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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

4 stars My first experience with Dream Theater. While I have listened to their other albums, this one has a special place in my heart. Yes it is not perfect, but it was the album that really got me starting to listen to Dream Theater. I've noticed by many of the reviews here that it is mostly considered a "mediocre" album. It is not quite as complex and thought provoking, but still a very enjoyable listen.

The main attraction of the album is the 25 minute epic, In the Presence of Enemies, which is divided into two tracks, one at the beginning and one at the end of the album. While incredibly cheesy on the lyrics side, the musical side makes up for it. It starts off with a fantastic instrumental which has Petrucci's guitar and Rudess' keyboards duel with one another. The middle part slows down and the lyrics start. The first part ends with wind blowing and continues into a haunting quiet section which leads to a more rock-filled section and ends with a revised version of the opening instrumental. Portnoy described this song as "Dream Theater summed up into one song." I could not agree more.

The song, Forsaken, clocking in at five and a half minutes, is short for a DT song. Yes, it is cheesy, but it shows that DT is actually capable of writing short good songs. The next song, Constant Motion, sounds a lot like Metallica. James LaBrie at a few times sounds exactly like James Hetfield. The Dark Eternal Night, which sounds like a Train of Thought reject, is redeemed through an excellent Jordan Rudess keyboard solo in the middle of the song.

Repentance, which takes a break from the cheesy apocalyptic style of the rest of the album and presents to us a very soothing Floydian style song. This track is the fourth in Portnoy's Alcohol Anonymous Suite. My only complaint with the song is the spoken lasts a little too long. The next song is the much deservedly dislikes Prophets of War. It has a very Muse- inspred sound, which is not surprising as Portnoy is a huge fan of Muse. The song's strange middle section and its sociopolitical lyrics turn this into a drag song. I can listen to one- hundered cheesy songs before I can listen to a sociopolitical song. It doesn't matter which side it's on.

The "final" song on the album, The Ministry of Lost Souls, is a fantastic song with many gothic overtones to it. It starts of with a powerful symphonic sound which leads into an acoustic melody. LaBrie's vocals delivers a powerful vocal performance. Unlike most of the album, the lyrics of this song are actually serious, focusing on a woman who is upset that the life of the man who saved her was lost and the spirit of the man is trying to get her to come with him to paradise. A great song and one of DT's best.

Yes, this album is not as great as Images and Words, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, or the recently released A Dramatic Turn of Events, but it is still an enjoyable listen. In the Presence of Enemies, Repentance, and The Ministry of Lost Souls remain some of DT's best. A great listen if you don't mind cheesy lyrics (which don't bother me).

thesleeper72 | 4/5 |


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