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Dream Theater - Train of Thought CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.61 | 1916 ratings

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3 stars 'Train of Thought' is an album towards which I must confess mixed feelings. Heavier than any previous release, 'Dream Theater' move away from the prog pop they later re-embrace in 'Octavarium'. This I welcome, the pop element to 'Dream Theater' being the bands weakest, although the album also sees the band sacrifice the extended progressive compositional approach manifest in such delights as 'Metropolis - Part 1 "The Miracle and the Sleeper"', 'Under a Glass Moon' and so on, in favour of a more heavy metal driven methodology.

The lyrical themes throughout the album are all dire, too dark to make for enjoyable listening. La Brie's vocal style is however, generally passable. Musically, the album comes out pretty strong. Its heaviness is at times exhilarating, grounded in heavy guitar riffs and Portnoy's bass pedals. Petrucci and Rudess play virtuoso solos in most songs, making the album worth listening to from an instrumental point of view at the very least.

'As I Am' is exhilarating for its heaviness, and 'This Dying Soul ' notable for some fine guitar, especially the soaring initial riff. Subsequent songs see dark lyrics detract for me from their instrumental brilliance, exempt being 'In the Name of God ' (due to the subject matter at hand, anything but sombriety would be perverse) and 'Stream of Consciousness', it being an instrumental. Indeed, 'Stream of Consciousness' is for me the the pinnacle of 'Train of Thought', a truly incredible instrumental.

The initial theme of 'Stream of Consciousness' is introduced by a guitar riff in the time signature 5/4. This riff modulates onto keyboards, Petrucci providing crashing accompanying chords. The instrumental now develops through this primary theme into another, marked by a time signature change into 4/4, which later sees Petrucci tremolo pick his way through a truly astounding solo. Blisteringly fast, it extends into a fabulous Rudess keyboard solo, both tribute to the instrumental prowess of their conveyors. 'Stream of Consciousness' will appeal to all those who enjoy Metallica's masterpiece instrumentals 'Orion' and 'Call of the Ktulu' or Andromeda's 'Chameleon Carnival'. Indeed, lovers of the heavy metal instrumental must buy 'Train of Thought', if only for this track, although it is likely those not put off lyrically will enjoy the rest of the album as well.

I rate the album good but not essential, its shortcomings being mainly lyrical as opposed to musical, that in any case made up for by the the instrumental masterpiece that is 'Stream of Consciousness'. If you don't like heavy metal, don't buy it, but for the fan, there will probably be something on the album to make its purchase worth while.

Ktrout | 3/5 |


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