Poll

Your rating of SC...

One of DT's best
27 (9.5%)
A strong album
98 (34.6%)
Average
81 (28.6%)
Pretty bad, but has some good points
64 (22.6%)
Terrible
13 (4.6%)

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Author Topic: The Systematic Chaos Appreciation (and explanation of disappreciation) Thread  (Read 18824 times)

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Offline RaasMah

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Top class DT songs:
ITPOE - Epic song, instrumental is drawn a bit too much but there is so much other good stuff here, and it has a HUGE ending.
MOLS - Great feeling all through to the instrumental, which here too is a bit too long. But the guitar solo and unison are insane! and great ending too.

Good songs:
CM - pretty catchy, awesome solo.
TDEN - vocals drag this down, but still, a catchy chorus and a very complicated instrumental makes this worth the time.
Repentance - this is the only DT song which I agree on being completely blown out. Which is a shame, because if we cut everything from after the solo this could have been a top 10. The spoken word just drags too long. Still, the singing is so good in the first half, and the solo is as emotional as it can get.

Song I dont care too much about them:
Forsaken - cant get over the lyrics. The solo is amazing, but its not enough to hold the entire song.
PoW - this just doesnt feel like DT


Overall Idd say a good album to listen to once in a while, but not even in the upper half of their discography.

Offline jammindude

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I like TDEN, but that's about it. 

ITPOE is absolutely DT's worse all time epic.  Part 1 is actually pretty good, but the whole dark master section in part 2 does nothing but make me laugh.  It's almost as if I'm listening to a Spinal Tap album.

In fact, that's the feel I get from almost this whole album.   Like I'm listening to a Spinal Tap album...only they didn't do that level of hokey on purpose for a joke, so it's not really funny.  (though parts of PoW are so horrible they make me LOL)
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Offline TAC

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Oh, it's fantastic. I've gone into this many, many times on here so I'm not going to bother labouring the point again for the umpteenth time, but I think it suffers from being in the context of a much more serious catalogue. You've got a bunch of fairly mature albums, and then sandwiched right in the middle you've got Systematic Chaos sitting there, being thrilling and colourful and bold and vibrant and thoroughly mad. Like a good comic book, it's an adventure rather than an existential musing. It's not what most Dream Theater fans signed up for so I can see why it's not universally accepted, but it feels such a snug fit for the band.

Not in the top drawer of DT output, but a fine figure of an album. So much fun.

Rob's post from a few years ago still holds up.


I have always maintained that after reaching the band's (at the time) pinnacle with Score, SC feels like the band went into the studio and finally just exhaled. It's not a serious album, but something that is fun and I find SC very easy on the ears. It doesn't belong in their Top half of their discog, but who cares. It doesn't make it a bad album.
I also find that there is a ton of variety on the album. It feels so loose.
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Offline Polarbear

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Never understood the hate for Systematic Chaos. Whole album sounds like they had a lot of fun making it!

I think Systematic is every bit as good as ToT and Octavarium. I much prefer it to their post ADToE material...

Offline Dublagent66

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For me, SC was like DT finding themselves a bit confused as to what DT is. It was band at the crossroads.

For me, SC was DT having a blast playing heavy and progressive metal.  The recent material is more indicative of an identity crisis.
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Offline erwinrafael

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I don't see how the recent material is more of an identity crisis when the musical feel and atmosphere for each album is consistent and not all over the place.

Offline chaossystem

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Offline TAC

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For me, SC was like DT finding themselves a bit confused as to what DT is. It was band at the crossroads.

For me, SC was DT having a blast playing heavy and progressive metal.  The recent material is more indicative of an identity crisis.

The recent material is anything but an identity crisis. TA is more focused than anything they've done in a long time.
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Offline Dublagent66

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For me, SC was like DT finding themselves a bit confused as to what DT is. It was band at the crossroads.

For me, SC was DT having a blast playing heavy and progressive metal.  The recent material is more indicative of an identity crisis.

The recent material is anything but an identity crisis. TA is more focused than anything they've done in a long time.

Focused and consistent isn't what I'm talking about.  Those two terms can go either way depending on what they represent.  A progressive metal band putting out something resembling a musical has "identity crisis" written all over it.


I don't see how the recent material is more of an identity crisis when the musical feel and atmosphere for each album is consistent and not all over the place.

Musical feel and atmosphere have nothing to do with it.  Lawrence Welk had musical feel and atmosphere.
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Offline hefdaddy42

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He didn't have an identity crisis either.
Hef is right on all things. Except for when I disagree with him. In which case he's probably still right.

Offline Enigmachine

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A progressive metal band putting out something resembling a musical has "identity crisis" written all over it.

Not really. Many Prog Metal bands release concept albums and musicals really aren't that different. They, like TA, just have a greater emphasis on characters and plot movement. DT doing a Rock Opera was unexpected, but it made sense as a creative choice considering the tastes of JP and JR.

Offline TAC

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For me, SC was like DT finding themselves a bit confused as to what DT is. It was band at the crossroads.

For me, SC was DT having a blast playing heavy and progressive metal.  The recent material is more indicative of an identity crisis.

The recent material is anything but an identity crisis. TA is more focused than anything they've done in a long time.

Focused and consistent isn't what I'm talking about.  Those two terms can go either way depending on what they represent.  A progressive metal band putting out something resembling a musical has "identity crisis" written all over it.


Ok fair enough. I understand. Don't agree. But I understand.  :)
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Offline bosk1

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I understand the meaning of his words.  But I do not understand how anyone could possibly think that because, aside from just casual agreement or disagreement, it is completely illogical.
"The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie."

Offline TAC

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I understand the meaning of his words.  But I do not understand how anyone could possibly think that because, aside from just casual agreement or disagreement, it is completely illogical.

That is way too much lawyer speak.
Wut?

 :lol
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
Winger Theater Forums................or WTF.  ;D

Offline JLa

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Let me put it this way. I know most DT songs by heart. However, when I hear "Systematic Chaos", the only thing that comes to mind is "The Dark Nintendo Night".

Totally forgettable. I can't remember the last time I listened to it, it probably was a few weeks after it was released.

Offline Enigmachine

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I wouldn't say it's unmemorable, but I would consider it the second least remarkable DT album behind BCaSL. Not to say anything of its quality (as I prefer both SC and BCaSL to WDaDU, though mostly due to production and vocals), but it comes off like an album that wasn't entirely thought through. It's like the thought process was just "hey guys, lets jam and see what songs we can make out of it" with no real cohesive statement or direction. Even other non-concept DT albums like ADToE and DT12 seem to have some common themes and a sensible progression to them.

Offline bosk1

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I disagree.  I think the album has a pretty consistent sound and overall tone.
"The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie."

Offline Enigmachine

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I disagree.  I think the album has a pretty consistent sound and overall tone.

Yes, but maybe not to the extent of some other DT albums. Not completely sure though. I don't wan't to come off like I'm trashing the album, because I really enjoyed it the last time I listened to it, but there's something about it that makes it feel not quite as unified as some other DT albums for me.

Offline SebastianPratesi

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It's like the thought process was just "hey guys, lets jam and see what songs we can make out of it" with no real cohesive statement or direction. Even other non-concept DT albums like ADToE and DT12 seem to have some common themes and a sensible progression to them.

Wasn't there some sort of intention by the band to take that album into a more stripped, garage-ish direction (after the grand concept and epicness of Octavarium, which also included an orchestra)? I'd say there was a conscious decision to make things rawer/simpler, more rockier than in Octavarium (which featured many acoustic and electronic moments). Lyrically, though I don't think they agreed on a common thread/mood: John writing fantasy, Mike about his personal struggles, James about war.

My appreciation: it was my first 'new' DT album, and I was expecting it, because I loved "The Dark Eternal Night" when the in-studio video was released for promotion. I also liked "In The Presence Of Enemies" a lot, but the rest I couldn't enjoy for a long time - it felt 'weak' to me, compared to Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence. Still, recently I've been re-discovering the album, and now I enjoy many more moments - "Repentance", "Prophets Of War", some of the crazy, syncopated riffs in the middle of "Constant Motion".

My two favourite aspects of Systematic Chaos are:

1. The rawer, rockier sound/mix (which, out of all the RoadRunner albums, is my favourite. Those drums in "The Dark Eternal Night"!)

2. The fact that John Myung is featured prominently, both mix-wise, and with many shining moments in most songs. He isn't just doubling the guitar, he adds stuff of his own (and, in the case of 'Heretic', he is the star). I also like those brief moments where there is no guitar but only bass + keys (such as before the 1st verse of "Forsaken", or the 2nd verse "The Ministry of Lost Souls").

Offline BlobVanDam

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I disagree.  I think the album has a pretty consistent sound and overall tone.

Me too. It manages to have variety, while still sounding like it's part of the same thought process and direction. Even though they didn't have a set theme when writing the album, it's still a snapshot of their creative process at that point in time, and has a consistency to it.
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Offline Enigmachine

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tbh, when I'm actually listening to the album, I don't really notice what I've been talking about. I like all DT albums and whichever one I'm listening to tends to be my favourite at that moment (save for maybe WDaDU), it's just retroactive when I try to scrutinise the albums and often in that process, I can become confused at why I consider certain DT albums better than others. It's part of why I don't like rating or ranking.

Offline Dublagent66

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I understand the meaning of his words.  But I do not understand how anyone could possibly think that because, aside from just casual agreement or disagreement, it is completely illogical.

Yeah, because everything is completely logical in the musical world of subjectivity.   :lol
You could've addressed me directly, disagreed and left it at that.  ;)
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Offline Enigmachine

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I understand the meaning of his words.  But I do not understand how anyone could possibly think that because, aside from just casual agreement or disagreement, it is completely illogical.

Yeah, because everything is completely logical in the musical world of subjectivity.   :lol

It kind of is. You can back your opinions up with things that are real and understandable. If you thought TA and DT12 were identity crises, you should be able to back it up with something that makes sense, especially if others like me don't see it.

Offline efx

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It's one of the albums I listen to the least and compared to what came after it I don't think it holds up well. It will forever have a special place with me since I was one of the "fan-chanters" on ITPOE and POF. That was a great experience but as music it's hardly something I ever listen to.

Offline SebastianPratesi

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It will forever have a special place with me since I was one of the "fan-chanters" on ITPOE and POF. That was a great experience but as music it's hardly something I ever listen to.
Wow, congratulations! By the way, I hadn't noticed until now that "In The Presence Of Enemies" has chants as well. Is it at the beginning of 'The Slaughter Of the Damned' on part 2? Or is it somewhere else too?

Offline Enigmachine

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It will forever have a special place with me since I was one of the "fan-chanters" on ITPOE and POF. That was a great experience but as music it's hardly something I ever listen to.
Wow, congratulations! By the way, I hadn't noticed until now that "In The Presence Of Enemies" has chants as well. Is it at the beginning of 'The Slaughter Of the Damned' on part 2? Or is it somewhere else too?

iir it's scattered around The Slaughter of the Damned.

Offline SebastianPratesi

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iir it's scattered around The Slaughter of the Damned.
Oh, alright, I'll pay attention next time.

Offline pantsofeternity

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I like SC a lot; I would say it suffers from a similar issue to (the overall superior) Octavarium in that there are several standout tracks I love, and the rest I just hit the skip button.
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Offline oh8wrx

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Re: The Systematic Chaos Appreciation (and explanation of disappreciation) Thread
« Reply #203 on: November 09, 2016, 10:07:14 AM »
Question for you guys...

"Repentance" -- who are all the people talking? Is it the band? I'm listening to the song right now and always was curious...
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Offline Adami

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Re: The Systematic Chaos Appreciation (and explanation of disappreciation) Thread
« Reply #204 on: November 09, 2016, 10:08:35 AM »
Question for you guys...

"Repentance" -- who are all the people talking? Is it the band? I'm listening to the song right now and always was curious...

Corey Taylor - "Until that moment, I'd never felt like I'd failed at anything...And I felt like I failed her...And I failed myself, and I failed my children...It's still really hard to deal with."

Steve Vai - "I want to thank you for helping me to see my own selfishness and to tell you how regretful I am it has hurt you."

Chris Jericho - "I'm sorry I didn't visit you in the hospital, Grandpa when you were on your deathbed. I'm sorry I didn't come to your funeral...I don't know if I was selfish or just too scared to face it. It's one of the biggest regrets of my life."

David Ellefson - "I'm here to confess with you that what I did, was wrong... And I'm asking for your forgiveness"

Steve Hogarth - "The only unforgivable thing hauls itself out of bed, looks over my shoulder at the bloody English weather..."

Joe Satriani - "I really regret not being able to see my friend Andy..."

Mikael Åkerfeldt - "One of my best friends who's the godfather of my daughter, he asked me to sing or play something at his wedding, and I turned it down because I was busy and too much of a chickenshit to do it...And I feel sorry for that, because it was a very very close friend of mine"

Steven Wilson - "So, I wanted to apologize to anyone that I've upset or offended.. they're just words, it's just an opinion, but unfortunately, I tend to express it as a fact, and that's kind of arrogant."

Jon Anderson - "I think it's the betrayal...it still haunts me."

Neal Morse - "I'm sorry for what I did back then... I was a different person. I really was and I'm so sorry. I wish it wouldn't have happened, but it did, and I'm sorry. Forgive me. I'm sorry..."

Daniel Gildenlöw - "I guess I'm simply sorry for being me just so awful to the people..."
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Offline bosk1

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Re: The Systematic Chaos Appreciation (and explanation of disappreciation) Thread
« Reply #205 on: November 09, 2016, 10:12:38 AM »
I knew most of those, but wasn't aware of the Steve Vai and Satriani ones.  (or maybe I just forgot)
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Offline oh8wrx

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Re: The Systematic Chaos Appreciation (and explanation of disappreciation) Thread
« Reply #206 on: November 09, 2016, 10:14:57 AM »
thank youuuu!  :hefdaddy
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Offline gzarruk

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Re: The Systematic Chaos Appreciation (and explanation of disappreciation) Thread
« Reply #207 on: November 25, 2016, 07:27:31 PM »
Very unpopular opinion here, but I like SC more than Octavarium, BC&SL and even TOT. To me, it sounds balanced: It is heavy, melodic, technical, epic, progressive and has great soft moments. It has many amazing riffs and solos by both JP and JR. JLB and JM sound great and MP's vocals weren't as bad as in BC&SL  :biggrin:

Also, I really like that they used JR a lot in this album. I tend to like DT's keyboard heavy albums more, which is weird considering I don't play keys at all. All his sounds were perfectly chosen and I feel he could experiment with them more than in the last couple albums they did with MP.

The mix is one of the best for DT studio albums, imo. Every instrument has a place to shine, you can hear all of them and all of them sound great.

Just my opinion, guys, please don't assasinate me  ;D
Btw, just if anyone wants to know, I don't rank the album that high on my list. It's currently the 8th.
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Offline TAC

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Re: The Systematic Chaos Appreciation (and explanation of disappreciation) Thread
« Reply #208 on: November 25, 2016, 08:07:42 PM »
Very unpopular opinion here, but I like SC more than Octavarium, BC&SL and even TOT. To me, it sounds balanced: It is heavy, melodic, technical, epic, progressive and has great soft moments. It has many amazing riffs and solos by both JP and JR. JLB and JM sound great and MP's vocals weren't as bad as in BC&SL  :biggrin:

Also, I really like that they used JR a lot in this album. I tend to like DT's keyboard heavy albums more, which is weird considering I don't play keys at all. All his sounds were perfectly chosen and I feel he could experiment with them more than in the last couple albums they did with MP.

The mix is one of the best for DT studio albums, imo. Every instrument has a place to shine, you can hear all of them and all of them sound great.

Just my opinion, guys, please don't assasinate me  ;D
Btw, just if anyone wants to know, I don't rank the album that high on my list. It's currently the 8th.

That is all fair.
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Offline IDontNotDoThings

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Re: The Systematic Chaos Appreciation (and explanation of disappreciation) Thread
« Reply #209 on: November 27, 2016, 12:19:50 AM »
Very unpopular opinion here, but I like SC more than Octavarium, BC&SL and even TOT. To me, it sounds balanced: It is heavy, melodic, technical, epic, progressive and has great soft moments. It has many amazing riffs and solos by both JP and JR. JLB and JM sound great and MP's vocals weren't as bad as in BC&SL  :biggrin:

[...]

Just my opinion, guys, please don't assasinate me  ;D
Btw, just if anyone wants to know, I don't rank the album that high on my list. It's currently the 8th.

So Octavarium, BC&SL & TOT are all in your bottom 5?