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Dream Theater

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5 stars I bet if any other band not as big as DT had released this album it would be an instant masterpiece but people love to bitch and moan about big bands. They want all albums to sound like Images and Words or Master of Puppets. All I can say is grow up. As for the album itself, its intense and heavy. Its got great riffs and brilliant licks. But the best part is the mix. Bass is out in front of the drums finally. If you like bands like nevermore and opeth, this is the album of the year for you. Lyrically, DT are back in form. This Dying Wish continues the AA 12 step program from The Glass Prison. As expected there is a song about religious atrocities, inspired no doubt by 9/11. Thankfully the whole album is not christian preaching as some expected. Bottomline, its the best DT release since Awake.
Report this review (#24481)
Posted Saturday, November 8, 2003 | Review Permalink
1 stars Very bad for dream theater. I loved them, i really did, but what was that? A tribute to metallica, limp bizkit and co.? Where is the genious playing of rudess? Where is the atmosphere? The fast guitars solos are easy to find in many guitarists, and a lot of them are much more better shredders as petrucci. What happened to the Scenes From A Memory concept?
Report this review (#24431)
Posted Wednesday, November 12, 2003 | Review Permalink
4 stars Sounds like a heavier version of Awake. Keyboards aren't as technical as I expected, and some of the songs seem to have stolen styles from other bands (Metallica, Iron Maiden, Tool, etc.). Overall, a good disc in its own right, but not so much when compared with other recent DT albums (eg. Scenes from a Memory, 6DoIT).
Report this review (#24433)
Posted Wednesday, November 12, 2003 | Review Permalink
3 stars still waiting for songs as emotionally fullfilling as "Hell's Kitchen" or "Space Dye Vest", to mention some of my favorites. This album has some interesting stuff on it which deserves being heard several times before rating it; however, one thing is clear and it is that technical proficiency is being its priority, technical ability is not being used as a tool for creating music with emotional depth but as a goal in itself--what a waste of talent.
Report this review (#24435)
Posted Wednesday, November 12, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars Heaviest DT album. Shredding solos dominate. I'd like to hear some melodic solos like those that appeared on Scenes. But whatever. I am equally impressed with pure technique. Great guitar riffs and drumming. Bass is easily heard in the mix. Not as many keys as on other albums. Vocals are excellent, but Hetfield (80's style) or Sully (Godsmack) may have a more appropriate voice considering how heavy some of these songs are. I like it when bands try new things. This is definately one of DT's best albums. I want Metropolis Pt3!!! or 7-12 DOIT, ha ha. Liquid Tension 3 ?
Report this review (#24507)
Posted Thursday, November 13, 2003 | Review Permalink
1 stars I couldn't believe what I was hearing: for the first time ever, I fast-forwarded some parts on a DT album I listened to for the first time. This album is metal, not progressive metal. It definitely could be called System of a Korn Bizkit... They obviously learned to play faster, and want to show it. Mike, shame on you, you sound like any other metal drummer. Snare on the beats (or the off-beats, thank God). John, it's just about B-flat guitar riffs and solo's over them. James: both perfect and made crappy by crappy electronic effects Jordan: where are you? And stop the horror flick thing you started on Metropolis 2... On the plus note, the last one is not so bad, and the first 5 minutes of the instrumental are kind of cool. But what a disappointment. The king started to fall in Metropolis 2, went deeper wit 6doit and has competely fallen now...

Please, DT, listen to what made you the great band you are. Believe me: we don't listen to your latest albums with the same heart. You lost the emotions you managed to keep until Falling Into Infinity... Be prog again.

Report this review (#24511)
Posted Friday, November 14, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars I just have to say that this album is amazing, and as a Dream Theater fan, this is the album I've been waiting for. I like their progressive side a lot, but that's something I can find on albuns like "Images And Words" and "Scenes from a Memory". Now, a heavier album... what an excelent idea. Once again Dream Theater did something different and that's one of the reasons that makes them unique, besides their musical skills that everybody knows so well. And for those who like the heavier side of Dream Theater, you will love "Train of Thought". I sure did!! :)
Report this review (#24513)
Posted Friday, November 14, 2003 | Review Permalink
2 stars First of all. A review is an opinion, so don't tell people how to rate ToT. Metallica changed completely throughout the years, are they progressive? I listened to Dt from the very first beginning. I loved every album so far. Now for ToT. I listened to it several times and in the songwriting point of view, TO ME, this is a dissappointing album. There are musical parts that i find not interesting, it makes me skip to another song. It's not that it's too heavy, it's just that some parts don't seem to contribute to the songs. In my opinion some songs were better off a little shorter. On the contrary there are also very good moments on ToT, worth listening to. A lot of bands wish to make an album like ToT. Nevertheless I don't find it so interesting as all their earlier albums. That's my opinion.
Report this review (#24520)
Posted Sunday, November 16, 2003 | Review Permalink
3 stars I wasn't 'expecting' excellence in all aspects from DT like in earlier albums. But what really seperated DT from other bands were the melodic solos, ones we could whistle or actually remember how they go. The shredding solos are a little much and take away from the songs. I thought the keyboards would play a bigger role than they do. I like the songs, especially how they are non-stop intense.. that's not not often found in songs this heavy. I think that all it would take to make this album just as super as the others would be to change the solo's to something more LTE, Scenes, 6doit like...
Report this review (#24525)
Posted Monday, November 17, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars Sure this album is different. But different is good, different is progress. This album is much different then Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory also a great album. Which is better? It depends on whatever mood your in. sometimes I just feel like listening to the heavy riffs and booming vocals of train of thought. Other times I prefer the melodic less guitar more piano and smooth vocals of metropolis. One of the biggest reasons I have such a high regard for Dream theater is they arent afraid to evolve. I mean really, who wants to listen to the same [&*!#] over and over with rehased lyrics. I appreciate the fact that their albums cover the full span of human emotions. This album is a great addition to the whole assortment of Dream Thearter albums. I highly recommend adding it to your collection.
Report this review (#24529)
Posted Tuesday, November 18, 2003 | Review Permalink
4 stars I don't understand how people think this album lacks the emotional depths of previous albums. I mean, I live the song Honor Thy Father, and In the Name of God has amazing emotional ideas and lyrics. Secondly, it's okay if you don't like this album because it is very different from all of their other albums: less keyboards, less melodies, more 7-string heavy riffs. I thoroughly enjoy this arsekickin album even with its shortcomings, and for once you can actually here John Myung playing! Just give this album a few more listens, and it will definitely grow on you.
Report this review (#24534)
Posted Friday, November 21, 2003 | Review Permalink
2 stars The first time I listened to T.O.T. I was gutted! I could not believe D.T. would rap like Limp Biscuit or Linkin Park. On top of that, the songs are boring, meandering all over the place. The sound quality is muddy, very bass heavy. They copy everyone from Metalica and Tool to Papa Roach and Linkin Park. This is an embarassment for Dream Theater.
Report this review (#24540)
Posted Monday, November 24, 2003 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hello all. This is a very good album. It's heavier, nastier, dirtier than anything else they have done...great! I don't want DT to sound untill the end of times like they do in SFAM...that was a great album,maybe their masterpiece, but for God's sake, stop comparing everything they do to it!

They show on this CD all their influences on the HMetal side and it's good they found themselves playing this sort of music. It really sounds as if they had a lot of fun, wheter you like it or not. It was about time DT "got HEAVY" musically speaking.

Report this review (#24545)
Posted Saturday, November 29, 2003 | Review Permalink
3 stars How difficult is to evaluate this work! And I notice everyone here has a different opinion about it. Well, the one sure thing is this the HEAVIER album DT have never produced. If it was their aim (and I think it was), they got it! And I really liked "As I Am" since the very first time I heard it, which is quite hard for a song, with me. What does it lack? The problem is that, after FiI and, most of all, M2:SfaM, each DT fan is always expecting a completely well-rounded album. But DT wanted something different. This does not excuse them to lack in producing a good sound (6DoIT was far better), nor excuse JohnP or Mike to sound too much like they were re-recording Master of Puppets. JohnM is present like Cliff was, but James and Jordan don't sound comfortable in this album. How does that 2:30 piano&vocals song fit here? Anyway, if you like furious metal, you will like it anyway. John's one impressive solo, that of As I Am, is great, very modern Yngwie-ish. And, after all, after a very few listenings, "As I Am" , "Endless Sacrifice", and "In the Name of God" start ringing on and on in your head.

Just one suggestion: everyone's expecting something different form the next album (maybe a whole acoustic one?), no matter if he is one who liked ToT or not.

Report this review (#24548)
Posted Tuesday, December 2, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I first listened to Sfam I got a liitle confused because I was prejudiced that DT would only release commercial albums like "infinity". After the initial dissapointment it was only after dozens of listening to the record that I realised the band had created the milestone of metal, a medium of comparison to all progressive releases to come. I confess I felt the same frustration with Train of thought.It sounded more like a Nevermore record with imroved vocals.I have changed my mind since that time.Nevermore could never be as skilled as the New York quintet. This LP is more of an inspirational source to bands like Bizkit or Park rather than a copy of their work.Let's face it: After skyrocketing the rock stock market with Metropolis 2, DT can do nothing less than following a steady course over the clouds where no band can follow . "To those who unerstand I extend my hand, to the doubtful I demand...Listen to Train of Thought!!"
Report this review (#24549)
Posted Wednesday, December 3, 2003 | Review Permalink
3 stars Dream theater is again very good technically but they got really heavier this time. As I am a progger who loves older bands like genesis camel elp van der eloy and pink floyd alike this is a bit heavy for me... Overall it is good (as dream theater is not capable of making bad music) however there are alot of bands which play this kind of music so dream theater should choose another way to look... (yes prog is constantly changing but this is not prog this is metal with a lot of odd time signatures)...
Report this review (#24419)
Posted Saturday, December 6, 2003 | Review Permalink
2 stars By the way, I self-proclaim myself as the biggest DT fan in the world. I ONLY listen to DT. I sold all my other CDs :) I rate this average, because, let's face it guys this is not Dream Theater. NO emotions, NO godlike chord progression, too heavy (so much that it cluthers all emotions), NOT musically integrated amongst all instruments, WHERE ARE YOU GUYS GOING NEXT ?

One piece of advice DT, your next album shoud be called "Regression", and that's exactly what you guys should do !


Report this review (#24555)
Posted Wednesday, December 17, 2003 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
4 stars Dream Theater's latest release "Train of Thought", expands on the previous heaviness on tracks like The Glass Prison but maintains a more metallic, riff intense feel throughout most of the album complete with trademark Dream Theater sound. This album is sure to alienate a fair amount of their fanbase seeing as the compromised some of their progressive elements for a crunchy distorted feel with less guitar melodies. Simply put, its by far their most metallic release today.

James Labrie does an excellent complimenting the heavy sound of Dream Theater. Perhaps not his shining moment on vocals in this album, he needed to expand his vocal horizons with the bands newfound change into a metallic direction. Lyrically, Dream Theater are as good as ever I think! Most naysayers will just look out how this once extremely progressive uses heavy metal guitars as a basis for their sound. Mike Portnoy is smashing the drums excellently once again although his role on this album seems somewhat limited.

John Petrucci is still writing some ultra-technical virtuoso leads that only the truly elite musicians can play but at times they are too technical. I am not totally agreeing with people who say that his solo's on Train of Thought lacked any sort of feel but I still think at times his solo's went overboard. Still very memorable guitar solo's on this album. One thing that was kind of disappointing was the lack of usage of Dream Theater keyboardist on this album. They hadn't disappeared but werent used very much. It seems a crime not mention John Myung who writes some pretty good bass lines although for the most part he is washed out like most of their studio efforts.

The album opens with "As I am" which sets the tone for the album. Lots of bass with dark heavy and intense moments. The solo in this song is one of the highlights of the album. Portnoy really drives this song with some heavy drumming. By the end of this track you will realise that this album is going to be strong but different to previous.

"This Dying Soul", one of the better tracks starts off with this heavy chugging riff and long yet very memorable guitar solo from John Petrucci. I'd say the end of the first solo is one of his best moments on this album. The metallic onslaught cools down on the verse and follows by an excellent dual guitar harmony and graceful vocals on the chorus of This Dying Soul. This song has continues with heavy chugging guitar riffs, memorable leads and excellent keyboard work.

"Endless Sacrifice" starts off with a great acoustic intro/verse reminiscent of A Change of Seasons with a nice intro guitar lead and builds in incredible soothing atmosphere complete with keyboards into a heavy, yet incredibly catchy chorus which I consider to be one of the better on the album. Continues with an excellent contrast of soothing soft verses, memorable chorus and then is followed by a heavier, more metallic interlude with flourishes of excellent keyboard work.

"Honor Thy Father" has James Labrie almost rapping in a verse, which actually turns out better than expected. Not the best track on this album but still very good. A little light on guitar leads but still filled with more heavy guitar interludes, catchy choruses, tasteful keyboards but manages to differentiate itself quite well from the previous songs on this album.

"Vacant" is a short little interlude piano driven melody with Labrie's more passionate vocals on the album with some excellent cello fills included. Easily the most beautiful track on here and worth a listen.

"Stream of Consciousness" is a well-crafted piece of instrumental work. It takes you on a progressive journey of excellence even more than the other tracks on this album. The contrast to a groovy bass in the middle is just awesome like the rest of the song.

"In The Name of God" is an excellent way to end the album. The chorus and the closing of the song/album are definetly highlights of Train of Thought. By now you would have recognized DT’s new flare for tight metallic riffs accompanied with timely keyboards, amazing leads with an uncanny ability to create memorable moments in music.

All in all, I expect this album to alienate some fans but I applaud Dream Theater for taking a new direction. Showing once again, they are masters at creating progressive metal and not being afraid to take chances in the process. It's not their best album and the modern approach and heaviness could disturb some old fans and probably progressive rock listeners. Overall we can gratulate DT for another excellent and original album, even it misses the magic moments of Images & Words, Awake and Scenes From A Memory, which stay unmatched in their catalogue.

album rating: 8.5/10 points = 85 % on MPV scale = 4/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Report this review (#24445)
Posted Monday, December 22, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a great album! You have to listen many times to being involved into it! Supreme technical music; deep lyrics; shred solos; heavy riffs; great vocals; beautiful progressions; beautiful concept: DT are the best group on the planet earth. This album is a step of their continuos progression. There is no doubt: Train of Thought is exellent!!!
Report this review (#24450)
Posted Sunday, December 28, 2003 | Review Permalink
3 stars The first time i listened i found it very strange,but after a couple of spins i like it but it's still strange.There is no doubt that it is diferent from the others,it's heavier,darker, all songs are long but nothing is realy happening,there is no progression so it's very boring,the solos are very fast ,the keys are hard to hear ,the drums is still good but they somehow have a different colour.This would be a very good Heavy Metal album if the songs were shorter.To be honest i don't expected the album to be like this.Hope the next thing will be a lot better.
Report this review (#24453)
Posted Saturday, January 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Difficult to compare to other albums (esp. Scenes, my fave). They seem to have lost something along the way. Many parts are cheesy for all the wrong reasons (is that rapping I hear?), but there are still some wicked solos from Mr Petrucci. Honestly, I think DT do much better work than this without LaBrie (or should it be Le Brie [The Cheese]?) in Liquid Tension Experiment - that stuff is true progressive metal!! This is what I hoped Metallica would be sounding like about now - a thousand times better than the [&*!#]e they have released over the past 12 years. La Brie can do a pretty good James Hetfield impression tooooooo - ah! This is Dream Theaterrrrr - ah!
Report this review (#24454)
Posted Monday, January 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well, it's always tough to review albums soon after first picking them up because who knows if they'll stand the test of time. As someone who listened/digested/practiced along to the Images to Change period, I lost ALL interest in DT with Inifinity. I picked up Train of Thought because I thought that heavy would take them back to days such as Awake, but I should know by know that these things are never to be. After a few spins playing "name that riff (Blackened shows up most prominent in This Dying Soul) a strange thing began to happen, the songs grew on me. So my feeling at the moment is while I don't see this being a "classic" such as the aforementioned trilogy of perfection, I am enjoying listening to it for the moment. To be honest, I do miss the keyboard accents and some of the creativity which doesn't exactly abound here, but then again, I felt that DT were copying many contemporary bands on Six Degrees as well (Tool anyone?) In the end, it's all about enjoyment at this stage in my life, especially when you're asked to pay almost $20 for a CD. which brings me to a digression, I actually bought the tangible product instead of downloading this for $9.99 at the apple store to read the lyrics. Imagine my horror to open up the book and actually read them. I actualy wished I hadn't. At any rate, as a solid hourlong synopsis of heavy metal, ToT is worth the money, with some hope for continued playability in the future... But please, guys, if you have to emulate a style, don't make it (c) rap. Think about the children...
Report this review (#24468)
Posted Tuesday, January 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
1 stars In my opinion Images and words was one of the 10 best progalbums of the nineties. Credit where credit is due. I am also a big fan of thrash metal, and seemingly DT are too because I suggest that you buy the albums DT ripped off when "writing" this one(In order of appearance on Train of thought): Testament - Low, Anthrax - Among The Living, Megadeth - Rust in piece, Suicidal Tendencies - How will I Laugh tomorrow. The last track is OK but not up to previous standards. Train of Thought is the final and resounding proof that the only really talented songwriter in DT was Kevin Moore and sadly he´s no longer in the band. To quote another band DT is desperately trying to emulate, namely Metallica - sad but true. But the actual playing is still top notch, if that is what you´re looking for.
Report this review (#24469)
Posted Sunday, January 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Since this is an opinion review i have to say this is a truely great DT album. Though some seem to see it as a failure or the worst album that DT has released. I enjoy the difference that this album presents. I don't want Images 2, or any other remake of an older album. I don't see how some can say this is like other nu-metal that is out there. This is a metal album, no doubt about it. But it is still DT. It is still the riffs and off-meter time changes that we have come to expect. It may not be so melodic and soft-core-emotional that we have heard in the past. This is DT and it can be heard on all the songs. This may not be as ground breaking as Images, but after all the releases that we have gotten to enjoy over the past 15+ years i must say that they still are DT. No one else can play and write this way. And for that i am greatful. I do highly recommend this album. It is one of the better DT albums that i have, and i have them all. We may never receive another "Images" album from DT. Each release has a different appeal. And not all DT albums i enjoy as much as Images. Not many DT fans really seem to either. If you want some DT Metal, thenbuy this album. If you want to whine because it isn't Images, then listen to images. This isn't Images, But this DT.
Report this review (#24470)
Posted Monday, January 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars One more time DT Innovate in some new that you got to listen a few times to understand the sense of it work. If you really understand DT, the music, you´ll love this...the influense of mettallica and a heavy LTE is permanent, but of course it´s DT, it´s orgasmic!. If you think DT it´s a predictable band, and you always expect music like Mt Pt2 and Images, go and buy those and get outa here!. The best: vacant,stream and in the name as a one integral orgasmic song!! Remember it´s DT,it´s prog rock, it is not a mtv [&*!#]!!!
Report this review (#24471)
Posted Tuesday, January 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've loved DT ever since I heard " Images" back in 1993.... Some albums are better than others. (so what) I didn't like "Falling into infinity" and to some extent "Six degrees" but the rest of them, I listen to again and again with great pleasure... This new album was difficult to "dig into" at first, but around the tenth listen I had to surrender... Dark, mysterious, heavy and with all the emotions u can think of... As each of their albums are different it's hard to compare, but it's one of their best for sure.
Report this review (#24472)
Posted Monday, January 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
1 stars I love Dream Theater, but this album is for me the biggest disappointment in prog music. It's definetely their worst studio album. It's monotonous, repeating, with interjected John's solos which are technically perfect, but not captivating. I also miss Jordan's keyboards and Mike's typical drums. It seems to me that they lost invention, they repeat the parts from their previous albums (especially mid part of "This Dying Soul" is pure copy of "Glass Prison"), but this I wouldn't mind the most. The worst is that the whole album reminds me of Metallica, at first I didn't want to admit it, but it's a matter of fact. I hope that they won't go this way.
Report this review (#24441)
Posted Saturday, February 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Pretty polemic... But here's my opinion:In every album, it's very important the imagery that will be attached to it. I mean, cover art, sleeve design, videos.. you name it. Why? Because that's what you tend to imagine or evocate while you are listening to the music. Train Of Thought comes with a black and white cover disign, which instantly makes "heavyness" come to your mind. Just as Iron Maiden's "X - Factor" sounded darker than "Virtual XI", even when the music was pretty much the same.So, this is what I'm saying: What if Train Of Thought had come with a classic surrealistic and colourful cover art, just like I&W, or Awake? The feeling wouldn't have been the same. There's much more emotion here than in "Failing" into infinity, or even Scenes From A Memory, but different.This is evolution, and evolution in terms of music means new ideas and the search for originality. Dream Theater manages to evolve in this disc without losing identity, and that's the main reason why, overall, this is a very good disc.
Report this review (#24443)
Posted Monday, February 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Train of Thought is a good experience for least they aren't releasing repititive albuns like Iron Maiden per example... What can you expect from a new Maiden album? Almost nothing... In my point of view, Train of Thought is an evolution... You can find thrashy,heavy, prog, and also nu-metal influences mixed in 68:19 of great music!!! As usual , James LaBrie,Portnoy, Petrucci,Rudess and Myung are kicking ass!!! In this masterpiece, they show us that musicians must keep the eyes open to every kind of music... Even the nu-metal [&*!#] sounds good with DT!!!! Definitey is a must buy album for any DT die-hard fan and for newbies!!!!!
Report this review (#24475)
Posted Sunday, February 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Some of the songs are so full on and intense, it takes a couple of listens to fully appreciate everything going on. take an older song like scarred for example - the first time i heard it, i was just going 'jeez thats full on!' after several listens, i wasnt concentrating on my first listen impressions, but more about everything else going on. it was only then that i truly appreciated it, and to this day is right up there as my fave DT song. now, onto this album - utterly brilliant. Many of us DT fans prefer the heavier side, and this is just what weve been after. fast, frenetic and musically brilliant, im tellin you to whack on this CD in your car, and crank it loud! i like the fact that the keyboards arnet as prominent, because Myungs bass is used much more, which has been long overdue. brilliant album - take time to apreciate it, and READ the lyrics, coz there also some terrific songwriting. awesome addition!
Report this review (#24477)
Posted Friday, March 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I love this album. It's extremely heavy and very riff based. And yes, I will say it, this album may take a few listens to get into. Everything is so heavy the first few times you listen thru you hear lots and lots of noise. After a few listens the melodies and harmonies work their way to your ear and you can appreciate the down tuned guitar and bass more. I find this to be a lot like Opeth where at first time thru Blackwater Park I hated them. After I listened to the album about 3 times though, I fell in love with it and now Opeth is one of my favorite bands.

With that outta the way, I would say this album really shine on Endless Sacrifice, this is definitly the best song on the album. It is very very very good. Also, they kinda of hid a "The Glass Prision II" on the album, This Dying Soul. It shares a few riffs with the predecessor and starts on part IV where Glass Prision left off. I like this album a lot, but I'd only reccomend it to die hards or people who listen to very heavy stuff in the first place.

Report this review (#24479)
Posted Wednesday, March 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars 1st time i listened to this album..i was not imprssed..but after that, listening to ToT became daily....EXCELLENT album, one of the best, it shows the harder side of DT, with raging guitar riffs, and some insane drum parts...not much from the bass part (Myung), but it has amoazing always Rudess on keyboards comes through...the guy is amazing with some of the stuff he does on this album, and on 6 Degrees....but anyway, this is a just buy to a DT fan anywhere, and if you like the harder side of DT with melodys included..they buy this album..very good
Report this review (#24490)
Posted Friday, March 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
1 stars Unfortunately, a very disappointing album which gives a clear indication of Dream Theaters decline artistically. Not being content with having given us the studio-improvised pretentiousness of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, Dream Theater, five professional musicians in their 30s and 40s, want to become angsty, heavy and dark. Unfortunately, they stopped being young and angry 20 years ago, and the result is laughably bad, devoid of any impact whatsoever. Solos are abundant, with clean precise picking and fast runs, but this listener feels nothing when he hears Dream Theaters studio indulgences and empty virtuosity. There is also little magic to be found in the harmonic minor heavy metal riffs John Petrucci churns out on his seven-string guitar, all following the same basic patterns of root note-transition-root note, often throwing in a bar or two in odd time signatures (so it can classify as "prog", like that should matter).

All that was magical about Dream Theater has vanished, a development starting with the appointment of Jordan Rudess as keyboardist. With this man behind the 'boards, all sense of restraint vanished and those that had given us such brilliant albums like Falling Into Infinity and Images and Words now went fully professional and started composing in the studio, instead of honing their compositions to the max in rehearsals. Train of Thought is clear evidence that DT are now releasing albums for the sake of releasing them, and is so mediocre that it marks the first album by said group that I have not, and will not, purchase.

Report this review (#24493)
Posted Wednesday, March 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Slowly DT has been evolving into a heavier band, but with Train of Thought they exchange evolution for revolution and leap into heavy heavy metal. Honestly they have never sounded consitently better. You wont find Metropolis pt 1 on Train of Thought which was the perfect blend of light and dark but you will find a handfull of dark tracks that are almost as good. Images and Words glistened often, but Trains of Thought beautifully roars all the way through.
Report this review (#24495)
Posted Friday, March 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not a great album this time, but still a lot better than what else is coming out these days. I like the last 3 tracks a lot, and As I Am is also a very good song, but a bit too much Metal in the middle for me. I have listened to the album many times and it's getting better each time. But I think DT just made their worst album.
Report this review (#24497)
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars When I first heard this album I didn't think it was extraordinary good, it was more like an average metal album. But after listening to it a couple of times, I began loving it. Dream Theater is a diverse band, universally they show that they are able to change, and come up with new stuff. And they are offcourse a band of extremely skilled musicians. The one thing that makes this a 4star album is the lack of epic songs. Vacant must not be forgotten, but just take a look at the other albums from DT. They include a huge variety, ToT on the other hand is more like a full heavy metal album, but with hints of prog (sometimes full sections of progressive music) But it's the heavy metal riffs that mostly drives the album. For prog fans this album may be a dissapointment, but for me, a fan of both (that's what DT is, metal and prog) This is an enjoyable masterpiece of music. I'm sorry if i'm not writing perfect english, I'm a 16 year old norwegian.
Report this review (#24501)
Posted Saturday, April 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Train of though is an album that everyone has a different opinion about. Dream Theater has moved away from their usual style of music, though it still is very complex on some songs, and rather simple on other. Dream Theater's new style is a mix of very heavy guitars and some would say neo-metal, but they still keep it progressive. I think this is a great album, it starts of rather weird and non-consistent but after a few spins it grows on you. If you are a fan of Dream Theater, then you should get this CD, if you are not a fan, then you probably wont appreciate it as much. People who have listened to Dream Theater for a long time will accept the diversity, while others will think it's weird, but i guess that's the way it is with progressive metal. While this is not a buy-or-die CD, it still is great, it really has almost everything, but it lacks the Dream Theater-sound, so that's why it gets a "very good"-rating instead of a "highly recommended", but anyway, just download a sample from their webpage and listen for yourself.
Report this review (#24502)
Posted Tuesday, April 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars The reason for the plethora of wildly varying opinions of Train of Thought, is because with this CD, Dream Theater is entering a new phase on their musical evolution. They have prudently and rightly ascertained that to keep recording, what is basically the same material, is effectively a death sentence.

I think TOT takes multiple listens to appreciate but let's face it isn't DT worth multiple listens. What else are we going to listen to, Beyonce? So if you are this kind of person, you should go ahead and buy TOT. Worse case, it won't grow on you and you end up with a mediocre album but the upside is worth it.

If you like the old Dream Theater just fine, thank you, and do not wish to experiment on a newer and slightly heavier DT - PASS

If you are not as rigid but think you may like the old DT better - IT'S YOUR CALL, it's still Dream Theater!

If you are flexible and open to new stuff, especially from DT - ABSOLUTELY!

If you are an extreme, die hard Dream Theater fan. You probably have it already.


Dream Theater is the most visable, most revered and best known of all PROG ROCK/METAL bands. By being the number one progressive band in the world they have been annointed to carry the torch through the dark passages of mundane popular music. Though they are not my personal favorite Progressive band, I do love them and feel for them as they carry a heavy burden. Long Live Dream Theater. You may not like the alternative.

Report this review (#24505)
Posted Monday, April 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars I consider this their second-best album to date ("Scenes From A Memory" being the best). It is, with the exception of "Vacant," dense and heavy all the way throug, but I find that it adds a sort of power. Like everything else Dream Theater does, this album grows on you with every listen -- I, too, hated it the first time I heard it. The album has its low points - there's an absolutely abominable (but thankfully brief) Linkin Park-style rapping break in "Honor Thy Father" (there's another rapping part in "This Dying Soul" which I don't really mind). Petrucci's solos do drift into the shredding zone occasionally, but this is hardly something worth dismissing the album over -- it will still leave you with that same goofy smile you love seeing on your friends' faces when you introduce them to the band.

LaBrie's voice, meanwhile, has become absolutely incredible -- he's been working hard on it, and it shows. "In The Name of God," the last track, is by far the most powerful song Dream Theater has ever written, being just as heavy as "The Glass Prison" but delivered at a much more deliberate tempo that lets the listener digest every note (except, of course, during the solo section, which is served over a delicious Latin beat, thanks to Portnoy and Myung). Rudess closes the album with a surprisingly effective piano section that nearly ends on a diminished chord, leaving the listener hanging until the final note (which, by the way, was played with his nose).

Don't blow the album off -- it's a gem. Even if you're uncomfortable with Dream Theater as a heavy metal band (a direction that I don't expect them to stay with, by the way), there will still be enough parts where the "old" Dream Theater shines through that the album will be worth the money. And give it a few listens -- there's always something left in the music that you haven't yet discovered.

Report this review (#24486)
Posted Saturday, May 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album rocks!! Endless sacrifice is one of the best songs ever written; the progression, the vocals, the riffs. More powerful than ever, Dream Theater has return showing everyone they don't need to repeat the same formula to do an excellent work. It's so proffesional and exciting...I admit I'm a heavy metal fan, my most sincere WOW!! for Dream Theater. They are one of the best.
Report this review (#24535)
Posted Tuesday, May 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars A nice heavy album from one of my favorites. The new addition to The Glass Prison is just amazing and confirms any belief that it is written like a 12 step program. I'll admitt it was hard to believe that after albums like 6 degrees and Metropolis Pt.2 this Dream Theater would be able to amaze me like they have in the past. Maybe there is a future after producing two highly involved concept albums.
Report this review (#24467)
Posted Wednesday, May 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This group had never been in my domain in terms of musical taste for two reasons. First, I saw so many teenagers used the T shirts of this band so I "thought" this group had to be a boys band. So it did not ignite me to explore who this band was. Second, it had to be a pure metal band. I was not ready to metalize myself because I only familiar with the kind of early MARILLION, GENESIS, YES, ELP, KING CRIMSON. I did not even like METALLICA.

But when sometime in early 90 my brother, Henky, who introduced me to prog music in 70's played DT "Awake" when I made a visit to his house, changed everything for me. At that time I was not so keen with prog music anymore as MARILLION, my hero, went pop / straight rock. But "6:00" of DT blew me! I even failed to identify what sort of music these guys were playing. Frankly, I was not aware what is prog music. But "Awake" changed my perception about DT. Since then I collected almost all offical albums of DT.

About this album, I recommend you to have it in your collection. This album represents the band's maturity in musical compositions. All 7 tracks are wonderful music. Some people reckoned that this album is pure metal exploration of the band and indicates a very strong influence by METALLICA. Luckily, I never enjoyed METALLICA music but definitely I like this album. Yes, 80% of the music, I would say, is metal. What makes this album different quality than other metal bands is its fantastic composition and musicianship.

The songwriting is brilliant. The composition has a very solid structural integrity, each track is well-positioned to produce varieties of tempo and melody for listeners. The overall flow and the mixture of sound produced provide an emotional reaction for the listeners. When I play this CD I always do something with my body; either I sing while reading the lyrics in the sleeve, emulate Petrucci's guitar riff and melody, emulate Portnoy's dazzling drum style, emulate Myung's stunning bass, or .. headbanging! Yeah .. it rocks man.!!!!

As I said, all tracks are excellent. But, I'm not gonna go over one by one. I will select some tracks even though the rest deserve for review as well.

Oh man .. I cannot wait not to comment "The Dying Soul". It's a wonderful composition filled with metal kind of music. I don't know what exactly these guys of DT doing with this song, but it really creates a dynamic sound for me. For those of you who are not into any metal yet, this might be your introduction to headbanging metal music. It's so nice. Again, the band has demonstrated how skillful, technically, the musicians play their instruments. I like the heavy guitar riff, dynamic bassing and fast-paced keyboard sound. All are blend together in this composition. The music is then transformed to even much more uplifting rhythm and tempo ant the end of the track. Marvelous!

The next track "Endless Sacrifice" is opened with a mellow, nice intro dominated with thin keyboard sound and some guitar. When the music enters into higher tone, the keyboard sound at background reminds me to a kind of neo-progressive rock style. The tone of this song is bit dark. Again, LaBrie voice is powerful. He sings with his heart. The guitar riff at the end of two-form vocal followed by dynamic drumming are cool. I especially like a short piece in the middle of the interlude when the music break suddenly and filled with piano. This piece reminds me to JETHRO TULL's "A Passion Play". Not that long, but it accentuates the musical nuances and set the right atmosphere for Petrucci and Rudess to take par with their instruments. Gushh . this is a brilliant interlude that I feel myself as being "orgasm" with this interlude. Again, I never imagined that a human kind can create this wonderful and energetic interlude!

The next track "Honor Thy Father" is opened by heavy guitar riff and drumming, typical metal stuff hah? Damn it! So energetic this music! It then flows to a simple guitar sound followed by Labrie voice to set the tone of the track. The melody of his singing is sort of influenced by middle-east music. Sort of.

My musical "orgasm" comes true when I listen to 6th track "Stream of Consciousness". But hold on .. ! This track will be much better enjoyed if 5th track "Vacant" is played before. (You would feel like enjoying GENESIS's "Horizon" prior to "Supper's Ready").Oh my God .. this track is fantastic! It's an instrumental piece with repeated tagline melody. Surprisingly, you will never get bored listen to it as the band able to mix wonderful sounds in that same tagline to satisfy your ears and your mind. Believe me, this relatively long track (11 minutes) provide you with ultimate satisfaction. At least, that's what I feel. All musicians play their instruments skillfully! 100% satisfaction guaranteed!

On musicianship, these guys have performed the music at their fullest, I think. Ovearll album, Portnoy (drum) and Petrucci (guitar) dominate the scene. Rudess on keyboard do not play that much but, he did really well in interlude solo as well as background keyboard sound.

So, this album deserves 5 BIG STAR. I think. What do you think? - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Report this review (#24562)
Posted Thursday, June 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars So this is the latest Dream Theater output. As a kind of Dream Theater fan I bought it right after it's release. What can I say about it? Yes, I was and still are kind of disappointed about "Train of Thought" and I have several reasons.

First of all, yes after "Six Degrees..." everybody could imagine that their style could become a bit "heavier" but who really thought about such a change? I really liked the heavier (in comparison to other DT songs of course) songs on "Six Degrees..." such as "The Glass Prison" but after hearing "As I am" I got the impression that Dream Theater is trying to approach a Metallica style and sound. "As I am" definitely reminds me of Metallica, refering to the instrumental and the vocal parts. No Dream Theater typical instrumental breakouts on the first song and James LaBrie works as a Metal "shouter". The second song "This Dying Soul" seems to be a kind of continuation of "The Glass Prison" from "Six Degrees..." because you can find several quotations or whole parts of this song in here. And just like the first song, this one as well is missing some real instrumental jams and solos. I even think that the "shouter" parts on this one can be really annoying, too metal, different to former Dream Theater songs. The third song finally brings the long awaited instrumental part I was hoping for. In general "Endless Sacrifice" is one of the best songs on this album not only because of the cool instrumental jam wich lasts for several minutes. Also the rest of the song is more remeniscent of former DT releases. A good song and the instrumental part is really great, one of Dream Theater's best so far but unfotunately vey rare on this album. "Honor thy father" begins with being silmilar to Metallica again then comes a short break with a typical DT solo and again, Metallica and normal Metal at the end. "Vacant" is a short acoustic introduction to the following highlight of the album. "Stream of Consciousness" is a 11 minute instrumental and one of Dream Theaters best songs of all time, at least in my opinion. The term "stream" is not incidentally chosen, the whole song is structured like a stream, one main melody that carries through the song wich constantly raises. The guitar solo by John Petrucci always makes my wonder: how fast can a guitar be played? Mike Portnoy seems to be on some strange substance because his drumming is more than awesome on this song, maybe his best performance so far. "In the name of God" is also one of these songs that seem to be pure metal, at least most of the time, the last minutes, approximately 4, are very good and just like I got to know and like Dream Theater.

In conclusion we note that one really awesome "Stream of Consciousness", a really long amazing instrumental part and a good second half of a song is not enough for 4 Stars. And comparing to other Dream Theater releases this one for sure is one of the weaker ones. It's simply not what I have in mind when thinking about Dream Theater, with some memorable exceptions like mentioned above. It's a pity...Dream Theater is able to sound much better. Leave this one out and begin with "Metropolis Pt. II" or "Imags and Words". Maybe later you can also buy this one but please don't start with this one...

Report this review (#24565)
Posted Saturday, June 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my second review of this album but i just felt like i had to go into more depth. I now have all of Dream Theater's albums and they are one of my favourite bands because everything they produce is incredible. I have listened to them all in depth but i find myself listening to Train of Thought the most thesedays, even though it is not a favourite amongst all of the fans, probably because it has less variety since they have concentrated on making a heavy metal album rather then have lots of different aspects of music like on previous albums. I admit it isnt the best but it does not fail at showing off pure Dream Theater. I have heard lots of metal albums in my time and this is one of the most perfect heavy metal albums i have ever heard.

One thing that instantly gives this album the upper edge is the use of keyboards, as most heavy metal bands tend to avoid these as they think heavy metal is only achieved by loud and distorted guitars with speedy drum work. It can be surprising how heavy clean instruments can be and Train of Thought proves that all to well.

It is incredible at just how much musical ability Dream Theater have and they apply all of it here, just into a more confined genre. This is Dream Theater at their best. The first 20 odd seconds of the opening track, "As I Am" kind of say it all really. The scene is set perfectly and you can tell that this is going to be an incredible experience. The crepping intro that leads into some evil clean guitar and fuzzy basslines is great but then a monster of a riff comes in. The feedback they manage to get off the strings is incredible. You can almost feel each pluck of the string vibrating with this immense feedback, making one of the heaviest pieces i have ever heard.

The vocals and lyrics here are emotional, powerful and inspirational. James Labrie has always been able to show off his stuff because he is bloody brilliant. His voice just manages to be able to fit the music so well, whether its showing emotions of anger, sorrow or joy. I think his vocals on this record are one of his best ever. The lyrics on this album are truely amazing and the music reflects them so well.

The guitar solo on this song is so good that it makes ou want to get down on your knees and pray to the god that is John Petrucci. The music here will leave you drooling. The Keyboards and drums fit in so well and this is one of the best tracks on the album and a favourite of mine.

"This Dying Soul" opens with a beast of a riff that leads into incredible drum work from the unstoppable Mike Portnoy. Hes been going strong for over 10 years and he just seems to get better and better as do the rest of the band. This song may show similarities to Metallica (the middle section sounds like "Blackened") but this album is still one of the most original pieces i have heard. Dream Theater have proved that they can dare to enter the boundaries of metal where most bands would fear to tread, and conquer.

"Honor Thy Father" is one of the best pieces on this album, a metal masterpiece and one of Dream Theaters defining moments. It just has everything. The song opens with a well placed, drum solo that will leave you in tears of joy. Labrie experiments with different types of distorted vocals hear which fits the songs angrier moments, giving more depth to Labries voice. After the first verse is probably one of the best riffs on the whole album as the keyboards and guitars work together superbly here to create an insanely heavy monster of riffage. This is a defining moment on the album and is truely incredible. Labrie continues to stretch his vocal range and the band just seem to play flawlessly throughout here. One of the best parts of this song is after the amazing screaming of the lyrics, "don't cross the crooked step" where it goes uber heavy and the band members get to show off the power of their instruments individually and together whilst some amazing voices play over the top (me and my friend Dave think they are quotes from the film Magnolia). The song continues over and will leave you stunned.

"Vacant" looks very short when surrounded by 10+ minute epics but is one of the most important pieces on this album. Even the best metal albums have their mellow parts and this one is just brilliant. The string section here is very powerful and manages to give the downer lyrics an evil slant. The music here is just so emotional and very moving. Labries is excellent here as he manages to stretch his voice to fit the short lyrics.

This song leads into "Stream of Conciousness" which gives James Labrie a well deserved break to let the rest of the band flow with this long instrumental. It shows off brilliant work yet is very demanding. Not the best part of the album but still amazing.

"In the Name of God" is one of the most epic prog pieces i have ever experienced and is one of the closest things to perfection in both prog rock and metal. All of Dream Theaters unlimited effort from the previous 6 tracks (and 6 albums) is all rolled into one here to create the perfect epic album closer. This track has everything and defines Dream Theater. John Petrucci, Mike Portnoy, James Labrie and John Myung have worked together for over 10 years and they just seem to be an unstoppable force, which is very evident here. The chorus work is just godlike, Labrie seems to really push himself here and everything sounds so well produced and organised. Each instrument gets the chance to show off on this song and the lyrics are at their best. The piano outro is pretty cool as well but may seem a bit of an odd way to end such an epic but it's lirerally so good it takes the piss.

I know that this isn't for every dream theater fan but even if you aint into the heavy stuff it will still be incredible to hear as it just shows off the infinite musical ability of this band. They play so well and manage to keep it going. I would rank this as their third best album. "Scenes from a Memory" being the king with "Images and Words" as it's Queen. These 3 albums are as close to prog perfection as you can get nowadays and i cant wait to see some of these songs on the Live at Budokan DVD. These 3 albums deserve 5 stars for their unlimited amount of inspiration and incredible musicianship.

Report this review (#24570)
Posted Sunday, July 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is actually my 4th favorite Dream Theater CD falling right behind Images And Words, Awake, and Scenes From A Memory. This CD seems to be ALOT heavier and dark compared to some of the bands past recordings. I have really enjoyed listening to this CD and yes, I like it better than 6 Degrees Of Inner Turbulance, which is still very good, but sounds a little too "experimental" to me and I like the aggressiveness of Train Of Thought better. 5 Stars !
Report this review (#24571)
Posted Monday, August 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
1 stars I don't normally give such low marks to any album but this is the most boring load of tripe I've ever heard.DT were always inferior to Rush and now they have slunk back to their roots in coming out with a basic heavy metal style record.The world has enough of this sort of stuff.I'd rather listen to Iron Maiden who are a lot more fun quite frankly.
Report this review (#24573)
Posted Tuesday, August 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars i know, they play in a strict order in this album but the escense in this one is the power of the sounds and lyrics...the guitar solos are amazings.. i'm a guitar tech. i know what i'm saying, this is too fast kinda perfect... SoC is completly amazing also ES... sounds like real metal... not only heavy metal(like ordinarys prog bands) don't miss it!!!
Report this review (#24575)
Posted Wednesday, August 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars dreamtheater are easily one of the most talented bands in the world and all their albums are great but i believe train of thought is the best yet. From the opening track as i am with the phenomenal riff and incredible guitar solo the band show just how talented they are. The drumming by mike portnoy is second to none especially on honor thy father. the songwriting is superb and i offer no criticisms what so ever.On the evidence of this album petrucci is the besy guitarist in the world and the whole band especially La brie and portnoy show their musical ability. how you can care dreamtheater to metallica is a joke because quite frankly dream theater are leagues above them. i recommend this album to anyone who has a brain and can appreciate high quality music.
Report this review (#24576)
Posted Friday, August 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars As a musician i'll say this. there were some things i have found that i personally might not included. But then again i am not in Dream Theater. I know in my own experience that certain things do influence me to write one way or the other, but my style is very deeply imbedded in the music that flows as a result.

As far as the metallica references, heavy guitars do not mean metallica. Also as a musician i find that on different projects i usually like to find new ways to be creative, and i think DT has accomplished this very well. But there are times when i like to kick back to some old familiar style for the sake of it.

I agree with another guy who said each album should be veiwed respectfully. I still find even more things to appreciate everytime i listen to them. AS a drummer, i can't help but listen with amazment to the talents of these guys, especially portnoy. I think if you only knew how hard this stuff is to play you might not think that way at all. which is why i used to be a heavy metal guy, but now am into prog. rock--metal now.

Report this review (#24579)
Posted Monday, August 9, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Where´s is the spirit of "Images", "Awake" or even the incredible "Metropolis part 2". Don´t misunderstood me, this a really good album...if it was the first one, but, for a group who has made the albums previously mentioned, it is quite disapointing. Personally I don´t like the direction that DT is turning, very heavy, lots of riffs, Petrucci showing his wildest side but this isn´t DT at all; Even the best keyboardist in the world, Jordan Rudess is almost hidden is this album and you have to do a grear effort to listen to him.

I didn´t also like "Six degrees" for the same reasons, thought this is a bit better, but really far for the best DT. The definition fits perfectly: Good, but non-essential, What a pity for my, for a long time considered, the best band in the world.

Ah, his live performance goes on being great, at least 3 months ago!!

Report this review (#24580)
Posted Wednesday, August 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars I really enjoyed this album when I first bought it, as all other DT releases.

After a few spins, I grew really bored with it. Why? It's basically an amalgam of every overrated metal and not-so-metal band that has influenced Petrucci and Portnoy. They "set out to make a classic metal album" according to the band themselves. Well, it's a good doubt. The songs are all strong and technically proficient. However, the band threw this album together in 3 weeks...basically hashing out riffs as a live band in the spirit of Metallica. I don't know why people still laude this band so much seeing what they have become. From LaBrie's Hetfield imitation of "As I Am" to the blatant Blackened rip-off section of "This Dying Soul" to the (Welcome Home) Sanitarium ending of "Endless Sacrifice." I've heard all those songs before. I want NEW MUSIC...especially from, arguably, the best progressive metal band in existence. This album is not progressive. Odd time signatures and shredding does not equal progressive music. Compared to the previous release, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, which was highly progressive and experimental, Train of Thought gives me a feeling that Portnoy is going through a mid-life crisis. LaBrie's voice was twisted to sound like Dave Mustaine of Megadeth in "This Dying Soul." WHY?? LaBrie does a rap in "Honor Thy Father." WHY?? Dream Theater is not Limp Bizkit. The combination of "Vacant/Stream of Consciousness" is the highlight of the album. Hopefully, the next release will sound like Dream Theater instead of metal's fallen heroes of the past. To make a quality DT album, Myung and LaBrie need more contribution, and Portnoy needs to have fewer side projects. Then maybe they will have more than 3 weeks to bang out some quick riffs.

Report this review (#24583)
Posted Tuesday, September 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars some years before, i can only hear about dream theater from my classmate, of how good they are as musicians. my classmate speaks highly of them and how DT influenced him as a guitarist. those words made me curious of this highly accliamed prog. metal band. eventually, i was able to get my first album of dream theater, Awake. at first, i wasn't very pleased with it. not my type of music, at least at that time. but when my friend introduced me to Train of Thought, i was strucked! i thought, "this is one of the best metal music i have ever heard!" im not as good with words as those music critics, but all i can say is that this album rocks! my favorites are "as i am" and "endless sacrifice." i hope this virtuosos continue to create more progressive metal killer songs in the future! Hey John P., James, John M., John R., and Mike, im you number one fan here in the philippines! rock on!
Report this review (#24586)
Posted Friday, September 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars So, you like metal, then get this right away... you don't? well maybe you like both prog and metal, in that case, get up, go to the nearest store and purchase it too... mmm, maybe your ears are so soft or your mind so closed that you think metal can't fit into prog, well, it can, and sure it does, in this case i'd say you should hear some songs and see it for yourself. It can't be better than Scenes from a Memory, Images and Words, or the amazing suite of Six Degrees of Inner Turbluence (CD2). After this last said album it seems innovation couldn't get better by the time so they decided, "well, we can't make another masterpiece now, but, hey, let's just give it more to the metal part this time and see what happens", as the top musicians they are, they can't take out a bad album, oh no, i think it's impossible for this guys. Just listen to In the Name of God's oriental-like solo, simply amazing... then look at Endless Sacrifice's (the best song of the album in my opinion) interlude, it'll surely blow your mind off... and don't forget the instrumental Stream of Consciousness, one of the best works in their career. If you liked The Glass Prison from SDoIT then you should know This Dying Soul is its continuation (Parts III, IV and V), a high spot of the album and it is as heavy as its previous part. As I am, well, it's not that prog, but if you like metallica you'll like that (spectacular guitar solo here by the way). Then, for Honor thy Father it seems they were beggining to lack ideas for good riffs and parts, as it is a long song with 10 mins of duration, it may become annoying, also not so many prog elements, so the same as As I Am (but worse). And finally Vacant, it's a nice quick balad which serves for intro to Stream of Consciousness. A find this album very interesting, and so much different as previous ones, it righlty deserves 3.5 stars, an excellent addition to ALMOST any prog rock collection.
Report this review (#24587)
Posted Monday, September 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars Loved by some metal fans and hated by prog fans. Strange Evolution no?? (if this can be called evolution) Actually I like this, it has one or two good tracks, but but... this album as a whole entity is nothing, its just music well played (excersise instructions ňr not?) but it has nothing to say, besides it has a dirty sound nothing to do compared with the previous ones. After SDOIT (which i love) i thought they were going to follow that rout, instead they were for the metal rout but without sense. Other thing that i didn't like about this albumis that JORDAN RUDESS didn`t on this one... ah ah.. Did he play her??? ahh ok did he do it like a guess?? no no... PETRUCCI & PORTNOY didn't give any chance to him to get involved in it... what a waste of such a musician!!!. As i said, there are some good track, ENDLESS SACRIFICE has some SFAM feeling some good changes, some RUDESS touches, well... a good, STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS is the best track, well structured, a good progressive aproach, (well, progressive is too much for this album!!!). Other thing that i missed was a "grand finale", like learning to live, finally free... you know. IN THE NAME OF GOD is a good song but it doesn't have the DT magic, it has some feeling but... nt enough for DT. Well, i hope a next try but more progressive otherwise... they will be pulling under my faith on them.
Report this review (#24589)
Posted Friday, October 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album seems to have split the dream theater fanbase with this it being adored by the guys who prefer Metal, and some worried glances from the people who prefer prog. My opinion? An excellent metal album and in my opinion there is not a single bad song on here. All are well played and the mix is probably the best on any album, as we can finally hear the bass clearly. There are however no masterpieces that some people have to come to expect of them.

At the end of the day this is for those who like metal', but i urge you to give it a go. It is a good solid metal album, which at the end of the day is what mike and john wanted to create.

I suspect thier next album will be completly different

Report this review (#24591)
Posted Thursday, October 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars For me this album represents a big decline in the quality of writing from Dream Theater. The songs although chock full of heavy riffs, unisons and time sig shifts seem to lack any direction and to my ears end up sounding like a collection of riffs. The lack of distinct clear melodic hooks is also very disapointing...I've always enjoyed Dream Theater above other prog/metal bands because of their ability to fuse interesting harmonic ideas, blistering technicality with soaring melodies but here, the melodic aspects are sadly missing.

Technically the playing is immaculate as always, John Petrucci (Guitars) really goes for the throat on this disc (personally I prefer his more melodic playing). Everything is tight and accurate and the production is great - the bass is more audible than previous releases. If you like your prog on the heavier side of the spectrum theres lots to interest you here, otherwise you may be well advised to check out some of the bands earlier releases - "Images and Words" or "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulance".

Report this review (#24593)
Posted Thursday, October 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I think that "Train of Thought" is an excellent album. I am a fervorous fan of Dream Theater, and know all of their work; I have read some reviews of people who disagree with the heavier sound that this group have been developing since "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence", but I think that we should leave behind any prejudices and listen carefully to the music. Yes, certainly Dream Theater is heaviest than ever. It's easy to see the deep influence of Metallica in the band; influence that we had chance to see in previous songs as "Peruvian Skies" of Falling Into Infinity. Beyond the strong energy of almost every song of "Train of Thought" we can find it still very progressive; I'm happier than ever with Petrucci's soloing... and Mike Portnoy is awesome in this album. Maybe my love to this album comes from my afinity with genres as Heavy, Doom, Gothic or Trash Metal, and I can't deny that for years between my desires was the possibility of Dream Theater to try some darker and heavier things.

Let's talk about every track of Train of Thought:

1. As I am: I think is a good song to open the album, we can hear early the heavy metal style, and the singing of James Labrie reminds as the aggresive style of James Hetfield, frontman of Metallica. The solo is astonishing, that's rock! and the lyrics are fresh, strong and sticky.

2. This Dying Soul: This song contains the fourth and fifth part of the story begun already in the first song of "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence", the really strong "The Glass Prison". This song is really progressive and has very riffs reminiscent to the first part of the story. The lyrics are strong, well conceived, and we can find a wink to Metallica's "Blackened", of the "...and Justice for All".

3. Endless Sacrifice: A very good song, with good lyrics. Well conceived riffs, and as a good example for understanding what this band really is, in this song we have a a lot of them. We can find at the beginning a good contrast between soft and sad sounding in the verses and heaviness and high intensity in the chorus. Good work in rhythm; duel of solos between guitar and keyboard in the middle of the song, and a very intense final.

4. Honor Thy Father: All the strings dropped to C tuning; a very interesting game with a heavy riff and many rhythm measures, and a very personal theme. This song, as many others, shows us the Mike Portnoy's penchant to genres like rap, hard rock or nu- metal, among the old-fashion metal. I really like the first verse, where Labrie sound fantastic with a lovely accent that reinforces the feeling of the song, before the heavy and instense riff preceding the next verse. As other reviewers, I really don't like the rap-style of Labrie in certain moment of the song, but is not that long to affect the enchant of this track.

5. Vacant: Short and romantic, as a dream. It reminds me songs like "Wait for Sleep" from "Images and Words". A good cello is here, and Labrie's voice is as good as always have been.

6. Stream of Consciousness: This is the instrumental track os this album. As I hear the first riffs can't avoid to remember "Orion", the instrumental track of Metallica's "Master of Puppets". This is not a show of virtuosity with solos faster than the speed of light or complex rhythms; I think Stream of Consciousness is more melodic, intuitive and warm than other instrumental themes like "The Dance of Eternity" of "Scenes of a Memory".

7. In the name of God: The final track is a really good ending. Here, Dream There exposes their thoughts about the recent events that have changed the feeling towards the rol of the religion in the actual evolution of humankind. This song describes a loss of faith and a feeling of revulsion to the strong contribution of religions for war. Musically, we find here a really intense chorus, intelligent lyrics, a good contrast between soft and hard parts, and a very interesting instrumental middle-part. Petrucci's plays a really good solo, and the song dies fading into a beatiful piano broken arpeggio.

Talking about the musicians, I really like the new style of Petrucci and Portnoy, Ruddess is at my opinion occupyng the same place of previous works, with mastery, and Myung is less dazzling than another works of Dream Theater, limiting himself to set a good base for the songs of this album.

Report this review (#24595)
Posted Sunday, October 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars I think this is maybe the worst album from DT. I'm completely amazed how unique their playing is and how much their songs vary in the previous albums. DT is unlike many bands... for example if you've heard one metallica album, you've heard them all, but every DT album is different.

Again, they've made an album that's definantely different, but unfortunately it's no good. It's not that i don't like heavy stuff, it's just that i don't like DT:s heavy stuff. The reason heavy doesn't fit DT is James LaBrie. His voice is no good. I get cold shivers when he tries to scream high notes especially in the live performances... on the other hand his voice is nearly perfect in vacant and other albums like six degrees. On ToT his singing melodies are almost nothing compared to what they've been in many other albums. But why in the world does he rap in this album?

Another dissapointment is Petrucci. How can, in my oppinion, the best guitarist in the world make this kind of s*it? How can his guitarplaying be so mindless shredding... no musicality at all. Every song on the album execpt vacant has a solo. Nothing wrong with that if the solos were good and would vary but they're all as fast as petrucci can play with no musical content at all. I just hate seeing such a good player doing this kind of music. Before his playing has been something that i've never experienced before. No guitarist in the world has made such great music that i never get bored listening to it. His live performances in the mid 90:s are incredible. For example Steve Vai is a good guitarist, but he's a bad musician. Most of his music is boring and unoriginal... it's meaning is only to show how technically proficient he is... I think petruccis playing has gone to the same point in ToT... his solos have no idea... or atleast if there were an idea you couldn't here it because it's played so fast its. Playing fast should be a tool to accomplish expressing a feeling for example or something. Fast parts should balance the slow parts to make the music more alive. Speed shouln't be the purpose itself like on ToT it is.

The album has it's good moments too. Vacant balances the albums heavy songs, and does a great job at it. Stream of Conciousness i think is the best song off of the album...the most musical and it has a good feeling to it in the name of god is also great but maybe a bit too long. As for the first 4 songs... they are awful. As i am,The dying soul and honor thy father sound almost like any angry teen music... they have their good parts also but it doesn't help much. Endless sacrifice has atleast some effort. After hearing other DT albums, it isn't just enough that the songs are ok, they have to have something that makes me listen to them over and over again. The 4 first songs definantly aren't those kinds of songs.

I think everyone of you who read these appreciate good music... otherwise you wouldn't listen to dream theater. Because of this i have to suggest you all listen to a german band called Superior. I think it's the best that heavy metal as a genre can offer. The singer is amazing and their music is just incredible compared to train of thought. And if many of you consider Train of Thought good... well you should really listen to it.

Please e-mail me if you something you would like to say or maybe try to convert me into liking the album :)

Report this review (#24596)
Posted Friday, October 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Train of Thought - This album strikes me like a reyouthinized Metallica. I don't know why they change course quite significantly. I only can guess that they might want to experiment, get rid of old routines, or prove that they can show something outside their prog rock domain. Petrucci plays 'Yngwie Malmsteenese' in some parts, Portnoy plays like Cavalera in many parts, and the other follow suit. Well done, Dreamers!!!! Bambang Suryanto, Indonesia ([email protected]).
Report this review (#24601)
Posted Sunday, November 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars I don't like James LaBrie's rap renditions. And I don't like the gated/muted shouting either. I also don't like the unstructured progression of Stream of Consciousness- it gells much too much like The Dance of Eternity. Wanna hear a good improv jam? Check out Bombay Vindaloo.

This doesn't mean its bad music though. Most people forget that speed, tempo, and trills are just as essential to music and the creation of mood and emotion as any other aspect of songwriting. I actually find Endless Sacrifice and Vacant to be a pleasant break from the non- commercial side of Dream Theater. Endless Sacrifice has a good commercial groove to it that will suddenly fool the listener as soon as they break into the solo. And the coda to ES, as much as some might want to write it off as 'Metallica', is so much more complex in notation and fingering than typical Metallica pick chords as fast as you can music. The two are totally incomparable.

In the name of God reminds me a lot of Learning to Live in its structure and its good to hear DT still can create some tasteful epic songs.

This is not DT's best effort, but certainly worth a listen or two.

I would really like to see DT spread their progressive wings and maybe ditch LaBrie for an about a female singer in the likes of Amy Lee from Evanescence. Or Ray Alder from Fates Warning. LaBrie is a great singer technically, but the timbre of his voice isn't so great outside of the 800-1000Hz range. The smooth, soaring vocals like that found in Images and Words are his forte.

I would also like to see DT branch into a instrumental album exploring jazz, blues, classical, and experimental (like Mahavishnu orchestra type stuff).

Report this review (#24602)
Posted Wednesday, November 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Though many people on this site tend to prefer Dream Theater's more prog-ish side (who can blame them? the site is called progarchives afte all). i feel that to many people new to Dream Theater, this is an excellent place to start, as it tends to have a more commercial flavour and does not alienate the listener. while this album does have a very 'metallica- esque' feel to it, it does still retain the want of epics and sound that Dream Theater has become known for.while tracks such as "As I Am" and "Endless Sacrifice" would apeal to a less progressive rock audience, tracks such as "Stream Of Consciousness " and "In The Name of God" will please the proger.
Report this review (#24603)
Posted Thursday, November 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, my personal opinion about Train of Thought, you really have to listen to the lyrics to get the intake there trying to introduce... Not to say anything negatively but it seems like there trying to say there nearing the end of their music career, and the more I listen to it i understand more. Over all its a very great CD, I'm hoping they put out many more CDs because there like the best band out there. And all bands come to a point to some thing new atleast some time right? Maybe this was their soft track. Personally I like better than some of their other CDs.
Report this review (#24606)
Posted Sunday, November 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is it ! Very fast, fluent, vivid & emotional. A masterpiece of rock. Made for the amateur and the connoisseur, DT gives us one of their most elaborated pieces of art. It's exquisite, with an ubiquitous amalgam of sounds. As a fan of DT, I consider this one of their best, hoping to hear more from them.
Report this review (#24612)
Posted Tuesday, December 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars What can I say about this album? It is the best album I ve heared in Rock and Metal in the early 00's! Its a total masterpiece! Many guys dont understand what Dream Team Theater are doing.. DT are experimenting on each album and play different types of music. What I would say and agree with is that TOT album should have been made back in 1994 because at that period DT were about 24-27 years old.. which means that their metal "flame" was more alive and burning than in 2004 were they decided to make this piece of art! But this is just a matter of time not a matter of wok. As a fanatic DT fan and as a metal fan in general TOT is what I ve always expected from Theater to do. I expected them to make a very very very heavy metal album, with music that They can only produce and make us all bang our hands and say : "what the hell is that!! oh God!" Many people in my country which is - no doubt- the capital of metal!!! say that DT are great musicians but they are not that heavy after this album everyone agrees that DT can do whatever they want to do! they dont have to prove anything!! They are the Gods of Rock and Metal!! The only musicians that with different musical instruments can play Deep Purple songs in the same way the original songs are performed. (Nightmare cinema).
Report this review (#24614)
Posted Tuesday, January 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album seems to be the subject of either extreme criticism or praise; in my opinion it deserves neither. This is not a bad album, but it is definately not a 'Masterpiece' and, as a whole, is one of DT's weaker outputs. There's a lot of great music here, but the problems lie mostly in orchestration. It seems that DT was so occupied with finding ways to fit all these great riffs that they forgot to incorporate the emotional element that's usually felt in their music. The lack of emotion is also a result of lyrics and melodies that aren't up to par with traditional DT standards. Instead of vocal lines that are powerful and capturing they're often boring and even frustrating to listen to. This is all with exception of one or two songs that were amazing and a step in the right direction for DT; which is why I don't see this album as a step back or "the downfall of DT". The band is starting on a new path with their music and are raising the bar even for them. There is an abundance of great ideas on this album and a lot of potential. I will hold great anticipation for the band's next release expecting further exploration of these new ideas but with improved songwriting and composition. ToT is a good purchase for any established DT fan; being a steppping stone in the bands carreer. However, for anyone looking to be introduced to the band I would suggest starting with 'Scenes From A Memory' or 'Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence'......or pretty much any other previous release (save 'Falling Into Infiniy').
Report this review (#24615)
Posted Friday, January 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Train of Thought" is an album that shows the dark & heavy, but, very melodic and technical side of Dream Theater!With "Awake" Dream Theater have turned to a more heavy sound, but after that album they seem to lost their darker side with the departure of the keyboard player Kevin Moore.Now with Jordan Rudess, an amazing talent in keyboards, Dream Theater and their last albums have revealed a more heavy and a little darker side.Finally with "Train of Thought" they made it!This album it's the most piece of art that Dream Theater ever made!"As I Am" the opening in the album instantly show the most powerfull side of the band with Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci taking Dream Theater to the upper echleon of Progressive Music with their outstanding performances!The central track "This Dying Soul" combines both Progressive Rock and Metal Music beats in a 10min+ song with powerfull lyrics and technical musicanship.Definitely the best album that Dream Theater ever made and a pure work of art,both lyrically and technically, in the history of Prog Rock.
Report this review (#24617)
Posted Saturday, January 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I love this album it is great. I am one of these new age prog fans and I would say that DT makes great rock music. I am a teen and I think that DT have made their music available to everyone because it is so varied. This album is the best I have heard and they have done a great job, yes it maybe heavier but at the same time it is still very proggy what with all the instrumentals and solos, but it is not always heavy but it has whole clean songs which vary the album and a whole instrumental song you cannot get much more proggy than that. I especially love Jordan Rudess on keys he adds something special to this album and Mike Portnoy on drums is amazing too. I am a drummer and the drumming on this album has inspired me and my band so keep up the good work DT.
Report this review (#24619)
Posted Wednesday, January 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Undoubtedly, this album has left many old fans of DREAM THEATER wondering what got into the system of their beloved band and hoping that it would never happen again. For others, however, I suspect Train of Thought would be the perfect way to enjoy this band without the kinds of excesses that plagued Scenes from a Memory, which I, contrary to popular opinion, had to give a 2-star review to, in large part due to a complete lack of discipline and cohesion in the songwriting. As for Train of Thought, the cover art hints quite directly at what you're getting into.

I can see where this album would be difficult for some of the more hardcore DT fact, I would suggest that unless you consider yourself a metalhead or at least a fan of heavy metal, don't approach this: you will walk away with this with a raging headache and an hour wasted. However, if you aren't bothered by the ferocity of bands like OPETH, the rapid-fire pace of SYMPHONY X, or a gritty, grungy production reminiscent of the nu-metal band Killswitch Engage, this may be the album for you. I'm not going to call it perfect...while at this point it's the 2nd-favorite DT album in my collection behind Awake, I'll acknowledge it's not the most prog of their works, nor their absolute best songwriting that I've heard so far. And yes...there is a nu-metalish feel to it in places. Yet rather than detracting from the album, I truly feel that it's made it better. One of DREAM THEATER's biggest problems of late (in my opinion) has been a tendency to overindulge in the soloing and producing slow, meandering, aimless songs that seem to be trying way too hard to "be prog". If you're a hardcore proghead, perhaps that is what you want--but I am most concerned with good music than with what "genre" it is.

As I said in my review of Awake, I do not have any of the problems with JAMES LaBRIE's voice that many people seem to have...not even when he gets into his most nasally abrasive screaming. In fact...I know this will be hard to believe for many, but I actually consider some of those moments among his best--like "Lie". I was pleased to see a return (somewhat) to that style, though I admit I wished for something a bit edgier at some times. However, I did find some rather fascinating new mixing techniques on his vocals, and a new sound to his harmonies, that made up for this. I'll admit some of those harmonies sound a bit like something Godsmack might do, at times. But again...I don't mind. I'd rather have the very best music in a popular style than have failed prog.

"As I Am" sets the tone right away--this is not going to be like any other DREAM THEATER album thus far, and as such, this song is probably the most "pop-metal" on the entire album. After rising from a gentle, ethereal tone, PETRUCCI unleashes a brutal, feedback-laced guitar riff that suggests darkness even beyond that explored on Awake. MIKE PORTNOY's drumming is quite aggressive...although I don't like the way the drums are mixed; there's far too much treble, as opposed to a deeper sound as found with SYMPHONY X, and sometimes the sound does annoy me a bit. Otherwise, the production is (in my opinion) quite good. Even JORDAN RUDESS sounds decent here; his keyboards seem more to supplement the song than to eat up needless time. I think this may in fact be one of the reasons Train of Thought succeeds where Scenes from a Memory does not.

In "This Dying Soul", I really gain an appreciation for PETRUCCI's newfound (or newly rediscovered?) technique which helps somewhat to make up for the excessive treble to the drums, and I also appreciate the slightly Middle Eastern tone that runs through parts of the song. Unfortunately, the end does reveal a bit of a weakness in PORTNOY's technique itself...someone like JASON RULLO could have handled that outro in a more interesting way. However, I do have to give credit where it's due...while this is a long song, it doesn't bore me in the way of some recent DREAM THEATER works.

"Endless Sacrifice" opens up soft, and alternates between soft and fact, I'm a bit reminded of SYMPHONY X tunes like "The Accolade" and "A Winter's Dream", especially when the synth choir and strings comes in. I particularly like the guitar riff in the chorus, with its short burst of feedback contrasting against the deep bass tone. The second half of the song, I'll admit, almost makes me want to take back my comments against PORTNOY; the rhythm is quite interesting here. RUDESS takes the floor for the second section of the song and demonstrates his renowned technical prowess as well as a love for all sorts of odd synth effects (not all of which I particularly like); unfortunately, this is the one song where the soloing threatens to run on too long- -going on for a good four minutes. At least the song keeps moving along at a moderately fast clip, which mitigates the effect; even if you're not as interested in the solo, the main riff can be entertaining to follow.

"Honor Thy Father" is easily the most unremittingly brutal offering on this album both lyrically and musically, and is probably my favorite track on Train of Thought...even though it goes a bit "rap" in places! Even when the music isn't as harsh, the biting tone of MIKE PORTNOY's words certainly qualifies as "heavy", as they rail on in telling off a destructive dad. Oh boy does it ever let loose after the words "Don't cross the crooked step!" and as PETRUCCI and PORTNOY hammer away, the dialogue is incredible to listen to...and the synth backing seems fittingly in the background--although RUDESS will never be as understated as the fantastic KEVIN MOORE (and what a loss to DT it was when he left!).

"Vacant" and "Stream of Consciousness" should probably be treated as one single song, although I think that "Vacant" is probably the better of the two...I have to admit, I'm a sucker for the gorgeous cello solo and RUDESS' arrangement (here he probably has his best moment of the entire album), and while JAMES LaBRIE's lyrics are simplistic, they work in this setting. But more than anything, cellist EUGENE FRIESEN makes "Vacant" what it is. Fans of AYREON will probably find the singing on this track the most familiar in style to them. As for "Stream of Consciousness", this is probably the most important test of this "lean, mean" version of DREAM THEATER + RUDESS: can they sustain a ten-minute instrumental without boring the listener? From the opening, anyway, it's clear they've got a catchy riff that should hold interest. I'm a bit reminded of parts of "Erotomania". Amazingly, as I reach 8 of 10 minutes, when the initial riff returns--I reflect and realize that no, I am not bored. Then comes some very beautiful Hammond organ in the background that I wish RUDESS would do more of. It's only at the 9-minute mark where I start to feel a little bit antsy in anticipation of the next track. By DREAM THEATER standards, this isn't bad...I'd say that overall, only 1 minute needs to be cut from varying parts of the song (though not from the very beginning, end, or Hammond sections).

"In the Name of God" is perhaps the most interesting lyrical moment on the album...and at first it might seem like DREAM THEATER is following in the steps of some popular metal bands and trying to score points by taking a cheap shot at religion. But that really isn't the case, if you look more closely. The kind of religion being talked about is in fact a "doomsday cult"...the likes of the Branch Davidians in America (David Koresh's sect) or Aum Shinrikyo of Japan (which released nerve gas in the Tokyo subway)--or perhaps it was Al-Qaeda that provoked JOHN PETRUCCI to write these angry lyrics. It poses some very pointed, disturbing questions about these incidents and the implications they have for more moderate religious believers...but, I don't think this is a blanket condemnation of all religion. Rather, I think these are questions everyone ought to consider when making a choice about what they believe. The music is appropriately haunting--and the ending of the album, surprisingly enough to me, is made truly excellent by a chilling piano outro from RUDESS.

Ultimately, I think this is one of the best DREAM THEATER works I've heard thus far. Maybe it's not the proggiest...perhaps it's even one of their least prog...but they really have created some fine metal here, and even found a way to put JORDAN RUDESS' fantastic keyboarding skills to good use without going completely over the top and creating an overblown, meandering mess. Even in spite of the flaws of PORTNOY and RUDESS, which would probably make it more of a 3.5 than anything, this album still manages to make 4 stars in my book.

Report this review (#24625)
Posted Friday, February 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars This isn't another jaded review from a non-DM fan. I have followed this band since their first album, and I think their first three albums plus 'Scenes From A Memory' are prog- metal classics. But 'Train Of Thought' just doesn't come together. I still haven't found anything on this album that's done better than on previous albums, and there's certainly nothing new here. Even what seems to be their most maligned album ('Falling Into Infinity') is more interesting than this. Having said that, there's some incredible playing here. Their massive blowout jams still impress throughout "This Dying Soul", "In The Name Of God" and highlight "Stream Of Consciousness". But the songs lack an overall spark or progression that you expect from a band of this caliber. Too many times they rest on the same style they've been hanging on for well over a decade, and there's nothing progressive about that.

Okay, maybe there is something new on 'Train Of Thought': James LaBrie tries his hand at a rap-style delivery ("This Dying Soul"). Unfortunately it's laughable at first and tiring in the long-term. And LaBrie's rip-off of Metallica's "Blackened" in the same song is way too close to call it anything but shameful. And while LaBrie is under the miscroscope, his style gets more annoying as D.T. albums progress. While I can't imagine any other vocalist on 'Images And Words' and 'Awake', at this point his aggressive tone sounds totally insincere ("Honor Thy Father" being but one of many examples), and the lack of high-end is disappointing as far as my own personal tastes run. His mid-range still soars, and as long as he's not trying in vain to sound like an angry young man, he still does his job. The inclusion of a ballad ("Endless Sacrifice") helps to give the album some depth, but the song is rather bland and remains unmemorable even after several listens in a row.

I'll listen to this album rarely, but when I do it'll be for Jordan Rudess' sonic and creative range, as well as the always-dependable Portnoy/Myung rhythm section. Beyond that, these songs don't stick. There's nothing fresh here, and there are several other Dream Theater albums I would much rather listen to when in the mood. 'Train Of Thought' deserves some degree of credit, but it's hardly mandatory and I wouldn't even call it recommendable.

Report this review (#24629)
Posted Monday, March 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars It pains me to give a album with the name Dream Theater on the cover, a one star rank

sorry, but its the truth, and i too didnt tough this day would come... but anyways

i gotta say this album starts PRETTY well with As I Am, a nice heavy track and somewhat of a nice rythm, and also another of Petrucci's MONSTROUS solos


Next we have the continuation for the GODLY 6 degrees track, The Glass Prison, by the name of This Dying Soul. Even Heavier than As I Am, it would actually be nice to put this on an album, but emotionally speaking, it doesnt changes nothing from the last track and it just keeps it heavy with no high points and the same happens with the next TWO tracks!!!!

Endles Sacrifice and Honor Thy Father just keeps you with that heavy fast and ignorant music. Completely unnecesary. And then it changes to Vacant, the WORST Dream Theater ballad EVER!!!! (I really couldn't found a bad ballad in DT till now) and the main line changes into Stream Of Conciousness, an really nice instrumental if they hadnt made that one mistake - They got it running for WAYYYYY too long, if they cutted a lot of things out of it and made it a 5,6 minute track it would be a lot more exciting, it kind of loses meaning on the middle of it

And to the closure - In The Name Of God

the same mistake of Stream Of Conciousness, too long.

A complete meaningless "samba" part with John Petrucci getting faster than ever. If it Werent for that, this track would be a nice heavy and epic closure

Not worth the money spent, sorry new guys

Dream Theater started thinking that speed DOES matter and that what aint heavy aint good, all of this turned into this boring and fast CD. Perfect with you're beggining to get into Heavy Metal and wants to see how fast and heavy a human can go... but well aint that Iron Maiden eh? Just 30 years newer

If you want heavy music well done, and not necessarily fast -> LaBrie's new work

If you want a nice Prog Metal CD ----> Petrucci's new work

Im waiting for the next album now, and for the first time with Dream Theater, im gonna download to sse if its WORTH buying

Report this review (#24631)
Posted Tuesday, March 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars What can I say about this 'homage' that has not already been said? A total waste of time and talent is my opinion, they are akin to Genesis taking a break during 'The lamb..' and instead of looking ahead and trying something new, taking a break and doing an 'homage' to 60's soul music... Glas that DID NOT happen to Genesis, but DT seemed to have taken it upon themselves to be a 80s thrash metal band here for a CD. Do I actually hear the song 'Blackened' from Metallica's '88 album '..and justice for all' in there..I do! 'As I am' is DTs 'Enter sandman' and 'Stream of conciousness' is their 'Orion'. Oh dear, oh dear... SUCH a phenomenal waste of talent, energy and time. The MOST shocking thing to me is that most fans dont see it, but I guess most of them are the ones too young to ever see Metallica when they were not a pop band. I LOVE DT, especially 'Images and words', 'Six degrees..' and 'Metropolis2' but this is not the right way for them to go. Sure I made a few enemies now..
Report this review (#24633)
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars When an album is rated "5" or "0" starts means: INNOVATIVE & EVOLUTION. Because, it is causing controversy. With TOT DT left behind old structures and they are pushing to accomplish EXCELLENCE (IMHO). Just a few bands can do that. Maybe their music sounds a little different that I&W, Awake, ACOS, SFAM, or SDIT (excellent stuff as well) but they are showing a new musical path, instead of "recycling" notes (the easy way). TOT maybe is not a "masterpiece" yet, but the time will tell. I'm giving 4 1/2 stars to TOT, and 5 stars to DT.
Report this review (#24634)
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars This is another pedestrian album from a highly overrated band. Don't get me wrong: these guys have chops to kill, but good chops do not make great progressive rock. The biggest problem I have with this band is that all their songs sound alike - melodically clumsy and harmonically poor. There just is not enough original ideas, although there are occasional interesting instrumental passages. The vocalist just sucks, and overall they sound like a neo-prog band on steroids.
Report this review (#24640)
Posted Friday, March 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A change in the sound here, becoming even more heavy and raw than the previous Dream Theater effort, "Six Degreees of Inner Turbulence". I feel that this one is hugely underrated, even among fans. There's lot's of great material here, less emotional, but still highly enjoyable, at least to my ears. "Stream of Consciousness" might be their best instrumental, or at least one of them, and the rest of the album is very even and not bad at all. Despite some usual DT clichčs, this is a great album!

Technical, heavy, less emotional, but I love it anyway. One of my favorites with them actually. 4.5/5

Report this review (#24642)
Posted Thursday, March 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was the first Dream Theater album I ever bought, and the first progressive album I have ever bought. Yes, progressive. Although this album is a fair deal heavier than their other albums, it is great none-the-less. People who bash this album or say that it is a stop in the wrong direction, are completely incorrect. Sure, this album may not be as amazing as the a select few of the others, but I still enjoyed every minute of it.
Report this review (#24645)
Posted Sunday, April 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I know that there is a big controversity going on with this record, and I agree that I wasn't really pleased as I heard "TOT" the first time. But after I spend many time with this album I was pretty blown away! It's the heaviest DT album to date and also the most complex one. The production is powerful, the guitar riffs sound monster, the bass is better put in place than on all DT releases since "Awake", the keys aren't as dominant anymore as on previous albums. The problem I had to get into it was, that I couldn't found the brilliant hooks from previous releases, that made them to cornerstones for the listener. "Endless Sacrifice" was the track, where I could find these important trademarks first to get into it more, and the whole album seemed to connect all the heaviness with brilliant arrangent structures that gave me the possibility to understand all better and really get into it. The hymn of the album is the final "In The Name Of God", where all the strength of Dream Theater is connected in. If you don't know/own this record, I recommend you to download the free instrumental "Stream Of Consciousness" from this page, it's now my favourite instrumental of DT beside "Erotomania" and "Ytse Jam", really great, what brilliant played track, here you can hear what brilliant musicians they are! The opening track "As I Am" is in the style of "The Glass Prison" from their previous record "Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence", sounds very like Metallica or new styled-metal like Mudvayne and should be only interestening for fans of metal. The following "This Dying Soul" is a prog metal epic, that also begins as a thrasher but is interrupted by a oriental-styled guitar riff, a melodic refrain follows, after that it's getting heavy again. "Honor Thy Father" begins once more with brutal agressive riff-attacking, followed by strange vocal-lines by James LaBrie, with great key- arrangement by Jordan Rudess, I miss a little bit the big chorus in this one, but a solid track although. "Vacant" is a short but effectful ballad, Jame's vocals are beautifully guided by a violin. All in all, "Train Of Thought" can't reach the high songwriting level of "Scenes From A Memory" or "Awake", but it's a great album, for what you must spend time, for what you'll be finally rewarded. It can't really touch the soul like "Scenes...", but it's really an original, impressing record by a fantastic band!
Report this review (#24676)
Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This Album will be gret for truly DT fans, but it will be poor for the other guys... I've found it in middle way from mediocre to good... 2,5 stars... Talking about the songs, the musicianship is really great, who can say no!?!? But the compositions are so ingenuous, so poor... When I've heard this CD for the firs time I was so disappointed and bored from the excessive extension of technique fine to if same. There are not moving parts until "Stream of Consciousness", for me the only one excellent track of this work. I don't recommend this album, but who can stop an excessive Dream Theater fan?
Report this review (#24682)
Posted Thursday, May 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I tried to make this brief. For the best synopsis, see the last paragraph.

As it was said by another reviewer, it's rather difficult to evaluate this album. I mean, I don't need to tell you that they took a 90-degree turn on this one. The style is very different, and often the songs need to be fast-forwarded for sheer repetition. The album can be kind of boring if you aren't in exactly the right mood. I want to say that Stream of Consciousness saves the album, but it's tough to say. To a degree it seems almost fake - but if you can get into it it's a driving force. In The Name Of God is actually somewhat impressive if you can take how repetitive it is at times. There are impressive bits here and there, but facts are facts - this album takes some serious getting used to!

If you've been a longtime fan of metal and you like to just rock out to something good... [&*!#], give it a shot. You might really get into it. Sometimes musicality and emotion needs to give way to something you can f'in _JUMP_ to. This album can be a lot of fun if you don't bother digging for problems (and if you can ignore how silly LaBrie's "angry" voice sounds).


Report this review (#24699)
Posted Monday, May 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars The third DT album I checked out was the worst of all, and had me convinced that the revered prog-metal figures weren't right for me. As usual, it proved an unrelenting, and totally unsubtle assault that didn't use the talents of the band's individuals properly. There's way too much heavy riffing and shredding going on for my liking and I don't think I could stomach being the keyboardist in a band as one dimensional as this. As I Am (which reminds me of some Metallica song off the Black Album), The Dying Soul (try pausing it 1:32 mins into the song and then playing it again at 5:25 and see if you tell the difference between Petrucci's tedious solos), Honor Thy Father (which admittedly accords Ruddess some solo time) and In The Name Of God all seem to go by in one long painful blur.

The only moments of variety come during Endless Sacrifice, Stream Of Consciousness and the piano/violin ballad Vacant, but they're not really worth wading through all the cliches for. I swore to give up on Dream Theater after this ... and yet when Octavarium came out, I couldn't resist yet another bite at the cherry! ... 19% on the MPV scale

Report this review (#24700)
Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Everytime I listen to a new Dream Theater album, I say to myself, how the hell can they follow up such a creation and beat it? This time was no exception! After listening to Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, I asked myself the exact same question! With tracks like the sombre Disappear and the hard hitting tracks like The Glass Prison and the haunting Misunderstood, not to mention the grand finale, the Six Degrees track itself, how COULD Dream Theater follow up such a masterpiece with something better?

The answer? Train of Thought. This has been an album I've wanted to listen to for some time now (since it's release) and I even made a foolish vow to myself, never to listen to it until I either bought it myself or until Richard bought it and gave me it! Hell, I never even wanted to listen to a copied version! Was it worth it? Hell yeah it was! So now I'll go as in-depth as I can to tell you how it was worth it.

You'd think with something like Six Degrees, you could never follow it up! But Dream Theater know how to follow up masterpieces and create finer works of art. The album kicks off with a fade in similar to the fade out sound you hear at the end of Six Degrees Disc 2. The album then kicks into the first track, "As I Am", and this track is something I never expected from Dream Theater. I seriously never expected a track this heavy from the Theater, fantastic guitar work from Petrucci is accompanied by excellent keyboard playing from Rudess, amazing drums from Portnoy, outrageous basslines from Myung and of course well sung lyrics from LaBrie. This was the norm throughout the album. Track 2, This Dying Soul, acts as Part 2 to the classic from Six Degrees "The Glass Prison" and is every bit as good as the first part. Track 3, Endless Sacrifice, has the starting impression of a soft track, but as you progress through it it gets heavier, until the trademark solos of Petrucci kick in. Honor Thy Father, track 4, starts off with a blazing drum solo, kicking into the awesome guitar playing of Petrucci and remains a good track throughout. As with all Dream Theater albums, there has to be a sombre track and Vacant, track 5, is by far, the best they've released. Vacant is a nothing but LaBrie's lyrics with Rudess' on keys. Vacant is also the shortest track they've released since "Through my Words" on Scene from a Memory, as Vacant lasts just under 3 minutes. Vacant then leads into the 11 minute long instrumental of the album "Stream of Consciousness", a song which completely blows you away! Then onto the final song of the album "In The Name of God". Which, finishes off another masterpiece with Rudess on Piano.

Now, with all this elegance on one CD. No drawbacks, no bad areas, nothing crap about it. I'm left wondering again, how will the next CD ever manage to beat this? There's the challenge for Octavarium!

Favourite song on album: Stream of Consciousness

Report this review (#24702)
Posted Friday, May 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars A Great Album, LaBrie tries something new in 'This Dying Soul' and some don't like it, I think it's okay, a little mainstream for some. However, 'This Dying Soul' contains the most emotional guitar/keyboard riff I have ever heard. If you've heard the song, you know what I'm talking about. Advice: Listen to just one side(right speaker, left speaker) at a time during this little solo, it's sweet. 'Stream of Consciousness' is also good, proves that John Petrucci is fast, really really fast, doesn't he hold a world record? This album is not as good as Awake, of Metropolis Part 2, but it's really good.
Report this review (#24703)
Posted Friday, May 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars After reading many of the hundreds of reviews posted here i felt the need to add my own. I first started listening to DT a couple of years ago when a friend of mine introduced me to 'Awake' which is undoubtedly one of their best works and my personal favorite. However, i'm not here to review that album but, Train of Thought. First let start by saying that i do occasionally enjoy some metal outfits like Korn and mudvayne but only sparringly. I am definately more of a classic rock/Prog rock fan. Anyway, TOT is a good album, and does not deserve the bad rap given by many of my fellow reviewers. The musicianship is marvelous, although regretably Jordan Rudess is pushed to the back to make way for chugging guitar and thunder Drums. Overall, this disc is pretty good with a couple stand out tracks, Endless Sacrifice and In The Name of God, but is not the Dream Theater we all know and love. Discs like Images and Words, Awake, and a Change of Seasons are better choices for someone to looking to get into this highly talented group.

final review: pretty damn good, but not up to DT standards. Although I really enjoyed listening to this album, I ended up wishing I was listening to awake.

Report this review (#24704)
Posted Sunday, May 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a good example of a band that made a decision (in this case to make a heavier, more straightforward album, which nonethless is still on a high musical level) which split their fan base in two. Of course it didn't decrease the number of their followers, because even the ones who were pissed of eventually found some ice aspects in the music, and now that Octavarium is about to be released, the wounds are healing nicely.

Now what do I have to say about the music of TOT? It has a very unique charm, but takes more time to settle. I'd say that after 20 times listening to the album from beginning to end, the patient listener will be rewarded, and the killer melodies that strike you instantly on albums like SfaM will become apparent on TOT as well. If you get bored along the way ... you don't have to like this.

This is more metal than prog, but with many twists and the usual stellar musicianship!

Report this review (#24713)
Posted Thursday, June 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Like many DT fans, I embrace the progressive aspects of the band. Something of interest for those who have rated this album poorly. JAMES LABRIE has been quoted as saying that they were more of 'a metal band with progressive tendencies' than an actual prog band... with that in mind, I listened to TRAIN OF THOUGHT again after nearly 2 years... and I loved it!

I did dislike it at first, as I felt the heaviness was compromising their integrity... I felt that perhaps the band was dipping into the Nu Metal pool, and that's absolutely not true. This is a fantastic album, to be included amongst their best (IMAGES AND WORDS, AWAKE, A CHANGE OF SEASONS, METROPOLIS PART II: SCENES FROM A MEMORY, and OCTAVARIUM).

The album is a far more mature approach to this new heavy style than the first disc of SIX DEGREES OF INNER TURBULENCE (the second disc was more of a neo/symphonic prog effort). The prog elements here that DT are known for exist entirely within each song's unique structure. They give style and character to each piece.

Unlike instrumental sections in the past (which were awesome, yet out of place), TRAIN OF THOUGHT manages to capture the band's creativity and at the same time allow for non-prog fans to enjoy the virtuosity.

(and heck, most songs are 10 minutes long... what's NOT prog about that?)

The song writing truly stands out on this album. The lyrics and themes are amongst their most developed. some of the best in the genre!

This will more than likely polarize fans for years to come.

I say this: give the album a chance; allow DREAM THEATER to learn and grow. don't rate them based on YOUR ideas of what they should be. Perception is the key. If you have a set idea of what DT should be, they will never live up to your standards. They know exactly what they are doing!

Although I'm not sure about OCATAVARIUM's "Walk Beside You."

Anyways, enjoy!

Report this review (#35584)
Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars actual rating- 3.5

Well, this is the first Dream Theater album I got, and it was hard to get into. Its really heavy, which I like, because slow Dream Theater is not very good usually. The lyrics are not very good at times, although sometimes they're OK. Just let me say this: This album is ANGST CITY.

It starts off with the heavy As I Am. Typical angst ridden lyrics, but the riffs from Petrucci really make this stand out. So its a good opener.

The Next song is This Dying Soul, some really great eastern style heavy riffs and some horrible horrible lyrics. Take the worst lyrics you have ever heard that aren't supposed to be goofy, and these are probably 10 times worse. And the singing in parts of this song are almost rap like, making this song almost unlistenable for me at times.

Then comes Endless Sacrifice, probably my favorite song off the whole album. It starts off really unusual for Dream Theater: slow AND good, with great synth blending with the acoustic guitar. Then the chorus goes heavy, then a slow acoustic verse again, then the chorus, then it rocks hard for the remainder of the song, the only bad part being this really cartoony synth solo. Seriously, it sounds like something out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon. The outro verses really remind me of Maiden, like I could hear Bruce Dickinson singing them.

After Endless Sacrifice comes the worst song on the album, Honor Thy Father. Seriously, no highlights except the drumming maybe. Terribel terrible lyrics.

Then comes vacant, a slow song that is boring, but not really terrible.

Stream of Conscioussness, a great DT instrumental comes next. Fantastic, heavy riffs, great blending of the synth adn the heavily distorted guitar. It does seem to drag on for a bit though.

The album closes with the epic In the Name of God. Great acoustic Intro, great eastern style riffs, and one part that really reminds me of Uriah Heep. This songs rocks pretty hard almost all the way through, except for one kind of slow part.

So this is a pretty heavy album, and the few slow parts are actually starting to sound good for Dream Theater. Highlights include: As I Am, Endless Sacrifice, Stream of Consciousness, and In the Name of God.

Report this review (#37280)
Posted Wednesday, June 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars If you have listen to this album and you think that it deserves 5 stars then you probably are in the wrong site. After prog masterpices like images and scenes this album was a great disapointment for me. 11 minute tracks with some good ideas ruined by petrucci´s uninspired thrasy riffs. The songs would realy sound better if they were redused to 7 mins max. If you never get bored by comon riffs that sacrifice creativity for the sake of agression then this is your album.

This isn´t all that bad though. Stream of consiousness is probably their best instrumental with great guitar work at the melodies (the best of the 9786 guitar themes - riffs on the album) and in the name of god with great lyrics and a clever powerfull structure.

So its 3 stars for me.


Report this review (#40219)
Posted Monday, July 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Basically this album should only be brought for tracks 2 and 7, 'this dying soul' and 'in the name of God' these are the only two song that will not get repetitive after about 3 listens. Scenes From A Memory (honourable mention to Images and Words) remains their best work and it'll probably stay that way. In the Name Of God is an epic song and 'the song' on the album, Stream of Conscioussness is good if you like 10+ minutes of instrumental madness, it's good for about 2 listens, Endless Sacrifice is the other average song from the album. If you want an album to listen through once or twice then this is good, but if you want an album that you can play again and again from DT then get Images and Words
Report this review (#40969)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album really split up fans. This was due to its very dark and hardcore metal sound.I personnally enjoy it most of the time, but i have to be in a certain mood to listen to it. It has intense musicianship and time changes, but many say that there is too much unnessasary "wanking" . in other words, to much shredding and unison lines. But unarguably some great songs off this album
Report this review (#46039)
Posted Thursday, September 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars So many people here have reviewed ToT to be the worst DT album of all, and I have to dissagree 100%.

Honestly, this is by far my favorite of all of DT's albums to date. Sure, it's not like the others. So many people will bitch about how it's not symphonic enough, or not prog enough. However, the bottom line here is this: get rid of DT's reputation as a prog band for a moment, and look at from the point of view that this is more of a metal album, and you come to find that it's *gasp!* Reallly gooooooooood.

So many fans were dissapointed because they don't like change. DT's genious shows through in this album simply because they took the risk of making a metal album. But in my opinion, they passed with flying colors. Others think otherwise, but that is because they only preffer classic DT, and are probably not metal fans in the first place.

Yes, you will probably have to be a metal fan in order to enjoy this album, because that's what it is. There is no way around the fact that ToT IS a full out metal album with some prog aspects going for it. So, it's a metal album, is that neccicarily a bad thing, per se? I mean, come on, folkes. The songs are good. I want to bang my head everytime this album plays. I'm a big DT fan, and enjoy the classic DT sound. But ToT is my favorite DT album to date because, well, it's so different, which once again shows that DT truly aren't afraid to be different for a change. In fact, until ToT, DT's albums were beggining to become repetitive in my opinion, so it was time for a change. This change was good. A treasure to anyone who truly appriciates DT's versatility.

Report this review (#50213)
Posted Thursday, October 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Dream Theater has always been a virtuoso metal band. In this album, they will show you what they are made of.

This is not a prog album. While the song durations may make you think it is, it is not. This is heavy metal full of solos and most of the songs seem like a bunch of riffs and solos with the typical verse/chorus structures. The guitar playing in this album is prominent and good. However, The melodies are nothing special.The keyboards suffer the most by the fact that they sound cartoony sometimes. Also, songs tend to drag a bit and are longer than they should be.

There are some songs that are long and not very interesting such as Endless Sacrifice and This Dying Soul. There are also medium length songs that are more than decent (As I Am), and two highlights: Stream of Consciousness and In The Name of God. Stream of Consciousness is a very long instrumental that recalls the best days of the band. The synthesizer explosion (that ripps off a rap riff) is amazing and one of the guitar solos may be the fastest solo of all times. In The Name of God has a catchy chorus with lyrics about hypocrisy on religion and is overall a successful epic from the band, but it much longer than it should be.

I will recommend this album for fans of heavy metal only. This is not a masterpiece, yet it is very enjoyable and energetic.

1. As I Am (6/10) 2. This Dying Soul (5/10) 3. Endless Sacrifice (4/10) 4. Honor Thy Father (5.5/10) 5. Vacant (6/10) 6. Stream Of Consciousness (8.5/10) 7. In The Name Of God (7/10)

My Grade : C-

Report this review (#57476)
Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars To start off, I am a compulsive Dream Theater fan, and this is my first review of anything.

One of my friends has a habit of putting a few random songs from different bands on my computer every time he comes around and one time after he left I noticed the band "Dream Theater". There were two songs there: "Endless Sacrifice" and "Honour Thy Father".

Previously I was listening to the like of "System of a Down" and "Rage Against The Machine" so this band was something different for me. I absolutely loved the songs. Since then I have bought six of their studio albums (including TOT) and one live one. Looking back I think that Train Of Thought is a really good album, though not as good as other ones like Scenes From A Memory of Images And Words.

The thing that I really dislike about Train Of Thought is that some people listen to it, love it, and then listen to their other stuff (Scenes From A Memory, for instance) and call it things like "weak" or "lame". The good thing about it is that it gets some people with heavier tastes and more open minds to get into this sort of music.

Moving on.

As I Am. Fairly good song, good rhythm, but I find it kind of... crude compared to their many other songs. The start builds up well, but I find that when the vocals come in the song goes downhill as they don't really suit the music.

This Dying Soul. I love this song. It follows As I Am very well, with the feedback at the end of the previous song exploding into a heavy solid guitar line, with a solid double-kicking drumline to suit. The start of the guitar solo isn't anything too special, but then it kicks into the melodic part (best part of the song) which then leads into a great keyboard solo. The verse (hello, mirror...) makes a good contrast to the rest of the song then it's followed by a great melodic chorus, which switches into another verse with great transition. Another great part is when the piano part comes in followed by vocal (Now that you can see all that you have done...). I really like how it's echoed by the back up vocals.

Endless Sacrifice. This was the first Dream Theater song that I heard so I will always have a soft spot for it. I didn't like the soft verses to begin with but they really grew on me since. Then that soft verse builds up until it explodes into a really awesome chorus, with Petrucci's relatively heavy guitar line carrying the vocals really well. That's pretty much repeated, then a five minute instrumental (heh, Labrie walks of the stage on the DVD doesn't he?) follows. This instrumental is what sold the band to me. It starts with this one line from the chorus then it expands to other things, then comes back to that line, then expands to something completely different to the last expansion (and who can forget the little keyboard solo with all the funny sounds?). Then the end of this song is just... words can't describe how good the end is.

Honor Thy Father. Good start, interesting how it changes timing so much. The thing I hear most about this song is that people don't like the bit with the talking (after "don't cross the crooked step"), but I love it, it adds emphasis to the rest of the song and leads into the last chorus excellently.

Vacant. I wouldn't really like this song if it wasn't placed where it was in the album, after the heavy guitar of Honor Thy Father and before the mind blowing Stream Of Consciousness, which comes out of the soft piano/violin of vacant.

Stream of Consciousness. Like I said, this song is mind blowing. It is similar to the instrumental in Endless Sacrifice in that it often comes back to its original line. The different solos in this particular song are all good. I also find it interesting that the song starts and finishes identically.

In the Name of God. I don't mind the main riff for this song but the part that I really like is the chorus because there is so much feeling and effort put into it, especially on the part of Labrie. It also ties up the album excellently, with the piano coming out of the part with the back up singers. Another aspect of this song that I like is what it is about, kind of expressing his inability to understand how people could use something like religion to justify doing evil things.

So in conclusion, Train of Thought is a good album, but is let down by As I Am and the fact that most of their other albums are better.

Wow. I kinda went on for bit there. If you bothered to read all of that I thank you for your time.

Liam Drennan, Australia.

Report this review (#58979)
Posted Friday, December 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars On this album Dream Theater come out looking lean and mean and play harder than they ever have. Train of Thought is quite possibly one of the heaviest albums Dream Theater have ever released. The band just kick it into overdrive without adding any of the excesses found on past recordings. Dream Theater appears to have followed the same direction as Vanden Plas did in 2002 with their own fabulous release Beyond Daylight.

How does one even begin to describe an album like Train of Thought? This is often the kind of question I ponder whenever I consider reviewing an album containing high quality complex music. I was listening to this album over and over, and it happen to still be playing when I sat down to eat late one night. I was thinking to myself, seven songs in length so why don't I compare it to a seven course meal...sounds good to me!

Train of Thought opens with "As I Am", a truly delicious appetizer. Then you are treated to another hors-d'oeuvres in the form of "This Dying Soul," just a superb follow up to "As I Am." By the time "Endless Sacrifice" arrives, 19 mintues have gone by and I was already feeling content, could not have been more satisfied with my progressive meal so far.

However, "Endless Sacrifice" arrives as a very tasty salad with just the right amount of ingredients and a wonderful salad dressing, I swear it was like the icing on a cake, and the main course had not even been served yet? In need of a little more meat and potatoes, Dream Theater finally deliver "Honor Thy Father" to really mix things up big time. What to make of this meal? Very yummy and very different from earlier recipes offered by the band. My brain had just been treated to some of the most filling and heavy prog metal I had heard in a while and I was only 40 minutes into this 7 course meal.

In need of a moment of rest and Dream Theater deliver a short little break in the form of "Vacant," just a slow atmospheric breather before moving right along to the main course, the extra juicy instrumental "Stream of Consciousness." But the meal was not over yet, to top it all off, Dream Theater did not disappoint with the highlight of the meal being "In The Name of God," a superb 14 minute track that could easily have been the entire meal all by itself. A very special delicacy indeed, enjoyed it the most even after having that entire heavy meal that came just before it.

The full meal deal is easily worth 4 times the amount I paid for it. I will repeat the experience time and time again until I literally blow up or my brain says I've had enough. Train of Thought was simply the most delicious and interesting 7 course meal deal I've had so far.

Just in case some of you are wondering, Train of Thought is a Progressive METAL album! Sink your ears into this one folks, savor it and enjoy every minute of it. Careers are built on albums like these.not that Dream Theater needed a career boost or anything like that but they delivered an outstanding effort here. Don't take my word for it and don't believe all those who down-rate it without explaining why, just check it out for yourself...especially if you enjoy those HEAVY prog metal meal deals. ;)

Report this review (#59302)
Posted Tuesday, December 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
Bob Greece
2 stars This is a really heavy album taken as a whole. I feel that Dream Theater lost the sense of melody here for the sake of trying to be as heavy as possibly. I do lose interest on some of the guitar solos which seem to go on without any sense of structure. "Endless Sacrifice" and "Vacant" are softer tracks but they don't grab the attention either.

The album does have a couple of redeeming features though. "As I Am" has a catchy tune and "Stream of Conciousness" is a good instrumental. All in all though, this was a disappointing album. I was very pleased when Octavarium came out to find that Dream Theater would not be continuing along this ultra-heavy route for ever.

Report this review (#59310)
Posted Tuesday, December 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ive read many of this critics and for my personal reason I like this album. It might not be the best DT album but the name of it says too much about it, train of thought, is the name of a reflexion time, that is what Dt does here.

The thing that I want to transmit is that maybe for some people their music in this album is no good but the lyrics are the principal of this record. Stream of Consciousness is the only instrumental but all the riffs, all the solos express the lyrics of this song.

In fact dream theater makes very good harmonic music and all envolved in their music is respectable.

Sorry for my bad english.

Report this review (#60426)
Posted Thursday, December 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars How can anybodycompare Metallica to Dream theater? DT are head and shoulders above most bands in musical ability, songwriting (in particuar Metallica) and any geniune fan cannot say that they do not get their moneys worth. This album is a necessity to any progresive rock collection and I believe music should be inspirational and Train of Thought would definitely fall into that category. I will give you my rating and a brief description for each track.

1>As i am-10/10-Absolutely top notch opening track which speeds up superbly to a very powerful riff and also filled with a mind boggling solo by Petrucci. The backing is superb and the lyrics also very meaningful. 2>This Dying Soul-10/10-Once again a prog rock masterpiece with riff after riff pumping the mind. The drumming is brilliant throughout and Petruccis guitar work is top notch particularly in the intro. Rudess shines on the track and the guitar/keyboard duel at the end is particularly memorable. 3>Endless Sacrifice>10/10-How do they do it? A beautifully crafted song with heartfelt lyrics. The singing by La Brie is superb particualrly in the high notes in the chorus and Rudess' keyboard solo is incredible showcasing his classical influences. The heavy riff at the end is one of my particular favourites and yet is still very musical. 4>Honor Thy Father>10/10-All i can say is Portnoy. The Attack on the drums at the start is insane and once again this song stretches musical boundaries. The lyrics are superb highlighting Petrucci's suffering at the hands of his father and the unsung John Myung also lays down a great bass line. 5>Vacant-8/10-Breaks up the album well and features beautiful singing and keyboards by La Brie And Rudess respectively. 6>Stream Of Consciousness-10/10-Superb Instrumental highlighting all talents of the band. 7>In The Name Of God-10/10-One of the most epic songs ever. The riffs are thunderous and the power of the song is explosive. All the band shine particularly La Brie in his passionate vocals and Petrucci with his astounding guitar playing. The Lyrics are once again brilliant showing Petruccis magic with words and the struggle of religion. This song is prog rock at its best and like the album is an epic journey.

So there u have it.-68/70. Not a bad score really. All I say is Buy it!!! Trust me you will be amazed by these guys. I still am now!!!!!!!!1

Report this review (#65737)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tony Fisher
2 stars This album is an attemt to go onto Metallica territory and it's mostly complete bilge. DT are excellent musicians but don't write the sort of memorable riffs and songs that make Metallica so excellent. There's the usual barrage of shredding and heavy riffs but they are forgettable and this album is much heavier than most of their efforts, lacking the keyboard textures and runs that redeem many of their songs and make them listenable if not enjoyable. Images and Words and Octavarium are never going to make it into my top 50, but at least I can listen and enjoy occasionally. Not this. Labrie's vocals are dodgy at the best of times but he certainly ain't James Hetfield and when it comes to a more metal approach, he falls down badly. The best track, Stream of Consciouness is an instrumental and the other good bit is the instrumental section of Endless Sacrifice - enough said. Several tracks sound like rejects or ripoffs from Metallica or even (God forbid) Linkin Park. Petrucci as usual plays at warp factor 9, leaving out any soul or emotion; if only he'd listen to Latimer or Hackett and learn to communicate. So talented, so wasted. Overall, I can't give it 1* because there are just enough decent songs and enough good musicianship from the rhythm section to save it. But they should leave Metallica territory to Metallica and stick to a more prog approach. Their worst album by a mile. Just 2*. (And I'm NOT a DT hater - I'm just not deaf to their faults)
Report this review (#65754)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars That's a non easy accessible stuff for classic prog lovers. No flutes, no long acoustic passages, no vocal harmonies, no suites, etc. There is a lot of extrem metal riffs and basic influences here are (take seat): Pantera, Tool, System of a Down, RATM, Megadeth and, of course, Metallica. Mike Portnoy tell the fans they try to make their own Master of Puppets. First track, As I Am, remembers me a lot Enter Sandman (better played and executed) and it's perfect live show intro. This Dying Soul and Endless Sacrifice are a very very prog metal songs played "in crescendo" and showing the harder riffs, vocals and drums in the bands history. After that the train never stops, goes faster. Honor Thy Father begins with a classic System of a Down riff and explores the dangerous (for this band) nu metal lands. They survive 'cause they are unbeatable in jamming territories and the metal war between Petrucci and Rudess it's very enjoyable. Vacant is a beautifull piano-cello piece with LaBrie singing as angels and Stream of Consciousness is a classic Petrucci guitar work in a Dixie Dregs mood (his first guitar hero was Steve Morse). The half section could been perfectly a song from a never existing project Liquid Tension Experiment III. The final jewel, In The Name of God, was very special for me. The first acoustic chords are an explicit Fates Warning (Perfect Symmetry album) homage and the song it's an epic hymn against religious intolerance with the faster solo played ever by Petrucci and Rudess. I know some people say this is too heavy for their ears, but in the prog world there are harder and more complicated music well accepted for everybody, like King Crimson (80s & 90s) or Sieges Even. TOT needs and deserves seconds and third listenings cause it's too complex and depth for the prog metal newcomers.
Report this review (#66892)
Posted Thursday, January 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars The worst DT-album ever!!! Wannabe-Metallica + same riff in every song is not the best combination what you can imaginate. LaBrie want's to sing like Hetfield and it is quite awful. Petrucci's solos are taken from Hammett and Rudess palys every solo at same way... I Don't like.
Report this review (#68360)
Posted Sunday, February 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of my favourite albums from the kings of prog/metal, i was so impressed with this album that i gave it to a friend and he has become as big a DT fan as i am, i was a Metallica fan but they COMPLETELY lost it and only wish they could come up with some of the quality songs that are on this superb album. With all DT albums there are at least 3 KILLER songs and for me This Dying Soul, Endless Sacrificed and Name of god are my 3 favourite songs, i love the combination of heavy and light and there's no other group that comes close to doing this as good as the Mighty DT.
Report this review (#68417)
Posted Sunday, February 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is, like all of dream theater's albums, great. Some songs are long and boring, but overall, its good.

The album starts with as i am. This could be one of my favorite DT songs ever. It has one of the most pwerful riffs i have ever heard, and amazing lyrics.

The next song is This Dying Soul, which has the 4th and 5th parts of The Alcoholics Anonymous Suite in it. This song is dark and heavy, with a little bit of metallica influence. Great, but not as good as Glass prison.

The Third song, Endless sacrifice, would be much better if it was 6 minutes instead of 11. The middle part is really repetiteve and boring. Other than that, the song is pretty good

Honor thy father. Amazing. Theres an awesome drum part at the beginning, with some good guitar, and powerful lyrics. I think its good, but not if you dont like really heavy songs

THe 5th track is vacant. Piano. Violin. Lyrics. Fun

The sixth song has the piano part from vacant on guitar at the beginning. It is purely usical, no lyrics. It is drug out WAY to much and would be much better if it wasnt so repetitive. Its got an amazing guitar solo, though

In the name of god is probably the best song on the album. its heavy, not slow, barely repetitive, and keeps you listening to it. I lke the first riffs in it. Their good

Report this review (#69071)
Posted Saturday, February 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Dream Theater sounded like they were trying to change to go along with current trends with this album. It works out quite well for them in the beginnings of both, "This Dying Soul" and "Honor Thy Father". But these are the very two songs that make this album my least favorite Dream Theater album. The rapping sections of both of these songs are simply disasterous. They sounded like something out of the Limp Bizkit playbook. Also, "Honor Thy Father" and "This Dying Soul" both start great and end badly. Once I hear "Don't cross the crooked step" "Honor Thy Father" shatters and looses all my interest. The ending solo section of "This Dying Soul" is just plain bad too. The ending of "This Dying Soul" is the only time I ever have a problem with Dream Theater wanking and being technical just for the sake of being technical. "Stream Of Conciousness" doesn't carry it's own weight either. By that I mean it's a little too long for it's own good with some boring passages. It's not the band's strongest instrumental ever. It does have some amazing sections however, and I really like how it plays a part in a greater whole. Yes, by that I mean I consider "Vacant, Stream Of Conciousness, and In The Name Of God" to be a trilogy of sorts. There are some strong connections between the three songs, and I like how they flow into each other. "Vacant" is a nice break from the four bone-crushing songs heard before it on the album. I enjoy the song and its presence on the album brings Train Of Thought up in my opinion. "In The Name Of God" of course, is simply amazing and one of Dream Theater's 12 best songs. One of the greatest moments in Dream Theater history is when the fourth verse is building up and getting heavier. It gets pretty intense and then all of a sudden it stops, this little electronic drum thing is played, which fits perfectly because of the way it builds up itself, then BANG. The listener is hit with the remainder of the verse which is now more dynamic and hard-hiting than ever. Lastly, I would have to say that "As I Am" and "Endless Sacrifice" are both high quality Dream Theater songs that have some mediocre sections but are more than made up for with the great riffage and melodies found in each tune. Train Of Thought suffers tremendously from about a total of ten minutes worth of bland or horrendous sections compiled from just about every song. Overall Train Of Thought is a great album, but one where tracks need to be skipped some times. This is what makes it Dream Theater's worst album, falling just a little short of the quality of When Dream and Day Unite.
Report this review (#69090)
Posted Saturday, February 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I think the main reason people are putting this disc is because of the somewhat dirty production. IMO, it fits, because these are rough, metal-based tunes. I like this disc more than OCTAVARIUM (going through a group's catalog retrograde always brings up some interesting surprises) precisely because everything doesn't sound so clean, so polished, so precise. With that in mind, what of the songs themselves? Well, like I said, rough, hard metal-edged tunes, with lots of soloing (especially in STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS), which is one of the reasons I like it so much. Even the shorter, quasi-orchestra-based VACANT is top-notch, with James singing sinister lyrics in a mournful melody over a lush string arrangement. What else do I like here? The keyboards are mixed kinda low, with Rudess working subtly in the background. That's a marked change to OCTAVARIUM, in which Rudess dominates most of the instrumental breaks (and consequently, most of the songs). I can also hear what Myung's playing, which I didn't hear much of on OCTAVARIUM; that's a bit of a revelation. I also like the fact that, despite the layer of dirt atop the recording, I can hear more of Portnoy. YAY! HOWEVER... I don't know whether or not to recommend this disc to people, for two reasons: 1/I just started listening to Dream Theater, AND; 2/Due to the fact that people claim they've made better albums (their apex seemingly being IMAGES AND WORDS), I really don't know if the average listener should start here. I do not, however, have any trouble giving this one a full 5 stars.
Report this review (#69345)
Posted Tuesday, February 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album if freakin awesome my gosh there are plenty of prog stuff in this i mean we got very long songs, great transitions, and plus a great instrumental and THEY ARE PROGRESSIVE METAL. We've got the darker vocals of mr. labrie i mean i'll admit its not his best vocal performance but he sounds awesome, John Petrucci really shines with HIS AMAZING SOLOS in almost every song, John Myung don't put him out cause he's got mad skills with keeping up the bad with his great bass abilites, jordan always a pleasure to listen to especially with his keyboard solos on THIS DYING SOUL, STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS, AND IN THE NAME OF GOD. and let's not forget about....DRUM ROLL MIKE FREAKIN PORTNOY and no description for this guy cause on this cd HE WILL BLOW YOU AWAY. This was my first DT cd and dude first spin gah it was awesome and still is awesome every time i listen to it. Fans of Dream Theater trust me this Cd is worth having in any prog metal collection
Report this review (#69991)
Posted Monday, February 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Where are old Dream Dream Theater? This album is much heavier than older and I think that DT maybe made a litle mistake, but it's their opinion and if they felt it that way...who knows? They're playing so complicated music and this led them to blind alley. This album is really boring! If I want heavy metal, I'll take rather great Judas Priest, or Iron Maiden. But I found two very good songs:1st. - opener As I Am 2nd. - instrumental composition Stream Of Consciousness

Two good songs - TWO STARS

Report this review (#71556)
Posted Friday, March 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Friday night, nothing to do, might as well add to the billions of reviews to this controversial album. I have mixed emotions about this album for a few reasons. First off, this album combined with "A Change of Seasons," was my introduction to Dream Theater. I was duly impressed with 'Seasons' although the covers that plague the second half do not do the title justice. However, I then decided to pick up an actual album. Seeing the cover art to this album on a teenagers t-shirt, I picked it out of pure recognition. My initial feelings were that of dissapointment. Less progressive, less keyboard, grinding guitars, and annoying shrill shriek Labires yanks from his vocal chords. Frustrated, I shelved the album for a few months without hearing the entirety. Impulsively, partly out of boredom, I popped it back into my CD player. Upon a few devoted listens, this album really grew on me. Yes, it is significantly heavier than any other DT album. Yes, Petrucci plays a store of wankerific solos. But even so, it is just so darn catchy. I can't help banging my head and cranking the volume to '11'. Here, Dream Theater has created an album that is distinctly Dream Theater in their rawest form. What bugs me is the lack of keyboards throughout the album (with some exceptions) I still hold that DT were their best with Kevin Moore controlling the keyboard wizardry (although I really love the overture on Six Degrees). This album is more a metal album and than progressive, and those searching for the "prog-metal" sound that characterized "Images and Words" or "Awake" will truly be dissapointed. Those ready to bang their head at a whim will enjoy this record immensly. Those initially turned off by this album, give it another chance. A devoted listen will reveal the greatness of this album. Those looking to orient themselves with Dream Theater, or even classic prog-fans, would be better off with "Images and Words," "Scenes from a Memory" or "Awake." A must have for any serious Dream Theater have. Not their best, but definatlely not their worst.
Report this review (#72110)
Posted Friday, March 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Metal does not get more complex than this album. Dream Theater's most metal album is met with mixed results. Some see it as a brilliant statement of the bands diverse repetoire of sounds, and some see it as an excuse for 5 minute guitar solos, and believe me, there are a lot of solos on this album. If you can get past the metal and the solos, though, you can find some solid and complex riffs and rhythms as well as some great instrumentation. Petrucci is the real star on this album, giving an A+ effort on every song (except Vacant, which doesn't feature guitar), with powerhouse riffs and solos throughout, Portnoy is consistent and really holds the group together, the game goes with Myung (who, unfortunately, is very low in the mix), Rudess is good at the parts where you can hear him (a lot of the album he plays a guitar sounding synth) and his solos are a perfect compliment to Petrucci's, and LaBrie sings very well and keeps to him metal roots on this one.

As I Am opens the album (which fades in with essentially the final chord of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence), and this song has a very Metallica feel to it. The riff is solid and is represented well through the maelstrom of distorted guitar. The chorus is very strong, and is complimented by a superb solo from Petrucci, who goes up and down the fretboard with precision and ease. This Dying Soul is the second song, and it is the second in Mike Portnoy's AA series. Riffs and themes from The Glass Prison are represented here and are played incredibly well. Endless Sacrifice is third, and it features a strong opening riff as well as a great instrumental breakdown in the middle (with sections reminding me of King Crimson's Larks' Tongue in Aspic Part II), as well as some great vocals from LaBrie. Honor Thy Father is easily one of the worst Dream Theater songs ever written. It sounds like it should fit on a Megadeth album or something like that, and does not have any real Dream Theater finesse. To top it all off, the lyrics are uninspired and cheesy.

Vacant is the only LaBrie penned song on the album, and it is a soothing break from the maelstrom of metal. A somber piano-cello-vocal track that has a theme from Stream of Consciousness and some moody lyrics juxtapose quite well with the rest of the material on the album. Stream of Consciousness is a 10 minute instrumental that revolves around a 5/4 theme. It is easily the strongest track on the album and any guitarist should listen to this song and hear some incredible playing. The finale to the album, In the Name of God, is one of the darkest pieces Dream Theater has written. A riff similar to As I Am is the main theme to the song, and the lyrics, which talk about cults and fake religions, are among the best Petrucci has written. The instrumental breakdown in the middle (which features a nice little morse code message, a joke from the band that listeners of the Live Scenes From New York commentary will notice quite well). A great finisher to the album.

Overall, this is a very strong album metal-wise. If you're not a fan of metal, then you may want to steer clear of this album. However, if you want to hear some great instrumentation and playing, I recommend it highly. The only real downfall to the album Honor Thy Father, which otherwise mars an almost masterpiece. 4/5.

Report this review (#73496)
Posted Wednesday, March 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Having first been introduced to these gods among men with their last release, the stunning "Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence", DREAM THEATER have since become one of my most cherished musical discoveries. As I began working my way backwards through their discography, what always astounded me, apart from the sheer brilliance of the music itself, was the way in which this band constantly progressed and grew with each subsequent release. While some paths yielded more memorable creations than others, one must not lose sight of the big picture (as so many often have), as it is this ensemble's ability to push themselves to test new waters that has put them at the very pinnacle of a genre that is without a doubt one of the most challenging to successfully perform. Regardless of difficulties faced along the way, DREAM THEATER have always been able to persevere, while proving to those foolish enough to criticize them that they are without a doubt one of the most talented group of individuals in music to date.

Such as 2001's "Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence" saw the band experimenting with new sounds and ideas, "Train Of Thought" sees DREAM THEATER once again heading in a new direction. If the brilliant album cover alone is not indicative enough of the new path being followed, then the music itself will surely succeed in establishing the DREAM THEATER sound of 2003. Darker and heavier than anything they have ever previously recorded, "Train Of Thought" introduces the listener to one of the many sides of DREAM THEATER, a side that will surely appeal to a wider audience, including those who see to denouncing any and all things progressive. From the crushing opening riff of "As I Am", to the chilling final notes of "In The Name Of God", "Train Of Thought" never ceases to amaze. While I could dissect each song, exposing the brilliance that we have all come to expect, such an act would ultimately fail to come close to capturing the experience of actually listening to this album. Simply put, the highlights never stop. Everything about this album deserves praise and much like the material in question, each member's performance is (as to be expected) flawless. James LaBrie, who does not receive as much credit as he deserves, puts forth a powerful performance from beginning to end, showcasing a darker, angrier side that perfectly compliments the intensity of the music. On bass, the underrated yet always amazing John Myung succeeds in keeping this record sounding heavy as hell, with low end bass work that will hit you like a ton of bricks. On keys, Jordan Rudess, though less in the forefront than on "Six Degrees...", never fails to leave his mark, adding a welcomed touch of class and brilliance to each song. Though enough praise has been published regarding these remaining two individuals, I feel compelled to throw my two cents in. On drums and guitars respectively, Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci (both of whom produced this record) put forth performances that only they could successfully put forth. Once again, Petrucci's solos will melt your brain, while Portnoy's drum work will ensure that you are bowing down to your CD player before the end of the first song. Simply amazing.

While praise for "Train Of Thought" has been widespread (and rightfully so), since this album's release I have unfortunately still been exposed to those who are so foolish as to attempt to complain about DREAM THEATER or the material in question . While such a thoughtless act usually invokes feelings of anger and disgust, at the end of the day, those who criticize are the ones at a loss. I also feel compelled to address another import issue regarding public perception of this musical entity. For those who continually find themselves attempting to compare albums within DREAM THEATER's godly discography, I advise that you quit wasting your time. If you are unable to grasp the fact that DREAM THEATER are a "Progressive" Metal band and henceforth, are constantly progressing and growing from album to album, then you have completely missed the boat. To those of you who fall into the same category as this reviewer, all I have to say is that DREAM THEATER have never ceased to amaze me and "Train Of Thought" has merely reasserted this fact. While any other band would simply play it safe, relying on past success rather than continuing to push themselves, DREAM THEATER are no such band and in 2003, they have once again cemented themselves a spot at the very top of the Progressive Metal genre. Keep up the amazing work.

Report this review (#74998)
Posted Saturday, April 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Quite interesting.

Funny thing about this album: prior to this review, it barely beats out Falling Into Infinity in terms of the lowest scores; 3.55 for this, 3.54 for the other. Yet 40% of the people who have reviewed it give it 5 stars. It's simply that just as many people hate it as those who love it.

I'm not gonna sit here and generalize about why some people hate it and why some love it. I hate some albums that are considered classics, and it's definitely the other way around too. Two examples of this: this album, and Adam & Eve by The Flower Kings.

What I can say, however, is that these albums have been playing constantly with me for quite a long time. And I can't deny how I feel about each album. Hence, the rating. Label me as a fanboy if you want; I don't look at myself in that light. Despite the fact that I gave Metropolis a 5, and I'm giving this a 5 (and I'll probably do the same for Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence), I'm not a "oh-my-gosh-everything-they've-ever-done-is- perfect" type of guy. As an aside, you won't see me give Images & Words a 5. Or Awake. Etc. etc. You get my point.

Oh, right, Train of Thought.

Unfortunately, Dream Theater have the burden of having created Metropolis Part 2. What I mean by that is that they will never be able to top that album in my opinion. It is and was their pinnacle, their crown, something that they or almost anyone else will never top anytime soon.

Some people think about that too much, however. I.e., they automatically compare a band's albums to their best work and watch how it doesn't match up. I, quite unfortunately, did this with King Crimson when I first branched out from the debut. Larks' Tongues In Aspic seemed absolutely atrocious at first, because I was comparing it to In the Court of the Crimson King. Huge mistake, obviously. You need to take it for what it is.

I enjoy this album almost as much as I enjoy Scenes, because I don't look at it as "Ugh, they're changing, there's nothing like 'The Spirit Carries On' on here, it's a waste of time." Rather, it's more like "Let me listen to this how Dream Theater wanted me to listen to it."

Now that I'm done ranting...

For me, I (naturally) love every song here, but special recognition (if that even exists) goes to (for me) the last two songs, counting Vacant and Stream of Consciousness as one song. Of course, Vacant provides the perfect soft interlude after Honor Thy Father, which is perhaps the darkest song on the album, let alone in Dream Theater's catalogue. Stream of Consciousness itself is up there among my favorite instrumentals, if not my favorite instrumental. Expecially that bass part in the middle. Tell me that's not cool.

However, In The Name Of God........ I don't even know what to say. Best Dream Theater song? Despite things like the 42 minute Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (something I previously believed to be Dream Theater's best song) and the 24 minutes Octavarium, In The Name Of God might actually beat them out. Not only is it typical driving Dream Theater at its very best, but it also has some of the most emotion they've ever put into a song. Of course, it has its technical "show-off" aspects: hence, those guitar and keyboard solos between 8:35 and 10:00 or so. Yet, LaBrie's singing is truly at its best here, and the piano is absolutely perfect. It just cements how strongly I feel about the band.

Well, I certainly like the album. Many others do, many others don't. This review is not to state how you feel or should feel about it. Just my take, which may or may not help in forming your own opinion, the only thing that matters. For the music world would be very boring if we all had the same exact tastes. I can't tell you if you'll like it, especially because this album managed to separate diehard fans of Dream Theater into two camps somehow. No qualms for me, though.

Report this review (#76058)
Posted Sunday, April 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Train Of Thought

Train Of Thought is the 7th Dream Theater studio album. There are 7 songs in this album, which exactly the same number I mentioned before, the 7th studio album. This concept is also used in the making of Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence (6DOIT) which has six songs and also in Octavarium which has eight songs. Train Of Thought is truly a black-heavy-very heavy-dark metal album, brings the term progressive metal to the next level. Is it also very surprising, that after the beautiful epic in the album Scenes From A Memory and Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence, Dream Theater chose to make a very dark metal album.

Mike Portnoy said on Dream Theater website that this album is the darkest and metal- est Dream Theater album and they don't plan to make another album like Train Of Thought in the future. In my opinion, this album doesn't represent the real side of Dream Theater, which usually put more traditional progressive elements to their songs. But nevertheless, this album is probably the most popular album for Dream Theater newbies, considering they (newbies) are new into progressive metal and appreciate more in the metal side of Dream Theater.

As I Am The most popular song in this album which can attract fans to buy this album. The same thing happened in the album Images And Words, where the first song, which Pull Me Under, is the most popular song, besides Metropolis Pt.1 of course. Just a secret, that the intro part of the song, which the sound effects increased slowly, is the continued sound from the last song, Grand Finale, taken from the previous album, Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence. For the solo, John Petruci played a very heavy and metal solo, which can only be played by the virtuosos : ).

This Dying Soul The beginning of the song is the continued part from As I Am, then followed by heavy rhythm section and then the intro solo. This is a really progressive metal song because of the odd time signatures throughout the song. The best part of the song is when the instrumental part begins, and like I said, very progressive.

Endless Sacrifice Slow and mellow intro and the first verse of the song, Dream Theater maybe thinks about a little after two heavy songs above. When the song reached the chorus, the tone and the feeling become more metal, but then it cools down again when the verse 2 starts. After the second chorus, a very amazing instrumental part begins, where I think is very different with the song, but that's progressive. Then, after a great instrumental part, LaBrie started to sing again.

Honor Thy Father This song consists of lyric represents anger, created by Mike Portnoy. Mike Portnoy, since the first album, is very identical with his dark and anger lyrics. He said on one interview, "I'm not very good at writing love songs, so I decided to write a HATE song!!!" Just some exceptions, like the lyric of Goodnight Kiss, which is very beautiful and mellow. The song begins with a sick drum riffs, truly great.

Vacant is more like an introduction for the next song, Stream Of Consciousness. The feeling of this song is more like sadness and emptiness, or in another word, vacant. There is an extra instrument in this song, a cello, played by Eugene Friesen, which creates a feeling of sadness, very nice tone.

Stream Of Consciousness WHOA!! A masterpiece of music, amazing in terms of technique, skills, song composition and the feeling inside the song. One of the best songs of all time. There is nothing to compare to this song because it is just really great. For me, the best part is the last guitar solo, which sounds like a conclusion for the whole song.

In The Name Of God The song is about the current issue around us recently, yes, the 9/11 tragedy. "Killing, in the name of God." A very beautiful song composed in progressive metal music. Just perfect. The instrumental section in the middle part of the song is just real progressive and unique. The song was ended in a beautiful keyboard riff and the arpeggio on keyboard which creates a deep feeling of the song. This keyboard section is then used to make The Root Of All Evil, in Octavarium album.

Overall, I give 5 big stars to Train Of Thought. Like I said before, this album has brought metal songs into the next level with progressive elements.

Report this review (#78460)
Posted Wednesday, May 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album, along side 'Images and Words' and 'Scenes from a Memory', is one of my favourites of all time. Alot of people complain that DT have lost their progressive elements, but they're definately still there as is evident in 'Stream of Consciousness'. However if you want progressive, that can be found in the afore mentioned releases. This album is very, very heavy. I love the raw power, and insane shredding that has been unleashed in this album. It contains some of their most technical, fast solos and riffs ever, and the drumming is insane. A usual, James Labrie's voice is in fine form. John Myung's bass playing is nothing short of incredible, from the bass harmonic intro to 'As I Am', to the heavy bass lines of 'This Dying Soul', to the incredible way he mirrors the guitar lines on 'In the Name of God'. John Petrucci's guitar is amazing as usual, playing some of his fastest and most technically challenging solos I've ever heard. Mike Portnoy really lets loose on this album, with faster, harder drumming, and a lot more double bass drumming. Jordan Rudess doesn't feature quite as prominently on this album, but his keyboards make the album a little more symphonic, and he still trades off incredible solos with Petrucci, such as on 'Endless Sacrifice', and 'ITNOG'.If you think this sounds just like any other metal release, then you need only to look at the tracklisting to realise that on top of that, the songs are still quite progressive and very epic in nature. Only seven songs, but nearly 70 minutes worth of music, with nearly all the songs clocking in at around 10 minutes. The three minute song 'Vacant', serves as a nice interlude in the middle of the CD, with just piano, bass and cello, but the rest of the album is faster and heavier than any other release by DT. Stand out songs are: 'Endless Sacrifice', 'Stream of Consciousness', and 'In the Name of God'.
Report this review (#78975)
Posted Monday, May 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was the first Dream Theater album that I ever head, as well as the first Progressive Metal album that I ever heard, aside from some Tool that they play on the local radio stations. I guess I can understand how this is a controversial album for longtime fans of Dream Theater, because it is definitely very different from most of their earlier works. I can see how, at first listen, the songs all seem the same to some people. It does take multiple listens to get into the heaviness of the album, but any fan of Progressive Metal will definitely find this album to be one of the best of the genre. Now to briefly break down each song:

"As I Am" was a perfect song for me to hear as my first prog metal song, since I had just recently come off a three year Metallica binge. This song does have some Metallica-ish elements to it, including the vocals (to an extent), but I don't think that the overall Metallica sound extends much further through the album than this song. The rest is much more complex and interesting. I usually skip this song when I listen to this album, It is just too straightforward for my tastes, but it is a good opener.

"This Dying Soul" convinced me of John Petrucci's guitar prowess, and it is one of the best songs on the album, as well as my favorite of the three parts based on Portnoy's drinking addiction. The intro solo is amazing, and I don't believe it to be merely shredding.

"Endless Sacrifice" is in my opinion the best track on the album. The four or so minutes of pure instrumentation in the middle section is some of the band's best work. Plus, the song has some great lyrics.

"Honor Thy Father" is probably the heaviest song on the album, and maybe the weakest, aside from "As I Am." But, it is still pretty good. The intro drums are really cool.

"Vacant" is a nice little interlude that really ties nicely to the next track and showcases some great vocal work by LaBrie.

"Stream of Consciousness" is a great instrumental track, but it seems to slope off a bit after the first five or so minutes.

"In the Name of God" has it all, it's got emotional lyrics, a great chorus, and a cool riff... plus a big instrumental show off section in the middle.

I love this album, plenty of people do... I give it five stars not because I am a DT freak, but because I believe it has been done quite a bit of injustice on this site, and it is a great example of what good progressive metal should be.

Report this review (#78984)
Posted Monday, May 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Train of Thought is quite easily the heaviest album that Dream Theater have produced and at first you get an "Oh no" impression from it, that Dream Theater have sold out for money or whatever. But don't worry, this really does turn into a grower after a few listens.

OK, this isn't the proggiest album in history, nor was it ever meant to be, but DT have kept up there track record of not having two albums that sound like each other. This album takes the metal sound of Disc 1 of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and concentrates it into a series of very heavy, semi-epic songs (and one true epic). I've heard all the complaints about this album, that Rudess doesn't do much on it, that Myung cant be heard, that its just a Metal album, its rubbish etc etc. First off I find that Rudess's keyboard playing is integral to the feel of some songs, the intro to As I Am would be much poorer without him for instance. Secondly, I don't know what every one else listens to music on but John Myungs bass is more audible on this album than it is on most of DT's, and its never usually a problem anyway.

Shredding. This seems to be the biggest complaint most people have about this album and to be honest, when you here This Dying Soul, I can see what people mean. However, this song aside, I don't hear endless shredding in this album, in fact there's a lot of very strong melodic work going on and lots of great solos and powerful riffs. Hell, every member of the band is on fine form instrumentally and they showcase this on each song and, more often than not, it doesn't get out of hand.

The vocals on this album are great as well. LaBrie vocals tends to have a love it or hate it view from many people but I love it and always have, but its clear that with each passing album his vocals get better and he has moved away from some of the high pitched shrieking that went on in Awake and Images and Words, which is definitely a good thing. Having said this though, his vocals don't suit the attempted rap in This Dying Soul and it just sounds awful to me.

Overall I find that the only low points of this album are This Dying Soul (far too long and with some pointless, annoying sections), Stream Of Consciousness (A bit repetitive for my tastes) and the fact that this isn't a very proggy album. However it is very enjoyable and even the short Vacant offers a nice break before the final two songs, just so everyone can catch their breath. This gets 4 stars.

Report this review (#79350)
Posted Thursday, May 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#79386)
Posted Friday, May 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars I'm a GREAT FUN of the Theater (I've got all of their works), but this one is absolutely the worst. A part from "as I am" and "endless sacrifice" (not bad songs), the other seems to appear vacant and empty tracks....Dream Theater seems a band running out of new ideas (though with a great musicianship) which in the following album (octavarium) is able to find and to demonstrate. Melodic metal in some parts and with some thrash elements somewhere...heavy in some tracks, but melodic and maybe weak in some others..Attention: I don't mean that melodic or symphonic songs are bad (I really like this kind of sounds), but in this album, the few melodic parts, seems forced and not naturally played as in "Scenes from a memory". This work is reccomendable just for a Theater fun...
Report this review (#79516)
Posted Saturday, May 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars So, another addittion to teh 1,000,000,000,000 other reviews of this album. This was my second encounter with the band, now my favorite next to the Beatles. I had first tried out the incredible "A Change of Seasons" and now decided to check out more DT work. I picked this album mainly because the cover art was more impressive than the only other DT album in the store, Six Degrees, and I had recognized it from an add in a magazine. (Shamefull, isn't it?) I was at this point only a casual metal fan and wrote off TOT as to heavy and shred-oriented. However, after a few devoted listens (essential for any prog album) the intracate songwriting, blindingly fast solos, and catchy melodies popped out at me. Is the ablum as good as Scenes? Definately not. Is it a bad album? That depends entirely on the listeners. Prog heads view it as too metal, that is fine. Remember that DT has struggled to find their niche between the prog community and metal communtity. I would argue that this album is still progressive but in a different sense to other works. The most important aspect however is that Dream Theater are evolving. The worst thing a group could do is release the same album over and over again and Dream Theater are tryning to branch out and create THEIR sound. They aren't trying to please prog audiences or metal audiences but rather make a good solid album. And that is what they have managed to do. If metal is your cup of tea, this won't dissapoint. From the straightforward headbangers "As I Am" and "Honour Thy Father" to the instrumental "Stream of Conscioiusness" (How is that not prog?) and the Epic "In the name of God" ream Theater establish themselves as the reigning prog metal band once more. If metal is not your thing, so be it, but to the opened minded prog fan, give it a chance (or a second chance if you already have). Love it or Leave it. It's your call.
Report this review (#80006)
Posted Thursday, June 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#81590)
Posted Tuesday, June 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I discovered Dream Theater a little too late, but I began to appreciate their work immediately. You may think that for a Canterbury listener the discovery of DT should have been a shock. On the contrary, this kind of music introduced me to a new world, and opened so many doors in my musical life.

Here we have one of the most hard-heavy-prog-metal of DT discography.

Why 5 stars? well.. this album is a COMPLETE work. The composition, the lyrics, the guitar riffs, LaBrie's vocals, drumming and bass lines, soloing. Although the songs are very long, you never get bored of them. For example, in Stream of Consciousness, these musicians are able to capture your attention from the start to the end of this instrumental, because they play the same theme in a variety of way, so catchy that you never can stop listening.

The first four tracks are DT at their best, terrific songs and brilliant Petrucci's solos, no weak passages,intense drumming,gret keyboard work.

Then there is Vacant, a little mellow track, a kind of piano/voice introduction to Stream of Consciousness.

Then came the best track on the album : In the name of God is the reason to buy Train of Thought, (it worked on me). This song is the peak reached by DT, the perfect prog/metal blend. A long epic, wonderful singing, catchy chorus, great guitar solo and lyrics :

Blurring the lines Between virtue and sin They can't tell Where God ends And mankind begins

I repeat, this is a COMPLETE album, everyone should get into it, and although it's different from DT previous releases, give it a try. I think everybody could listen to it, no matter if you like old style prog (as I like).

Report this review (#81647)
Posted Wednesday, June 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars ONE star - take it from a Dream Theatre zealot.

When I first heard this album, I thought, 'wow, what a piece of crap. Maybe it'll grow on me.' To this day I remain dissappointed.

This is where most people claim that DT really went metal... I'm actually more of a metal-head than a prog fan and I can say that although this is metal, this is a poor example of it. And the 'metal' aspects of it aren't the problem.

I seriously think that this album was inspired by and trying to 'emulate' horrible nu-metal bands like Korn or Disturbed. The lyrics are about as mature too... where's Kevin Moore when you need him (is that all I talk about?)?

Without further delay, track by track:

1-As I Am: One of the less-terrible tracks on the album, but the music isn't interesting and the lyrics are painfully angsty. The vocals are catchy, but all in all it's very ho-hum.

2-This Dying Soul: Terrible, terrible, terrible. A decent and somewhat catchy chorus, stifled by the overwhelming amount of superfluous playing, immature lyrics, and one part where the vocalist is almost rapping. It's also the continuation of another song (it starts at 'Part IV') but it's completely unclear as to which one, at least to me. Maybe a later song? Irrelevant, it's still an awful track.

3-Endless Sacrifice: Not horrible on the whole, but just not very good either. You can tell they weren't really trying. It has potential but is still just very average.

4-Honour Thy Father: More angst-ridden lyrics about how his parents. Could go for a bit of subtlety, or even creativity. Annoying samples in the song, too. The intro is pretty awesome though.

5-Vacant: Two minutes of boring trash: Really the best way to sum up this song. As a good friend of mine says, this song is 'vacant' of any good music. Yeah that was corny..

6-Stream of Consciousness: Okay, now this track is actually quite good. It rivals 'The Ytse Jam' for DT's best instrumental, possibly, although its biggest edge is that it's about twice as long. Eleven minutes and very enjoyable - not like any of the other songs at all. By the way, I don't want this to be misconstrued: the problem with this album isn't the 'vocals' (hence why the instrumental would be the best track) necessarily, but the sophmoric themes of the lyrics. Anyways, they should have trashed all of the other songs when they realised how high the bar was raised with this one.

7-In the Name of God: A decent follow-up to Stream of Consciousness, but not particularly great. The end is kind of boring and drawn-out, and the theme of the song on the whole could be a bit more mature. I just don't like the idea of bashing religion (or any real-world thing really) in music without at least some form of subtlety.

So to sum up, Stream of Consciousness is the song on here that is probably most universally-enjoyable, at least by fans of prog or even metal. The rest of the album really isn't going anywhere, and if it was, it was doing a bad job of it. Very dissappointing...

Report this review (#81892)
Posted Saturday, June 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Most people that listen to this album say that its just another heavy album. ToT is a whole lot more balanced that it's given credit for even if it is the heaviest DT album out there right now. Parts in endless sacrifice are very soft and melodic, while songs like this dying soul and honor thy father are a nearly perfect piece of prog metal. the best song on this album is Vacant, and is also the softest track just by coincidence tho. I wont go as far as to say that this deserves 5 stars, DT couldve done a better job on this.

Listen to ToT, it'll grow on you. overall a good album

Report this review (#81896)
Posted Saturday, June 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars What can I say, this is the album that officially made me stop caring about future Dream Theater work. You would think that a band as aged as Dream Theater would be able to establish a powerful sound, yet they feel so uncomfortable on this album playing it, like it's just not them. You would think that the band had matured enough to find itself and its purpose, not just toy around with their instruments and see what comes out in 2 weeks. That's about how much time they spent on this album, two weeks.

Music can be interesting and groundbreaking on the spot, but please, put some effort into your work, don't just throw a few songs on a CD and expect people to buy it because of your name.

The music itself? Mostly it's Metallica with Labrie instead of Hetfield on vocals. Nothing here is progressive or interesting for that matter. In the Name of God is one of the few halfway interesting tracks, but they manage to screw any time of emotion contained in the track with the cheesiest keyboard section.

Whatever creativity this band had died with Kevin Moore's departure.

Report this review (#82627)
Posted Tuesday, July 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars The album opens with "As I am" and the first thing I noticed was the Black Sabbath song by Black Sabbath (on their debut album) just the riff speeded up. Highly unoriginal. "This Dying Soul" has some great drumming by Portnoy but the song is just too long, in fact most of the songs here are just too long and could have a few minutes taken out in order to keep the listeners attention. "Endless Sacrifice" is the first really good song on the album, a song about how much John Petrucci misses his wife, but some of the lyrics are just plain silly "Why I chose this superficial life" for example. "Honor thy father" is quite good with some really bitter lyrics by Portnoy! Great drumming throughout! "Vacant" is a short and depressing song yet it works well in capturing the emotion of a love that is fading. "Stream of consciousness" starts out well but gets boring quickly. Petrucci´s solo sounds really uninspired, then Rudess runs along with him in unison. "In the name of God" just comes across as a cheesy song. (Although many say it is a classic) The whole album just sounds too planned, as if they planned to make their darkest heaviest album. Octavarium was such a big step up from this! But for the phenomenal drumming I have to give it at least three stars.
Report this review (#84221)
Posted Wednesday, July 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Dream Theater continue from Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence getting more and more metal as they begin to less resemble their progressive influences and more resemble their metal influences and prog-metal contemporaries. Train Of Thought shows them taking a heavier, much more technical approach than previously with melody taking a second hand to crushing riffs. The atmosphere of the album is very dark. But unlike Awake which was dark in a detached, isolated, desperate way, Train Of Thought is dark in an angry and violent way.

Those anti-LaBrie listeners out there won't be surprised much by what stands as his worst vocal performance, but LaBrie fans may be a little surprise by him abandoning his operatic sequels for a Hetfield imitation grunt that comes off far from successful. Petrucci takes the limelight showcasing his newfound love for highly technical shredding. Personally, I must say it fit the album, but I much prefer the Petrucci of old than the shredder. Portnoy gives an inspired and overall louder performance than he has in awhile, notably with his impressive use of bass drum.

I don't really appreciate the new pure metal sound. I much prefer their epic qualities and feel their melodies compliment their metal leanings better than having them stand on their own. Also, many songs tend to get dragged down by long-winded instrumental parts that fail to capture the listener's attention. "In The Name Of God" seems to drag on without end due to endless soloing by Rudess and Petrucci, and some of the more metal moments get repetitive such as in "As I Am". The album hits hard with the angsty "Honor Thy Father", and the bombastic instrumental "Stream of Consciousness" which avoids two of the album bigger flaws: LaBrie's performance and bad, cliché lyrics. Overall, all the album tracks have their moments when they're enjoyable, excluding Rudess' unsuccessful attempt at a "Wait For Sleep", but they also all seem to have bits of fat that missed trimming.

Fans will find something to enjoy, and those less fond will find even less of what they enjoy then usual.

Report this review (#85427)
Posted Tuesday, August 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Notorious DT basher Ghost Rider is at it again... this time in order to add her two cents to an already very long list of reviews of the album people love to hate. However, strange enough to say, I actually find "Train of Thought" somewhat better than the other DT albums I've listened to so far, with the sole exception of "Images and Words". While "Awake" sounded to my ears like a wall of sound which swallowed single tracks whole, ToT offers some semblance of variety and individuality. This does not mean that I find it a masterpiece, or even that I'm going to start listening to it on a regular basis: unfortunately, for me DT are something to be taken in small quantities, and quite infrequently to boot. Most of their albums are way too long for starters, and their gloomy, relentless quality makes for sometimes uncomfortable listening.

That said, ToT has a few redeeming features. Opener "As I Am", widely hated by fans for being too "commercial", is in my opinion one of the best-ever DT tracks, with enough instrumental intricacy to make it interesting and a great, catchy chorus (I particularly like the lyrics, which I feel apply to me quite well - "I won't change to fit your plan/ Take me as I am"). LaBrie's James Hetfield impersonation is particularly effective both on this song and on the whole album - his adoption of a lower singing register being a vast improvement over his usual, whiny self. As a matter of fact, Metallica's influence seems to hover over the whole album,which sometimes sounds like DT's take on "And Justice for All" - only with much better production values.

Other standout tracks are the lengthy instrumental "Stream of Consciousness", whose main fault is going on a bit too long, in true DT style; and closer "In the Name of God", which has actually got some of the melody other tracks on the album sadly lack. On the other hand, the token acoustic song, "Vacant", seems tagged as a sort of afterthought, not really meshing with the record's overall sound. Moreover, the three central tracks, "This Dying Soul", "Endless Sacrifice" and "Honor Thy Father", sound almost undistinguishable from each other, showcasing band members' individual skills to great effect, but offering rather little in the way of melody or feeling.

From the disturbing, black-and-white cover art right to the doom-and-gloom-laden lyrics, ToT is a dark album - even darker than "Awake", which is no mean feat. Why so many prog-metal bands seem to wallow in this unrelentingly depressing state of mind is quite beyond me... Anyway, DT's dark mood feels soulless and contrived, quite unlike, for instance, Queensryche's in "Operation Mindcrime". Even though it is significantly better than other albums, ToT is still far from being my favourite listening material.

Report this review (#86190)
Posted Tuesday, August 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars **Note: This has been revised/rewritten since the original 2006 post** Going back through my old reviews I realize that I was a young, naive, Dream Theater nut. Now that I have somewhat musically "matured" almost ten years later I came back to this review and cringed. I figured I had to set some things straight since my definition of "masterpiece" has become strict--for the better.

Don't get me wrong. Train of Thought is still a great album, it's dynamic, dark, heavy, and one of Dream Theater's more grueling albums. But masterpiece? Sorry guys, you've done better. But that doesn't mean it's not worth a listen by all metal and hard rock fans progressive or not. So let's dig in with some skeptical precision.

1. As I Am: Ten years later? Still awesome. Riff, power, intensity. Doesn't disappoint. I'd still leave this baby at a 5/5. Such a great opener. One of dream theater's best openers.

2. This Dying Soul: a good 11 minute song, It's a good song with a good melody, but does drag a bit through the instrumental section. Now this is the era when Dream Theater goes overboard on their solos and the songs drift from atmosphere. However, Train of Thought does well at not letting that mood slip too much. The song continues from the Glass Prison about over coming the alcohol addiction. It's a great song and something to rock out to. In all honesty, Glass Prison was the only song I truly loved from the recovery series. Though Root of All Evil did pretty well. 4/5

3. Endless Sacrifice: a softer one, until the solo, which one could argue deviates from the overall atmosphere of the song. However, I will say this, it's quirky nature brings a smile to my soul. I love this song, it's a good listen that drifts between mediums quite well. 5/5

4. Honor Thy Father: Fwew, this is a popular one among the metal heads. Still enjoyable, but not one I chase all too often; however, when it comes on I do nod my head in agreement. Also, the 10min track does feel a bit long for the songs purpose in my opinion, but it's well paced, heavy, though I feel LaBrie's vocals can't match the intensity of the song at points. He gets too nasally sometimes. Overall it's enjoyable but not fantastic. Though there are portions that really rock. 4/5

5. Vacant: well... call it a filler, call it a sad attempt at a soft interlude... I loved it long ago, but now it seems, empty. Sometimes Dream Theater's lyrics are... less than enjoyable. LaBrie's list poems that poison Sacrificed Sons on Octavarium plague this song as well, but not as cheesy. Not much to find here, it's a pleasant cello, and not so bad to skip, but nothing to seek out or throw in a soft song playlist. Next! 2/5

6. Stream of Consciousness: An eleven minute instrumental that blows the mind away. I love this instrumental. However, 11min is a feat and Dream Theater almost pulls it off. It's not enough that I seek the song like YYZ, Dance of Eternity, and some of their others, but it's not one to disappoint. Much like This Dying Soul, the song gets a bit repetitious. You can't go wrong with what they put out instrumentally, but they have done better. 4/5

7. In the Name of God: The grand finale, and what a grand finale this is. Dream Theater releases on of their greatest songs ever. Truly, I still stick by those phrases. Yes I'll admit that the solo on this album wanders the worst, but the sheer power of the song still conquers through. This is one of my favorite Theater songs, and probably will stay high in those ranks. 5/5

Overall, reflecting upon this album and throwing away my blind zeal from high school, I have to recognize that this album, though a wild ride and a lot of fun, isn't a masterpiece of Dream Theater's. Overall, I'd have to give Train of Thought a recommendation to those who find Dream Theater and progressive rock pleasant, but only essential to prog metal fans and other such metal heads. Still, as an essential masterpiece to a prog collection we must step aside and let other more worthy albums take the limelight.

4 stars. Thanks for the great release Dream Theater.

Report this review (#87825)
Posted Monday, August 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm 100% agree with Xeroth about Train Of Thought. I feel exactly the same for each song, so nothing really to add but a big thumb up overall even though I would "only" give it 4 stars cos of the quite boring Vacant and Honor Thy Father. The rest is pure heavy delight, especially Stream Of Counsciousness, their best instrumental ever.
Report this review (#87826)
Posted Monday, August 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Dream Theater's most metal album. I am all but a metal fan so I initially chose to stay away from Train of Thought but I like the band so much that I couldn't resist for very long time .

Now what comes out of a dive in this stream of metal ?

Let's go with the positive first. The chain between "Vacant" and "Stream of Consciousness" is really awesome. In fact, I see it as one single song, "Vacant" being the prelude to "SoC" : a very dark and entrancing ballad -"Vacant"- softly leads you to a powerful jazz/metal/rock masterpiece -"SoC"- that I can't get weary of. Thrilling, exciting and . exhausting.

"As I Am" is a pretty effective heavy metal song, which, as told a million times before this review, reminds a lot of Metallica . but Metallica with a singer instead of a werewolf. The more I listen to it, the more I like it and I have even come to appreciate its lyrics that sounded over pretentious at first.

Unfortunately, at this point we are over with the positive side. The four remaining tracks have some good ideas here and there but they are plagued to the core by the -for once amplified- usual drawbacks of the band, I mean pointless and overlong solos. Usually, I can accommodate with it and even like it very much but this time I really miss some good melodies. Too bad because songs like "This Dying Soul" or "Endless Sacrifice" could have been killers if cut to five or six minutes.

Finally, I think that the band had a lot of fun recording this album but you must be warned that listening to it entirely in one time might bring you serious headache cause it's VERY loud . and sometimes boring. Maybe some metal fans will appreciate the whole album, I just like (very much) part of it. But once again I give Dream Theater credit for trying something different.

Report this review (#92537)
Posted Friday, September 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars There really isn't much about this record I don't like, including the cover, front and back, and the pictures inside. There are six metal epics and one shorter mellow tune.

"As I Am" opens with synths then an ominous dark mood comes in followed by a SABBATH-like riff, then everything speeds up to a METALLICA feel. Vocals before 2 minutes. Check out the guitar solo 5 1/2 minutes in ! Portnoy's turn to shine after 6 minutes. "This Dying Soul" opens with a drum stampede as Pertucci rips it up before a minute. It settles after 2 minutes as vocals come in. Not for long though as it kicks back in. Killer track ! The aggressive processed vocals are a nice touch. Check out the vocals before 7 1/2 minutes as well. Pertucci is on fire after 10 minutes. "Endless Sacrifice" is laid back to open but then kicks in after 2 minutes. Contrasts continue then 5 minutes in the instrumental work takes over in a big way. Rudess can even be heard. Haha. Pertucci lights it up after 7 minutes. Portnoy's turn a minute later then they all join in.

"Honour Thy Father" is heavy, heavy, heavy. James rapping ? Portnoy is all over the intro. It settles somewhat 1 1/2 minutes in but it's still heavy. A stampede of drums before 4 minutes. LaBrie spits out the lyrics. Spoken words 5 minutes in as the sound gets really heavy. This is amazing ! Blistering guitar before 8 1/2 minutes in. Vocals are back a minute later. Great song ! "Vacant" is the only mellow track . It's dark with violin, piano and fragile vocals. "Stream Of Consciousness" is my favourite, and the only instrumental. I like the guitar line to open then it's completely ripped apart by a wall of sound...can't think...this is awesome. Guitar riffs, yes ! Some speed of light guitar after 4 minutes.This song has so many highlights it's just pure bliss for me. Outstanding ! "In The Name Of God" is as heavy as hell, amazing ! It turns dark and heavy quickly. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in. It turns dark after 5 1/2 minutes. Pertucci and Myung after 8 1/2 minutes as Portnoy keeps the beat. Piano follows the Pertucci returns. Heavy riffs are back 10 minutes in.

The big negative is how much this sounds like METALLICA. Consider that they released the same year as this album a live cover of METALLICA's "Master Of Puppets". I love the music on "Train Of Thought" though so 4 stars it is.

Report this review (#94991)
Posted Wednesday, October 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This one brings up much controversy among Dream Theater fans. It takes much from disc one of Six Degrees: the uber heavy, difficult, long metal songs and a whole lot of jamming. It sure makes for a good crossover album, and a great album to introduce any metalhead to prog. The verses and the like are filled with complicated time changes and all that theory stuff that we came to adore Dream Theater for. The jams are beyond any jams anyone else could do. All in theory is as should be, the problem for everyone is that it's too much. Too much heavy, too much of the complexities, and maybe also because LaBrie gets to rap on "This Dying Soul." Other than the nearly three minute ballad "Vacant" that serves as an intro to the instrumental "Stream of Consciousness" (which long-time fans will get the most out of if anything) similar to the way "Wait for Sleep" serves as an intro to "Learning to Live," there are some clean portions in two songs, and the rest is all heavy. Good for some, bad for others. Quite frankly, if you don't like it, you still must admit that for what they were going for, they did darn well. Any Metallica/Megadeth/Pantera, etc. fan would be blown out of their mind by this album because it is so beyond what it sounds like. If you can't appreciate it, at least appreciate how the group is intertwining their music to become a very, very cohesive catalog. Take "This Dying Soul." it is the next step in the A.A. series, making references to "The Glass Prison" from the previous album. You may also notice the title "Stream of Consciousness" is a reference to a line in "Lines from the Sand." The band have begun making musical and lyrical references to their work as they first did with Scenes from a Memory. Be sure to pay attention to the lyrics and music for subtle or blatent references to something else in their catalog. In the epic closer, the band also manages to include "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" in the background of the resolution, after earlier using morse code beneath the music which taps an infamous Portnoy phrase. Just another reason to appreciate what these guys do. Now, I can't say this album is perfect, some spots in the opener and "Honor Thy Father" are a tad sub-par, but the rest of the song in both cases more than redeem themselves. The album really is a good one, it still has emotional substance among all the thrashing and pounding and shredding. And as I have said in the past: no matter how fast these guys are playing, every note is still well-considered and it still has emotional strain. It's a tough one to get into for many, but for those who can appreciate it, they certainly will.
Report this review (#104592)
Posted Tuesday, December 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Train of Thought followed the mixed reception of 6 Degrees of Inner Turbulence. The band, particularly Mike Portnoy, decided to embrace the metal side of the band. The result was one DT's heaviest and most metallic album to date. I thoroughly enjoyed this album, but from a prog standpoint it's a bit of a disappointment.

As I Am is a heavy opener and it signal the direction this album will take. Petrucci's solo is, as per usual, great. The drawback is that Myung is inaudible and LaBrie is filtering his voice through whatever piece of equipment Tool's Maynard James Keenan uses to metallicize his voice. This works for the gravelly and emotional Keenan, but not for The operatic LaBrie.

This Dying Soul is a fierce continuation of the A.A. Suite. Myung is still muted, LaBrie's voice is still distorted, but Petrucci and Portnoy drive the song with lightspeed riffing and double bass drums. The lyrics and music reflect parts of the A.A. Suite for obvious reasons, but they are played much faster and heavier.

Endless Sacrifice is where the band remembers that they do in fact have a keyboardist. Rudess hasn't contributed much so far, simply playing along to Petrucci if anything, but now he gets his moment. The lyrics are surprisingly strong for a DT ballad. Petrucci wrote it for his wife, and if songs like these replaced the dull AOR ballads of Octavarium, that misstep would have been a classic. Another plus is that James decides to ditch the distortion and use his voice.

Honor Thy Father is probably the darkest song in DT's catalogue. Portnoy's lyrics are full of bile and rage; this could easily be a companion track for the song Loser on Ayreon's The Human Equation. The lyrics recall the darker subject matter like Tool and Pain of Salvation. The spoken word portion of the song breaks the song, but I listen to the music underneath, which is still pounding. For me, the spoken word would have more meaning but I swear that part of the audio is dialogue from the comedy The Royal Tenenbaums as well as the drama Magnolia (yes, my nerdiness extends to cinema as well). I guess Portnoy likes overhyped indie films. The movie is slightly satricial, and only snippets from satire can be used in such a serious song, but it still devalues the sincerity of and emotion of the audio.

Vacant is LaBries's lyrical contribution, and it serves as a short, soft interlude between the heaviness of the preceding songs and the technical wizardry about to unfold. LaBrie's vocals are quite good, and this song is too often overlooked.

Stream of Consciousness is the most progressive number on the bill here. This 11 minute instrumental opus starts with a soft guitar before heavy synths and riffs kick in. The greatest part of this song, other than Petrucci's technically baffling solo, is that John Myung apparently noticed that his bass' amplifier cord was out and he plugged it back in and soldiered ahead without fixing the previous tracks. He doesn't contribute much, but at this point it's nice just to hear him.

In The Name of God is a superb closer with some of Petrucci's best lyrics. The song targets cult members who engage in violence against others and themselves, and it bashes "self proclaimed messiahs" like David Koresh. Rudess contributes a chilling outro but little else. Petrucci' stamp is all over this song, and Portnoy keeps rythm with Petrucci not Myung.

Overall, metalheads will love this album. However, the near absence of Myung and Rudess is appalling. After all, Rudess is the most important member of the band; his string arrangements and keyboard wizardry kept Octavarium from being a total dud. Lyrically, this is a high water mark for the band. Petrucci and Portnoy shine, but at the expense of the others. LaBrie's vocals, when not distorted have improved drastically from Scenes and 6 Degrees. I've heard that food poisoning ruptured his vocal chords after recording Awake. That would explain his straining on Falling Into Infinity and Scenes, though he shined on The Spirit Carries On. His vocals would improve on the subsequent Octavarium, but I'd recommend buying the live Score over the studio album. Fans of DT will find a lot to love here, but those who dislike DT and even prog metal will find this to be the perfect ammunition to disparage the band/genre.

Grade: C+

Report this review (#105477)
Posted Wednesday, January 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not a bad album overall, but I can't resist mentioning some of the comments here.

Quite honestly, I don't care how many people like it or not, I enjoy it myself and it provides a nice limit to DT's heavier side. The reason Robert Fripp doesn't like the label Progressive is because people tend to understand it the way they understand metal or alternative. Progressive, to me, is music that does its own thing by laying the foundations of instrumental virtuosity and combining with an experimental spirit. Dream Theater does this on Train of Thought, and it sounds good to me. By saying this emulates nu-metal is like saying any funny comedian ever emulates ripoff artist and hypocritical fatass Carlos Mencia. Were you aware that Munky of Korn doesn't know how to play a single scale? Nu metal is loud and obnoxious wanking on expensive Ibanez seven-string guitars with whiny angst-filled lyrics designed to attract stupid kids who want to have "music" to express their facade of emotional depth and excuse their vapid and empty lives. The music itself isn't bad. I like As I Am and, though many people won't agree with me, I like the way LaBrie's voice complements the instrumentation. This Dying Soul is an okay song with some good technicality, though I do agree that it feels somewhat tiring to listen to. The next few songs feel like a trough in the album, but it picks back up with the nice instrumental Stream of Consciousness. The finale In the Name of God is pretty good.

Overall, not a real shining standout album, but it satisfies the metal fix when I feel like I need it.

Report this review (#110510)
Posted Friday, February 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Dream Theater, in Train of Thought manages to produce a high-quality playing standards as always. And alongside this virtuosity, there is still something missing (as always when it comes to Dream Theater).

It's like "every man for himself" when it comes to DT's music; Petrucci starts a supersonic speed guitar solo which probably can't be pulled off by any other human being in the world, and accomplishes it perfectly, yet it seems too pointless to me. Same for Myung, Portnoy and Jordan. I can't really label it, but let me try; DT's music seems to lack harmony and sensuality. Compare Dream Theater's lineup one-to-one with Genesis, Pink Floyd, Eloy, etc. Dream Theater's members will not be outtalented, or perhaps they will beat many legendary bands on this comparison, but the music, especially progressive music, involves more than just the talent of members of the band.

This here sums up "Train of Thought" for me. It's a very well fit exemple for the words above. Though I can't say that this album is bad, it's still non-essential. "Vacant" and "Stream of Consciousness" are the highlights of the album, and without them this album would fall down a couple of levels of quality.

My note is 3 stars, but fans of technical music (which I find emotionless and cold) may rate this one higher than I did. But fans of symphonic music, don't endeavor to add this album to your collection, wait it to come to you.

Report this review (#111123)
Posted Thursday, February 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Train of Thought is the most heavy and darker albums in the DT discography. The album in terms of musicianship work it's great and the songs are really good. I really liked it but not as I would any other DT album and as for being the follow up of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence it doesn't breaks the boundaries in being better than the last. The album really take DT's heavy metal roots such as Iron Maiden and Metallica and yet doesn't fails to deliver a progressive mix to the album.

The album starts of with As I Am, which starts with the last note in SDOIT. The song in terms of heavy metal it's good but when it comes to progressive it fails. The song it's good but I must say it's the weakest effort of the album.

This Dying Soul follows SDOIT's The Glass Prison. The song in self it's good but fails to give the originality in DT's songs, though the song it's not bad but it isn't good. In my opinion you would just like it if you were a die-hard fan of DT.

On the other hand Endless Sacrifice soft melodic parts with extremely fast paced chorus and solos. It's really impressive song in overall. At least it's not that bad as This Dying Soul.

Honor Thy Father I would have to say is the heaviest of the album. The song captures Mike's problem with his stepfather. It's a good follow up after Endless Sacrifice. Real Heavy.

Vacant and Stream of Consciousness it's my favorite song of the album and I would have to say it is the only reason why I keep hearing the album. The song it's truthfully masterpiece and of course being DT's longest instrumental song.

To close the metallic epic it goes In the Name of God. A true epic explaining the evil of those who use the religion to manipulate and kill. The song has great solos by Petrucci, great drum work and the rest really follow up real well.

The album in overall it's good though not that good. A heavy side of DT is good but what really caught my ear of this band was that they get out of the commercial line and clearly what you can hear here is that DT is taking a more commercial approach.


Report this review (#111542)
Posted Saturday, February 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5 stars. Train of Thought is by far Dream Theater's heaviest and probably darkest album to date, which is good and bad. First off, let me say that it took me a while to get into this album. I first heard this album when my brother would play it (I think it was his first DT album), and I didn't like it, I thought it was way too heavy. Needless to say, this album was not my gateway DT (that was Six Degrees). However, I can say that I appreciate this album much more now than I could upon first listening to it.

Now onto the music. Train of Thought starts out heavy but strong with "As I Am". "This Dying Soul" is the heaviest song on the album, and the second part of the AA saga. It is a very good song, but too heavy at points. The next two songs, "Endless Sacrifice" and "Honor Thy Father" are both good songs, but nothing special. After the first four songs, the album really gets going. "Vacant" is the only soft song on the album, and a very good one at that, I find it very pleasant to listen to. It leads into the next song, "Stream of Consciousness", and excellent song which I believe is the best song on the album and perhaps one of DT's best instrumentals. It is a stunning song, very well played and I really enjoy the mood of it. The finale, "In the Name of God", is a great song from beginning to end. I thoroughly enjoy it.

I would say "Train of Thought" is overall a very good album, but the heaviness does not always appeal to me. I would still recommend it to any metal fans.

Report this review (#111663)
Posted Sunday, February 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
The T
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars There are only two Dream Theater albums still missing from my review list, so now let's share a few comments about one of the most polemical records in the band's catalogue: TRAIN OF THOUGHT.

When I first heard this album a few years ago, it was a huge dissapointment for me. To be honest, that feeling had a lot to do with what I was expecting from the band after two very important releases in their history. One, SCENES FROM A MEMORY, the best album ever in my book; and, two, 6 DEGREES OF INNER TURBULENCE, their worst LaBrie-sung album in my view. So, TOT had a lot to accomplish: it had to erase from my mind the bad taste left by atrocious track "The Glass Prison" and most all of the first cd of 6DOIT, and while I knew it was going to be difficult to top SFAM, of course I was hoping that maybe someday an album could do it. Suffice it to say, TOT not only didn't surpass SFAM, but, after my first listen, it even failed to restore the band's good name in my mind after their weakest record.

But what was the problem from a musical point of view? Well, it's easy to say: for me, the album was too heavyand, because of the focus in speed instead of in melodytoo NOISY. This was just the "showing-off" band many people accuse Dream Theater of being, not the fantastic prog-metal, innovative, melodic, intelligent outfit that they really are. The heavyness, but more than the heavyness, the speed really turned me off and away from the album, with such force that I didn't listen to it completely for another year or so (the first time that ever happened -nad has happened to me since - with a DT album.) .

Another problem was the almost complete dissapearance of an instrument I hold in high regard in Dream Theater: the keyboards. Jordan Rudess is all but gone from the final mix, and the songs themselves don't present him with much in the way of opportunities to shine. In a sense, one can say that, at times, this is the "keyboards-less" album of Dream Theater. That, together with the lack of melodic parts and solos, and the rather scarce sections where LaBrie has a chance to shine like he always does, scared me away from TOT.

But then I re-discovered TOT and understood that this was sort of a logical step in the band's career. It's obvious that they are huge Metallica fans, that they love a lot of thrash and power metal groups that rarely get mentioned in the prog-metal scene. So they wished to release a collection of songs with a stronger emphasis in that part of their musical hearts, and let the other part, the more "progressive" part, rest aside for a while. With consecutive listens I started to like a few of the songs and today I have almost no problems with digesting this album in its entirety, but there are still qualms that arise when TOT reaches my ears. Let's review the songs to further explain it.

As I Am (4/10), a rather vulgar, mundane, Metallica-ish song with almost no points of interest. Of course it's perfectly played and is enjoyable, but nothing exciting or too progressive. Overall, a weak opener. The chorus is boring, but the solo is he worst part, one of the most mediocre, boring solos in DT history (there haven't been many that were bad, so this is truly unique in a way). Arguably one of the bottom-three songs in DT's career for me. Awful.

This Dying Soul (6.5/10) The start of the song is incredibly heavy, so heavy that, were the guitars a little lower in tone, we could mistake this as death metal. The main riff is decent when the fellows put some melody into it, specially when they decide to let Rudess actually DO something. The song grows with time, but LaBrie singing with a machine, distorted, is not really my idea of exploiting his abilities. There's a section that truly sounds like Diabolus-In-Musica-era Slayer (??). Another one where LaBrie sounds like Mustaine from Megadeth (??!??) Halfway down the song, when Rudess' piano has a chance to SOUND, we feel like DT is back on track.Too long and metallic. Not the best. Not the worst. Except, I repeat, for the Mustaine-like part: that one is truly atrocious.

Endless Sacrifice (8/10), the begining is OK, finally leaving some room for LaBrie to do what he's best at: singing melody. A slow, mellow track that turns heavy in the chorus, which reminds me of Mullmuzzler. A brilliant instrumental section showcases the members' skills. But it is too long, and near the end it overstays its welcome, till a Maiden-like riff saves the song and rounds up the first good (though not great) piece in TOT.

Honor Thy Father (5.5/10), Portnoy goes crazy; the band goes crazy; we're hearing Machine Head, even Pantera, not Dream Theater. LaBrie with distorsion or screaming=undesirable. LaBrie with melody=the best. Sadly, DT chose to put the first, not the second formula to work in this song. At the middle of the track we have an awful noisy part that has nothing to do with what this group of musicians is capable of. It leads into an instrumental section that bears little resemblance to the truly magnificent instrumental sections in DT's archives. As with many songs in TOT, it's too long. And not really interesting. At times is just progressively-painted noise, whatever that may mean.

Vacant (7.5/10) It had to be the shortest, simplest song the one to remind me who is my favorite singer in the rock world. Just piano, some strings (??), and the best instrument of all: LaBrie's voice singing melodic lines. He sings so soulfully, one can feel when he grasps for breath, when he suffers, when he trembles. Nothing magnificent, but just for allowing LaBrie to sing, it gets a good grade.

Stream Of Consciousness (10/10) The preceding track merges into this one with no pause. Finally, at last, we can feel Dream Theater is coming back. And how! One of their best, if not THE best instrumental piece in all DT's output, a magnificent (this one is) display of abilities, musicianship, melodic skills, and everything that makes this band something special for me. Well, that was a deserved relief after all the nonsense. And the curious factor: DT manages to amaze the listener and to prove they're the best without having to "out-metal" anybody. That is, this is not as heavy a song as others, and it's MUCH better. Superb.

In The Name Of God (9.5/10) It seems the band decided to make their fans suffer in order to get some great music: they forced them (us) to endure more than 40 minutes of mediocrity to be able to finally get our Dream Theater back. This, along with the preceding track, are the best from the album and the ones that cry the letters DT aloud. The chorus is one of those that only DT can do, the instrumental part one of those that only DT can deliver. It's a shame I had to wait so long in order to been remembered of that fact. Not a perfect song but almost. There are still a few moments when the "metallic-factor" tries to strike back, but luckily, they are few and far between.

So, after one year, and after more than 10 listens, I can say that my final opinion of the album has changed, but not as much as I would've liked. Actually, I used to like the first three songs a little bit more, now I truly despise them. But what hasn't changed is the fact that the last two tracks are worth the price of admission. But besides them, the rest is, incredibly, just uninspired material.

Which is my least favorite DT album? It's really a toss-up between this one and 6DOIT. I'd say this one has better "short" (if 10 minutes qualifies as short) songs than 6DOIT, and this one doesn't have "The Glass Prison", which is enough to make it better. But then again, that earlier album had a magnificent title-track, 40+ minutes long, that saved that record from a 1-star rating and drove it to 3-star status. In this case, the last songs manage to do the same: turn a 1-star experience into a 3-star one.

But barely.

Recommended for: die-hard Dream theater fans; DT fans that liked the more metal side of their music; fans of thrash metal that like progressive metal.

Not recommended for: People that don't like metal; people that can't stand when a good band tries to "keep it fast and loud"... And, mostly, Jordan Rudess fans...

... if you listen to this album without knowing any better, you may think the other 4 fired him. He's as lost as Lindbergh's son in TRAIN OF THOUGHT.

Report this review (#115017)
Posted Tuesday, March 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the most controversial of all albums on ProgArchives. The breakdown of ratings for this album reveal a strong initial positive reaction - labeled 'fanboy' by critics - followed by an equally unwarranted slew of one-star ratings by those determined to shift it out of ProgArchives' top 10. So take the overall rating for this album with a grain of salt.

In my opnion this is an essential album for those interested in progressive metal. Here DREAM THEATER are bursting at the seams with ideas. Yes, some of them are other people's ideas. Of course, no one else in the history of creative pursuits has ever adapted someone else's work and placed it in a new context. LED ZEPPELIN did it, the ROLLING STONES did it, most everyone does it- it's just that DREAM THEATER, with their slavish respect for other musicians, have been a little more obvious. So be it. I can cope with it.

However much I personally enjoy the record - it was on high rotation for me for a year - I cannot in good conscience claim it as a masterpiece. Like so many of DREAM THEATER'S efforts, it is flawed, in this case by solo overload. The first track, the excellent 'As I Am', is a case in point: Petrucci's solo is breathtakingly fast, but only enjoyable when he settles back and lets his notes breathe. But, despite the flaws, there are enough outstanding moments to let them pass. 'Endless Sacrifice', 'Vacant/Stream of Consciousness' and 'In The Name Of God' are all classics of the genre, in my opinion. The others, apart from the average and laboured 'Honour Thy Father', are also excellent tracks.

Don't let the debate about the merits of DREAM THEATER or of this album put you off giving it a listen.

Report this review (#115038)
Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Dream Theater was the first prog band that I listened to, and Train of Thought was the first DT album that I listened to. So this album was practically my first introduction not only to prog metal, but also to progressive rock as well. I’m not really appealed by this album on the first listening back then. However, this album is now among one of my top prog albums, if not prog metal albums.

Train of Thought is probably the heaviest sounding album DT ever made up to this day, compared to their other works. This album only have one soft track in it, rather short and serves as filler too, I think. The rest of this album is filled with lots of heavy riffs, guitar solos, and some other stuff that made this album sounds raw and heavy but still an excellent one. While this album seems to be more technical than their other works, they still put a great composition and writings on each tracks. Listen to songs like ‘Endless Sacrifice’, or ‘In the Name of God’ and you’ll see that this album isn’t all about technique.

While the band seems to taking a different step with this album, they did a really nice job on it. Train of Thought is a great album. A few tracks may not appeal well on the first listening, but some tracks like ‘This Dying Soul’, or ‘As I Am’ are would likely catch you on probably the first or second listening. Moreover, the awesome fully instrumental track ‘Stream of Consciousness’ is probably the best highlight of this album! It’s really a great track that made it hard to describe; you’ll need to listen to this one to experience its awesomeness.

Overall, this is a great album, but needs more time to listen to. Train of Thought probably exposes the heavy side of Dream Theater, but it shouldn’t to be taken less than their other previous works. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#117614)
Posted Sunday, April 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
2 stars Dream Theater teeters off the tracks...

Following up two gigantic successes with a noisy, monotonous mess of headache inducing metal is certainly an odd risk, but I suppose the we need albums like this to remind us how good their other ones are.

The problem with "Train of Thought" as I see it, is the apparent absence of Ruddess, the muddying of Myung's dexterous bass, and Petrucci playing the same, overly heavy solo... again and again and again. The band experiments with sounds that are, well, almost beneath them, and the result is a long, loud, uninteresting collection of songs that tests one's patience more than anything.

One for fans to take out when feeling especially angry.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Report this review (#119290)
Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I think I would like this more if the guitar playing wasn't so sloppy. ; )

I read in a John Petrucci interview that this album was intended to be 'over the top', and it seems fairly obvious that they accomplished that. Despite the fact that this album contains some of the most impressive technical ability the band possesses it can sometimes feel uninspired at times. I find it very enjoyable though, it is mixed at a very high quality. Everything sounds huge and in your face from beginning to end.

As I Am - 3.0 - Probably my least favorite track on the album. The riffs are pretty dull and the chorus is kind of lame. But the guitar solo and drum break that follows make this song worth listening to.

This Dying Soul - 4.0 - Really good song minus a few more dull riffs. Pretty good chorus and nice instrumental section. The ending, while technically dazzling is boring and thoughtless. Sounds like a bunch of scale excersizes and gets really old.

Endless Sacrifice - 4.5 - I have no real complaints about this one. Nice verses that are pretty mellow and then a really nice chorus. The Chorus riff is sort of a Nu-metal type riff but I like it. Then of course there is an impressive, overlong solo section. If i was gonna complain about something it would be the random electronic/keyboard thing that happens at the 7:47 mark. Otherwise a very good song.

Honor Thy Father - 4.0 - Really impressive drum intro followed by some dull guitar riffs. There's some kind of annoying rap like parts in this that get on my nerves but otherwise this is a pretty strong track. More overdone, insane solo sections.

Vacant - 2.0 - A faily pointless song that takes away from the album in my opinion

Stream Of Consciousness - 4.5 - A really good instrumental. Some of it sounds influenced by Metallica's 'Orion', but not for too long. It's just a little too long and it starts to lose my interest sometimes.

In The Name Of God - 5.0 - This song is fantastic. The riffs are really good. The vocals are good. Nice chorus. More overdone solos. A really nice piano climax. This one is my favorite on the album.

Report this review (#123561)
Posted Sunday, May 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I decided to begin my DT reviews with this one - probably their most controversial and critisized one. I remember how I hated it on release, but later I've just turned my inner metalhead on and gave myself to the GROOVE!!! :)

"Train of Thought" is the heaviest and the darkest album DT ever made. It has also opened a new era for them: heavier, more straight-forward, but still good. Among the best tracks are "As I Am" (Metallica rulezzz!), "Endless Sacrifice" power ballad (a-la "Welcome Home"/"One" by structure), "Vacant" (melancholic piano/cello tune), instrumental "Stream..." and closing "In the Name of God". I was still skeptic towards ToT until I saw these songs played live (both Score and Budokan DVDs). These guys have an unrivalled ace - when they play something live (even if it is Britney Spears cover), you'll immediately found yourself in their fan-club.

After all, ToT is heavy (if you never heard it, think of MESHUGGAH!), somewhat Nu- Metalish (but fortunately not in that ugly way another Prog-Metal band recently did ;) ) and DARK (separate thanks for cover sleeve and whole artwork - awesome!). Recommended - if you dislike their early stuff, this one can probably fir you more

Report this review (#124598)
Posted Monday, June 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I bought this record year and half ago, and first listenings impressed me. It made me even bigger fan of this prog metal band. Some of my friends, who are fans of classical heavy metal liked it as well. This is where I began to think how this album is actualy one heavy metal experiment of guitarist Petrucci, suported by other guys from team. But I still liked this album. But I got some troubles trying to listen this album in some places that were a bit noisy, and I could not have heard anything at all through headphones. I figured out that it is production that is very weak here. Music is too much bold, and it should have been much better produced. All these riffs from guitar, and very long songs even started to annoy me. This is just not musical level of Dream Theater, that some might have expected before this album. This is very good heavy metal album anyway, but voice of La Brie is awfull in some parts, he simply has problems in singing some higher notes. Guitar and drumms get too much noisy, even too noisy for trash metal acts. Actually this is trash metal album, with guitar that belongs more to eighties heavy metal, than to progressive music. Recent listenings of this record made me feel just like Kevin Moore when he left Dream Theater, I started to hate all this very long and heavy compositions. Heavy keyboards are the worst on album. I think that there should not have been keyboards at all. Rudess is very talented player, but the sound is not his stronger side. These guitar-like keyboards are dissapointing to me. Whole album does not put bad impression on me, I listened to it several times. But there are some parts that are missed here. But also, this album started my negative tensions toward all work of Dream Theater. Now I am really not sure if I can call myself a fan of the band. I believe that James LaBrie should sing more quiet, guitar should be more original and fluid, and keyboards more modern, drumming should be produced better, too. This music on album has free and fluid form, but there is no experimenting anywhere. Songs are more long than interesting.

In my opinion this is first Dream Theater album that is weaker than band's standard. Some of good moments are: guitar solo on »Stream of Conceiousness«, piano in the same track, atmosphere in »Vacant«....

Report this review (#127341)
Posted Monday, July 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Something very unusual has heppened to me with this album. I bought it almost a year ago, and gave it a LOT of spins. I couldn't really get into the music, but I was sure it'd grow on me. It all changed with the last two listens, when I enjoyed this disc completely: the riffs that once seemed uninspired to me, now are great, the very incoherent composition of the songs, now is one of the high points here, the typical metallish solo, now is something different. Since then, I realised that before I wasn't really focused on the music, or maybe it was just that it took a LONG time to fully appreciate this work.

About the music, I feel, as most of people here, that this disc, particularily is the heaviest from Dream Theater, and of course that'd make controvery among all the proggers that are around this site. But, despite it does not seem like the proggy DT we know (we have a rapping Labrie at the beginning of the fourth track, something I laughed to), the music is very entertaining and interesting, with lots of great solos, and specially, RIFFS, metal riffs that will blow up your head! The musicians are all in good form, I don't have to presentate them, really. The Metallica influence (me being a BIG Metallica fan) really isn't as huge as the people hear claim it to be, in fact, there may be a couple of rougher vocals ('similar' to Hetfield) and a couple of riffs that could have been made by Metallica (like the beginning melody of "Endless Sacrifice"). But all the other stuff is DT. The opener, "As I Am" is a total achievement, it may be "mainstreamish" or single oriented, but it's a damn good metal track, with great low heavy riffing, and an specially enjoyable guitar solo, with the usual Petrucci speed (that led me to get this album); "This Dying Soul" and "Honor Thy Father" are similar in the way they progress: one heavy riffing part after another, and technical, very heavy stuff is loaded here, the crazy solos are not missed; "Endless Sacrifice" is another reason why I bought this album: it starts as a ballad, and explodes with a great heavy choruses, and here is specially entertaining the instrumental part, with a totally mindblowing guitar/keys duel. I kind of lose my head with this song. Then we've "Vacant", that is a quiet ballad with lovely violin, and is well used as an introduction of the follower instrumental track (maybe the best in the disc), "Stream Of Consciousness", which is SO great, it has one memorable melody after another, and a particularily memorable guitar solo in the middle that could be among the fastest solos I've ever hear. This instrumental stands as the more mellow side of the album, and is a kind of 'eargasm' when you fully appreciate it. The closer, "In The Name Of God" is the weakest track here. The greatest thing about it are the two great main riffs that I found myself headbanging at, but at some point it can be tiring. It has a catchy chorus, that gives some more emotion to the song, and an extremely shredding part close to the end, with an almost impossible guitar/keys unison melody.

Overall, it's a more metaleer DT, with a more evident trash metal sound. Of course, it's not recommended for those who can't stand heavy music, but any other one should give some listens to this album, that may take some time to 'click', but it'll be worth. Solid four star album.

Rating: 4.0/5

Report this review (#128374)
Posted Saturday, July 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Dream Theater flex the instrumental muscle, but for some reason, in a bad way.

With previous efforts focused on a revolving theme, this is an album that takes a complete turnaround in style. On this album, it seems, Dream Theater decided to get rid of concepts and go strait for the several-long-song approach, the result is mixed. While each song is good, none seem to stand out above the rest, this may be due to the fact that many of the songs seem to run together, with a lot of instrumental wanking in each track. Usually DT does this well, "Six Degrees..." and "Metropolis" being prime examples of this, but with no true standouts, the album mostly seems to fade to the back of the listener's mind.

While it's hard to point out standouts, there are some noteworthy moments still. AS I AM is a good single, fiarly radio friendly and catchy, and THIS DYING SOUL is a good continuation from "Six Degrees..."'s The Glass Prison. Other than that, there's a lot of instrumental heavy-mishmash that's fairly generic until the next good track, the instrumental STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS. This is a winding journey that's still good by DT standards, and is the main thing that's saving this album from a 1 rating. Granted, this album is enjoyable while being listened to, but at the end of the day it's likely not to be remembered.

Long time DT fans will fans will find a lot to like here, others may find solace in the long song structure, but in the end this is merely a good album, not exceptional as DT has so often done. 2 stars... 2.5 at best.

Report this review (#137936)
Posted Thursday, September 13, 2007 | Review Permalink

This album reveals the most heavy metal edge of the band. But was is all necessary ?

For the same reasons I have praised "Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence" I just don't like "Train Of Thought" at all. Prog moments are the blanks between the songs. Apart from that, just heavy noises.

This very long album does not offer an inch of interesting music. All the same and boring stuff. Even if I was not a huge "DT" fan, most of their albums were good, at least I felt so with rating them mostly with three stars. "Six Degrees..." reaching four on my scale. But this is just too much.

But die-hard fans will praise this because it is the sort of music they are expecting. Not the prog side. So, in a way all these ratings are quite logic. Four to five stars for the heavy followers and one / two stars for the progheads who tried to listen to this band with their prog ears and who had to admit that this band had something special. And they really were different.

But in this album, there is NOTHING special. Just a sub-par like "Sabbath" song (the opener). That's it. Out of seventy minutes !

One star.

Report this review (#141076)
Posted Saturday, September 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Right. To begin with, I have to mention that Train of Thought is such an underrated album. As the cover suggests, this is a really dark album, which I find really interesting, since I like dark albums. Anyway, this is a hell of a piece of work and all of the compositions here are really strong. Dream Theater decided to show the world their more metal side with this one, and that's maybe why a lot of people don't really like it. In fact, based on what I had heard or read about this being their "heaviest" record to date, I thought I wouldn't like it that much, since I'm not really a huge fan of heavy metal. But, I must say my expectations were exeded! I've always been interested in long compositions featuring sick intrumental sections, so that's one of the reasons I really enjoy this album. And DT didn't become a mainstream metal band at all, with this one. There is a lot of solid progressive stuff here: complex time signatures, tempo changes, typical prog keyboards, complex structures, obscure arrangements, blah, blah, blah... I have to go song by song to do a decent review for this album.

1)-As I am: Awesome beginning! The last chord heard on Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence fades in and, then, a distored keyboard sound plays a riff a couple of times. Later, the whole band joins in and start playing the main riff with full energy. The vocals are great and there's a whole dark feel to it. Some Wakemanish synth can be heard before one of the most sick, virtuoso guitar solos, played by Petrucci, comes in. It is the least progressive on the record and it sounds similar to Metallica but, nevertheless, it's a really good song...and I never really liked Metallica.

2)- This Dying Soul: Oohh...probably my favourite on this record! The second part of the AA saga (steps IV and V) starts with full energy. It is all really heavy and full of power and wicked tempo changes. Man, when I see these guys playing this song I can't understand how they do it...they must be aliens! The typical lead synth used by Jordan Rudess is all wah-wahed and sounds more like guitar, which is really awesome. Some piano enters among all the heaviness, changing the mood of the song and letting some soulful vocals come in. That moment is amazing. I also have to mention the drumming comming after this. Mr. Portnoy is really one of the greatest drummers these days. Also, pay special attention to the the instrumentals on step V: Release, domminated by weird riffs, and the last 2 minutes, featuring awesome soloing by both Rudess and Petrucci, as well as great background bass lines by Myung and full-energy drumming.

3)- Endless Sacrifice: Starts as a soft ballad with nice guitar arpegios, piano and mellow vocals. The chorus is heavier and it features a great effect produced by guitar harmonics. The middle instrumental section features some awesome soloing as well as a keyboard-orchestra bit, programmed by Rudess. Cool riffs and progressive structures feature in this song. It is an awesome track.

4)- Honour Thy Father: A sort of revenge track for Portnoy's step father, who apparently made him suffer, as a kid. It is, together with This Dying Soul, the heaviest on the record. The vocals show anger and hate all the way through. The instrumental section is awesome. It features voices from different films, I suppose, saying stuff like "The biggest regret of my life" or "God damn regret!". The whole thing gives you the idea of this big revenge. The atmosphere is really well recreated. Some Wakemanish scales can be heard. "Don't cross the crooked step!"

5)- Vacant: After 40 minutes of long, heavy, complex and virtuoso stuff, we take a break with Vacant. A dark and mellow ballad, featuring nice piano and bass as well as cello and great vocals by James LaBrie. It is really a beautiful song and it sets the mood for the big instrumental...

6)- Stream of Conciousness: It starts revisiting the Vacant theme with faster tempo. Then there's this whole 11-minute sick instrumental, featuring the band displaying their abillities. A lot of prog here, and not much metal. Actually, I don't think this is really metal at all. It's just played strongly. I won't explain much, since you can listen to this one here on prog archives.

7)- In the name of God: The Grand Finale. This one features an awesome piano melody which later constitutes on of the most colossal endings for an album. This one is a hymn. It also features great vocals by Labrie, bass by Mr. Myung and, of course virtuosic soloing by Rudess and Petrucci. Oh, and this one contains a secret message... It ends with the piano note (an F) that would start the Octavarium album. This note was played by Jordan with his nose!

So, overall, all the compositions are top-notch and are a perfect blend of heavy metal with progressive rock. 5 stars. Essential: a masterpiece of progressive metal!

Report this review (#142471)
Posted Saturday, October 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "Train of Thought" is certainly the heaviest, most metallic of the DT albums I have sampled to date. Technically near-perfect as usual, the music within really bounces off the walls with a manic energy. Depending on your mood, it may come off as exhausting one day and invigorating the next.

The only song I really can't stand is the lead-off "As I Am." It really grates on my nerves like lame post-Burton Metallica. But even the rest of the album isn't up to the quality of other albums I've heard. The rest of the songs are OK metal on an individual basis but as a collection of material they don't have the same impact or spirit as the songs on Systematic Chaos which I enjoyed much more than ToT. "Vacant/Stream of Consciousness" is the highlight of the album, the latter a big muscular instrumental. Labrie is fine as a vocalist when he is himself and sings more naturally, he really suffers when he tries to inject the fake badass attitude of the hard core voice or the rap voice he plays around with sometimes. Petrucci is a great guitarist but when he makes the leap to warp speed on his solos I'm always amazed at what people find so impressive about that style, and this album seems to have quite a bit of that kind of soloing. When he comes off that hyper-speed wank or at least mixes it up more I do enjoy his playing very much. Portnoy is pretty amazing here as usual.

I can understand why this one in particular is divisive among fans, but I think for metal fans this is a reasonable album in the DT catalog. It's not something I'll play much personally but I'd have to call it a fair album if you want some serious chest beating. A good choice to rattle the neighbors with but mostly for DT fans. 2 1/2 stars.

Report this review (#147384)
Posted Friday, October 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This might be Dream Theater's best album. It's either this or Images and Words. The reason it does not get the respect it deserves on this website is because it's not proggy sounding enough for all the closed minded "prog" fans that only like symphonic. The fact that this is more of just a metal release doesn't mean you should mark down on it because this is a prog website. Taken as a metal album, it's one of the catchiest, most memorable, technically proficient metal albums I've ever heard. As I Am and In the Name of God are legintimate metal classics and Stream of Conciousness is one of the greatest instrumentals I've ever heard, the whole thing is just so memorable. I highly recomend this album.
Report this review (#149758)
Posted Friday, November 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Now we're talking. After albums which displayed real inconsitency, and a tendency to soften up their sound, ToT is DT's most heavy, most uncompromising album, hence the low reviews. As I am is the single here, and therefore the weakest present, but is still a real rip-snorter, fantastic live. The next three songs are all stunning examples of how to write mid-length prog metal, each having a unique character. Endless sacrifice and Honour thy father actually remind me, in terms of song structure, of Selling England era Genesis. Endless sacrifice is, so far, DT's best instrumental, and it is followed by In the name of god, a monstrous mini-epic, only bettered in the genre by Redemption's Sapphire, and featuring the least appropriate use of funk you will ever find; it is, after all, about mass suicide. Anyway, this album is the DT album you must own.
Report this review (#152267)
Posted Thursday, November 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater - Train of Thought 5.0 stars

I didn't want to give this album a 5 star rating but as there are no flaws contained in this wonderful album, I did.

This album marked a change in sound for DT by featuring more heavy riffs and darker atmosphere that made it more metal in feeling and texture. While many people believe 'Scenes From a Memory' was the landmark prog-metal album, I say that title lies with this one. Some of the most challenging and demanding solos are on this record. Each song contains a similar structure but they were so unique in the way that they just keep building and building up to the climax that ultimately blows the listener away with a huge solo and virtuosity.

'As I Am' is my least favorite on the album but it's still pretty good. It is similar to 'Pull Me Under' from 'Images and Words' as it really doesn't set the tone for the album. A slow intro is introduced then the speed gradually builds up to the main riffs, which sound like Metallica or something of the sort. Then the guitar solo kicks in, showing what Petrucci had in store for us this time.

'This Dying Soul' is the follow up to the 'Glass Prison'. This song is awesome yet I find it good in small dosages though. The intro adds a little bit of the previous part in the suite and then another technical guitar solo that builds into a wonderful lead, followed by an emulated keyboard line. Like every other track.this one is just epic and emotionally beautiful.

'Endless Sacrifice' contains some catchy riffs in the verse and chorus. The intro is again a slow one.just building slowly like every track, which just makes this album so damn great. The song obviously has solos, and I don't really need to boast about them. you know what you are in for. The melody at the end of this is one of Dream Theater's best, making this an awesome track.

'Honor Thy Father' is a metal song more then a prog song. It's an all out rocker and an extremely catchy song. The lyrics on this song are really cool like on the other ones but there is technically no 'solo' here. Whoa!!

'Vacant/Stream of Consciousness' goes together on this album. Vacant is an orchestrated piece with LaBrie doing vocals duties with a cello doing the accompaniment. It's rather excellent and another unique DT track. Now for 'Stream of Consciousness'.my god, this is one of the best instrumentals ever made. The track title explains the mood of the song and somehow they were able to convey it perfectly. I recommend watching a video of this on youtube and hearing this wonderful song. This track is truly a masterpiece.

'In The Name of God' is such an angry work. This puts a tight lid on the album. It's all the elements they added to their music on this album, just exponentially increased. This contains by far the most technical songs in their repertoire.

This album is one of DT's best. It advanced there sound and the bands notion of trying to make a cd full of epics is fulfilled. Every track just builds and builds so wonderfully. Also, this is their best album lyrically; they're very dark and emotional. The albums artwork contained within is also some of the best I have seen on any album. This is highly recommended for those heavy prog-metalers!.

Report this review (#154951)
Posted Monday, December 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Again it's noticeable that DT isn't everybody's cup of tea if you look at the ratings of this album. I must admit in this case that the quality of this release is debatable. With ToT DT wanted to make a heavy and dark album and you can say they succeeded at that. Personally I don't have a problem with the heavy side of DT but I would like some structure in the songs and that's what is missing in my opinion.

Not all the songs are suffering from that problem but This dying soul and Honor thy father are clear examples of what I'm trying to say. After many listenings I still haven't embraced these two as nice or great songs, they are just sound producing tracks to me. In a way this also goes for In the name of God though I regard this one as somewhat better. The opener As I am and Endless Sacrifice are a lot more catchy to me but also these two songs are not my favourites. That only leaves two songs: The nice ballad Vacant and my absolute favourite of this release: Stream of Conciousness (and that's not because James isn't playing a part in it). It's just a great song WITH the structure I'm talking about. It's a very good composition, alas the only one on this album.

But because three others are also worth listening to I still give it 3 stars. (3,25).

Report this review (#154956)
Posted Monday, December 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
5 stars One of my favorite Dream Theater releases! Not being a fan of the early Dream Theater sound which I find to be too 80's-sounding for my tastes the band finally struck gold with the release of Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory which was followed brilliantly by the two follow-up releases.

Being the second album after Scenes From A Memory, Train Of Thought proved once and for all that Dream Theater could pretty much do anything! To tell you the truth my first experience of this album wasn't as enjoyable as I would have liked it to be. It's definitely a bumpy ride the first couple of times but if you manage to hold on and revisit the release a couple of times it is guaranteed to grow on you.

What made this album even more memorable for me was seeing the band perform all these tracks live during one crazy 4-hour show in January 2004! Since then I've seen the band on at least 3-4 other occasions but I've never seen them as excited and energetic as they were back in 2004. For me that definitely shows that Train Of Thought is a very special release indeed!

***** songs: This Dying Soul (11:28) Stream Of Consciousness (11:16) In The Name Of God (14:16)

**** songs: As I Am (7:47) Endless Sacrifice (11:23) Honor Thy Father (10:14) Vacant (2:58)

Total Rating: 4,53

Report this review (#162573)
Posted Sunday, February 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars 2003 - the year DT tried to be Metallica.

A live rendition of Master of Puppets and Train of Thoughts, the prog/Metallica blend. Well boys, it didn't work. It's not that it were impossible to do that. It's because you are not the guys to achieve it. If you want to know how to do it take a good look at Vanden Plas' offerings The God Thing, Far off Grace, Beyond Daylight and Christ.0! Especially the last two!

is a full Metallica rip-off with embarrasing lyrics and James L. trying to be James H. belongs to the better songs on this album but is not as satisfying as it should be. At 7.15 they even steal from- sorry, quote - Metallica, but I'm too lazy to find out from which song. is your average DT track, nothing to write home about. is the emotionally most aggressive song of the album and one I can put up with. describes its content perfectly is the surprise here, for it is quite good. The idea to do a 11 minute instrumental is obviously derived from and by guess who. Why does God allow such boring, pretentious tracks of 14 minutes? (and they will do it again on Systematic Chaos) DT felt obliged to make a comment on 9/11, otherwise the track is completely unnecessary.

For the first I don't know which songs on a DT album I like best. It's more a matter of which I dislike the least. Sorry guys, but this not more than 2 stars.

Report this review (#162959)
Posted Saturday, March 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Maybe train of thought it has been one of the less conventional DT's albums from their career until these days. For some part of the Dream Theater's followers this record it was too loaded with elements of metal music, besides that is possible to find some elements from music tendencies that were very popular in those years, for example from nu metal. Probably for these reasons they didn't like it, but for the rest of their fans (and here, I must include myself in this list) we loved it, because if there's a particular spicy on DT's music, is certainly the fusion between progressive music elements (from 70's) and some resources from heavy metal, as well you can appreciate similar characteristics in other big quantity of progressive metal bands currently and in fact since long time ago. Finally, I'm just wanting to expose my point of view and my best advice for you is to listen carefully this record and try to enjoy it, of course if you like this kind of music and specially from Dream Theater.

Personal hightlights:

. As I am . This dying soul . vacant . Stream of consciousness . In the name of God

By: Epsilon.

Report this review (#164301)
Posted Wednesday, March 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
Petrovsk Mizinski
5 stars While certainly Dream Theater had their very heavy moments on the albums released prior to Train of Thought, none of them were as consistently heavy as this album. This would divide many fans, those who liked Dream Theater's 'classic' sound, and those who were always looking forward to how Dream Theater would surprise them with a different sound. This was certainly a different sound indeed compared to their works prior to this, but to my mind Dream Theater succeeded with this different sound. While not as progressive as the previous two albums, this is still very much a prog metal album. One thing the listener may notice is that none of the songs here use a standard six string guitar tuning, indeed the only standard tuned guitar on here is a standard tuned 7 string.

As I Am is unfortunately not a high point for this album, and easily my least favorite track here. It's fairly well written song and very heavy, with John Petrucci using his guitar tuned to C standard here. The problems lie in that it's not that exciting and the song structure is a little closer to that of a standard metal song rather than a prog metal song, which is a bit disappointing. Fortunately Petrucci's guitar solo is pretty well executed, technical yet still displaying an aggressive feeling to it, although not the best solo on this record though.

This Dying Soul is the second instalment in the Mike Portnoy Alcoholics Anonymous Suite, Steps 4 and 5 so it sounds suitably heavy and dark. The opening guitar solo possesses a hell bent urgency to it, a feeling that is also shown throughout the album many times and La Brie sounds aggressive and forceful on this track. Petrucci's use of a 7 string guitar further reinforces the heaviness of this track. Of course, this song is not without melody, with some rather great melodic section just past the middle and this is rather well contrasted with an extremely heavy riff straight after. This is a less straight forward affair than As I Am, particularly towards the 2 and a half minute instrumental section that leads to the end of the song, with odd time sections, and many crazy technical riffs and duelling solos from Rudess and Petrucci.

Next up, Endless Sacrifice has a nice melody intro, and unlike the previous two songs, the heaviness takes a little while longer to quick in. We get to hear Rudess and Myung a lot more in this section too, which is a nice touch. We have a heavy yet somewhat catchy chorus, but by no means is catchy a negative connotation here. This song also has a good amount of progginess to it, with great solos to boot. This song is a winner, one of the strongest songs Dream Theater have written.

Honor Thy Father slams into straight out aggression almost instantly, with the guitar be tuned to C standard here. Given the heaviness of the song, it comes as no surprise this track was primarily written by Portnoy. James LaBrie's vocal efforts shine on this track, going from his usual mellower voice in some section, while sounding very aggressive in other sections. It's a pretty good affair overall.

Vacant is a good break from the heavy onslaught of the previous track, with a fantastic, yet fairly simple melody throughout. This song features a guest celloist, Eugene Friesen, whose playing adds much atmosphere and beauty to this song. While not an overly complex song, it is somewhat addictive and just really stirs the soul.

Streams Of Consciousness is little short of a masterpiece, in fact I would go far enough to say it is easily my favorite instrumental track from Dream Theater. It starts off with a catchy riff, yet it's in 5/4 time, proving how well the rhythm section in Dream Theater can sound so natural even when using odd time signatures . It's heavy, but not extremely so, which is a welcome change. The opening riff is a main theme throughout much of the song, but it morphs and evolves many times in different variations of it, which helps to make this song extremely exciting to listen to. We get a riff that is a lot more different from the opening riff around 2:03, where we get to here some keyboard parts more clearly and eventually leading into a vocal-type guitar line by Petrucci. When the first guitar solo hits, it truly hits fast and furious, and remains passionate and firey despite it's technical difficulty and warp speed alternate picked line and ends with some truly crazy sounding yet emotionally stirring alternate picked licks. Just before halfway into the song, we are hit with a key change, and a very very cool bass line from Myung, changing the feeling of the song to a different feeling of consciousness perhaps. When this section ends, we are back to the main theme and at 9:02, we are given an absolutely majestic keyboard solo followed by an equally passionate guitar solo. When the song ends, I cannot help but how seemingly short it seems despite its 11 minute plus length, a testament to how exciting this piece is. Without a doubt my favorite song off this album.

In The Name Of God is the albums epic at over 14 minutes in length. This song is beautiful and majestic as it is heavy, angry and forceful, yet this isn't even the complete list of feelings and emotions displayed throughout. The lyrics are by Petrucci are amazing, and that goes well with the very catchy and stunning chorus. The whole band is in excellent form here, and that becomes really apparent in the first interlude section, which has some truly anthemic vocals by La Brie that sound as aggressive as they should given the subject matter of the cult religious leaders that would end up having many of their members killed in god's name. The instrumental section that focuses mainly on Petrucci and Rudess is just stunning, with an amazing display of the legato technique by Petrucci, a welcome change to his other solos that revolve mostly around alternate picking and the harmonised ending phrase never ceases to blow my mind with it's technicality and emotive power. After this section, we are given the last section which is anthemic and soulful and leads into beautiful yet somewhat melancholic outro piano/keyboards, with the last arpeggiated chord always making me feel uneasy, but I cannot think of a better way to end this album than that chord and especially, this brilliant song.

A truly superb and moving album by Dream Theater, with a thundering last two tracks.


Report this review (#168878)
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I guess we're all used to being surprised with every new DT album, and this one, once again, proved to be different from the others, but still recognizable DT work. Train of Thought is a more metal oriented album that maintains the heavyness and agresiveness of its riffs through out the whole album. Thought it might seem that Dream Theater might be turning more to the metal side, rather that staying on the edge of progressive elements, I believe that this album is an experiment with the heavier, darker influences of DT, delivering, all taken into account, another excellent addition to any Dream Theater fan, and another good addition to any progressive fan.

The album kicks off with As I Am. I consider this track to be peculiar, a progresive metal track with hard riffs, a darker bass and a tune setter for the entire album. I consider this song to be more comercial than the others: Straight-going and Powerfull. The intro is just breath taking, and the guitar solo in the middle is just amazing. We can hear Petrucci doing some pretty-pro work kicking off with the harmonics and some nice work off into his lead; Myung does his usual, out-of-this-world, work; Portnoy is as technical as ever; Rudess is just wonderfull, putting some mellower-still dark moments into the whole Take Me As I Am theme; and La Brie is just great in this song.

Next up, and going in nicely after the first groundbreaking song, is This Dying Soul, the second track featuring Mr. Portnoy's Journey to recovery. It continues to keep the same agressive metal feel of the album, but it develops nicely into this beautifull harmonization, where Petrucci, Myung, Portnoy and Rudess show-off their high kwonledge of composition and perfection when it comes to playing. The whole tune is the setup so that La Brie can please us with some of his best singing. All in all, this is a highly pleasing track, full of heavy moments, but also full of emotions.

Third in the album is Endless Sacrifice (Personal favorite off this album). Now I know it's not the BEST track in DT history, maybe even not in the album, but the calm, slow pacing verses building up into the heavy, catchy choruses is just amazing. Just as amazing as the crazy instrumental section that proves once again the virtuosity of the band members. We all know that Myung, La Brie, Rudess, Portnoy and Petrucci (Who delivers an outstanding performance) are true masters when it comes to building up tunes for great choruses, but this song just has one of the greatest ones in DT history.

Moving on, the fourth track, an the darkest one yet, Honor Thy Father. If you're a metal head, you'll just love this song. Heavy riffs, dark verses, no pretty moments, dark and sick: All the time. This song has some of the wildest verses I've ever heard, and the transition in the middle, well it's just...sicker.

The fith and sixth tracks are to be heard as one: Vacant and Stream of Conciousness. I've come to believe that rather Vacant being an intro for Stream, the sixth is just the solo for the previous track; now if that is true, Stream of Conciousness is the longest solo ever. An amazing instrumental track like no other that fits in wonderfull in this album.

In the name of God is the final piece. It remains true to the album and it experiments with new sounds, I could detect a bit of Merengue right into the intrumental section. There's no other way to end this album than with this track.

Thought people might tell you that this isn't an album faithfull to DT stile, don't listen to them and listen to the music, you'll soon recognize the various elements of Dream Theater in it; and you should be aware, DT is a band that is always experimenting, so every album will be faithfull to them, and to the majority of their fans.

Report this review (#168969)
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Train of Thought is the seventh studio album from Dream Theater and it might be their most heavy album. Something I as a metal fan should favour but don´t. What I liked about Dream Theater when I started listening to them back when Images & Words were released was that they had lots of heavy elements in their music but mixed them with melodic vocal lines and playing. Kevin Moore had a big part in this sound and I have missed him ever since he left. The albums that have come from Dream Theater after Awake has just gotten worse and worse ( their technique is still astonishing, but the music leaves me cold most of the time). Train of Thought is no exception as it has tons of great riffing and brilliant musicianship but lacks what I dare to call soul.

The album consist of five songs that are more than 10 minutes long. One song that is almost 8 minutes long and a short song that lasts for about 3 minutes. This is as usual you could say. As I am is a pretty straight ( Well as straight as a Dream Theater song gets) and very heavy song, while the next three songs This Dying Soul, Endless Sacrifice and Honor Thy Father are more complex tracks with lots of sections and parts. Vacant is a short little song that seques into the instrumental Stream of Consciousness. The album ends with the very long In the Name of God which is also very complex. There are lots of soloing from both John Petrucci on guitar and Jordan Rudess on keyboards in the songs. The soloing is pretty impressive if you´re only interested in technique but IMO the soloes lack the melodic qualities of the old Dream Theater albums.

The musicianship is as always brilliant. I still can´t enjoy the sounds that Jordan Rudess choses to use though which is a real shame as he is an outstanding musician.

The production from Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci is pretty dark and brutal, which isn´t to my liking. It works fine in some parts but the overall impression isn´t good.

Allthough the quality in the musicianship is excellent and the song quality is good, this album never reaches excellent in my book. I´ll rate it 3 stars because the quality is high even though it´s not an album I listen to very often.

Report this review (#170167)
Posted Wednesday, May 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Prick your finger it is done / The moon has now eclipsed the sun.

Train of Thought is a HEAVY metal album, in fact the heaviest Dream Theater has recorded so far. This time, the band returns to Metallica's old school thrash metal of the 80's and mixes it with modern groove metal production. Such a balls to the wall (to quote Mike Portnoy) isn't primitive, thou. Don't be surprised if you notice that it contains the most complex solos of Dream Theater's discography, taking the keyboard-guitar to it's amplitude.

Judging by the compositions, it's easy to say that Train of Thought, instead of bringing new elements to the original sound (as the members usually do), the Americans actually remove many of them such as jazz persecutions, warm, candid guitar solos or psychedelic interludes. What remains is the metal core of Dream Theater, a harsh heavy metal group.

There are few songs on this record only one lacking the electric guitar and other metal elements, the rest dragging influences from various 80's popular rock genres such as hard rock, heavy metal and thrash metal. As I Am is a powerful song followed by the complex This Dying Soul that is an opera of remarkable executions from all instrumentalists. Although it is dark at first, the mood enlightens because of the speed of the executions that rises from structure to structure (also see Ciuleandra ... nevermind) and therefore I find it quite joyful at the end. Endless Sacrifice contains one of the few acoustic moments of the album but the ideas are the same. However, I must make you aware of the funky bass that accompanies the solos. Honor Thy Father, finally, brings some changes along making the sound even darker. Melancholy is guaranteed by Vacant while Stream Of Consciousness is the most bombastic. The last track, In The Name Of God, is the most classical of them all, reminding me of that early hard rock that had the electric production of metal.

As you might have expected, the production is really doing it's best to give the listener a intense and aggressive sound from a modern point of view. Thickness is the objective of the producer and it has certainly been accomplished.

Not as eclectic as Images and Words, not jazzy and fun as Awake, not as bombastic and creative as Scenes from a Memory, not as complex as Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, Train of Thought is still a excellent piece of music.

Report this review (#171105)
Posted Thursday, May 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars ''Train of Thought'' is maybe the album for which opinions differ very extreme. On the one hand, people love it for new elements in the music of Dream Theater, other people hate it because of those elements. I am not euphoric about this record, but for me this is much more than an average album, however still missing this certain something to make it a masterpiece.

What basically changed in Dream Theater was that they decided to go more metal. For the lovers of their earlier albums this could be a reason to omit this record, they had not released such a heavy material since ''Awake''. ''Train of Thought'' also introduces a new feeling to the music, some tracks I can not describe else but ''angry''. As you can guess by the album cover, here we have a rather dark album. On the previous effort, ''The Glass Prison'' already introduced this feeling to us, despair, sadness, uncertainty, anger.. those emotions are expanded into nearly 70 minutes of music which still sounds like Dream Theater, but as they were wearing black leather coats.

''As I Am'' starts with the same tone their last album faded out. No matter how much you are tempted to turn your speakers louder, do not do it, unless you are prepared. Heavy, disorted guitars begin to play a slow melody, which soon develops into an up-tempo song. The guitar solo is as impressing as always. While the drums play just a rythmic role, in the next song, ''This Dying Soul'', they get their moments with double-bass drumming. Also, this is a continuation of the Anonymus Alcoholic suite started with the aforementioned ''The Glass Prison''. Being part of the larger, in this song there are some quotes of the previous song. Also, Portnoy himself adds some vocals. He is not the best singer, but they fit the music in the passages quite well. If you need to relax after the blast, let yourself be stringed along with ''Endless Sacrifice''. The melody is carried by accoustic guitars and LaBries peaceful singing, until a heay guitar riff introduces us the chorus. After a repetition of this scheme, the song ends in an instrumental freak-out, with a keyboard solo in which Rudess has space to shine. ''Honor Thy Father'' is the ironic title of a song dedicated to Portnoy's father-in-law. I highly doubt he was pleased, because this is the true opposite of a love song. The double-bass drumming kicks you into the song with the typical riffs. Then we have accoustic moments and LaBrie doing some rap vocals, which remember me a lot of Tool. This does not become as bad as it sounds, he does it surprisingly good. Later, it seems like he was expecting to much of his vocals, as they go a bit raspy. Remember you just had problems with them! Annoying point of this song: The overuse of the word 'yeah'. ''Vacant'' is the only quiet and soft track on this album. Perhaps it was included to remind us that Dream Theater have a keyboard player. Rudess dominates the song with a piano sound. Relax, for here comes the ''Stream of Consciusness''. The bass melody from ''Vacant'' is repeated, but soon bombastic keyboards and heavy guitars jump in. This instrumental track is a mixture of soloing and melody, of chord playing and progression. They'd better to thank Metallica, for the main inspiration obviuosly came from their ''Orion''. ''In the Name of God'' is again full Dream Theater. The lyrics are about how religion causes terrorism in the world, a topic later repeated. To describe the music you can basically sum up everything said before: heavy guitar riffs, dynamic drums, supporting bass and keyboards. LaBrie's voice is not as high-pitched as usual. If you are looking for some fun in this dark record, try to decode the morse code in it.

All in all, this might be one of the most controversial releases by Dream Theater. If you have acquired the taste for progressive music mixed with heavy metal guitars and can cope with an underpresence of keyboard, ''Train of Thought'' is ideal for you. Those who are more attracted to the band by their more progressive moments should stay away (or better listen at least once), the ones who like or at least can take some more heavy music will enjoy this. Highly recommended for everyone who wants to explore with how much metal your progressive rock can be covered. I like metal, and so I appreciate this CD very much. No masterpiece, but far better than most average recordings in the progressive metal genre. 4 stars!

Report this review (#172028)
Posted Friday, May 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Perhaps the most controversial DT release...with prog fans wincing at the drift towards metal and metal fans fully embracing it. Funny...cuz I'm basically a metal fan and I don't think it's one of their better efforts.

I have no problem with the band moving in a heavier fact I applaud it. What I don't applaud is the recycled musical ideas, the increasing instrumental wankery and the absymal lyrics. Those elements make this a sub-par DT effort, in my opinion.

Things start off well enough with a classic 8-minute prog masterpiece in As I Am. While it's nothing DT hasn't done before, they do it very well here. Also, the lyrics of this song are better than any you'll find anywhere else on TofT. Things also seem to be going well on song #2, This Dying Soul. A quintessential long, intricate, sophisticated opening leads to a long, intricate, but ultimately unrewarding song. Basically the song breaks down when they get to the musical section, which is DT wankery at its worst and goes on far too long, bludgeoning the listener with the same music ideas expressed about 100 different ways.

THe rest is pretty much more of the same. Honor Thy Father and In the Name of God are both long, complex songs with lots of noodling between Petrucci and Rudess. In fact, ever since Rudess joined DT the band has been moving towards musical masturbation and away from good songs. Melody and lyrical development have basically been abandoned in the name of endless riffing and lots of really fast guitar- keyboard solos. This is most evident on TofT.

In sum, you get one classic song (As I Am) two pretty good songs (This Dying Soul and Endless Sacrifice), a needlessly long instrumental (Stream of Consciosness) and two scrap-heap songs (Honor Thy Father and The Name of God).

Funny...when I read DT was trying to make a heavy metal masterpiece I was very excited. They got the heavy metal part right, just not the masterpiece.

Report this review (#172283)
Posted Monday, May 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Best Album Metallica Have Ever Done

If Metallica delivered this album instead of the randomly pieced together and repetitive St Anger, the fans would've hailed and cheered the return of the kings of metal.

17 years after Puppets, DT return with everything Metallica should have delivered after ...And Justice for All. It's not very prog, but it's very metal.

I guess relearning and playing the Master of Puppets and Number of the Beast albums got DT into a groove that resulted in them writing this music. It sits somewhere between Puppets and the approach of the Black album (note approach, I hate the Black Album. There are shredding guitar riffs and solos from Petrucci, dynamic drumming rhythms from Portnoy and dexterous basswork from Myung.

LaBrie's vocals have improved and are listenable again (he sounds best when singing softly, Six Degrees and the Live in NY stuff was strained and annoying).

Ruddess' Keyboards are barely recognisable as keyboards, I can't see how he is getting satisfaction out of playing guitar on a keyboard. There is more that he can add.

DT have produced their metal album. Like most other bands labelled as 'Progressive Metal', they are a bunch of top notch musos playing metal with a keyboard player instead of a second guitarist. We want to hear this, but there is nothing very 'progressive' about it.

Report this review (#173893)
Posted Saturday, June 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Oh hey! It's me again, reviewing my once idols Dream Theater. I honestly, have to say, I only liked Dream Theater metal side when I first heard them. I really thought these guys were the real deal. The eagles of death metal. But that, they're not. At best, they're metal posers. In my opinion, they need to stick at what they do best, 1 being prog. 2 being making the fan like any song of theirs, no matter how horrible it is, when it's played live. I won't get started on that, so here we go.

As I Am, by Metalicca. This song is alright. I don't know, there is no real prog element in it. It just sounds like Metalicca with better musicianship. (5/10)

This Dying Soul, sucks. This song overstays its welcome to the max. This song was really cool at first, when I was under the impression Dream Theater was brutal death metal. It just sounds like lame repetitive garbage. I have the musicianship though, the tapping solo at the start was amazing. The drumming is alright. The singing is awful. This song is awful for its length. (5/10)

Endless Sacrifice, now here's a song I can listen to. Well structured, well written. Labrie's actually singing, instead of growling unmelodically. The instrumental is baffling, it's so amazing. Just a very good song, amongst a horde of barf. (8/10)

Honor Thy Father, again, was cool when I was under the impression DT was real metal. Now it just sounds goofy. Seriously, it's ten minutes of the same song. BO-RING. (4/10)

Vacant is just ridiculously pointless. Not beautiful or heart warming like some people say it is. It's pure garbage. I picture the music set to an apacolypse. (3/10)

Stream Of Consciousness. Holy freaking crap. This song, seriously, makes up for the rest of the record. It's exactly what Dream Theater is. There is no Metalicca to be seen for miles. Seriously. This song is fun to play, fun to listen to, fun to have fun to. It's a good time song, with a few odd times thrown in. (10/10)

In The Name Of God, now here's a track that doesn't overstay its 14 and a half minute welcome. This is just an epic prog track. This song actually sounds like it was influenced by Home. It's solos, especially towards the end, are just mind numbing. The unisons by Petrucci and Rudess are just out of the universe. It shows how they really are an awesome band. This song is great. (9/10)

Overall, I had to dig through piles of garbage to finally find a gem in the Dream Theater landfill. The few songs that are good though, are worth every second to listen to. They are ridiculously grand and epic. But, the rest brings the score down. 3 Stars.

Report this review (#178008)
Posted Wednesday, July 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars The Dream Theater album that most divides the opinions of fans is undoubtedly Train of Thought. The record was released to mixed critical and commercial acclaim in 2003, and its quality is still a hot point of debate between the band's supporters today. Mike Portnoy and Jordan Rudess have both gone on record as stating that the reason for this split between their fanbase was the album's one-sidedness (it's a pure sledge of progressive metal), but, in my opinion, this is not the case.

The real reason why Train of Thought is ranked so inconsistently inside of the Dream Theater fanbase is because its quality greatly varies in accordance with how one chooses to judge it. Judged as a whole, the album is a mess. The songs are too long, boasting too many irrelevant sections, too many keyboard-guitar duels and too much failed experimentation (rapping). Judged part-by-part, the record is quite good. It's home to many of the band's best melodies and riffs, and features some of their best ideas ever.

One of the weakest aspects of the album is its production. As if the compositions weren't heavy enough already, Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci decided that just in case we didn't realize it, they'd turn the guitars and drums way up in the mix and drown out all the other instruments in the process. In addition, the guitars are horribly downtuned and Jordan Rudess doesn't seem to be doing much more than doubling over JP's riff work. Every band member sounds out of his element to a degree, and it makes the record seem artificial and hollow.

Train of Thought is also notable for being the beginning of James LaBrie's downfall with Dream Theater (his solo work is still splendid). It is ironic that, after giving LaBrie an ultimatum to get his act together and become a better vocalist after the Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence world tour, Dream Theater chose to start giving him lesser material to perform. It doesn't matter that LaBrie isn't hitting high notes; it matters that he's being given generic vocal melodies to sing and that he isn't being required to execute his vocals with the force and assertiveness that he is capable of.

On the rare occasions that LaBrie is given chances to shine, he steals the show, as is the case with the album's closer, "In the Name of God". Certain segments of the song are phenomenal. Its chorus is one of the best choruses in the DT cannon and its outro is one of the best stretches of music the band has ever produced. James is also very good during the opening minutes of "This Dying Soul", which starts out great but ends poorly.

Some of the songwriting choices that are made over the course of the album's running length are pitiful. "Endless Sacrifice", in particular, is the most awkwardly disjointed song in the band's discography. On top of that, it is home to one of the most mind-numbingly boring instrumental sections I've ever heard (four minutes of JP and JR playing as fast as they can and trying to out-shred one another before concluding things with an obligatory unison solo). "Stream of Consciousness", an instrumental, has an excruciatingly dull stretch half-way through where the band stops and re-starts everything twice, perhaps with the goal of building up momentum, but, instead, all they do is draw out what would've been a stellar tune.

Not only are some of the songwriting choices bad, but some of the lyrical directions that the band takes are even worse. I'm all for fun, balls-to-the-wall metal, but that doesn't excuse penmanship of this low quality. Many times, the respective lyricist doesn't sound as tough or forceful as intended; instead, he sounds angsty and immature. As an example, "As I Am" sees John Petrucci telling the listener (and Queensr˙che) that "You cannot touch/The way I/Play/Or tell me what to say" and that he's "Fucked/Feels like I'm stuck/Lost in a sea of mediocrity". There is an abundance of laughable lines like these on the record, and they greatly detract from the overall listening experience.

As a whole, Train of Thought is too long, fat-riddled and poorly written to keep my interest. It's a boring listen, one that is almost saved on numerous occasions by its individual moments of spectacle, but never entirely. Had the disc been produced and mixed better, and been judiciously edited, I might have liked it more, but as it is, it's one of Dream Theater's worst releases to date.

© Kevin Martell (TheOutlawXanadu)

Report this review (#180990)
Posted Thursday, August 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Dream Theater seventh album from 2003 named Train of thought. The album follows Six degrees.... but much more heavier in places and without many strong ideas. I don't know why but i lose intrest in their music after Six degrees, who also was not a real awesome album in my opinion. The music of Dream Theater remains on the same coordonates with the previouses releases but less intristing, kinda beating around the bush with their noodleings.With the time more and more prog metal bands appear with much more strong and fresh ideas that leaves DT in a shadow with their music, only devotee fans are really impressed by their last 3 albums. So this album sounds to me like a progressive Metallica in places, only Jordan Rudess keys saves this to be almost a trash album. So the best piece are for me:Stream Of Consciousness and Vacant, really good and strong compositions, the rest are only ok nothing special , some of them are really boring. So these two peaces melt eachother in one single big overture, excellent. Vacant is a smooth and slow one with nice arrangement on violoncel and superb voice of James La Brie and Stream Of Consciousness is a heavy instrumental track who remainds me of Metallica - Master of puppets era but with a good doze of prog elements. All in all this is not a bad album, an ok one, less intristing than all previouses releases, because of DT music who can't evolve like other bands from prog metal scene. 3 stars for Train of thought, good but nothing special about.
Report this review (#182826)
Posted Friday, September 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This albums is quite a mixed bag: the instrumental part is perfect, but this is LaBrie's worst album

Train of Thought is Dream Theater's darkest and heaviest album and was made having those things in mind. They wanted to make an album that was as heavy as they could possibly be, an album that could be able to excite, agitate people every time it was played, an album to explore the darker and heavier edge of their music, and that was exactly the final result. Train of Though is truly what it was intended to be, but that caused some problems.

The biggest problem, as in all Dream Theater albums from Images and Words on, are LaBrie's vocals. LaBrie, since ever, is Dream Theater's weakest member and in fact he contributes negatively to the band, dragging it down, since his vocals are not on a par with the rest of the band. Here things get worse because he tries to be a badass and evil like the rest of the band and fails miserably in doing it simply because his voice does not allows him to do so. Something similar happened when they made a Master of Puppets cover, but in MoP he was much worse.

The other problem was not so bad, but it is considerable. Here, because of the heaviness, Jordan Rudess's keyboards, sometimes, simply cannot be heard. I really tried, but sometimes it is really difficult to find Rudess in the songs. That is just not good, since Rudess is a very important member of Dream Theater's instrumental session. However, that is only a problem in the heaviest songs, such as Honor Thy Father, As I Am and This Dying Soul.

About the songs, musicianship and other features, there are somethings i would like to state:

Leaving those problems behind, this albums is an amazing display of great musicianship. As always, specially since Jordan Rudess became a full member of Dream Theater, their music is an incredible extravaganza of musical skills with insanely difficult songs to play because the songs are fast and technically demanding. Here, mainly because the albums is so heavy, the lights are mostly (in my opinion) on Myung and Portnoy.

Most songs of this album are very good. The only one that, in my opinion, is subpar, when compared to the rest of the album, is the song Honor Thy Father. The highlights here goes to the last three songs of the album: Vacant (an interlude to Stream of Consciousness), Stream of Consciousness and In the Name of God. Those three are all the way top Dream Theater-like songs.

Grade and Final Thoughts

Although this album have some problems, specially concerning LaBrie's vocals, the instrumental session, with its many good attributes, was able to avoid and surpass the negative points here. So, because of the constancy of good songs all through the album and the awesome closing (Vacant, Stream of Consciousness and In the Name of God), i think this album deserves 4 stars.

Report this review (#184748)
Posted Saturday, October 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is Dream Theater's heaviest and most aimless album to date, creating an unfortunate choice for fans.

Here, Dream Theater decided to remove all these aspects of their music that were more straight prog and just went without abandon towards an exaggeration of the style of prog metal that they helped create. Following the mildly experimental Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, these five boys decided that it was time for an album solely devoted to really getting some energy and heaviness out there. Maybe it was a decision based on motionless audiences (in case they failed to realize that no audience knows how to get up and bounce in 31/32 time) in the concerts. Who knows. What we do know is this: if Dream Theater songs like Lines in the Sand, Disappear, Surrounded, Finally Free, or These Walls appeal to you, good luck with Train of Thought. However, if the heavy and noodling sides of Dream Theater are the reason you're into this band, you just may be in luck here. Unfortunately, though, despite the technical displays of sheer musicianship, the songs are mostly pretty weak and uninspired.

The album opens with the straightforward and well written As I Am. Clearly a single-oriented song despite its eight minute length, this has a catchy chorus and only a minor instrumental break. The guitar solo is actually pretty impressive, and despite the fact that it's almost entirely shredding, it still flows and has a direction. The next song, however, forgot that idea of direction. I'll admit, This Dying Soul is pretty neat the first few times. The direct sequel to The Glass Prison lyrically, this track decides to one-up it in every way--that includes heaviness and sheer volume of notes. Point in case, the final minute of the song, where the guitar and keyboard wail up and down the scales nonstop. Really, it is neat. But as far as a song goes, this one could do with a fair bit of trimming and rethinking. The next song, Endless Sacrifice, starts as a nicely emotional ballad sort of song, at which it succeeds. However, once the instrumental section kicks in, all emotion is out the window. When I say Dream Theater have a propensity to noodle, this is a perfect example. Probably the most aimless and ridiculous instrumental portion the band has ever done, I think, complete with (admittedly humorous) circus noises and a lot of shredding.

Honor Thy Father starts out pretty promisingly, with a heavy, repeated, building riff that despite its odd rhythm can really suck you into its tune. However, the vocals are poorly planned, sounding really awkward and mostly painfully angsty. The chorus is alright, but the verses have James doing some sort of rap that ends up sounding forced and contrived. Plus, the heavy and tight first half give way to a noodling keyboard solo and random instrumental sort of section in the center that once more deprives the song of its power. Vacant is about the only break on this whole album, featuring viola and sad, haunting lyrics--in a way recalling the atmospheres of Falling into Infinity. Next comes an interesting tune, the fully instrumental, fully aimless Stream of Consciousness. The opening riff is pretty neat and drives the music pretty well. This also features what is probably Petrucci's fastest solo with Dream Theater to date, remarkable for that. However, this song is far too long for its own good, too, which is a common problem with pretty much every track on here except As I Am and Vacant. The final song, In the Name of God, is a really promising heavy and slow track about cults and the sort. The emotional impact of this mostly splendid track is cut down by yet another long and noodling session (second only to the large chunk of Endless Sacrifice). It ends with the Battle Hymn of the Republic in a different melody and a dark piano. If only they had cut that solo section out of there, this could be a classic track.

The flaws in this album really maul the overall quality. An excess of raw noodling in almost every track makes the songs very interesting at first, but after a few listens just get mildly annoying. The heavy nature of the album is not a real problem, if only they had varied their songs a little bit better. What it comes down to is: if you like listening to Dream Theater's chops, you'll probably like this a lot. If you want some deeper music with lasting songwriting, you'd best steer clear of Train of Thought.

Report this review (#185282)
Posted Saturday, October 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars For me it's one of the best dream theater's album

As I am is a great overture song which sounds like metallica. The solo is incredible! 5/5

This dying soul is faster but continue in the same heavy vein as the precedent song 5/5

Endless sacrife is slow until the chorus and goes back slowly until the chorus comes back again and then a great instrumental section begins. A great mix of progressive and metal 5/5

Honor Thy father is another great song with powerful drums and riffs. It is a dark song 5/5

Vacant is the only true ballad on the album. You can enjoy the voice of James Labrie with some violin 3/5

Stream Of Consciousness is a strong instrumental song with a lot of solo ,but the song is a little bit repetitive 4/5

In the name of god Is as heavy as the first song has great chorus and an incredible instrumental section 5/5

Finally, it is a great album for the progressive metal fan

Report this review (#185531)
Posted Monday, October 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars The first album I heard with Dream Theater and actually the album that made me discover progressive music. At this point I was most into heavy metal but when I heard this album I was absolutely stunned! I would say that this is the perfect album for any metalhead that wants something more then just the old basic stuff - a perfect link between metal and progressive music!

With a little more perspective over the album a few years later, I can say that this isn't their best effort. But it's still a good album which will always mean a lot to me.

Rate: 3+

Report this review (#187253)
Posted Tuesday, October 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars subway sounds better

This may be considered the last tre album of DT since the next 2 (Octavarium & Chaos contains... well copies of other discs), but let's go to see what is this Train, first of all we see that Portnoy learnt how to make tuuuu-tuuuuuuu with his drums, so we the name train may be intended as his kind of play the percussions, that make someone look at people like Bruford (or even more recent like Harrison (PT) or Peart (Rush)) a kind of aliens... well out of Portnoy that make the drums sound like noises over the music of the other 3 members... we have a great Petrucci that explore new ways of solo guitar and a Rudess that is now solid at his position at keyboards. Myung as ever I forgot about you, dunno why maybe 'cause I cannot hear you here while Petrucci is listening only himself and Portnoy is in frenzy to hit his drums once more (yelling you are a bad drum!!). And now LaBrie, Jimmy was the perfect voice for Metropolis and maybe for the slow ballades of I&W not to make the rapper (Honor Thy Father). Even here the DT perfect and oppressive tecnic is strong and while in tracks like As I Am we got nothing than a strong piece of pure metal (sob, prog is gone), nothing to say since it's perfect for LaBrie voice and fits like the entry in the new DT era (that began with War Inside my Head) in This Dying Soul (they'll make a copy of this on Octavarium, better this I think), we see again a nice track where LaBrie can sing as the earlier DT (too bad for the alteration of his voice in small passages), here is one of the few place where I see Myung. Endless Sacrifice have a nice intro with the first great part of prog music, 5 minutes of old DT, and then back again in the frenzy of drummer (and the first great copy of DT, from Metropolis), the other 6 minutes of the song don't worth the intro with again Petrucci on a solo of his guitar and Portnoy playing alone with the entry of LaBrie at 9:00 or so for the end... a bad one.

I'll skip Honor Thy Father 'cause I hate rap, even a progmetal one with Petrucci playing his guitar, anyway it doesn't worth even the later albums, a complete failure for me. Vacant is the only shining light on this subway of thoughts, the perfect song for LaBrie and a prelude for the Stream of Consciousness, with a dark jazzy piano from Rudess. The Stream (even with his little flaws is a strong instrumental and I like it) begin where Vacant ends with the unic part where Portnoy isn't in frenzy and the only track where Petrucci isn't the main theme of the song, good the part of Rudess here with his breaks on Portnoy train> of drums. In the second part of the song we got a Myung palying his part too. And the end of the disc or maybe the end of this tunnel...14 minutes of song, In the Name of God this as Octavarium (on his own album) is the final suite of music, here the 5 DT play their past music Portnoy is quite and even Petrucci don't take the scene for himself.

Ok what we got here? 4/5 as a full grunge/heavy metal album, 2/5 as prog one...3/5

Report this review (#187495)
Posted Friday, October 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This record implies a several change of sound for the band. I suppose this fact may have annoyed lots of fans back in the day it was released. In my case I just got into DT in 2008 so I listened to their albums in random order and just for that reason I never got really dissapointed with most of their catalogue

Six Degrees is in my opinion DT's weakest release so anything they may do after it would sound right to my ears. On that double album the band showed a progressive side ( although really weak , that 42 minute epic does nothing to my ears) and on the other side they released heavier tunes and ballads that I couldn't enjoy. Just a year late the band comes with this.

And I must say I am amazed. I usually do not like my music that heavy but for some reason I could remember the lyrics and the riffs got stucked in my head.The music is a lot more simple when talking about structure but it's still with that incredible interplay.This album is all about Petrucci and Portnoy , Ruddess's keys do not play a major role and guess what , I think that had a very good result on the record since the band seems more cohesive than in their last album and the much acclaimed SFAM. I don't think there is a highlight on this record since all the tunes are really enjoyable and energetic. Let me tell you that this atribute is quite rare on this band.

I feel guilty of giving this album 4 stars since it's not as progressive as Awake and if we are judging them in a progressive rock site probably I should rely on progressiveness when rating. However this is far from being an average metal release since there are 4 viruosos on here. I see the record as technical heavy metal and not prog metal.Pink Floyd and Yes influences are left apart and that's for good. Moreover , no DT album has entretained me like ToT.

I ll probably regret of this in the future but there is plenty of time to rewrite reviews.

Report this review (#198241)
Posted Friday, January 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Dream Theater has decided to get a little heavier for the metal crowd on this one, but it's a great thing that they haven't thrown away their progressive influences. Train of Thought looks, from the cover, like it's going to be a bumpy ride throughout, and it is. This album has some of the heaviest songs, and I personally listen to it when I feel like metal, but also Dream Theater at the same time. The great thing about Dream Theater is they have everything from soft ballads, to progressive epics to extremely heavy metal stuff, all from the same band.

The album begins with the ending note of Six Degrees, and ends with the beginning of Octavarium (the album, meaning The Root Of All Evil), the latter of which Jordan Rudess played with his nose.

There are angst ridden lyrics in the album, and even some interesting hidden messages if you listen to them hard enough! Not quite as mature and progressive as they usually are, but I think it's good that they came out with an album like this, they need a heavier alternative to people who get tired of their prog stuff. That's the great thing about Dream Theater, not only can they play progressive and metal very well together, but they can effectively separate the two genres as well. It's a pretty Dark Album, and kinda simple, but still good. Maybe too simple for DT's progressive fans, but oh well. The album artwork is AMAZING!

Anyway, Dream Theater to bang you head to. 4 stars!

Report this review (#198577)
Posted Monday, January 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars A perfect transition: OK, this is my first review, however, not by any means my first taste of prog, so bear with me. I don't understand why this album gets such a hard time. Though i agree it may not be the most prog cd available it's still not by any means a generic, straight-forward release. If you are new to the world of progressive metal and have just been an ordinairy metal-head to this point i believe this cd, along with a few other choice selections, is where your journey should begin. Like most good cd's of this sect, it supplies an plenty of virtuosity, a high degree of difficulty, creativity, influnces from nearly every genre of music, and most importantly (and what alot of people in the prog world seem to forget about), it just flat out rocks! One of the best all time releases of this type of music, and certainly the best attempt bt Dream Theater. Truly a masterpiece!
Report this review (#200749)
Posted Monday, January 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Train of Thought was the first Dream Theater album which became very controversial amongst the fans. They gained a new layer of entuhusiast from the metal lovers as this one is the most metallic release in their entire discography.

It is a two-faced album: there are three under-average (sometimes really bad) songs (As I Am, This Dying Soul and Honor Thy Father) besides four excellent pieces (the last three plus Endless Sacrifice). The main problem with the album is the inordinate use of thrash elements and in general the musical ideas: at least three of the tracks are too long.

1. As I Am: After the intro we get the first thrash moments in a riff and the verses, while the pre- chorus and chorus become better. The song is sometimes slow, sometimes middle paced, therefore the guitar solo starting at 5:30 is simply too fast for the bases.

2. This Dying Soul: The second song starts much more in the real style of DT. Being a continuation of The Alcoholic Anonymous Suite, it refers to former tracks like the suite-opener The Glass Prison and The Mirror, which is often defined as an antedecent for that chain of songs. Then the rapping part (why should it be there?) is baffling and horrible whilst the piano interlude brings some musical values, and the vocal themes get better. However, the end ruins, here comes an over-extended and badly repetitive instrumental part.

3. Endless Sacrifice: Awesome and emotional guitar intro, the vocals are perfect, as the verses so the chorus. When the instrumental part begins, it rise the view that the band has not forgotten the great things, but again, it lasts too long. After the returning riff new melodies join in and give a perfect end to the song.

4. Honor Thy Father: I listened to this song very long ago, because I remembered so that it was terrible. Now, after a new try I say that several parts are musically great, but the whole is still not good. After the riffing that shines to be endless, a multi-vocal part surprises the listener. The song is very eclectic: contains trademarks of industrial and thrash metal, has a very strange dissonant chorus, spoken vocals and a very popular-sounding section.

5. Vacant: When this one begins, there is no more bad stuff till the end of the album. That one is the most emotional Dream Theater song to date: it transmits deep sorrow. Bitter, but beautiful.

6. Stream of Consciousness: This is an absolutely fantastic's overflown by GREAT ideas (finally!). We always knew they are extremely skilled, that's the place they show it at their best.

7. In the Name of God: Despite the song lenghts here, this is the only one I consider as being epic. The lyrics are rattling (if you read them well), and the construction as well. There are heavy, metallic parts, but they're not annoying, sith they're not thrash. The outro with the Battle Hymn of the Republic is majestic and the way they close the song...cannot say anything else but great!

4/7 songs are good: that is close to 3/5 in the number of stars.

Report this review (#201338)
Posted Sunday, February 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Train Of Thought' - Dream Theater (5/10)

This album represents what happens when the most talented band in the world gets a bit bored with the laborious process of writting truly inspired music and decides to see just how quickly they can make an album. However, unlike many bands that have done this in the past, and failed miserably as a result, Dream Theater actually manages to produce a listenable (albeit mediocre) album.

I can safely say that this is my least enjoyed Dream Theater album, but it does have a few high points. 'Stream Of Consciousness' is a very well composed instrumental, 'As I Am' is one of the band's tightest and most energetic songs and 'In The Name Of God' has sections that simply scream 'epic.' Much of the album is too one-tracked however, and listening to the same crunchy, raw guitar tone for an hour's length really tires one's ability to listen to music.

In terms of effort, Mike Portnoy even said that 'Train Of Thought' took no more than two weeks to write. Keeping that in mind, the sheer complexity of some of the instrumental sections is very good. Unrelenting keyboard/guitar solos and jaw dropping technicality can be quite a treat if one is into it. Ironically enough, one of the album's greatest assets is it's biggest flaw, there is a great deal of focus on shredding and mindless technicality, and not enough actual compositional brilliance to back things up. This is very dissapointing because Dream Theater has proven many times in the past that they can compose thoughtful and complex compositions at the same time. The instrumental (and definite highlight of the album) 'Stream Of Consciousness' is a welcome break to the mindlessness and offers a true dose of brilliance.

While it's not brilliant by any measure, the musicianship (in comparison with most other artists) is simply mind-blowing. Rudess' keyboard skills and Petrucci's rapidfire soloing really compliment eachother well in the instrumental sections, and the typical keyboard-guitar 'let's take turns' solo form works really well on this album.

Unlike most Dream Theater albums, you can actually hear the bass guitar on this one. John Myung's solid bass lines really compliments the overall mix, and some of my favourite Portnoy drum fills are on this one. An intense double-kick is used to no end here!

While this is certainly one of Dream Theater's less shining acheivements, it's still worth a good listen; especially the final two tracks. Theres a real thrashy, stripped down sound on this album, which is a departure from their usually progressive leanings It's not a very good album, but fans of the band and genre should be able to appreciate some of the more thoughtful passages.

This is what happens when the best musicians in the world today get too cocky and decide their skills can compensate for loose songwriting.

Best described as an exercise in self-indulgence, perhaps?

Report this review (#202558)
Posted Thursday, February 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars If you are searching for metal,pure metal,some agressive stuff and with elemments than only DT can give,this is your best can hate this or you can love it.this release have a little bit from -Awake album- and six degrees of inner turbulence,allways in the prog-side,with this album DT shows their habilities in the tecnic aspect and in the composition,as well,totally agressive,i listen to this album in 2003,i was very surprised for the agressive music that DT was making,the great solos,and james labrie is more agressive too.i can say that this is not their -opus work-but Dt shows their maximum skills on their instrumments. and in a certain way Dt once again shows that is one of the best bands of our Time.i will recommend this to you if you want to have a real prog-metal album in your collection. 4 solid stars.

Cheers (--Jack--)

Report this review (#203094)
Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars MIKE PORTNOY man oh man oh man, truthfully this is one of the albums that got me into drumming, I heard the intro to Honor Thy Father and was like IS THAT POSSIBLE?, really though this is a fantastic album, probably one of Dream theater's hardest hitting, heaviest, darkest, most powerful albums in my opinion. These guys really are masters of their instruments, and even if you hate the singer, this ones a good album to listen to. If you are a drummer I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS SONG TO YOU! Listen to Honor Thy Father and prepare for a punch in the face. And if your a guitarist, you probably need some taste of John Petrucci This Dying Soul guitar rifts. Really one of Dream Theaters best Albums.
Report this review (#209075)
Posted Saturday, March 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Following their pretentious and arguably most progressive effort, Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence, Dream Theater's 2003 Train Of Thought shows us the band's most metallic side up to this date. This is the album that divided DT's fanbase in 2 parts. Those who embraced this new agressive sound, and those who despised it and worship the band's classic sound found on previous works like Images And Words.

The album opens with As I am, a song often criticised of being too Metallica-ish. I think it is unfair to dismiss this song just because of this fact. And if you are one of these people who think this is the case, I dare you to listen to Metallica's That Was Just Your Life from 2008's album Death Magnetic and tell me if it doesn't sound similar to DT's 2007 Constant Motion (at least the first minutes). Although the Metallica influence is undeniable, I think As I Am is a great metal tune, with an interesting Petrucci solo and very catchy riffs throughout its seven and a half minutes.

After this, things start to go downhill. This Dying Soul is another chapter in Mike Portnoy's A.A. Suite. I usually tend to hate DT songs where Labrie sings like he's angry with the entire world, and this was no exception. A very dull song, with some unnecesary extra minutes.

Suddenly, endless sacrifice appears and you get that feeling that there's still hope for ToT. Very emotional, nevertheless heavy track. Probably the best song on the album.

Honor Thy Father opens with Portnoy's explosive drums, and there you think this is going to be a wild ride..., but then instantly you realise it is another silly angst-filled DT song with 2 extra condiments to ruin it completely. The first one: Labrie rapping!!my god, I can't tell you how disgusting it is for me to listen to these parts. Terrible. The second one: lame lyrics. Nothing against Portnoy's idea of writing a song against his stepfather, but lines like: "well listen to me you ungrateful fool, here comes a dose of reality, you'll go to your grave a sad and lonely man, the door is closed on your pathetic little plan"...if i didn't know DT wrote such lyrics and I had to guess, I would say My Chemical Romance or some other crappy emo band from nowadays. Definitely the worst song on the album, and one of the worst in the entire DT catalogue.

Vacant is to Train Of Thought what Wait For Sleep was to Images And Words. A short nice ballad with some interesting cello arrangements and a darker feel more according to ToT's general climax. Though not as good as wait for sleep, it is one of the album's highlights.

Stream Of Consciousness comes next. I still don't understand what's the thing with this song and why is it so praised by many. Really, I've tried and tried to see what makes this song so special between people but without success up to this day. I mean, we all know that these guys can play, but I found this instrumental piece lacking of the emotion of previously found on other great DT's instrumentals like Dance of eternity, Erotomania, or even the old Rush-driven Ytse Jam. Nothing unique for me.

Finally we reach to the final song. The supposedly epic In the name of god. I think this song summarises perfectly my general feel towards the album. Good at some moments, mediocre at most parts, inconsistent and with pointless direction.

I hate to give DT such a low mark, but if there's one album of them that really deserves it, this is it. Technical as usual, heavy, yes, but emotionless all the way through. Not a nice place for starters. If you want a heavy DT album mantaining all DT's excellence standards better go and buy Awake.

Report this review (#209339)
Posted Monday, March 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album seems to be one of the lesser liked in the Dream Theater discog, but I love it. In fact, it's my favorite DT album.

When I first heard "Train of Thought" I only knew the classic DT albums: 6 Degrees, Metropolis, I&W and Awake. So I was pretty shocked by this albums heaviness and profanity, (not that I care at all, but for DT it raised an eyebrow). "Train of Thought" is certainly more "metal" than most DT albums. It's heavier and bit less progressive than most of the band's output, but it is still progressive. A bit more riff based than standard DT, and there are some epic riffs to be found. There are plenty of blazing guitar and keyboard solos, a pretty good drumming display and fine vocals. While they never really wow me (and can sometimes grate), it seems I don't dislike LaBrie nearly as much as I used to.

"As I Am" is a bit straightforward, but a good metal song. Some cool riffs and moments.

"This Dying Soul" is more intense and progressive. Pretty cool song, though I don't like the distorted vocals that are used at times. Second half is pretty crazy and has some classic DT madness.

Then we get to the best 2 songs of the album.

"Endless Sacrifice" is an awesome song, heavy and progressive. The main riff/chorus part makes me rock so hard. The middle section is awesome, and topped off with doses of epic shreddery and technicality. Great song, and it leads into my favorite from the album:

"Honor Thy Father" Now this is some brutal prog metal. Heavy, groovy, intense, progressive, filled with epic riffs and melodies. Hefty doses of technicality, off tempo, solos and even keyboards are thrown around, and some pretty good drumming to boot. The song really moves and is hard to not groove or thrash around to.

"Vacant" gives us a breather with a somber keyboard and bass piece, with some cello too. Pretty but also quite melancholy, especially when taken with the lyrics about LaBrie watching his young daughter fall into a coma...some heavy stuff.

"Stream of Consciousness" is an 11 minute instrumental. Turn the volume up, because I love when the first riff hits you. Like any good prog epic it takes you on quite a journey, and you'll hear a bit of everything. Lots of keyboard, more than the previous songs as well as more of that famed DT wizardry then we've seen thus far. Not the best prog instrumental I've heard but a pretty damn good song for sure.

"In the Name of God" finishes the album with its longest song, at 14 minutes. It drags a bit at times, and for the first time on ToT LaBrie's singing kind of bugs me, (but it's not terrible) and is a good song still. With the rest of the album there are some sweet riffs, grooves and melodies throughout. A good song, but actually could've use a bit of trimming. "Stream of Consciousness" would've been a better finale in my opinion, especially since it fits with "Train of Thought" as an idea but ah well.

So after all these years I still love the more riffy, heavy DT. Some fans seem to be displeased with the more metal, less proggy sound but if you like metal, and if you like prog then I really don't see why you wouldn't like "Train of Thought". It's some heavy, dark and still progressive prog metal, what's not to love?

Four and a Half Stars



Report this review (#214245)
Posted Thursday, May 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Train of Thought is the seventh album by progressive metal geniuses Dream Theater. This album takes somewhat of a departure from their typical prog metal sound. While still ultimately progressive, it is a lot more riff-driven and loud. This reminds me a lot of the first disc of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. Luckily, that album had disc 2 to save it. This on the other hand, does not. It's a stronger album than disc 1 of Six Degrees, but still is lacking some of what made Dream Theater so great.

AS I AM is the opener to the album and kind of gives you a feeling of what the rest will be like. It is very heavy, riff driven metal. It has a very Metallica-type sound and overall, is a good song. The next song, THIS DYING SOUL is the second part of Mike Portnoy's Alcoholics Anonymous Suite, and is an extension of The Glass Prison on the previous album. It is heavy, even for a prog metal band, and seems to carry on a little too long near the end. It has parts of genius, but as a whole, is probably the worst song on the album.

ENDLESS SACRIFICE is an equally heavy and dark song as the past songs but is somewhat a more meaningful song. The songwriting of this song is stronger than the past two songs. HONOR THY FATHER is a borderline nu metal song. It has a section that is pretty much rapping. It is very dark and fueled by anger, but I actually enjoy it probably more than the past three songs. The middle section is very epic and is extremely compelling. VACANT takes a radical departure from the rest of the album. It is a soft song that actually includes a cello. The following song, STREAM OF CONSIOUSNESS, contains the theme from Vacant, and uses it in a pretty awesome instrumental. It features some great jams, and is a very enjoyable song.

The final, and by far the best, is the closer, IN THE NAME OF GOD. It is probably the one and only song on Train of Thought that is highly emotional and more like their previous stuff. This song is incredible, and I wish the rest of the album were like this.

All in all, this album is worth the purchase. It is one of the worst DT albums, but that isn't saying much because they've had so many masterpieces. It has a straight metal sound, but once you accept it for what it is, you realize it's in fact a very solid album. Not much aside from In The Name of God stands out, but nothing is bad.

3 stars.

Report this review (#217415)
Posted Friday, May 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars A very good album from Dream Theater - to be honest, this should really be rated higher. Perhaps I follow DT with some kinda blind faith, but just because this album si too heavy doesn't mean it's worse. Yes, I do prefer it when they slow down and have more lush keyboards, but if I want balls-to-the-walls heavy I look no further than this album.

1. As I Am (7:47) - The single - fairly straightforward, a good intro track with a great solo

2. This Dying Soul (11:27) - Possibly the heaviest track, the intro is heart stopping. Some rap vocals which are difficult to get over at first, but they merge with the rest of it just fine. There are good solos later on as well as some great choruses.

3. Endless Sacrifice (11:24) - The most varied song, highlights being the choruses and solos. Very good track.

4. Honor Thy Father (10:24) - Another heavy one, perhaps a weaker track, but it's got great "angry" styled vocals on it, particularly the chorus and the "Don't cross the crooked step part".

5. Vacant (2:57) - A James LaBrie song, with no real suprises. It's not heavy at all, but it is pretty good, albeit fairly forgettable.

6. Stream Of Consciousness (11:16) - A great instrumental, perhaps to long for its nature but it features some great riffs none the less.

7. In The Name Of God (14:14) - The best track, with oriental/Egyptian/eastern styled guitar. A weird instrumental section, but the awesome ending makes up for the Rudess-ified solo.

Not their opus, but excellent, none the less.

Report this review (#218214)
Posted Monday, May 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars 6/10

"Train Of Thought" is the heaviest, most guitar-driven DT album yet.

There aren't that many DT fans of exclusively their 00's period; In these ten years Dream Theater have been trying, especially from 2005 on to 2009, to sound more accessible to a much bigger audience, and they did get a lot more popular. But just before this, they were still interested in writing more challenging music: "Train Of Thought" was probably the last one until 2011's "A Dramatic Turn Of Events". Unfortunately, ToT isn't better than the few albums that will follow it, despite being a little more ambitious.

Overall this is probably the heaviest DT album yet; a rough production, edgy guitars and drums make it that way. This is also the most virtuoso effort of theirs yet; all of the musicians are at the top of their game, they just never sounded better, except maybe for Labrie, who has had a little better moments than here. I hear so many mind-blowing passages, but I do feel sometimes they exaggerate, like they'll do in 2011 with DToE, especially in Petrucci's solos, extremely fast and pretty obnoxious too at times. When they try to be melodic, it doesn't always work, and as always they get pretty cheesy in the hooks. But of course there are many exceptions, and also the cheesiness is compensated with the excellent musicianship.

The three big beasts for me are "As I Am", a sort of a catchy intro for the album, the instrumental and surprisingly calm (relatively) "Stream Of Consciousness" and "This Dying Soul", the near twelve minute epic that reprises in a good way some ideas of the previous album, "Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence". The rest of the songs are pretty good, the best one of these is "Endless Sacrifice", which has a really good keyboard section in the bridge. But some songs here I just don't care for: thankfully "Vacant" is a short song, it's a pretentious ballad with elaborate strings and general orchestral arrangements that just doesn't do anything for me, and "In The Name Of God" is the fourteen minute ending that has an ok melody, but it's just way too long, and it does not have an interesting or appealing flow to me.

"Train Of Thought" is a decent album by DT, an album that fans seem to be enjoy by fans, or fans of the single musicians. It can be a little too pretentious at times, but it's in the end worth your time if you like prog metal.

Report this review (#242030)
Posted Tuesday, September 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars What is not to like here? Yeah I know it is not as "progressive" nor as experimental as Scenes or Six Degrees, but it is Rockin'! I find myself constantly replaying this gem ( which can be found in most record stores for under $10!). I enjoy the booklet, the lyrics, the singing (for the most part), and the incredible playing. I know this one is geared towards the metal audience out there, but I do not find that to be a detraction at all. The Stream of Consciousness instrumental is to die for. In the Name of God has my fist pumping in the air every time and at 14 mins is just too short (could go on another 5 mins. and I would still be happy!) My 12 year old finds this to be absolutely incredible and asked for it on his mp3 player, to which I quickly agreed. If you are a fan of later DT, I think you will love this one!
Report this review (#243135)
Posted Monday, October 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Train of Thought is actually one my my favorites by Dream Theater. This wasn't a 'fall in love immediately' album though, as the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, tracks all seemed to drag on too long, with excessive annoying solos. At first I used to skip to track 5, "Vacant", because of the sudden feeling of emotion after being ruthlessly battered by Dream Theater in overdrive for nearly 40 minutes. "Stream of Consciousness" flows perfectly out of "Vacant" and is an outstanding instrumental, and the one song that really saves this album. Myung's mastery of bass is best shown here in the middle section. "In The Name of God" is one of my favorite epics, even though I always scream at James to "shut up!" as he keeps singing and singing and singing during the "Blurring the Lines" bridge (my only mark against this song). The third verse is outstanding, along with the solos. After listening to this album more closely, I've come to appreciate the artistic and lyrical presentation better. I give 4 stars now after letting this one collect dust after it's release.
Report this review (#245726)
Posted Thursday, October 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Good metal album... Interesting... but be sure you can take a wall of guitars and cymbals for about 65 minutes...

Now, so many years after the whole controversy around this realase, I found myself very please with this album, though I was one of the brokenheart fans who believe they just forget about making original music... of course, this album take a lot to get into... maybe because is to darn heavy and loud... maybe is average for a regular metal fan, but for a Prog fan, this was too much... I end up rocking around with Honor Thy Father and This Dying Soul... and I'm really glad they made this album... this is kind of their probe that they can be technical, and be the masters at it, for sure...

There are many reviews, so I will say a few things... I'm not agree with the people who said "Stream of Conscouisness" is the song that save the album... is quite boring for me, and "In the Name of God" is one of those songs that I try to skip always... I don't like it... but at the end, the album is good on itself... show one metal band who can play the instrumental part of "Endless Sacrifice"... is just amazing and rocking.. maybe not their best album but great for having fun and headbanging... If Iron Maiden and Metallica are so loved in this website... sure this album is over their standards... so... this is for metalheads... and for progmetal fans... is quite great...

Report this review (#246325)
Posted Monday, October 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Dream Theater: Train of Thought

What a CD. The Heaviest of Dream Theater's catalog. Possible the most controversial of their works to. It seems to me that this is a hit or miss album but, I love it. Hear Train of Thought was the technically the second time I was exposed to Dream Theater being I heard SFAM first but, I didn't really know it at the time. My Guitar teacher decided the best way to teach me how to play was to show me a good band that could influence me. How right he was. He put on the song "In The Name Of God", It was quite possible the best 14 minutes of my life. That song led me down the path of progressive rock and shown me the music that I love. The Album starts out with "As I Am" which has become a Dream Theater classic along with "Endless Sacrifice" and "In The Name of God". Train of Thought consists of long songs and long instrumental passages designed to blow your mind with its complexity and musician ship. I often compared Dream Theater The ELP of today because they often do things just to show they are better instrumentalists then you are. This album marks the last time the equation of song writing changes for Dream Theater. Octavarium is a mixture of there past albums, and Systimatic Chaos and Dark Clouds and Silver Linings have the same formula as Train of Thought. So all those who claim Dream Theater lost there magic, they still had it here. The guitars, drums, keyboards are more bombastic then ever. The vocals are a little weak at times but still better than most bands and there lyrics are less corny then there up and coming albums. But then again, Dream Theater has never been known for there lyrical abilities.

As I Am, Endless Sacrifice, In The Name of God are all 5 star songs This Dying Soul, Stream of Consciousness are 4 star songs Honor thy Father and Vacant deserve 3 stars.

Report this review (#250049)
Posted Wednesday, November 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Dream Theater gets heavier

This is Dream Theater's heaviest album. Ironically, only one of their great heavy tracks are on this album, being "In the Name of God." "Endless Sacrifice" is a decent track. The rest of the heavy tracks are just okay at best. My guess for why they made this a heavy album is because of the fact The Glass Prison got such a positive reception.

A description of the music: As said earlier, this is a mainly heavy album. "As I Am" is an immature song that takes a lot of Metallica influence, while "This Dying Soul" seems to have a lot of Megadeth influence, especially with James LaBrie giving us some vocals in the style of Dave Mustaine. "Endless Sacrifice" waivers between ballad and heavy often and works quite well. "Honor Thy Father" is the angriest song they've ever written and contains some pretty awful rapping sections. The parts with singing are intolerable but the part with the voices is well executed and the keyboard solo is pretty enjoyable. "Vacant" is a short intermission track with touching vocals and James LaBrie singing beautiful. The only completely soft track. "Stream Of Conciousness" is an enjoyable instrumental for about 6 minutes, but gets repetitive after that. "In The Name Of God" is the only amazing track on the album and contains effective lyrics, an entertaining shredding section, and guitar riffs that can easily get stuck in your head.


Guitar and drumming virtuosity: No surprise coming from a Dream Theater album. Mike Portnoy has some very difficult drum sections and John Petrucci has some guitar parts that almost border on unplayable.

The final track: The final track is the most important on an album, and luckily they managed to end the album well. "In The Name Of God" contains the strongest lyrics on the album. It also manages to make an instrumental section which, while just shredding, is actually quite entertaining and contains a very catchy bassline and drum beat. The guitar riffs are nothing to sneeze at either.


Excessive shredding: Dream Theater is famous for this on this site, but I find this is the only album where it is a true problem. John Petrucci has no soulful guitar solos whatsoever on this album where on the others he actually has some soul even in his shredding. Not at all present here, though.

Angst: Dream Theater (or perhaps prog in general) and angst do not go well together at all and it shows on this album. When they sing with angst, I find they just come off silly.

Rapping: This is a serious problem in "Honor Thy Father." This is the first time I've ever laughed at a track by a band I love that was completely serious. There is also a bit in "This Dying Soul" but it does not stand out as much.

Vocals: The vocals aren't BAD on this album, but the problem is he tries too hard to sound like other singers, most notably James Hetfield in "As I Am" and Dave Mustaine in "This Dying Soul."

Balance: I've always admired Dream Theater's skill to find a perfect balance of heavy and soft in their albums. The two minute song "Vacant" and a few soft parts in "Endless Sacrifice" is not enough to strike or go anywhere near that balance.

Song ratings: As I Am: 2/10 This Dying Soul: 4/10 Endless Sacrifice: 8/10 Honor Thy Father: 4/10 Vacant: 9/10 Stream Of Conciousness: 6/10 In The Name Of God: 10/10

Recommended for: Pure metal fans.

My rating: 2 stars. If it didn't contain "In The Name Of God," it might be 1. The song ratings may not make it look all that bad, but this album just had too many moments of disgust for me. Dream Theater's second worst for me.

Report this review (#281144)
Posted Sunday, May 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars I got to give Dream Theatre the credit for trying to bring something new and fresh with every new album. On Train Of Thought the approach is decisively darker and more thrash metal then their usual mellow metal prog hybrid. The reactions of the fans and non-fans are extravagantly extreme in both directions, stimulating ratings ranging from "absolute garbage" to "masterpiece". Obviously it's none of both. Not being a DT-fan nor a DT-basher, I'd say it's generally a pretty darn good metal album.

As I Am. The opener is spot on. It's a complete rip-off of Metallica to which the entire album plays tribute. But it works perfectly. Heavy, rocking and catchy, slightly commercial but nearly not as much as the dreary 80's metal on Images and Words. La Brie is in fine form, adding dramatic vocal melodies with a heavier delivery then his usual high pitch. He comes off like a slightly more melodic version of Megadeth's Dave Mustaine. 4 stars

This Dying Soul. More Mustaine influences here, especially for LaBrie's recitative snarls around minute 8. The song explodes in all possible directions, having moody reflective parts and hard rocking metal. The lead guitars are Eastern-flavoured in true Marty Friedman fashion (Megadeth again!). Unfortunately, Petrucci is no Friedman, he may mimic the style of that master but his pointless shredding makes him a grating listen. He has a great lead part here (first occurrence at 0.52) but manages to kill it by an onslaught of wrong notes. Well, he does produce many notes, which must be his standard for good. The last two minutes of this song contain possibly the worst shredding ever in rock history. 3.5 stars

Endless Sacrifice. No Dream Theater album without cheesy ballads. It isn't their worst but this is so old-fashioned classic metal. Boring, the distasteful instrumental kitsch in the middle doesn't help. 1 star

Honor Thy Father. Metallica is back in full glory here. I'm not much into bands cloning other people's style but DT manage to pay a respectable tribute here. They also throw in some other influences such as a bit of rap and distorted screams that remind me of Faith No More. The song contains even an acceptable keyboard solo and stays clear from mindless guitar leads. 4.5 stars

Vacant: Containing nothing, empty, blank, expressionless, inane. That's what the dictionary says and the song only delivers further confirmation. Pure 1 star cheese.

Stream Of Consiousness. If you want to pay tribute to Metallica you'll need a 10 minute instrumental. This track takes the honors and isn't half as bad as I had feared. Fine technical music but without much substance. Similar to Liquid Tension Experiment. 3 stars

In The Name of God. Excellent closer, continuing the style of This Dying Soul and Honor Thy Father. Unfortunately the guitar solos are ridiculous again. LaBrie tries to shatter your china in the sweeping finale. 4 stars.

Ever since Awake I've been in pursuit of the Dream Theater album that would confirm their creative talent. This album comes close but there's simply too many elements standing in the way of excellence. If it wasn't for the cheesy balladry and the nerve shattering guitar swagger from Petrucci, this album would be enjoyable throughout. It gives further evidence of their talent but it won't make them win their case any time soon. 3.5 stars

Report this review (#281765)
Posted Thursday, May 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars The 'metal' album, the one that made them famous, but is it any good i hear you ask..well yes every Dream Theater album is, the songwriting is just a little weaker i think. Sure you have your epics (THIS DYING SOUL, HONOUR THY FATHER and IN THE NAME OF GOD) all 3 songs kicking maxium ass but i do feel that the instrumental STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS dragged on just a little and AS I AM wasnt as good as it should have been. This is also the first DT album i heard and it really made me want to cheak out more of their stuff, the rest is history. This release is again another one produced by John and Mike and it really shows with a very clear and polished production throughout;

As I Am - 6/10 This Dying Soul - 10/10 Endless Sacrifice - 9/10 Honor Thy Father - 10/10 Vacant - 8/10 Stream Of Consciousness - 7/10 In The Name Of God - 10/10

My Conclusion? not as strong as the last two but still worth buying, great album.

Report this review (#284259)
Posted Sunday, May 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
Errors & Omissions Team
3 stars I remember when I found out about Dream Theater. My first Dream Theater album was Falling Into Infinity (1997) that I bought around 2001 or so and I liked the album. After that, a friend of mine that had all their albums borrowed me his CDs telling me to pay close attention to Images And Words (1992) and Awake (1994).

Honestly speaking, I didn't like those albums (as my Images And Words review here states). Everyone seems to praise them as the best moments of the American band, on my behalf I say that they have very good compositions with a TERRIBLE overall sound. I really don't like the early 90's approach to how the albums were produced and DT is no exception. Everything started to change with A Change Of Seasons (1995) and its great suite.

The band's peak was between 1999 and 2002 and they released Scenes From A Memory (1999) and Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence (2002). Scenes is an album that takes you completely into their world with innovative approach and great music and ideas. Six Degrees is another step further on the creative line and culminates in the 45 minutes long suite.

Do you see my point here? The band was trying hard to increase the quality of their work with each release, going to new and unexplored areas. When the time for a new album came, the band could follow the same pattern, try something new and bold again, but instead?. They went for the Train Of Thought (2003) album.

Now, Train Of Thought (2003) is not a bad album, no it isn't. The problem here is that the stagnation that follows the band 'till this very day started really here. You have great tracks as 'As I Am' and 'Honor Thy Father' but in general it feels?. Normal. Too normal. In a way the album is just disappointing because it doesn't go anywhere, it's just a collection of songs. This may not be really bad in a way, but I don't find the songs on the album remarkable in any way. On top of that I really dislike James LaBrie voice here, usually people tend to tolerate his voice (which is indeed a really bad voice), but I find it annoying most of the time in Train Of Thought (2003).

The band would go further with 2 more studio albums with Potnoy and 2 more with Mangini and they would never reach their peak again. And the big problem is not that, the big problem is that they don't even try. Sad to see that Portnoy was right, after all.

Report this review (#285215)
Posted Sunday, June 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars well when Dream Theater set out to to make this album they indended to make the heaviest album they could and this is what they got. I thought it was an awesome album personaly because it not only is heavy it also has some suprise twists in the music that dosent make it straitforward metal but makes it a progressive heavy album. I also enjoy how As I Am is abot one of the guitarists of Queensrych was trying to give Petrucci guitar lessons. It should be the other way around haha but yes id say get it. I might also like it because im a metal head as well but id say it is an exelent adition to any collection
Report this review (#288896)
Posted Friday, July 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars What can I say, I love this album. It's the last Dream Theater cd that I love from the "opening credits" till the last chord. some people might think different but IMO there are moments for everyone. As I am is a head-banger and In the name of God, man, every time I listen to it, it gets better. And in live shows it's the most awaited moment. Even the artwork got something special and perfect for the mood of the whole album. I'm only hoping that DT would produce something to match TOT someday. Please don't miss it, you won't regret it
Report this review (#288919)
Posted Friday, July 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars After the release of "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" (a very good album in my opinion), "Train Of Thought" was a big question for all Dream Theater fans (many other prog metal fans had already left the ship, being a bit harsh on the band). It's true that this one is quite different. It's much heavier to begin with. But it isn't inspired, and this is evident to a great extent here. Seven songs, a ballad "Vacant" (really mellow, easy and cheesy), and six classic Dream Theater prog metal songs in structure comprise the album. There are great guitar riffs here, but the solos of Petrucci are very similar and in some parts remind of exercises more than song solos. Another thing is the striking Metallica influences, especially in the vocal lines. You can identify "Blackened" after the beginning of the 7th minute of "This Dying Soul" and I really don't know why Dream Theater thought that this would add anything to their sound. "As I Am" is probably the best song of the album, but it's far below my favourite Dream Theater songs.
Report this review (#299476)
Posted Friday, September 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Heavy Dream Theater done right.

This was my first Dream Theater, and I absolutely love it. Portnoy constantly talks about how he wants to do Metal music. Well, this is the perfected "Heavy" Dream Theater. Where Black Clouds and Systematic Chaos failed miserably, Train of Thought succeeds.

This is an album that I break out on my darkest of days, struggling through the lowest of lows. My anger and frustration vents through this album. Needless to say I don't really get a chance to listen to the album since its rare that I'm that pissed off, but regardless, this album kicks ass.

While its aggressive and ferocious, its also has depth and emotion to it. There aint no lyrics about Dark Masters and Vintage Wine and all that crap. Here, Labrie's voice blends perfectly with the music, somehow they did it, and it works. This is a great example of a band trying a different sound, but retaining the quality. I've said it a million times, DT or any band can go in ANY direction they want as long as the quality is still there.

The only downside is that I rarely listen to it, since every time I do, I feel feel compelled to crank the volume up and I seriously don't want to go deaf. But seriously this is how you have to listen to Train of Thought. Blasting it on max volume.

As of 2011, Train of Thought is last excellent DT album in my opinion, and what follows, I refer to as the Mike Portnoy Trilogy of [&*!#] (Octavarium, Systematic Chaos and Black clouds). Albums which I try to ignore.

Report this review (#312573)
Posted Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Considered by many to the point where Dream Theater began to unravel, I see it as another great album Dream Theater.Heavy, dark, melodic and technical-this is "Train of Thought".

In addition to its ugly cover (worthy of the title of the darkest DT), this is a incredible.I love every track here, but "This Dying Soul", "Honor thy father", the instrumental "Stream of Consciousness" and closing epic "In the name of God" are absolutely fantastic.This does not mean that the other three are not good, but these stand out, especially "This Dying Soul"and "Honor thy father", which are among my favorites the band.

The album also follows a logical, it opens with a keyboard intro that ended the previous album "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" and the note concludes that the piano will also be used as the opening of the successor "Octavarium. "

Fans may have been shocked with the transformation of the band's sound, but I'm not what reclaim.5 stars.

Report this review (#319886)
Posted Sunday, November 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars i can't see why this only has a 3.55 star rating at the time of posting this review to me this is teh defintion of "progressive metal' while not the greatest dream theater album its one of he best albums the genre has to offer

first off it's a fairly short album compared to what i usually listen to (only 68:11) but it only has 7 songs giving you alot of different musical sounds and textures in this album despite the 7 songs

it starts with as i am the 2nd dream theater song i ever heard back in 2008 i loved it as soon as it started the cresendo's to the fill portnoy does is AMAZING then it goes into a slow beat so in live concerts they can get the crowd ready (as they did in 2010 in toronto) the nportnoy sits down and teh real fun begins it gets fast then faster then just pure amazing it continues farily uneventfully until portnoy's "solo" then it ends in a lovely display of techincal skill by the whoel band

the next 2 songs is im guessing the reason people don't like this albu mwhile defenitly metal they also display why progressive rock is mainstream music with some awful excesses espically by john pertucci

then the album rectifies itself with honor thy father that hits you right from the get go it is a wonderful song the 3rd if nnot 2nd best song here

we then have vacant/SOC i count then as one song because they pretty much are vacant the music is beautifully haunting teh lyrics however SUCK sorry james this shoulf of been part SOC and been instrumental as well then after our ears stop bleeding from labries terrible singing we get treated to THE GREATEST DRUMMING PERFORMANCE OF THE 21ST CENTURY mike portnoy pulls out all the stops here just is absouluty amazing and rudess backs him up beatufully so does myung pertucci leaves much to be desired however.

the albums ends with In the name of god one my top ten favourite dream theater songs its just a really cool song with a cool sound and awesome lyrics

all in all a very good album in my opinion 4/5

Report this review (#326661)
Posted Friday, November 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Taking a break from intense concept albums Dream Theater released Train of Thought which was much heavier and darker than previous albums. I've always been disappointed that people don't rate this album very highly compared to the bands previous works and feel that it was probably rated down mostly because it was too heavy for the average prog rock fan. Lets face it, it was a full blown metal album from beginning to end.

But the point is missed. For a band that can span almost any genre they like it was completely intentional to release a dark and heavy album not because it suited the industry, or to pick up extra fans, but because it was an area they had not quite yet explored and where they were at in this point in their careers.

Next to the mighty Scenes From A Memory this album stands out as their finest in my view. Solid songs from beginning to end, incredible over the top solos, a great flow from one song to the next breaking up the heaviness with songs such as vacant and stream of consciousness the composition and of course production was flawless from beginning to end.

Those turned off by the brutal energy of As I Am may have missed in my view the bands finest soloing moments. Both As I Am and This Dying Solo contained varied and superb riffs throughout but the amazing Endless Sacrifice takes the cake. I was fortunate enough to see this performed live a few years ago where Jordan Rudess set his gear in remote control, grabbed a portable keyboard and joined Patrucci at the front of the stage for the mind blowing twin solo within the song. Probably the finest stage moment I've seen to date.

Dream Theater didn't just release a metal album with Train Of Thought. They took on the heaviest of the heaviest and redefined the metal genre raising the benchmark for present and future bands to come. Never before had anyone taken metal to this technical extreme. The Riffs were tight, heavy as hell and varied. Petrucci didn't just nail the solos, he re-educated metals elite rhythm guitarists of what the genres all about. The solos were well thought out, lengthy, over the top and in no way detracted from the metal tone. Rudess demonstrated keyboards has every business being in metal and at times it was hard to pick between a second guitar or a keyboard.

Portnoy and Myung delivered their usual solid performances opting to provide a much more balanced melodic sound rather than just thumping skins at breakneck speed or cloning the guitarist. Finally LaBrie put in some of the best vocal work of his career at a time where I would say his vocals were at their peak. Finally keeping with the albums dark and sombre yet polished tone the album was not marred with the ridiculous backing vocals of Portnoy and Petrucci which have desecrated albums following.

Train of Thought was flawless from beginning to end. Every riff, solo, and overall composition as well as song order was thought through intelligently and delivered expertly. Every song stands proud amongst the bands finest. Length of songs was not sacrificed either. If anything, Train of Though probably contained more longer songs than their previous albums. The album explored a whole new area for the band without losing their technical edge just because they went full metal, and they shook up an industry at just the time it was due for a kick in the guts.

I would ask people to re-listen to this album, put aside metal prejudices, and really listen to every superb moment. You'll soon agree this album deserves its place alongside the flawless Scenes from a Memory and has no business lingering around the ratings of the unfortunate lame albums that were to follow. I still sit with fingers crossed hoping the band will revisit their darkest side again one day soon.

Report this review (#353560)
Posted Wednesday, December 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
Retired Admin
4 stars Me Dream Theater. Me metal band.

After Dream Theater decided to cover Metallica's classic "Master of Puppets," they also decided to record a metal (and I mean METAL) album with great amounts of Metallica influence. What resulted was a spectacular album instrumentally, but a little bit lacking album vocally. The whole instrumental aspect is perfect, but LaBrie's attempt at... rapping... didn't go over as well as the band has planned. There are still some fantastic moments throughout the album, which so make this a very good Dream Theater album.

As I Am officially ends Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (seems odd, dunnit?). After the last notes of SDOIT fades away, the great bass intro comes in, setting you up for a great metal track. The whole band (minus LaBrie) brings to the table everything they've got, with the sweeping solo by Petrucci, the intense drum and bass lines by Portnoy and Myung, and those essential keyboard backings by the Wizard Rudess. However, the only weak link (although still somewhat strong) is LaBrie's exaggerated and strained vocals. He does a good job, but he could do much better than what he did.

This Dying Soul is the first epic off the album, running at nearly 12 minutes. The song continues the AA Suite that Portnoy has crafted, and the song as a whole is spectacular. Instrumentally again, the whole band is top notch, and even LaBrie does a fantastic job with smooth and compassionate whispering and soaring (if not a little shrill) screams against intense metalling. You can really see the Metallica influence especially in this song, with some great chuging of the guitars and baking rhythms. The instrumental section is purely supreme, showing off the band's impressive talents once again.

Endless Sacrifice starts out slower, but quickly begins to pick up into an epic killer of a track. There is certainly a reason why the track was included on the band's greatest hits, for it certainly is a really great song. The instrumentation is again amazing, and on this track the vocal melodies are very good also.

Honor Thy Father is both an absolutely incredible track and the worst track on the album. The intro outright just slaps you in the face with Portnoy's amazing mini-drum solo, and the polyrhythmic instrumentation following is fantastic. Throughout the song, this great instrumentation continues, although the riffing does get a little dry and boring at places. However, the really weak link in this song is LaBrie's atrocious singing. I mean, he raps at times. James LaBrie is not a rapper, I think we can all agree on that. The lyrical theme of the song is great, but LaBrie sadly butchers it with horrid singing.

Vacant adequately makes up for the horridness of the last track with a short, melancholy, compassionate song that shows LaBrie at his best talent- softly sung compassionate "ballads." The cello compliments LaBrie's voice fantastically and makes the short song very nice and (positively) depressing to listen to.

Stream of Consciousness is one of Dream Theater's best instrumentals. Slow and deliberate, the song delivers a steady attack of incredible progressive metal music. The guys all contribute a little bit to make an amazing and complete whole. The song for sure does not leave you wanting for any more or any less, because the whole ride is magnificent and a masterpiece.

In The Name Of God is the true epic of the album. Over 14 minutes long, the album has everything standard for a great Dream Theater "long song": Great story, great instrumentation, great vocals, great movements, and a great overall ride. The whole track is brimming with superior melodies, rhythms, harmonization, synchronization, and everything that Dream Theater is well known for. Telling of the lyricist's (Portnoy's) atheistic sentiment or of someone's atheistic sentiment, I can really connect with the mindset (being atheist myself). The instrumental section is supreme, with another amazing guitar solo from Petrucci and the 5 star backing band. Overall, the whole track is a great ride and a gem on the album.

ALBUM OVERALL: The album certainly has strong pros and strong cons, but luckily most of the time the pros outweigh the cons. This is certainly an album full of great instrumental prowess, with sweeping guitar solos, fantastic instrumental melodies, a smashing instrumental track, and some of the band's best rhythmic backings. But, the biggest con of the album are LaBrie's many weak songs. Sadly, the insanely talented singer has been asked to sing what he cannot sing -- rap, and heavy metal music. He has strong sections, such as vacant, but for most of the album LaBrie's performance lags behind that of his comrades. But, overall, the album is still very, very strong, and is still an excellent addition to any metal collection, especially a metalhead who has not yet been introduced to the gods Dream Theater. 4 stars.

Report this review (#357590)
Posted Sunday, December 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Dream Theater goes metal again after the symphonic prog ecxess that was Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence.

The screaming and chugging guitars are back again and so is the typical heavy metal thunder. In short, the tempo has been turned up some notches and the gap to the likes of Metallica has been bridged.

The songs themselves are not classic Dream Theater fare, but still not bad at all. Dream Theater proves beyond doubts that you can still be uber-technical while still writing good commercial songs which blows most heavy metal and prog metal bands out of the water.

Herein lays the problem......... Some of the songs are too catchy and too commercial without displaying any depth or longviety. They are ear candy during the first five times of listening to them...... but pretty annoying after the sixth time. I feel Dream Theater has cut a lot of corners on Train Of Thought to please the neo-heavy metal crowd who migrated to heavy metal from the Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Soundgarden scene. In The Name Of God is a great song. The rest of the songs has sporadic flashes of brilliance before they retreat back to dry land again.

This is a good Dream Theater album which does not shame them. Neither does it enhance their reputation. Safe, but boring.

3 stars

Report this review (#363355)
Posted Saturday, December 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater have always been known as a band that likes to try out something new. I liked the calm progressive rock of the early days as much as the previous conceptual progressive metal epics. "Train Of Thought" continues the line of this diversity of styles and is an album that surprises with a very dark atmosphere, a very modern and clinical sound, some really heavy riffs that create a pendulum between pure Thrash Metal and the so-called Nu Metal and from fast rapping parts to sweet and calm cello interludes that are dominated by some keyboards, we get a lot of new things with this record. Purist and traditional metalheads beware, the band uses evil "modern" influences and "untrue" styles and has decided not to do an "Awake II" or "Metropolis Part III". And while many closed minded people will largely discuss about what happened to the band and how they could have ever done such a record, I appreciate the band's courage and I am truly happy to see and hear that they are still trying out something new and trfying to truly progress and innovate their genre where other bands of their kind like "Symphony X" or "Spock's Beard" deliver very solid albums without a doubt but somehow the usual material for the usual masses. With "Train Of Thought" Dream Theater take the risk to lose some old fans but get also the possibility to attract some new fans, especially younger persons that listen to commercial Nu Metal or fans of harder metal genres that always thought that the band was too soft. But in a fascinating way, the album doesn't sound as if the band had tried at all costs to please to those people or to follow a trend, it all sounds very natural and certainly fresh.

And while there are some electronical sound samples, some rap passages, some more vocal passages by Mike Portnoy and some heavy and straight riffs, the traditional fans may be happy to hear that this album still delivers us some excellent guitar solos ("Honour Thy Father"), some very calm and epic moments where James LaBrie creates magic moments with his soft voice surrounded by the keyboards ("Vacant") and some exotic elements and addicting melodies where every contributing instrument is extremely well executed ("In The Name Of God"). There are a lot of new elements but the band doesn't quite forget its roots and combines both influences. The more you listen over and over again to the songs, the more gems and surprises you discover such as the mumbles on "Honour Thy Father" that are taken from two movies or the famous morse code and parts of the American civil war hymn on the diversified masterpiece "In The Name Of God". Every single song on this record keeps some very emotional and addicting instrumental passages and there is no single filler on the record. The only slightly negative point that I can find is that some songs could have been cutten down a few minutes for example the solos or the outro on "Endless Sacrifice" or the repeating parts in the stunning instrumental "Stream of consciounceness" that unites experimental passages with a catchy main riff.

With a liitle bit more consistence and concentration, this album could have been the best one in the band's discography because it is courageous, fresh and still addicting and combines a new sound to the typical trademarks in a very open-minded way. I would only put the very diversified killer album "Black Clouds And Silver Linings" above this one. But progressive rock or metal fans should be warned and give this album a try before they buy it because the usually quite soft and traditional band sounds very modern and heavy on this album and reminds us rather of Mudvayne or Korn than of Rush and Iron Maiden. This is an album for open-minded friends of dark and proggy heaviness.

Originally published on on January 11th of the year 2011.

Report this review (#379069)
Posted Wednesday, January 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars One track mind...

The band entered the studio with the intention of writing a metal 'classic'.

The Good: Its another solid Dream Theater record. Standard high level of instrumentation (although the keyboards do seem to go a bit AWOL) with some great hard hitting compositions. Also one of LaBrie's stronger studio performances.

The Bad: By creating such a specific vision for this album the band have shot themselves in the foot by restricting the sonic diversity which is so fundamental to their style. Whilst Train of Thought has many cool moments, they are very sparsely distributed through songs which are far too long to support such a one dimensional approach. The albums final two tracks in particular could easily be halved in length with no loss to musicality or effect. And Vacant is pretty much well... vacant.

The Verdict: Too much bread, too little butter.

Report this review (#441009)
Posted Saturday, April 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Faster Petrucci ! Kill ! Kill !

Ha ha oh oh. The infamous thrash-metal-what-where-they-thinking?!?- album, as mean and black as the cover. The giant eye watching your reaction is wondering if you like it or not. Well, it's pretty decent after all. It's even better than Black Clouds and Silver Linings in some points: feels a lot more fresher, not to much packed and the songs are easier to get into. And I really like the Metallica-style-of-singing of James Labrie. It's fresh I tell ya!

The cons? Well, it's pretty much the Portnoy and Petrucci show. Rudess is almost absent in terms of ambience and atmospheres and we can barely hear Myung with all this ruckuss.

The good old days of thrash metal are back with this album, a time when Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and D.R.I. had a place in so many hearts of headbangers. They tried it, they liked it, they got over it.

Congratulations on the 3rd arm surgery for Mike Portnoy.

Report this review (#453018)
Posted Saturday, May 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars probably the most often overlooked and under-rated DT album since Falling Into Infinity but i never understand why.

here are some reasons why Train of Thought should not be missed: - the last full-fledged Dream Theater instrumental, Stream of Consciousness is a fantastic piece of work - (probably) the only "hate song" i've heard, Honor Thy Father, an all-out 10-min furious outburst of heavy metal (not very prog/ DT) - 68 min of arguably DT's heaviest playing - killer riffs in every song (except Vacant, of course!)

my picks for the best stuff: Endless Sacrifice (weird tutti frooti piano chime in the middle of a rip-roaring riff section not withstanding!) and Stream of Consciousness

Report this review (#472968)
Posted Thursday, June 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Without a doubt the heaviest record this band has ever released.

"Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence" may have had some heavy songs in "The Glass Prison" and parts of "The Great Debate" and the title track, but this disc is all heavy, less pillow.

Now, "As I Am" starts off a bit with the intro that was the previous disc's outro, and although it's a failed attempt at catchy lyrics and choruses, it's still pretty heavy and Petrucci dominates not just this track, but the entire album. "This Dying Soul", however, takes it up a notch, and then breaks it. This continues Mike Portnoy's Twelve-step Suite that detail's said drummer's alcoholism and his attempt to snap out of it. The progressive elements here are astounding and Rudess lights up the boards.

Rudess' amazing skills continue in "Endless Sacrifice" after a nice, slow intro. The instrumental sections are absolutely fantastic and showcase the technical abilities of Petrucci, Rudess, Portnoy and Myung. Definitely one of my favorites off the album. Although, "Honor Thy Father" has the best drum intro I've ever heard, and as a drummer, I've attempted to duplicate it, with dismal results. The song is all about Portnoy's father, backed by a headbanging-inducing riff that carries through just about the entire song.

"Vacant" is a nice change of pace from the constant bust-your-head metal unleashed on here, before the band goes instrumental on "Stream Of Consciousness", one of the greatest instrumental tracks ever and possibly one of my favorites by the band. Finally, "In The Name Of God" concludes in stunningly epic fashion, with fast guitars, fast keys, epic chords and an F0, being played by Jordan Rudess' nose.

Overall, this is a fantastic album, but extremely heavy, for heavier than "Awake" and "Systematic Chaos". Obviously, though, this is not for everyone, but if heavy metal is what you crave, this album is an excellent disc for you.

Report this review (#523389)
Posted Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars The most metallic and least progressive album of the Dream Theater machine

This album really divides fans and for good reason. The keyboards are really pulled back to the background and Rudess all but disappears. The focus is on shredding crunching distorted guitars, and man, does it destroy! Petrucci blazes on every track and slaughters all other instruments. The usually amazing Myung is a whisper on bass, and Portnoy drums heavier in order to keep up with the blitzkrieg of metal. LaBrie does his best James Hetfield imitation and kind of pulls it off, without using a death growl. We would have to wait for Black Clouds and Silver Linings to hear that from Portnoy. All in all I guess this one pleased metal fans and alienated the prog fans. It is a genuine fish out of water for the band and goes down in history as being the darkest heaviest DT studio recording. The songs were apparently written in two weeks and some of them sound like it. As usual there are highlights and they are quite apparent when you hear this a few times. The all seeing eye on the front cover stares us down as if to suggest we are watching for your reaction. Unfortunately at the time the reaction was not all that favourable with many DT fans being disappointed that the DT magic had been replaced by an onslaught of aggression layered Slayeresque brutalised riffs. The highlights are well documented but my opinion is there are at least 4 standouts worth mentioning.

As I Am is undoubtedly the one track that most DT fans adore. It has a strong melody and powerful riff that locks into your skull. The lead work of Petrucci is dynamic and overall this one really kicks along well and works great as a live number.

Endless Sacrifice is great and Rudess resurfaces with some scintillating keyboard work. It is written for Petrucci's wife and as a power ballad works on many levels; emotionally and has virtuoso musicianship. LaBrie sounds better than the Dalek distortion used at the beginning of this album.

Honor Thy Father is a dark excursion into some angry territory; a hatesong from Portnoy. It sounds something like what Tool or Gary Numan might produce lyrically. There are some strange narrations hidden within, perhaps from an old film but I have no idea which. A real curiosity but one of the highlights.

Stream Of Consciousness is definitely the most progressive track on the album. It deatures virtuoso musicianship and some of the most skillful guitar work from Petrucci.

Other songs have moments but are not up to the standard of usual DT classics. I do not mind the closer In The Name Of God, particularly due to the subject matter of religious zealots murderous intention, perhaps another 9/11 tribute in the vein of "Octavarium"'s Sacrificed Sons.

Overall this much maligned album has its merits but it is definitely the heaviest metal. Like a rollercoaster there are twists and turns in the lengthy songs but they are not as progressive as one may think, rather simply long soloing to make up each song. For all these reasons a fair rating is 3 stars, because DT are capable of so much more and they deliver this in albums to follow.

Report this review (#524561)
Posted Friday, September 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I know why DREAM THEATER have been so successful over the years. First, they are absolute technical monsters and every one who listens to them has to be blown away by how good each of the members are with their instruments. Second, they have truly invented a genre and are in my opinion the only band who represents what progressive metal is really about: fast guitar riffs, powerful drumming, epic lyrics, great ballads and more importantly the ability to surprise the listener with creative soundscapes. This album has it all.

People tend to criticise TRAIN OF THOUGHT because is too metal oriented, but it is not progressive rock, it's progressive METAL! So if you don't like metal, there is little chance you will ever find musical satisfaction in a DREAM THEATER record. I agree that this particular album is really heavy (probably due to mike Portnoy), but it is in every way successful.

The highlights are for me: Endless Sacrifice, Vacant-Stream of Consciousness and In the Name of God. Just listen to the first 5 minutes of SoC !!! PERFECTION !!!. If it's not your cup of tea, I understand but you can't objectively say that it is bad because it's actually really good in it's own way! I've never been a fan of James Labrie's singing though and it can be quite irritating in the screaming parts(it's not news)...But everyone else shines as usual.

Report this review (#540500)
Posted Sunday, October 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Technically, I rate this album a 3.5 out of 5.

This album is a response to DT's fan desire for the group to create a heavier sound. This album has divided DT fans and it is easy to see why. Those who have a liking for metal will no doubt enjoy this album, but those who enjoy DT's delicious blend of metal and progressive rock will likely be disappointed. Yes, many of the songs are long, but that does not mean they are prog songs, they are just long metal songs. While some of the songs do have some great moments, they are drowned out amidst a sea of crunching guitar and gunning drums. Rudess' keyboards and Myung's bass are barely heard in any of these songs with few exceptions.

The album opens up with As I Am, a track many Dream Theater fans adore. I am not one of them. The song opens with the strings from the end of the finale of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. It then delves into essentially a pure heavy metal song, almost in a Metallica vein. LaBrie here really does sound like James Hetfield in certain sections. There is really nothing challenging about this song at all, and it is ruined with juvenile language used in the song.

This Dying Soul continues Portnoy's Alcohol Anonymous Suite. While fun and heavy, it is just that. It is just a eleven minute metal song. Endless Sacrifice starts of soft and has a catchy chorus, but leaves little to the memory. During the middle of it, you think that Rudess' keyboards might make a comeback, but are cut off by the guitar.

Honor Thy Father is probably the most controversial track on the album, primarily because of LaBrie rapping through certain segments of the song. It is a hate song written by Portnoy about his step father. There are points during this song where it gets absurdly heavy and spoken segments are used. Overall, the song is too heavy and juvenile (I've listened to better "hate songs")

The next track, Vacant is a nice little song filled with cello and piano and LaBrie's fantastic vocal work. Its a shame it only lasts for a few minutes.

The next two songs are Dream Theater at its best. The first is Stream of Consciousness, and eleven minute instrumental that features Petrucci, Myung, Rudess, and Portnoy at their top performance, featuring some of the fastest soloing seen in DT's catalogue. The album closes out with In the Name of God, a truly great prog metal song about those who try to use religion to justify the violence they carry out.

I would probably dismiss this album if it were not for Stream of Consciousness and In the Name of God. For those trying to get into DT, you might want to look elsewhere. For those who want mostly heavy songs, you might like this. However, I put it low on the totem pole when it comes to the DT catalogue. When I listen to DT, I want to hear prog metal, not pure heavy metal.

Report this review (#585852)
Posted Saturday, December 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Dream Theater's straightest metal album. Little variety in texture or dynamics here, it's pretty much full on metal straight from the get go. Not that this is a bad thing, infact, this is one of my favourite DT albums probably for that reason. Each song has memorable parts, some lightning solos and very catchy riffs.

There are certainly many prog elements in this one, as you would expect. Time signatures fly everywhere (if sometimes they seem very forced), the structures are hardly conventional and the length of the songs is long enough with five of the seven being over 10 minutes long and one of the others weighing in at eight minutes.

This Dying Soul is part of the AA suite, and along with Stream Of Conciousness, is my pick for best from the album.

Not a good album to really show what Dream Theater are all about, but a very good metal album and any fans of heavy and/or technical music should give it a listen.

Report this review (#652161)
Posted Friday, March 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Train of Thought is where Dream Theater begins to discard some of the prog rock aspect of their music for a more metal approach. This is of course DT's heaviest album, Petrucci's riffs are heavier and more metallic sounding, and LaBrie shows why he can indeed be a metal singer by fitting the role perfectly. Jordan's keys are great as always, as is Portnoy's drumming, but Myung seems to be a little buried in the mix due to the heavier sound. The music itself is still very much Dream Theater, with more melodic parts accompanied by the extended noodling with Petrucci and Rudess doing their thing. All of the songs are a bit on the longer side, with five of seven hitting over 10 minutes in length. All of these compositions are solid though, and it's amazing considering they made this album in under a month.

The album starts with homage to Metallica in 'As I am.' Dream Theater never hides their influences, and Metallica is definitely on of them. The song overall is hardly prog, but is indeed a very good metal song.

'This Dying Soul' continues Mike Portnoy's 12-step suite started with the equally heavy Glass Prison. This song has some amazing riffs and fantastic vocals by LaBrie. Rudess adds his touch with the piano as well.

'Endless Sacrifice' starts off as a slower song with guitar and keys leading the way. There are a few metal/alternative riffs before hitting a fantastic instrumental section at around five minutes. The keyboard is really nice here and compliments the guitar well.

'Honor Thy Father' is a decent song and perhaps the most metal sounding one on the album. The riffs are relentless and never let up. I wouldn't consider as good as the previous two songs though.

'Vacant' relieves us from the constant heaviness and intensity of the album. The strings are a nice touch as are the vocals. This song also segues perfectly in the next track, 'Stream of Consciousness.' The song is completely instrumental and is one of Dream Theater's best. There are few ideas used in the song, but they are all repeated and built upon well. The mandatory soloing is here, but doesn't detract from the feel of the song at all.

'In the Name of God' is another solid track and is an epic close to the album. The heavy riffing of the rest of the album is here, and the chorus is instantly memorable. The crazy soloing that happens at eight minutes might be a bit much, but it is nice to be actually able to hear Myung's bass.

Train of Thought is a solid album considering the amount of time they put into it. Unfortunately the overly metal sound is a slight turn off, and they seemed to forget about the prog roots they had in album like Images and Awake. Despite this, the album doesn't have a dull moment and is a great offering from the kings of Prog Metal.


Report this review (#771382)
Posted Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars Paradoxically, this is Dream Theater's most technically challenging album and their most underwhelming one. The introductions are simple and met with overpowering metal clichés that are simple demonstrations that this album was written in a short period of time. The rhythmic aspect of the album is good, and so are the arrangements, but that is all. Otherwise, it is a train wreck. The scarcity of keyboards turns this album into a heavy metal slaughterhouse with little in the way of grace. It's like John Petrucci did not get enough action in the marvelously balanced Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, and so had to make up for it with enough sixteenth and thirty-second notes on his Ernie Ball to fill four albums. This could have been much more. Alas, and again paradoxically, it being more than it should have been strangled it from glory. No- I don't want to hear an overzealous guitarist practice (had to put up with that in college, thank you very much).

"As I Am" Bass harmonics and distorted guitar sludge through an introduction. Really, once it picks up, the album starts off going in the right direction. It has a heaviness, a drive, and a sinister, slower hook. The riff under the solo is excellent, but the solo itself is fast, furious, and forgettable.

"This Dying Soul" The million-note-man Petrucci fires off riff after riff and shred lick after shred lick before settling into a softer movement. Metalcore rapping drones on for a while, eventually bringing back the sludgy down-tuned guitar and overindulgent drumming. The ludicrous vocal snarling never seems to run short of lyrical clichés. Petrucci's pointless solo leaves me wishing one or more of his strings would break. The superfluous keyboard backing doesn't help.

"Endless Sacrifice" Jordan Rudess makes a smart move by offering a brief, calmer, and more melodic solo over this one break the album offers from scowling, over-the-top metal. Despite the unsurprising heaviness that swallows the music like a leather pants-wearing leviathan, Rudess single-handedly manages to maintain the beauty of the composition in the background, and soon in the fore with touches of light keyboards. The instrumental middle section is drawn out and wearisome, and the concluding passage suffers from the same manic directionless.

"Honor Thy Father" Further uninspired and flavorless riffs rip through the beginning of this one. John Myung is more audible on this track than anywhere else, but it's a pity that his part is so bland, as he often just hangs onto the root note or just follows the lead instruments. The enraged, rapped, profanity-laced lyrics just come across as juvenile, as though Dream Theater has turned into a highly skilled but nevertheless irritating garage metal band.

"Vacant" In under three minutes, Dream Theater shows how much more fluid and melodic this album could have been, even alongside the heavy-hitting riffs and volatile drumming.

"Stream of Consciousness" A simple riff and predictable metal splash opens this lengthy instrumental. Even with the keyboards in the fore, the thing is just wearisome in context. In case the listener did not know that Petrucci could play fast, he speeds through many measures with many pointless runs. The bass-led riff in the middle channels the 1980s and is kind of cool. In a way, it's almost like King Crimson (think The Power to Believe). Then the Tormato-like keyboards come in and make a mockery of what had been, at least for a while, an enjoyable thing.

"In the Name of God" This last son and the first song are the only tracks on Train of Thought that I think are excellent in the context of what Dream Theater had just put out album-wise. The dark, electronic, bass-driven section is different from anything the rest of the album subjects the listener to. The precipitous soloing over the semi-Latin rhythms is not, unfortunately. Give it a rest.

Report this review (#833715)
Posted Friday, October 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Lets start by this phrase: I really like Dream Theater. But this album Pretty much disappointed me. My first encounter with this band was when a friend of mine heard im into classic 70`s prog and asked me to try some prog metal. So, he gave me his copies of Images and Words and Scenes from a Memory. Those albums blew my mind specificaly Scenes from a Memory. So i continued looking for thier albums and found Train of Thougt. This album literaly led me to a train of thoughts. As a metal fan i give this album 4 stars great heavy metal album! But as prog fan, well its something else. One of the things that i dont like in prog metal is calling a band PROG METAL when they arent prog. It is basicly what i felt with this album. It does have progressive elements here and there especialy with its second half. But most of the album is Modern Metal. I was also dissapointed with the albums instrumental Stream Of Consciousness. Most of Dream`s Instrumentals i really like but this just doesnt get it for me. Not Energy Pumping enough and not that much Progy. I hope they will make it better with thier upcoming album.
Report this review (#992589)
Posted Saturday, July 6, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars I am not going to rate any Dream Theater album thus far released less than the full 5 stars - with me that's a given. I just find, that to me, these guys are the pinnacle of what I expect from the music that I love. To me it is a futile exercise rating a bands album against previous or future releases by the same band - I rate in accordance to what else is out there in the same vein and relating to that every single DT release leaves just about anything else in the same genre cold. I don't percieve DT as being metal although they use a lot of metal technique in their music. I percieve the band to be solidly in progressive rock territory using various musical forms and technique throughout their music. I think that there is absolutely no doubt that instrumentally the musicians making up the band are the very best at what they do - and they constantly prove that throughout their albums and live shows. I love watching a man who knows how to use his instrument proving that - watching one of the many live dvd's I have of the band is an exercise in sitting there open mouthed wondering how in hell the musician is able to do that with his instrument - not least in that regard is Petrucci to me. What to many others is termed musical "wankery" is musical heaven to me. All that said - to this album - it isn't the first DT album however having seen a few reviews here of the album recently I felt that I would add my two cents to the fray

"As I am" - Opens very solidly in Metal, Hard Rock territory. I enjoy the riffing and the way this segues between metal and rock territory.

"This Dying Soul" - I have seen this album likened to Metallica and Dave Mustaine by some reviewers here and all I can say to that is that Metallica and Mustaine wish. They would be in heaven if they could play this properly. The interplay on this track between lead, bass, keyboards and drums is fantastic. Petrucci is awe inspiring as is Portnoy throughout this. As for those who call Petrucci the million note a second man disdainfully - try it sometime.

"Endless Sacrifice" - Slower track on opening with some very strong melody before strong riffing leading into an almost orchestral sound. Further along the track enters solid metal fusion territory. Very strong jam with lead, drums and keyboard. There is a little humor added into the fray from the keyboard wizard Rudess. There is very little repetitiveness through this track and that is another thing that I love about DT - they keep things interesting throughout.

"Honor thy Father" - Thrash metal opening. A kind of thrash, hard rock interplay to start. An angry track. This is the weak point of the album as far as I'm concerned.

"Vacant" - I love this short track. Contains more emotion in it than many whole emotive albums do. It leads into the next track.

"Stream of Conciousness" - Strong hard rock instrument fusion.

"In the name of God" - Massive track both musically and lyrically.

Dream Theater's heaviest release in my opinion and their most "metal" album. Having said that I will say that it isn't merely a metal album as it contains a great deal of musical ideas. It does contain a great deal of instrument wizardry which, to some, isn't a great thing. To me that wizardry is a great portion of what I love about the band. This isn't the album to get started on a Dream Theater discovery mission as it is one of the hardest to get into but when you ultimately do and you appreciate the band for what they are then the rewards are great. A solid 5 stars from me.

Report this review (#993004)
Posted Sunday, July 7, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater is a band that has got incredible songs in most of their albums, and on the few that don't have such masterpieces of songs, at least they have some really good ones. However, just about all of the albums have several songs that drag down the albums a bit, and so I wouldn't give the five stars to any of them... except for this one. Every song on it is just brilliant, a perfect mix of metal and prog to the best results. LaBrie's voice isn't as annoying as it can be on other albums, and they don't have the silly ballads that drag down other albums, except for "Vacant", though it is short enough and it actually isn't so bad, and it's a very nice intro to "Stream of Consciousness", one of my favourite songs on their whole discography. Even now, after years of knowing it, I can't help but completley enjoy every second of this magnificent piece, which is emotional, heavy, and absolutley proggy (and instrumental, thus, no LaBrie at all!!!). Nor does this album have much of the overly heavy and noisy songs... the closest to that description would be "Honor thy Father", my least favourite song on the album, but even so it's got some nice catchy melody going on that allows me to enjoy it. Excellent album by this Prog Metal giants, but you must like their heavier side in order to get into it and enjoy it.
Report this review (#1126766)
Posted Monday, February 3, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars Train of Thought was much more rushed than any of Dream Theater's other albums, written in mere weeks, and could've used some more touching up and improvements. It also has some of the detested "mallcore" influence hated by metal elitists (and others), angrier and heavier than any of the band's other albums, with both cursing and rapping. The members still perform well, the technicality as present as ever, including some great look-how-many-notes-I-can-play solos from Rudess and Petrucci, but the songwriting is possibly the weakest of any Dream Theater album and can likely be attributed to the quick writing process.

The individual songs vary widely in quality. On one side of the spectrum, there is Honor Thy Father (with lyrics written by Korn, probably) and This Dying Soul. This Dying Soul starts and finishes strong with great soloing, but the middle is dominated by LaBrie's vocals, without much room for the instrumentalists, which causes it to meander aimlessly. Honor Thy Father is even worse, also controlled by LaBrie's angsty vocals and a completely pointless soundbite montage, except there is a decent instrumental passage that doesn't really make up for anything. It is almost painful to listen to because the vocal delivery and lyrical content is so very, very nu-metal, not to mention it also tends to meander aimlessly. Coincidentally (or maybe not), these songs are the two that contain the distorted rapping that made a lot of people wary of this release.

In opposition, saving the album from utter mediocrity, there are songs like In the Name of God, a Middle-Eastern tinged but otherwise standard DT epic with a cool bridge. Endless Sacrifice is the easily best song on Train of Thought, its beginning the only soft moment off the album (besides the short song/interlude Vacant). Though the chorus is disproportionately heavy the first time around, that doesn't stop it from building up smoothly from a ballad with a riff similar to the one from Metallica's Sanitarium, and into DT's classic insane technicality. The instrumental track, Stream of Consciousness, isn't bad either, evolving and transitioning well. I guess they had to compensate for the LaBrie-dominated tracks with this song.

Train of Thought is worth a few listens, but the songs generally tend to be hit or miss. It has possibly the weakest songwriting of any Dream Theater album, since it was thrown together so quickly. Since then, fortunately, they've dropped the 'mallcore' influence and started taking more time to work on albums before releasing them.

Report this review (#1434446)
Posted Saturday, July 4, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars When discussing the making of this album, the members of Dream Theater have said that their goal, inspired by all the "classic" metal albums by bands such as Metallica and Iron Maiden, was to make a record full of "live songs" that will work well in a concert setting. An album full of metal classics, that'll get energy flowing, fists pumping and heads banging.

They succeeded.

As is always the case when bands stray away from their original sound, there are some who dislike this record for being more centered on metal, as opposed to the progressive elements that Dream Theater made famous in the early 90's. Being a metal fan as much as a prog fan, I love this record, and whilst anyone can see that they stepped away from a lot of their progressive roots on this one, the band more than compensate for it with these pumping metal anthems.

Of course, at the time this album came out (November 2003) I was still fairly new to Dream Theater, and definitely more of a metalhead than anything else. So why wouldn't I love tracks like 'As I Am' (that riff...), 'This Dying Soul', 'Honor Thy Father' or 'In the Name of God'? Each track perfectly demonstrates why Dream Theater can stand toe-to- toe with any of metal's elite.

As you would expect from this band, the musicianship is phenomenal. Most of the songs are definitely guitar- centered, with keyboardist Jordan Rudess taking more of a backseat in most songs. But he's there none-the-less, and when he's trading solos with guitarist John Petrucci, especially on tracks like 'Stream of Consciousness', you know that there's no one that can match these guys.

'Train of Thought' certainly has its prog moments, but ultimately, this is an all-out, straight-up, ballsy metal album. And it's a damn good one, at that!

Report this review (#1777266)
Posted Thursday, August 31, 2017 | Review Permalink
The Crow
2 stars Seventh studio album by Dream Theater!

And this time, produced by Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci, they decided to follow the path opened by the first CD of the good but overrated Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, with the band trying to reach a more modern prog-metal for the new millennium, with some glimpses of thrash metal (especially Metallica), rap and nu-metal influences.

The result is a disjointed and rather boring album with tons of great passages and splendid musicianship but with too many boring and predictable sections, adding nothing new to the previous material of the band and with the ugliest Portnoy's sound on drums yet. He sounds very technical, but too noisy and annoying to be enjoyable, especially the snares.

On the other side, John Myung is more noticeable this time, like in the embarrassing Metallica's rip-off As I Am.

Best Tracks: This Dying Soul (despite some strange alternative metal glimpses), Stream of Consciousness (not entirely good, but with some fine parts) and In the Name of God (great Petrucci's work in this one, with fine Arabic influences)

Conclusion: Train of Thought is in my opinion the most boring and uninspired album in the entire Dream Theater's career.

Only recommended for fans.

My rating: **

Report this review (#2116548)
Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2019 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars This seems to be one of the more divisive albums in Dream Theater's discography, further developing the extremely dark, heavy sound that the previous 2 albums had begun to implement, yet also adding some more modern, alternative metal elements into the equation. The aggression present here is for the most part extremely prominent, with even the lighter songs having really heavy sections. However, despite the overall impressive sound that the album possesses, certain compositional flaws present among much of Dream Theater's material are even more common and egregious here, with almost every solo sounding very similar to one another throughout many songs, and certain songs being overlong and containing sections of pointless noodling. Despite this, I do overall find the album to be one of the better ones, despite the issues with it, as most of the songs are still massive hits for me.

As I am is both the shortest and by far the most commercial track on the album, taking a lot of clear inspiration from Metallica in the pseudo-thrash riffing and the agressive, yet melodics vocal melodies dominating the song, with a fairly standard structure, but some really great keyboard work as it segues into an unfortunately dull solo, which does impact the song in a fairly negative way. This Dying Soul is both one of the greatest songs on the album, but then also one of the weakest, if it cut off at around the 9 minute mark, I'd absolutely adore the eerie, intense, downright harrowing nature of the song, especially with the distortion that comes in throughout, and the chorus, and the continuation of the 12 Step Suite with hte reprise of The Glass Prison's middle section. That said, the instrumental outro goes from boring to downright silly, with constantly teasing the prospect of it ending before becomning faster, making it feel obscenely excessive, or, as many detractors of the band would say, filled with instrumental wanking.

After these first 2 lackluster songs, the rest of the album picks up its act a lot more, with greater variation in between and much more impressive composition. Endless Sacrifice, while being the light song of the album, has a wonderfully heavy, emotional chorus with some really great guitar. The solo provides some more impressive technicality along with intensity, being quite varied throughout to maintain the enjoyable nature, which transitions into a climactic finale and an insane drum fill. Honor Thy Father is tied with In The Name Of God as my favourite song on the album, being without a doubt, the heaviest, nastiest, most angry and aggressive song the band has ever written, with lyrics equally as direct and in your face as the instrumentation, which switches between brutality and groove. I love the way the song continues building in intensity, especially with the chorus changing slightly each time, using more profane and direct vocabulary each time. While the use of movie audio samples isn't quite as effective here as in Space Dye Vest, it does still work quite well. Stream Of Consciousness is probably what I'd consider to be the best of the instrumental tracks by the band, being extremely dynamic with every instrument getting the spotlight at one point or another, sometimes extremely epic, while other times really laid back and atmospheric, essentially combining every good aspect of their previous instrumentals to make this. In The Name Of God is also an incredible song, with a middle eastern styled, crushing riff throughout most of the song, combined with constantly climactic vocals from Labrie, lyrics equally fitting of the incredibly grndiose nature of everything.

Overall, while this album is flawed in a few ways, I enjoy it a lot for its heaviness and powerful riffs throughout, even if the solos almost always end up falling flat. I find this to be one of the better Dream Theater albums overall, despite the seemingly mixed opinion people have of it. While I don't recommend anyone start with this album when delving into this band's discography, it's definitely a great album all around, especially for those who like heavier music.

Best songs: Endless Sacrifice, Honor Thy Father, In The Name of God

Weakest songs: This Dying Soul

Verdict: The heaviest album that Dream Theater have made, and one of my favourites as well. I find this to be the last truly great full album the band wrote, and would recommend it to those who like heavier music, but nothing too extreme.

Report this review (#2166173)
Posted Saturday, March 16, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars Review 1

Introduction/Abstract: This is definitely Dream Theater's heaviest album in their current catalogue. This album has a quite similar sound as their previous album "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" with more intense riffs. If you like heavy songs without growls and amazing musicianship this album is worthwhile. This is, in my opinion Mike Portnoy's greatest work.


Originality: In terms of originality, this album is quite different from other typical metal albums. It surely has the same raw sound that you can hear in many Metallica albums, but with a progressive twist. Obviously, the vocals are quite original in comparison to other albums of this genre. One aspect that I think really works with this album is the usage of various lyrical and musical themes from the Twelve-step Suite, a project written by Mike Portnoy. You can also find these elements in "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence", "Octavarium", "Systematic Chaos" and Black Clouds and Silver Linings.

Rhythm section: Mike Portnoy at his finest and possibly the pinnacle of any rhythm section in Dream Theater. "Honor Thy Father" really illustrates why Portnoy is currently one of the best drummers in the world.

Musical texture: A lot of different musical textures in this album. You can find some Thrash elements at the end of "This Dying Soul", some doom metal elements in the opening riff of "As I Am" and progressive passages all throughout the album with the exception of "Vacant", a slow piano driven ballade, the weakest song of the album in my opinion.

Production: The production is quite raw and metallic. It does have a thin sound which makes it heavy, but far from being a crazy audiophile production. Overall it has a good sound for a progressive metal album. Conclusion/Rating: Train of Thought has all the elements of a solid progressive metal album and should be added to your collection if you are a fan of the genre.


Report this review (#2496004)
Posted Wednesday, January 20, 2021 | Review Permalink

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