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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

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Honor Thy Drummer - A Tribute To Mike Portnoy' - Various Artists (Compilation)

As one of the prog and metal communities biggest headlines of 2010, the departure of drummer Mike Portnoy from progressive metal giants Dream Theater was nothing short of a shock to many people, including myself. Things went as far as to spawn doubts that Dream Theater would even survive this schism, and that the godheads of progressive metal for the better part of two decades were finally going to part ways for good. Since then, Dream Theater has found a new drummer and will be starting work on a new album any day now. As for Mike Portnoy, it's obvious to anyone who has been keeping up with the news that he is bearing the brunt of his mistake, and having been ostracized from his former-flagship band, it appears the once-ultimate rock drummer's fate hangs in the balance.

In this dark time for Portnoy, this project was created. Meant as a tribute to herald the efforts and legacy of Portnoy and his career, musicians in the progressive metal and rock scene from around the world have gotten together to contribute to what ultimately grew into a three disc multimedia monster of a compilation. While very few of these tracks or bands involved have direct ties to Portnoy or his side projects, it's clear from virtually every band's contribution, what great influence this man and his music have had on people. However, while none of these tracks have a visible connection to Portnoy, what better excuse is there for a compilation like this, other then the dawn of a new era of progressive metal?

While the bands here do range quite a bit in their quality, this is- for the most part- an interesting cross-section of the latest wave in progressive metal bands. With the exception of the mellow singer-songwriting of Matt Barker, and the hair metal leanings of S.A Adams (included for a youthful appearance by Portnoy himself), all of the bands here fall into the realm of melodic progressive metal, be they downright Dream Theater clones, or something a bit different. The two tracks here by No More Pain for example, are very anthemic, proggy hard rock. Bad Salad's 'Crowded Sky' (the compilation's opener) on the other hand, is very Dream Theater derived progressive metal. Ireland's Prophecy Within still has the progressive metal sound, but takes it in a fresher, instrumental direction, although their track 'Cloudburst' does end the third disc rather abruptly.

On top of the music are included CGI videos to make 'Honor Thy Drummer' a truly multisensory experience. While they do not add a great deal to the package, they are very futuristic in the way they have been designed, and a very attractive visualization for the music at hand. Suffice to say, this is a vast project that has been undertaken, and many of these artists no doubt hold the contributions of drummer Mike Portnoy close to their hearts. While the entire three discs can be quite cumbersome to digest all in one sitting, this is a compilation that should be mandatory listening for a modern progressive metal fan.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |


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