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


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.45 | 1644 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars |C|

Dream Theater have always released quality material in my book, even what I consider one of their worst works Train of Thought had an objectively solid level of composition level to it. And this album does as well. However, it seems to me the band stagnated a bit with this album, and I wouldn't be surprised if Petrucci had a good amount of writer's block composing this album (nicely advertised in Wither, which is actually about his writer's block). The material itself is well structured and has a good flow to it, and survives its first 10-15 listens pretty well.

Pretty much everything you could expect in a Dream Theater album is in here. Not that I think that is a bad thing, I think its pretentious to dislike an album solely because it isn't an artist's progression in sound. With that bit of "logic" we might as well dislike over 90% of Bach Cantatas, even though they're almost all quality music. No, this album pretty much sums up everything the band has done in their career all over again, and they do it damn well. So, I do I like this album.

However, I can't help but feel that the general material in this work, the riffs, melodies, etc., even the solos, seem less interesting than previous albums, and get even less interesting with subsequent listens, quite the opposite of my experience with their more highly rated albums. Their work still has a good sense of dynamic and emotional contrast and flow, some really cool parts even. The poetic quality of the lyrics is probably what has suffered the most slack since the previous album, sometimes even dreadful and not very well put to into vocal melody (this I feel most strongly in Count of Tuscany, which though good has some pretty musically awkward moments).

Basically the members of the band are experts in their field (understatement of the year), and I think they sold out a bit and didn't try hard enough to be creative with this album (you can have the same sort of material and still be creative with it; Iron Maiden proved that). I'm hoping that their following output, especially given their circumstances during the writing of this review, will have more to chew on than this album. This album is good, but not fully satisfying for me.

Basically, if you generally like Dream Theater, you'll probably like this album to some extent, as I do.

Isa | 3/5 |


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