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Dream Theater - Black Clouds & Silver Linings CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.46 | 1693 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars I want to apologize with being hasty in giving this album 5 stars when I first got it. I was too excited for my 2nd favourite band's new release. And indeed it is an amazing album, so all the good things about this album somewhat blinded me to the fact that it DOES have its faults here and there, though few they are.

I'll start by changing my rating to 4 stars, and saying that it's still an amazing album! I was very excited to hear that they were entering a gothic terrain for some of the material on this album, which shows their willingness to diversify, while all the same continuing with their old Dream Theater tradition. Though they have defined themselves as a modern progressive metal band in recent years, you can still always hear that hard rock and classic rock influence in their music.

A Nightmare to Remember is an awesome song, however I cannot listen to it while driving in a car because it makes me feel very awkward and paranoid, the reason being that the subject of the song is a traumatic car accident. It begins with a very gothic sounding chorus that sounds very awesome. And it has a few elements of symphonic black metal in it, for anyone who likes bands like Dimmu Borgir and stuff. Just elements, not the entire sound. Musically I thing the song is absolutely amazing, but the few faults I find in it are this:

First of all, the lyrics are written in a somewhat cheesy way. Some of the lyrics are very poetic, but others, such as the repeating oxymorons of "Beautiful agony" and "Wonderful misery" get a bit old after a while. What I like about the lyrics is that they're both explicit and ambiguous... they have heavy use of metaphors and things of that nature, but you still can know exactly what they were talking about. The only other thing I have is of Mike using an almost-growling voice near the end. Now I don't mind growls at all, but towards the end of that short growling stanza, he's saying things like "It's a miracle he lived, it's a blessing no one died, by the grace of God above, everyone survived," which sounds like a very happy ending. Talking about miracles and the grace of god in a growling voice sounds a bit funny to me.

But of course that's a very small thing that doesn't matter that much.

I have nothing against a Rite of Passage except that the music is a bit boring at some points, but it's still an amazing song.

Wither is an ok song. I can't really take it seriously because it's just one of those 5 minute fillers. It's a nice tune, although a bit depressing (it's about writer's block, and l happen to be a writer and know how it feels).

Now I think the main fault of this album, though few it has, is in The Shattered Fortress. Don't get me wrong, the song is absolutely stunning, but what I found a bit disappointing was basically, I had heard the song before. There was almost nothing new in The Shattered Fortress, almost (if not) the entire song was made up of parts they had previously on the other 12 Step songs. I know it is continuing a tradition and that the 12 steps songs all echoed each other, but there was absolutely NOTHING that surprised me about the song. I basically had heard the song before l even heard the album. But then again, this was probably planned, because it's a medley of them all. So having basically heard the song before, all I could really do was rock out, because though it wasn't very new to me, it was still an awesome song.

The Best of Times was beautiful. It was very different from anything I had heard from Dream Theater before, but I thought it was sweet of Mike to write a song like that for his father, and when I listen to the lyrics sometimes I think of my own father. And l'm sure the song evokes those feelings in many other people as well. I love the optimistic mood that it has, despite the situation.

The Count of Tuscany, in my opinion, rivals A Nightmare to Remember as the best song on the album. Petrucci's lyrics in this one were way better than Nightmare I think. I just liked the story better, I thought it was very mysterious and interesting. I really like Jordan in this song, his keyboards really add the the whole effect, and the sound of the music reflects the story, with a quiet overture leading up to a fast and heavy section that makes your heart race, followed by it slowing down to a calming tune, and ending with an acoustic and optimistic note.

Overall, another fault this album might have is I found the lyrics were a bit boring. The music of Nightmare definitely sounded to epic to be about a car crash. Hearing the tune, I would picture the lyrics about some kind of battle or something. I guess I just prefer lyrics with fictional stories rather than personal experiences, although the Count of Tuscany was a very interesting personal experience that made good lyrics, I think. We know a lot about car accidents, but how often do you hear on the news about a crazy count who basically kidnaps you in his car and takes you to a gothic estate where you see a bunch of occult and weird phenomena that scares you enough that you think you're going to die?

This album is very good, and a while ago I gave it a perfect 5/5, but that was before I realized a couple of faults. It's still definitely an amazing album and worth getting. And with the special edition coming with 6 great cover songs and an instrumental mix, it's pretty darn awesome.

But now I see that it's not worth quite 5 stars, because I don't see it as a landmark in the progressive genre, like Dark Side of the Moon for example. So I give it a 4. And I still highly recommend it!!!

HammerOfPink | 4/5 |


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