Album Review: A Dramatic Turn of Events – Dream Theater

Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn of Events


Lacking the agressive approach and control of former drummer Portnoy, A Dramatic Turn of Events feels free spirited, but unsure where to go. Mangini’s drumming raises the bar undeniably, but there seems to be an element missing. On The Backs of Angels gives the album a magnificent start by opening with a lovely throwback to the Images and Words era, however the album’s creative drive hits a brief speedbump with Build Me Up, Break Me down. The track somewhat throws off the balance of the album, almost as though the band were clinging to remains of Portnoy’s influence to clash with their own. Fortunately, the album returns to the style and atmosphere it intended with This Is The Life. Overall, the updated lineup is magical; they shine with new potential to write fresh songs that still give the fans a gift of reminiscence. But a fairly big disappointment must be noted. Petrucci seems to have been elected chief lyricist, which, is hardly a bad move, but it does appear that members like Myung and LaBrie, don’t get much chance to contribute to the messages of their creations. Though the album seems to radiate an evolving sense of creativity, the missing element appears to be the sense of direction. In regards to Rudess’ contributions, he is a brilliant keyboardist, but the album puts a little more emphasis on his “digital toys” than needed. Myung, on the other hand, returns to spectacular lyricism in his twelve minute Breaking All Illusions; which is certainly a golden highlight of the album. As equally introspective and adventurous in structure as early DT releases, Dramatic frolics through an abundance of fascinating sound-scapes and soloing tangents that absolutely rock. Even songs that are uncharacteristic of the band, like Beneath The Surface, still have a pleasently morose rhythm complimented by Rudess’ excellent Geo Synth-work. Though ADToE proves to be a promising step forward, it’s fair to say that the band is now left to feel out what new creative territory they wish to explore. An opportunity that can revitalize this mechanical super-band, and lift it from stagnation like a phoenix out of ashes. It’s safe to say that this spirit WILL carry on.
– Chris Niday

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