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Dream Theater - Train of Thought CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.60 | 1857 ratings

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4 stars This seems to be one of the more divisive albums in Dream Theater's discography, further developing the extremely dark, heavy sound that the previous 2 albums had begun to implement, yet also adding some more modern, alternative metal elements into the equation. The aggression present here is for the most part extremely prominent, with even the lighter songs having really heavy sections. However, despite the overall impressive sound that the album possesses, certain compositional flaws present among much of Dream Theater's material are even more common and egregious here, with almost every solo sounding very similar to one another throughout many songs, and certain songs being overlong and containing sections of pointless noodling. Despite this, I do overall find the album to be one of the better ones, despite the issues with it, as most of the songs are still massive hits for me.

As I am is both the shortest and by far the most commercial track on the album, taking a lot of clear inspiration from Metallica in the pseudo-thrash riffing and the agressive, yet melodics vocal melodies dominating the song, with a fairly standard structure, but some really great keyboard work as it segues into an unfortunately dull solo, which does impact the song in a fairly negative way. This Dying Soul is both one of the greatest songs on the album, but then also one of the weakest, if it cut off at around the 9 minute mark, I'd absolutely adore the eerie, intense, downright harrowing nature of the song, especially with the distortion that comes in throughout, and the chorus, and the continuation of the 12 Step Suite with hte reprise of The Glass Prison's middle section. That said, the instrumental outro goes from boring to downright silly, with constantly teasing the prospect of it ending before becomning faster, making it feel obscenely excessive, or, as many detractors of the band would say, filled with instrumental wanking.

After these first 2 lackluster songs, the rest of the album picks up its act a lot more, with greater variation in between and much more impressive composition. Endless Sacrifice, while being the light song of the album, has a wonderfully heavy, emotional chorus with some really great guitar. The solo provides some more impressive technicality along with intensity, being quite varied throughout to maintain the enjoyable nature, which transitions into a climactic finale and an insane drum fill. Honor Thy Father is tied with In The Name Of God as my favourite song on the album, being without a doubt, the heaviest, nastiest, most angry and aggressive song the band has ever written, with lyrics equally as direct and in your face as the instrumentation, which switches between brutality and groove. I love the way the song continues building in intensity, especially with the chorus changing slightly each time, using more profane and direct vocabulary each time. While the use of movie audio samples isn't quite as effective here as in Space Dye Vest, it does still work quite well. Stream Of Consciousness is probably what I'd consider to be the best of the instrumental tracks by the band, being extremely dynamic with every instrument getting the spotlight at one point or another, sometimes extremely epic, while other times really laid back and atmospheric, essentially combining every good aspect of their previous instrumentals to make this. In The Name Of God is also an incredible song, with a middle eastern styled, crushing riff throughout most of the song, combined with constantly climactic vocals from Labrie, lyrics equally fitting of the incredibly grndiose nature of everything.

Overall, while this album is flawed in a few ways, I enjoy it a lot for its heaviness and powerful riffs throughout, even if the solos almost always end up falling flat. I find this to be one of the better Dream Theater albums overall, despite the seemingly mixed opinion people have of it. While I don't recommend anyone start with this album when delving into this band's discography, it's definitely a great album all around, especially for those who like heavier music.

Best songs: Endless Sacrifice, Honor Thy Father, In The Name of God

Weakest songs: This Dying Soul

Verdict: The heaviest album that Dream Theater have made, and one of my favourites as well. I find this to be the last truly great full album the band wrote, and would recommend it to those who like heavier music, but nothing too extreme.

Kempokid | 4/5 |


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