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Review: Dream Theater - Black Clouds and Silver Linings
Dream Theater
Black Clouds and Silver Linings

Label: Roadrunner Records
Year released: 2009
Duration: 75:22
Tracks: 6
Genre: Progressive Metal

Rating: 2.5/5

Review online: July 29, 2009
Reviewed by: Hermer Arroyo
Readers Rating
Black Clouds and Silver Linings

Rated 3.8/5 (76.05%) (81 Votes)

Dream Theater, a name that nneds no introduction. They have been delivering their brand of Progressive Metal for more than twenty years. Always doing things their way, some of their albums have been good while others have been quite mediocre. This is their tenth album and it follows the same trend as their latest records – by that I mean ultra-long compositions performed by very skilled musicians that have very little clue how to write a song.

Black Clouds and Silver Linings has six songs and four of them pass the twelve minute mark. Now, when you make songs with that kind of length you better keep the listener interested the whole time and, unfortunately, Dream Theater fails in this aspect for the majority of the album. With the possible exception of the fifteen minute opener "A Nightmare to Remember" the record is an excuse for showing off, and contrary to previous efforts there are no songs here that manage to keep your attention all the way through. I know that technical ability is one of the trademarks of Dream Theater, but when it is almost impossible to listen to an album in one sitting you have to wonder where they want to go. Seriously, I think that most of their impressive instrumental sections on the album were made to hide the fact that there is no real song. Not only that, but some of the stuff here sounds like the band did it before, an example of this is the ballad "Wither" and "Shattered Fortress", both are average at best and I swear that I heard them five years ago.

There are some good points though: the musicianship and top notch production, after all this is Dream Theater. For prog aficionados there are plenty of solos, whether it is the guitar, drums, keyboards or even bass there is something that will leave you satisfied. Also the classical influences are very noticeable here; "The Best of Times" stands out.

At the end of the day, this is the classic formula of an aggressively average Dream Theater album. They could have gone in a different direction but their style remains the same. To be fair, while I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as Systematic Chaos, the album gets better with each listen but I don't recommend listening to it in one sitting (unless you are a big fan of them or have a lot of patience). Every time that a band as big as Dream Theater releases an album it is going to sell and this will be no exception. But the real question is, is it worth it? Depends, if you are a big fan of the band it is a solid purchase, however if you never liked Progressive Metal you should avoid it as there is nothing here that you haven't heard before.

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