The Astonishing > The Path That Divides

I am going to take a few minutes here, and over the next few weeks, to review Dream Theater’s new album, The Astonishing. IMO, this is a epic, massive and awe inspiring album. Clocking in at ~2h:10m, it’s gonna take a while.

The 5th track of ACT II, The Path That Divides, could be the sleeper best of the album. Very melodic, powerful and concise. The theme here is very stylistically astute and clean.

The song transitions from Arhys realizing he F’ed up, that he was about to sell our his brother. Sadly, X was there to see what happens as Princy Daryus shows up. He declares to Daryus that Gabriel is his blood and he would rather die than betray his brother or his people.

One thing I take away from this track is the following passage that I think best represents this spirit of this album and a core value that comes from it :

When you’re facing the path that divides
Know that I will be there by your side
Find your strength in the sound of my voice
And you’ll know
Which choice is right

Another thing I’ve taken away from this song is the various textures to the song. Between Arhys’s panic attack, the movement music shortly after that leading into X showing up. The melody of his proclamation to Prince Daryus, the fight scene, and then the power of this section from near the end, for which Prince Daryus proclaims (around 4m mark) in a very evil way :

You dare defy your prince?
Well you just threw your life away
Along with Xander’s dreams
You chose the wrong man to betray