Black Clouds & Silver Linings

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Black Clouds & Silver Linings
Cover art by Hugh Syme
Studio album by Dream Theater
Released June 23, 2009 (2009-06-23)
Recorded October 2008 – March 2009 at Avatar Studios in New York City
Genre Progressive metal, progressive rock
Length 75:25
Label Roadrunner
Producer John Petrucci, Mike Portnoy
Dream Theater chronology
Greatest Hit (...and 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs)
(2008)
Black Clouds & Silver Linings
(2009)
Wither
(2009)
Singles from Black Clouds & Silver Linings
  1. "A Rite of Passage"
    Released: May 11th, 2009
  2. "Wither"
    Released: September 15, 2009[1]

Black Clouds & Silver Linings is the tenth studio album by American progressive metal/rock band Dream Theater, released on June 23, 2009 through Roadrunner Records.[2][3] It is the band's last album to feature drummer and founding member Mike Portnoy before his departure on September 8, 2010.[4] The album was recorded between October 2008 and March 2009 at Avatar Studios in New York City. It was produced by John Petrucci and Portnoy, and was engineered and mixed by Paul Northfield.

History[edit]

Dream Theater began to work on the album in October 2008.[3] Mike Portnoy described Black Clouds & Silver Linings as, "a Dream Theater album with 'A Change of Seasons', 'Octavarium', 'Learning to Live', 'Pull Me Under' and 'The Glass Prison' all on one album."[5] Jordan Rudess later explained during a demonstration at the NAMM Show for Spectrasonics software (which he used heavily on the album), "We've been entering into the Gothic domain quite a bit on this album."[6] but as he was at a Music Industry trade show speaking about a specific piece of software at the time, debate exists whether he was making an overarching statement about the sonic or lyrical tone of the album or simply the keyboard sounds when using said software.

Lyrical themes[edit]

The album's lyrics were written by John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy, and all except one concern personal experiences about disturbing or difficult moments of their lives. Though most songs were written by Petrucci, "A Nightmare to Remember" was based on a childhood car incident. "The Count of Tuscany", about an actual encounter he had in Tuscany, and "Wither" about the process of songwriting for him.[7] "The Best of Times" was written by Mike Portnoy about his father, who died from cancer. "I just wanted to write something that was a tribute to our life together," said Portnoy, who played the song for his father prior to his death.[8] "The Shattered Fortress" is the final part of Portnoy's Twelve-step Suite, reprising and concluding themes and motifs from the suite that began on 2002's Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence album. The remaining song, "A Rite of Passage", concerns Freemasonry; a video of the edited single was released on May 8, 2009.

"Wither" was released as a single on September 15, 2009. In addition to the album version of the song, the single contained an alternate version featuring only a piano and vocals, a demo version with John Petrucci on vocals, and a demo version of "The Best of Times” with Mike Portnoy on vocals. There was also a video to follow it which was released on November 18, 2009.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[9]
Blistering 8/10 stars[10]
The Metal Forge 7.5/10 stars[11]
Metal Hammer (positive)[12]
Metal Review 8/10 stars[13]
Metal Storm 7.5/10 stars[14]
PopMatters 6/10[15]
Record Collector 4/5 stars[16]
Sputnikmusic 4.0/5[17]
411mania.com 9.5/10[18]

Initial critical response to Black Clouds & Silver Linings was generally favorable. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received an average score of 68, based on five reviews.[19] Rich Wilson, author of Lifting Shadows, previewed the album for Metal Hammer, calling the album "Dream Theater’s finest and most balanced album in a decade."[20] Eduardo Rivadavia of Allmusic gave the album four out of five stars writing, "Black Clouds & Silver Linings is still an archetypal Dream Theater album; one that's unlikely to broaden their audience all that much, but is conversely guaranteed to thrill their hardcore converts with its renewed devotion to the most exigent and stimulating facets of the band's chosen musical domain."[9] Similarly David Buchanan of Consequence of Sound, an online music magazine, said: "that this release will not necessarily bring in new fans but will also not disappoint the current flock, and this is very true. There are no improvements, but no sheer letdowns, either." He gave the album four and a half stars out of five.[21] The album was named as one of Classic Rock‘s 10 essential progressive rock albums of the decade.[22]

The album debuted at #6 on the Billboard 200 selling 40,285 copies.[23] It was the first time in the band's history that they had cracked the Top 10 on that chart, and is currently the band's highest single week sales of an album. The album also debuted at #1 on Billboard Top Internet Albums, and #2 on Billboard Top Rock Albums.[24] The album also marked the first time that the band hit the number one spot in Finland.

Track listing[edit]

All music written by John Petrucci, Mike Portnoy, John Myung and Jordan Rudess except where noted.

No. Title Lyrics Length
1. "A Nightmare to Remember"   Petrucci 16:10
2. "A Rite of Passage"   Petrucci 8:36
3. "Wither" (music: Petrucci) Petrucci 5:25
4. "The Shattered Fortress"
  • "X. Restraint"
  • "XI. Receive"
  • "XII. Responsible"  
Portnoy 12:49
  • 5:25
  • 3:58
  • 3:26
5. "The Best of Times"   Portnoy 13:09
6. "The Count of Tuscany"   Petrucci 19:16
Total length:
75:25

Special edition tracks[edit]

The 3-disc Special Edition also included a bonus disc of six cover tracks, entitled "Uncovered 2008/2009". These tracks were originally released separately, one per week, in the weeks leading up to the album's release.

No. Title Writer(s) Original artist Length
1. "Stargazer"   Ronnie James Dio, Ritchie Blackmore Rainbow 8:10
2. "Tenement Funster"/"Flick of the Wrist"/"Lily of the Valley"   Roger Taylor
Freddie Mercury
Queen 8:17
3. "Odyssey"   Steve Morse Dixie Dregs 7:59
4. "Take Your Fingers from My Hair"   Randy Jackson Zebra 8:18
5. "Larks' Tongues in Aspic - Part II"   Robert Fripp King Crimson 6:30
6. "To Tame a Land"   Steve Harris Iron Maiden 7:15
Total length:
46:29

Also included in the three disc special edition are instrumental tracks of the songs. All tracks have been altered from their original versions.[25]

No. Title Length
1. "A Nightmare to Remember"   15:39
2. "A Rite of Passage"   8:36
3. "Wither"   5:29
4. "The Shattered Fortress"   12:47
5. "The Best of Times"   13:20
6. "The Count of Tuscany"   18:48
Total length:
74:39

Deluxe collector's edition box set[edit]

A deluxe collectors’-edition boxed set of the album was also released. Packaged in a silver foil embossed black velvet box the set includes the 3 Special Edition CDs, a 180-Gram Double LP, a DVD with isolated audio tracks for each instrument, a lithograph of the album cover, with only 100 being signed by Hugh Syme, and a mouse pad. Those who pre-ordered were able to download a newly recorded cover song each week beginning on May 19, 2009 until the album's release. 100 box sets contained a "silver ticket" entitling the purchaser and one guest to a meet-and-greet with the band.[26] This version was also a Limited Edition release, only 14,000 were made.[27]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2009) Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart 16
Austrian Albums Chart[28] 18
Belgian Albums Chart (Vl)[29] 36
Belgian Albums Chart (Wa)[29] 34
Billboard 200[23] 6
Canadian Albums Chart[30] 6
Danish Albums Chart[31] 26
Dutch Albums Chart[32] 3
European Top 100 Albums[33] 1
Finnish Albums Chart[34] 1
French Albums Chart[35] 9
German Albums Chart[36] 3
Hungarian Albums Chart[37] 1
Italian Albums Chart[38] 5
Japanese Albums Chart 2
Mexican Albums Chart 7
Norwegian Albums Chart[39] 7
Polish Albums Chart[40] 4
Portuguese Albums Chart[41] 14
Spanish Albums Chart[42] 13
Swedish Albums Chart 3
Swiss Albums Chart[43] 9
UK Albums Chart[44] 23

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wither by Dream Theater amazon.com. Retrieved on 2009-09-15.
  2. ^ "Dream Theater: New Album Title, Track Listing, Artwork Revealed". Blabbermouth.net (Roadrunner Records). March 12, 2009. Retrieved March 13, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "DREAM THEATER - BLACK CLOUDS & SILVER LININGS - Coming June 23rd!". MikePortnoy.com. 2009-03-13. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  4. ^ Mike Portnoy Quits Dream Theater blabbermouth.net. 2010-09-08. Retrieved on 2010-09-09.
  5. ^ "The Drums Are Done!!!!". Mikeportnoy.com. 2008-11-27. Retrieved 2009-01-02. 
  6. ^ "Episode Nine: Jordan Rudess Demo". Omnisphere. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  7. ^ "Dream Theater: Portnoy interview". The Metal Circus. 2009-05-16. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  8. ^ Gill, James (May 2, 2009). "Dream Theater’s Mike Portnoy Pens Tribute To Late Father". Metal Hammer. Retrieved May 2, 2009. 
  9. ^ a b Rivadavid, Eduardo. Black Clouds & Silver Linings allmusic.com. Retrieved on 2011-05-05.
  10. ^ Gehlke, David. link 2009-06-19. Retrieved on 2011-05-13.
  11. ^ Donnelly, Justin. link 2009-06-19. Retrieved on 2011-05-13.
  12. ^ terrybezer. Dream Theater Album Review: ‘Black Clouds And Silver Linings’ Track-By-Track metalhammer.co.uk. 2009-04-24. Retrieved on 2011-05-05.
  13. ^ Ray, John. link 2009-06-19. Retrieved on 2011-05-13.
  14. ^ Demonic Tutor. link 2009-06-19. Retrieved on 2011-05-13.
  15. ^ Conaton, Chris. Dream Theater: Black Clouds and Silver Linings popmatters.com. 2009-07-17. Retrieved on 2011-05-05.
  16. ^ Jones, Tim (August 2009). "Superb 10th studio set from the prog-metal kings". Record Collector (365): p. 80. ISSN 0261-250X. 
  17. ^ Spencer, Trey. Dream Theater Black Clouds and Silver Linings 2009-06-19. Retrieved on 2011-05-05.
  18. ^ Lealos, Shawn. link 2009-06-19. Retrieved on 2011-06-01.
  19. ^ "Dream Theater:Black Clouds & Silver Linings (2009): Reviews". Metacritic. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved July 22, 2009. 
  20. ^ Rich Wilson (2009-04-24). "Dream Theater Album Review: ‘Black Clouds And Silver Linings’ Track-By-Track". Metal Hammer. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  21. ^ Buchanan, David (July 21, 2009). "Album Review: Dream Theater - Black Clouds & Silver Linings". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved January 4, 2010. 
  22. ^ Classic Rock, February 2010, Issue 141. http://newmusicexcess.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/classic-rock-10-essential-00s-prog-albums/
  23. ^ a b "DT cracks the US Top 10!!!!". Mike Portnoy. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  24. ^ Billboard Top Rock Albums billboard.com. 2009-07. Retrieved on 2009-07-22.
  25. ^ "Episode Three". Jordan Rudess Interview. DTNorway.com. 2009-04-07. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  26. ^ "Dream Theater - Black Clouds & Silver Linings Producers Edition Box Set". Roadrunner Records. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  27. ^ "Dream Theater - Mike Portnoy explains the deluxe edition". Dream Theater The Official Site. Retrieved 2011-07-10. 
  28. ^ Austrian Charts. http://austriancharts.at/showitem.asp?interpret=Dream+Theater&titel=Black+Clouds+%26+Silver+Linings&cat=a. Published & Retrieved on Unknown Date.
  29. ^ a b "Dream Theater - Black Clouds & Silver Linings". ultratop.be. Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  30. ^ Albums: Canadian Top 100 jam.canoe.ca 2009-07-02. Retrieved on 2009-07-02.
  31. ^ Steffen Hung. "Dream Theater - Black Clouds & Silver Linings". danishcharts.com. Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  32. ^ GFK Dutch Album Top 100 dutchcharts.nl. 2009-06-27. Retrieved on 2009-07-01.
  33. ^ European Top 100 Albums billboard.com. 2009-07. Retrieved on 2010-03-28
  34. ^ "Suomen virallinen lista". Pop.yle.fi. 2010-08-05. Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  35. ^ Le classement album nouveautés disqueenfrance.com. 2009-06-28. Retrieved on 2009-07-23. (French)
  36. ^ Die offiziellen Albumcharts Ermittelt von media control GfK International GmbH 2009-07-03. Retrieved on 2009-07-07
  37. ^ MAHASZ charts mahasz.hu 2009-07-01. Retrieved on 2009-07-01.
  38. ^ Official FIMI Charts fimi.it 2009-06-28. Retrieved on 2009-07-01.
  39. ^ Norway Albums Top 40 achart.us. 2009-06-30. Retrieved on 2009-07-01.
  40. ^ Oficjalna lista sprzedaży olis.onyx.pl 2009-07-03. Retrieved on 2009-07-04.
  41. ^ Top nacional: Rodrigo Leão rouba liderança a Amália Hoje, Michael Jackson em terceiro achart.us. 2009-07-05. Retrieved on 2009-07-01.
  42. ^ Steffen Hung. "Dream Theater - Black Clouds & Silver Linings". spanishcharts.com. Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  43. ^ Swiss Albums Top 100 achart.us. 2009-07-05. Retrieved on 2009-07-01.
  44. ^ Top 40 Albums : 29.06.2009 bbc.co.uk. 2009-06-29. Retrieved on 2009-07-01.