Dream Theater - Train Of Thought

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

I?ve been listening to Train Of Thought for a couple of months now and, damn it, I still can?t figure out if I love or hate the f*cking thing. At first, I hated Train Of Thought with a passion, dismissing it as a metal-shredding sellout. Now that some time has passed though, the subtleties are starting to come through and I?m having more than second thoughts. It?s clear to me that Dream Theater are still the modern-day champions of progressive rock, but it?s also clear that their idea of what?s progressive is decidedly more metallic and that their championship is definitely in the heavyweight class.

I don?t think that I?ll ever really get a grip on Train Of Thought because I?m a shred hater. Don?t get me wrong, I love heavy metal, and it was DT?s metal-powered Awake that brought me back to the progressive fold back in ?96. My problem with Train Of Thought, though, is its metal character and, in particular, John Petrucci?s endless shreds. Petrucci?s solos and double-tracked duos are apt displays of his breathtaking dexterity and his lyrics for "As I Am" hit right on the mark; ?You can not touch the way I play? is both a statement of fact and a challenge to those of us foolish enough to criticize. But those same solos run on too long in some spots ("As I Am," "Stream Of Consciousness," "In The Name Of God"), seemingly leading nowhere and taxing the attention span.

I?m also bugged by DT?s increasing de-emphasis of keyboards in their sound. Jordan Rudess seems to be almost invisible for much of Train Of Thought, and it?s those lengthy passages where his keys are apparently absent that I keep losing interest. Rudess? keyboards impart a unique and vital atmosphere to the DT sound, and that vitality resurfaces whenever his presence is heard. Occasionally, Rudess' solos get used as a second lead guitarist and, when he gets to shredding, as in "This Dying Soul," Train Of Thought starts to derail again. Unfortunately, the keyboards don?t make a remarkable appearance until "Endless Sacrifice," almost twenty minutes into the album; fortunately, that?s when Train Of Thought really gets going. "Endless Sacrifice," "Honor Thy Father," and "Stream Of Consciousness? exemplify DT?s skillful mixing of rock and classical forms, "Vacant" surprises with its quiet piano, cello, and James LaBrie?s expressive vocals, and "In The Name Of God" proves that DT can riff rock with the best and that they haven?t forgotten the meaning of "symphonic."

That said, Train Of Thought is more metal than progressive and, for prog-rock enthusiasts and old school DT fans, that?s a loss. Maybe if DT had taken those precious minutes devoted to shredding and used them to write another song or two, Train Of Thought would be more to my ? and others? ? liking. As is, Train Of Thought is either a heavy metal masterpiece or a marathon of indulgent pretentiousness. I still haven?t decided, but maybe that?s because it?s probably both.

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: December 14th 2002
Reviewer: David Cisco
Artist website: www.dreamtheater.net
Hits: 959
Language: english


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