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

BLACK CLOUDS & SILVER LININGS

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.44 | 1232 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
2 stars There is no way to say it nicely, so I'll just say it:

I have lost all faith in Dream Theater, who with this album, have dredged up the pointless, pretentious, metal banality from the mire they only disturbed with the terrible Systematic Chaos. This, what I had hoped would be a comeback album for them, is the nail in the coffin, and is 76 minutes of loud, unsubstantial, and at times insultingly "serious" metal music. Here's a quick run down:

The Good: A few new thematic styles found in the ultra-heavy, gothic Nightmare to Remember and Count of Tuscany. These are novel for the band and interesting enough to catch long-time fan's attention. Rudess' keyboards have a few new effects, which standout in one or two solos; kind of a sci-fi sound which is pretty neat.

The Bad: Musicianship is a noisy amalgamation of everything the band is known for, and will not impress anyone familiar with this group. There are no wow moments in the compositions, which are found in spades throughout all of their albums and, for me, is one of the big attractions to their sound. Compare, for example, the dramatic intensity of the group's playing in Dance of Eternity, Glass Prison, Sacrificed Sons, etc. Devoid of subtlety, meaningful emotion, and genuine power, the playing here is simply boring and unmemorable. Most will agree that the song Shattered Fortress, which uses melodies from old songs, is a standout track, but herein lies the terrible irony-- using aspects from those old GOOD songs only makes the suckiness of these ones stand out all the more... and remind the listener how much MORE awesome that older album is. So what's the point? Oh... and did I mention that you can't pick out a single lick of John Myung's bass throughout?

The Ugly: The instrumental playing is mediocre by itself, but when paired with the lyrics we have more than an hour of insultingly bad power-metal. Almost all the songs are very, very, topical, driven by a narrative devoid of metaphor or class. The lyrics are concrete, simple, and impossible to get into. The biggest offenders are the two big songs from the album, Nightmare to Remember and Count of Tuscany-- each of which tells a very simple, boring story using explicitly clear, boring, uncatchy lyrics. Labrie's singing is fine, but I can guarantee that the listener will neither care what he's saying. This strike against Petrucci and Portnoy balls my fists with frustration... whose lyrics were always silly but possessing enough class to remain cool. I feel like these two are approaching George Lucas status in their megalomanical artistic conceit; who feel that, given their past success, they can do no wrong. That's crap... and we've seen what happens when artistic control of awesome bands come fully under the power of a few.

Bottom line:

Weep Dream Theater fans... your favorite band has not only "jumped the shark", but is pretentiously swimming in the bloody mess its made for itself. At least we'll always have our Scenes from a Memory.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 1 Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Prog Leviathan | 2/5 |

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