deep in heaven
I can picture myself in New York City and allowing the rain to fall on me. That is the connection that the melody makes with me.
As I walk through all my myths
Rising and sinking like the waves
With my thoughts wrapped around me
Through a trial of tears
Wow, what a verse. How many different masks do we wear in life? How many myths do we create around us? Are these myths there to make us feel better about ourselves or do we create these myths just to fit in. In the end it all ends with a trial of tears.
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
James LaBrie’s voice has been a topic of many discussions I have had about Dream Theater however in Trial of Tears he nails this bridge part. He is barking it out, pushing his throat until it blows. It fits with the music to a tee.
II: Deep In Heaven
The instrumental section of the song is a mash up of influences. Coming into it, at the 5.58 mark, Dream Theater is referencing Metropolis I: The Miracle and The Sleeper from the Images and Words album, and then during the guitar lead break from 6.12 to 8.10 the bass groove is reminiscent to Learning To Live (again from Images and Words) and also Yes – Heart Of The Sunrise.
Then from 8.11 to 10.04 the bass line lays a funky groove in a style very similar to the verse riff in Take The Time which is also from Images and Words.
Overall it is a great jam session and it reminds me of the Kevin Moore era of Dream Theater. Derek Sherinian and Kevin Moore had similar abilities on the keys, however the big difference between them is that Kevin Moore brought songs to the table, with lyrics and vocal melodies.
III. The Wasteland
When The Wasteland section kicks in at the 10.05 mark, I am immediately reminded of George Harrison’s, While My Guitar Gently Weeps. It’s perfect. A sense of familiarity and also something that is new.
Welcome to the wasteland
Where you’ll find ashes, nothing but ashes
I remember hearing this back in 1997 and my mind picturing this great garbage dump where peoples’ dreams, possessions, hopes and memories end up and that there is a massive machine that is churning it out into massive piles of ash. Again LaBrie is firing on all cylinders.
Rising, sinking, raining deep inside me
Nowhere to turn,
I look for a way back home
I took the above to mean that the rain was never physical rain outside. It was always a storm inside the persons soul. For a long time, the person controlled it and then one day the rain/storm exploded. Now the rain falls as a metaphor for the tears that fall when someone passes away.
It’s raining, raining, raining deep in heaven
How effective is the above line, done over and over again? The way the music picks up around it, it gives me a sense of hope and that everything will be okay.
Trial of Tears is another John Myung’s masterpiece. This song is not the heaviest Dream Theater song however it is one song that has heaps of melody around it. Words can’t describe the emotions this song stirs, so let your ears do the listening and give it the time of day.