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Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos CD (album) cover

SYSTEMATIC CHAOS

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.31 | 1598 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What a welcome return to form compared to the somewhat weak Octavarium ( weak compared to other Dream Theater releases, but better than most other progressive metal releases). Systematic Chaos is the ninth studio album from Dream Theater. I had almost given up on them after Octavarium but with more focus on power and memorable melodies Systematic Chaos is a great album. I never thought I was gonna say that again about a Dream Theater album but itīs one of the great things about them isnīt it ? You never know exactly what to expect.

The music is still unmistakably Dream Theater. Lots of instrumental runs and challenging tempo and time signature changes makes this an exciting listen. What I emphasise the most though is that the vocal melodies are strong and memorable which is something I think has been sadly missing on the last couple of releases from Dream Theater. I can see from many of the previous reviews of Systematic Chaos that people donīt seem to think that Dream Theater has evolved since Octavarium, but who cares when the music is so enjoyable ?

The album consists of eight songs and they are all excellent examples of how Dream Theater sound when they are inspired. In The Presence of Enemies Pt. 1 starts the album with a typical instrumental Dream Theater part before the vocals come in. Itīs a great song. Other songs worth mentioning is the beautiful melodic Forsaken and the energetic Constant Motion which has to be my favorite song here. Lots of cool heavy metal riffs in this one. Repentence is a semi-ballad song that evolves into a pretty symphonic beast. The Ministry of Lost Souls starts out with some pretty pop orientated vocals and I thought that this was gonna be a long song, but soon there are lots of challenging instrumental parts that makes that song exciting. In The Presence of Enemies Pt. 2 is the last song on the album and with itīs 16+ minutes also the longest. Itīs a very dark song and very challenging. The Dark Eternal Night and Prophets of War are also great songs.

The musicianship is outstanding but it goes without saying really when it comes to Dream Theater. I even enjoy most of the sounds Jordan Rudess uses on Systematic Chaos which has been a problem on the last couple of albums. The melodic vocal lines seem to suit James Labrie well, as his potential is much more evident here than it was on Octavarium.

The production is good even though I still believe Portnoy and Petrucci should let others produce and mix Dream Theaterīs albums. As others have said before me drums and guitars are a bit too high in the mix while itīs hard to hear the bass sometimes. The keyboards are mixed fine IMO and so are the vocals.

Iīm so happy that Dream Theater have found their melodic tendencies again. I have been missing them for quite a while now. The melody lines will never be as brilliant as they were on Images & Words and Awake but less is acceptable too. Iīll rate Systematic Chaos 4 stars because I feel that the Dream Theater I like is back. They did seem a bit tired on Octavarium and came out sounding like one of the thousands of Dream Theater clone bands out there. It was almost as if they were imitating themselves which was such a shame. I can only conclude that you should never write of a quality band like Dream Theater even though they make a couple of weak albums once in a while.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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