DREAM THEATER — Black Clouds & Silver Linings (review)

DREAM THEATER — Black Clouds & Silver Linings album cover Album · 2009 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
Phonebook Eater

"Black Clouds & Silver Linings" has some new branches, but they all come from the same tree.

Dream Theater seemed to have lost quite a bit of their respect with "Systematic Chaos", even tough die-hard fans never lost faith in the band and cherished that album as well. There is an overall acceptance of the follow-up, "Black Clouds & Silver Linings", the last album that features drummer and one of the founders of Dream Theater Mike Portnoy. For me, this album is definitely an improvement from the previous effort, but it is a little far from being a great album.

Dream Theater, we all know this, is the band that has given progressive metal its ideal band, and stereotype as a consequence: heavy riffs accompanied with keyboards ( not always), complex and long song structures, and breathtaking technical skills. None of this is new. So I couldn't help feeling disappointed with BC&SL, I couldn't sense much difference from other albums that DT released i these recent years. However, metaphorically speaking there are some newer branches, but they all come from the same tree. Also, the structure of the album is a little similar to "Systematic Chaos", under a few points of view, like the order of the songs based on their nature ( for example, the last song is an epic, and the one before that is an overall calm and haunting piece, but very long as well).

I couldn't help noticing however that this album has a lot more personality than many DT albums, it has attitude and a somewhat dark feel to it, even lyrically speaking (sometimes a little too corny, but that's how the band's lyrics roll, pretty frequently). I think the title of the LP could imply that pretty clearly.

But these musicians, in the end, despite having a few issues, always are able to write an excellent song, no matter what. Heck, in every one of these songs there is at least one part that I enjoy a lot. "A Nightmare To Remember" is the opener, a sixteen minute epic, that has some cheesy moments, like the band in more than an occasion proved being able to do, but some others that are pretty cool, like the beginning with its organ-esque, haunted castle feel. "A Rite Of Passage" is a song I actually really liked, and I know not everyone does. I love the melodies, and the second part of the song is composed by mind-blowing solos. "Best Of Times" is the typical "song before the epic" that I implied earlier, but it does have some beauty to it, especially the intro, and the build-up of that. But my favorite track is, no doubt, the epic finale, "The Count Of Tuscany" that has some amazing passages, an it is the clearest tribute the band has ever recorded to the band Rush.

Overall "Black Clouds & Silver Linings" is an album I wanted more from, even though it had its moments. It was nice to see that the personality of the album was clearly influencing the music radically, making it, in a way, a unique album for Dream Theater.But strictly speaking i didn't get excited about, not in a particular way. A must, I suppose, for all Dream Theater fans, but if you do not know this band well enough, I recommend you hear everything they' ve done before this, it could be useful in some parts.
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