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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A much more personal affair.
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...
Published on 25 Jun. 2009 by Hamish Maciver

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing short of amazing...
Is this an amazing album? Yes, it is. It's technically amazing, it's song structures are mind blowing and the key changes, time signature changes are flawless. However its exactly what you expect from Dream Theater.

Jordan Ruddess hinted that the new album would be dark and gothic, and that is audible in the first few minutes of the album, however the cheesy...
Published on 25 Jun. 2009 by Mr. J. L. Bissenden


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A much more personal affair., 25 Jun. 2009
By 
This review is from: Black Clouds & Silver Linings (Audio CD)
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my my faves, 15 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Black Clouds & Silver Linings (Audio CD)
This album is a real grower, like many DT albums, esp. the latter ones. Honestly, even as a die-hard DT fan from the beginnings, I did nit get into this album much when it came out and only recently re-discovered it. Now it is playing in a loop. I think it features one of John Petrucci's most amazing guitar solos in "best of times", the heart-wrenching song they wrote to honour Mike Portnoy's father's death. In any case the whole album is amazing and I rank it among my fave DT stuff. Must have by any standard.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing short of amazing..., 25 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Black Clouds & Silver Linings (Audio CD)
Is this an amazing album? Yes, it is. It's technically amazing, it's song structures are mind blowing and the key changes, time signature changes are flawless. However its exactly what you expect from Dream Theater.

Jordan Ruddess hinted that the new album would be dark and gothic, and that is audible in the first few minutes of the album, however the cheesy beginning of the opening track "A Nightmare to Remember" is almost as bad as its name. A crash of thunder followed by what can only be described as a Hammer Horror soundtrack homage.

The album is a visible departure from earlier albums such as Images and Words with definitve key changes, and time signature, clever breaks and solos. Instead it feels more watered down, like Petrucci and Ruddess are soloing for the hell of it, the time signature changes are barely noticable over the thrash of the guitars, and any key changes go right over your head.

Its a Dream Theater album, but if you are a hardcore fan you might be disappointed. It feels more of a rehash of Train of Thought, where they found success with heavier songs and it feels like they are clinging on to that success in this album and need to move on and find a new sound.

The Shattered Fortress was the one track I was looking forward to in this album, but even that disappointed me by being a song made up entirely of old riffs. It just doesn't gel for me.

All in all a lot of Black Clouds, not many Silver Linings.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good album!, 12 July 2009
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This review is from: Black Clouds & Silver Linings (Audio CD)
I can't find much wrong with this latest offering from DT. Systematic Chaos went a little flat and boring in this middle of the album, not so with Black clouds and silver linings. It contains two radio friendly tracks "A right of passage" and "wither". "The best of times" is a very good track. I really like this album much more than SC. I don't know what some fans out there want from DT, this gets very progy in places, so if you don't like DT like this, then this isn't for you. I think some fans get a little too critical, and don't know what they want from these guys, give this album a few listens and then review it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fairly predictable album, 20 Mar. 2013
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While the songs as a whole are Good on this album If compared the predecessors it is starting to wear a bit thin things are getting predictable, you just know what is going to happen in the music, you can almost guess when a guitar widdly is coming of a keyboard run is going to happen, This is not totally a bad thing at least it means you know your going to like it and if you have not got other DT albums you will be excited, The Music is pretty good Lots of fantastic bassing and drumming and intricate guitar and keyboard work and that lovely voice still. However I think they could have chosen to go with a different approach for a song or two this problem is not just with DT it is common with a lot of 'Prog' bands at the moment they seem to have bogged down in to a comfortable commercial sound that is selling well. While this is not a bad thing in some ways it does mean it get a bit stale with the same overall timbre in every album.

That said tis a quality album with excellent long tracks like Count of Tuscany which makes the album worth buying just for that song.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great record, 28 Nov. 2009
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D. Hunter (Maldon, Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Black Clouds & Silver Linings (Audio CD)
Not the best record Dream Theater has ever done, but they are so prolific that even their 'good' stuff is head and shoulders above most other bands 'great' stuff. Best tracks are Wither and A Rite of Passage, but not really a 'bad' track among them.

Covers are excellent and well chosen, so worth getting hold of that edition
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely misjudged it earlier!, 17 July 2009
By 
W.N. (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Black Clouds & Silver Linings (Audio CD)
I reviewed the album when it first got out and I was still under the influence of their previous work or at least "Systematic Chaos", and I was 1000000000% mistaken!

This album is a masterpiece!
It's by far the peak of their musical maturity.
Composition, lyrics and of course performance.....
They just raised the bar for themselves again.
starting heavy yet influential with "A nightmare to remember" they charge you with all what you need to go through the album... Movement 2 of the song takes you into a very strange journey of relaxation and catharsis

I can talk about all the songs but I'm sure you know how good they are if you are on this page...

If you're not a DT fan...then please at least give "The Count of Tuscany" a chance....this will change your whole view about music...not just progressive...music in general....
A small epic play with all the elements of ingenuity that Dream Theater possess.
Even if you're a black metal fan....your tears will beat you in Petrucci's last solo....LaBrie again proves he's worth being in the squad...

This album, like all their previous albums, is genius....it is just genius....

you can watch some performances on youtube and see for yourself....

all respect for the YTSEJAM
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Count of Tuscany...and?, 24 April 2011
This review is from: Black Clouds & Silver Linings (Audio CD)
If you haven't heard of Dream Theater before this album is a goood place to start!
the opening track "A Nightmare to Remember" starts with tense thunder and a enthralling piano then suddenly the album begins! Portnoy's drumming on this track is surprising he sticks to a fairly solid beat through the start of the song then suddenly near the end blast beats out of nowhere!
The lyrics on this album cannot be faulted although i do find "A Rite of Passage" to be the hardest song to listen to of all recent dream theater releases. The last part of the album with "the best of times" and "The Count of Tuscany" us by far the best section!

The Count of Tuscany truly is a masterpiece and is Dream Theater's best song since Octavarium and maybe even A Change of Seasons!

if you don't buy this album make sure you at least download The Count Of Tuscany!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Progressive metal perfection, 21 July 2010
By 
Neil Gibson (Bath, uK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Black Clouds & Silver Linings (Audio CD)
This was the first DT album I brought and was pretty damn impressed by it, can't believe they slipped under the radar for so long! I'd rate this DT offering up there with Train of thought...it's hard, diverse and technically brilliant, there's not a single duff/weak track in there.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The end of an era, 30 Mar. 2011
By 
Paul McNamee (North Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Black Clouds & Silver Linings (Audio CD)
I wasn't overly fond of this album when it came out, and I'll tell you why. I couldn't get past the impression that it wasn't a 'real' album, which was embedded in my (stupid) head by the amalgamation of past Dream Theater themes on the cover artwork and the track "The Shattered Fortress", a Frankenstein's Monster of a song pieced together from parts from earlier entries in drummer Mike Portnoy's 'Twelve Steps Suite'. Naturally, these reasons really ought not to influence one's opinion of this album, which is on musical merit alone actually quite memorable, and given founding member Portnoy's departure from the band last year, the retrospective twang of the above-mentioned factors now takes on an almost prescient significance. From the culmination of his alcoholism-inspired suite to "The Best Of Times"- a tribute to his then-recently departed father- this album now stands as arguably the most personally significant DT album and a testament to the creativity of its primary driving force.

What of the music? Well, the album contains at least three instant classics- the opener "A Nightmare To Remember", an account of a car accident and its repercussions, is a pleasant balladish number bookended by slabs of menace and the obligatory soloing section; lead single "A Rite Of Passage" is the type of track DT could bash out in their sleep but it's pleasing in its simplicity, its sing-along chorus matched for memorability by the lengthy (and considerably metal) breakdown section that dominates its middle third; and the closer, and contender for my favourite DT song, "The Count Of Tuscany", a 19-minute journey whose abominable lyrics are mentally banished by its absolutely gorgeous and dreamlike violining guitar and water-drop keyboard section, Rush-esque opening salvos and powerful, driven verses.

As for "The Shattered Fortress", well, it's excellent really, by a country mile the heaviest song on the album. The only problem is that it is, as I've mentioned, a sort of best-of track, and I don't mean just thematically- whole sections of existing music are recreated and spliced together to create a forceful belter of a tune, that I can't quite consider a part of the album proper. But make no mistake- despite my idiosyncratic (over)analysis of it, it's a cracking song, and I'd never skip it.

"The Best Of Times" may have a touch of cheese to it (how couldn't it with those James LaBrie vocals?) but as a tribute to a dead family member it's far less awkward than it could have been, and musically it's a treat.

You may have noticed I've skipped out "Wither". This is, simply put, because I hate it, and have since my first listen of it not listened to it since. A spiritual sequel to Systematic Chaos' "Forsaken", it's an extremely disposable radio-friendly ballad that, as far as I'm concerned, is as reflective of Dream Theater's capabilities as an inanimate brown tricycle. However, if it helps them sell albums I won't object, as long as I don't have to listen to it.

So there you go. My reflections on this (dare I say?) great album. As ever, Dream Theater branched out on their latest record (from Mike's formidable and wholly unexpected blasting on the opener to Jordan Rudess' use of an iPhone on "A Rite Of Passage"), but unlike 2007's Systematic Chaos the entire record is distinctly DT- none of that album's typical style experimentation shows up on this quite restrained LP, and given all that I've mentioned it's almost spooky how well it stands as a swansong for the Portnoy-led era of the band, and as a monument to his mastery of his instrument and his captaining of a truly great band. Though I'm looking forward to see how his bandmates fare without him, Dream Theater won't be the same without.
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Black Clouds & Silver Linings by Dream Theater (Audio CD - 2009)
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