ARTIST:

DREAM THEATER

(UNITED STATES)
TITLE:

BLACK CLOUDS & SILVER LININGS

(2009)
LABEL:

ROADRUNNER RECORDS

GENRE:

PROGRESSIVE METAL

TAGS:
Epic, Opera-Rock, Symphonic, Technical
"At the risk of disappointing fans waiting for a masterpiece, this album is simply good. Of a depressing quality and consistency, infallible product of a carefully oiled mechanism."
ZOSO (13.05.2009)  
4/5
(0) opinions from our readers (0) comment(s)

No need to present Dream Theater... No need, because the band enjoys a notoriety as strong as ambivalent in the Metal world. Indeed, for the last few albums, numerous and too often sterile debates have been raging. Hasn't the band lost its magic touch? Wouldn't the most recent albums be less good, more irregular, less transcended by this desire to push back the musical limits implied by the ambitious "progressive" appellation?

Because the band is no longer a pioneer. Even if their immense contribution (past) leaves them in a position of supreme manitou, they are followed by an army of pioneers (and clones) whose references are as well Genesis or Yes as Emperor and Morbid Angel. This new wave plays music that is even more complex, faster, more daring. Faced with this breakwater, the band chose to continue its journey without trying to prove that they could pee further than their neighbours, leading some to believe that the ship was starting to take on water. In other words, this new album, "Black Clouds & Silver Linings", was one of the most awaited albums of the year, both by fans and critics.

The opening "A Nightmare To Remember" brings everyone in agreement. Rain, schizophrenic piano, then hammering in order supported by an omnipresent Portnoy. The oppressive atmosphere explode in a festival of double pedal and rumbling melodies. Unfortunately, this track is not perfect, especially because of a final part that lingers too long and gets lost in not always useful breaks that break the rhythm. But the foundations have been laid.

First of all, we're not here to laugh. The tone is dark and cold and even the acoustic breaks of the first track and "The Count Of Tuscany" do not provoke any heat, so much everything seems millimetric and sharp. "Nightmare To Remember" is thus a violent, megalomaniacal title, which falls with the power of a tidal wave. This same coldness is almost unbearable on the furious "The Shattered Fortress". More curiously, even a "The Best Of Times" about the death of Mike Portnoy's father has an epic and symphonic aspect that takes us away from the human dimension that this kind of piece can bring.

Second thing, Dream Theater imposes its "paw". The melodies are not afraid to be pompous, especially on the introductory track. No complex to serve more catchy choruses ("Count Of Tuscany", powerful and unifying) or less successful ("Best Of Times"). The band also allows itself lengths, proving to the followers of the theory of a 'roadrunnerocracy' how much they do what they like. The tracks all bear the band's trademark, with great reinforcements of breaks and finely chiselled melodies. The influences too strong are left aside to sound Dream Theater and nothing else. Even the "Wither" ballad doesn't feel too lost in the middle of the surrounding paving stones and fits into the album with coherence (even if it's not very judiciously placed). As a result, this opus presents a very pleasant unity by avoiding almost empty passages.

Defects stand out, of course. The sound is heavy, and the word "sticky" even comes to my fingers thinking of John Myung's massive bass. This heaviness also gains some riffs and Portnoy's drumming, which has never been so powerful and rigid. As for the constructions, the listener will also regret that some strings are a little too big with juxtaposed plans and unfortunately not always justified (at the end of "Nightmare To Remember", the solos of "Rite Of Passage"...). Some lengths too, notably the central "yessian" passage of "Count Of Tuscany" which hangs around a bit. But the defects disappear to leave only one compact evidence: Dream Theater is big, and "Black Clouds & Silver Linings" proves it to us.

At the risk of disappointing provocative lovers or fans waiting for a masterpiece, there is not much to say. This album is good. Of a depressing quality and consistency, infallible product of a carefully oiled mechanism (and much better in that than its two clumsy predecessors). And if Dream Theater seems to have passed the hand to the young bands to make us dream and shiver, they also leave a monolithic album, like a threatening sentinel ready to call to order anyone who wants to take the boss' throne.


More informations on http://www.dreamtheater.net





TRACK LISTING:
01. A Nightmare To Remember - 16:06
02. A Rite Of Passage - 08:34
03. Wither - 05:24
04. The Shattered Fortress - 12.53
05. The Best Of Times - 12:57
06. The Count Of Tuscany - 19:15

LINEUP:
James Labrie: Chant
John Myung: Basse
John Petrucci: Guitares
Jordan Rudess: Claviers
Mike Portnoy: Batterie
   
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