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What the FUCK is going on with Dream Theater? - 60%

Zorc, July 1st, 2009

Dream Theater strikes again, people, with another LP produced by John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy. Recently, they seem to have the upper hand in the band, commanding the other members what is to be done and what is not. Jordan Rudess may be an exception, but Labrie and Myung are the main victims.

6 songs.115 minutes. Who likes long progressive metal bands will have no problem listening to it. Those who are more into bands like Fates Warning and Queensryche will probably reject this product. Let’s start with the pros. It’s Dream Theater, folks, the same Dream Theater that was reborn in 2002, when Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence was released, meaning that this album, Black Clouds and Silver Linings will be as well criticized and used as a fine subject for controversial discussions, just like all Dream Theater albums since 2002. The songs are well created, there’s no doubt about this. Heavy passages mix well with melancholic and melodic ones. All in all, every member of the band does their job properly, they are talented and know how to show it. Highlights? A Rite of Passage, Wither, The Count of Tuscany.

You probably wonder why I entitled my review the way it is entitled, as long as no specific negative aspects have been presented so far. Well, it’s time to reveal something very interesting that I have spotted recently. If what I’m about to say has already been written in any other Dream Theater reviews, I pray for forgiveness. What the Fuck is The Shattered Fortress supposed to mean? Does not anyone see that this song is useless on this record? It consists 80% of its length of pieces taken from other Dream Theater songs: The Prison Glass, This Dying Soul, Root of All Evil and Repentance. How is it possible to put an almost 13 minute long song in there, so that you can fill an album, a progressive metal album? So, The Shattered Fortress is not even a filler, it’s worse than that! But, this shouldn’t be surprising, as Dream Theater has got us used to such kind of “manoeuvre” since 2003. If you listen more attentively to This Dying Soul from Train of Thought, you‘ll realize that it resembles somehow to The Glass Prison. The middle sections of both these two songs are very similar, the same in fact. Further more, if you pay a little attention to Root of All Evil from Octavarium, you’ll realize that it includes some musical parts and even lyrics from This Dying Soul. Going on, I can tell the same thing about Repentance, from Systematic Chaos. It is based on the same notes that can be found in This Dying Soul. And now, the surveillance plane has arrived in Black Clouds. What do you know? The Shattered Fortress overcomes the other impostors. This time, we don’t deal with a song taking some other parts from only one song. The Shattered Fortress hanged This Dying Soul and took its liver out. Then it decapitated Root of All Evil and took its brain out. Afterwards, it crucified Repentance and takes its soul out. Eventually, it stabbed The Glass Prison into the heart and rooted it out. This is how The Shattered Fortress was born, desecrating other desecrators. Is this a bad joke? You really wanted to revenge The Glass Prison? Is this the last song that will be structured in such a way? Or the next album will reveal yet another hideous monster that feeds on the past in order to secure its present and future? Why don’t you copy Metropolis Pt 1? Why don’t you copy all your first three albums?

The special edition contains two more discs. Disc 2 consists of 6 covers. They are averagely well done. I’m not getting into it too much. And the last disc….is this really a surprise? Or you want to compensate the fact that you strongly lack of originality? The last disc consists of the instrumental songs of the first disc. Black Clouds and Silver Linings goes speechless, I suppose.

As a conclusion, Black Clouds and Silver Linings isn’t a bad album, but due to the fact that The Shattered Fortress is there as an offense to any Dream Theater fan or admirer, I can’t rate the album higher. I’m really sorry about The Count of Tuscany and the other 4 songs on this record. They cannot overcome the greatness of When Dream and Day Unite, Images and Words and Awake, but still, they are good and worth listening. I’m sure that anyone who loves Dream Theater will have to bear to listen to The Shattered Fortress as well. There’s a very fine comparison to explain this kind of attachment. A woman that truly loves her husband, she will love him for ever, even if he sometimes comes drunk home late at night and beats her up and then fucks her up till she fades. Dream Theater fans feel the same when encountering This Dying Soul, Root of All Evil, Repentance and The Shattered Fortress. Try not to copy your own songs anymore, guys! Be honest to yourself! Don’t regurgitate the food you have already crapped out.