Dream Theater - 2003 Train Of Thought

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ARTIST: Dream Theater
ALBUM: Train Of Thought
LABEL: Elektra
SERIAL: 62891-2
YEAR: 2003

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: James LaBrie - vocals * John Petrucci - guitars * Mike Portnoy - drums * Jordan Rudess - keyboards * John Myung - bass

TRACK LISTING: As I Am * 02 This Dying Soul * 03 Endless Sacrifice * 04 Honor Thy Father * 05 Vacant * 06 Stream Of Consciousness * 07 In The Name Of God

RATING: image

Background

The ten-year anniversary since Dream Theater surprised many and wrote and recorded a straightforward metal album in a matter of weeks is creeping 'round the corner'.

For some their 'last great' album, for others the beginning of their path to relevance to modern metal audiences, and for some even 'the beginning of the end', 'Train Of Thought' is a rather polarizing album.

The Songs

'As I Am', the band's first ever metal single kicks in with some killer riffage laying the groundwork for a biting song that was allegedly inspired by John Petrucci's uncomfortable encounters with ex-Queensryche guitarist Mike Stone who tried to offer the guitar god tips on how to make his music writing and playing more 'hip'. That shredfest in the middle sure showed Stone how things are done.

'This Dying Soul' treads in even more interesting waters, with the pseudo-rap verses, the twisting snake-like guitar melody and LaBrie howling away in the chorus like a fitness instructor who came across a client who's only motivated in rather weird ways.

'Endless Sacrifice' is possibly my favourite song on the album - starts off as a ballad, progresses with withdrawn anger and then the gate crashes under the flood of solos and unisons.

'Honor Thy Father' is Mike Portnoy's venomous 'ode' to his stepfather, and musically it's probably the most Metallica-like song they'd done up to that point, although, unlike Metallica, keeping things brief is not Dream Theater's forte. Or is it?

The two-minute heartfelt string-dominated lullaby 'Vacant' proves the haters of the band wrong on that particular point.

Expanding upon these lovely string moments and elevating them to dizzy complicated prog metal heights is Dream Theater's longest instrumental up to this date, 'Stream Of Consciousness', but it is not the longest song on this album

That honour belongs to the majestic closer 'In The Name Of God'. It's drawn out, often repeating chorus is the band's nod to Iron Maiden and the huge unison section is a nod to all those fans who love the musicians for their technical capabilities - some of the other ones have called it the most tedious Dream Theater solo section ever, so tread with caution and mind your head.

In Summary

Diversity is Dream Theater's best trait, so while it seemed that they were shooting themselves in the foot by writing a deliberately homogeneous album, ten years later the album has many fans - yours truly included.

Apparently Dream Theater can write some pretty good 'meat and potatoes' metal. Who could tell?


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