Track Review: Dream Theater “The Count Of Tuscany” Black Clouds & Silver Linings [2009]

Amazon Dream Theater BlackIn order to celebrate the release of Dream Theater’s latest studio album, Black Clouds & Silver Linings, I have been offering detailed reviews of each of the six tracks since its release. Here is the final track:

Track 6: “The Count of Tuscany”

The final track continues the silver lined journey that the second half of the album takes on. Petrucci opens with a beautiful acoustic intro with a soothing lead layered on top. Several bars before the full band enters, the guitar frolics with clean natural harmonics. Soon, Rudess keyboards and Petrucci’s leads [2:18] erupt off of each other in a magical yet mysterious manner.

At 3:20 the song begins the pounding and progressive heaviness that DT tends to display before the main verses enter. There is a fairly complex rhythm pattern that LaBrie lays his voice over. The scary guy voice returns with the pre-chorus lyric “let me introduce…” Honestly, I have not been a fan of this style throughout the record. The one place where the scary voice works well is during the choruses of this track, more specifically the beginning that contains the accented “I.” Additionally, the chorus contains one of the catchiest vocal melodies on Black Clouds.

There is an interesting Nintendo-type sound [7:07] produced by the guitar which you would expect to hear on a DragonForce song; it sounds like Mario is about to warp through a pipe on Level 1-2. As always, the second and third verses loosely follow the format of verse one, another DT trademark, before the pre-chorus scary guy bridge and chorus.

A powerful display of rhythm [9:23] takes form prior to the main instrumental section. Petrucci then delivers a melodic solo about a minute later, before the song turns into the waiting line of Space Mountain in Walt Disney World; the celestial space tones and volume swells are always a sure-fire way to extend a progressive rock song by several minutes, and more importantly a proper way to close a progressive album.

The final movement of the song and record begins with a Tuscan inspired acoustic strumming pattern while LaBrie questions the ending, in a format not too far from a late 90’s emo-punk tune. However, this band is far too talented for that thought to last more than four seconds. After nearly 20 minutes, the song comes to its close with catchy “woah-oh’s” and soft atmospheric sounds; a winning combo –Meds

Track 6 of 6 — Length 19:16 — Roadrunner Records

4 StarsDream Theater is James LaBrie (Vocals), John Petrucci (Guitars/Vocals), John Myung (Bass), Jordan Rudess (Keyboards/Continuum), & Mike Portnoy (Drums/Percussion/Vocals).

Be sure to check out the reviews of track 1 (”A Nightmare To Remember”), track 2 (”A Rite of Passage”), track 3 (”Wither”), track 4 (”The Shattered Fortress”), and track 5 (“The Best of Times”) as well.

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