Dream Theater
A Dramatic Turn of Events


3.0
good

Review

by Austin USER (41 Reviews)
September 28th, 2011 | 47 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A decent album that fails to stand out in Dream Theater’s catalog.

With over 20 years under their belt, Dream Theater has accomplished quite a bit. Although their output grew more inconsistent in the past decade, there was still potential for greatness. Black Clouds and Silver Linings, although still a very divisive album among Dream Theater fans, was an excellent effort that provided some of the most powerful moments in the band’s discography. However, Portnoy’s departure made the quality of their next release even more unpredictable. Portnoy may have been overbearing at times with the modern metal sound he continued to push into Dream Theater’s music, but he was an important part of the band’s songwriting regardless, and it would be hard to believe that A Dramatic Turn of Events wouldn’t be affected by his departure.

On a positive note, with Portnoy gone, there are no more of the cringe-worthy harsh vocals that he had been implementing. There is also more of a push toward the songwriting style of the 90’s, with Rudess providing some of the better keyboard work seen in recent Dream Theater works, particularly in lead single On The Backs of Angels. Although the band hasn’t abandoned their infamous flashy instrumental sections, there is certainly an attempt to tone it down this time around, and Petrucci’s solos are often more melodic and less shred-based. The album also manages to be consistent, with only one major misstep: Build Me Up, Break Me Down sounds like a modernized version of the angst-rock on Falling Into Infinity, making it one of the worst tracks the band has ever put out. Thankfully, this is the only truly bad track here.

Despite all of this, A Dramatic Turn of Events isn’t a particularly intriguing album. The band avoids some of their previous missteps but also fails to provide the excitement and climactic moments that they’ve delivered over the years. It’s not Mangini’s drumming that brings the album down, nor LaBrie’s performance, but rather it’s the fact that the band as a whole doesn’t have the same drive that they’ve had in the past. No one really expects them to recreate Images and Words at this point, but even their most recent material had moments that reminded fans why they loved the band in the first place. In Black Clouds and Silver Linings there was the breathtaking solo that closed out The Best of Times and the emotional ending of The Count of Tuscany. Those kinds of moments are really nowhere to be found in A Dramatic Turn of Events. What we’re left with is a solid album from a band with the potential to be incredible. The epics aren’t really epic at all, consisting largely of average metal riffing and lackluster choruses that never build the proper momentum for the following instrumental section to really deliver much excitement.

The exception to the string of unremarkable material on the album comes at the very end. The Myung-written Breaking All Illusions is the closest the band comes to recapturing the spirit of Images and Words, and for once the material is engaging, thanks to the lack of metal plodding that plagues the rest of the album. Myung really ought to help with the songwriting more often, because this is the only long song on the album that truly has an epic feel. Continuing this sudden resurgence of inspiration, closer Beneath the Surface is one of the best ballads the band has done in a long time, ending the album on a relaxed, pleasant note.

While fans were wondering whether A Dramatic Turn of Events would be a failure or a success, it ends up being somewhere in the middle. The band avoids embarrassing themselves, but the truth is that nearly every other album they’ve made is more interesting than this. It’s sure to be loved by many fans, and it’s already being hailed by some as a return to form. This is understandable, as it's a much easier album to love than Systematic Chaos. Still, the band has proven that they can do much better than this, even in the last decade. A decent 78-minute album is destined to collect dust on the shelf and not much more. However, if the band delivers on the promise that is shown in the final two tracks, maybe the next album will be the real dramatic turn of events.

Top Tracks:

Breaking All Illusions
Beneath the Surface
On the Backs of Angels
This Is the Life



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Parallels
September 28th 2011


6643 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I knew it!

tiesthatbind
September 28th 2011


7380 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, I finally got the inspiration to finish this tonight.

Digging: Poets of the Fall - Twilight Theater

botb
September 28th 2011


9760 Comments


i still haven't heard this. as a long time dt fan i probably should i just haven't really listened to them in a while and haven't gotten around to listening to this.

Digging: Solstafir - tta

pizzamachine
September 28th 2011


12571 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review man, I totally agree with this (change "on" to "in" though):

Those kinds of moments are really nowhere to be found on A Dramatic Turn of Events

tiesthatbind
September 28th 2011


7380 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks man, and good catch, fixed.

pizzamachine
September 28th 2011


12571 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I have a confession to make: this is my favorite Dream Theater album.

Jethro42
September 28th 2011


12547 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Excellent write up dude.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
September 28th 2011


7318 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I have a confession to make: I no longer think pizzamachine is cool.

Digging: Portishead - Dummy

Jethro42
September 28th 2011


12547 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I have no confession to make.

pizzamachine
September 28th 2011


12571 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lol Ving I hate it when people say that

Tyrael
September 28th 2011


20946 Comments


Album Rating: 4

I have a confession to make: this is my favorite Dream Theater album.


.....

DIE

Digging: Azealia Banks - Broke With Expensive Taste

Jethro42
September 28th 2011


12547 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

How many times a day, pizz..?

tiesthatbind
September 28th 2011


7380 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Pizza, out of curiosity, if this is your favorite, what's your second favorite?

Irving
Staff Reviewer
September 28th 2011


7318 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I have a confession to make: I lied about not thinking Pizza is cool anymore.

Jethro42
September 28th 2011


12547 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

secret de polichinelle, Irving! :-D

pizzamachine
September 28th 2011


12571 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Train of Thought is probably my second fav.

@ Ving: :]

Irving
Staff Reviewer
September 28th 2011


7318 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Quel est un polichinelle? Est-ce qu'il est un chose qui on peut manger? J'ai faim a ce moment. Est-ce que tout le monde a mange?

Il est tard en malaisie. Tout les restaurants ont fermes. Je pleure. Vous pouvez pleurer aussi avec moi si vous voulez.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
September 28th 2011


7318 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Holy shit sorry for spamming this review mate o.O

tiesthatbind
September 28th 2011


7380 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I don't care, spam away. It's getting it more comments and keeping it bumped on the front page.

Jethro42
September 28th 2011


12547 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Irving, I dunno the story of Polichinelle alone, but the expression ''Secret de Polichinelle'' means that a particular thing has never been a secret for anybody. (est-ce clair..? Does it make sense..?)
Et si tu pleures, est-ce parce que tu épluches un oignon?



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