's 2007 studio LP "Systematic Chaos
" is an impressive offering to say the least for a band of this magnitude.
Long known for its cerebral approach to music, DT seems either content with their elevated status of masters of progressive metal or no longer willing to cram a thousand notes into one composition for the sake of sonic chest beating.
The songs here are very precise, sharpened and edited down to resemble more of the traditional writing style of metal music.
They also rock.
" best illustrates both points. It's guitar driven and it's concise. Part IV of "In The Presence
of Enemies" is as metal as ever especially visible during the verses. "Constant Motion
" is also another heavy track with John Petrucci
's guitar line firmly planted in the foreground throughout the whole song. Classic elements of Dream Theater
are still present… though, most of which can be found in the afformentioned two part epic "In The Prescence of Enemies" / "The Dark Eternal Night
" is arguably the best song on the album because, within its confines, every member struts just a little bit making the whole quite colorful. James LaBrie
uses a vocal effect, bassist Myung flashes a pop to his string, there's a wonderful outro by Petrucci and Jordan Rudess
shines during the middle medley.
Rudess is also highlighted in "The Ministry
Of Lost Souls
The most interesting track on "Systematic Chaos
" is "Repentance". It starts off slow and soft courtesy of Rudess' continuum and is augmented with a little trippy guitar pedal work from Petrucci. As the song develops, Mike Portnoy adds some color to this sonic picture lyrically with the first part of the piece called VIII "Regret". Initially vague in specifics, the meaning of it all comes together at the second part (IX "Restitution"), which features an all-star cast of guest Voices
. It's an Intervention
… and the only comment here is that "Restitution", although quite Floydian in scope and heartfelt in meaning, feels more like a wart on the pretty face that is "Regret".
"Prophets Of War
" also sports an emotional chorus under an impressive rhythmic melody to illustrate an anti-Bush
Back to back, these songs may be too much, but then again that is the essence of Dream Theater
. They are not a simple band and so they will challenge you on every level.
The same holds true for the whole album.
Altogether, "Systematic Chaos
" is a brilliant work of art.