As you may have noticed from my posts on this blog, I'm a huge Dream Theater fan. However I - as I'm sure many other DT fans were - was a little apprehensive regarding the first album from the proggy-power-metally quintet without founding drummer and primary songwriter Mike Portnoy. Having watched the audition video the band released (and personally thinking Marco Minneman was a better drummer), I was interested but cautious about the new album.

To my relief, "A Dramatic Turn of Events" sounds very much like a Dream Theater album. But perhaps that is also the problem. As a whole, the album sounds very much like the band's previous efforts. In particular, the album opener "On the Backs of Angels" borrows heavily from the band's best-known song, "Pull Me Under". And the similarities don't stop there. "Build Me Up, Break Me Down" sounds like "The Root of All Evil". "This is the Life" sounds like "The Spirit Carries On". Even the album cover follows the well-established Dream Theater artwork trend of being terrible.

However, this means in no way that "ADToE" is a bad album. The songs the album draws heavily from are all very good songs, so it stands to reason that these new songs are also good. However, more or less everything on the album has been done before, and better.

Which brings me on to the curious case of Mike Mangini. One thing that became very apparent from his audition video was that Mangini was trying his level best to replicate Portnoy's drumming to a tee. And while he does this very well, it hasn't exactly helped revitalise the band as all the interviews and TV spots said it would. This Portnoy-copying reflects on the album as well, with Mangini's drum parts proving very similar to what has come before (though in his defense, the album was more or less completely written before Mangini joined the band).

To summarise then, even though the tracks on the album are good (if I had to pick a favourite it would be "Outcry"), this is a fairly standard effort from Dream Theater, that I doubt will hold any classics to its name in years to come.


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