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Various Artists (Tributes) - Honor Thy Drummer - A Tribute To Mike Portnoy CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Tributes)


Various Genres

3.88 | 16 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
4 stars A tribute to a master full of masterful music!

One September 8, 2010, Mike Portnoy left the legend known as Dream Theater. Now I don't know if this album is a tribute to him because he left or just because Mike Portnoy is awesome (probably the latter). The album consists of nearly two dozen independent artists, most of which don't yet have legitimate record deals but have made a small name for themselves in the modern progressive metal world, most notably Bad Salad, Hemina, and Relocator. These guys got together somehow to compile a bunch of their music to release a tribute to the guy who influenced a lot of their styles. Well, it definitely was a success. In great charity, the many artists put their hard work and effort up for free download so everyone could appreciate and enjoy this impressive collection of studio material. Two music videos were even made to help promote the album, both of which can be found on the Various Artists artist page. Overall, the production and compilation of all this great music was a fantastic success. Now reviewing each song would take an eternity, so I'll review each entire disc (of which there are 3) individually.

The Brightest of Summers is the name given to the first disc, referencing The Best of Times, Portnoy's tribute to his father. The disc contains some great upbeat and fun music, with dark twists and light twists and long epic and short epics and everything in between! Some of the sounds from the music, especially the drumming, are obvious influences from Mike, and some are harder to hear, but overall the entire disc is really great. The best highlights would be Crowded Sky, by Bad Salad, Leave Now, by In Progress, and Souvenir, by Halcyon.

Occupied is the name of the second disk, which contains some more fun songs, with another collection of a great diverse population of proggin' tracks. This disc focuses more on Portnoy's metal influences, with heavy metal tracks like 13 Reasons, Hell is Home, and Sear, which all have traces of Dream Theater dark days and other bands that are heavy that Mike has something to do with. The highlights of this disc are 13 Reasons, by Relocator, Counting Down, by In Progress and Sear, by Effloresce.

Retrospective 2009 is the title of the third and final disc, and it contains more direct "prog" than metal. Apparently one track even features Mike Portnoy when he was at the ripe age of 18, nearly 30 years ago. The entire disc is a little weaker than the previous two, featuring yes more prog but at the same time also more pop, seen in songs like Coffee Stained Gild. However, this disc does keep the impressive tracklisting that precedes it, making a nice close for a great 3-disc tribute to a drumming god. The highlights on this disc are Rockyprog, by Halcyon, Sunset in the Snowdome, by Effloresce and The Alchemist, by Relocator.

ALBUM OVERALL: A wonderful collection of fantastic tracks in tribute to Mike Portnoy. The artists obviously had taken a great deal of time and energy to write such great songs, even though a few were edging on radio-friendly pop rather than true prog. Production and execution are fantastic, as are all the artists who are featured on the album. The album presents a real great tribute to Mike and the music that he made. 4+ stars.

Andy Webb | 4/5 |


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