The 10th in the list of musical marvels from the best Progressive metal band in the business, Black Clouds & Silver Linings is probably one of their best works in a career that’s spanned for over 20 years.
The album has some of the heaviest riffing DT has ever produced and it also has its fair share of melody with James LaBrie’s vocals. Even the songs in lighter tones have heavily distorted guitars, now most would find them weird at one point but looking at the big picture it all couldn’t fit any better. DT has done exceedingly well after Systematic chaos, which wasn’t welcomed with as great an approval as their previous albums. And well the album is more than worth a listen with the single fact that it comes under the banner of DT and it has John Petrucci!
|A Nightmare to Remember|
|A Rite of Passage|
|The Shattered Fortress|
|The Best of Times|
|The Count of Tuscany|
A Nightmare to Remember – The opener is one of DT’s best openers in a while. The song starts of on the thunderous beats of Portnoy, leading into one of the heaviest songs they’ve ever made. The song takes a turn to a lighter mood with less heavy guitar riffs with captivating vocal melodies. Petrucci’s guitar and Rudess backing him with the keyboard during the conversation with the faceless man is just mind blowing.
A Rite of Passage – The song is about the impact of new world order. It has a great Progressive metal feel to it; but at times the change of tempo may seem a bit abrupt; moving at a medium tempo until the heavy guitar riffs come in at about 5 mins followed by a brilliant solo. It’s one of the more catchy songs in the album with heavy riffs and a melodic chorus. The song is somehow reminiscent of their previous album ‘As I am’.
Wither – An amazing old school DT style ballad with a more consistent melody. The light vocals sound a bit out of place with the distorted guitars but the song, much slower in tempo compared to the first 2 ones, has been placed perfectly in the album.
The Shattered Fortress – Another song on alcohol by Portnoy (well sadly the last); an extraordinary intro; a sort of repetitive but awesome heavy riff goes on for about a minute and a half. He uses the elements from the previous songs in the series and a few new riffs have been introduced as well. And with John Petrucci around you can’t but not expect a freakin awesome solo. DT is probably the best band who can pull off the intertwining of guitar and keyboard and make it sound like heaven.
The Best of Times – The song was written by Portnoy in dedication to his father. Starts with a calm piano intro and slowly goes into a violin piece followed by an acoustic guitar melody; the mixing and transition are pure brilliance I have to say. At the 3rd minute, the music starts flowing faster. Unlike the other songs in the album, this one starts off on a happier note. The song fades out on yet another of Petrucci’s superhuman acts.
The Count of Tuscany – I’ll have to say this is probably the best song in the album. The song has an interesting intro with guitars and the energetic drum beats of Portnoy. You can clearly see that DT has focused more on the music in this song rather than the lyrics. Petrucci is phenomenal with his out of the world solo. The only factor that prevented me from giving this song a 5 on 5 was probably the lack of structure in the song; well I felt it could have been integrated better. But nevertheless the song is an excellent way to end this monument of an album.
I’d say this is one of the bands better albums, but not as good as Octavarium. The intended dark feel of the album has been done exceedingly well and DT shows yet again that they are one of the best progressive metal bands out there. What lies ahead for DT after the exit of Portnoy I do not know, but I only pray they continue to entertain their millions of fans out there.