Dream Theater
Train of Thought


4.0
excellent

Review

by Austin USER (41 Reviews)
June 15th, 2010 | 40 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dream Theater's seventh album is heavy, dark, over-the-top, and very underrated as one of the band's best works.

The Journey Through Dream Theater, Part 8

On Train of Thought, Dream Theater made a huge push into heavier territory. While previous efforts certainly had their heavier moments, it was not until this album that they focused their heavier side into an entire album. Train of Thought is much less of a progressive album and more of a straight-up metal album. Here John Petrucci focuses much more on riffs than any other Dream Theater release. He lays down memorable heavy riffs in every song (save for the ballad). Although it's much different than the normal Dream Theater album, it's one of the band's best.

As I Am kicks things off with a slow-building intro that was a continuation of the finale from Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence. It soon leads into a driving heavy riff. It’s the most straightforward song here, as the band uses a simple verse-chorus-bridge-chorus approach, but it’s still very enjoyable, and it boasts a catchy chorus hook. Petrucci wastes no time in displaying his chops, providing the first of many shredding solos. James LaBrie also displays an fittingly edgier vocal performance to this track.

From there the album continues its journey through metal territory. Written about Portnoy’s stepfather, Honor Thy Father is quite possibly the angriest song the band has ever written. The great thing about this track is that the bridge isn’t the typical wankery from the band. It’s much more restrained, relying mainly on a riff over some effective voice samples before eventually leading into Rudess’ keyboard interlude (which thankfully is much more toned down than some of his solos are). The only ballad is the piano-driven Vacant, and although it’s very short, it’s inclusion is vital to the album, as it provides a short break from the heavy riffing, assuring that the album doesn’t become monotonous. It’s a slow, brooding track that effectively bleeds into the instrumental Stream of Consciousness. The band’s heaviest instrumental is one of their best, featuring a couple of great solos from Petrucci. The slower, more laid-back sections in the middle of the song are a nice addition as well.

The album highlight is Endless Sacrifice. Unlike the rest of the album it begins at a slower pace, with clean guitar. LaBrie’s vocals are at their strongest here, especially once he finally delivers the chorus after the long build-up. Midway through the song the band unleashes a climactic 4-minute instrumental section to turn the song into another blazing rocker. This track is only rivaled by In The Name of God, a fantastic closer which alternates between passages of groovy metal riffing and slower, more dramatic chorus sections which are masterfully delivered by LaBrie. The solo in the middle is a minute and a half of mostly uninterrupted shredding by Petrucci, including a particularly impressive section where he and Rudess play in unison.

One weakness of the album is that the band does get a bit carried away in the instrumental sections. The band can be forgiven for this, as the over-the-top instrumental sections are part of what makes this album so spectacular, but still, despite how entertaining it is, occasionally it’s overkill. Also, the weakest track is This Dying Soul, the second part of Portnoy’s AA saga. The reason that it’s the weakest is that even with its great melodies, tempo changes, effective use of double-bass and blastbeats from Portnoy, and numerous solos, it can’t quite match up to The Glass Prison. The comparisons are inevitable due to the fact that it reuses riffs from that song in order to provide continuity to the AA saga. It’s a very minor quibble, however, and it’s still a very well-constructed and enjoyable song in its own right.

This is definitely Dream Theater’s least subtle album. Portnoy tears up his drum kit like never before, making great use of his double-bass pedal, and taking numerous drum solos. Petrucci goes wild with soloing from beginning to end, and there is very little of his slower emotive playing demonstrated here. Rudess’ keyboard work gets plenty of showtime as well. But although the band overdoes the instrumental noodling sometimes, for the most part it works, making for a consistently enjoyable album. Train of Thought is also a good answer to those who feel that James LaBrie isn’t an effective metal vocalist, as he holds his own against the heavier material he’s presented with here. Even the rap-like sections of This Dying Soul and Honor Thy Father work without being cheesy.

It might not have the elegance of Images and Words or the inspiration of Scenes From A Memory, but Train of Thought is still an excellent album that deserves a spot as one of the band’s best works.

Top Tracks: Endless Sacrifice, Stream of Consciousness, In The Name of God

Dream Theater is:

• John Myung – Bass guitar
• John Petrucci – Lead guitar
• Mike Portnoy – Drums, Percussion
• Jordan Rudess – Keyboards
• James LaBrie – Vocals

To Be Continued…



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user ratings (1918)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
scissorlocked
June 15th 2010


3511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Agree with the most of these.
The album is enjoyable,but instrumental sections are kinda boring.

Music masturbation is like a drug for them

anyway,good review,keep it up

Digging: Traumprinz - All The Things

tiesthatbind
June 15th 2010


7377 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks, man.

Only 3 reviews left.

Digging: Poets of the Fall - Signs of Life

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2010


31368 Comments


No mention of the end of Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence leading into the intro of 'As I Am'?

Digging: Objekt - Flatland

tiesthatbind
June 15th 2010


7377 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hm... I was going to mention that, must've forgotten. I'll see if I can edit that in there.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2010


31368 Comments


They do the same with the end of Metropolis.... to Six Degrees as well

Great review though Ties, enjoyed reading it

I also put some new artwork on here for you, the old one was a bit pixellated

tiesthatbind
June 15th 2010


7377 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sweet, thanks, the artwork is pimpin' now.

Nagrarok
June 15th 2010


8259 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Remove the first 'and' from the summary, it doesn't fit. I'll pos.

Willie
Moderator
June 15th 2010


16051 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

There's some great stuff on this album, but it gets really monotonous. I know they're all over the place, but it still seems to get redundant. Nice review.

tiesthatbind
June 15th 2010


7377 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks.

I fixed the summary.

NeutralThunder12
June 15th 2010


8742 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this album and Black Clouds are the only worthwhile DT cds from this decade really. Good review and an excellent addition to your series. Pos.

Jethro42
June 15th 2010


12483 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review, pos'd

Bfhurricane
June 15th 2010


6197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome album, you covered all the spots well, good review.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2010


16455 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

surprisingly i don't like this one as much. with that said, it is still dream theater and it is still good.

oh and good review.

Digging: Zella Day - Zella Day

tiesthatbind
June 15th 2010


7377 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks.

This is easily my most played out of all their albums.

Parallels
June 15th 2010


6642 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is way better than metropolis pt.2, perfection on sooo many levels.
this is one of the best albums ever made imo

i dont find as i am to be up to the rest of the album, but it still is in the better half of DT's discography. only Awake and Images and Words top this

Excellent review though Ties, loving it, cant wait to see octa n systemnatic.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2010


16455 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

all this praise is making me want to listen to this again...i mean it HAS been over a year and with how my taste fluctuates it would probably be a good idea.

Dre
June 15th 2010


297 Comments


Dream Theater.

Pos'd

tiesthatbind
June 15th 2010


7377 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's wanky, but it's fun. I really dig the heavy/melodic mix they have on this one, I wish they had continued on this style for their next two albums.

Yeah Sowing, I would guess you would like this a bit more than a 3.

Ire
June 15th 2010


41803 Comments


Woah, this isn't Alter Bridge.

tiesthatbind
June 15th 2010


7377 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Very observant.



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