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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 | 1235 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "A Dramatic Turn of Events" is the 11th full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Dream Theater. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in September 2011. This is the first Dream Theater album not to feature drummer and founding member Mike Portnoy who left the band in September 2010. He is replaced here by Mike Mangini (Annihilator, Extreme, Steve Vai).

Despite the quite significant lineup change (In addition to his drumming duties Mike Portnoy was active in the band's songwriting as well as co-producing several of the group's albums) not much have actually changed since "Black Clouds & Silver Linings (2009"). Dream Theater still produce top notch progressive metal involving outstanding musicianship and well written material. What they fail to do on this album and actually haven't done for a while is challenge their audience. "A Dramatic Turn of Events" is more or less Dream Theater by the numbers and at this point I really wish they would break out of the stylistic monotony they've been in for now too long. There are literally no surprises on this album and frankly I expect more from the world's leading progressive metal act. After all the word "progressive" (in this context) means that you push boundaries and create something new/unheard of.

With that out of the way "A Dramatic Turn of Events" is of course still a high quality release on almost every other parameter and as such the album opens pretty strong with the trio of tracks "On the Backs of Angels", "Build Me Up, Break Me Down" and "Lost Not Forgotten". But from "This is the Life" and onwards my attention begins to wander. Especially some of the longer tracks like "Bridges in the Sky" and "Outcry" are rather tedious to my ears, but of course things aren't helped along either with the inclusion of the saccarine and forgettable ballad "Far From Heaven". I don't know why they keep insisting on including tracks like that on their albums ("This is the Life" also falls under that catagory).

The sound production is decent but the drums have an odd sound. Maybe they are not high enough in the mix or something like that. I can't put my finger on it, but there is some kind of issue with them. Regarding the drums it's interesting to note that Mike Mangini more or less completely imitates the playing of Mike Portnoy. I've read somewhere that the drum parts for the tracks were already written when Mangini entered the lineup, so maybe it's not so strange. It'll be interesting to see if he can bring his own style to the table on the next release if he decides to stay with the band.

Now I can understand that hardcore fans of Dream Theater find "A Dramatic Turn of Events" to be a great release but I simply have to point out what I see as weaknesses and potential signs of a band that have given up developing their music. To me "A Dramatic Turn of Events" is a kinda "middle of the road" album by Dream Theater and it's far from the best output by the band. Sometime in the future when talking about Dream Theater's discography this album will not be mentioned. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is warranted.

UMUR | 3/5 |

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