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Dream Theater – s/t (album review) (*/*****)

Having heard the whole “too-lazy-to-find-a-title” album in high quality after the two preview singles and the album preview, I can confidently give Dream Theater’s self-titled new album a 1/5 star rating. If it were an output of writing sessions or some other tentative collection of songs I could live with it, but considering what I’ve heard are final mixes of a final product, I can’t help but feeling like I’ve been had. Petrucci, Myung, LaBrie, Rudess and Mangini are collectively laughing at all the morons buying piss thinking it’s beer!

As a drummer, I’ve always admired the drummer before every other member, and I’ve stood in Mike Portnoy’s camp for the last three years. Now at last I feel vindicated.

“A Dramatic Turn of Events” was by comparison a considerably stronger album. Even the weak parts there could be chalked up to four non-drummers coping with an actual dramatic turn of events. But now I can truly appreciate what Mike Portnoy brought to Dream Theater. DT without Portnoy is like a ship without a captain. Sure, the crew know what they’re doing, but they have no idea of how to do it well. So long as the ship keeps moving they’re happy. But that is not good enough! Looks like 1/27/14 might be my “so long!” to DT. And yes, I would tell them to their face (to get back to work).

Some notes on the songs:

  • “False Awakening” indeed. Dream Theater no longer know what a suite is unless slept in. Charlotte Pike, show them how!
  • Yes, even DT could learn from Lemmy, who always wastes no time being artsy and delivers instead. “Enemy Inside” does not! As far as pre-album singles go, “A Rite of Passage” was way better and that was weak. The only marginal excitement in it is Mangini’s dominant hand.
  • “Enigma Machine” sounds like a jam on old songs with an A7X Nightmare reference thrown on top. Is that really the best they could do?
  • “Along for the Ride” is DT for the ladies. Was there an actual divorce?
  • “The bigger picture”? DT have lost their way.
  • “Illumination Theory” may be an epic, but even that lacks direction. It’s their “Hey, let’s throw everything in, no matter how raw, those suckers will buy anything!”, DT-Lulu if you like.
  • The hidden track expresses my opinion well. There are some good bits, but all in all, it is sadly a pathetic turd.

Today, it seems like “Après moi, le déluge” should be Mike Portnoy’s motto. He may not be the best technical drummer, but he triumphs above all when all aspects are looked at as a whole and he sure is the most fun & original pinball! As I said after seeing him with The Winery Dogs last week, “As always, if Mike Portnoy is on board, great music and fan treatment will come forth. Constant motion pays high dividends!”

I am a Mike Portnoy fan, and needn’t justify this to anyone anymore!

EDIT: Clarified qualification of technicality in drumming. This is something I think Portnoy has acknowledged, so it is no criticism.