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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

3 stars Like I do with many albums, I obsessed over Black Clouds & Silver Linings. I counted down the days until it was released from 60, and went to the store bright and early to pick it up. I raced home and immediately played it.

My first impression was "Dream Theater is back! They have created a masterpiece!" While this somewhat holds true, after many listens, I now see that Dream Theater has taken a step in the right direction, but are by no means making their best music again.

A very powerful track called A Nightmare To Remember starts the album. It is the best song on the album. While it is not nearly as progressive as their previous efforts, there are some moments that will appeal to progressive metal fans. The song is also the heaviest on the album, featuring growls and blast beats. The guitar and keyboard solos are more restrained and focused on creative ideas, but they do overdo it at some points.

The next two tracks are the appeal to the radio. While they aren't bad, the tracks are too straight forward and don't have enough progressive elements. A Rite of Passage has a guitar solo where Petrucci goes over the top with the shredding. Instead of coming up with creative ideas, all he focuses on is playing fast. Wither is also an alright song, but it never goes anywhere, like most songs on the radio.

I was excited to hear track four, The Shattered Fortress. The other four parts of the 12-Step Suite are some of my favorite Dream Theater songs. While I'm not disappointed, I think that the conclusion could have been much more powerful. Over half the song is riffs and vocal melodies extracted from the previous numbers. There is some originality, and good instrumentals, but once again, it is a bit overdone. Also, there is a lack of prog.

The Best of Times is dedicated to Mike Portnoy's father who recently passed away. It is one of the most powerful songs on the album, starting slow, and then developing into a Rush-like song. There are very little progressive elements, however the song still stands strong. This is because of the guitar solo at the end. Instead of once again proving to the world that he could play fast, Petrucci creates a solo based on the melody of the song. It is the best solo on the album, and one of the only ones that has any emotion in it.

The conclusion to the album is the longest track, The Count of Tuscany. Judging by the length, I thought it was going to be the best. Simply put: I was wrong. It is true, the music is great. The instrumental sections are full of prog elements. However, the lyrics are horrible! They were obviously meant to rhyme, and it doesn't look like any thought was put into them. Still, the prog sections and the space rock section in the middle make this track worth listening to. The end also has a nice build-up.

If you are a Dream Theater fan, chances are you already have this album. However, if you don't, and you are looking for a good addition to a prog metal collection, this isn't a bad album to buy. Just don't expect another Images and Words of Scenes From A Memory.

godfrey11 | 3/5 |


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