Dream Theater, 'Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory' (1999)
This is the first Dream Theater album that I gave a true chance to. I remember being at Warped Tour in maybe 2004, and the Rev [Avenged Sevenfold's late drummer] was playing it in our van. We had a new CD player and he was playing when he had to drive, and I remember getting that CD, grabbing a Walkman and sitting in the back of the van and just immersing myself into that record.
I loved the story. I loved everything about Dream Theater on that record. Then I was able to go back and now I'm very familiar with their whole discography, but that record to me changed everything because it's the first time I ever really heard a story on an album. I hadn't even listened to to Operation: Mindcrime yet. This is the first true concept album that I really got into, and it made me think of things differently. I thought it was put together so well with progressive nature of it, and the melodies were brilliant. It was the first time I was really introduced to John Petrucci and his guitar playing, which I feel, even though he's one of the most highly revered guitar players, is underrated, because I feel that he's not only technically brilliant, but he emotionally always plays the right notes. This record just showed me that you can tell a big story with heavy metal. You can get a lot onto a CD and it doesn't always have to be these cut-and-dried songs. You can make an adventure out of all of it. And so that really opened my eyes to that.