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Systematic Chaos

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Album Review

Few bands in the history of rock have warranted the "either you love them or hate them" tag as much as Dream Theater, as fanatics consider them musical geniuses, while detractors sneer at their bombast. Either way, there's no arguing that the group has built a large and loyal following over the years by doing things their way, and with little to no help from radio or MTV. And on their tenth full-length overall (and first for their new label, Roadrunner), 2007's Systematic Chaos, the quintet sticks to the prog metal game plan that they've followed since their inception. In true Dream Theater fashion, the gentlemen are not ashamed to show off their chops — as evidenced by the album opener, "In the Presence of Enemies, Pt. 1," in which James LaBrie's vocals do not kick in until after the five-minute mark. Elsewhere, "Forsaken" proves wrong those who say that Dream Theater is all about instrumental gymnastics and not songwriting, at least momentarily, while "The Dark Eternal Light" features some nifty Pantera-esque riffing from John Petrucci. Additionally, "Repentance" is one of the album's four ten-minute-plus, mid-paced epics, and features a prerequisite of countless extended prog suites and spoken word passages. Unlike other veteran rock acts that attempted to update their sound with the times (and failed miserably), Dream Theater has admirably stuck to its guns through thick and thin — much to the delight of their legion of admirers — and they continue to do so on Systematic Chaos. And for that, we salute you with a flurry of flawlessly sweep-picked arpeggios. [The 2007 CD/DVD edition features the entire album remixed for 5.1 Surround on an included bonus DVD.]

Customer Reviews

No, it's not amazing, and no, it's not that bad

I might be wrong, but I think there are two types of DT fans. The first type leans more towards metal, and the second (like me) leans more towards progressive rock along the lines of Spock's Beard, Flower Kings, etc. If you're the metal-head DT fan, you'll probably love this, and you probably loved Train of Thought. For me, this album is pretty good, but there's too much head banging. There are more "heavy metal" vocals on this one - the shouting/spoken lyrics kind - and the heavy riffs are unmistakably metal, and some of them border on cliche. We all know going in that the instrumentatal performances will be stellar, but this time around, the music isn't quite as inspired. The album does have some good dynamics and some surprises, but the stale moments drag it down for me. Sure, there are some awesome moments on this record, but it doesn't deserve 5 stars and it surely isn't a masterpiece. If you are a DT fan (of either version I mentioned), this album is definitely worth your attention. If you love metal, then get this album for sure.

Awesome CD

This CD is awesome. After some careful listening, I've decided that this is the best cd (if not better) then/since SFAM. In The Presence of Enemies Pt. 1- Incredable introduction, great begining to the epic. Starts out awesome, gets better and better. At 4:10 it becomes one of the greatest DT moments of all time. 9/10. Forsaken- Good song. Amazing guitar riff's, backed by mysterious piano. Awesome as it's own song, but perhaps not a stand alone Dream Theater Song. 7/10. Constant Motion- In my opinion, one of the let downs of the CD. Almost too much like Megadeth, and not enough dream theater. Eventually in breaks into the standard DT song, but still seems somewhat lacking. 4/10. Dark Eternal Night- Also somewhat of a let down. Reminds me of the Train of Thought CD in it's entirety. Sometimes too heavy to pick out musicianship, although it does have a nice break. 5/10. Repentence- Starts off with the main theme from This Dying soul. Unlike the previous portnoy songs, this piece is definatly a slow one. Sounds kind of cheesey at the begining, almost trying too hard, but builds into awesome harmonies at the end. 6/10. Prophets of War- Ignore everything you've heard of this song, this song is great. Sounds almost like a muse song, its creepy and abstract but builds incredibly. 8/10. Ministry of Lost Souls- Starts of good, ends incredable. Memorable guitar parts and awesome break. 7.5/10. In the Presence of Enemies pt 2.- You just gotta hear it to believe it. 11/10. Hands down. Put with part one also, this song tops Octavarium, Six degrees of inner turbulance, and rivals if not tops A Change of Seasons. 10/10. Happy Listening.

Octavarium Redeemed

After DT's last album "Octavarium" there was a deep cry for something more progressive, something heaivier, something more melodic, and more DT. Although I felt Octavarium was a decent album, it was not their best. There were a lot of doubters concerning their next album, but this time around DT hit it on the head. From the beginning to the end of this album listeners are dazzled with signitures of classic and new Dream Theater woven together into Progressive goodness. From heavy riffs to emotional solos this album presents so many different sides of Dream Theater. There is truly not one song on this album that is the same as the next. Each holds its own within its sound and style. Although there are still doubters out there concerning this album, they need to let go of the past (Images and Words, Awake) and dive into this new piece of Progressive Metal that will drive musicians further and further in love with this style of music. I might add that James LaBrie shines on this album with his expanded vocal style and well riden range. This is album is worth every single penny a music lover can buy. Enjoy every minute of this album because it is a Progressive Metal Masterpiece.


Formed: 1986 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The technically proficient guitar playing of John Petrucci elevated Dream Theater to the upper echelons of contemporary heavy metal. While its lineup has continuously evolved, the Long Island-based quintet has consistently delivered sharp-edged music. Dream Theater is known for its high-energy concert performances. While they've released several live albums -- Live at the Marquee, recorded at the London club; Live in Japan, recorded during the Music in Progress tour in 1993, and a triple-CD and DVD,...
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Systematic Chaos, Dream Theater
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