June 29, 2005

Dream Theater: 2005 Train of Thought

Every time Dream Theater releases a new album it usually takes between three and five listens before I'm really able to wrap my mind around the music and decide if I like it or not. Of course, I always end up loving it and can't imagine them making any new albums that don't sound like this. Then after a couple years they release another album that sounds very different from the last and the whole process starts over again.

Now that I've finally fallen in love with the newest release, Octavarium, and have been listening to it non-stop for well over a week I thought I'd post my personal ranking of Dream Theater's studio albums. I’ll post my thoughts on one album per day, starting with the lowest ranked and moving upward. Here we go!

6. Train of Thought

Their last album before the recently released Octavarium and is perhaps the most guitar heavy that they’ve released. If Octavarium is the lighter, approachable side of Dream Theater, Train of Thought is the gritty heavy meaty album it balances out. This isn’t to say it’s more complex than any of the other albums, it’s just more in-your-face than other albums. I can see why not everyone would like this album, but really there’s just so much great stuff going on in this album I think that’s a shame.

If there’s one weakness to the album, it’s lyrics. None are bad, I don’t think, but about half the album has fantastic lyrics that make the rest look a little more ordinary by comparison. Again, not bad, but I find my thoughts relating to the lyrics gravitating towards one or two songs (though they’re the long songs on the album) that are just fantastic, which leads me into talking about one of those songs…In The Name Of God, which is the second of the two best DT political songs released. Being a New York based band I would have expected Dream Theater’s take on 911 to be a little skewed towards the home town perspective, but like The Great Debate before it, they manage to be completely even handed with the subject matter, producing a song that doesn’t take sides or preach. To do something as deftly as this with just a few lyrics, and some of the musical themes, is what Dream Theater is all about.

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