Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Dramatic Turn of Events by Dream Theater

Well, it is finally out and I got it. The new Dream Theater album, the first without long-time drummer Mike Portnoy. After finding out that Mike Mangini was the “new Mike”, I was cautiously optimistic. I didn't know much about Mangini's drumming other than he was at one time (and may still be) the world's fastest drummer. Other than that, nothing. All I have to say is holy shit. I am a HUGE Portnoy fan, but I have to admit the drumming on the new album is amazing. Many of his fills are very similar but not an exact copy of Portnoy. His hand work and mastering of odd time is off the chart. Also, I love the album. While I love the Train of Thought-type of DT with its heavy and riff-laden songs, this new album does harken back to earlier DT and at least to me is a breath of fresh air. Is every song awesome, no, but overall you can see that the departure of Portnoy had a direct effect on the direction and execution of the album as a whole. Petrucci wrote most of the music and lyrics and it shows. There is a cleaner sound with more piano with Jordan Rudess taking a more active role in writing the music. I could go through each song and break them down, but that is easier said than done with prog and I just don't feel like it. Go and find the free previews of the songs the band put out leading up to the release date to get a taste. Assuming Mangini stays in the band (if recent interviews are any indication, there are some seriously burned bridges so it looks like he will stay for a while) I can see any subsequent albums being even more refined and “proggier”, which is a good thing. To sum it up, I love the new album. I still love Portnoy and wish him nothing but the best, but DT must go on and have started on a pretty good note.

If you have heard the album, tell me what you think.


  1. I've got the album but have only listened to it once so far. Not because I don't like it (I do) and not because it didn't grab me (it did!) but because like in general and work in particular is insanely busy right now. I don't like to review an album until I've had a chance to really digest it. There have been some albums I've loved early on but they "burnt out" quickly for me and others I didn't necessarily care for originally but later really grew on me and became favorite albums of mine. Heck there are others that I still appreciate the musicianship and the talent that went into it but I just don't listen to any more because I'm no longer at a place in my life where the music speaks to me like it did on first listen. Some bands are clingers and others fade away. With only one listen under my belt on this one I can't really say which way it will go.

  2. Perplexio, I heard a lot of the clips from the web before the cd came out but they did not do the album justice. I think it is a breath of fresh air now the Petrucci and Rudess are doing all the writing.

    It is funny how cd sometimes grab you only to leave your rotation in the future. Then others just didn't hit the way you thought they might. Systematic Chaos is like that. I looked forward to it coming out but it has become of the DT cd's I listen to the least.

    You mention not listening to stuff because of where your are. I am like that with bands like Led Zeppelin. I was such a Zep freak for so long that as I got older I found myself listening to it less and less. In the past year or so that has begun to change a bit. I have opened myself back up to some of the classic rock I got so sick of. Oddly enough, much of that has to do with my family and I singing karaoke at home to those classics. What comes around... comes around again I guess...

    Thanks for the comment and make some time for the DT album. I think it is really good.

  3. The way you feel about Systematic Chaos is how I felt about Octavarium. I still really love the title track but much of the rest of the album fell kind of flat with me. I much preferred Systematic Chaos.

  4. I really like 3 tracks from Octavarium. These Walls, Panic Attack and Octavarium. There are bright spots on SC but much of it is the same.