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Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn Of Events CD (album) cover

A DRAMATIC TURN OF EVENTS

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.89 | 1231 ratings

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EatThatPhonebook
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 7/10

"A Dramatic Turn Of Events" is the best Dream Theater album since "Six Degrees".

I wonder how many people thought this was going to be awful. After the departure of drummer Mike Portnoy, who was the spinal cord of the band, many didn't know what to expect with new drummer Mike Mangini (Annihilator), and with the naturally different direction, since the former musician always led DT to a heavy sound, thus the sound would perhaps be or more rockish/straight-forward (my biggest fear), or more experimental. I must admit I was one of those people who wasn't excited, even if I liked "On The Backs Of Angels", the single to drop out the album, and I probably wasn't even going to bother getting the album immediately. But I did, and I got surprised big time. "A Dramatic Turn Of Events" could be the best DT album since "Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence", released nine years earlier. This to me was a relief, and I was glad.

Luckily, the band opted with the more experimental approach, so the ambition of this album is immense. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most rich and ambitious albums the band has ever done. So many textures and layers of sound can be heard, and you hear new ones you've missed the previous listens every new listen. aDToE is a much more keyboard- driven, progressive LP, tons of effects, samples, and very interesting ambient moments, especially in many intros here. It can be heavy too, thanks to Petrucci's amazing guitar playing. His riffs here are mostly very well written and almost always pretty mind-blowing. But the two shining stars of the album for me are Jordan Rudess, who gives some of the most impressive performances I've ever heard by a keybordist, and Mike Mangini, who does an awesome job in my opinion and is a more than decent substitute of Portnoy.

But the thing that bothers me about this album is something that is present in all Dream Theater albums but here it is magnified to the extreme: technical musicianship, and the solos. On this album they are pushed to the very extreme, and end up sounding cold and, after a while, a little boring too. The musicians have written "Oh look how good I am" all over them, and I'm sorry to say that. It is almost too complex, too ambitious, or at least for my taste.

There are however moments that blew me away completely starting from the opening track "On The Backs Of Angels", that builds up epically and has good hooks. But my two favorite tracks here are the following "Build Me up, Break Me Down", which looks like it is becoming subject of controversy because of it's apparent cheesiness and really straight-forwardness, and "Bridges In The Sky", that has an awesome intro and aggressive feel overall. Other moments here are quite good: "This Is The Life" is one of the most beautiful ballads Dream Theater has written in a while, and "Beneath The Surface" is another calm and likeable tune. I always am satisfied when I like a DT ballad, because usually I don't enjoy them. "Outcry" is fun to listen to, but it does incarnate the excessive technical nature that this LP has; do I really want to hear almost ten minutes of crazy keyboards? "Breaking All Illusions" is another track I enjoyed a lot, it has a sort of layered down feel, and it's a good thing after more than an hour of Dream Theater madness.

"A Dramatic Turn Of Events" is so much better than I thought; It might not be as good as other releases this year, but 2011, as we can all see, is a year where music blossoms very well. If you like extremely technical music, you'll have a blast with Petrucci & company's last effort.

EatThatPhonebook | 4/5 |

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