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Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn of Events – My review

If I had to sum up my impression of Dream Theater’s new release, I’d say that what we have on the album is Dream Theater, teacher’s pet edition. Yes, it is clear that the songs are Dream Theater pure, but they’re also basic DT. Unless, as has been suggested, the strong references to Awake and Images and Words are intentional, what ADTOE is is mostly a fluffy bunny throwback to early 90s Dream Theater feel good record.

The album is good and I enjoy the tunes a lot, but there’s not much “resistance” of the likes of The Shattered Fortress or new covers on this album, hence the fluffy bunny aspect. Portnoy’s absence shows significantly. Although this album may ironically have turned out this well because of his departure, it shows that the new intra-DT unity is one that dictates that one follow the path of least resistance. It seems that in spite of the remaining members’ afterthought based “protest”, there was a point to Mike being in charge. He inserted the curve balls that engaged the fan, the quirky rebellious aspect in so many songs and so with him out, gone are also his humor and rebellious additions.

And speaking of Mikes, anyone less talented than Mike Mangini would have made this album a disappointment. Only because Mangini is such an utter genius is ADTOE a fun album. His unique style and record setting dexterity add badly needed spice to this collection of songs. This makes me hope that they’ll let him write more as he clearly understands what Dream Theater is and should be and does so remarkably well.

ADTOE is a good start, but please, try harder next time. Dare to offend bandmates, dare to explore. Or just make peace with Portnoy if you’re incapable of taking over that responsibility as well.