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Dream Theater - Train of Thought CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.60 | 1858 ratings

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2 stars Notorious DT basher Ghost Rider is at it again... this time in order to add her two cents to an already very long list of reviews of the album people love to hate. However, strange enough to say, I actually find "Train of Thought" somewhat better than the other DT albums I've listened to so far, with the sole exception of "Images and Words". While "Awake" sounded to my ears like a wall of sound which swallowed single tracks whole, ToT offers some semblance of variety and individuality. This does not mean that I find it a masterpiece, or even that I'm going to start listening to it on a regular basis: unfortunately, for me DT are something to be taken in small quantities, and quite infrequently to boot. Most of their albums are way too long for starters, and their gloomy, relentless quality makes for sometimes uncomfortable listening.

That said, ToT has a few redeeming features. Opener "As I Am", widely hated by fans for being too "commercial", is in my opinion one of the best-ever DT tracks, with enough instrumental intricacy to make it interesting and a great, catchy chorus (I particularly like the lyrics, which I feel apply to me quite well - "I won't change to fit your plan/ Take me as I am"). LaBrie's James Hetfield impersonation is particularly effective both on this song and on the whole album - his adoption of a lower singing register being a vast improvement over his usual, whiny self. As a matter of fact, Metallica's influence seems to hover over the whole album,which sometimes sounds like DT's take on "And Justice for All" - only with much better production values.

Other standout tracks are the lengthy instrumental "Stream of Consciousness", whose main fault is going on a bit too long, in true DT style; and closer "In the Name of God", which has actually got some of the melody other tracks on the album sadly lack. On the other hand, the token acoustic song, "Vacant", seems tagged as a sort of afterthought, not really meshing with the record's overall sound. Moreover, the three central tracks, "This Dying Soul", "Endless Sacrifice" and "Honor Thy Father", sound almost undistinguishable from each other, showcasing band members' individual skills to great effect, but offering rather little in the way of melody or feeling.

From the disturbing, black-and-white cover art right to the doom-and-gloom-laden lyrics, ToT is a dark album - even darker than "Awake", which is no mean feat. Why so many prog-metal bands seem to wallow in this unrelentingly depressing state of mind is quite beyond me... Anyway, DT's dark mood feels soulless and contrived, quite unlike, for instance, Queensryche's in "Operation Mindcrime". Even though it is significantly better than other albums, ToT is still far from being my favourite listening material.

Raff | 2/5 |


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