DREAM THEATER A Dramatic Turn of Events

Album · 2011 · Progressive Metal
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4/5 ·
25 years after their inception, 2010's aptly titled 'A Dramatic Turn of Events' ushers in an era Dream Theater fans thought they'd never see, for this was the first release after the departure of drummer and founding member Mike Portnoy.

With the prog world eagerly anticipating who would have the impossible task of replacing one of the greatest drummers in the world, the band announced a new album and, via an online documentary, unveiled that man to be none other than Mike Mangini, who's résumé includes the likes of Steve Vai, Annihilator and Dream Theater frontman Jame LaBrie's solo project, proving him to be a more than competent successor.

However, other than the inclusion of a new drummer, this is pretty much a by-the-numbers release. Big, epic songs, which display a vast array of heavy, crushing riffs, beautiful and haunting keyboard melodies, an unlimited supply of instrumental mastery and James LaBrie's powerful vocals. It's clear that the drama of the past year hasn't prevented the prog legends from doing what they do best.

I was saddened though, as I'm sure many others were, to hear that Mike Mangini didn't have any creative input in the compositions for 'Dramatic...', as they were written before he joined the group, leaving him to play session musician. It's not really a detriment to the album, but I was more than a little excited to see what musical differences Mangini would bring to the table.

Some of the highlights from 'A Dramatic Turn of Events' includes the single 'On the Backs of Angels', and the longer, more epic tracks 'Bridges in the Sky' and 'Outcry'. The shorter, "metal" tracks such as 'Lost Not Forgotten' and 'Build Me Up, Break Me Down' show that guitarist John Petrucci can always be relied upon to produce riffs that put most metal bands to shame, and ballads like 'This is the Life' and 'Far from Heaven' soften the mood to enable listeners to catch their breath.

With their eleventh studio outing comes a landmark release in Dream Theater's discography, which, while it's a remarkable piece of work in itself, will always be known as the first of the post-Portnoy era. It's a good sign that the band are ready to continue on, and can only leave one excited to see where they will go from here.
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4 months ago
I bought this album toward the end of last year because I figured it was time to get a fifth DT album. It changed how I thought of the band. Two months later I had all of their studio albums from Image & Words to the self-titled album, including the Change of Seasons ep and the biography of the band, "Lifting Shadows". I think it's a great album that gave fans exactly what they would have expected.


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