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Dream Theater - Train of Thought CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.60 | 1854 ratings

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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.

frenchie | 5/5 |


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