Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn of Events
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Highlights: On The Backs of Angels, Lost Not Forgotten, This Is The Life, Bridges In The Sky, Outcry, Breaking All Illusions, Beneath The Surface
With all the drama surrounding the departure of Mike Portnoy, “A Dramatic Turn of Events” is probably the album I have been anticipating more so than any album this year. I was very optimistic and curious about just how they would sound and the fact that they secured Mike Mangini on drums just made me all the more excited. The first single and opening track “On The Backs of Angels” is a stellar song and right away it’s apparent that this is more than a band with a new drummer. These guys have not missed a beat and Mangini was born to be the Dream Theater drummer. In all honesty, this is the first Dream Theater album since “Awake” that I’ve been able to listen to all the way through without pulling my hair out.
Dream Theater sounds focused and full of life song after song. Gone are those in your face and up front drums and instead you get a perfect mix that sounds like a band should sound. One may listen to this album and say that Dream Theater is playing it safe. I don’t think they’re playing it safe at all. I think that they have returned to form with a discipline that was long thrown out by the ego and overpowering hand of Mike Portnoy. Songs like “This Is The Life” and “Bridges In The Sky” show that the band has chosen to focus themselves in the structure of the song and not throw themselves into a huge clusterfuck like they have on previous albums. I even must say that with Mike Mangini on the drums, the band sounds a lot less robotic and more fluid. Mangini has such a fluid, loose yet tight style that is the perfect fit for Dream Theater.
“Breaking All Illusions” is by far my favorite song on the album and just may be my favorite Dream Theater song of all time. It is so fucking melodic that it makes the hairs on my arm stand up. This is also a standing testament that bassist John Myung should hold the pen more often as a lyricist. The song us absolutely outstanding and once again, Mangini steps up and owns the living hell out of this song. This song is without a doubt one of the most facemelting epics that has ever graced my ears. I cannot wait to hear this one delivered in a live setting as I can guarantee it will kill everyone.
Dream Theater has managed to put out one of the most consistent and cohesive albums of their career. Dream Theater managed to do what many thought was the impossible and that is to pull it together with a new drummer and deliver a memorable collection of music. Listening to “A Dramatic Turn of Events” is like hearing Dream Theater for the first time. At times I even feel that Dream Theater is more so playing to the listener than themselves as in the past. It is an album that is easy to grasp and I can totally see this album bringing in a lot of new fans that may have been scared off in the past. Somewhere in a dark room, Mike Portnoy is crying over his keyboard knowing that Dream Theater made the best album of their career without him. I’m already excited to hear the next album when Mangini will be able to contribute his ideas. The sky is the limit for Dream Theater. What a great time to be a fan!