Dream Theater - Black Clouds & Silver Linings review



Reviewer:
7.5

966 users:
8.10
Band: Dream Theater
Album: Black Clouds & Silver Linings
Release date: June 2009


Disc I [Black Clouds & Silver Linings]
01. A Nightmare To Remember
02. A Rite Of Passage
03. Wither
04. The Shattered Fortress
    1 - X. Restraint
    2 - XI. Receive
    3 - XII. Responsible
05. The Best Of Times
06. The Count Of Tuscany

Disc II [Uncovered 2008/2009]
01. Stargazer [Rainbow cover]
02. Tenement Funster / Flick Of The Wrist / Lily Of The Valley [Queen cover]
03. Odyssey [Dixie Dregs cover]
04. Take Your Fingers From My Hair [Zebra cover]
05. Larks Tongues In Aspic Pt.2 [King Crimson cover]
06. To Tame A Land [Iron Maiden cover]

Disc III [Black Clouds & Silver Linings Instrumental Mixes]
01. A Nightmare To Remember
02. A Rite Of Passage
03. Wither
04. The Shattered Fortress
05. The Best Of Times
06. The Count Of Tuscany


One of my all-time favorite bands, Dream Theater, has been mildly disappointing me since 2002 with their newfound musical direction. After a step in the right direction with their previous album Systematic Chaos, I was anxious to get my hands on their new offering Black Clouds & Silver Linings. With an album title suggesting aggression and great melodies, I thought this would be a real treat.

With the same steady lineup, the progressive masters have not altered their recent sound very much with this release. Same setup, same incredible display of musicianship, and unfortunately same patchwork of bridges and chorus with way too many passages of pure technical display that are close to ruining the whole thing.

While some songs manage to get catchy, the second part of those are purely formal soloing that is abject on some level. The same heavy guitar sound is kept alive by John Petrucci, and you can tell that Mike Portnoy and John Myung are having a blast with the rhythmic section. Jordan Rudess provides the keyboard mastery and James LaBrie is his usual self-assured vocalist. But overall, while I remain impressed by their abilities, there is not a single track that makes me jump out of my seat. And this has been the same pattern of their albums of late. Bands such as Circus Maximus are blowing my mind while my Progressive Metal icons are getting softer in the songwriting department.

Two of the six tracks are ballads (or close to it) and most of the other tracks feature rock choruses at best, rendering this album too soft for my current tastes. And I do like progressive rock usually. The artwork is beautiful, I will give them that.

Don’t get me wrong though, the album has its moments. The opening track ‘A Nightmare to Remember' and ‘Rite of Passage’ probably feature most of those moments of magic. If only they had another couple of songs like those two on the CD, I would probably have stopped bitching a long time ago and would praise them right now.

Black Clouds & Silver Linings is interesting just because it is a Dream Theater album. However, where is the constant inspiration or great songwriting throughout heard on some of their previous albums? I much prefer Systematic Chaos than this new album. In my opinion, it sounds like their attempt to fulfill the album title failed along the way. It will be interesting to see them on the North American tour, they will get a second chance to change my mind about this album. Give it a listen and have your own opinion, I am known to be extra-critical with their albums.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 8
Production: 9


 



Written on 30.06.2009 by Bringing you reviews of quality music and interesting questions such as:

"A picture is worth a thousand words. How many words is a song worth?"

I have only got so much patience and skills, you do the math.

Guest review by
Iron Nostarion
Rating:
8.3
After revisiting Dream Theater's discography and particularly recently setting my eyes on this album, it was my album of choice to review, for there are really a lot of notes and opinions I'd like to speak out about it. With Black Clouds & Silver Linings released in 2009, Dream Theater vowed to hearken back to the days of 2003's Train Of Thought, with more heavy melodies, a straightforward metal approach, calm ballad-like songs in between with the obvious progressive elements, solos and some experimentation; though, after so many jams and extended solos, are we to say that their approach to experimentation, too, hasn't become something too ordinary and expected?

Read more ››
published 12.09.2013 | Comments (4)


Comments page 4 / 4

Comments: 105   Visited by: 617 users
30.08.2009 - 15:42
Warman
Erotic Stains
Acoustic studio album would be awesome.
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23.09.2009 - 20:44
gocasaca
Dream Theater was and is my favorite band ever, but starting with Train of thought and forward I can't follow this new style. So, I keep sticking to DT oldies
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02.12.2009 - 07:47
IronBlackZepp
This is the best album of the year for me.
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04.01.2011 - 07:37
4look4rd
The Sasquatch
Written by BloodTears on 03.07.2009 at 19:03

People need to get over the fact that Images and Words, Awake, When Dream & Day Unite and Metropolis part II were already made. They're not gona be made again.

I'm not even speaking about the new album. It's just that this "bring it back syndrome" is unrealistic.


I think that Image and Words is a good album, Awake was alright too, and I just can't stand When Dream & Day Unite (probably because of the production). But I really enjoy every thing DT has released since Scenes from a Memory. Musically, Black Clouds and Silver Linings is one of my favorite albums. It is aggressive when it has to be, and very soft and mellow in the other parts. I don'y really like the lyrics but I find the concept of the first song very interesting.
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15.03.2011 - 10:57
Milena
Learning To "X"
I'm pretty amused by all these guys who are writing long posts about their own 'point of view' and yet don't have the balls to submit their own review. I think this album pretty much rocks, but I'm also aware that it's diverse and that it can split audiences, so no hard feelings, guys. Remember, tastes differ, and every metal rules in its own right, for the type of people who enjoy it?
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"There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors."
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20.04.2011 - 15:20
Darth Mitchell
Mitchell
Well isn't it like the last line of Octivarium?
"This story ends where it began"
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20.04.2011 - 15:22
Darth Mitchell
Mitchell
Written by Warman on 30.08.2009 at 15:42

Acoustic studio album would be awesome.


Liquid Tension Experiment

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26.09.2011 - 06:40
jhook
I know its super late commenting on this but i decided to listen to this and read the review to compare it to ADTOE. it turns out the reviews pretty good as i find this to be one of their weakest albums. a nightmare to remember and a shattered fortress are the only good songs. the only thing about the review is this...
"After a step in the right direction with their previous album Systematic Chaos"
what?
i guess pretending to be either Metallica, muse or evanescence on half the songs is a step in the right direction
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27.09.2011 - 23:14
Regolith
Written by jhook on 26.09.2011 at 06:40

I know its super late commenting on this but i decided to listen to this and read the review to compare it to ADTOE. it turns out the reviews pretty good as i find this to be one of their weakest albums. a nightmare to remember and a shattered fortress are the only good songs. the only thing about the review is this...
"After a step in the right direction with their previous album Systematic Chaos"
what?
i guess pretending to be either Metallica, muse or evanescence on half the songs is a step in the right direction


Nice! You said it sir! I was actually going to post something like. "Is it just me or is DT starting to frantically copy other band's sounds? They're DT! Why do they feel the need to stay 'hip' and follow trends?" You nailed it.

Dangit DT!! I love the band - one of my all-time favorites - but they are (and have been) steadily declining. No, Self destructing. Yeah, that's more like it. DT is imploding. But dangit...I do love'em.
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28.09.2011 - 03:23
jhook
Written by Regolith on 27.09.2011 at 23:14

Written by jhook on 26.09.2011 at 06:40

I know its super late commenting on this but i decided to listen to this and read the review to compare it to ADTOE. it turns out the reviews pretty good as i find this to be one of their weakest albums. a nightmare to remember and a shattered fortress are the only good songs. the only thing about the review is this...
"After a step in the right direction with their previous album Systematic Chaos"
what?
i guess pretending to be either Metallica, muse or evanescence on half the songs is a step in the right direction


Nice! You said it sir! I was actually going to post something like. "Is it just me or is DT starting to frantically copy other band's sounds? They're DT! Why do they feel the need to stay 'hip' and follow trends?" You nailed it.

Dangit DT!! I love the band - one of my all-time favorites - but they are (and have been) steadily declining. No, Self destructing. Yeah, that's more like it. DT is imploding. But dangit...I do love'em.


true, i must say though that i really enjoyed the newest one. Alot of people say its bland but at least they sound like DT , and only DT. it reminds me alot of images and words just modernized
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25.10.2011 - 21:24
Megadeth_Matt
Circus maximus kicks ass lol. but so does DT
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THE MAN
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04.10.2012 - 21:20
Evil Chip
Portnoy's voice totally kills the serious vibe of A Night to Remember. Did anyone in DT thought that was a terrible idea?
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18.10.2012 - 03:05
John Sandman
Written by Evil Chip on 04.10.2012 at 21:20

Portnoy's voice totally kills the serious vibe of A Night to Remember. Did anyone in DT thought that was a terrible idea?


His vocals are forced. The lyrics and his vocals ruin the song.
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13.04.2014 - 09:41
qlacs
"The Quaker"
"many passages of pure technical display that are close to ruining the whole thing" SOOO AGREEE
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26.08.2016 - 20:18
BlankFile
I love this album, specially the song "The Count of Tuscany"

One of the most solid realeases by DT.
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