Like most Dream Theater fans, Mike Portnoy’s departure left me feeling a little bit nervous. Thankfully, A Dramatic Turn of Events has beat all my expectations and worries into the ground. It’s a great album – I would say it’s the best they’ve released in the last few years. New drummer Mike Mangini has some huge shoes to fill, and does he ever do a good job: he emulates Portnoy while taking a back seat to the other instruments, which is a nice change. Jordan Rudess’ keyboards sound much more integral to every song. There are some flat out weird parts – namely the throat-singing into & outro on ‘Bridges In The Sky’ – and some slow piano ballads that sound a little unneccesary. ‘Breaking All Illusions’ is the best track on this release, and easily the best song that can be heard from their last few albums. Overall, don’t let Portnoy’s departure put you off of this album – it’s a fantastic addition to Dream Theater’s catalogue and the best they’ve put out in years.
Check out the video for the song ‘On the Backs of Angels’: