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Dream Theater - Train of Thought CD (album) cover

TRAIN OF THOUGHT

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.60 | 1857 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

N-man
5 stars Right. To begin with, I have to mention that Train of Thought is such an underrated album. As the cover suggests, this is a really dark album, which I find really interesting, since I like dark albums. Anyway, this is a hell of a piece of work and all of the compositions here are really strong. Dream Theater decided to show the world their more metal side with this one, and that's maybe why a lot of people don't really like it. In fact, based on what I had heard or read about this being their "heaviest" record to date, I thought I wouldn't like it that much, since I'm not really a huge fan of heavy metal. But, I must say my expectations were exeded! I've always been interested in long compositions featuring sick intrumental sections, so that's one of the reasons I really enjoy this album. And DT didn't become a mainstream metal band at all, with this one. There is a lot of solid progressive stuff here: complex time signatures, tempo changes, typical prog keyboards, complex structures, obscure arrangements, blah, blah, blah... I have to go song by song to do a decent review for this album.

1)-As I am: Awesome beginning! The last chord heard on Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence fades in and, then, a distored keyboard sound plays a riff a couple of times. Later, the whole band joins in and start playing the main riff with full energy. The vocals are great and there's a whole dark feel to it. Some Wakemanish synth can be heard before one of the most sick, virtuoso guitar solos, played by Petrucci, comes in. It is the least progressive on the record and it sounds similar to Metallica but, nevertheless, it's a really good song...and I never really liked Metallica.

2)- This Dying Soul: Oohh...probably my favourite on this record! The second part of the AA saga (steps IV and V) starts with full energy. It is all really heavy and full of power and wicked tempo changes. Man, when I see these guys playing this song I can't understand how they do it...they must be aliens! The typical lead synth used by Jordan Rudess is all wah-wahed and sounds more like guitar, which is really awesome. Some piano enters among all the heaviness, changing the mood of the song and letting some soulful vocals come in. That moment is amazing. I also have to mention the drumming comming after this. Mr. Portnoy is really one of the greatest drummers these days. Also, pay special attention to the the instrumentals on step V: Release, domminated by weird riffs, and the last 2 minutes, featuring awesome soloing by both Rudess and Petrucci, as well as great background bass lines by Myung and full-energy drumming.

3)- Endless Sacrifice: Starts as a soft ballad with nice guitar arpegios, piano and mellow vocals. The chorus is heavier and it features a great effect produced by guitar harmonics. The middle instrumental section features some awesome soloing as well as a keyboard-orchestra bit, programmed by Rudess. Cool riffs and progressive structures feature in this song. It is an awesome track.

4)- Honour Thy Father: A sort of revenge track for Portnoy's step father, who apparently made him suffer, as a kid. It is, together with This Dying Soul, the heaviest on the record. The vocals show anger and hate all the way through. The instrumental section is awesome. It features voices from different films, I suppose, saying stuff like "The biggest regret of my life" or "God damn regret!". The whole thing gives you the idea of this big revenge. The atmosphere is really well recreated. Some Wakemanish scales can be heard. "Don't cross the crooked step!"

5)- Vacant: After 40 minutes of long, heavy, complex and virtuoso stuff, we take a break with Vacant. A dark and mellow ballad, featuring nice piano and bass as well as cello and great vocals by James LaBrie. It is really a beautiful song and it sets the mood for the big instrumental...

6)- Stream of Conciousness: It starts revisiting the Vacant theme with faster tempo. Then there's this whole 11-minute sick instrumental, featuring the band displaying their abillities. A lot of prog here, and not much metal. Actually, I don't think this is really metal at all. It's just played strongly. I won't explain much, since you can listen to this one here on prog archives.

7)- In the name of God: The Grand Finale. This one features an awesome piano melody which later constitutes on of the most colossal endings for an album. This one is a hymn. It also features great vocals by Labrie, bass by Mr. Myung and, of course virtuosic soloing by Rudess and Petrucci. Oh, and this one contains a secret message... It ends with the piano note (an F) that would start the Octavarium album. This note was played by Jordan with his nose!

So, overall, all the compositions are top-notch and are a perfect blend of heavy metal with progressive rock. 5 stars. Essential: a masterpiece of progressive metal!

N-man | 5/5 |

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