Dream Theater – Black Clouds & Silver Linings (CD)

Dream Theater was always a band that a number of my friends like, but that I never found myself getting into. I was tapped to review this, their latest album, and am glad that I had a chance to review their tenth studio album. The album is expansive, with the band approaching progressive rock, traditional metal, and even more instrumental and ambient sorts of compositions over the course of the six songs on the album.

Listeners that are looking forward to a radio-friendly Dream Theater track are not likely to find something that isn’t heavily edited. This is due to the fact that the shortest track, “Wither”, weighs in at over five minutes. Take another tack with this, though: the six tracks on “Black Clouds & Silver Linings” should be seen as more of an epic, a type of symphony that has six distinct movements. The amount of different approaches and styles that are present in any one of these tracks – and particularly in the disc’s ultimate track, the nineteen-minute-plus “The Count of Tuscany” – is simply stunning. Where the tracks all unite to create an album-level experience, I feel that listeners should try to attempt to break down the arrangements. This further increases the replay value of the disc, ensuring that the compelling progressions heard in a track like “A Rite of Passage” continue to play deeply on the hearts of anyone listening in. “The Best of Times” represents one difficult movement for me, where the different elements of Dream Theater work both in harmony with and in opposition to each other to varying degrees at varying times. What seems dissonant at points quickly gains definition and a beauty comes forth.

If you can find the 3CD version of Black Clouds & Silver Linings, take that plunge and spend the extra cash. This is due to the fact that the set contains a full disc of instrumental versions of the album tracks and a similar amount of cover tracks (showcasing their influences, which include Rainbow, Zebra, Iron Maiden, and more). I know I will be searching out more Dream Theater albums in the months and years to come.

Top Track: A Nightmare To Remember

Rating: 8.3/10

Dream Theater – Black Clouds & Silver Linings / 2009 Roadrunner / 6 Tracks / http://www.dreamtheater.net / http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com

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