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


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.44 | 1528 ratings

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Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
4 stars Hey! Let's go hate Dream Theater!

Yea, you know it. Dream Theater, probably one of the most important progressive metal acts ever (whether you like them or not you know it's true), have produced a rather disliked album. Black Clouds and Silver Linings, the band's tenth studio offering, is one of general animosity, with small pockets of almost surprising attraction to the album. The album was rather ambitious, the band's second on Roadrunner Records (which has been shown to ruin good prog bands), and was reported to be the band's darkest yet - and they delivered. Full of haunting tracks, daunting melodies, cheesy lyrics, and some really great moments for the band, it really is an overall balanced album, which teeters more towards one of the band's better albums of the past 10 years.

I can't say much more than what's already said. I could talk about the generally cheesy lyrics (although there are some nice lines here and there), the almost metalcore feeling on some of the tracks (exemplified by the breakdowns on "Rite of Passage"), the heaviness of the music, or the (some might say unnecessarily, but not this guy) long songs all over the album (lengths: 16 min, 8 min, 5 min, 12 min, 13 min, 19 min), or a host of other "cons" that reviewers have pointed out. But I won't. I like this album. Even through some of the "bad" parts of the album, these guys have really churned out a good album, which can be seen as return to form from the more mainstreamed Systematic Chaos two years prior. The band, although darkened by the haze of a new metal scene, still can create a beautiful atmosphere, with songs like Wither and The Best of Times (which is even more heartfelt because it is a memorial to Portnoy's dad passing away) have great melodic structure and show the band's willingness to break away from the heavy metal they beat to death on many of the other tracks. Overall, however bad other reviews may make this album sound, it truly is a good album.

With such conflicting opinions on the nature of this album, one might wonder, "what is it - good or bad? Why?" I'll tell you why this album is good. Of course one must note Dream Theater is my favorite band of all time so my ratings may be slighted on the upper scale, but only for good reason. This album is a haven for metal fans. The heaviness saturating the entire album may make it hard to digest for more prog-based fans, but damn will a metal fan be pleased by the crushing riffs and intense atmosphere of the production. No stranger to complex composition, however, the band still weaves a fantastic proggy backing to enhance this metallic masterpieces. And, to please the lighter fans, the band has recorded an entire second disc of covers of lighter (well, compared to the album) covers from prog favorites such as Dixie Dregs, Queen, and King Crimson. Overall, this album, if you were wondering (which I'm sure you were) is quite good. 4- stars.

Andy Webb | 4/5 |


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