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Dream Theater - Train of Thought CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.60 | 1857 ratings

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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.

Epignosis | 2/5 |


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