The thing that I always loved about Dream Theater was there long ass songs that really entertained me and kept me interested, and I am glad to say this a nice return to form for me. Systematic Chaos
really lacked for me, and I couldn't get into a lot of the tracks except for three or four. Black Clouds & Silver Linings
opens up with a great track "A Nightmare To Remember", which has a great mixture of chugging, heavy riffage with impressive progressive tempos, time signatures, the usual Dream Theater. The record really continues in the vein of this attitude in my opinion, tracks like "A Rite Of Passage", "The Shattered Fortress", and "The Count Of Tuscany" all stand out as one of the best ones. Even the ballads, "Wither" and "The Best Of Times" stand out to me as nice pieces (Forsaken from Systematic
was half-ass for me). My only complaint is that Mike Portnoy's "gritty" voice is really annoying and I feel it doesn't fit in with the riffage he sings over or with Dream Theater in general. All in all I feel really happy about this record and I'm glad to see DT make a much better record than Systematic Chaos
. Anxious to see them live if I can!