On June 4, 2007, "Dream Theater" released their ninth album "Systematic Chaos".
The name of the album seems to accurately show what it made us feel: a "systematic chaos" and great confusion. Feelings that have changed from love and admiration to disappointment and contempt.
Similar to this morning's review on Metallica's "Load" album, we believe that this album was received with mixed feelings by the band's fan base and even caused a great deal of controversy.
Some of the band's longtime fans disliked the band's lack of innovation, stagnation, and repeated use of the same tricks familiar and "chewy" they had used in the past, and there were those who welcomed the fact that the band remained true to itself and its style.
To the band's credit, we'll say, that it did not attempt to diminish the issue of "self-repetition" and the fact that they gave the listener "more of the same." In an interview Mike Portnoy gave "Tama.com", he described the album as containing all the elements that people would expect from a "Dream Theater" album. And in his own words: "Heavy and technical, powerful and dynamic, all of the elements that people kind of expect out of a Dream Theater album"
We must admit that the inner "chaos" regarding this album continues with us to this day, but like the enjoyment of "Zhug" (spicy Yemen hot sauce), even though it burns yet you continue to eat it, we manage to enjoy this album very much despite these "burns" we receive during Listening to the album.
Why "burns"? Because we also think that the band followed in the footsteps that were expected of them and lost the boldness and innovation somewhere in the process. It started with the album "Train of Thought" and continues here. "Dream" was too busy maintaining the status quo and forgot that what brought them to greatness was thinking outside the box. In an attempt to preserve the existing good, the band did not hesitate to copy from itself, but more than that it was not afraid to "lend" from others. Every such "lending" (and there are quite a few here) causes us to this day to "burn" but for some reason, as we said it is a burn that like "Zhug" you end up enjoying.
Examples of those "burns" can be found, among others, in a riff copied from "Metallica", in the singing during the verses in the song "Constant Motion" which is very reminiscent of James Hetfield's, in the riff in the song "The Dark Eternal Light" which sounds like a riff written by Dimebag Darrell from "Pantera", In flirting with nu-metal and rap-metal a-la "Linkin Park" in the song "Prophets Of War" whose opening corresponds in general with "Muse" and for a moment also reminded us a bit of "Ayreon", in the clear "borrowing", from "Porcupine Tree" including Steven Wilson's singing in the song "Repentance" that towards the end has clear "loans" from "Pink Floyd" with a recitation that will take you back to the "Caress Of Steel" by "Rush" and more and more.
And as you develop resilience with the increasing use of "Zhug", here too the repeated listening to this album obscures the intensity of the "loans" and underneath it is a charming album with excellent melodies and amazing virtuoso playing ability as only "Dream Theater" members can provide and is well reflected already in the long intro to the opening song "In the Presence of Enemies - Part I".
Even though "Dream" can perhaps be blamed for lack of innovation, we were not willing to give up this album, and songs like "Forsaken", with the melting melody and chilling melody, and "Constant Motion" released as the first single from the album and initially intended to be instrumental, "Repentance" which is part of the Portnoy "Twelve-step Suite" saga and features many artists such as Mikael Åkerfeldt, Jon Anderson, David Ellefson, Steve Hogarth, Neal Morse, Joe Satriani, Corey Taylor, Corey Taylor, Steven Wilson, the amazing "The Ministry of Lost Souls" and more.