Rating:
7.5
Dream Theater - Black Clouds & Silver Linings
23 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.

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


Band profile: Dream Theater
Album: Black Clouds & Silver Linings


 


written by Demonic Tutor | 30.06.2009

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?

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published 12.09.2013 | Comments (4)



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Megadeth_Matt - 25.10.2011 at 21:24  
Circus maximus kicks ass lol. but so does DT
Evil Chip - 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?
John Sandman - 18.10.2012 at 03:05  
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.
qlacs - 13.04.2014 at 09:41  
"many passages of pure technical display that are close to ruining the whole thing" SOOO AGREEE

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