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Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.30 | 1646 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars This was my introduction to Dream Theater. Man what a disc. Right off the bat, the band sends a barrage of notes at you, and it amazed me. It sounded exactly how I expected Dream Theater should sound. Unfortunately, that might have been why this CD went stale so soon. Maybe it was the constant playing of the CD in the car. Maybe it was me and the heavy metal guys in the band room listening to it every lunch period at school. The bottom line is, it did get kind of old.

Overall, the album is damn good music. It just could be better. Let me say a few words about each song.

In The Presence of enemies is a fantastic song. I love the timbre of the guitar and the keyboard right from the start. I think the Prelude section is just fantastic, and the band really does seem to play together to make a masterful composition. Even though it may be DT wankery, all of it has a definite direction. The vocal sections are fantastic too. The only directionless part seems to be the reckoning, but even that is fantastic. The final section Salvation wraps up all the themes of the piece quite nicely.

Forsaken, on the other hand, got old very quickly. It just sounded like Evanescence and James Labrie. Even with the time changes, it's just basic ballad/pop rock. I found it boring.

Constant Motion is one that I don't really get the kind of criticism. Sure, this one got old too, but I don't understand why people think this is Metallica-esque. The intro has an interesting time sig combo of 5/8, 7/8 and 15/16, something Metallica couldn't accomplish. However, this song got quite boring.

The Dark Eternal Night is what I think Knots by Gentle Giant would sound like if it was prog metal. Even by prog standards, this song is quite experimental. However, I feel that Knots is a better song (although there's a short little piano jingle at 4:30 that is wonderful).

Repentance is one that I don't go along the crowd with. I think it's rather boring, and while most people associate it with the atmospherics of Pink Floyd, I don't think the atmospheres on this song get even close. However, the AA suite probably did need some down time.

Prophets of War is somewhat interesting. It's better than my friends consider it, though it does get rather old fast. Nothing much to note here, except it's possibly the simplest DT song made.

The Ministry of Lost Souls comes back to save the album from failure. this song has a great chord progression and an interesting flow into the vocals at the beginning. Once the mid-song instrumental section starts up, it changes from a ballad to a tight metal fest. There are no odd rhythms, and the soloing only goes a bit over the top, but the Jordan Rudess and John Petrucci twin lead is sick. The outro is also fantastic. I love Petrucci's way of taking the theme and variating it a bit during the last minute or two.

There you have it. Just so you know, the bad songs aren't as bad as I made them seem. It's just that they're not masterful work, like some other DT stuff. It's good ear candy once in a while, and heavy metalers I know from experience like this record. Cool stuff.

topofsm | 3/5 |


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