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Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.31 | 1752 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Two of their three last albums before this one were the most progressive they had produced so far : "Six Degrees" and "Octavarium". One being their most heavy-metal and little interesting to my ears "Train Of Thought". So, I wondered which way "Dream Theater" was going to head for "Systematic Chaos". And actually, to satisfy (or disastify) their fans, they will opt for a mix of the genres (but their most heavy side will be scarce, fortunately).

Only two tracks belong to the heavy metal and unintersting stuff : "Constant Motion" and "The Dark Eternal Night". Best avoided if you can't stand this genre.

"Forsaken" on the contrary is a good pop-rock song. Straight-forward composition; strong but not heavy. It features crystal clear vocals and combines a very melodic chorus with even some light passages. I guess that devoted "DT" fans (which I am not) will not really praise this song. But as far as I'm concerned, I like it.

Some other pieces of music are really nice to listen to. "Repentance" for instance. It sounds almost like a "Porcupine Tree" song. Soft melody, backing voice from the other world, great background choir, spacey mood. This has little to do with "Constant Motion" of course and it is all better for me.

"DT" presents another hard-rock-pop one with "Prophets Of War". I have mentioned already that a song or two from "Octaviarum" were "Muse" oriented ("Panic Attack" and "Never Enough"). When I listen to this song, it is a confirmation of this. Same sort of song structure. Of course, LaBrie does not sound as Bellamy but the music is rather similar. And I like it.

The long "Ministry Of Lost Souls" (almost fifteen minutes) started as a soft rock-ballad; mellow vocals, symphonic backing band and it builds crescendo. This song structure has always pleased me. At half time, the more traditional "DT" gets back with these characteristic bass riffs. A powerful intrumental part will close this good number. Some maestria from Petucci combined with some very pleasant keyboards work. A mix of prog and hard-rock. The final guitar solo is beautiful and emotional. A rather succesfull song. A highlight.

There is of course another epic here. Divided in two which I don't like very much. This song in its texture and spirit is similar to the great "Six Degrees" (over forty minutes) and "Octavarium" (almost twenty four minutes). This is a great number in which you will discover all the aspects of "DT" music (except the heavy side). Symphonic moments, sweet vocals, harder approach as well at times (but not too often), great guitar soli for Petrucci and great synthesizer as well.

I guess that the influence of Rudess is determinant in their evolution since from the moment he has been on board (well on the keyboards I mean) the band has generated its most progressive music ("A Change Of Seasons" excepted).

This is a very good album. If only "Constant Motion" and "The Dark Eternal Night" would have been cut !

Four stars as such. This is another album that could please a lot of progheads.

ZowieZiggy | 4/5 |


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