Review by Time_Signature published

Dream Theater

A Dramatic Turn Of Events 2011

9 Progressive Metal details

Admittedly, the three main attractions of Dream Theater for me have always been Mike Portnoy's phenomenal drumming, James Labrie's unique vocals, and Dream Theater's complex and sophisticated progressive metal and unique sound. With Mike Portnoy out of the band, one of those attractions disappeared, and my concern was that the third attraction would disappear with him. So, my main concern with this album has been "will it sound like Dream Theater at all?". Now, we know that Portnoy is doing well - he's making awesome groovy metal with Adrenaline Mob, he's got a power trio going with John Sykes and an unnamed bassist, and then there is the mammoth prog rock band Translatlantic. But what about Dream Theater, how will they fare? Well, to be honest, I think that "A Dramatic Turn of Events" sounds like... Dream Theater. And that's basically enough for me. I could finish the review here, because I got what I came for. I mean, all the trademark things are there: the long songs, the many moves and twists and turns in every track, Labrie's vocals, the melody, the keyboard wizardry, the technically advanced guitar solos, the quirky things, the odd time signature, the rhythmical ambiguities. Yup, this is Dream theater, and, like most of their other releases, it clicked with me immediately on first listen. There are some differences between this album and other Dream Theater output though, if one holds them up against each other. The previous releases saw Dream Theater slowly being taken in a heavier direction, as the band started implementing elements from heavier and more extreme types of metal with thrash metal elements popping up in several tracks on "Train of Thought", "Systematic Chaos" and "Black Lines and Silver Linings", and there is even some blastbeating in 'A Nightmare to Remember'. Those elements do not figure that prominently on this release which, in some ways, strikes me as having more similarities with 90s releases. Do not get me wrong, there are plenty of heavy and aggressive elements on this release - and more than on the 90s releases - but they do not figure as prominently as on more recent releases. Also, while Dream Theater has always had en epic sound, "A Dramatic Turn of Events" strikes me as being more epic than the band usually is - perhaps as a consequence of there being less aggressive elements on the album. Moreover, the last couple of Dream Theater albums saw James Labrie's role being increasingly marginalized with Portnoy taking up vocal duties, too. I always thought that was a shame, because Labrie has such a unique and characteristic voice (which is an integral part of the Dream Theater sound), so I really appreciate that he fully dominates the vocals aspect of this album. I do not really have any points of criticism - except one. The drums are way too suppressed in the mix. Although he did not contribute to the writing, Mike Mangini is the new drummer of Dream Theater, and he is a renowned and amazingly skilled and talented drummer - therefore I think it would only be fair for the drums to be made much more substantial than they are now. There are a lot of nice details in his drumming that simply deserve to be heard. I also find it a bit disturbing that the electronic beats that pop up every now and then are actually more dominant n the mix than Mangini's drums are. So, I do not think that the drums are loud enough in the mix, but apart from that, I think that the production is quite good, and the musicianship is, of course, top notch. Kudos to the band for carrying on and kudos to Mangini for taking the place as the new drummer in a band, largely known for its old drummer. I am not disappointed with this album! (review originally posted at