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Dream Theater - On the Backs of Angels CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.56 | 118 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars One step forward or two steps back?

I, as any Dream Theater nutjob, got all excited with the announcement of the new album "A Dramatic Turn Of Events". As a drummer as well, I was a little saddened by the departure of Mike Portnoy, but on first listen here, Mike Mancini seems to be in great position for Portnoy to pass the torch down to, but the song in general sounds....familiar.

The intro seems to start where "Count Of Tuscany" left off (coincidence?). The massive intro with Rudess' chords blasting got me all excited, and then LaBrie began to sing....and nearly killed it for me. This reminds me way too much of "A Rite Of Passage" (hell, it's only a 10 second difference for crying out loud!). LaBrie absolutely rocks the chorus as usual, and the instrumentation and solo sections spot on as usual, but for some reason, I was left wanting more, something I hadn't felt since 2006.

Obviously 2006 was the year between "Octavarium" and "Systematic Chaos". "Octavarium" specialized more in the progressive epic and the emotion of music (exemplified in "The Root Of All Evil", "The Answers Lie Within", "Sacrificed Sons" (most epic ending ever), and "Octavarium"), while "Systematic Chaos" was more focused on instrumentation rather than the former ("Constant Motion", "The Dark Eternal Night", "The Ministry Of Lost Souls", although "In The Presence Of Enemies" could easily fit both categories.

I applaud Dream Theater anxious and ready to write more music (while Portnoy was not), but this just reminds me way too much like "A Rite Of Passage". It seems like the 8-and-a- half minute, 2-verse, 3-chorus, instrumental interlude and intro/outro scenario is like their version of the 3 minute pop song heard on radios everywhere. Yes, it's a great track, and the rating should not steer you away from it, but I'm afraid that this pattern will become a trend in the remainder of their music to come.

Sure, "Black Clouds & Silver Linings" made up for it as a whole with their "hit" song ("Wither") and more traditional prog ("The Best Of Times"), but they also bookended the album with two masterpieces of music, songwriting and instrumentation, of course ("A Nightmare To Remember", "The Count Of Tuscany"). Will the same set-up be said for "A Dramatic Turn Of Events"? One can only hope (me), but then again, I was worried when "A Rite Of Passage" was released and thought BCSL would be "Systematic Chaos, Pt. 2". Surely it was not to be, and I doubt the new record will disappoint anyone, but longtime fans like myself have reason to worry. However, as a faithful fan, I have never been truly upset about their albums and doubt this will turn me away from their music as a whole for the rest of their careers to come.

Wicket | 3/5 |


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