Dream Theater – Black Clouds & Silver Linings
Lightning Never Strikes the Same Place Twice – A Dream Theater Album Review
The new Dream Theater record, Black Clouds & Silver Linings is nothing short of a masterpiece. With this being their 10th studio album, they have somehow managed to keep the evolution of each record growing and reaching new heights each time. What album would I compare this to in their catalog? Well – I wouldn’t! Somehow, this band continues to make record after record, holding on to their key sound but still making a unique piece of art. They say lightning never strikes the same place twice, well…neither does Dream Theater.
This album takes you on a sonic journey that will compare to nothing that they’ve done before (or anyone else for that matter). It’s heavy, it’s aggressive, its progressive, it’s melodic, it’s…genius really. No two tracks are alike.
Sometimes I like to break records down track by track, but in this instance, there’s no way I could possibly do it justice. Each song is an animal of its own that you really should experience for yourself. Who am I to spoil that experience? As I mentioned, they have songs that are aggressive and others that are revealing and emotional leaving the hair on the back of your neck standing up. Some of their previous records have a more “progressive” feel, or a more “heavy” edge, etc. This one, to me, is more of a hybrid of everything they’ve ever done, creating a unique monster of its own. I will say however, they waste no time in slapping you in the face with some heavy guitar riffs and exploding drum parts right from the get-go. Later in the record, they wrap up the twelve-step saga that was started on 6 Degrees of Inner Turbulence with the track, “The Shattered Fortress.” I was curious to how they would write this final passage and I think the approach they took was just about perfect. Not to worry, I’m not going to spoil it for those of you who have been following the story these past few albums. I would also like to make special mention of the track, “Best of Times.” This is probably one of the most heart-felt and touching pieces I’ve ever heard. That’s the greatest thing about music isn’t it? When a song can strike an emotional chord with you, and move you. There’s nothing like it.
The production of the album is also nothing short of perfection. From the drums, guitars and bass to the vocals and keyboards, everything sounds unbelievable. And in true Dream Theater fashion, they’ve taken a few “sonic risks” with sounds and production ideas that I’m not sure many bands could get away with, but they certainly can. Each player has (as always) brought their A game to the table. But lets not leave out vocalist, James Labrie. Labrie was very-much part of the “sonic risk” taking. His performance on this record is absolutely amazing. Delivering a range of style – and some of the most inspiring vocal melodies he’s done to date.
Paul Northfield, the engineer of the record needs to be credited as the 6th member of Dream Theater. His work is legendary working with artists such as Rush, Alice Cooper, Queensryche, Suicidal Tendencies, and so many more. He has made a final product that is truly unbelievable. Do yourself a favor, when you listen to the record for the first time, do so with headphones on. Listen to the intricacies that Paul and the band put into their work. It’ll take you for a ride!
All in all, I have to say, this is an amazing album. Most bands are on the way out the door when they hit past their 20+ year mark (if they make it that far in the first place). Dream Theater seems to keep climbing which begs the question, are they just getting warmed up?
This review was proudly written by the request of: ROAD RUNNER RECORDS
Learn more about Dream Theater and other artists on www.roadrunnerrecords.com