Preview – Dream Theater (Black Clouds & Silver Linings)

Released – 23/06/09

Label – Roadrunner Records

Dream Theater are well known for their 20 minute epics, odd time signatures, deep lyrical content and amazing stage performance, but this new album is just on another level for them. 6 tracks may seem light, but when you consider most are over 10 minutes long the listener will not be short of a feast for the ears.

I was lucky enough to preview the tracks from the album released later this month, and I have to say I was blown away. Their back catalogue is indeed strong with songs such as Octavarium, though this album is not short of epics. Opening track ‘A Nightmare To Remember’ sounds like a soundtrack to a blockbuster movie, whilst the lyrics tell you a story about finding yourself. Odd measures are not absent in these new tracks, and neither are the amazingly heavy grooves. ‘A Rite Of Passage’, track 2 on the album, has been released as a single from the album, and the band have already filmed the video to go with it. Myungs bass work in this track are reminiscent of those used in ‘The Glass Prison’, and there are several passages throughout the album that will make you wonder how exactly he moves his fingers in such a way.

Wither is yet another simple and dark Dream Theater track, with a very melancholic tone to it.  As with all of the tracks, the song deals with the harsher side of life, however at the same time remaining optimistic for the future. ‘The Shattered Fortress’ is the last stage in the ’12 Step Suite’ theme that has been running throughout their past 4 albums. Named by fans as the ‘ Alcoholics Anonymous Suite’, this last track deals with the final stage of recovery from such an addiction, and it also features possibly the heaviest and dirtiest keyboard solo ever. Finally, ‘The Best Of Times’ and ‘The Count Of Tuscany’ bring the album to a spectacular close.  The final track remains my favourite from the album, purely due to the ways it changes, and tells the story of a long running battle between good and evil.

You realise when listening to this album that Dream Theater are one of those bands that are hear to stay. Whilst some argue against this due to the genre of music, I still believe they will go down in the record books as one of the all time best bands in musical history. Each member brings something to the band and the 5 piece gel now like they never have before. Tour dates are yet to be confirmed, but theres no doubt there will be many to support this epic album.

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