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Train of Thought (Dream Theater album)

Train of Thought is the seventh studio album by American progressive metal band Dream Theater, released on November 11, 2003 through Elektra Records.

Train of Thought
Dream Theater - Train of Thought.jpg
Cover art by Jerry Uelsmann
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 11, 2003 (2003-11-11)
RecordedMarch 10 – September 2003 in Cove City Sound Studios, Pie Studios and Beat Street Studios in New York City
GenreProgressive metal
ProducerMike Portnoy and John Petrucci
Dream Theater chronology
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
Train of Thought
Live at Budokan
Singles from Train of Thought
  1. "As I Am"
    Released: October 29, 2003
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[1]
IGN8/10 stars[2]
Metal Review7.9 stars on a 10 point scale[3]

Inspired by the audience response to Dream Theater's heavier songs while on tour,[4] in the Chaos in Progress documentary, Portnoy says that they wanted Train of Thought to be a "balls to the wall" album with heavier, darker riffing, exposing them to a number of new metal fans. The album was written in three weeks.[5] It was engineered by Doug Oberkircher and mixed by Kevin Shirley.[6] Most of the album was played in concert for the Live at Budokan DVD. All songs from it have been played live to date.


As mentioned in videos of the recording/writing sessions, which were filmed by Mike Portnoy, the band "cooped themselves in a rehearsal studio" in New York, and wrote the full album from March 10 through April 3, in a record time of three weeks, after which they began recording, starting with the drum tracks and ending with the vocals.


  • The album opens with the same chord that closed the previous album, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. Similarly, the faint piano note that ends the album is heard at the beginning of the band's next album, Octavarium.
  • Some lyrics of "As I Am" were inspired by Dream Theater's 2003 summer tour with Queensrÿche, described by Mike Portnoy as an "irksome series of shows." According to Portnoy, Queensrÿche guitarist Mike Stone tried giving John Petrucci tips on playing guitar, leading Petrucci to write the lyrics: "Don't tell me what's in, tell me how to write".
  • "This Dying Soul" continues Mike Portnoy's Twelve-step Suite, which started with "The Glass Prison" on Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and later continued with "The Root of All Evil" on Octavarium, "Repentance" on Systematic Chaos, and concluded with "The Shattered Fortress" on Black Clouds & Silver Linings. These songs share some of the lyrics and melodies. For example, this song features a riff from "The Glass Prison", which is heard at the start of this song's step "Release".
  • "Honor Thy Father" was written about Mike Portnoy's stepfather. When asked about what inspired him to write that song, he stated in an IRC: "I'm not very good at writing love songs, so I decided to write a hate song!"[7]
  • Some of the samples in the instrumental break "Honor Thy Father" are taken from Paul Thomas Anderson's film Magnolia, in the scene when Jason Robards' character is talking to Philip Seymour Hoffman's character about his regrets in life. There are also parts taken from the film At Close Range in which a scene of Sean Penn and Christopher Walken's characters can be heard arguing. Other voice samples heard during the bridge were taken from the movies Ordinary People and The Royal Tenenbaums as well as the TV series Oz.[8]
  • The lyrics to "Vacant" were inspired by James LaBrie's daughter, who fell into a short coma after suffering a sudden, unexplained seizure three days before her seventh birthday.[9]
  • "Stream of Consciousness" is the longest instrumental on a Dream Theater studio album to date.
  • Between 5:51 and 6:07 of the song "In the Name of God", there was a hidden composition buried beneath the far louder sounds of the song itself which lay undiscovered for over a year and a half. The band did not tell anyone that a hidden "nugget" (as it became known amongst Dream Theater fans) was present in the song, and only when Mike Portnoy mentioned it in his Mike Portnoy: Live at Budokan Drum-Cam DVD over a year later did someone find it. The Mike Portnoy message board was rife with fans scouring the song looking for what it might be, until a fan going by the pseudonymous name "DarrylRevok" mentioned that from 5:51 to 6:07 there appeared to be morse code audible, which Nick Bogovich (user handle "Bogie") isolated and discovered that when translated to English, the phrase "eat my ass and balls" (a Mike Portnoy catchphrase) was the result.[10]
  • From 12:56 onwards of "In the Name of God", the American Civil War hymn "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" can be heard in the right channel.
  • Jordan Rudess played the final note in the album (heard at 14:06 of "In the Name of God") with his nose as shown in the "Making Train of Thought" documentary. Mike Portnoy approved the take while he was filming.

Track listingEdit

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

1."As I Am"Petrucci7:47
2."This Dying Soul"
  • "IV. Reflections of Reality (Revisited)"
  • "V. Release"
  • 6:31
  • 4:57
  • 3."Endless Sacrifice"Petrucci11:24
    4."Honor Thy Father"Portnoy10:14
    5."Vacant" (music: Myung, Rudess)James LaBrie2:57
    6."Stream of Consciousness"(instrumental)11:16
    7."In the Name of God"Petrucci14:16
    Total length:69:21

    Chart performanceEdit

    • Billboard 200: 53
    • Billboard Top Internet Albums: 53
    • UK Album Charts: 146
    • German Album Charts: 16
    • Norwegian Album Charts: 9
    • Swedish Album Charts: 9


    Dream TheaterEdit

    Additional personnelEdit



    1. ^ Jurek, Thom (2011). "Train of Thought - Dream Theater | AllMusic". Retrieved 3 August 2011.
    2. ^ Patrizio, Andy (2011). "Train of Thought - Music Review at IGN". Archived from the original on 27 May 2011. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
    3. ^ Dreilinger, Ian (2011). "Review of Dream Theater - Train of Thought | Metal Review". Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
    4. ^ As discussed by John Petrucci in the 20th Anniversary Documentary The Score So Far, found on the Score DVD
    5. ^ "The writing of Train of Thought". Retrieved 2011-09-28.
    6. ^ "For immediate release: Dream Theater - Train Of Thought". Archived from the original on October 14, 2007. Retrieved 2009-03-14.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
    7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
    8. ^ Dream Theater - Honor Thy Father - Movie Samples on YouTube
    9. ^ "LaBrie's Songs' MeaningS ***James' Responds******". Retrieved 2011-09-28.
    10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

    External linksEdit