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Album Review : A Dramatic Turn Of Events – Dream Theater (Roadrunner Records) : Released 12th Sept

A Dramatic Turn Of Events – Dream Theater  (Roadrunner Records) – Released Monday 12th September

Score : 9 / 10

Dream Theater aren’t a band who deliver three minute pop hits. Of the nine tracks featured here four weigh in over ten minutes in length but each are perfectly crafted with a vast array of instruments, vocal styles and harmonies which twist and turn as each track unfolds.  It’s a hard sound to describe but it sits somewhere between Queen, Yes and Metallica.  But with so many other bands squeezed in as well!

The is the bands twelfth album but the first since the departure of drummer Mike Portnoy. His departure had a big impact on the band but early signs are that his departure has not damaged their creative streak.  The term prog rock conjurs up bearded guitarists from the early 1970’s but Dream Theater are considerably removed from that stereotype.

Opening track ‘On The Backs Of Angels’ was billed as the first single but weighing in just short of nine minutes long it was never going to pick up much airplay.

‘Lost Not Forgotten’ starts off with a classical piano but soon has the listener careering around a dizzying set of keyboard riffs before returning to a more traditional metal sound.   ‘This Is The Life’ then takes the album on another course verging on a power ballad in the latter minutes.

‘Bridges In The Sky’ starts off with a very strange sound – possibly a didgeridoo or just a vocoded belch – before a Gregorian choir pave the way for a full on metal onslaught.

‘Far From Heaven’ stands out for its simplicity.  No fancy tricks or gimmicks here, just a piano and James LaBrie on top form.  It’s also the shortest track on the album, not even quite getting to the four minute mark.

‘Breaking All Illusions’ brings everything together in one twelve minute epic.  Beautiful piano, heavy guitars, tuneful harmonies, 70’s style progressive rock organs – you name it is here.  And then it comes to an end with the acoustic ballad ‘Beneath The Surface’ and after the ride the listener has been taken on it seems a fitting way to end.

The album threatens to get too arty, too experimental at times but equally that is its beauty.  There isn’t another album like this in the charts, and probably nothing has come close to this all year.

Ian Anderson

18 September, 2011 - Posted by | ChartChat

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