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

BLACK CLOUDS & SILVER LININGS

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.44 | 1208 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sever_Reality
2 stars I have mixed feelings about this album. Some moments are great, other are pretty hard to take. I'll go over each track individually and give my opinion on each.

A Nightmare to Remember - This song is about a car accident that John Petrucci was involved in as a child. I really enjoy the intro to this track. It's very dark and heavy sounding...A nice atmospheric vibe, kind of reminds me something from Steven Wilson's Bass Communion project. The riffing by Petrucci is quite awesome sounding, and the drumming is nice too. The lyrics on this song are not too bad, just not amazing either. LaBrie's vocal performance is quite good however, and he really shines on the chorus and interlude sections. The interlude section is a spacey, sparse section with some nice chorused guitar sounds. LaBrie switches to a sort of narrative type of singing in which he describes being examined by a doctor after the car accident. After the interlude is finished, we enter the solo section. Then Petrucci comes in with some awesome lines and some bluesy bending that reminds me of Alex Lifeson. Then Jordan comes in with his signature keyboard solo and does his usual thing. Petrucci comes back in with another solid solo, but it's more in his own style...fast alternate picking, with a few sweep picked arpeggios for good measure. After that, there's a nice keyboard and guitar unison in which they join together for some very nice arpeggio work. The drumming really intensifies....however, this is where problems arise for me. Portnoy attempts to death metal growl some very silly lyrics and it just...does not work at all. You'll be thinking..."Oh God...please just shut up." Thankfully, it doesn't go on for long...but it's still awful. The main riff comes in again, just with a different time signature...giving it a fresh vibe. Nothing much besides that...the song fades out the same way it came in. All in all...not too bad of a song. 3/5

A Rite of Passage - This is the single of the album, and it's pretty easy to see why. Not particularly lengthy( for prog metal) and sort of catchy. However, it's a fairly weak track...it doesn't hold up to multiple listens for me. The riff is pretty cool though, but the transition into the chorus is kind of...I don't know...it's just not very strong or grabbing to me. Of course, being a Dream Theater song, you can always count on technically mind blowing solos. Petrucci delivers as usual on this song. However, it's not anything we don't expect from him already. Jordan also has a keyboard solo and then a little "noise" solo...it's kind of interesting, but nothing you'll listen to the whole song for. 3/5

Wither - Ah...the typical DT ballad of the album. It's a predictable song and you'll find you'll know the melody the first time you hear it.I have to be honest, I haven't listened to this song very much. It just doesn't do anything for me at all, perhaps if I gave it more listens it would grow on me...but I very much doubt it. 2/5

The Shattered Fortress - Eh. This one is like a collage of riffs from old songs. The intro is cool, but then it goes into the familiar melody line from This Dying Soul. Wow, that's original guys. More god-awful growling in the background from Portnoy...Then we hear the Glass Prison intro arpeggios being reused. Not to mention the riff from This Dying Soul used again! Very Lame track if you ask me...and I really like This Dying Soul and The Glass Prison...but those songs are their own compositions. Sticking parts of them into this mediocre mess is just a shame. Once DT stops ripping themselves off, they have a typical solo section. Again, nothing new here either. Not a good track. 1/5

The Best of Times - I hate this song. There I said it. It's so cheesy and I'm sorry but...How many songs does Portnoy have to write about his father? The main riff is so cheery and good time rockin' it makes my mouth fill with bile. I do think that some of the piano work is good and there are some pretty good guitar lines and the violin in the beginning is nice too...but the chorus is just so...it's just so weak. The song also goes on for far too long, and could have been shorter. Again, not a good track. 1.5/5

The Count of Tuscany - This one starts out just flat out amazing. The intro guitar solo by Petrucci is just amazing and very tastefully played. The unison section is very cool sounding and is just great, really. The song begins to pick up the pace as the unison section ends and then a fast riff comes in with an interesting chord progression. However, as LaBrie comes in...You may laugh. The lyrics are silly. That's all there is to it....That being said, I still really enjoy this track and it is my favorite on this album. Sadly, Portnoy can't keep his mouth shut the entire song and as usual, his backing vocals are cringe-worthy. One other thing that bothers me about this track is the song sort of just "falling apart" into a very, very long drawn out section in which Jordan implies a chord progression(which is pretty) and Petrucci does volume swells...it just seems to make the song longer and I don't feel it was necessary to go on as long as it did. I also feel that it kind of takes away from the build-up of tension. However, given the mellow outro...maybe that was the intention. I will say that the volume swell section is still awesome to see played live. After the volume swells are done, the song comes back in with just acoustic guitar and LaBrie. The whole band enters soon after and Petrucci delivers another very melodic, tasteful solo. This song took me a while to enjoy, and I had to listen to it several times to get into it...so give it a couple listens. 4.5/5

When I listen to this album, I put on A Nightmare to Remember or The Count of Tuscany. Those are the best tracks on the album. The others are easily forgotten because, frankly, they aren't good, however some of them are good examples of self-plagiarism. I'm hoping for a much better record from the DT guys next time around.

Sever_Reality | 2/5 |

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