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Systematic Chaos

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Audio CD, June 5, 2007
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Systematic Chaos + Octavarium + Train of Thought
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

2007 album from the Progressive Rock masters, their ninth studio album overall, Rooted in the virtuosic sounds the band is known for, the album features heavy riffs reminiscent of Metallica's earlier years, soaring melodies and intricate arrangements. With Systematic Chaos, Dream Theater have sought to not only appease their ever loyal fans with their remarkable musicality, but to also reach out to all Rock fans with hook-laden tunes like 'Constant Motion', 'Forsaken' and 'The Dark Eternal Night'. Co-produced by Mike Portnoy (drummer, vocals) and John Petrucci (guitarist) and mixed by Paul Northfield (Rush, Hole, Ozzy Osbourne), Systematic Chaos is an apt title for an album that ranges from parts ever so delicate to arrangements that beg the question, how do they do that? Dream Theater have delivered a seminal album that clearly shows the band is at the top of their game twenty years into their storied career. Roadrunner.


Dream Theater has built a career on delivering some of the most consistently strong progressive rock albums in history and Systemic Chaos proves no exception. Built upon the trademark musically diverse but stylistically reliable principles that made albums such as Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and Train of Thought instant classics, this album features new career highs such as "Prophets of War," "Forsake," and "Constant Motion." Although the band has flirted with commercially viable material in the past, especially on 2005's solid and exciting Octavarium, Systemic Chaos proves unrelenting in its pursuit of pure heavy rock. There are plenty of surprises in store, even for stalwart fans, perhaps one of the reasons that Dream Theater remains in a class by itself, ahead of the pack and ahead of the times. A truly outstanding album by any measure.--Jedd Beaudoin

1. In the Presence Of Enemies-Part I
2. Forsaken
3. Constant Motion
4. The Dark Eternal Night
5. Repentance
6. Prophets Of War
7. The Ministy Of Lost Souls
8. In the Presence Of Enemies-Part II

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 5, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: 2007
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Roadrunner Records
  • ASIN: B000PFUAO6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (278 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,898 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Dream Theater’s knack for balancing the epic and the intimate has been a constant throughout the band’s lengthy evolution. The group first came together in 1985, when Petrucci, Portnoy and bassist John Myung were students at Boston’s Berklee School of Music. Initially known as Majesty, the nascent combo quickly gained a reputation in the grassroots metal underground, with ... Read more in Amazon's Dream Theater Store

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Customer Reviews

I fell in love with that album and listened to it everyday for about 8 months.
Leroy Corkus
Music is a very personal experience and it is difficult to get a good idea of what you will or will not like by reading someone elses' review.
Don't Panic
Overall, I think "Systematic Chaos" is a good album that is undoubtedly the best Dream Theater album since "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence".

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 93 people found the following review helpful By TOL on June 26, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I always find it interesting to read the reviews after Dream Theater releases an album. In short, you never get any type of consensus from the fans. If they release a heavier album, half the fans want it to be more orchestral and moody. If they release a melodic album, half the fans want something heavier. If they play too fast, some people want them to slow it down. Playing too slow, on the other hand, causes the speed demons to turn their heads. Too much keyboard - not enough keyboard. Too much Portnoy, too much Petrucci. Not enough Petrucci, not enough Rudess. Bring back Kevin - and on, and on, and on, and on. Honestly, it's tiring.

But, you know what - behind it all is an army of hard core fans (mostly, dare I guess, musicians themselves who, by all measurements are always the harshest critics) who, whether they know it or not, are giving this band the highest form of praise you can ever give: In a word, VIRTUOSITY. These guys can spread themselves across such a wide range of styles that they have, along the way, picked up fans of all shapes, sizes, and musical tastes. So the fact that Dream Theater can never please them all at once is a testament to their artistic range, their musical talent, and, yes, their virtuosity.

Should I tell you about Systematic Chaos? Well, if you haven't guessed it yet, I loved this album. I am a fan of their more melodic works like Scenes From A Memory and the second disc of Six Degrees and, yes, even of the oft slammed Space-Dye Vest. That's not to say that Train of Thought doesn't have a coveted place in my collection. But I just happen to like the "catchier" albums a little more. So where does this one fit? Well, quite honestly, right in the middle. Every song has it's own set of big brass ones.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By WillieB on June 13, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
DT's new release is a solid disc-filled, 78-minute, journey that should please most fans and shows they still are on top of their game. Their intense musicianship and enduring passion to create great tunes and give it their all shines through on this disc, however, the lyrics still are their weakest link. Although they break no new ground in their musical styling, Portnoy's vocals, that used to make me cringe because of the sour notes he hit, have improved, or maybe I'm just getting used to them.

My least favorite tracks on "Systematic Chaos" are the last few minutes of "Repentance" with the dialog babble in the background, and I'm not a fan of the industrial-techno-disco-sounding riff on "Prophets of War". Otherwise, this disc is killer, the engineering and artwork are amazing, and this probably will be the best prog-metal release of the year.

The special edition DVD is a must and includes a behind the scenes "making of" feature and a 5.1 mix of the album. The 90-minute documentary is good and Portnoy's personality rules the film, but it's odd that John Myung didn't say anything through the entire feature. Was this how he wanted it? Some of his thoughts on the album would have been a treat. The 5.1 mix is awesome - full, thick, spacious and you can even hear the bass guitar, so get rid of the earbuds, buy a decent surround system, and crank it up!
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Cesar on June 5, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I was willing to hear the next Dream Theater release to see what it was going to be like. After OCTAVARIUM, an album that I still consider a "revision" of the different styles that DT have recorded over the years, what was going to be next was kind of a mystery.

SYSTEMATIC CHAOS confirms even more the notion that Octavarium was musically transitonal. In the new CD, DT returns to the style they were playing in TRAIN OF THOUGHT, with a change: the new CD sounds as heavy, but with more progressive and chord changes, sounds and riffs added. It's like a combination of SIX DEGREES and TRAIN OF THOUGHT, a perfect balance that make me like this album more than the three previous. But I found that songs like CONSTANT MOTION and DARK ETERNAL LIGHT sound heavier that DT has ever been. They really rock !

Of course, this is not SCENES FROM A MEMORY, but it's still a worthy candidate to be there as one of the best albums they have ever released. It is produced by Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci (just like the 3 previous albums), this time with the help (as engineer and mixer) of Paul Northfield, who has lent the same services to the likes of Rush and Queensrÿche.

Even though this is not supposed to be a concept album, from a first impression it DOES look to have a concept, dealing with the themes of sin (in the form of the fight between good and evil), death, repentance and soul salvation. With the exception of "Prophets of war" (a self-explanatory protest song about the on-going war in Iraq) all the songs seem to follow a thread and fall into that category, which gives the album a spiritual meaning (and avoid a pair of slowers to sound mellow). That is until you hear what each song is about -in the DVD that comes with the special edition-.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on July 6, 2007
Format: Audio CD
A solid effort from DT this time around, and it's wonderful to see the support of a good record label behind them. Definitely worth getting the special edition for the documentary and packaging. The music...well, as with every album since SDOIT it's a mixed bag. Despite Portnoy's insistence that this would be a heavy, modern, ballsy album, it simply isn't.

ToT was a determined move in those directions, competing with the likes of Disturbed and Tool while maintaining the classic DT prog sound. On this disc however, The first four songs are heavy and aggressive, but not any more so than an your average track from Awake or ToT (though much more aggressive than anything on Octavarium). The album slows WAY down about mid-way through with 'Repentance', 'Prophets of Doom' (a bizzare metal/techno song??), and 'Ministry of Lost Souls.' This triple punch of slower/mellow tunes really lets the air out of the whole experience and ultimately prevents it from living up to Portnoy's promises. Don't get me wrong, they aren't bad songs, but they simply aren't as strong as they should be in light of the earlier tunes (Constant Motion and Dark Eternal Night in particular), and they seem to bog the whole album down a bit.

It's also hard to imagine most DT fans not taking issue with some of the lyrics on this album. DT has been long known for introspective, well-crafted, mature themes. I'm not sure if DT is trying to fit in with some of their new label mates, or simply got lazy, but some of the lyrics (especially on the sprawling 'In the Presence of Enemies) are plain bad if not embarrassing. Petrucci has stated that he wrote a lot of fictional lyrics for this disc, but I thought he meant something along the lines of 'Pull Me Under' or 'Metropolis'. Apparently he meant '1982 Iron Maiden B-sides'.
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Topic From this Discussion
wells, you're so far off base it makes my head hurt
May 23, 2007 by M. Parker |  See all 63 posts
Dream Theater Cannot Be Defined
I've always expected Dream Theater to be progressive with their music, and each time I'm not let down. "Systematic Chaos" is an outstanding album when glimpsed to see how experimental the band continues to be.

And I'm scheduled to see them live for the third time this summer. Rock it,... Read More
Jun 5, 2007 by Adem Ritchie |  See all 5 posts
Chaotic System!
I'm not super informed, but if you go to dreamtheater.net they pretty much explain how it will all work. Basically, there is a special edition CD that comes with a standard DVD that is a surround sound mix of all tracks. I know the special edition has totally different artwork.
Jun 3, 2007 by Timothy J. Retzl |  See all 2 posts
Constant Motion
Yes, there will be a Special Edition, featuring a 5.1 mix of the album and a 90 minute 'making of' documentary.
May 6, 2007 by J. Boom |  See all 3 posts
DT in general
But there's more to music than just chops. Ok, this post will upset a lot of fans, but here goes. Dream Theater has always showed fantastic musicianship and playing talent, but they have very rarely been good, in a classical sense, a rock sense, a pop sense, or a metal sense, at writing music.... Read More
Jun 14, 2007 by Alex |  See all 5 posts
This is one of the "too much to handle" as usual Be the first to reply
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