Sound — 8
Dream Theater returns with new drummer Mike Mangini after the departure of Mike Portnoy in 2010. A Dramatic Turn Of Events' is the bands eleventh studio album to date, and was produced by the guitarist of the band, John Petrucci. In typical Dream Theater style this album is filled with massive prog songs and plenty of blistering guitar solos that truly take your breath away. The drums excel throughout the album. I'd even be inclined to say that Mangini is a better drummer than Portnoy. Mangini harnesses his full prowess as a drummer and batters through the songs with incredible agility, but still manages to control himself when another member of the band is showing their talents. The album sounds simply sublime, especially when compared to the other bands out there. The vocals do tend to flail slightly in certain songs, but James LaBrie manages to recuperate himself and continue on with another melodic phrase. The stand out track on the album is most likely Build me up, Knock me down. The riffs during this song are tight and tasty, whilst the lyrics fit seamlessly into the song. Although it is common for Dream Theater songs to be exponentially long, some of the track lengths are intimidating and can be quite off putting for some first time listeners.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are similar in style to the band's previous installments, but the melodies that LaBrie employs fit perfectly into the riffs and beat. However, as previously aforementioned there are times where the vocals sound slightly off, specifically during Build me up, break me down, during the chorus. There are some backing screams that don't seem to fit in well with the guitar. Regardless, these anomalies are quickly forgotten and lost within the masterpiece that is this album.
Overall Impression — 9
This is a crisp and fresh album that can only be described as a fresh breath of air into the current music industry. Mike Portnoys depature has certainly not hindered the bands progression. If anything you'll be forgetting Portnoy after this album. As a critic, I tried to poke holes in the album, but as it turns out, this album is truly monumental. As mentioned earlier, the only thing that could hinder the albums success is the length of some of the songs, but despite this, I highly doubt anyone is going to be that bothered by the length of the songs when they actually hear the, quite frankly, fantastic, epic, momentous sound of this album.