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Dream Theater
Train Of Thought
Elektra
· Produced By: Kevin Shirley

· Running Time: 70.00

· Release Date: Out Now

· Released: WORLD

· Musical Style: Progressive Hard Rock

· Links: Dream Theater
95%
Songs: 95%
Sound: 95%
Review by Phil Ashcroft:
Love them or hate them, Dream Theater are a band who make music for themselves. If the fans want to come along for the ride then that's fine, but with the exception of parts of Falling Into Infinity, it's music made without concession or compromise. That statement probably isn't entirely true and integrity doesn't always go hand in hand with being on a major label, but even though I've no idea how they've managed to stay true to themselves AND appease the label, I'm certainly glad that they have.
After the rather eclectic collection of songs that was Six Degrees, the band have this time opted for less variety and more cohesion, a unified sound that's both incredibly direct and hard hitting, but no less technically demanding for both the listener and the band. To compare it to past albums it's part Scenes From A Memory, and part Awake...the heaviest parts!
Containing 7 songs, 5 of them well over 10 minutes long, Train Of Thought could have been too much for even the most hardened prog-metal head to cope with, but what DT have done is basically leave the over-the-top instrumental bits in, but simplify the songs around them. By songs I mean the bits where James LaBrie is actually involved, and despite the length of the tracks it's heartening to note that there are an awful lot of lyrics in the booklet.
Kicking off with a Black Sabbath riff (or the riff to Black Sabbath to be precise), the relatively short As I Am soon turns into a Metallica-like affair. With a great chorus, both musically and lyrically, and with Jordan Rudess taking a back-seat, John Petrucci's playing is very direct and it's the closest thing they've done for a while to a straight rock song. It's also immediately apparent that LaBrie is in excellent voice, probably his best since Images & Words, and that Mike Portnoy is definitely not underplaying this time around.
On to the longer tracks, This Dying Soul returns to the punchy riffs and multiple time changes of old, while the vocals are aggressive and the insistent hooks of the song even include a processed rap vocal that actually works. Rudess scores his first points with a couple of manic solos and some tasteful piano, while Petrucci complements him with some pacy riffs and shredding solos.
The pace is brought down a little for the outstanding Endless Sacrifice, which has a gentle verse and crunching, almost Nu-Metal, chorus. LaBrie is outstanding again and the instrumental interplay is a throwback to Metropolis. Honor Thy Father, on the other hand, has all manner of weird and wonderful things going on, crystalline metal riffs, off-the-wall vocal lines circa Rage For Order, odd rhythms, spoken dialogue, soaring vocal melodies, and even a keyboard solo that's a dead-ringer for Rick Wakeman. Intense is not the word.
Things are broken up nicely by the short gentle ballad Vacant, on which LaBrie's voice has a haunting, breathy quality. It's a simple theme built around bass, piano and cello, and leads nicely into the album's instrumental, Stream Of Consciousness. Dynamic and moody, and in the great tradition of Erotomania and Hell's Kitchen, the instrumentation is razor sharp and the many tempo changes don't change the fact that it's a superb succession of memorable tunes.
Saving the longest for last, In The Name Of God is heavy and atmospheric, but also relatively simple. It's a typical closing epic with tons of melody, some serious shredding in the mid-section, and builds up to a stirring climax in a similar way to Finally Free, right down to Rudess' simple piano. LaBrie pulls off a stunning vocal yet again and the song benefits from the simplicity of the arrangement, and the sharpness of the production.
The Bottom Line
All in all Dream Theater have made a more focused, not to mention heavier, album than ever before. Some of it is pretty immediate and will hit you on first listen, while other bits take time to get into. Just like all the other DT albums really, although 20 plays later I'm convinced it's in their top 3. Definitely a return to form.
Studio Discography / Previously Reviewed
· When Dream And Day Unite
· Images And Words
· Awake
· A Change Of Seasons
· Falling Into Infinity
· Scenes From A Memory
· Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence
· Train Of Thought

Line Up
· James LaBrie: Vocals
· John Petrucci: Guitar
· Mike Portnoy: Drums
· John Myung: Bass
· Jordan Rudess: Keyboards

Essential for fans of:
· Metallica
· Rush
Track Listing
· As I Am*
· This Dying Soul
· Endless Sacrifice*
· Honor Thy Father*
· Vacant
· Stream Of Consciousness*
· In The Name Of God*
--*Best Tracks


29/03/07: amazing! - awergaerh@yeah.com
Rating: 100
ALL DTs ALBUMS ARE AMAZING! I'D NEVER LISTEN TO SOMETHING ELSE!
That is real music: long and lasting songs, complicated and ``kicking ass`` songs!!!!

26/09/04: WardyS3 - micktward@ozemail.com.au
Rating: 80
Not boring like many think, yet not a classic either. I have mixed feelings about this album. For me, my favourite DT albums are Images and Words, and Scenes from a memory, and lately I have been going back to the Awake album. I couldn't get much out of Six Degrees so was looking forward to this newie. I haven't written a review yet on this because of my mixed feelings, like when I first got the album I was quite excited with the heavier sounds and overall concept, as I do enjoy my prog. But I've cound over the last 6 months I pretty much put this album away, got tired of it quite frankly. Dunno why cause I love DT and get a kick out of this album when I do drag it out!?

A good album, and probably the first of theirs that has become a real 'When I'm in the mood' kinda album. A little confused and hoping it just needs some more work, but worth 80% as the album is very well executed, there are melodies to be had and I love the fact they've opted for the heavier sound this time round.

03/09/04: steve - roknroseville@yahoo.com
Rating: 40
BORING....... No hooks & songs that are way 2 long............
I feel bad for James Labrie Such a great singer & his vocals play a background role in this band! Seems like Petrucci & Portney are controlling all aspects of Dream Theater now!!!
Where's Kevin Moore when you need him??

09/04/04: Robin McGhie - robin@mcghiefamily.freewerve.co.uk
Rating: 87
Its incredible how much debate this band can cause, even amongst fans. I personally felt that SDOIT the last release was by far their poorest. I had the pleasure of seeing them perform 2Train of Thought" in its entirety at Manchester and feel that it is a monster of a CD. I actually feel that it gets stronger as it progresses and the final 2 songs being amongst the finest the band has written. Matt you have got this totally wrong "Straight ahead metal" I dont think so. This band are and will always be the best multistyle band on the planet. Beware of poor imitations !!!! Thanks Dream Theatre, a real return to form.

29/03/04: Col - c@f.t
Rating: 95
Monster!

Some people hate it (I hated Falling into Infinity) and some love it, its as simple as that.

I love it, the musical muscle in this work s frightening. Sometimes I wonder if even the band know what they're capable of...

To me its got more melodies than you can shake a stick at, it work for me and thats all that matters...

I cant understand the negative vibes for this album, but thats fine, I dont understand a few things in life, but I understand when works of art come out like this, I appreciate it and get a hell of a kick from it... life is good...



05/03/04: Kaj Roth - delpierorock@hotmail.com
Rating: 30
What about all this overhyped hysteria over such a grotesque instrumental masturbation??!!!
Images and words is a classic album but since then,DT has only gone downslope......there are a few highlights on each album but I fxxking hate it when they insist on showing off how great they are at playing. Booooooring it is and how about the intro riff on the opening track?,havenīt any one of you guys heard Black Sabbath with Black Sabbath?-Itīs the same notes.....Petrucci could have done it in a more polished way with saying itīs a tribute to Iommi,TRAIN OF THOUGHT is on itīs way to Siberia where no man lives........and there it can stay!

04/03/04: orzowei - orzowei@infonegocio.com
Rating: 10
Ok, there is no melodies from Mr. Moore (something i miss a lot) but this record is nothing more and nothing less that DT making CLASSIC music, and i say CLASSIC cause these guys make every CD a classic, and just see the incoming new prog CDs (im sure a lot of them are making their sound a little more metallica-esque).

Ah!! i miss a thing!!! go to see them LIVE!!!!!!

29/02/04: Ron Jeremy - ron@jeremy.com
Rating: 60
By far the most trendy albumby DT. The guitars are down tuned Limp Bizkit/Korn/Slipknot sounding. The songs dark, monotonous & lack melody. I know that kind of metal is in today, but the beauty of DT were the melodies + the prog & heaviness. Tried to like it, but unforunately this is a boring album.

27/02/04: Matt Stone - STONER6688@aol.com
Rating: 25
Dream Theater has consistantly put out uniquely great albums. Each album has its own distinct sound, sometimes even concept. At least this aspect of TRAIN OF THOUGHT remains true. But there is so much more that is missing from this album. First of all, I thought METRO 2 was one of the greatest albums of all time, and would have got a perfect rating from me. I very much liked SIX DEGREES too. Buut TRAIN OF THOUGHT seems to abandon everything that makes Dream Theater the unique band that they are. This is just simply straight ahead metal. And as much as I hate to say it, Dream Theater is not good at it. Straight ahead metal is not meant to be 12 or 14 minutes long. One or two epic songs is ok. Metallica did it well in the mid-80's and even Anthrax pulled it off to perfection with their song Anywhere But Here. This album only has 6 songs with lyrics, and one pointless instrumental. I don't even like one song. There is hardly a part of any song that really moved me. This is just pure trash. I never thought Dream Theater could dissapoint me like this.

24/02/04: Craig Bishop - bisho72@optushome.com.au
Rating: 78
As a long time fan of DT, I waited in anticipation for this release. If you are into the technical side of DT then you are gonna love this but, if you love the hooks and melodies that this band can create, you will be disappointed. This is without a doubt the closest to pure metal DT have ever gone they even sound like Metallica of old in some places. My biggest gripe with the album is that it's very hard to get into as it is not an easy listen. I love prog but there still has to be something that grabs you on each listen. Technically flawless does not necessarily make a good album. "Awake" was technically brilliant but it had so many hooks and it drew you into the music. TOT sadly does not! The band has proven time and time again that they are the best in the business but after many listens I just cannot yet enjoy it!
If you would like to get into DT look elsewhere first.

05/02/04: beau - manikoth@hotmail.com
Rating: 81
as a DT fan, i feel this is a less-than-inspiring release from these very talented musicians. there are good bits and pieces within the 70-minute long CD; but overall, the songs sound rushed and scotch-taped together. the dynamics and poetry of their instrumentation and lyrics are almost drowned out by john petrucci's faster-than-yngwie-malmsteen-leads. vocally, this is my least-likeable performance by james labrie except maybe for one song. instrumentally, the bass and keyboards are mixed as supporting instruments. as much as i admire all their talents as musicians and instrumentalists, i think it's time to bring in A PRODUCER who can capture the dream theater sound. and why aren't the lyrics contributed by all members? disappointing but still anticipating...beau

05/02/04: Chris Sabato - csabato@dellmail.com
Rating: 95
Naturally, being an intense Dream Theater fanatic, I purchased this CD the day it was released, and, listened to it 3 times before I started searching the net for reviews the next day. By and by I agree with about 95% percent of what I read, and that is that this is DT's heaviest effort. I am confounded by the few detractors who lump ToT into one big jack off fest. Some of these folks claim to be fans, and wish for another'Awake' or 'whatever', but as far as I'm concerned they're basically idiots. The rest of the fingerpointers can go rock out to Good Charlotte, or the like, and continue nursing their lower colon's as they probe their assholes headfirst. This CD will stand the test of time, as does the entire DT cataloge, and maybe, if fate has any concern about the state of metal, be eventially seen as a new beginning for heavy prog.. Nothing is forced on this album. There is virtually no evidence of condesending riff bashing with 'take you to school' egoism. It's pure joy and reverence from the wellspring of this band's metal heart. Their choices are brave, and, for the fans. The churning ride out solo of "This Dying Soul". Here, the band morphs into one raging river of platinum spitting out magnum shards of some of the hottest, fastest tonic any rivethead has ever heard. Labrie's range is astounding. Sensitve("Vacant"). Heroic ("Endless Sacrifice"). Menacing("In The Name of God"). Plus, one of the most goosebumping moments is Jason Robard's death bed monologue from PT Andersons 'Magnolia' on the cut "Honor Thy Father". This is undoubtedly one of the most uncomfortably cutting moments, and humbling moments, I've ever heard on any recording by anyone. This band is about life. Period. Petrucci continues to be too interesting to even put words on. Mike Portnoy rules, where ('rules' means he kicks the shit out of the drums). Myung, solid, and Rudess is basically made for the band.
So, this is, friends, a must buy.

05/02/04: Ace Hunter - acehunter@geocities.com
Rating: 95
The first time I heard this album, I was disappointed. It sounded like an entire CD of The Glass Prison, the heaviest track from Dream Theater's last studio effort, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. I didn't hear enough keyboards, and the songs sounded much more metal than progressive....

...but...

...after repeated listenings, I LOVE THIS DISC. The keyboards are there, they're just not up front. And there is plenty of prog in this metal, you just have to give it a chance.

Fantastic disc, and I can't wait for the live show.

05/02/04: Gary - garyqus@yahoo.com
Rating: 98
This is one heavy freakin' album. A dramatic departure from 6DOIT. The lyrics are angry but thoughtful! I thought this cd is awesome, and the new material should be incredible live. The whole band is in fine musical form as usual and James Labrie's vocals are INSANE! If anyone saw them on their last tour with Queensryche were fortunate enough to witness DT and Queensryche perform together during the encores and hearing Labrie singing "Take Hold of the Flame" was worth the price of the ticket-F**kin awesome!!!!

05/02/04: Josue - josue@hardrockers.com
Rating: 50
This is a bad album. People would say a lot of things, but let's be honest: this is the worst album of this guys, i'm a fan, but that's the truth.

05/02/04: freddy de keyzer - freddydekeyzer@hotmail.com
Rating: 90
Another Dream Theater CD, another great record ! This is a band playing in their own league ! Not one single band can't touch the sheer class of musianship of these guys ! And this time they are even heavy as hell. Some riffs remind me of Metallica ! Is this their best ? Difficult to say ! ALL Dream Theater releases are class. It's a mystery to me why these guys are not bigger, certainly not in the USA !!! They simply blow away any competition ! If I see what kind of records sell a lot over there (in the USA) and I see what a great band as Dream Theater sells, then you can only say : unfair ! They deserve to be BIG !
Support these guys and make this band the TOP progressive metal act !

04/02/04: John Romanelli - jrndmd@comcast.net
Rating: 90
Dream Theater's latest opus, Train of Thought, should keep prog-rock fans happy. The overriding theme of the album is heavy, as the band was apparently inspired by the heavy metal '80s influences like Metallica (when they mattered) and Iron Maiden. The opening track, "As I Am" is the first single and is very heavy sounding. It has a Black Sabbath-like opening, but launches into an interesting groove. You can tell the band is into riffing on the open-low B string on Petrucci's guitar and Myung's 6-string bass. Next is "This Dying Soul"; not classic DT but certainly a strong tune. "Endless Sacrifice" follows, and this is. in my humble opinion, the best song on the album. From the cool acoustic intro, to Jordan Rudess' keyboards (which in keeping with the heavy vibe, are much less on this record, sadly), it's a classic. "Honor Thy Father" is next and doesn't disappoint. There is a short (2 1/2 minutes) track called "Vacant", which is like the sorbet between courses, and features a really cool cello part. The instrumental track, "Stream of Consciousness" is sure to become a live staple, with all of the elements of classic DT. The album closes with the epic, 15+ minute "In the Name of God", and is a fitting closure to another DT album.
This is heavier Dream Theater, but it doesn't disappoint. It also doesn't grab you instantly like their breakout record, "Images and Words" or their now-classic concept album "Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From a Memory". It belongs on the next tier of records, with "Awake" and "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence". Kevin Shirley's production is first-rate (not a surprise). James LaBrie's vocals kill the whole record. If you like prog, you will love it.


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