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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
2 stars Love them or hate them, you have to face the fact that nobody does it quite like Dream Theater. To say that other prog metal bands are as good as or better than Dream Theater is to say that immitation maple syrup tastes like maple syrup, or better. And it doesn't. While the band has a propensity for speed and mind bogglingly technical passages, the band never sacrifices emotion for technicality. Never. If you think so, you have an unjustified bias and refuse to accept it. And so maybe they have been waering their influences on their sleeves a bit lately. If Dream Theater wants to try something that sounds like Muse, Dream Theater can try out something that sounds like Muse. They are forward thinking guys, who appreciate what newer bands are doing. So what if they want to have a little fun and try out a new sound for a song? It still sounds like the same band, and it's not copying the other band at all. Get over it, guys. Dream Theater writes and plays in a way that no other band can match. Look at the fine details. The transitions, the harmonies, the arrangements, the fusion of styles, the memorability of the melodies, the way the band has connected their whole discography musically and lyrically, etc, all come together to shape a career that no other band has been able to compete with. The band has had virtually no radio play for over a decade and they still manage to book Radio City Music Hall. You can go to Guitar Center and ask anyone there about Dream Theater, and there's a good chance that they're familiar with them. Why is that? It's because the band can play, and they do, but they also write songs that are easy to get into for even those who don't understand progressive music or music theory. They can connect with fans just as well as U2 can, and they do it with a heavy mix of intricacy and passion. When you watch the group play, you can see how into it they are. They aren't just playing because they can and it sounds good; they are playing because they love to do it. They put their souls into the music. They have such character on and off the stage. They are true musicians. If you don't like them, fine, but don't ever say that they just masturbate with their instruments, and don't ever say that they don't do what they do very well.

Now, let's look at Systematic Chaos, the band's 9th studio release. Granted, the band has not evolved much over the past few years, but they are trying new styles for fun. We have another attempt at DT Muse, and to a much greater success, with "Prophets of War," and some Beatles influence in the proggy masterwork "The Ministry of the Lost Souls.'' Thrashy metal gets a lot of attention on "Constant Motion" and "The Dark Eternal Night," and while some of it sounds a bit mainstream, there are enough quirks and what not to keep things interesting. "Repentance," the fourth chapter in the AA series is a dark, atmospheric tune. "Forsaken" is perfect single material and the DT we know and love is all over the epic "In the Presence of Enemies," with a fresh sound of course.

If you're not into DT, this won't change your mind. Only you can change your mind. If you're into DT, this is another excellent release, with a few weak spots. Sometimes it seems like the band is just coasting, but they always end up throwing something in there to keep your interest. And they are on the top of their game with the longer tracks especially.

Moatilliatta | 2/5 |


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