“A Rite Of Passage” is the second track on the “Black Clouds and Silver Linings” album released in 2009.
The music is written by John Petrucci, Mike Portnoy, Jordan Rudess and John Myung. The lyrics like “The Count Of Tuscany” are written by John Petrucci.
There are always accessible songs on each Dream Theater album. Accessible in Dream Theater’s language is shorter.
The main riff on this song is a metallic masterpiece. The riff moves between the E major and E minor scales.
Actually John Petrucci recorded this song using a 6-string guitar tuned 1 whole step down (D-G-C-F-A-D) so even though you play the riff like you would play it in standard tuning, the actual tone is D major and D minor.
And the song is filled with so many good bits like;
– The heavily palm muted verse riff.
– The pre chorus riff and the vocal melody.
– The chorus riff and the melodic lead break over it and the vocal melody. It’s an AOR arena rock chorus.
– Then when we go back to the next verse, the foundation chord progression is the same, but Petrucci decorates it with fast arpeggio and single note lines, before it moves back to the familiar pre chorus and that excellent Chorus.
After the Chorus, the intro riff is back and in your face.
Then it goes into this Megadeth style riff, like how they do in “Holy Wars” for the solo section. And man, John Petrucci brings it. Especially that chromatic little section with sweeps and single note lines.
Then Jordan Rudess makes chicken noises and gets a chance to throw another million notes at us, but I wanted Petrucci to take this one. It was perfect just for the guitar to shred over.
And then the solo section abruptly ends as it goes back to the intro riff for 10 seconds before it moves into the Chorus.
Did I mention that the Chorus is excellent?
And it ends the same way it started, with the bone crushing intro riff which fuses major and minor modes in E, but it’s in the key of D because Petrucci down tuned.
Lyrically the song is about secret organisations, like the freemasons.
As the lyrics state, “a brotherhood of wisdom, strength and dignity, its rituals and secrets, remain a mystery.”
These kind of organisations are shrouded in conspiracy, and are either up to good or evil. Just think of Dan Brown’s novel – ‘The Da Vinci Code’.
And these kind of organisations have so much power, but not a lot of people know much about them. There was a quote from a documentary I watched which said, there is a very high chance that a person would have had dealings with a person who is a freemason, and they wouldn’t have known it.
Beneath an ever watchful eye
The angels of the temple fly