There is probably no other band on earth like Dream Theater. Bringing together so many different styles of rock and metal, effortlessly bridging sub-genres often within a single epic, multi-dimensional composition. There are elements of other bands' sound within "Black Clouds & Silver Linings". Within one song it is possible to pick out the influence of legendary bands such as Rush, Queen, Pink Floyd and Metallica, whilst retaining Dream Theater's individual sound. The album itself jumps from hard riffing and growling vocals to wide, expansive prog-metal, melodic, near-populist balladry, making it an engaging and often thrilling listen. It's the eclectic nature of this album and the superb performances from the band, especially guitarist John Petrucci, which make it such a resounding success, especially after the poorly received "Systematic Chaos".
There are six tracks on the main album, only two of which are less than ten minutes long. The album closer, the brilliant Rush-esque "The Count Of Tuscany" is only less than a minute shy of hitting the twenty minute point! It is, therefore, almost impossible to talk about the individual songs in all but an overview. Such is the complexity and varied nature of each song, you could literally write an essay of musical criticism about each one. However, what I will say is that, from start to finish, it's a extremely good album. It is rare that you get music this powerful heavy and yet containing so much melodic beauty. Even the covers on the bonus disc are well worth listening to - I especially enjoyed the Rainbow and Queen tracks. Dream Theater are firing on all cylinders with this release and it stands proudly amongst the best of their work over their 25 year career.