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Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.31 | 1752 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
3 stars I should start this review by stating that I started my serious musical journey by listening to what we called heavy rock/metal prior to commencing my prog journey. Bands such as Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and Rainbow, amongst others, were my staple diet from quite an early age until I was introduced to the joys of symphonic prog. Hell, my first gig was Motorhead in 1978.

So, I think that I have quite a good pedigree in listening to, and enjoying, metal. It's just that, for many years now, I have listened to far more prog and folk.

However, given the fuss that was made regarding this band's breakup, I decided to give this a spin, a CD I brought when it came out on a whim, as much as anything else.

I played it quite a few times, enjoyed it a bit, and then put it away. So, what do I think upon revisiting?

Well, the first thing to say is that this is a technically very accomplished album. The playing throughout is excellent. LaBrie makes for an excellent heavy vocalist, and the rhythm section is awesome, with, of course, Portnoy at its heart.

But, do you know what my problem is with this? Simply that this could have come from any number of technically accomplished metal bands in the 1980's such as Maiden, Priest, Saxon, and the rest. I just see very few hints of what I regard as progressive rock in here. Maybe that's very unfair, but there it is. It is a metal album, albeit a very enjoyable one with some very well played difficult time signatures. However, a concept does not a prog album make.

My favourite track on this is Repentence, simply because it is the most melodic, and, dare I say it, thoughtful track on the entire work. However, again, all great metal bands of days gone past have included ballads or slower tracks in amongst the chaos. Again, this track does not a prog album make. A fantastic piece of music, though.

My comments will probably be seen as a little bit controversial by some, but they are not meant to be. This is a very solid album, and it will probably stay at the top of my pile for a while, and I might even start getting a few other works by a band who court more controversy than most on this site.

Even taking my reflections into account, the fact is that Dream Theater are an important band on this site, and my rating should reflect that fact.

I award this three stars, and I must state to newcomers to the site that this is meant to reflect the fact it is a GOOD album, and very much worthy of purchase. To me, however, it is not an essential part of any prog rock collection.

lazland | 3/5 |


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