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

BLACK CLOUDS & SILVER LININGS

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.44 | 1241 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I have such an appreciation for this band, not only for how influential they've been in the Prog-Metal world but for how technical these guys are. I mean these guys can play with anyone. While FATES WARNING are my favourite Prog-Metal band, DREAM THEATER is a band I respect and play often. Of their 10 studio albums I only feel that four of them are 3 stars or less. "Black Clouds & Silver Linings" is definitely near the top. It's a concept album of sorts about dramatic events that have happened in the band members lives. I just read a good interview with local boy James LaBrie in the Toronto Sun who said that while he didn't contribute a song to this album he did have at least one traumatic tale."In 1994, I was down in Cuba with my wife on vacation and I got serious food poisoning. I got so ill that that I ruptured my vocal cords when I was puking. It took me eight years before it started to come together again. But now, i'm in the best vocal shape i've ever been in". He also talks about how Mike Portnoy has on his computer every show they've ever played, and DREAM THEATER do everything it takes to not play the same song in the same city two tours in a row. In fact as James was being interviewed they were practising three completely different sets of songs for the first three shows they would be playing. Probably the only band I know of who doesn't play the same or almost the same set every night they play while on tour. "LaBrie estimates the band has about 80 songs in rotation".

"A Nightmare To Remember" opens with thunder followed by keys before it kicks in heavily around a minute. Check out Portnoy ! Here comes Pertucci ! The tempo picks up. Vocals before 2 1/2 minutes. It settles after 5 minutes. A beautiful section comes in before 7 minutes.Then it starts to pick up again after 8 1/2 minutes with some great guitar. Rough vocals from Portnoy 11 1/2 minutes in.The tempo shifts a lot the rest of the way. Killer opener ! "A Rite Of Passage" sounds so good when it kicks in. It's heavy duty with processed vocals at first. Here we go ! Check out Pertucci 5 1/2 minutes in. It settles after 7 minutes with vocals. It ends heavily. "Wither" is a nice mid-paced song with vocals. I like the bottom end here. I like the synths 3 minutes in as Portnoy pounds away. Great guitar 4 minutes in. My least favourite but it's still a good one.

"The Shattered Fortress" is building. Cool ! Heavy duty.Thunderous soundscape. Love the guitar before 2 minutes then it picks up even more. Vocals follow. It doesn't settle until around 7 minutes. Kicks back in before 9 1/2 minutes. Nice. "The Best Of Times" opens with piano then Jerry Goodman (MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA) comes in on violin. Acoustic guitar is next. It kicks in before 3 minutes.The drumming is fantastic ! Vocals 4 minutes in. It lightens after 7 minutes. Love the guitar after 11 minutes. "The Count Of Tuscany" is the over 19 minute closer. Laid back guitar to open then another guitar joins in. It builds before it kicks in heavily around 3 1/2 minutes. Killer sound 4 minutes in. Vocals follow. Great uptempo section. Rough vocals after 5 minutes. The guitar soars 10 1/2 minutes in then it turns dreamy. Cool section here that lasts until before 14 1/2 minutes when strummed guitar takes over. Reserved vocals join in. Emotion 16 minutes in. It ends in a pastoral way with nature sounds.

Easily 4 stars for this epic album, and who would have imagined that this would be Mike Portnoy's last with the band. Shocking !

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |

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