Dream Theater
A Dramatic Turn of Events



by Adriana/Reverse Perpendiculars USER (25 Reviews)
September 10th, 2011 | 19 replies

Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dream Theater's spiritual rebirth also reveals Mangini's musicianship - playing the beat instead of expressing it.

"You know, just to give you an idea of how deep this was to lose him, how difficult it was... after we got off the phone with him... I literally sat on the steps of my studio and cried. This is a guy who's a friend of mine, who we all love and admire. We didn't want to see it come crashing down." – Jordan Rudess

Having the largest fan base and the heaviest anticipation of their career, Dream Theater's 11th studio album 'A Dramatic Turn of Events' arrives not only to unfold and resolve the drama of Mike Portnoy's departure, but to put the pressure and spotlight on his replacement Mike Mangini. This is a guy known for raising the Dream Theater fan club to its obsessive status, exerting himself as an executive producer on just about every release, and has performed in so many drum shows that the other members besides Petrucci have struggled to keep up. This begs questions about if he wanted to leave Dream Theater to join Avenged Sevenfold, and of course now all we can think about is how soon Mangini will prove that he can hit the snare drum 6,000,000 times in a single minute. According to an interview with Rudess, the Mike Portnoy drama was an escalating problem where the band was sick of him acting as the 'Dream Theater police.' But none of this should hold their fans back from enveloping the prog juice, as the reverberation of almost 20 years ago to the stylistic appeal of Images and Words is a nice change of pace for a band that as dragged their undying fans through every genre and influence over the last 2 decades. This makes it even more nerve wracking to see the loose ends and pieces left in and unedited from what could have been a true spiritual successor to their 1992 classic.

John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess have expressed their sudden freedom in songwriting, and it's verily apparent as they dawdle through a maze of twisted prog compositions without much thought for editing. This is great news for those who would enjoy a free spirited throwback to Images and Words or to new listeners just discovering the band, but is excruciatingly disappointing to those expecting a controlled and intelligent prog-metal record or even a bloodthirsty metal-veined successor to Black Clouds and Silver Linings that was obviously Portnoy influenced. In fact, this album is way out on a limb in comparison to its last several predecessors. There is a caress of a hip-hop on "Build Me Up, Break Me Down," and an almost unending abundance of piano-led ballads. It's also frustrating to find that Mangini seems to prefer careful drum strokes as if he is being graded on proficiency, making his part on the album hard to distinguish from a drum track. This “spiritual rebirth” seems to do nothing for the band other than show that they can reinvent Images and Words with their current lineup.

Thankfully John Myung has relinquished the sole masterpiece ‘Breaking All Illusions’ as if he had been embracing it since Metropolis Pt.2, and fans and new listeners alike will gladly adopt it into their “Top DT Songs” lists. It just bothers me that Mangini appears to perfectly emulate the emotionless drum tracks that he was given to perform, and other fans will easily find numerous moments that shouldn't have existed on the final. This is an all too familiar style that they’ve memorized front to back with keyboard wizardry and all the features from LaBrie and Petrucci's solo albums, and it’s gliding wonders and maniacally twisted sections are enough to make dwindling contemporaries Queensryche and Fates Warning apathetic towards the whole ideal. It’s tiring, and that’s why I hold a tiny shred of hope that Portnoy will be offered to return to Dream Theater at some point in time to sharpen the flow of creativity and convince the band to take a new direction. Oh, who am I kidding, it’s more likely that they would rather try their hand at being more dramatic with two drummers in the same way that Iron Maiden has three guitarists, but at least in that case Portnoy would be back.

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user ratings (1068)
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Irving Tan STAFF (2.5)
    Not so dramatic after all....

    Trey Spencer STAFF (3.5)
    Only the bland drum parts and inclusion of three ballads affect the overall quality of A D...

    OmairSh (2.5)
    Remember that Progressive Metal band that was innovative for its time? Whatever happened t...

    Austin (3)
    A decent album that fails to stand out in Dream Theater’s catalog....

  • Kenneth E. Rathburn (4)
    Less drama, more intrigue....

    Sig (3.5)
    Dream Theater emerge from their dramas refreshed, if not exactly fresh...

    jybt (4.5)
    After 25 years of Mike Portnoy's drumming, Dream Theater's in-studio response to his merci...

    BugZoid (4.5)
    Pulling in influences from their one worthy source has proven to be one of the best moves,...

  • SethPutnam (4)
    Free from the turbulence and systematic chaos wrought by "black cloud" and "root of all ev...

    SBaldwin747 (3)
    Overall, the album is a mixed affair. If you've listened to Dream Theater's more recent re...

    AlbumReviewMan (4.5)

Comments:Add a Comment 
September 10th 2011


Was gonna put this up yesterday, but Willie beat me to it. lol

(Album was already released in Japan)

September 10th 2011


Album Rating: 3.5

Solid review! Solid album!

Staff Reviewer
September 10th 2011


Album Rating: 2.5

Good review, but melodrama like this: While the sincerity in that quote causes me to stifle with tears simply doesn't work in a review.

September 10th 2011


im buying this for sure

September 10th 2011


Uhhuh Irving. lol Thanks guys

September 10th 2011



September 10th 2011


Does the person who negged care to explain why they did?

September 10th 2011


^ hate it when people dont explain

September 10th 2011


Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

So your review is basically saying that Mike Portnoy's influence = Effectiveness.. You nailed it. Have a pos.

September 10th 2011


to earn his approval. Unlike Mike Portnoy’s drumming technique where every drum stroke was bombastic, Mangini appears to simply play the part given to him, accentuating notes from pianissimo to forte as if in a symphonic band and avoiding his technical prowess that Dream Theater fans are anxious for.

I'm sorry, but Portnoy was the same (as your above desription) throughout his last few albums with the band. This guy just sounds like he's nicely settled in to where Portnoy left off.

Other than that, your review was great to read and I fully agree. Album is like a 2/5 though.

Digging: Silencer (SWE) - Death - Pierce Me

September 10th 2011


Hmmm... Alrighty. I was trying to get across that Mangini plays really quietly. Thanks as well.

September 10th 2011


Album Rating: 3.0

Don't think I'll be reviewing this as this more or less sums up what I would say with less words. I'll probably just put up a soundoff.

But if the rest of the epics were like Breaking All Illusions this album would rule.

September 10th 2011



September 11th 2011


Hmmm... Alrighty. I was trying to get across that Mangini plays really quietly.

I think I'm just disappointed with Portnoy's drumming on their last few releases as well.

September 11th 2011



solid review

have a pos

September 30th 2011


Album Rating: 3.5

"In comparison, Octavarium and Systematic Chaos are more effective. I didn't say amazing, just effective. They got their point across with solid and condensed songwriting."

Systematic Chaos is many things, but condensed definitely isn't one of them.

September 30th 2011


Album Rating: 3.0

Nice review

October 1st 2011


@MelbCro I thought about that, and you're right. I'll change that blip.

Also thanks Jacquelyn!

October 11th 2012


Album Rating: 2.5

Good review. I'm losing my interest in DT as of late, and they were the band that got me into prog, and I practically used to listen to their songs for 4 hours straight before. They need to move on and reinvent themselves. I hope for some groove, jazz, old school instrumentation, varied instrumentation (flutes, violins, etc.). So much talent being wasted.

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