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Dream Theater - Train Of Thought CD (album) cover

TRAIN OF THOUGHT

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.58 | 1396 ratings

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AtLossForWords
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Riding the Train of Thought

Dream Theater's Train of Thought is their seventh studio album. The quality of this release is one of the most debatable in Dream Theater's catalogue. The follow up to the experimental and ambitious Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence double album, Train of Thought takes a much more straight forward approach that reveals itself to a listener in a much different way.

Train of Thought is a darker, heavier, and more technical album that many of Dream Theater's releases. Rather than delivering a fourty minute epic again, Dream Theater hits the listener with seven powerful songs with a relentless dark atmosphere striking consistently in different ways. "As I Am is a heavier, darker attempt to recreate the catchy fan favorite "Pull Me Under". The Portnoy saga continues with "This Dying Soul". The two most impressive tracks are without a doubt the final two epics "Stream of Conciousness" and "In the Name of God".

The album is deceptively progressive. The earlier tracks have much more of a metal style to them, but a metal style with Dream Theater's special treatment. The later tracks are a much more variant and progressive vein that slowly captures more of the listener's attention.

John Petrucci is more of the focal point on this album than he previously was. Petrucci's newfound love for precise shredding definately comes through on this album. The unison passages with keyboardist Jordan Rudess are even more effective than on previous albums. "In The Name of God" showcases some of the most technical unison and solo passages from Petrucci and Rudess. Petrucci also demonstrates an excellent understanding of chordal harmony on songs like "Stream of Conciousness" and amazing modal abilities on "Endless Sacrifice".

Mike Portnoy takes more of a backseat on this album regarding his performance. "Stream of Conciousness" is the focal point of his abilities. The track contains some of the most precise and technical fills from Mike Portnoy. The bass drum use on this album is particularly interesting. Portnoy rarely goes into all about double bass use, but manages to make an effective use of quick powerful runs within fills.

Jordan Rudess doesn't play as big of a role either. Rudess' unison with Petrucci are at their finest on this album, but he just doesn't play as many essential melodies on this album. Rudess does some creative things with synths sounds though, most notably on "Endless Sacrifice".

John Myung delivered a rare disappointing performance. As much as I have enjoyed his bass playing throughout his career, there are some moments on this album where he simply doesn't get a chance to impress. There's some good groove work, and of course excellent unison technique, but the bass lines are a little generic for the bass player with the ability of John Myung. Perhaps it's the style of the album, the bass playing does fit, but it just doesn't have that John Myung signature touch of supporting melodies and making an effective use of the entire range of the instrument.

James LaBrie delivers a wonderful performance. His vocals are more relaxed than those of previous albums, and he supplys an excellent melodic style. The short track "Vacant" is one of the most wonderful vocal performances by James LaBrie in years. LaBrie delivers unmatched power on tracks like "Endless Sacrifice" and "In the Name of God". His range is more compressed, but it fits the album perfectly.

The production is excellent. The guitars and drums especially. The vocals are rich and clear and the bass is clean and present. The mixing was done to perfection, there's no trace of electronic splat in the background, and the way the guitar chords ring out is simply powerful.

It's not Dream Theater's finest work, but it has some different qualities that don't come out in other albums. It will get more than it's fair share of listening time for it's uniqueness of style alone. There's no album quite like it. The timbre is addictive.

AtLossForWords | 5/5 |

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