Dream Theater – Black Clouds And Silver Linings

Release Date: June 23, 2009
Reviewed by Terry Bruce

Well, what to say about the latest project from the most innovative band in current history? I would have to say that they’ve outdone themselves again. Drawing from their many influences they have concocted perhaps their most balanced album to date.

There is a lot of something for everyone from the eerie beginning of “A Nightmare to Remember” then 0:52 into that song you get a blistering display of the quick footwork of Portnoy to some heavy sounding riffs that you would expect from the Theater. 16 minutes later will take you to “A Rite of Passage” that kicks off with Myung and Petrucci dishing out an eastern flavored vibe and then quickly turning into Jordan Rudess stealing the show with some Pink Floyd esq keyboard work. “Wither” is what seems like a transitional half-way point in the album with solid vocals from Labrie and even an arm-raising chorus that I’m sure will be sang at every stop of their multi-national tour. “The Shattered Fortress” starts out giving you a taste of something new and fresh and then peppers you with riffs from albums past. With melody changes and hefty keyboard workouts, this one will be an album favorite. A ticking clock and mellow piano quietly ushers in “The Best of Times”. Initially sounding like the end of a mushy movie it moves into overdrive with the guitars soaring rapidly into a Rush-like frenzy. Labrie again sounding solid, this is by far his best recording in a long while.

Uplifting melodies are throughout the track, getting you ready for the dessert of the whole Album: The Count of Tuscany. It seems that The Theater saves a few riffs and creativity for their trademark 20 minute track on every album. Well this is it. First “A Change of Seasons” then “Octavarium” were my favorite songs and like many others I’m sure they will change their minds as I have. It’s a beautiful entrance into their epic masterpiece with a dreamy sounding guitar that will shuttle you past a few quick guitar riffs and into a multi-faceted piece of musical wizardry that will leave you thinking “They’ve done it again”.

It is a well balanced album giving fans what they deserve for their undying allegiance to a group that gives nothing but their best efforts live and in the recording studio for those that will lend an ear.

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