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

BLACK CLOUDS & SILVER LININGS

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.45 | 1694 ratings

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pociluk
4 stars Well here we go. The highly anticipated new Dream Theater album. There was a lot of buzz on this release and of course much of it from the band was that this was comparable to their older stuff. It isn't and like most bands, there is no way for a band to pull that off. And it's okay!!

The new album has elements of the last album "Systematic Chaos", it even has the same tracklisting blueprint (long songs, 2 shorter songs). There are elements of "Octavarium" as well which is one of my favorite Dream Theater albums. So here's a review, track by track:

1. A Nightmare To Remember: Musically dark and overall, the music works. It's heavy but doesn't do anything stupid. The problem with the song is Mike Portnoy's attempt at death vocals in the one spot in the song. I like death vocals but you have to actually be GOOD at it to pull it off. Otherwise it sounds silly which is the case here. If Portnoy wanted death vocals, call up Mikael from Opeth! Lyrically, the song is about a car accident that John Petrucci was in as a child. The lyrics are kinda dull since the song sounds evil musically but nothing really bad happened in the accident. Kinda pointless lyrically, which is a theme on this album.

2. A Rite Of Passage: The first single/video. Musically the song kicks ass and the chorus is one of their better ones. Melodic and still heavy. Lyrically, the song is about freemasonry. Yeah not very interesting topic. Petrucci tries to make it sound like they are some bizarre club but it doesn't work. The melody lines save the lyrics. The iPhone solo is odd but I like it.

3. Wither: Might be my favorite song. The power ballad. Completely written by John Petrucci. Great melody and music. Lyrically it is about writer's block which might explain all of his other lyrics on the album. Hot tip: the other 3 guys in the band all can write lyrics and can't do much worse than some of the lyrics on this album and the last one. I love this song through. They needed more like it.

4. The Shattered Fortress: The final chapter of the "12 Step Suite". It uses riffs and melodies from ALL of the other songs in the suite which on one hand is cool but on the other hand they sound rather "cut and paste". Portnoy's yelling is not as bad as the first song but he needs to step back and be a backing vocalist only. I do like the song, it's as good as "Glass Prison" but not as good as "Root Of All Evil". My opinion of course.

5. The Best Of Times: Portnoy's tribute to his late father, Howard. Musically the best song on the album and guess what lyrically the best song on the album, so yes it's my favorite. The song is basically what the band does best. High energy with emotion, great solos. The album needed more in this vein.

6. The Count Of Tuscany: Musically this is amazing. Very Rush-like. Lyrically, it's about some count that Petrucci met that apparently scared him and made him fear for his life. Yeah, dumb lyric alert. The melodies are great and like Petrucci's other lyrical contributions, the melody covers for the piss poor lyrics. Why doesn't he write the melody and ask John Myung for some lyrics??? It's baffling.

So overall, the album is a very good album but not a GREAT album. I like it better than "Systematic Chaos" or "Train Of Thought" but it isn't in the same league as "Images And Words" or "Octavarium" (my 2 favorites) or even "Awake". It's an album that takes a while to digest. The good news for me is I ordered the "Collector's Editions" which comes with a bonus disc which allows you to mix your own versions of the songs. Yes those pesky growls are going to be edited out!

pociluk | 4/5 |

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