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Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos CD (album) cover

SYSTEMATIC CHAOS

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.31 | 1746 ratings

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DAVA
3 stars Unlike most DT fans out there, I found in Train of Thought and Octavarium two great albums. In Train of Thought (true, not their best album) they achieved what they wanted and presented the fans with a unique cd. Octavarium is more of a hodge-podge, yet they gave the fans a new side to DT along with one of their best songs, Octavarium. Then it saddens me to see how these two didn't get as much credit as Systematic Chaos, which I would say doesn't deserve it. This is why:

Systematic Chaos lacked work in my opinion. It is true that it contains some of the most virtuous and complex parts the quintet has ever played, yet what joins these parts substract some of the merit. In the documentary coming with the special edition cd, Portnoy says that they didn't carry any ideas coming into the studio to write and record Systematic Chaos. I know many great cd's have been written this way (one just has to listen to Liquid Tension Experiment), but the weak chorus for Forsaken or the flat riff in Prophets of War as the fans chant tear down the expectation built by the quiet piano and the very ''Muse-like'' parts respectively.

In addition, this album could be criticized along the same lines as their two previous works. If fans out there consider Train of Thought to be the ''heavy-album'' and Octavarium the ''proggie-album,'' how come they don't call this the ''main stream-album.'' Not that having a more main-stream sound is bad, but if you were to accuse DT for writing music for a segment of their fans, then they continue to be guilty. Some songs, like Forsaken or Constant Motion, have a very rigid and traditional song structure. The production doesn't help their cause, with guitars having a more prominent sound than most other instruments. Finally, the lyrics. In the DVD documentary they speak of fantasy writing. When I think of good fantasy writing I think of Blind Guardianl. DT in Systematic Chaos writes about a vampiress, a big bad monster, and a dark master. And if the lyrics are there for the sake of aesthetic, DT should know this is not up their alley.

This is still Dream Theater. It is still worth a listen and the album has its highlights such as The Ministry of Lost Souls and Repentance. It is hard not to expect great work from DT, but I must say this album was a disappointment. Probably my least favorite DT work up to date.

DAVA | 3/5 |

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