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


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.44 | 1530 ratings

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The Quiet One
Prog Reviewer
1 stars Black Atmosphere & Silver Solos: a.k.a. 'More of the Same'

Dream Theater's latest output, Black Clouds & Silver Linings, shows the band in the same path they've chosen since their highly acclaimed release, Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From a Memory. With the sole exception of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, the rest of the albums by this line-up, featuring keyboardist Jordan Rudess, follow the same trend of Prog Metal with a dark atmosphere, plenty of tasteless rapid solos, abundant boring in-your-face riffs, and an unidentified singer.

However, unlike previous releases which had at least one or two pleasant highlights, Black Clouds & Silver Linings has none, despite the length of most of the songs which seem to offer a lot.

Already with the first song, A Nightmare to Remember, you can predict it all. Ferocious guitar riff, unstoppable drumming, the same ol' keyboard solo by Jordan which the first time you hear it you think it's rather cool and unique, but then you go thinking 'Is that keyboard capable of producing any other damn sounds?!'. However, there is one surprise that I didn't foresee, but you surely already know about it, that is Mike Portnoy's additional ''growls''. Mike had showed us these ''growls'' before in Systematic Chaos, but I doubt anyone thought Dream Theater would add this for future releases. They don't harm much of the music, but still they're awful and awkward coming from a well-respected Prog Metal band.

It's really all the same: There's the expected lackluster ballad, this one being entitled Wither; you've got the straight-forward heavy metal track called A Rite of Passage; Black Clouds & Silver Linings features the last of the AA series called The Shattered Fortress, which is probably the weakest of that, the main issue being that it goes on for too long; then there's the long sensible song in the style of The Ministry of Lost Souls, this one is The Best of Times featuring some very annoying cheering melodies; finally, there's the ''epic'' lasting over 19 minutes, it begins well, reminding us of the worthy acoustic passages from the Moore-era, but after that it's all forgettable, it just seems another long prog metal track with nothing really noteworthy.

Yes, these guys indeed know how to play their respective instruments, but they've been showing us that since 1992 with Images & Words, so that's not really something to praise-of nor to give an award.

You must be surprised since I didn't mention the lyrics which seem to be an issue for everyone who has listened to this album. I can't say they're good nor thoughtfull, but I actually don't really care for lyrics unless they're interesting and add something to the music, this is definitely not the case of Dream Theater.

As for the rating, this must not surprise you at all: as much as I respect this very talented band, it has to be 1 star meaning that this is Dream Theater's poorest album to date, though not necessarily meaning that this is crap. If you've been seriously enjoying their latest releases like Systematic Chaos and Octavarium, Black Clouds & Silver Linings will surely have something for you. However, if you're someone that feels that Dream Theater has not been releasing any quality Prog Metal since Metropolis Part 2, then avoid this.

The Quiet One | 1/5 |


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