Untethered Angel

Album: Distance Over Time (2018)

Songfacts®:

  • To be tethered means being tied with a rope, strap, chord or chain to a post or fence. Animals are tethered to prevent them escaping or attacking someone but this means their movement is restricted. This song, describes how fear can do the same thing to humans, preventing them from experiencing all the numerous possibilities this world has to offer.

    You built this world around you, your universe
    In spite of best intentions, things could not be worse
    Chaos and fear left you hangin' by a thread
    As you argue with the voice inside your head


    Guitarist John Petrucci wrote this song. He explained in a video: "Fear is something that rears its ugly head at some point or another in all of our lives. Fear of the unknown, fear of taking chances, fear of making mistakes. If we are not careful, it can be debilitating and sadly prevent us from realizing our true potential. The world we live in can be a scary place and the thought of an uncertain future a terrifying notion, especially for today's young people. Untethering from that fear and giving yourself up to the future's countless possibilities is what will ultimately set you free."
  • The song was released as the lead single from Dream Theater's fourteenth album Distance Over Time. Petrucci explained that during the writing and recording process of the record, "Untethered Angel" had the working title of "'Song 4" as it was the fourth tune written during the sessions.

    "However," he added, "there has always been something about this track that just begged for it to be the album opener, even long before all of the songs were written."
  • Following the more experimental album The Astonishing, Distance Over Time was a return to Dream Theater's roots as a progressive metal powerhouse. In a Songfacts interview with frontman James LaBrie, he said: "We wanted it to predominantly be a more aggressive album for sure, and we wanted it to be more heavy and more metal-based, but at the same time establishing a balance between the two. Not losing our identity or signatures as far as the progressive side of Dream Theater goes."
  • Musically, this song is built on grooves from John Petrucci's guitar and Jordan Rudess' organ. Rudess used a Hammond X5 on the track.

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