Systematic Chaos review by Dream Theater

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  • Released: Jun 5, 2007
  • Sound: 3
  • Lyrics: 1
  • Overall Impression: 2
  • Reviewer's score: 2 Junky
  • Users' score: 9.1 (443 votes)
Dream Theater: Systematic Chaos
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Sound — 3
Systematic chaos is a grand example of how bands can change and not alienate their fanbase, while keeping the same old sound. Why, you ask? Because it does exactly the opposite; it's almost a musical checklist of what not to do. Systematic chaos is Train of Thought 2.0; heavier, darker, and a lot more "roadrunner". The band's "sound" is still there, with instrumental sections still showing off all of the band member's prowess. At the time of writing this, the album has been out for quite a while, and was even leaked beforehand, so I've allowed it time to grow on me, like most fans suggest. However, it hasn't. All the enthusiasm I had for a new dream theater album is gone, and instead replaced with of disappointment. I appreciate that Dream theater do not let their label listen to the album before it's finished, so they can't tamper with their sound, so I can't accuse them of selling out. However, this album is a lot different to previous efforts, leading to almost a feeling of isolation. This is not a disgruntled fan's anger at a band for changing their sound; my CD collection is about as diverse as it gets, yet this is completely lost on me.

Lyrics — 1
The lyrics are mostly quite laughable, more so from song to song. Dream Theater hold a special place in my heart when it comes to lyrics (Songs such as "Voices", "Lie", and "Pull Me Under" being a few of the highlights), so you can imagine how I felt upon reading the lyrics to songs such as "The Dark Eternal Night" and "Constant Motion". "The Dark Eternal Night" is the story of an ancient terror, or perhaps lots of them. This song is perhaps the worst on the singing front. The singing does not fit the song at all, and even ruins it. "Constant Motion", which a decent and catchy song in itself, has lyrics on par with such classics as the nursery rhyme The wheels on the bus. Mike Portnoy claims it's about his OCD, which may be, but the lyrics hold absolutely no meaning. The great thing about Dream Theater songs is how poetic they are, and how you, and other fans, can find lots of meanings for very few lines. You don't get that feeling on this album at all, however, and without an explanation, most people would've written some songs off as meaningless. It's very, very disappointing, as on this front they could've been much better. You often get the feeling they've run out of ideas, with such cliches used, like selling your soul to the devil, or how we just HAVE to make a change to the world, and even, rather randomly, having a close encounter with a female vampire, and falling in love with it. Nothing stands out, it just sounds like the average topics metal bands choose from nowadays when out of ideas. Boring is a word I never thought I'd use to describe anything DT, but this is boring. Very, very, boring.

Overall Impression — 2
Maybe I'm being a bit harsh, but this is an awful album. To answer the age old question, if it were lost/stolen, I wouldn't really care. I'd probably feel worse for the person who took it, if I felt flippant. It's unfair to compare this to any other DT effort, as it doesn't even come close, except to perhaps Train of Thought, and even then it falls short, lyrically and musically. There are some nice tunes I listen to every once in a while (Constant Motion and Repentance being my highlights, but even then), however, I honestly believe this album marks the "death" of Dream Theater; the inevitable decline most artists hit. So much for a new Images and Words!

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Nightfyre
    Limaj_daas wrote: btw, did anyone notice that in the DVD, Myung didn't say a SINGLE word!!!
    Ignorant fool, Myung never talks! He is the silent bass god! Seriously though, does he ever talk? @decepticon_son: yeah... it's a b!tch if you're determined to hold to basic music theory. It's a great way to explore some more unusual progressions and chords, though. Definitely opened me up to some more unusual structures. Between this and Opeth, my style, both instrumentally and lyrically, has changed dramatically. For the better, if I may say so myself. I died a little inside when I learned that the closest they were coming to Georgia was Texas... which reminds me, I have yet to go bug them about that... CZHunter gets +1 from me, he's absolutely right.
    CZHunter
    You know my problem with these low ratings on this album? It's that the people that do them are still stuck in 1994 with Images and Words and Awake, wearing Kevin Moore t-shirts and refusing to believe that there is a keyboardist for DT named Jordan Rudess. Because you know, Dream Theater EVOLVE, much like any other band, and I still think that they kick ass. So what if it's not Awake or I&W? Personally, I like their heavy side. They're Progressive Metal for a reason.
    Limaj_daas
    I think the album wuz very well done, though i mean the lyrics got a bit too "fatasy-like" at time lol. But still, it was well done. Plus, they're progressive metal, they draw influences from Heavy Metal and Thrash... Seriously, why do u think they covered Master of Puppets and Number of the Beast? Because those albums influence the band greatly! Same goes with DSOTM.
    ali Bear
    dream theater rule and the album rules, and thanx to this ****ing awsome album i am now a dream theater fan. Images and words is a great album, but rember people times move on and so do bands and the music they play. this is new teritory for DT and in my oppinon its fresh and original and better than alot of other shit thats around today in an industry that is getting so overused and boring!!!!!
    Dixie Wolf
    I think the intro Constant Motion is one of the coolest guitar riffs I've ever heard
    ali Bear
    yeah the only problem with constant motion is that it sounds a little bit like the metallic riff riff they never wrote, that would have featured on the black album
    dark_falco3000
    GiG-DaDDy wrote: Look men, i mean boys..., I know its hard to accept something profound to adolescence, thats acceptable, but really, you have to be a REAL musician or audiophile to appreciate such greatness that you cannot even come close to achieving... Sorry, but i just can't stand ignorant, pubescent little whiny bitches, that should have been born girls, LOL!!! This album is great & beats the anything else out that falls in such a category!!
    Yeah... not only was that comment sexist, it was incredibly stupid. People were complaining about how much greater Dream Theater used to be... and you're telling people off for not being able to appreciate greatness? That doesn't make sense at all. I mean, if someone can name one way that this album is better than... say... Images and Words, I'll be surprised (and don't say something like "It's heavier" or "it's darker", that stuff is actually based on your personal opinion and should not be used to compare albums. Used unbiased stuff like originality, talent and lyrics_ Oh and btw, I don't hate this album... but it's definitely not as good as Scenes from a Memory, Images and Words, Awake, 6DOIT, Octavarium and, the album that got me into Dream Theater in the first place, Train of Thought. This album does, however, have it's moments. Most notibly, the Ministry of Lost Souls. Currently one of my favourite songs. But, unlike other Dream Theater albums, there are certain songs that just bore me, such as Constant Motion and the Dark Eternal Night. All in all, "GiG-DaDDy" is an idiot, this album is pretty good but Dream Theater can do, and have done, so much better.
    ivan_2894
    Great album...i think that DT albums can't be compared, they are too different from each other