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Dream Theater - Black Clouds & Silver Linings CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.46 | 1788 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

2 stars I've decided to write some of my observations to the most popular album of previous weeks, for me quite a controversial one:

A Nightmare to Remember - opener, tries to be dark, gothic-like. Seems to me forced and uninspired. La Brie is overplaying everywhere. Unpredictable twists are ironically predictable. Obligatory mellow passage and 7/8 part is average at its best. Lyrics are very simple, almost laughable presented by La Brie. Some pointless soloing follows and then returns the "dark" passages, but speeded up. 1,5/5

Rite of Passage - opening "arabic" theme you've probably heard many times, extremely unoriginal (recalling Train of thought, Scenes From a Memory etc etc.) to me. Chorus which seems to be intended as a sing-along one, is very unconvincing. Again second half belongs to showing off Petrucci's Rudess's speed. Guys we know you are fast...but what's the point of that. Sounds really stiff. Worst song on the album. 1/5

Wither - typical ballad of the album. Simple song, not that bad. Arrangements here are like from soap opera. LaBrie again sounds strange on places, a bit funny. 2/5

The Shattered Fortress - interesting medley of Portnoy's saga, with some forgettable new riffs and many solos going nowhere. The Glass Prison part (my favorite) is prominent here. 2/5

The Best of Times - It seems that Portnoy hadn't his best day when he wrote this personal song dedicated to his father. It is based mostly on one syrupy theme (beginning until 2:50, around 6:20 and 8:00 until the end). Lyrics are very simple (with rhymes like day-days-okay) and straightforward. Some nice guitar build-ups and solos here and there though, finally. 2,5/5

The Count of Tuscany - wow, here I'm unexpectedly blown away. It sounds like Dream Theater made an inspired epic composition. It begins with very beautiful Petrucci's intro. I can feel the tension, atmosphere. Rudess's whirligigs are beautiful, and he shows us some wonderful synth parts. And what a complex structure. After four minutes of instrumental, the furious part begins. James La Brie is not bad there, on the contrary. Nice verse and refrain. Interesting layered and unisono solos peak into atmospheric passage (a bit like intro to Rush's Xanadu). Then sad passage around carefully culminating acoustic theme and LaBrie's good-sounding restrained voice follows, leading to grand finale, but without too much pomp, just right. Probably best epic since A Change of Seasons. A big surprise. 5/5

So this album in the end isn't easy to judge as a whole. Generally it is getting worse with every new listening, except for The Count of Tuscany which does the opposite for me. I read that the album is return to their roots. In my opinion it's nonsense. They simply can't, because Rudess somehow lacks some qualities (melancholy) that Moore created with his registers, besides his non-replaceable songwriting skills. It is quite logical continuation of Rudess-era albums, more accessible than Systematic Chaos, but again a bit more questionable for me in its purpose or meaning. However, the last song gives me still a hope for better times of Dream Theater.

stewe | 2/5 |


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