One of the first reviews of the new Dream Theater album, A Dramatic Turn Of Events, is now available and, sure the author’s an old Dream Theater fan and so is prone to gushing, but then again so am I and I figure, what he likes, I would probably like too.

Some highlights from the review:

  • ‘Keyboard player Rudess has talked of how he would write sections to fit snugly around John Petrucci’s riffs’
  • ‘The growling vocals have vanished to be replaced with typically complex DT musicality and countless melodies, and critically the album is not immediately gratifying, and requires several listens in order to fully grasp exactly what the band have achieved here.’
  • ‘It also showcases Myung’s talent as a bass player – which many have claimed has been left in the background in the recent past – and it’s a pleasure to hear him so prominent in the mix once again.’

September cannot come soon enough. Only question is, should I pre-order the collector’s edition?

So Mr. Mike Portnoy (formerly of Dream Theater, of course) assembled his very own super-group consisting of SYMPHONY X frontman Russell Allen, guitar virtuoso Mike Orlando (SONIC STOMP), bassist Paul DiLeo and STUCK MOJO/FOZZY axeman Rich Ward (copy and pasted from Blabbermouth).

On paper, this band should be kicking all sorts of asses and I am a huge fan of Sir Russell Allen. Unfortunately…

I present Exhibits A through C:

Their message seems to be “We like hanging out in abandoned industrial areas”*

And, really? Using the Godfather font for your logo?

Exhibit D:

Well, that was, how you say, GENERIC. Not half bad but generic and underwhelming.

Never mind chest thumping quotes like:

  • “Even my wife, who’s been through it all with me, says it’s the best stuff she’s ever heard me play on. I played in DREAM THEATER for 25 years, plus some other pretty decent bands including AVENGED SEVENFOLD, so that’s really saying something.” – Portnoy
  • “This band is not in the vein of SYMPHONY X or DREAM THEATER. It’s more along the lines of, say, ROB ZOMBIE, GODSMACK, DISTURBED, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, SHINEDOWN… with Russell‘s absolute pipes from hell and Mike just outright killing it on the kit.” – Orlando (come on! Disturbed?)

I just don’t foresee great success in this band’s future, but I’ll be glad to be proven wrong

* of course, most rock bands want to be taken seriously so goofing off on camera is taboo. Admittedly, goofing generally only works well for Devin Townsend.

Dream Theater will finally be revealing who their new drummer is in a series of videos posted on YouTube. The seven who auditioned are: Mike Mangini, Virgil Donati, Marco Minnemann, Peter Wildoer, Thomas Lang, Derek Roddy and Aquiles Priester.

From the first two videos, Mangini and Minnemann seem to be the front-runners for the job so far. Both of them are first-rate and will probably be good fits. From rumours going around the interwebs, it’s Mangini, but we’ll see I suppose.

This is a change that’s good for both Mike Portnoy and Dream Theater. As an old fan dating from the Images and Words days, I must say their output after Six Degrees has been generally underwhelming with what I consider to be less memorable songwriting compared to the earlier days.

Another big problem I have with the later albums is Mike taking a shine to some godawful rap/growl vocal stylings that he’ll stick somewhere on every album. I’m probably being petty, but I can’t stand it.

It got so that I preferred the various side projects the members participated in, such as An Evening With John Petrucci & Jordan Rudess, the Mullmuzzler albums by Labrie and Frameshift’s Unweaving the Rainbow (speaking of which, Henning, we want Frameshift 3). Hopefully playing with a new drummer will get their creative juices again, and here’s hoping that Mike finds himself interesting new projects too.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Edit: Mangini got it. I thought Minnemann would have given the band a fresher sound and is a little disappointed, but still, both are excellent choices.