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TRAIN OF THOUGHT

Dream Theater

Progressive Metal


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Dream Theater Train Of Thought album cover
3.58 | 1383 ratings | 212 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. As I Am (7:47)
2. This Dying Soul (11:27)
3. Endless Sacrifice (11:24)
4. Honor Thy Father (10:24)
5. Vacant (2:57)
6. Stream Of Consciousness (11:16)
7. In The Name Of God (14:14)

Total Time: 68:19

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- James LaBrie / vocals
- John Petrucci / guitar
- Jordan Rudess / keyboards
- John Myung / bass
- Mike Portnoy / drums and percussion

Releases information

EastWest America

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DREAM THEATER Train Of Thought ratings distribution


3.58
(1383 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
25%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
36%
Good, but non-essential (24%)
24%
Collectors/fans only (10%)
10%
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)
6%

DREAM THEATER Train Of Thought reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Marc Baum
PROG REVIEWER
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

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Send comments to Marc Baum (BETA) | Report this review (#24445) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, December 22, 2003

Review by semismart
PROG REVIEWER
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.

MY BOTTOM LINE:

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.

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Send comments to semismart (BETA) | Report this review (#24505) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, April 26, 2004

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#24562) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, June 17, 2004

Review by diddy
PROG REVIEWER
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...

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Send comments to diddy (BETA) | Report this review (#24565) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, June 26, 2004

Review by frenchie
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to frenchie (BETA) | Report this review (#24570) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, July 04, 2004

Review by richardh
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Review by FloydWright
PROG REVIEWER
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 fans...in 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 heavy...in 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.

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Send comments to FloydWright (BETA) | Report this review (#24625) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, February 11, 2005

Review by slipperman
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to slipperman (BETA) | Report this review (#24629) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, March 07, 2005

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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 clichès, this is a great album!

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

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Posted Thursday, March 31, 2005

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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

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Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Review by MikeEnRegalia
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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!

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Send comments to MikeEnRegalia (BETA) | Report this review (#24713) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, June 02, 2005

Review by Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
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-

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Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Review by Vanwarp
PROG REVIEWER
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. ;)

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Posted Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Review by Bob Greece
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to Bob Greece (BETA) | Report this review (#59310) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Review by Tony Fisher
PROG REVIEWER
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)

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Send comments to Tony Fisher (BETA) | Report this review (#65754) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, January 20, 2006

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Send comments to Cygnus X-2 (BETA) | Report this review (#73496) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Review by Yanns
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to Yanns (BETA) | Report this review (#76058) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 23, 2006

Review by imoeng
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to imoeng (BETA) | Report this review (#78460) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Review by sleeper
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to sleeper (BETA) | Report this review (#79350) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, May 25, 2006

Review by AtLossForWords
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Riding the Train of Thought

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Send comments to AtLossForWords (BETA) | Report this review (#81590) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Review by OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to OpethGuitarist (BETA) | Report this review (#82627) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Review by WaywardSon
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to WaywardSon (BETA) | Report this review (#84221) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Review by Raff
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to Raff (BETA) | Report this review (#86190) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#94991) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Review by Moatilliatta
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Review by 1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
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+

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Posted Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Send comments to The T (BETA) | Report this review (#115017) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Review by russellk
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#115038) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Review by Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
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

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Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007

Review by Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
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

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Posted Monday, June 04, 2007

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Posted Thursday, September 13, 2007

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars KEEP THE METAL, FORGET THE PROG

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.

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Posted Saturday, September 29, 2007

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#147384) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, October 26, 2007

Review by ProgBagel
PROG REVIEWER
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!.

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Send comments to ProgBagel (BETA) | Report this review (#154951) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, December 10, 2007

Review by progrules
PROG REVIEWER
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).

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#154956) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, December 10, 2007

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#162573) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, February 24, 2008

Review by Petrovsk Mizinski
PROG REVIEWER
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.

4.7/5

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Send comments to Petrovsk Mizinski (BETA) | Report this review (#168878) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#170167) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#182826) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 19, 2008

Review by CCVP
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to CCVP (BETA) | Report this review (#184748) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, October 04, 2008

Review by LiquidEternity
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to LiquidEternity (BETA) | Report this review (#185282) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, October 11, 2008

Review by crimson87
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to crimson87 (BETA) | Report this review (#198241) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, January 09, 2009

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
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?

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#202558) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 12, 2009

Review by JJLehto
PROG REVIEWER
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

Bump

FOUR STARS

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Send comments to JJLehto (BETA) | Report this review (#214245) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, May 07, 2009

Review by J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#217415) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, May 22, 2009

Review by EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to EatThatPhonebook (BETA) | Report this review (#242030) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Review by jampa17
PROG REVIEWER
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...

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Send comments to jampa17 (BETA) | Report this review (#246325) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, October 26, 2009

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#281765) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, May 13, 2010

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Errors & Omissions and Crossover 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.

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Send comments to ProgShine (BETA) | Report this review (#285215) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, June 06, 2010

Review by Andy Webb
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Site and Forum 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.

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Send comments to Andy Webb (BETA) | Report this review (#357590) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, December 19, 2010

Review by Starhammer
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to Starhammer (BETA) | Report this review (#441009) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 30, 2011

Review by Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#453018) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, May 28, 2011

Review by Wicket
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to Wicket (BETA) | Report this review (#523389) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#524561) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 16, 2011

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#833715) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, October 05, 2012

Latest members reviews

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#1126766) | Posted by Dellinger | Monday, February 03, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#993004) | Posted by sukmytoe | Sunday, July 07, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 M ... (read more)

Report this review (#992589) | Posted by Bozit | Saturday, July 06, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 pe ... (read more)

Report this review (#771382) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 a ... (read more)

Report this review (#652161) | Posted by Small Print | Friday, March 09, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 bl ... (read more)

Report this review (#585852) | Posted by thesleeper72 | Saturday, December 10, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 ba ... (read more)

Report this review (#540500) | Posted by carbunculus | Sunday, October 02, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 - (p ... (read more)

Report this review (#472968) | Posted by sv_godspeed | Thursday, June 30, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#379069) | Posted by kluseba | Wednesday, January 12, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#363355) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Saturday, December 25, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#353560) | Posted by Ramma | Wednesday, December 15, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#326661) | Posted by paroxix | Friday, November 19, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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, b ... (read more)

Report this review (#319886) | Posted by voliveira | Sunday, November 14, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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. ... (read more)

Report this review (#312573) | Posted by Phoenix87x | Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 muc ... (read more)

Report this review (#299476) | Posted by DeKay | Friday, September 17, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#288919) | Posted by Rodolfo | Friday, July 02, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 m ... (read more)

Report this review (#288896) | Posted by johnfripp | Friday, July 02, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#284259) | Posted by FarBeyondProg | Sunday, May 30, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 alb ... (read more)

Report this review (#281144) | Posted by DisgruntledPorcupine | Sunday, May 09, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 h ... (read more)

Report this review (#250049) | Posted by kawkaw123 | Wednesday, November 11, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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