A Dramatic Turn Of Events review by Dream Theater

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  • Released: Sep 13, 2011
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.7 Good
  • Users' score: 8.8 (249 votes)
Dream Theater: A Dramatic Turn Of Events
1

Sound — 7
A Dramatic Turn of Events' is the 11th studio album released by Dream Theater and will be the first album featuring the work of drummer Mike Mangini after founding member Mike Portnoy left Dream Theater in September of 2010. Mike Mangini came in to the album after it had been written was given demos of the songs on the album with pre-programmed drums to learn and was allowed to add/embellish to some extent when recording. The album was written, recorded, mixed and mastered between January and June 2011. John Petrucci acted as producer as well as guitars and backing vocals. There are nine tracks on A Dramatic Turn of Events' and the album clocks in at almost 80 minutes. I listened to On the Backs of Angels' as soon as it was released as a single and I was excited for the release of this album. Listening to it, the keyboard and guitar parts are huge, and the song was musically interesting throughout. The only thing negative I thought was wondering if the drums were mixed just a little too low. This single really got my blood pumping to hear the full album. The guitar tone is absolutely amazing throughout the album and the song structures stay interesting musically. The production and mixing is very polished, but this is a good thing in this instance. The production and mixing really come across like a well finished product instead of being over polished. The guitar solos are very interesting melodically and tastefully done. On occasion the music sounds just a little too busy to me (and I like prog and shred) and that does detract from the album just a little bit.

Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are well written, and about what you expect from Dream Theater. There is nothing really new, unexpected or groundbreaking about the lyrics - but they are very solid. The vocal delivery is well done and where it should be in the mix. I'll be honest I'm not a huge fan of James LaBrie's voice. I usually like vocalists with a lot of character in their voice, and while James LaBrie's voice is really excellent it sounds mildly generic to me. It does however fit well in the tapestry of each song without detracting from the musicianship displayed. If I was rating this by my personal taste I would probably rate a 6, but instead I will rate based off of the skill and intelligence of the vocals and lyrics.

Overall Impression — 8
There were several times during the album where I felt like I was listening to the soundtrack to an anime, and you can take that as a good or bad thing. A Dramatic Turn of Events' is not as heavy as some of the other recent releases by Dream Theater but instead sounds like what it is prog rock. This is not music to work out to it isn't quite heavy enough. I could see myself listening to this while working, or cutting grass or even possibly while reading. Of course, being Dream Theater the music is slightly cerebral while remaining enjoyable to listen to. John Petrucci is, as always, an impressive musician in both composition and execution. I'm not a huge Mike Portnoy fan, but his leaving did have some impact on the sound. This isn't so much his playing which I don't especially miss but I do feel like the drums are mixed at a level a notch or two too low and I hope this is corrected in the next release by Dream Theater. I'm eager to hear more from Mike Mangini and hope to hear him really grow into his role with Dream Theater.

85 comments sorted by best / new / date

    flame843
    [quote=Review]"Build Me Up, Break Me Dowm" comes very close to being an all-out industrial song[/quote] uhh....no, it doesn't. at all.
    GBcommander
    EpiExplorer wrote: iscreamicecream wrote: prog album of the year Opeth next week, then you can eat your words.
    New Opeth is bad. Best prog metal album so far for me has been Iconoclast by Symphony X.
    sorzza
    conspiracy theorist!!! with all the coincidences around numbers and such 9 tracks on their 11 studio album release on 09/13/11 how odd
    'Leviathan'
    Loved the album, bought it as soon as it was released. Definitely a real leap forward for the band.
    RDRUMMER
    The irony in this (likely intentional) is that 'Scenes' started a pattern that is complete with this album. 'Scenes' had nine tracks, 'Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence' housed six, and 'Train of Thought' held nine.
    You're wrong... Scenes has 12 tracks, whilst Train of Thought has 7...
    troyofyort
    Haha I've heard so many MP fanboys among my friends bashing this album just cos MP wasnt in it, but I think his departure was what they needed, he seemed way to controlling, especially with his "WE NEED MOAR METAL!" mindset...
    westley23j
    kinda funny how it seems like everything portnoy has done lately has been lame and once he left, DT releases a good album. think about it, the recent A7X album was QUITE disappointing, and i LOVED all their other albums. Adrenaline Mob is pretty darn generic if you ask me, but once he left DT, their new release, in my eyes, has put the band on an upward track. i dont think this one was as stale as the previous albums....
    stoltobot
    EpiExplorer wrote: Am I the only one who loves ALL of the band members side projects but dont like the actual bands music?
    No.
    FlyingPirahna
    I heard all of this album bar two tracks, but what I've heard doesn't sound different from any other DT album, for the most part. Their biggest crime is their lack of experimentation (with things other than music theory).
    lVlaniac
    I just have to complain about one part: Intro of Briges in the Sky = Massive WTF. Besides that i think its a good album, not the best, just good.
    EpiExplorer
    Am I the only one who loves ALL of the band members side projects but dont like the actual bands music?
    SGofawesome
    I guess you REALLY have to be devoted to Dream Theater to give the album such high reviews. Because Dream Theater is by no means my favorite band, and I just see a bunch of regurgitated garbage on this album.
    die456
    Great Review!! Excelent New album!! DT . I don't know if someone noticed but the correct title is :" Lost not Forgotten" instead of:" Lost but not Forgotten" !
    Martindecorum
    filipe26 wrote: It's a cool album, but you can't say that Mangini really worked...Guitars and keyboards, overall, took the majority of space in the mix. Greedy Petrucci, greedy Jordan, backstabber Mangini.
    I have a problem with this 'backstabber' statement, it seems someone has their facts wrong. and the mix on the drums, finally they are turned down a bit like old DT records which gives room for everything to breathe
    filipe26
    iscreamicecream wrote: Thank you Mike Portnoy...Your leaving DT was the best thing to happen to the band. I hated your backing vocals. Now DT is back to form, Thanks to you. and oh DT is so much better compared to Adrenalin Mob.
    Hey, his backing vocals were cool...What to say about Octavarium? Also DT is not back to it's form, it would if he was STILL in the band and Kevin Moore and that first vocalist would have been back. It's awesome to see them developing though, and i too think they have gotten much more musical and melodic.
    Teh Skisgaars
    Heritage and Grace for Drowning coming out in the next 2 weeks... so this is not gonna be anywhere near the best prog album of the year, iconoclast was the same old symphony x, nothing exciting really, and dream theater's latest is pretty much the same. i used to be a huge DT fanboy, but i couldn't even finish the album without getting bored... i am glad that portnoy's up-front-in-your-face-louder-than-everything else drums are gone though. 6/10
    filipe26
    Martindecorum wrote: I have a problem with this 'backstabber' statement, it seems someone has their facts wrong. and the mix on the drums, finally they are turned down a bit like old DT records which gives room for everything to breathe
    Don't think too much about it. Music is a business as any other, besides being an art, and indeed he is a backstabber. Mike Mangini himself showed some guilt for taking Mike's place, when he said that this was an opportunity he couldn't pass on, even though Portnoy always talked about him in a good manner. AND, after that there's a video when he also appears smoking a cigar bragging about taking Mike's place...Of course he doesn't say it in words but...For those who don't want "not to see it" it's there... But as a fan i too am happy with the new form. Besides Octavarium, TOT, SC, and BCASL were not very inspired DT albums to me, when you take it as a whole. But... My point is, unfortunatelly our idols are people too, make mistakes, talk shit, and everything in between. The difference between Portnoy and the rest of DT is that he shows his true self, while the other members had a more "I'm here, you stay there" kind of attitude with the fans, until Portnoy left.
    filipe26
    Vegetto wrote: In my opinion it's the best album since scenes from a memory.
    I didn't hear every detail throughout, but as every other Dream Theater album i'll probably love it to death in a few months, hehehe.
    Vitor_vdp
    IMO this album's mix is very bad... And the music is just not as interesting as previous albums for the most part. Oh well...
    Patrijz
    Vitor_vdp wrote: IMO this album's mix is very bad... And the music is just not as interesting as previous albums for the most part. Oh well...
    On that note, I really miss some deep bass drum sounds. The drum sounds so flat to me!
    maximumrocker
    GBcommander wrote: EpiExplorer wrote: iscreamicecream wrote: prog album of the year Opeth next week, then you can eat your words. New Opeth is bad. Best prog metal album so far for me has been Iconoclast by Symphony X.
    Though the new Symphony X album is good, there are alot of tracks that are straight up good ol heavy metal.
    Reign77
    digging the throat singing in bridges in the sky other than that just another dt album
    Pho3niXnz
    I really enjoyed this album, can't wait till the next one though when Mangini will be able to help write some stuff. Really looking forward to Opeth next week, I am loving their new direction
    FVD
    Patrijz wrote: Vitor_vdp wrote: IMO this album's mix is very bad... And the music is just not as interesting as previous albums for the most part. Oh well... On that note, I really miss some deep bass drum sounds. The drum sounds so flat to me!
    If we still got that deep kick drum sound, we probably wouldn't get to hear Myung's bass again. Personally I think the mix is nicely balanced and it's fantastic to actually get to hear the bass with more clarity! Now to see whether Heritage or Grace for Drowning will top this. First Anathema's Falling Deeper came along then this. September may as well be Prog Month!
    obrin
    Wonderful album. Gets better with every listen. It is mixed a bit differently, but not for the worse in most places. Go Mangini!
    iktpq666
    listen to the whole thing from start to finish on your own and tell us this album is not the best thing theyve done since the 90's... i dare you
    filipe26
    It's a cool album, but you can't say that Mangini really worked...Guitars and keyboards, overall, took the majority of space in the mix. Greedy Petrucci, greedy Jordan, backstabber Mangini.
    MRoby
    I was not disappointed with this album in the least bit. They did a great job!
    orsgl1
    This album is great!! bought it as soon as the album came out with Heritage in the same bag And all I have to ask is.... what if Mike Portnoy was still around.... hmmmmm....
    Rimfrost
    adam102691 wrote: One of the reviews says that this is Dream Theaters 11th studio release. This is in fact their 12th.
    Depends on whether you count A change of seasons as a studio album or as an EP. I thought the albums was great, probably their best in a looong time. Some of my favourite songs can be found on Systematic Chaos and Octavarium, but i think the albums were weak as a whole. And Silver linings felt uninspired to me (except for a couple of cool tracsk) but A dramatic turn of events feels fresh and vital for the first time since Train of Thought. My opinion could change though, i have only heard it once so far.
    jman1448
    I seriously cannot believe this rating wasn't at least in the 9's... It was amazing, possibly in their top 5. This review was not very accurate.
    anvil is god
    This album is really growing on me. It moves in a good direction away from the cliff of metal that portnoy was forcing them over.
    Diony x
    Well, the album cover doesn't say "Dream Theater return Stronger than ever with their most powerful album yet.." without a good reason. They are definitely going to a better way. How to make the best even better?
    adam102691
    One of the reviews says that this is Dream Theaters 11th studio release. This is in fact their 12th.
    Burnzyburns
    EpiExplorer : iscreamicecream wrote: prog album of the year Opeth next week, then you can eat your words.
    Very good point
    EpiExplorer
    iscreamicecream wrote: prog album of the year
    Opeth next week, then you can eat your words.
    ali.guitarkid7
    SGofawesome wrote: I guess you REALLY have to be devoted to Dream Theater to give the album such high reviews. Because Dream Theater is by no means my favorite band, and I just see a bunch of regurgitated garbage on this album.
    Well Dream Theater is one of my favorite bands, but I have to agree. I can't stand some of the stuff on this album. The drums were terrible (Not Mangini's fault , since he didn't write the drum parts), the mixing annoyed the hell out of me and I couldn't stand the lyrics, the names of the songs or the sustained power chord choruses in some songs. There are a couple good songs, but the album sounds rushed and uninspired.
    mysticguitar77
    To sum up my thoughts: Only listen to the songs that are 10+ minutes (and maybe On The Backs Of Angels as well), the rest don't even bother. Very proggy album, probably most similar to Octavarium and it's just as flat as Octavarium is except there's no 24 minute epic track to close out the album here. I give it a 6/10, Octavarium would be like a 6.5/10.
    filipe26
    It's good to see James having more space though. This album is sounding more like the Mullmuzzler records, and that's a good thing.