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Dream Theater - "Train Of Thought"
Elektra Records 2003

Welcome to the brutal zone. I am speechless. So much aggression in Dream Theater is not something that happens every day. As cover and CD title would dictate this music is completely obscured into darkness. Train of the man's darkest thoughts, really.

As long as Portnoy will praise U.S. holy inquisition of 21st century in Iraq via his interviews, Dream Theater will remain in my eyes a band that tries to be highly intellectual, even prophetic. But just force to, cause they do not convince. Their train of thought is driven by fear and its message empty and hollow. And from that point of view, you can't take them seriously.

Petrucci's guitar sounds even dirtier than on "Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence" (2002), while LaBrie because of very linear singing approach, reminds very much on a Hetfield on his very bad day. Mr. LaBrie where are your melodic and emotive singing? And why are you hiding so much behind sound effects? Well, after this few opening words it is not hard to guess that band lost a lot of melody. Is this all? No it isn't. They lost also a lot of complexity. Guitar is caught merely in half tuned riffing (opener As I Am, Honor Thy Father, In The Name Of God). Brutalized guitar sound develops quite nice power voltage. But is this still Dream Theater? Petrucci also uses his vah-vah effect quite a lot while doing his solos. Everything tends to be hard as hell. John is this shredding of yours more like audition to join Arch Enemy?

Still a lot of jams, boneshaking bridges and great conversation between all instruments to find, but it remains somehow diminished by overdosed half tuned massive riffage. Stream Of Consciousness, with some baroque espresso drives towards the end of a song is a melodic highlight. Convincible moment of sadness and pain with some "Awake" touches included, also by sound. Final song In The Name Of God includes some Jordan's oriental supersonic keyboarding and diverse Portnoy's drum improvising that sounds more like percussion and this brings nice contrast inside song. Here also LaBrie delivers some melodic moments. At least this closure segue captures some higher atmospheric vibes.

Not satisfied with what band offers. Lack of ideas or driven by lust for aggression? Very boring with what Dream Theater offered with their past masterworks from 1989 till 1999. Dream Theater should take some vacations. "Train Of Thought"? Ex-Metallica fans check this out. Enforced album in all senses!

Author:   Aleš

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