A Dramatic Turn Of Events CD+DVD
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A Dramatic Turn Of Events
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Legendary progessive metal band Dream Theater release their eleventh studio album, A Dramatic Turn Of Events. Following the much-reported departure of drummer Mike Portnoy, this is the bands first record with Mike Mangini, Fans were treated to a special documentary sharing the audition process and giving a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the band, culminating in the announcement that Mangini was the world class sticksman who would be joining the band.
"I'm incredibly psyched with the way this album came out and can't wait to share it with everybody," says guitarist John Petrucci, who also serves as the producer for A Dramatic Turn of Events alongside mixer Andy Wallace. Vocalist James LaBrie enthuses, "In the grand scheme of Dream Theater's career, the last several months have been such an incredibly positive, fulfilling and rewarding experience. The new songs and sound has never been so spirited or rejuvenating. I cannot wait for every one of our fans to sink their audio senses into this batch of tunes."
The epic album artwork was created by Hugh Syme (Rush, Iron Maiden).
It's impossible to not acknowledge the drummer-shaped elephant in the room: this is the first Dream Theater album without Mike Portnoy on it. Having been rather publicly replaced by the formidable Mike Mangini, the influential prog-metal masters made quite the show of having moved on from the loss of one of their founding members. The question, though, was: who would step up? Would Jordan Rudess slip in a few more keyboard solos? Would John Petrucci's guitars solos shine even brighter? Would James LaBrie's relatively one-dimensional vocals ever do something different?
Yes, kind of, and no are the answers to those questions. A guitar solo in On the Backs of Angels opens the album gently before the heavy riffs and a big keyboard influence emerge. It's a couple of minutes before the vocals come in, and it simply sounds like Dream Theater. Along with all the luscious bombast and complex arrangements expected from a near-nine minute song, there are the trademark, questionably clich� lyrics (Leading lambs to slaughter, tears falling, etc) as well. Panic over, then, as it's business as usual. Time to keep calm and carry on.
But let's talk about Mangini a bit. While calling the five-time World's Fastest Drummer "technically proficient" would be a hearty insult, his work here is hardly imbued with creativity. While it's clear that he's able to recreate Portnoy's drumming in the live arena, it's telling that the drum lines for this album were already written by the time he'd reached the studio. Maybe the next album is where Mangini will be allowed to shine.
After the thoroughly metal opening chords of Build Me Up, Break Me Down, the song continues menacingly until an overly syrupy chorus which see LaBrie whine somewhat amongst the theatrics. The comforting pianos of Lost Not Forgotten give way to some outrageous solo battles between Rudess and Petrucci; but the keyboard contributions halfway through Outcry are absolutely ridiculous. It's one of those moments where you begin to wonder if Dream Theater haven't jumped the shark somewhat.
Ultimately, A Dramatic Turn of Events probably isn't too far from what this band would've created even with Portnoy in the ranks. It still sounds like a Dream Theater album, and that's all anyone's ever going to ask for.
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Top customer reviews
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?
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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