Thursday, June 18, 2009

Who dares to Dream Theater?


NEXT week sees the curtain raise on Dream Theater's 10th studio effort, Black Clouds And Silver Linings, and over the course of their previous nine LPs the group have gathered a bit of reputation for prog-rocking out slightly more than your average act.
After all, any metal band can write a 20-minute track - though not many as technically brilliant as a Dream Theater opus - but not just any metal band can take this to that next level.
To demonstrate this, look to follies such as them starting one album, Train Of Thought, with the ending chord of the previous one, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, or them carrying musical themes across decades' worth of material - for example The Shattered Fortress here is the final track of a five track Twelve Step Suite, which carries across as many albums, telling the story of drummer Mike Portnay's alcoholism.
And these are a mere drop in the ocean of examples I could have chosen.
Couple this with their Joe Satriani-esque penchant for virtuosity over content, and despite enjoying a lot of their previous work I approached this album with a little trepidation.
Luckily Black Clouds And Silver Linings is some of the group's most accessible work to date.
The metal riffs really chug along, the frequent time signature changes rarely jar, the solos while blistering as ever are still enjoyable to listen to, and in A Rite Of Passage and Wither the band have what almost pass for a brace of singles.
While Dream Theater have perpetually been under the mainstream radar, they are no Dumpy's Rusty Nuts, and in a climate where Metallica and Mastodon can trouble the charts, surely it's time for the general public to wake up.

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