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Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.31 | 1752 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Dream Theater at their most derivative, dumbed down, and uncreative; "Systematic Chaos" is a big letdown after the excellant "Octavarium", but still mainains a sliver of the band's exciting potential.

The biggest problem, is the band's very tired formula which is even more by-the-books here than ever before. The songs and playing have zero subtlety, and the entire album is so upfront and banal that it comes across sounding more like a release from their mainstream peers than what we should expect from those who have always strived to break the mold-- at this point the band might just be so in love with itself that stagnancy is the name of the game. The energy created by their technical playing on this release is completely hollow.

Most of the songs come across as reassembled bits from previous works, or worse yet-- as big, dumb, metal riffs lifted from other less reputable artists. More painful, are the few quite moments on the album, which are just mediocre ("Repentance" is the band's worst ballad... seriously). And, yes, even more painful... are Petrucci's embarrassing lyrics, more insipid than ever (although he's not alone: LaBrie has written the same song 3 times in a row now with "Prophets of War"). None of the members deliver anything memorable (except for Portnoy, whose backing vocals are painfully exposed, and for the always excellant Myung, whose fat sound is thankfully more audible), which is really too bad given the band's past excellence.

There are a few redeeming instrumental moments, some of which even manage to generate a little excitement, but by the time the listener hears them they are likely to be to jaded to care.

Coming from someone who genuinely loves this band, I can say that this album is a big let- down; the guys should have spent another year hammering out new ideas before recording. Hopefully tour attendance this time around will clue them into what their fans want (and deserve)... progress!

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 1

Prog Leviathan | 2/5 |


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