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Dream Theater - Train of Thought CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.60 | 1854 ratings

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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?

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |


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