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Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.31 | 1752 ratings

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The Quiet One
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Systematic Heaviness

Dream Theater's 2007 release, Systematic Chaos, offers a mix between Octavarium's orchestral arrangements and uninspired tendency and Train of Thought's technical and heavy style. The result is decent up to a certain degree; few songs from here are noteworthy for the Prog Metal fan, while the others are either throwaways or plain heavy.

I'll begin with the throwaways, the first one being the straight-forward metal tune called Forsaken, it recalls today's modern metal acts such as Evanescence: a boring metal riff, useless piano and an annoying chorus. Then there's Prophets of War which recalls Muse just like Never Enough from Octavarium did, with a very poor composition and musicianship.

As for the more ''brutal'' tracks, Constant Motion recalls Train of Thought with the Metallica-esque vocals and heavy riffs, however just like some tracks from Train of Thought, this song also has some technical show-off which gives the song a bit of diversity, however unlike some of Train of Thought's heavy tunes, Constant Motion isn't a pleasant metal affair. Then there's The Dark Eternal Night which is one of Dream Theater's heaviest songs, with a blasting technical metal riff allthrough which is very hard to digest, while in the middle of the song it seems that Dream Theater wanted to show their technical ability once again like they did with The Dance of Eternity, plain boring complexity.

When it comes to the noteworthy songs from Systematic Chaos, the 25 minute Prog Metal piece entitled In the Presence of Enemies satisfies your Prog Metal needs perfectly, something that Octavarium didn't manage to do. While not as grandiose and as well-thought as A Change of Seasons, this big piece right here shows that Dream Theater are still able to compose quality and original Prog Metal material with the necessary twists and turns to make this sound like 'Dream Theater'.

Repentance is another great tune, belonging to the AA Suite, this one is the quietest and probably the best one from the suite. While it does resemble a bit of the moody style of Porcupine Tree, this is still a very good tranquil song, something that Dream Theater isn't known of doing well.

The song I haven't mentioned yet is The Ministry of Lost Souls and that's because it's not really a throwaway track nor a very heavy tune, but I still don't get much out of it. The first half resembles the symphonic and up- lifting style of the epic, Octavarium, rather uninteresting, while the second half reminds me of the aimless complexity that some songs from Metropolis Part 2 presented.

Overall, the album is similar to Octavarium in consistency, with only one song really being exceptional Prog Metal, while in style you can compare it more with Train of Thought's dark themes and heaviness. A slight improvement over Octavarium in Prog Metal terms, but Dream Theater still is far from being the highly original and thoughtful Prog Metal band they used to be. Once again, Rudess-era fans should get this, though Moore/Sherinian-era fans could pass this easily if it weren't for the killer 25 minute, In the Presence of Enemies which I highly recommend to any Prog Metal fan.

2 stars.

The Quiet One | 2/5 |


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