Dream Theater – Train of Thought

Train of Thought was the seventh full-length studio album by progressive metal band Dream Theater. It was released in 2003 and was a controversial album. Some newer fans enjoyed the harder, more straightforward metal sound. Many classic Dream Theater fans were disappointed with the style, and thought it was too mainstream and pandered to younger audiences. Well, let’s check this one out shall we? Prepare for a heavy ride…

The album starts with As I Am, a great heavy opener. It starts with a Myung bass intro and after the riff kicks in, you immediately feel that this will be a heavy ride. This song has some insane riffing and an incredible, almost unbelievably fast and technical guitar solo by the almighty John Petrucci. The song continues for a few minutes after the solo and Petrucci’s guitar feedbacking ends the song, leading right into the next song. This Dying Soul is the second installment of Mike Portnoy’s Alcoholics Anonymous suite and features Steps 4 and 5. This song starts with a great drums intro and after that we have a guitar solo which melts with Rudess’ keys before the riff makes an appearance. After the song goes quiet and mellow, LaBrie starts singing. Portnoy will occasionally sing in between LaBrie’s parts ( just as with The Glass Prison ).

The chorus comes in and ends with almost the same guitar solo from the beginning. After this solo everything and everybody speeds up and the intro makes a re-appearance. After this you will hear the chorus kicking in and we will hear some Glass Prison bits and pieces. What follows is some really heavy chugging riffing followed by a few tempo changes. Afterwards are some insane musical passages and some keyboard and guitar solos. When the solos end we get some insane Portnoy double bass drumming accompanied by Petrucci and Rudess ending the song.

Endless Sacrifice begins with a beautiful melody on guitar followed by Rudess’ keyboard playing. You might expect a ballad when this song begins, it’s mellow and has some piano arrangements and builds up a incredible atmosphere. But, the band kicks in at 2:07 and the heavy riffing from previous songs returns. After this the song becomes mellow again and the chorus once again kicks off afterwards. When the chorus ends, the song goes all frantic. Riffing everywhere and Dance Of Eternity’ish passages all around the place. The song really goes berserk during this part, and I like that. We have some Rudess wizardry on keys and some insane soloing by Petrucci. After they team up with their play, Portnoy goes insane and the song speeds up even more and goes into overdrive. We get some more heavy passages and LaBrie comes back and starts singing the final part of the song. After LaBries stops singing, the song speeds up for the final time and after that everything ends with some cool drumming.

Honor Thy Father starts with a insane drum intro and after that we have a heavy riff. This song is obviously the heaviest of them all, it has some very heavy riffs, and it sounds like nu-metal at some points, which isn’t good. This song is still pretty good though and has some softer, more silent moments, but these don’t occur that often. This song has some serious hate lyrics and they were written about Mike Portnoy’s stepfather. When asked about what inspired him to write that song, he stated in an IRC chat: ” I’m not very good at writing love songs, so I decided to write a HATE song !” The song continues with the same heavy riff from the beginning and goes on and on with some time changes here and there. This song has one highlight, and that is one amazing keyboard solo by Rudess starting at 8.14. After this solo LaBrie starts singing again and the song ends with the same riff from the beginning. Overall a pretty repetitive song and the weakest of the album.

Vacant is a short little piano driven melody with LaBrie’s beautiful vocals accompanied by some excellent cello play. This song is plain amazing. You would expect another heavy insane track after Honor Thy Father, but what you get is a ballad, amazing. This song is the shortest of the album ( 2:57 ) and one of the best. Stream of Consciousness is one enormous instrumental track and it is 11+ minutes long. This song is a progressive journey and features amazing musicianship from every band member ( except for LaBrie of course ). Myung plays some groovy bass halfway through the song and has some sweet solos here and there. Overall a very solid instrumental, not their best instrumental though, still a very good one.

In The Name of God is an excellent way to end the album, it is the longest track of the album with 14+ minutes and is the best track of the entire album, it contains the best lyrics of the album as well. According to an interview, James LaBrie wrote this with three specific religious leaders in mind, which explains the lyrics. It starts off gloomy but the riff is around the corner, and when it makes an appearance the song gets even better. The song will continue and has Middle Eastern-sounding riffs. After this, we get a groovy chunky riff and LaBrie continues singing. This song continues and has time and tempo changes all over the place. The song slows down at around 5:36 and you will only hear Portnoy playing some drum fills and Myung’s bass. After a while Rudess piano joins the party and LaBrie starts singing again. Petrucci joins as well afterwards and the song speed up again. The song continues with the heavy riffing and Petrucci and Rudess will team up and after that another heavy riff makes an appearance and after that Rudess plays some amazing keyboard parts which give the song a epic feel. Afterwards we get the chorus for the final time and it finishes off with a great outro, with Rudess playing the final notes on piano, ending this epic song and this album.

Conclusion – Well, that was one heavy ride, but was it a good ride? Yes it was, I definitely enjoyed it. It’s something completely different after listening to Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and Scenes From A Memory, and I prefer those albums above this one, but it’s still a solid metal album. The songs may tend to get a bit repetitve, but there are enough crazy passages and insane solos to keep you hooked. Overall a good album, but not one of Dream Theater’s best.

Rating – 82/100

Review by JustinMetal88

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~ by Justin on April 7, 2008.

2 Responses to “Dream Theater – Train of Thought”

  1. my fav=)

  2. One of best Dream Theater albums (together with “Images and Words”, “Awake” and “Metropolis pt.2”)!

    98/100

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