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


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.43 | 1526 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars If you're a big Dream Theater fan like myself, you're likely to find greatness in all of their albums. At the same time, you're likely to find things you don't like. After all, DT is not the type of band to do the same thing over and over again. And lets face it, they've been progressing to a more metallic sound with each release, and it's definitely hard to please everyone.

With that said, I think their latest release, "Black Clouds and Silver Linings", is probably the first album in a while that really meets the criteria for satisfying their prog-rock and prog-metal camps of fans. Don't mistake me, this albums rocks really hard, and there are very intense, thrash-infected moments on this album. However, the album also has a vibe that matches up better with the music on "Images & Words" and "Octavarium", as opposed to that found on "Systematic Chaos." All of the songs tend to have very melodic passages, and the noodling (which I happen to love in the right doses) seems to be more of a compliment this time, rather than the key element.

Track Reviews:

1. A Nightmare to Remember - The hard, Gothic chord progression, double-bass drumming, etc. that begins this song definitely brings to light "Systematic Chaos", but right off the bat, something is also different. Like many of the songs on this album, it's about a personal subject matter as opposed to fantasy, and it shows, both in the music and in the lyrics. The band is certainly in top form, and the solo sections are as exciting as always, but the song is also very melodic and well done overall. 4/5

2. A Rite of Passage - This song is similar to Constant Motion, but a little better done in my opinion. James' vocals did not return to the James Hetfield like phrasing, which is a good thing. 3.5/5

3. Wither - Probably the band's best foray into this style of song. 4/5

4. The Shattered Fortress - Man, what a great way to end Mike Portnoy's saga that started with "The Glass Prison" a few years back. As expected, the song does a theme-and-variations on the entire series, yet has enough new moments to give the song its own identity. I'm very curious to see what DT does with this series live now that it has been completed. 5/5

5. The Best of Times - Obviously a very personal song. The beginning motifs remind me of Rush's "The Spirit of Radio" and frankly, what better song to show off your influences. After that, the song develops in its own right into one of their very best. 5/5

6. "The Count of Tuscany" At first, this song greatly surprised me. I would have originally though that this track would be where DT throws in everything, including the kitchen sink. To my pleasant surprise, it's not. Granted, the song is complex and structured into multple movements, but flow is great, and when it ends, it's hard to believe 19 minutes went by. The song starts (once again) with a very Rush-sounding structure, but then moves to to a darker, more metalic middle section. After some great solos, it moves on to an atmospheric section that acts as a prelude to the finale. All in all, one of their best epics. 5/5

As for the "covers" section of this album, all I can say is that DT's taste is impeccable, choice of songs is right on, and execution is flawless. In the end, they succeeded in adding their own style to a bunch of great songs without over-doing it. 5/5

Overall, I think "BC&SL" is one of Dream Theater's best, most rewarding albums. And, if you can pick up the copy with the cover songs, you'll be even more satisfied.

MusicMan3172 | 5/5 |


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