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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best album since Scenes
More greatness from the gods' that are Dream Theater. If the last few albums put you off, this has brought back their respect.
1. A Nightmare to Remember - Great start to a well balanced album, heavy riffs and a softer acoustic spot in the middle. Amazing solo's from the keyboards and guitar alternating. Some growling from Portnoy and very solid vocals from...
Published on 30 May 2009 by Jon Wynn

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not that great!!
Just thought I'd quickly and briefly share my thoughts on the new DT album. Just finished listening to the new album and have to say that whilst not groundbreakingly new or original, it's not that bad, pretty much standard stuff from these guys.

As you would expect, these guys can play and all the evidence is there on display, solid, powerful hypnotic drumming...
Published on 26 Jun 2009 by Mr. S. Wood


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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best album since Scenes, 30 May 2009
This review is from: Black Clouds & Silver Linings [Special Edition] (Audio CD)
More greatness from the gods' that are Dream Theater. If the last few albums put you off, this has brought back their respect.
1. A Nightmare to Remember - Great start to a well balanced album, heavy riffs and a softer acoustic spot in the middle. Amazing solo's from the keyboards and guitar alternating. Some growling from Portnoy and very solid vocals from LaBrie.
2. A Rite of Passage - Some good vocals on this track with a catchy chorus but seems to be aimed at newcomers rather than die-hard DT fans. Some fancy soloing from the guys too.
3. Wither - A softer ballad and a well placed break from the intensity so far. A brilliant solo from Petrucci too reminiscent of Bohemian Rhapsody. Beautiful song overall.
4. The Shattered Fortress - The last part in the AA series which concludes all these songs together brilliantly by bringing in all the old riffs, with some new ones but keeping it entirely fresh.
5. The Best of Times - Very moving lyrics from Portnoy...about his father that died of cancer recently. The opening of a piano with a violin, and then an acoustic guitar, leading on to electric guitar and the whole band. You can really hear the rush influence in this song, amazing.
6. The Count of Tuscany - A new epic for Dream Theater that rivals Octavarium, A Change of Seasons and In The Presence of Enemies. Outstanding work from the guys and you'll have to listen to the song to understand. Yes/Pink Floyd with a twist! EPIC!
However it seems that Labrie has lost a lot of his range but in no way does it stop him from being an amazing singer, and the bass seem to disappear somewhere far too often.
Overall an outstanding album so far and looking forward to June 23rd.
Cover 1. Stargazer - Rainbow
Cover 2. Tenement Funster/Flick of the Wrist/Lily of the Valley - Queen
Cover 3. Odyssey - Dixie Dregs
Cover 4. Take Your Fingers From My Hair - Zebra
Cover 5. Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part II) - King Crimson
Cover 6. To Tame A Land - Iron Maiden
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Of Times, 19 Dec 2009
By 
A. Sweeney "I don't care what you call me" (Brighton, East Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Black Clouds & Silver Linings [Special Edition] (Audio CD)
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.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An album to kind of remember, 22 Jun 2009
By 
N. A. Davies (Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Black Clouds & Silver Linings [Special Edition] (Audio CD)
Six songs, 4 of them over 10 minutes, with another at nearly nine and another at 6, this isnt throwaway hook laden short stabs at commerciality. Dream Theater tread their own distinctive path through songs of epic length and proportion. It starts off great with a nightmare to remember, a solid stab at furious riffing, barked rapid fire lyrics, a softer interlude and some shouted lyrics from Mike Portnoy to finish. Impressive stuff and sure to keep the fan base happy.

The pace stays at top speed for Rite of Passage, and aside from oddly scanned lyrics it soons breaks into a furious stomp, as guitar and keyboards trade riffs at a furious pace. Great stuff and sure to go down a storm in concert.

Wither sees the band take a breath with a commericalish ballad, enhanced with some strong power chords and a great chorus. Would fit well on the commericialish Falling Into Infinity album.

The final part of Mike Portnoys examination of his alcolholsim and battle with, takes up track 4, with the band revisiting melodies and lyrics of the the other pieces from this project. Powerful stuff and a worthy end to a great series of songs that MIke Portnoy wrote about so honestly. I hope they play all the pieces together at a concert one day...

Best of times has someheartfelt emotional lyrics about the death of MP's father, with James LB handles with tact and diplomacy. Despite the wonderful violin start, and strong melody the songs fails to catch light and a feeling of anticlimax prevails.

The last song, The Count Of Tuscany is DT of old, reminisncent of Images and Words, lots of time changes, guitar and keyboard patterns intertwined with hypnotic drumming. Its a long song and for the first half it could be straight off Images and Words, until a slow section builds to a climax. A real multi parter, that flatters to decieve, they have done better epics, but it's still a strong song

Its a good solid album, there are some nice high points, but I just cant see this being played over and over in the car and MP3. SFAM, Train of Thought, IAWords this isnt. I applaud the band for not making the same album over and over, and just changing the cover, but it doesn't have that 'classic' feel. DT's strengths have always been the powerhouse drumming, the killer guitar riffs and delicate but complicated melodies. This has it in parts, but it falls short of the bands best.

The cover versions are more the same curate's egg. Star Gazer, the Queen Medley and To Tame a land originally by Iron Maiden are great, the rest, not so good.

The third CD is purely instrumental, which to these ears to indulgance for indulgance sake. Nightwish did the same on their last album, and this feels the same as that, you'l spin it once to see what it sounds like, and then go back and play the original instead...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Album name tells it all really, 22 Jun 2009
By 
James Murphy "Student" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Black Clouds & Silver Linings [Special Edition] (Audio CD)
This album was a bit of grower for me; I wasn't overly impressed on my first listen through but by the 3rd time I was beginning to see the multiple layers to the music on this album, which ultimately was very rewarding. It has been said already I'm sure, but this album is very representative of DT's overall sound. A Nightmare to Remember and The Shattered Fortress showcase their tasteful aggression as well as their ability to convey emotion through slower-paced and complex passages. A Rite of Passage is a good example of some of their more crowd-interactive songs- very enjoyable, sort of reminiscent of songs like Sacrificed Sons, Prophets of War etc. Wither is probably the weakest on the album but is still an excellent song; another showcase of their gentler side. The Best of Times revives the playfulness and uplifting vibe of songs like TTT on I&W, despite being quite depressing lyrically. And finally The Count of Tuscany is an epic in the same sort of vein as ItPOE.... a very good album indeed!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best albums I own, 23 Oct 2012
By 
Andrew (South Wales) - See all my reviews
Following on from Dream Theater's Systematic Chaos. With a harder edge and a less sterile sound production (to my ears anyway) this is my favourite Dream Theater album, and also one of my favourite albums of all time. Although there are only six tracks the long track lengths mean that this is still a full length album.

The first track opens with some thunder and rain interspersed with a haunting almost out of tune piano before the rest of the band kick in. It reminds me a little of the opener for Black Sabbath's debut album. Once it starts the pace picks up with Portnoy's double bass drum assault driving the music like stampede. The song is based on a car accident John Petrucci was in when he was younger and the narrative gives an outline on the incident, recovery and realisation of how lucky he and his family were to get through it. Moving onto Rite of Passage we have a song with lyrics that hint at Freemasonry. Although that may not be an exciting topic for a Progressive Metal song this is a very powerful number and has an amazing chorus that soars above the serious themes. Wither is the albums power ballad type song that wraps the album's first half nicely.

The other three songs really ramp up the ante once more starting with The Shattered Fortress. This is the final part of Mike Portnoy's 12-Step Suite dealing with recovery from alcohol addiction, and it wraps the suite up nicely with some new themes as well as revisiting past parts.

The Best of Times is Portnoy's tribute to his father and despite the lyrics bordering on cliche at times this really is a heartfelt piece and the band give it their all. It has a very nice intro with an extended acoustic guitar solo that ends with some really rapid sweep picking on electric guitar fading in and being joined by the rest of the band.

The final song on the album is almost a case of saving the best until last. The Count of Tuscany is brilliant from beginning to end (Although the last 6 minutes or so are beyond exceptional).

If you get the special edition version you also get 5 cover songs. I'd only heard the Queen and Iron Maiden songs prior to this and I can honestly say that despite the differences in styles between the two and the fact that neither of them are straightforward songs I can honestly say that Dream theater have done a superb job of covering them both James LaBrie does admirably on the vocals from the Queen tracks, doing a very good job of sounding like Freddie Mercury. The rest are excellent but I've not heard the originals to compare.

This album is definitely a masterpiece as far as Dream Theater are concerned. I'm not sure if any music lovers outside the Heavy/Progressive Metal scene would appreciate it but I think it's one of the beat albums I own.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For Every Black Cloud..............................., 25 July 2012
By 
Mr Blackwell (scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Black Clouds & Silver Linings [Special Edition] (Audio CD)
Where to start,i'm not an uber fan,been aware of Dream Theater since the mid 90's,ist album bought was 'Live Scenes...' ,have all the albums of which 'Awake' would be my favourite.It would appear the backlash started several years ago,each album a new voyage forward or a series of diminishing returns depending on which camp your in.Me? im in the middle somewhere,can see both points of view .. So..

In regards to this particular release,i absolutely love it,from the opening Hammer house of horror intro to 'A Nightmare To Remember' to the final moments of 'The Count of Tuscany',this release resonates with me more and more with each listen.

Take the opener,yes some may feel that the effects,car crash etc detract,i think they add to the texture,the soundscape,depite being 16 minutes long it never overstays its welcome.Unsurprisingly 'Rites of Passage' struggles slightly but its still a strong track,with some superb guitar playing,'Wither brings a little light and shade while 'The Shattered Fortress ' reprises old themes.

If you've lost a parent(i've lost both) then 'Best of Times' with its mournful opening and heartfelt lyrics,absolutely hits home,all of which just leaves the epic 'The Count Of Tuscany',gothic lyrics and atmosphere abound,the musicianship on this track alone worth the price of the disc.

Minor quibbles the occasional death grunt/vocals probably not required and bassist John Myung could be doing with higher up in the mix but these are small concerns .A superb disc from a band,for me,back on track after that previous couple of albums which felt forced.

The ltd edition comes with a bonus disc of covers,all well played none particularly required,well played nonetheless,the exception being a truly outstanding version of Rainbows' 'Stargazer'. The 3rd dics seems a rather pointless instrumental version of the album,although my young son disagrees,he prefers that.

The black clouds surely hang over some fans heads in regards this release,the silver linings are the rewards that repeated listens bestow upon you,i think its up there with there best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of their best albums yet, 8 July 2010
By 
BD Muratori (Chester, U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Black Clouds & Silver Linings [Special Edition] (Audio CD)
Well ... after reading many reviews of this album i decided to create my own. I have now had this album for about a year. If we take the first and third discs first, I absolutely love the music, so much so that the instrumental version has not left my mp3 for now more than a year. Perhaps this has more to do with the fact that I do not really like La Brie's voice - there is a lot of talent there, but it is not really my thing. The covers disc is rather disappointing, in particular, stargazer is nowhere near the original (but I still give them five stars overall). How anyone thinks they could even come close to the performance of Ronnie James Dio I have no idea!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining, 6 Feb 2010
By 
M. F. DONNELLY (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Black Clouds & Silver Linings [Special Edition] (Audio CD)
Black Clouds & Silver Linings is fast becoming my favourite Dream Theater of all time. This is easily the most accessible Dream Theater album and very old-school progressive in that it only features six tracks. Each is different and a classic in its own right. As with all Dream Theater albums this one features more time changes than a complete Dr. Who box-set!

Opening track A Nightmare To Remember is a real classic and very heavy but still features some superb melodies. The song is about a car accident and is awesome in its construction and clocks in at over 16 minutes in length. No three minute pop songs on offer here...

A Rite Of Passage is more typical of their recent albums and though good probably the weakest of the six tracks.

Wither has a classical feel to it and is very mellow and a welcome interlude from the intensity of the rest of the album.

The Shattered Fortress is the heaviest track on the album and is Mike Portnoy's final part to his 12-step programme against alcoholism.

The Best Of Times begins with a beautiful piano intro transcending into strings before unleashing into a flurry of melodies. The track is a tribute to Mike Portnoy's late father and another soon to be all-time classic Dream Theater track.

The Count Of Tuscany finishes the album on a high and is a 19 minute epic similar to Rush's Xanadu or Maiden's Rhyme Of The Ancient Mariner. Starting with superb 3 minute intro the song then kicks into gear and goes on to tell the story of the meeting a strange count! Lyrically, this is not on a par with most of their back catalogue but nonetheless this is still a monster track!

Not only the best Dream Theater album but also just narrowly missing out on my Album Of the Year. There has never been any doubt about the quality of the musicianship in this band but some of their albums, especially the concept ones, have come across a little self-indulgent and lacking in songs. James La Brie puts in his finest performance since Images & Words with his vocal harmonies being exceptional. The quality of the songwriting is nothing short of perfection throughout especially on the opening and closing tracks.

The bonus version features an additional two discs: instrumental versions of the whole album and six cover versions including breathtaking adaptations of Rainbow's Stargazer and Iron Maiden's To Tame A Land.

I am not the biggest fan of Progressive Metal but when rock music is produced and performed this well the genre is only a small point. Dream Theater can sound like Metallica one minute and Journey the next and sometimes all in the same song; all of which is highlighted throughout Black Clouds & Silver Linings.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their best since Metropolis pt. 2, 9 Jan 2010
This review is from: Black Clouds & Silver Linings [Special Edition] (Audio CD)
The premise;

Dream Theater. One of the biggest names of the progressive metal genre.

Black Clouds and Silver Linings: The next in a long string of awesome albums and the best since Metropolis part 2 "Scene From a Memory".

Seriously this is one band that just keeps getting better and better. There's a lyric on here;

Quote:
All the finest wines improve with age

it seems so do Dream Theater!

The trouble is its an album that is so good I find it hard to find the words to describe it.

It startings with the epic 16 odd minute opus A Nightmare to Remember, a true story about a car accident which Jorn Petrucci had as a kid. It's one of my personal favourites from the album. It is also noteworthy for more extensive use of Mike Portnoys more gutteral vocals as well as James LaBrie.

Next is lead single A Rite of Pasage. Not my personal favourite from the album but as very good song all the same and it fits in well.

Wither is next. It's the most commercial song on the album and the lighest but it is also very good and like A Rite of Passage fits in very well with the rest of the release. Though over 5 minutes long its the shorted song the album has to offer.

The Shatterned Fortress is another favourite of mine and is the final part of Mike Portnoys's Alcohol's Anonymous saga. It is like parts taken from the previous 4 songs The Glass Prison, This Dying Soul, The Root of all Evil and Repentance all put together and then some new stuff thrown in for good measure. It's damn good and a great way to end the saga which, although split up over 5 albums, is essential one big song. Well worth a listen to every part one after the other.

The Best of Times is a tribute to Mike's late father. A solid song, but not a favourite of mine.

The count of Tuscany is my 3rd favourite and it is nearly 20 minutes in length. The main album's last track, it does a good job of ending the album.

In summary the main album can only get a 5 stars from me. Although I said 3 songs weren't favourites of mine that by no means makes them bad. In fact I honestly don't know how the band will top this album.

Covers disc that comes in some editions isn't bad either. My personal favourite of the covers is Iron Maiden's To Tame a Land, a song Dream Theater felt needed reviving in some way since Maiden don't play it live, a sentiment I agree with.

Can't say I bother with the instrumental disc, I like the vocals too much, but its there is anyone is that way inclined, since the music alone is awesome too.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars pleasantly surprised!, 5 Dec 2009
By 
E. Pearson "tronlady" (barnsley) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Black Clouds & Silver Linings [Special Edition] (Audio CD)
ok....I'm one of the old old old-time dt fans. I saw the "special gig" at Ronnie Scott's in London waaaaaaay back. I meet 18 year old's now in rock clubs who "love dream theater man" but what do they know he he. No honestly its really good that they are more well known these days. I've always thought they deserved a HUGE audience. I've loved every single album.....up until "systematic chaos". Track 1 was awesome and I remember thinking "these guys never let me down" and then the rest of the album...just not bothered. It wasn't too heavy, it wasn't too proggy, it wasn't too eccentric, it wasn't too songy but it wasn't up to scratch for me, so much so that I NEVER listen to it. I was disheartened to say the least.

I'm pleased to say they HAVE restored my faith with this album. They've been really clever with this album. The first 2 tracks have "Roadrunner Records" written all over them to pull the newbies in and if you're like me you'll think "what on earth" but stick with it. After that its a classic DT album. From here on its wow-factor songwriting, arrangements, musicianship, production. Nuff said. Its "The Count of Tuscany" that got me (last track)..it makes me go all wibbly ALL the way through that's the best way I can describe it...AWESOME...end of. Mike Portnoy loves MUSE. Imagine if they supported them? Hmmmmmmm
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Black Clouds & Silver Linings [Special Edition]
Black Clouds & Silver Linings [Special Edition] by Dream Theater (Audio CD - 2009)
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