Rating:
7.9
Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn Of Events
7 September 2011


01. On The Backs Of Angels
02. Build Me Up, Break Me Down
03. Lost Not Forgotten
04. This Is The Life
05. Bridges In The Sky
06. Outcry
07. Far From Heaven
08. Breaking All Illusions
09. Beneath The Surface


There is no denying Dream Theater has been an enormous influence on progressive music for the last two decades. Every new release of theirs usually generates a buzz among fans and media alike. But since founding member, natural leader and revered drummer Mike Portnoy left the band unceremoniously last year, the free press the band is getting has been off the charts. After an overly publicized series of auditions whence drumming instructor Mike Mangini came triumphant, expectations were at an expected all-time high. A lot of doubts and uncertainties were lingering in the air. So what? You ask. Well, it all depends who's giving you the answer. Reviews have been split across the internet spectrum. But since you're stuck with me, here are my thoughts.

First of all, the essence of Dream Theater is intact. If you were unaware of Portnoy's departure - like you just came back from your space mission - you mightn't be able to tell. Seriously, Mangini was picked by the stranded band members because he can sound so much like Portnoy. And he does effortlessly or so it seems. Nuances or subtle between the two drummers, and in my opinion there isn't anything to nitpick about. So let's move on.

More interestingly the songs all have something distinctive. It takes a while to appreciate them though, which isn't that surprizing considering we're talking about archetypical progressive music. Once the musical assimilation hits you full-blown, a few standout tracks emerge. Notably the epic "Bridges in the Sky" has something of a old-fashioned DT aftertaste despite the unconventional intro while songs like "Lost Not Forgotten" and "Outcry" possess that oomph factor that has been missing in recent years. Let me put it this way. I have been listening to the album since it came out and still at this point in time there isn't a track I would skip. Not a single one. Even their ballads took a hold of me quite quickly and that is the mark of a successful album.

On the flip side of the coin, the keyboard work is at times overbearing even by Dream Theater standards. However, technically this is mesmerizing work by Jordan Rudess I must admit. John Petrucci seems to be thriving again. He finally relaxed the blockade of ostentatious overpowering riffs to restore a balance in his playing that makes one equally thrill whether he's soloing like a madman or hitting the softest note. James LaBrie solo works seem to have steadied him and inspired him to take more risks. John Myung is his usual perfect self on bass and Mike Mangini shows that he belongs one hundred percent.

Sure their solos are sometimes over the top and some songs would have benefited from an earlier wrap but overall A Dramatic Turn of Events is smooth and more consistent than its recent precursors. Give it a serious listen while keeping an open mind, there is much for you to discover.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8


Band profile: Dream Theater
Album: A Dramatic Turn Of Events


 


written by Demonic Tutor | 02.11.2011

Staff review by
Daniell

Rating:
5.8
It seems that something like that must have happened eventually. Mike Portnoy is gone, and A Dramatic Turn of Events is the first occasion for the metal community to find out how Dream Theater fares without their co-founder and co-leader. Let me tell you straight away that it sucks. It sucks much more than I feared it would having heard the first song off the album, whose name I won't even bother to mention. Why would I want to waste time typing names of crappy songs?

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published 21.09.2011 | Comments (181)



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The Voyager - 02.11.2011 at 04:13  
Might want to fix Mike Petrucci in the next-to-last paragraph. Other than that, great review. I agree, and I think this album has gotten unfair hate.
Demonic Tutor - 02.11.2011 at 04:15  
Dude, thanks. I'm seeing Mikes everywhere now.
Aetherius - 02.11.2011 at 04:59  
I tend to agree with this review a lot more. Although I didnt like this one as much at first, I kept it on my playlist and after a few listens I certainly like it a lot more now. I dont know why but if i had to pick a closest DT sibling to this one, I keep going back to Falling Into Infinity. It too, took me longer to like than the rest of their albums.
Mr.Wilson - 02.11.2011 at 05:43  
At last a well writen and fair review by someone who clearly understands Dream Theater and not by a Portnoy Worshiper.. well done;) i agree 100% with the review:)
Troy Killjoy - 02.11.2011 at 08:44  
Of course all the DT fans are going to like this review more and agree with it, because the score is closer to an 8 than Daniell's.

I don't care about the band or their releases and I think both reviews are well done as they both present the positives and negatives each reviewer uncovered; I just think it's funny to see how people blindly agree with reviews that score closer to their personal rating.

"Finally we have someone who knows how to review an album, unlike that Daniell troll!" baaaa
Daniell - 02.11.2011 at 12:00  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 02.11.2011 at 08:44

"Finally we have someone who knows how to review an album, unlike that Daniell troll!" baaaa


Yes, finally a decent review, unlike that ridiculous hogwash that dared rate DT so low
neonxaos - 02.11.2011 at 12:10  
Finally someone who knows what I want to hear them talking about No, sorry, not gonna add fuel to the fire. I gotta admit, DT seem to be struggling a bit these days, but maybe something good will come of it. In the mean time, I'll be over here listening to Symphony X and Haken Thank Nature (yeah, take that, nonexisting God!) for the wonder of choice, amirite?
Milena - 02.11.2011 at 12:43  
Written by neonxaos on 02.11.2011 at 12:10

... but maybe something good will come of it.

Dear God, I hope so. I'd hate to see them lose whatever fire is left in them. At least now they've got a skillful drummer AND a wonderful, mature, dedicated person behind the kit.
Mountain King - 02.11.2011 at 13:55  
Im not a DT fan. I just like the band and i think this album is really good although i didn't like some songs. One of them being "Bridges In The Sky". But seriously "On The Back Of Angels", "Lost Not Forgotten", "Breaking All Illusions" are just amazing tracks. I like the production more on earlier albums though, and portnoy's sounds a lot better but it's no problem. ..
Diamonds - 02.11.2011 at 16:22  
It doesn't surprise me in the slightest that this album has gotten the great review it has. it's Dream Theater, they have yet to come out with a poor release and i'm not sure they ever will.
Warman - 02.11.2011 at 23:40  
Great review and I think you're mostly spot on. According to me, this could be their best stuff since "Six Degrees...". "Breaking All Illusions" is mindblowing, gives me the chills every time!

BTW, just me who thinks the album sounds like a mix of "Six Degrees..." and "Train of Thought"?
jhook - 03.11.2011 at 01:35  
Written by Warman on 02.11.2011 at 23:40



BTW, just me who thinks the album sounds like a mix of "Six Degrees..." and "Train of Thought"?

hmm not at all, to me it sounds like a modernized "images and words"
anyways, good review, that other one was a joke
Soviet - 03.11.2011 at 02:16  
This review's a lot better than the other one . I'd give it a similar rating to yours.
jhook - 03.11.2011 at 03:03  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 02.11.2011 at 08:44

Of course all the DT fans are going to like this review more and agree with it, because the score is closer to an 8 than Daniell's.

I don't care about the band or their releases and I think both reviews are well done as they both present the positives and negatives each reviewer uncovered; I just think it's funny to see how people blindly agree with reviews that score closer to their personal rating.

"Finally we have someone who knows how to review an album, unlike that Daniell troll!" baaaa


This is only true if quality in music is totally subjective. I tend to agree with this reviewer because its a solid album from a well- respected band that's been mostly praised in other reviews of it. If the quality of music were totally subjective, there wouldnt really be a point in having reviews, and i'd be justified in saying Lulu or anything from Soulja boy is muscially better than a widely accepted classic simply because i like it more
ToMegaTherion - 03.11.2011 at 03:30  
This is an album that didn't disappoint me at all. I expected a very average album and got just that. I think they are just trying too hard to make the music more and more complex that its just becoming so generic. This album is just that, generic, and very expected. Daniell's review is probably a little harsh, but not unwarranted it is probably the worst album they have come out with to date.
Quinaitor - 03.11.2011 at 05:19  
I will repeat the same thing I've said like 2948723984 times already... The album is GREAT! but it did not create the "OMFG I'M IN LOVE WITH THIS ALBUM" feeling that every other DT album did... And this... is the word of a freaking DT lover...
Angelic Storm - 03.11.2011 at 06:09  
Written by jhook on 03.11.2011 at 03:03
This is only true if quality in music is totally subjective. I tend to agree with this reviewer because its a solid album from a well- respected band that's been mostly praised in other reviews of it. If the quality of music were totally subjective, there wouldnt really be a point in having reviews, and i'd be justified in saying Lulu or anything from Soulja boy is muscially better than a widely accepted classic simply because i like it more


But the quality in music is totally subjective. (although talent and musicianship isn't) I am very objective in how I approach individual albums, but my opinion on them is still subjective to an extent, as it is only my personal opinion. And that's all that reviews are, is just one person's opinion. Some people place far too much importance on reviews IMO (especially if they are by staff members on a forum like this, or "professional" music critics), and see them as more than just merely one person's opinion on an album. Which is really all they are. You would be unjustified in saying that "Lulu" is musically better than say "Ride The Lightning", at least coming from a place of pure musicianship. However, you would be perfectly justified in saying that you preffered "Lulu" over "Ride The Lightning". As there is no right and wrong as far as personal opinion on music goes.
jhook - 03.11.2011 at 06:28  
Written by Angelic Storm on 03.11.2011 at 06:09

Written by jhook on 03.11.2011 at 03:03
This is only true if quality in music is totally subjective. I tend to agree with this reviewer because its a solid album from a well- respected band that's been mostly praised in other reviews of it. If the quality of music were totally subjective, there wouldnt really be a point in having reviews, and i'd be justified in saying Lulu or anything from Soulja boy is muscially better than a widely accepted classic simply because i like it more


But the quality in music is totally subjective. (although talent and musicianship isn't) I am very objective in how I approach individual albums, but my opinion on them is still subjective to an extent, as it is only my personal opinion. And that's all that reviews are, is just one person's opinion. Some people place far too much importance on reviews IMO (especially if they are by staff members on a forum like this, or "professional" music critics), and see them as more than just merely one person's opinion on an album. Which is really all they are. You would be unjustified in saying that "Lulu" is musically better than say "Ride The Lightning", at least coming from a place of pure musicianship. However, you would be perfectly justified in saying that you preffered "Lulu" over "Ride The Lightning". As there is no right and wrong as far as personal opinion on music goes.


By "quality" i meant talent, musicianship, and songwriting, which is mostly objective. Of course theres no right and wrong as far as personal opinion goes, thats personal opinion, not quality
Troy Killjoy - 03.11.2011 at 06:31  
Written by jhook on 03.11.2011 at 06:28
thats personal opinion, not quality

Everyone has the same definition of quality now?

Huh. Wonder when that happened.
DNorbs - 04.11.2011 at 21:56  
I was fearing the worst for this album without Portnoy, and I ended up enjoying it more than their last few releases. Definitely a quality album, deserving of a high 7, low 8 score.
nb - 06.11.2011 at 15:13  
Just like with any DT albums, I have enjoyed it since the first listen. I have heard 4 or 5 times by now and the songs stick in my head for a long time after listening to them. With this album I believe they removed from the music some elements that they themselves where not happy with, and stuck to more melodic passages.
I did not find the keyboards to overwhelm all other instruments, I think they are very balanced. The drums seem to be a little in the back of the mix, though.
Very good review.
1Yossarian1 - 16.11.2011 at 21:46  
I really love this album. i wont pretend to be the biggest DT fan or an expert on their previous work, but i don't really understand the criticism towards this album, i personally see it as far better than their two previous releases. My major criticism towards DT is James LaBrie's vocals, which, at times, feel as though he is trying to sing like other musicians, rather than just being himself. However on this album his vocal performance is truly outstanding, and, in my opinion, really makes the album great.
Renard Solitaire - 11.01.2012 at 07:36  
Written by 1Yossarian1 on 16.11.2011 at 21:46

I really love this album. i wont pretend to be the biggest DT fan or an expert on their previous work, but i don't really understand the criticism towards this album, i personally see it as far better than their two previous releases. My major criticism towards DT is James LaBrie's vocals, which, at times, feel as though he is trying to sing like other musicians, rather than just being himself. However on this album his vocal performance is truly outstanding, and, in my opinion, really makes the album great.


I share your opinion. Just like you, I like A Dramatic Turn of Events much more than Black Clouds and Silver Linings. Thus, this is a good album, but I still prefer Images and Words, and Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory.
I'm particularly digging Lost But Not Forgotten right now!:cool:
Passenger - 05.09.2013 at 19:53  
In retrospective, this is, indeed, better than Systematic Chaos and Black Clouds.
Azarath - 06.09.2013 at 14:59  
Written by Passenger on 05.09.2013 at 19:53

In retrospective, this is, indeed, better than Systematic Chaos and Black Clouds.

Well, if you really wanted to, you could make the case that's it's more consistent than those albums. It's not as all-over-the-place, nor does it have those drastic shifts in quality. It lacks the peaks and valleys ("Build Me Up, Break Me Down" is awful though) of its predecessors, which (along with the flat sound) also means it's a dull listening experience.

More consistent, but also incredibly bland. Which is not really a criticism you can level against Systematic Chaos or Black Clouds & Silver Linings.
Passenger - 07.09.2013 at 14:22  
Written by Azarath on 06.09.2013 at 14:59

Written by Passenger on 05.09.2013 at 19:53

In retrospective, this is, indeed, better than Systematic Chaos and Black Clouds.

Well, if you really wanted to, you could make the case that's it's more consistent than those albums. It's not as all-over-the-place, nor does it have those drastic shifts in quality. It lacks the peaks and valleys ("Build Me Up, Break Me Down" is awful though) of its predecessors, which (along with the flat sound) also means it's a dull listening experience.

More consistent, but also incredibly bland. Which is not really a criticism you can level against Systematic Chaos or Black Clouds & Silver Linings.

I understand what you're saying, but disagree it's dull in consequence. You could probably say that about Falling Into Infinity. Then again, I love Build Me Up, Break me Down.
Azarath - 09.09.2013 at 20:21  
Written by Passenger on 07.09.2013 at 14:22

I understand what you're saying, but disagree it's dull in consequence. You could probably say that about Falling Into Infinity. Then again, I love Build Me Up, Break me Down.

Well, I love Falling into Infinity, so there you go. Different strokes and all that.
Passenger - 11.09.2013 at 01:37  
Written by Azarath on 09.09.2013 at 20:21

Written by Passenger on 07.09.2013 at 14:22

I understand what you're saying, but disagree it's dull in consequence. You could probably say that about Falling Into Infinity. Then again, I love Build Me Up, Break me Down.

Well, I love Falling into Infinity, so there you go. Different strokes and all that.

For sure

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