Thursday, May 21, 2009

Black Clouds and Silver Linings

Welcome redemption

I had almost lost the faith. Dream Theater's previous album, Systematic Chaos was appropriately named; it was a formulaic descent into an uninspired, chaotic (albeit technically masterful) mess.

Black Clouds and Silver Linings is a complete reversal. Welcome back melody, solid structure, moving harmonies and emotion-laced composition to the hard-hitting riffs we know and love.

All the songs on the album are outstanding. My favorites include The Shattered Fortress, which satisfyingly concludes the 12-part recovery saga by touching on elements of the previous journey.

Wither is the most radio-oriented piece on the album, and for me is a highlight. Full of feeling, LaBrie's soaring harmonies offer a welcome break between the heavier pieces on the album.

The true masterpiece of the album is The Count of Tuscany. The epic 19-minute piece combines all the most progressive flavors we've seen from DT, and it stands shoulder to shoulder with their other great epic one-piece, A Change of Seasons.

This is not an album I had to work to get into. It hooked me from the first measure and continues to delight. Consequently, I give it a very solid five stars.