Dream Theater
Systematic Chaos
Rating
Style: Progressive Metal
Release date: June 1st 2007
 

There's a pretty good chance that this ends up being my Album of the year!
Is it really as simple as this? Yeah, in my small world it is...

This is the album I have been anticipating the most this year, the album I have been waiting for since their yet to be reached masterpiece 'Scenes from a Memory, Part II' and finally its here. Does that mean they have been releasing bad albums in the space between? No, all it means is that they have explored new territories - 'Train of Thoughts' is still an excellent example of their adventures journeys into untested territories, 'Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence' shows their writing skills pushed very near to the limit in the 42 minutes orchestrated title song, and 'Octavarium' displays their capacity as excellent song writers and musicians.

Sure they rank at the top of my list of favourite bands, no other band is pushing their status in my small world and I am pretty easy convinced each and every time they release an album. They are surely not flawless and to this day I find it hard to be totally convinced by 'Falling into Infinity', but one small error just shows they are human after all. They are the true champions of progressive metal today, and they set the standard any progressive metal band has to be judged by, and they push the limits and set them higher each time they release a new studio album.

How do one review and rate ones favourite band objective without going totally overboard? Not an easy task and I will try to keep the praising at a minimum. And without further notice I'll turn to their new album called 'Systematic Chaos', a record-title that describes the sound of their music, which is methodical and meticulous on one hand, but on the other hand acrobatic and abstract.

'Systematic Chaos' is an album, compromised of complex, uncompromising, technically accomplished progressive metal that has endeared them to fans all over the world for more than 20 years. And when I write uncompromising then I referring the facts like that the shortest track "Forsaken" runs just over 5 minutes and the longest, "In Presence of Enemies" a two part epic that opens and closes the album, spans over 25 minutes. Or how about the fact that a song like "Constant Motion" with its Pantera-esque style takes progressive metal to epic extremes, or a song like "The Ministry of Lost Souls", which could easily go down as their humble tribute to Pink Floyd.

And I haven't even touched base with the three songs in the middle of the album: "The Dark Eternal Night", which is one of the darkest and heaviest songs they've ever recorded, and the very melancholic "Repentance" with it almost 'Scenes"-like beginning and feel to it and not forgetting the vocal highlight of the album: "Prophets of War", which has some references to Muse.

James LaBrie sounds better than ever before, the sound is crystal clear, the musicianship is flawless and the album just flows away, and when it's done it is really hard to believe that you've just spent almost 79 minutes just listening to music because time just flies by. This album is versatile, timeless, progressive and breathtaking, and is once more a perfect demonstration of why Dream Theater is the most prominent progressive metal band on Earth.

Dream Theater has thrown down the gauntlet with this first true masterpiece from them this millennium, and I rank this album only second to 'Scenes' on my all-time Dream Theater list. And I will continue to praise them and this album to anyone, who'll listen, because this is in my humble opinion the new reference album in progressive metal. An album that has class written all over it, and an album that is bound to be the one that has been occupying my CD player the most when the year draws to an end.

The bar has just been lifted a notch higher.


 
Label: Roadrunner Records
Provided by: Bonnier/Amigo (Denmark)
Distribution: Bonnier/Amigo (Denmark)
Reviewed by: Kenn Jensen
Date: June 5th 2007
Website: www.dreamtheater.net