Dream Theater – Black Clouds And Silver Linings

April 14th, 2010  |  Published in CD Reviews

]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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