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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unlooked-for magnificence
DT came to my attention between Scenes from a Memory and Six Degrees. I found Scenes to be interesting but a touch corny. Six Degrees was a colossal step up. Track VII in the suite was quite simply the most dazzlingly proficient prog playing I had heard since ELP in their heyday, or Yes' Gates of Delerium (1974). I was blown away, and eagerly awaited the next outing. But...
Published on 10 April 2012 by lizard

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars New drummer same old sound
The one thing about Dream Theater is you know what your gonna get, they play amazingly fast and they play amazingly well but they don't really like songs that isn't really their thing they seem to mostly focus on showing off.

However I find that to be ok because it is fun to listen to people who I could only ever dream of being able to play like. The songs are...
Published on 15 Nov. 2012 by Cubby Kovu


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unlooked-for magnificence, 10 April 2012
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This review is from: A Dramatic Turn Of Events (Audio CD)
DT came to my attention between Scenes from a Memory and Six Degrees. I found Scenes to be interesting but a touch corny. Six Degrees was a colossal step up. Track VII in the suite was quite simply the most dazzlingly proficient prog playing I had heard since ELP in their heyday, or Yes' Gates of Delerium (1974). I was blown away, and eagerly awaited the next outing. But when Train of Thought turned up I was almost totally disappointed. One-dimensionally, insistently and irredeemably heavy. I persisted with Octavarium, which showed some spark of adventure, but then followed the dire Systematic Chaos which, apart from fascinating artwork and the first ten minutes or so, I cannot abide.

When the next one came out, I didn't get the expensive editions I had in the past, but this was a definite step up, with three very good complex tracks that reward repeated listens - Nightmare , Fortress and Tuscany. But I was of the opinion that the miracle of Six Degrees was not going to see a rival.

But there has most certainly been A Dramatic Turn of Events.

What an amazing album this is.

Others have gone into considerable detail about the individual tracks: I will confine my comments to three.

Beneath the Surface, the ballad that closes the album, skates dangerously close to the thin ice of cheesiness, but manages to avoid falling through. James la Brie's rather breathy delivery does remind of some of the more embarrassing singers on the BBC Radio 2 of old; also his climb into a higher register doesn't work too well. But the orchestration is lovely, and the tone selected by Jordan Ruddess' tone during his keyboard solo is perfect.

Bridges in the Sky and Outcry, which seem to form a pair in my mind, appear to call for reconciliation and the end of wars. Both have enormous contrasts, tricky rhythms, and devilishly difficult passages. From 4:50, Outcry launches into a magnificent instrumental passage with everything I could have wanted, and far more than I could have imagined. And they're all involved up to the hilt - with perhaps Jordan in the lead a la Emerson. It's simply electrifying. The vocal line only re-enters after four and a half dizzying minutes.

An astonishing album. I have listened to it, I don't know, thirty times perhaps. And I STILL LOVE IT!

I am really hoping they will tour in the UK to support it.

Thanks guys. How ARE you going to top this one?
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79 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, complex and very nearly a masterpiece of modern music, 12 Sept. 2011
By 
Dave Hall (St Petersburg, Russia) - See all my reviews
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Dream Theater fans tend to be an obsessive bunch, almost invariably skilled and knowledgeable musicians themselves. As I sit here writing this on the morning of the CD's release in the UK, there are debates raging on various forums about Dream Theater's latest album. Some are analysing the music like it's a crime scene, dusting through every bar looking for odd time signatures and evidence of earlier influences. Others are obsessing over the mixing and mastering. And yet another group is combing through the lyrics (particularly those by John Myung) looking for clues to the secret of life. I'm going to take a radical angle here and discuss the music itself, and how it affects me. I'm not saying those other issues don't matter. Clearly they do, or else so many people wouldn't write so passionately about them. But I'm not a gifted musician, I know nothing about the techniques of recording and mastering music, and if I want great words, I tend not to look to rock stars for them. Why I fell in love with Dream Theater back in 2001 was the exceptional musicianship and gorgeous textures of their music. So this is how I'll try to appraise this latest album.

Firstly, as we all know, Portnoy left in September 2010. What affect has this had? Well, immediately, only Labrie sings. There are no more growls and toe-curling death-metal rapping, for lack of a more apt description of that abomination that marred A Nightmare To Remember. And Labrie sings brilliantly. Nowhere on this record does he sneer or snarl or bark or shriek his way through passages, as he occasionally did on the previous 2 or 3 releases. He merely sings, and his voice has colour and charm and beauty and power. It is becoming a cliché on those forums I mentioned, but it is nonetheless true: this is the James Labrie of Images and Words and Awake. It is among his best work.

His contribution to the song-writing is also evident. Build me Up, Break Me Down sounds like something that would have fit nicely onto one of his solo albums, and has a wonderful chorus. Not my favourite track on the album, but a good, solid piece. Lost Not Forgotten works for me on many levels (Petrucci's guitar solo is wonderful. Echoes of Under A Glass Moon, but this could never be a bad thing). The opening contains an over-the-top segment of (it seems to me) completely aimless widdling, but it doesn't last too long.

The real surprise on this album was the 3 ballads. With a few notable exceptions (Anna Lee, Hollow Years, Disappear) I've never really taken to DT ballads. Too sickly, too banal. The appeal of Dream Theatre is usually the formidable musicianship and wholly unique arrangements of their pieces. Water them down to a 3rd-rate Coldplay and what's the point? But on this album, the ballads (I'll repeat, 3 of them!) are a) well placed on the CD, and b) beautiful. This Is The Life has a soaring guitar solo (2 of them in fact), and tasteful playing from Rudess. Far From heaven ddn't do it for me at first, but after many listens, is now one of my favourite DT tracks. It's a short one, but...such a beautiful, gorgeous vocal line from Labrie. And finally, what may be the most purely sublime piece DT have ever written, the album's closing track: Beneath The Surface. I like to think I hold myself together quite well, I'm not an overly-emotional person, and very few things move me to tears - but this track did, the first time I heard it. And with each repeated listen, it somehow becomes more and more beautiful. One of those tracks (for me at least) which, once it's sunk in to your soul, it's hard to imagine a time before it was a part of your life.

The other tracks on the album are very strong. Bridges In The Sky begins oddly, with a noise that any lover of a spicy mutton vindaloo will find familiar, but turns into quite an epic song, with a soaring melody and - lord be praised - a tasteful instrumental section which fits with the song, as opposed to a collection of impossibly difficult technical exercises. Some chap on the Dream Theater website's forum is currently engaged in a forensic examination of this song, claiming that its structure exactly mirrors that of Metropolis. Maybe so, maybe so. I personally couldn't care less about that degree of analysis. To me, it's just a great song, and to my ears sounds nothing like Metropolis. Besides which, I'd much prefer Dream Theater draw on their own catalogue for inspiration rather than any other band's, which is what I feel they were sometimes doing with Octavarium, Systematic Chaos, and Black Clouds. After all, nobody ever did it better than they themselves did.

Outcry is an album highlight, a great balance of technique and beauty. Breaking All Illusions is the album's masterpiece, with one of the most beautiful and spine-chilling endings I've ever heard in a song. I know the album is still fresh and it's tempting to be hyperbolic before it's really had a chance to sink in fully, but nonetheless, if I were stranded on an island I honestly think I could be happy with only this track for company. Dream Theater have often written exceptionally beautiful endings to otherwise mediocre tracks (Octavarium, Best of Times), but here, the entire track is one flawless gem.

So, in conclusion...I loved Mike Portnoy (still do). I think his drumming on In The Name Of God was a masterpiece of technique counterpoised against emotion. He was that rarest of entities - a truly musical drummer. But I didn't like the direction DT was taking with recent albums, and I feel that he was the reason for that change. Too much death metal growling. Too much musical masturbation, too little music. Sometimes it was just plain silly, and other times, embarrassingly derivative (watch the Systematic Chaos `Making Of' DVD and count the number of times Portnoy says things like: "Wow, this is great, we sound like Biohazard here!" Or "This is our cool Meshuggah section". Just be freakin' DT please!). This album is the sound of a group of preternaturally talented musicians playing as a tight unit. The songs are well constructed and brilliantly executed. They are original and inspiring, sometimes sending chills down the spine. There are moments which are supremely beautiful, but never childish and mawkish as seen on previous albums ("The Answer Lies Within" - is that right? There was I thinking an unexamined life was the way forward). This is not an easy record, it takes time to even begin to get a grasp of all that is going on here. Hence, it is classic Dream Theater. God forgive me but I'm happy Portnoy left if this is the result. This is what made the group wholly unique, and this record - while drawing on their past - is entirely new and fresh.

Album highlights, in order:

Breaking All Illusions
Beneath The Surface
Outcry
This Is The Life

My whole-hearted recommendation is to buy this album. And thank you Dream Theater, on the off-chance you're reading this. The music you create makes my life so much better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars New drummer same old sound, 15 Nov. 2012
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The one thing about Dream Theater is you know what your gonna get, they play amazingly fast and they play amazingly well but they don't really like songs that isn't really their thing they seem to mostly focus on showing off.

However I find that to be ok because it is fun to listen to people who I could only ever dream of being able to play like. The songs are pretty good and you know your going to get loads of widdly widdly guitar and keyboard mixed with complex drums and bass lines that are just phenomenal. However, other than some a few funky sounds on the keyboard there is nothing really new hear on the album. The same formula is used as with the past three albums at least. lots of heavy riffs and then some intricate widdling. Labrie uses a few affects on his voice in a few places and his performance is a highlight as he no longer is doing the high pitched yaaah of yesteryear and is going for a more gruff style. The songs are good but I just wish they would try some acoustic guitar or a different bass sound or maybe have a really bass driven song, or add some really different keyboard sounds, try a new way of playing in at least one song and maybe focus on the music a bit more instead of just trying to be the most technical band on the planet, because honestly guys heard it before it doesn't impress anymore. That said it is still a good album. Breaking All Illusions, is a good example of the sorts of things they should try. Simpler guitar playing with some orchestral keyboard and then some programmed drums and funky guitar effects, that is in the right direction but we just need more guys and change the guitar tone for a while.

All in all good but not great the next album needs to be great for the band to stay on top of the throne
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing DT new opus., 14 Sept. 2011
A similar situation with DT happened with Yes recently. One of their key members, most notably; Jon Anderson who was absent from their latest effort "Fly from here" layered over a flaming debate in comparisons to their previous material and the relative comfortability of their new comer vocalist David Benoit, and so the occurrence there shares a striking resemblance with recent events in DT world. A dramatic turn of events is the clearest thing yet in many years that all things are fine and well this year after the high profile exit of drummer MP last year. I wasn't the only one over the last few years wondering what was happening to the structure and songwriting compositions of latest compilements. Systematic Chaos and Black clouds didn't and still don't really click fully with me in terms of what I expected from the band even though both still had some great songs. This invigoration is just what I hoped for.

We kick off with an immediate Dream theater classic "On the backs of angels" which hasn't been seen many a year. "Build me up, break me down" is a heavier DT number but still keeps things in prog check with a vast array of sounds easily surpassing "the dark eternal night" of Systematic chaos. Elsewhere, "Lost not forgotten, Outcry and the rightly smashing epic Breaking all illusions" are truly mesmerizing compositions, -perhaps reaching out with some the best moments in Dream theaters 25 year career & 11 album catalogue. We even have space for the best executed ballad tracks Dream theater has even come up with, in the form of:- the beautiful "This is the life, Far from heaven and Beneath the surface" with only perhaps "Bridges in the sky" which could be identified as the possible weaker link in the whole album, but even I could refrain from that slightly injust ID as the track also has some really good moments in it as well in places.

I believe A dramatic turn of events to be at least within the sacred ranks of the top three of DT's albums. Each of the efforts has something in them that takes you back to many of Dream theater's best moments and adds a unique flavor of invigorating and tasty sounds within them. Nothing less than spectacular DT prog is the result here and I am extremely happy with the outcome of the new album as I can see many other fans are too. This is the best I could have hoped from, from a band who has had a bit of a rough ride recently. Dream theater has been one of my favorite bands for many years and this album is a best evidence as any as to why that is, even the DVD has a wealth of material extra for the fan; (a 60 minute documentary - The spirit carries on) on top of a generous 77 minute album running time.

Dream theater are quite clearly back on top of their game after what has noticeably been weak of late, mainly the Songwriting, lyrics and progness which has now been restored giving back DT their full sound. A dramatic turn of events is a highly impressive album and will no doubt join the soon-to-be-classic elite after all the hype and MP talk finally dies down, the future is bright and definitely DT coloured. I thoroughly recommend this outstanding 11th album........, Agma.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh air for my ears!!!!, 13 Sept. 2011
By 
David Torralba Campos "Maquiaveo" (Barcelona,Spain) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Fresh air for my ears.I think DREAM THEATER have made a great album , the best since "Scenes from a memory",progessive,melodic and heavy with great instrumental passages which highlights Jordan Rudess more than ever. Long songs (maybe not as much as in their last two cd) in which every member of the band do a great job as musicians and songwriters. On this album we find the classic Dream Theater songs like "On the back of Angels" and "Lost not forgoten" (the latter is a mix of "Take the Time" and "Under glass moon") and other DREAM THEATER more modern "Build me up, Break me down" it sounds like the mix of DREAM THEATER and RED. Strange mix, right? I think so but this song is good(although many people do not like this song, I like, sorry).
The chorus of "Bridges in the sky", "Build me up, Break me down" or "Outcry" are awesome with great melody and strength and a half time "This is the life" is great with a sublime Petrucci. The only song that I don't like is "Far from Heaven".The song is not bad but i think down the rhythm of the cd and it is too sweet.Anyway the song is shorter, is less than four minutes. Mike Mangini has done a very good job with songs already made and I think the next album we will see a sublime Mangini, such as.Mike Portnoy (i miss you?) that being one of the best drummer in the world I do not miss the horrible voice that put on a few songs from the album "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" to the "Black clouds..."(Hey guy, you were born to play the drums not to sing).Just saying that as a fan of Dream Theater I'm very happy with this album. .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How do you improve upon this ?, 12 Sept. 2011
Listening to a this Dream Theater album is like walking through a landscape where you experience many kinds or weather. Each change gives you a different perspective on the landscape while you still revel in the fact you are alive and the songs make you smile and think. What more could you ask for? For the guys in the band - how do they improve upon this next time. To be equal to that task is what it takes and more to be in the band. I have listened to the album several times but only scratched the surface, there is plenty more to be mined from this album. At present the stand out tracks for me personally are "Build Me Up Break Me Down" and "Outcry." Enjoy the journey . . .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars given time, 14 Oct. 2011
By 
D. Weeks (sussex) - See all my reviews
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Buying a Dream Theater album reminds me of the old days when you would wait for ages in anticipation for your favourite bands new album. You would know you would need to listen to it again and again. Some things were isntant and some things needed some time to explore and grow on you. First you would listen to side 1 for a week and maybe preview the long closing track on side 2. It was important, it was a possession and became personal.We didnt skip tracks or expect instant gratification and we didnt expect all our friends to like it either.

Thats why I like Dream Theater and this album. Its an album you have to afford time for, be patient and often very suprised.

At first listen I began to think 'this all a bit too clever and complex. Too many uncomfortable time signatures'. But, as ever with DT this is comlimented by superb melody and musicianship and will always throw up that element of artistic suprise and delight. There is a balance and quality that puts DT at the top of the modern prog rock tree (imho), suburb individual yet collective and complimetory musicianship together with inventive and creative songwriting and production.

This does sound like a 'band' album. It sa very good DT album, maybe not the best, but a very good and enjoyable album that proves the band are as strong as ever despite recent 'turns of events'.

It will be in the CD palyer for some time yet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Most Welcome Return to Form, 14 Sept. 2011
I'm just half way through my first listen of this album but am happy to say I am relieved that DT seem to have at last produced another good album.

I honestly have to say that I hated Systematic Chaos and Black Clouds, and (Sorry Mike) it was largely down to the growling which, refreshingly is not present on this album. James is actually singing better than he has for a long time - at least in my own small and humble opinion, and as the first reviewer pointed out there is not a sneer or a snarl to be heard - great.

I wondered if DT would realistically find another drummer who could sit in MPs chair, but after watching the 3 part documentary, I knew that either Minneman or Mangini would do the job very well. Mangini is great, and I like the new style of production with the drums just that wee bit less in yer face as they were in previous efforts. I wondered what tipped the decision in the end and why they chose Mr Mangini as we never found out from the documentary - but hey, I'm not complaining!

Halfway through 'Outcry' now and so far this album has pushed all the right buttons for me, whereas with the previous two I put them both back up for sale straightaway after one listen.

I can tell I'm going to love this album after a few listens.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Images - Words - Music!, 13 Sept. 2011
By 
J. M. Green "john94682" (Sutton Coldfield) - See all my reviews
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I like Dream Theater - but not to the point of being obsessive. Yes, they have turned out some excellent albums and yes, they have turned out some less than excellent albums, particularly of late, therefore when this album was announced, I seriously questioned whether or not to pre-order or wait a few months until the hype had died down and we could see what we truly had. Well, on balance, I thought that DT could not produce another less than excellent album and with the departure of the towering figure of Mr Portnoy, I put my money down and awaited release date.
With the remnants of hurricane Katya still making it's presence felt across the land, my copy duly arrived and went straight to the player and...crisp, clear, beautiful music began to fill the room - Oh my, a return to form and with a vengeance! Petrucci playing delicate little interludes with power riffs loading over the top, LaBrie singing like he hasn't done since Images & Words, Myung playing his stylish, understated thumping bass, Mangini playing a more thoughtful, more delicate set of drums (than Portnoy ever played!) and Rudess filling in the gaps and pulling it all together - DT at their most definitely, creative best!
From the opening lines of On The Backs Of Angels to the final bars of Beneath The Surface, DT show that they are indeed masters of their craft and prove it throughout the 77 minutes running time - never, never a dull moment - and that's after 3 straight listenings! Doubtless, I am going to find much, much more as I explore this album over the coming weeks and months!
As for the bonus DVD - an interesting little diary of the inner workings of the band recorded during their searching auditions to replace Mr Portnoy - all interesting stuff, but not something that you will come back to time and again - but as it has no effect on price - it's a nice little touch!
Oh - and mention has to go to the artwork and presentation of this pack - very stylish with some excellent imagery to boot - it makes for an overall quality presentation of what lurks within.
So, if you like your music to display virtuosity and to hit you right between the ears - then GET THIS!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! Mike Mangini Is Perfect For Dream Theater, 25 Oct. 2011
I already had confidence that this was going to be a new album having seen them in Leeds a few months earlier. First listen was impressive and it got even better everytime after. For me it works a lot better than Black Clouds And Silver Linings because there is a better balance of longer and shorter songs.

This one is not as appealing to fans of the past two albums and Train Of Though as it is not as heavy, but alas they have not dropped the metal from their Progressive Metal tag!

My favorite tracks personally are Lost Not Forgotten and Outcry, some typically Dream Theater instrumental passages in there, plus the typical anthemic choruses we've heard in their music since Train Of Thought.

The album also has two ballady songs in Far From Heaven and Beneath The Surface, both showing off James LaBrie's voice, whichoverall on this album is less growly and more melodic thanks to a change in vocal parts.

Overall I love this album and I think it is perfect for any Dream Theater hardcore fan, Mike Mangini fits perfectally and, although Mike Portnoy will be missed, Dream Theater have definitely stood that test.
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