Dream Theater - Train Of Thought

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Elektra/Warner
Catalog Number: 7559-62891-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 69:22:00

With a worldwide release date pencilled in for November 11, what better day to chose than Armistice Day (or Veteran's Day in the US). Train Of Thought is indeed a much better solution to end the Iraq problem than all the other efforts put together. Send the boys back home, we?ll send you an audio bomb instead! Train Of Thought is indeed just that: a bomb, a collection of audio explosives shipped to every country of the world where it will unleash truckloads of energy once it passes under the laser!

When Dream Theater decided to play all of Metallica?s Master Of Puppets and Iron Maiden?s Number Of The Beast, the wish of every single band member to one day release a classic metal album in that direction became more and more realistic. Add to this the fact that Dream Theater and Metallica are signed to the same label and maybe it?s not such a coincidence to know that Train Of Thought indeed holds a lot of Metallica references. Also, from a promotional point of view, the new Dream Theater album will be tackled in almost a similar way as Metallica's St. Anger was. Every single piece of music remained a secret until the day of its official release. All but one, as the band is fully aware that the Internet can do a lot of damage by spreading MP3s as quick as you can blink an eye. Thus a radio edit for the opening track "As I Am" was produced mainly for the US radio stations that like to focus on a forthcoming album before the CD is actually released. Only minutes after this edit was sent to the radio stations, you could already find it on the net and even on the band?s very own website. For sure the appetite was wet and everyone the world over was anxious to hear whether at all the band would continue in the more symphonic style of the second disc in the Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence package or tackle something completely different. Listening to all seven tracks of the new album, I can clearly say that it has this "back to the roots" feel all over, mainly concentrating on the live feel of the band. And that live feel always gets the most response when authentic metal is displayed, so yes Train Of Thought is mainly a Petrucci album whose guitar has taken over from Jordan?s many solo escapades. After a first listen, I felt Jordan was not at all present, but after listening plenty of times to the new album, I have to confess he is still around, yet in a different fashion, having his contribution mixed in the back whilst leaving behind the orchestral approach.

Produced by John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy, all the emphasis goes towards hard-edged, powerful metal, although Dream Theater remains Dream Theater, which translates itself into creating absolutely fantastic compositions and arrangements. For sure the intro for "As I Am" is already stuck in the minds of thousands of DT-fans and will unleash seas of loud cheers once they perform it live. Petrucci?s riffs give you goosebumps, whilst it has to be said that LaBrie?s vocals fit the song like a glove. Throughout the entire album it sounds as if Portnoy has had a major operation, during which two extra arms and legs have been added, because his playing is even more outrageous than ever before! Also Petrucci delivers superfast solos next to the often distorted guitar sounds, adding more power as the album evolves. Portnoy describes "This Dying Soul" as being sick and crazy as it contains some of the chunkiest riffs ever displayed by DT. If you thought "The Glass Prison" had balls, wait till you hear this one! The song contains some distorted vocals whilst rubbing shoulders with Pantera or Slayer, however without leaving the Dream Theater mark for one second. This track contains a speedy fusion like intermission that sounds like Liquid Tension Experiment on acid, once again led by the Glimmer twins of progmetal: Petrucci and Portnoy. Although "Endless Sacrifice" begins rather soft when compared to the previous songs, a much harder approach soon sneaks in with a sneering guitar chord as gimmick. On top of the riffs, Jordan sees the possibility to unleash his immortal Kurzweil on us, amongst others, by choosing the Hammond sound, whilst synths are panning from left to right. Suddenly a mini concerto is on display, but this obviously lasts only for a couple of seconds, as its back to the power and beauty of the metal idea straight away.

With "Honor Thy Father" beginning with a short drum solo, there's no doubt this track will be come at the end of a bigger drum solo live that then automatically fuses into this new composition. Again James? vocals are slightly distorted at times, whilst the approach leans more towards the nu-metal scene, adding a certain commercial feel to it. Listening with headphones on also reveals some hidden Rudess features, whilst for a very brief second John Myung comes to the fore. Just listen to Mike?s bass drums here! Double, triple or why not quadruple bass drums? With the sentence "don?t cross the crooked step," the song changes, revealing kind of a theatrical part between father and son. This gives great opportunity for Jordan to deliver some of the best keyboard parts on this album, spicing this song up even more. No doubt the odd-one out on this album has to be the splendid but short "Vacant." Written by John Myung and Jordan Rudess, this song is based around James? wonderful voice, piano and cello creating a most welcome resting point on this album, and a song that once again proves the amount of talent housed in this band. From the very beginning, the blueprint for this album had it that one instrumental track should grace this CD. Because the writing for this composition went so fluidly, the band decided to call it "Stream Of Consciousness," and it?s indeed a constant flow of great ideas stitched together to make an absolute highlight. Once again the guitar sounds ever so heavy at times, with Jordan?s keyboards replacing James? vocals. On the technical run-through for this song, someone noted "DiMeola melody," which is exactly what you get whilst the name The Beatles pops up twice in the second part of the song. The longest track comes at the very end of this incredible album. Maybe it was Mike?s friendship with Neal Morse that formed the basis for "In The Name Of God," as obviously working on Neal?s Testimony album, the two most certainly must have tackled the "god" topic on more than one occasion. During its intro, Jordan and John play the same Eastern flavoured melody together. There?s a wonderful section where Mike attacks his drums from a more percussive point of view, backed by ambient sounds from Jordan?s Kurzweil, but once again it?s Petrucci?s guitar that brings the metal to the fore. At one given point, the music even evolves towards "metal-salsa"! I can?t stress enough the fact that LaBrie is in top form on this album, and "In The Name Of God" is no exception. Personally I would have loved to hear the end of this song (and album) backed by a huge choir and orchestra because the melody is so rich and strong. In the end this doesn?t happen and only the piano remains ending it all in solitude.

Train Of Thought certainly is yet another proof of the diversity and talent of the band. Even the sleeve design is different this time around, containing only black and white images (DT?s ?Black album?"). A fantastic effort from Dreamtallica or Metal Theater, which will most certainly end as everybody?s favourite when the "album of the year" lists will appear. A classic metal album if ever I heard one, and is proof that the band is most certainly progressive in the true sense of the word, as they have taken us yet again on a ride which we never experienced before!

As I Am (7:47) / This Dying Soul (11:28) / Endless Sacrifice (11:23) / Honor Thy Father (10:14) / Vacant (2:58) / Stream Of Consciousness (11:16) / In The Name Of God (14:16)

James LaBrie - vocals
Mike Portnoy - drums
John Petrucci - guitars
John Myung - bass
Jordan Rudess - keyboards Eugenes Friesen - cello

When Dreams and Day Unite (1989)
Images and Words (1992)
Live At The Marquee (1993)
Dream Out Loud (1994)
Awake (1994)
A Change in Season (1995)
Falling Into Infinity (1997)
Once In A Livetime (1998)
Scenes From A Memory (1999)
Cleaning Out The Closet (Xmas CD 1999) (1999)
Scenes From A World Tour - Christmas CD 2000 (2001)
Live Scenes From New York (2001)
Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence (2002)
Train Of Thought (2003)
Live At Budokan (2004)
Octavarium (2005)
Score (3CD) (2006)
Systematic Chaos (2007)
Greatest Hit (...And 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs) (2008)
Black Clouds & Silver Linings (2009)
A Dramatic Turn Of Events (2011)
Dream Theater (2013)
Dream Theater - Live At Luna Park (2013)
Dream Theater - Breaking The Fourth Wall - Live From The Boston Opera House (2014)
The Astonishing (2016)
Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York (DVD) (2001)
Live At Budokan (DVD) (2004)
Score (DVD) (2006)
Chaos In Motion (DVD) (2008)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: November 16th 2003
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.dreamtheater.net
Hits: 844
Language: english


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