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Dream Theater - Train of Thought CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.60 | 1857 ratings

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Marc Baum
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Dream Theater's latest release "Train of Thought", expands on the previous heaviness on tracks like The Glass Prison but maintains a more metallic, riff intense feel throughout most of the album complete with trademark Dream Theater sound. This album is sure to alienate a fair amount of their fanbase seeing as the compromised some of their progressive elements for a crunchy distorted feel with less guitar melodies. Simply put, its by far their most metallic release today.

James Labrie does an excellent complimenting the heavy sound of Dream Theater. Perhaps not his shining moment on vocals in this album, he needed to expand his vocal horizons with the bands newfound change into a metallic direction. Lyrically, Dream Theater are as good as ever I think! Most naysayers will just look out how this once extremely progressive uses heavy metal guitars as a basis for their sound. Mike Portnoy is smashing the drums excellently once again although his role on this album seems somewhat limited.

John Petrucci is still writing some ultra-technical virtuoso leads that only the truly elite musicians can play but at times they are too technical. I am not totally agreeing with people who say that his solo's on Train of Thought lacked any sort of feel but I still think at times his solo's went overboard. Still very memorable guitar solo's on this album. One thing that was kind of disappointing was the lack of usage of Dream Theater keyboardist on this album. They hadn't disappeared but werent used very much. It seems a crime not mention John Myung who writes some pretty good bass lines although for the most part he is washed out like most of their studio efforts.

The album opens with "As I am" which sets the tone for the album. Lots of bass with dark heavy and intense moments. The solo in this song is one of the highlights of the album. Portnoy really drives this song with some heavy drumming. By the end of this track you will realise that this album is going to be strong but different to previous.

"This Dying Soul", one of the better tracks starts off with this heavy chugging riff and long yet very memorable guitar solo from John Petrucci. I'd say the end of the first solo is one of his best moments on this album. The metallic onslaught cools down on the verse and follows by an excellent dual guitar harmony and graceful vocals on the chorus of This Dying Soul. This song has continues with heavy chugging guitar riffs, memorable leads and excellent keyboard work.

"Endless Sacrifice" starts off with a great acoustic intro/verse reminiscent of A Change of Seasons with a nice intro guitar lead and builds in incredible soothing atmosphere complete with keyboards into a heavy, yet incredibly catchy chorus which I consider to be one of the better on the album. Continues with an excellent contrast of soothing soft verses, memorable chorus and then is followed by a heavier, more metallic interlude with flourishes of excellent keyboard work.

"Honor Thy Father" has James Labrie almost rapping in a verse, which actually turns out better than expected. Not the best track on this album but still very good. A little light on guitar leads but still filled with more heavy guitar interludes, catchy choruses, tasteful keyboards but manages to differentiate itself quite well from the previous songs on this album.

"Vacant" is a short little interlude piano driven melody with Labrie's more passionate vocals on the album with some excellent cello fills included. Easily the most beautiful track on here and worth a listen.

"Stream of Consciousness" is a well-crafted piece of instrumental work. It takes you on a progressive journey of excellence even more than the other tracks on this album. The contrast to a groovy bass in the middle is just awesome like the rest of the song.

"In The Name of God" is an excellent way to end the album. The chorus and the closing of the song/album are definetly highlights of Train of Thought. By now you would have recognized DT’s new flare for tight metallic riffs accompanied with timely keyboards, amazing leads with an uncanny ability to create memorable moments in music.

All in all, I expect this album to alienate some fans but I applaud Dream Theater for taking a new direction. Showing once again, they are masters at creating progressive metal and not being afraid to take chances in the process. It's not their best album and the modern approach and heaviness could disturb some old fans and probably progressive rock listeners. Overall we can gratulate DT for another excellent and original album, even it misses the magic moments of Images & Words, Awake and Scenes From A Memory, which stay unmatched in their catalogue.

album rating: 8.5/10 points = 85 % on MPV scale = 4/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Marc Baum | 4/5 |


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