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Boston: martial law testing lab

Quite apart from its hegelian aspects, the bombing at the Boston marathon last year started the transformation of the greater Boston area into what I’d term a martial law testing facility. Already in the aftermath of the event last year, residents got to experience a DHS and militarized police orchestrated lockdown. Now we’re seeing the use of a smart grid surveillance system and further conditioning of people to accept overbearing authority.

Just like security checkpoints were once confined to airports and then expanded to ports and roads, this year’s marathon sees yet another increase in the use of false security on the form of checkpoints for both participants and spectators. Quite apart from the fact that terrorists wouldn’t bother to strike twice in the same place, having such all encompassing security is not a manifestation of “Boston strong”. “Boston strong” would be to hold the event without pretending that the sky was about to fall.

Realize that both the premise and the conclusion are wrong in this instance. The DHS has not prevented terrorist attacks which would not have happened in the first place had it not been for the disastrous US foreign policy of the last 50 years (at least) and unless they’re stopped, they will be ratcheting up the mistreatment of ordinary citizens until they can’t live without some form of federal dictatorship permit any longer.

The Boston marathon should be about athletic achievements, about being able to run where otherwise you couldn’t. Boston would be strong if its citizens refused to continue to be abused as a DHS sandbox.

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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.

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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.

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Dream Theater – End the drama!

BLABBERMOUTH.NET – DREAM THEATER Keyboardist: Writing Without PORTNOY ‘Gave Us More Freedom To Do What We Wanted’.

Having sat on my mouth for long enough, I’ve had enough of Rudess talking smack about Mike Portnoy and have to again add my own $0.02:

“I don’t want to be limited by other people’s desires or abilities.”

Guess what, that’s what being in a band is all about. It’s all about finding compromises and working as a team. Just because you never really got things your way is no reason to lash out like that. Mike and the Johns were there from day 1, you were not, period.

” (…) nailing down a show *…)”

And in the process becoming boring and predictable. Come on Jordan, you’re not fooling anyone here. In the absence of Mike who drove you to excel you’ve become complacent. All you guys can manage different setlists and if the techs can’t manage, fire them and find ones who can cope. I’m sure Trey Anastasio can recommend a few.

“We think the fans will really enjoy it more that way.”

Practically all fans who aren’t hermits would disagree with you there, Jordan.YouTube does a good job of spreading the wealth doled out in every city.  I could listen to the same setlist again and again, but when I pay to go to shows and travel to see more, I expect more from alleged badasses.

“he led this band for quite a number of years and did a good job”

Err… he had always led DT. For 25 years! And a good job?! If his performance was good, Petrucci’s is abysmal!

In conclusion: Don’t get me wrong, I love the new album and I enjoyed the gigs I did see this summer. But I also love the Adrenaline Mob EP and Testimony 2 a great deal. So quit biting the hand that fed you and bury that hatchet. All that energy would be much better spent on resurrecting Ytsejam Records and everything else you guys have not been doing since Mike left.

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Very excited to finally have an answer. What an amazing choice and certainly a great tide-over until they can put their business egos aside and be truly creative with Portnoy again.

Now where’s that album? 🙂

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Even if he had auditioned, I doubt he would have made it. He just seems to be struggling to play the parts right. To allude to SKOM, he just doesn’t have the right skill level.

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The day Dream Theater died

Less than 24 hours ago, Dream Theater, my favorite band, died. No, not Lynyrd Skynyrd style, but they might as well have for being such douchebags.

Apparently Mike Portnoy, their drummer, architect and leader decided it was time for an extended break. Apparently the other four somehow missed the fact that the Beatles, Phish, Megadeth, Metallica and many other bands either stopped touring or simply took extended hiatuses. So Mike did the mature thing and quit.

This would not be as surprising if it weren’t such an idiotic move. We know James is a diva at heart and Myung hardly ever talks, so no surprise there. Petrucci without guitar is like Thor without a hammer, disarmed.

I gotta thank Jordan Rudess though for being so mature and open about the whole thing.Thank you!

Resume gripe mode… Seriously guys, who’s given the most interviews, given the most insight into Dream Theater, basically always stayed behind to do so much more while you were doing who knows what? Mike. Who kept you in line while LaBrie oiled his throat? Mike. The Johns were nothing before Mike and may soon be little more.

Way to dump on everything he’s done! Just be glad that unlike Keith Moon or John Bonham he’s not dead (yet).

And last but not least, how dare you retain the name? There was no Dream Theater before Mike and there will be none without him. It’ll just be another Van Hagar, Alcaholica or Who?!?.

Do make that album. Maybe you’ll reconsider once us grown men in your audiences have been replaced by juggalos, or, worse yet, fainting bimbos!