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Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.31 | 1752 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars I still think Dream Theater is far from a spent force, and this album has sections that reinforce it. However, DT also are sticking to their roots in at least one regard--the cheese factor, which is in full force in the Enemies suite.

The Enemies suite is fairly solid music, and even great in some sections, such as Petrucci's solo mid-way through part one. However, it's too hit-and-miss, and along with the cheesy and anything-but-subtle lyrics and concept, it's just too difficult for me to take seriously on most occasions.

Fortunately, this album has two definite highlights: Repentance and the Ministry of Lost Souls. The band gets is right with Ministry, building things up through a nice verse-chorus set up and a beautiful guitar solo before hitting the heavy prog stuff. I just like the heavy prog creativity when there's better stuff sandwiching it, although some may prefer the band just picks one or the other per song. Ministry also has a quite nice ending, with Petrucci-led outtro that has a very nice up-tempo feel.

I haven't gotten into much of the AA suite, but Repentance is one of those songs that just really resonates with me in a powerful way, so I thought I'd share. It's very moody--probably Opeth Damnation style--features haunting lyrics and delivery from LaBrie, followed by an achingly beautiful guitar solo from Petrucci. The second half features band members and others offering their regrets, and that's when things really start to hit me. We all have times in our lives where we look back and regret our selfish behavior, wondering how so many small things could leave such a large hole within us. It's very powerful, almost cathartic. As the harmony swells, and Myung adds more fuzz to the bass, this feeling of remorse continues to grow, until the final line delivers the message of song, which is that we need to feel regret, but cannot be consumed by it: "the past is the past...the best we can do is live with it".

Subtle, poignant, and powerful--words that I don't often use to describe DT's music. They may have channeled something deeper and universal here, or it may just be a personal bias on my part, but for a guy who doesn't get moved by much, Repentance does it every time.

Flucktrot | 3/5 |


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