as most (if not all) of you know, the official album cover for dream theater's next full-length studio album, systematic chaos, has been released. i thought that dream theater would give up on blatant allusions to modern idolized people, concerns, ideals, products and anything of the sort. i thought that dream theater would at least be able to manage an album cover free of references, outside of ideas related to the album. i thought that dream theater would be original. i thought wrong. here is the originality-be-damned album cover in question. Tthe first thing you notice are the meandering highways rolling in every which direction. hmm... meandering. wandering freely. as if they are carefree. so here we have reference number one: the timeless gordon lightfoot single 'carefree highway' let's move on, shall we? The second thing you'll notice is the cornucopias of enlarged ants that are populating the album cover (and considerably). hmm. interesting, you might say. but nothing unoriginal. well, do these words sounds familiar to you? And all the little ants are marching Red and black antennas waving They all do it the same They all do it the same way that's right. dream theater made a reference to the dave matthews band song 'ants marching' on their damn album cover. reference number two: dave matthews band perhaps the most disruptive part of the album cover is the red-and-white street sign in the foreground with the majesty symbol in the center of it. doesn't seem like anything special. look again, honkey. is it just me, or does the shape of this sign bear a striking resemblance to the TITLE OF THIS ALBUM: reference number three: damien rice now, do me a favor and look to the far right side of the image, on the highway nearest to the top. see a familiar symbol on its side? let me help you out: another striking resemblance: who even KNOWS how much dt is being paid for their advertisement habberdashery. reference number four: honda one of what i believe to be the most pivotal parts of the album cover is the sky. it greatly contributes to the grimy, industrial, dismal feel of the album cover. i'm sure i'm not the only one to notice this. but i'm sure i'm not the only one to also notice the alikeness between the sky in this cover and the sky in a pair of pelican covers (it actually seems as though the systematic chaos cover is a combination of both): reference number five: pelican now. in the upper left area of the cover, there is a lone ant on a distant highway. but wait. before you shrug it off as not unlike the rest of the album cover, compare the ant's size to the streetlight beside it. that ant is fucking HUGE. know what else features massive ants? none other than the 1977 film empire of the ants (written by dtf's own h.g. wells). reference number six: empire of the ants for my final piece of evidence, i will ask you to look at the largest portion of highway on the cover. see anything? nothing? flip it sideways. you may still see nothing, but i know what I see: a shameless advertisement of my boys, the chicago bears. reference number seven: the chicago bears that about wraps it up. i don't even need a clincher statement. the evidence speaks (and awes) by itself. take from it what you will. but give me credit. i hope i've opened the eyes of some of you.