Sound — 8
Systematic Chaos is the latest installment in the Dream Theater legacy that has spanded almost two and a half decades. While the new album isn't as progressive as previous installments such as Octavarium and Train of Thought, but it still delivers the sound that diehard metal heads can't get enough of. The new album provides a mix of sounds that will suit any metal lover. THe first song of the album lives true to the classic sound of the progressive metal team of gods, that is dream theater. 'In the Presence of enimies part 1' provides the classic mix of the almost inhume keyboard skills of Jordan Rudess and the equally insane finger work of John Petrucci on the guitar. This opening track is, 50/50 between the instrumental work that was created during the Liquid Tension Experiment spin-off days and the complete band preformance that we expect from the album. Once again the band has managed to create what seems to be the perfect harmoney of vocals, drums, guitar, bass and keys and it is made all the more impressive by there constant timing changes that is also part of the progressive Dream Theater sound. The second song on the album 'Foresaken is the ideal song for thoses who like strong riffs mixed with some classic stlye Petrucci shrededing and the simple yet captivateing piamo riff lay down by Rudess though out the song. The vocal skills of James LaBrie will amaze even the most loyal of Dream Theater fans, on this track in particular he manages to kepp the melodic sound to his voice that fans down the years have come to know and love but still manages to inject a powerful and hard hitting vibe to the song. The most impressve song on the album is 'The Misisrty of Lost Souls', the hard hitting power chord intro mixed with the harmonic keyboard lays the base of the songs structre, this marathon of a song clocks in at almost fifteen minuets, makeing it the sencond longest on the album, the longest being 'In the Prescens of enimies part 2' wich clocks in at a mind boggaling sixteen and a half minuets. 'The Ministry of Lost Souls' has a stonr melodic feel to the song, the soothing vocals of LaBrie during the verse mixed with the accoustic guitar melody, sets up for the hard hitting power chords and electrrc melody of the chorus. The middel portion of the song is given over to a heavy and faster style than the rest of the song, this gives Petrucci and Rudess to strut their stuff and dazzel us with more mind blowing, fast paced skills. The timing chages again, are what gives this song and indeed the rest of the album its unique and original style of sound. The solo/interlude, leads incredibly well back into the slower paced and harder hitting power chord riffs that began the song, with the sootheing vocal work and excallent lyrics of James LaBrie added back into the mix, making this, bar far the most unique and impressive song on the album.
Lyrics — 9
No one can ever question James LaBrie's vocal tallent and lyric skills. This album just ferther cements him as one of metals most prolific singer/songwriters. The lyrics on this album all reflect diffrent things, there is no sence of a timelined story that is being told through this album, which makes this album diffrent from the ones that are being relesed today in the fact that each song is a diffrent stroy. Each song has a difrent story, the first and last song 'In the Presence of Enamies parts 1&2' have a very strong athiest feeling, with lines like 'Do you still wait for you God? ' and ' A final vision of salvation and resirection of a fallen man' it depics a very anti religion idea. The lyrics of these tracks, show casr LaBrie's outstanding vocal ability and how the band manage to harmoise his singing with the rest of the music, somthing they do better than anyone else in the industry. The track 'Foresaken' has very much the same attributes as 'In the Presence of Enamies parts 1&2', while this song dose seem to have more emphasis on the guitar, the lyrics fit in with astonishing ease. The main lyical song on this album is 'Prophits of War', the music of the song is all molded around the lyrics of James LaBrie, this song shows Dream Theater's social awareness and seems, like many songs to date, to be a direct stab at issues such as the Iraq war, although this is a common theme in music today, Dream Theater still manage to make it their own, LaBrie has a good mix of vocal style in this song, he has the synth assited interlude, the hard hitting chorus and the soothing and melodic verse. This song, more than any other shows LaBrie's outstanding lyrical talents.
Overall Impression — 9
All in all, I predict that this album will be one of the better metal albums of this year. Although some Dream Theater will be disapoited with the less progressive style that made Dream Theater the icons they are, the album is never the less, outstanding. The veriaty of metal that is presented on this album will garentee that there is somthing for all metal heads on this album. There is the fast paced, mindblowing speed metal style of the tracks 'In the Presence of Enamies' and the hard hitting riff lovers wet dream that is 'Foresaken' and 'Constant Motion' and them for thoses who prefer a more melodic aproach to the genre there is 'Repentance', 'Prophets of War' and 'The Ministry of Lost Souls'. This album provideds somthing for everyone, and is a wearthy installment to the Dream Theatre legacy and the band look set to continue there domination in what has truly become, there genre.