Black Clouds & Silver Linings [Special Edition]

( 3 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Eduardo Rivadavia
After finally running out their 13-year, seven-plus album deal with a poisonously indifferent Atlantic Records via 2005's workmanlike Octavarium, progressive metal standard bearers Dream Theater took advantage of their well earned free agent status to enjoy a heated courtship from several interested labels, before eventually settling on the artistically simpatico Roadrunner. But, ironically, Dream Theater's first album for the label that heavy metal built, 2007's Systematic Chaos, was relatively accessible by the group's standards, complementing every epic and complex composition with a comparatively concise and hooky song, thus leaving it to its 2009 successor, Black...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Eduardo Rivadavia
After finally running out their 13-year, seven-plus album deal with a poisonously indifferent Atlantic Records via 2005's workmanlike Octavarium, progressive metal standard bearers Dream Theater took advantage of their well earned free agent status to enjoy a heated courtship from several interested labels, before eventually settling on the artistically simpatico Roadrunner. But, ironically, Dream Theater's first album for the label that heavy metal built, 2007's Systematic Chaos, was relatively accessible by the group's standards, complementing every epic and complex composition with a comparatively concise and hooky song, thus leaving it to its 2009 successor, Black Clouds & Silver Linings, to really flex the band's progressive metal muscles to their maximum girth. And in fact, Dream Theater's tenth long-player is about as dense and challenging as any album in their daunting discography and certainly the darkest of spirit since 2003's Train of Thought, by emphasizing not only the virtuoso members' ever stupefying musicianship, but also their most aggressive and thoroughly metallic songwriting tendencies. Sixteen-minute opener "A Nightmare to Remember" and its half-as-long follow-up, "A Rite of Passage" later edited further for release as the album's first single, quickly establish this agenda via frequently thrash-paced staccato riffing, some of John Petrucci's most blistering guitar solos ever, and the return of drummer Mike Portnoy's syncopated growls no doubt inspired by his pal Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth, providing contrast for singer James LaBrie's soaring melodic elegance. Third track "Whither" -- a tender ballad and mere babe at five minutes in length -- is this album's only concession to commerce and one of Dream Theater's better stabs at the form it is, too; but after that it's right back to prog rock in excelsis, via the final chapter in the band's "AA Saga," "The Shattered Fortress," which references songs from previous albums such as "The Glass Prison" and "The Root of All Evil," in emulation of the "Conceptual Continuity Clues" method favored by one of Portnoy's heroes, Frank Zappa. Only two, not surprisingly massive song suites remain now, and interestingly, both pay evident tribute to Rush! First up, "The Best of Times" boasts an extremely Alex Lifeson-like lead guitar motif and verse chords that were clearly evolved from "The Spirit of Radio," later showcasing the most versatile and classically steeped performance on this record by keyboard wizard Jordan Rudess. Second, the revealingly named "The Count of Tuscany" surely a thinly veiled allusion to the Rush's famed instrumental, "La Villa Strangiato" catches Portnoy in the act of outright Neil Peart worship, colluding with Petrucci on their own version of "Xanadu" before leading their bandmates into another heady prog-metal magnum opus brimming with more ideas, notes, and time changes over 19 minutes than most bands bother with over a ten album career. That last bit sound at all familiar? That's because, at the end of the day, one must admit that Black Clouds & Silver Linings, for all its abundantly positive qualities and minor but clear distinctions from prior efforts, is still an archetypal Dream Theater album; one that's unlikely to broaden their audience all that much, but is conversely guaranteed to thrill their hardcore converts with its renewed devotion to the most exigent and stimulating facets of the band's chosen musical domain. [A special edition was also released.]
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/23/2009
  • Label: Roadrunner Records
  • UPC: 016861788353
  • Catalog Number: 178835
  • Sales rank: 31,453

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Dream Theater Primary Artist
Jerry Goodman Violin
James LaBrie Vocals
John Myung Bass
John Petrucci Guitar, Vocals
Mike Portnoy Percussion, Drums, Vocals
Jordan Rudess Keyboards
Technical Credits
Freddie Mercury Composer
Steve Morse Composer
Ritchie Blackmore Composer
Ronnie James Dio Composer
Robert Fripp Composer
Paul Northfield Engineer
John Petrucci Composer, Producer
Mike Portnoy Composer, Producer
Hugh Syme Art Direction, Illustrations
Leon Zervos Mastering
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Maybe the Best Dream Theater Album To Date

    The latest Dream Theater studio album release epitomizes everything that makes Dream Theater an exceptional group of musicians and songwriters. Unlike its predecessor, Systematic Chaos, the songs of Black Clouds & Silver Linings are non-fictional and personal stories, giving the songwriting greater life. From the opening of A Nightmare to Remember, it becomes apparent that this album is something special, and the rest of the album does not disappoint. A Nightmare to Remember is a beast of a song, featuring an a beautiful Continuum solo and John Petrucci showing fans that he is not slowing down, even after almost 25 years of performing with Dream Theater. A Rite of Passage and Wither are excellent singles, with the songwriting and technicality of the music surpassing the Systematic Chaos singles of Forsaken and Constant Motion. However, these singles seem like child's play when compared with the four epics that comprise the remainder of the album. The Shattered Fortress completes MP's 12 Step Suite, ending the Suite the same way it began. Fans will recognize the opening of The Glass Prison being used as the finale of The Shattered Fortress. The Best of Times takes the elements that made Ministry of Lost Souls in Systematic Chaos a fantastic ballad, and improves on all those points and shows no signs of weakness. The Count of Tuscany is a monster of an epic and flexes Dream Theater's progressive muscle to even greater levels. The cover songs are all esoteric choices for the band, but each is well-performed and they are reason enough to buy the Special Edition as opposed to the Regular Edition. However, the selling point for me personally with the Special Edition is the instrumental versions of the songs. The addition of instrumentals (or InstruMentals) is a brilliant decision and it gives the listener the opportunity to hear some amazing compositions and the incredible complexity and technicality of Dream Theater's sound without trying to break past the sound of James LaBrie's voice. The instrumentals hearken back to Liquid Tension Experiment or An Evening with John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess. Many Dream Theater fans will pleasantly remember these releases. In summation, Black Clouds & Silver Linings is a fantastic progressive release that I highly recommend you purchase whether you are currently a Dream Theater fan or just someone who likes good music and is looking for an album that transcends all expectations.

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    Posted August 11, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

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