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Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.32 | 1819 ratings

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2 stars Dream Theater has lost their train of thought (ducks for cover).

The one thing I love about The Mars Volta is they go into every album thinking, what have we done and how do we capture the feel of it without making the same music? which is the one thing Dream Theater forgot to do on this album. Ever since Six Degrees, I've noticed a dropping off with the progressive motivations (with the exception of Octavarium- the song, not the album), and Systematic Chaos seems to be the epitome of this trend. This album popped out very smoothly and that was because Dream Theater has been captured by their own groove. They're basically doing what they've been doing for 20 years now- it was progressive then, it's safe now.

By now, Dream Theater seems obsessed with the Progressive Metal notion- the idea that Progressive Metal is a genre and that, now that they've established it and made it what it is, they have to stay within its limits. While Images & Words was an inventive and new interpretation of the metal genre, every song on Systematic Chaos can be traced back to the influence of one of their own previous works.

In the Presence of Enemies- Octavarium, but without the interesting opening and a heavier feel. Forsaken- These Walls, Panic Attack & Never Enough, but to be honest it sounds more like the symphonic power metal that they largely inspired. Constant Motion- Under a Glass Moon but it seems more hollow and less inventive, plus the solo is just shredding. The Dark Eternal Night- Fatal Tragedy, only with distorted vocals. Repentance- Space Dye-Vest with a guitar opening instead of piano. Prophets of War- Parts of Awake. Ministry of Lost Souls- Wait for Sleep, whatever else you want.

The point of it is, their sound and songwriting style haven't changed in that past five years, and it's just not progressive anymore. I'm still gonna see them during Progressive Nation and I'm still gonna enjoy the hell out of that show, but I'm not gonna look for anything that really inspires me to shift the paradigm.

kickflipthecat | 2/5 |


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