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
4/5 ·
'Black Clouds & Silver Linings', Dream Theater's tenth studio album, sees the band take a more darker direction than before. With some of their heaviest and most consistent performances, the band show that they still have plenty of ideas left in the tank, and with only six tracks, they demonstrate how they still are, and will always be, the kings of progressive metal.

With four songs going over ten minutes, there's certainly no shortage of epics on this release. Newcomers to the band wouldn't be blamed for being intimidated by this, but repeated listens will reveal some expertly crafted compositions. From the dark and brooding 'A Nightmare to Remember', which is one of the heaviest and most relentless songs the band have ever written, to the uplifting and emotional 'The Best of Times', there's plenty of variety in the moods and themes of each track.

Then there's "the big one". It's almost a common trait for every Dream Theater record to have that one, big epic that trumps all the other tracks, and in this case, we have 'The Count of Tuscany'. At 19-minutes in length, this is right up there with 'A Change of Seasons', 'Octavarium', 'Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence' and 'Metropolis' as a potential candidate for one of the bands greatest pieces. Full of many twists and turns, shifting dynamics, intense and melancholic moments, incredibly tight guitar riffing and a highly memorable chorus, 'Black Clouds...' is probably worth the price for this song alone.

Included in the deluxe edition box set is two bonus discs. The first features six cover versions of songs by the likes of Queen, King Crimson and Zebra... (who?). I wasn't familiar with all the songs originally, but overall it's a decent enough disc and certainly isn't a detriment to the album. The second disc consists of an instrumental version of the entire 'Black Clouds...' record. Why? Because they're Dream Theater. Why not?

The box set edition with the bonus discs is a great purchase for die-hard fans such as myself, but even if you're a more casual listener, it's a great record that belongs in your collection. In conclusion, 'Black Clouds & Silver Linings' is another fantastic album by the pioneers of progressive metal, showing that there's still plenty of life left in the prog legends.
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