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Hamish Maciver

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Black Clouds & Silver Linings
Black Clouds & Silver Linings
Price: £6.92

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A much more personal affair., 25 Jun. 2009
The best thing about a new Dream Theater album is that it is so varied. Both Lyrically and musically, there are passages of music that could be completely different to the next part, within the same song. After the previous albums often fanatasy lyrics and themes, the new album feels more personal which is refreshing. Reading the lyrics, the all the songs are based upon real events in the members of the band's life, except for Rite of Passage, which is about stonemasons. My current standout, after a couple of listens through would be Best of Times. Written about Mike Portnoy's father, it is a majestic celebration of his life, rather than a depressed mourning. Wither also is another great song, an unusually short one from the band, but a great showing of the more subtle side of the band. Then there is the Count of Tuscany, which deserves no other word, but Epic. Octavarium, Change of Seasons, epic. Have to love them for it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 1, 2013 3:52 PM BST

Serenity [DVD] [2005]
Serenity [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Nathan Fillion
Price: £3.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shiny, 29 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Serenity [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
I hadn't seen Firefly at the time of viewing the film but even in it's own right this film is fantastic. Whilst it is probably advisable to watch the tv series first, it isn't necessary to enjoy this brilliant film.

Systematic Chaos: Special Edition+DVD with DD 5.1mix
Systematic Chaos: Special Edition+DVD with DD 5.1mix
Price: £12.78

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great new album for Dream Theater, 5 Jun. 2007
The new album by Dream Theater is described by James Labrie on the DVD as being like a new chapter of Dream Theater's career and this, at least partially, shows. Several of the songs have a more fantastical element to the lyrics than previous DT albums and an increased use of Mike Portnoy's more growly vocals as backing or taking whole verses is a break from the past. That is not to say that Labrie has been marginalised, he describes the sessions as the most fun he has had recording since Awake, over ten years ago, but there is more variety from the vocal tracks. The next track in Bill W's twelve step program, written by Portnoy is, for the first time in the series, after The Glass Prison, This Dying Soul and The Root of All Evil, a ballad, although don't mistake this for being another track akin to I Walk Beside You, of their previous Octavarium album. It is still dark and vaguely disterbing, whilst still remaining melodic and thoughtful.

There are all the elements that DT are known for on this album, extended instrumental sections, although once again there is no instrumental track, virtuoso soloing from John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess, whose improvised solo on the Continuum that was recorded whilst Portnoy was doing the drum track is one of the best, and heavy but not crushing riffs.

Overall the album has more of the feel of Train of Thought than the previous Octavarium, but whereas the former was heavy and agressive all the way through, this one does let up on tracks such as Forsaken and Repentance (look out for spoken word contributions from many fellow musicians such as Steve Vai, Steve Hogarth of Marrilion and Joe Satriani). It still rtains a more Proggresive feel that TOF but less so than Octavarium. The epic In The Presence of Enemies, split in two and bookmarking the album is a fitting summary of the way the album pans out.

The Bonus DVD, with it's documentary charts the progress of the album from conception to completion, and is fairly insightful.

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