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Train of Thought
Artist: Dream Theater 
Label: Elektra
Length: 7 tracks / 69:21

Train of Thought is the album Metallica might have made if they had not made that right turn at the Black Album.  Ordinarily, I would dock a band originality points for this, but if Metallica wasn’t going to make this album, somebody had to do it.

“Endless Sacrifice” opens much like “Sanitarium” and the soothing solo in the middle of “Master of Puppets” before unleashing grooves much like those found on the Galactic Cowboys’ self-titled and Space in Your Face albums.  That’s not the only place you’ll find such similarities, and the timing of vocals and bass parts in “This Dying Soul” add a Tool influence to boot.  Yet Train of Thought is still an unmistakably Dream Theater album, especially for the vocals and for the role of keyboards.

While the musical style departs for heavier realms, the lyrics hold true to the themes of Dream Theater’s previous album, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence.

“This Dying Soul” echoes those themes most clearly:

Your fearless admissions
Will help expel your destructive obsessions
With my help I know you can
Be at one with God and man

Hear me
Believe me
Take me
I’m ready to break right through this prison wall

Some listeners might balk at a few four-letter words on the album, but they seem suited to the context, and the provocative spiritual messages throughout the album more than compensate in this reviewer’s opinion.

Dan Singleton  12/16/03


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