In order to celebrate the release of Dream Theater’s latest studio album, Black Clouds And Silver Linings, I will offer detailed reviews of each of the six tracks throughout the week.
Track 1: “A Nightmare To Remember”
What better way to begin a record with the words “Black Clouds” in the title than to include a disturbingly haunting intro on the first number — think stormy earth like the opening to “Black Sabbath” combined with the spooky keyboards of Jordan Rudess that would make the Crypt keeper grin. After 1:42 of the opening horror show, John Petrucci shifts gears with a heavy riff for James LaBrie’s vocal entrance. Mike Portnoy’s double bass drum playing during the first movement is as fast and devastating as ever.
The highlight of “A Nightmare To Remember” is the clean interlude at 4:56 which might as well be a different track altogether. At this point, you will be walking on the clouds in arpeggio heaven. The lyrical melody combined with the progressive groove in this section is purely exhilarating.
Petrucci’s solo (8:33) is infused with the blues before heading off to Shredsville USA with the keyboards. Towards the end of the instrumental break the dark side of the tune, the side heard in the intro, is brought back to life with an intense and demonized vocal performance that has been consistent with recent Dream Theater releases. This dark tone carries the song to its ending, cuing the creepy keyboards as the album transitions into the glorious intro of the second track and first single, “A Rite of Passage.” –Meds
Track 1 of 6 — Length 16:10 — Roadrunner Records
Dream Theater is James LaBrie (Vocals), John Petrucci (Guitars/Vocals), John Myung (Bass), Jordan Rudess (Keyboards/Continuum), & Mike Portnoy (Drums/Percussion/Vocals).