Systematic Chaos: Thoughts

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After a good 20-30 listens I’ve decided to offer my OPINION on DT’s 2007 release: Systematic Chaos. If you are a rabid, mindless DT fan that thinks they can do no wrong, then you better hit the back button now because you will be very upset.

First off, yes, I’m not happy with this album at all. There’s not one song that I can listen to from start to finish and say, “that was a good song”. With that said, pretty much every song is great as long as it is not listened to all the way through.

1: In the Presence of Enemies – Part I
Probably the best song on the album (in combination with Part II). Sadly, the best song on an album full of stinkers is not a compliment.

2: Forsaken
A Vampire song! It’s gotta be good, right? Well, except for the cheesy chorus it’s a great song. The chorus reminds me of something off of FII so it ruined it for me. Yuk.

3: Constant Motion
Starts off great. Then the Metallica vocals come in. Hey, DT, you already did that before… remember? It’s funny how Mike always says that he doesn’t want the band to repeat themselves. Maybe he changed his mind and decided to copy one of the worst DT songs ever. Ironically, that DT song contains a passage that is a copy of one of the worst Metallica songs ever. I gotta say… I’m not a fan of Mikes forced “metal” vocals either. The music is top notch though.

4: The Dark Eternal Night
I hate the vocal production on this track. Every time the vocals kick in my hand hovers over the skip button. I forced myself to listen to this song as least 10 times before I said “screw this trash”. If I never listen to this song ever again I won’t regret it.

5: Repentance
The 12 step program song. I haven’t liked any of them except for “The Mirror”. This one though is probably the worst. Longest ending… ever.

6: Prophets of War
This song had the most potential to be my favorite on the album. Then the “rap” part kicked in and my shaking head fell into my hands. All I could see through my closed eyes was Darth Vader at the end of Episode III“Nooooooooo!”

7: The Ministry of Lost Souls
JP can come up with incredible song concepts. This is one of the greatest concepts for a song that I’ve ever heard. It would even be a great movie adaptation. The music and lyrical style is completely wrong though. What’s with the country sounding guitar passages? Come on!

8: In the Presence of Enemies – Part II
When this song started I was thinking back to Octavarium and how DT said it was this long epic song but the first 5 minutes are random keyboard sounds with no musical pattern at all. If you subtract those useless 5 minutes the song is really only 14 minutes or so. That’s not epic considering a vast majority of DT songs are 14 minutes long or more. Needless to say there are no useless random sounds anywhere in this track. If you put both part together this is truly a masterpiece. It’s not perfect though… something just seems, I don’t know, missing? Also, I’m not a fan of the “dark master” parts.

Interestingly enough, many years back Helloween wrote a similar series of songs: “The Keeper of the Seven Keys” and “The King For a 1000 Years”, and I’d rather listen to Helloween’s songs over ItPoE any day. Why, you ask? Helloween’s writing style makes the vocals, harmonies, and melodies sound like they belong and were not forced in at the last second. Musically, DT kicks Helloween’s butt. However, good music does not necessarily make a complete sounding song.

An open letter to Dream Theater

Dear DT,
I’m a fan… you know, one of the guys you flipped a big middle finger to and said “Don’t think for yourself or express your own opinions about DT’s music…” (see “Never Enough”)? Can you please start writing and recording your music with thoughts on how the vocals/lyrics will sound or where they might go. The DT songs that made me, and millions of others, a fan were written the complete opposite way that they have been written since Awake. Maybe I’m wrong though, maybe you are writing that way on purpose and you do want the vocals/lyrics to sound out of place and like an afterthought. If so, I’m sorry that I wasted so many years of my life loving the songs that you hated being a part of.

Buy Systematic Chaos if you dare.

› posted in News

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