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A Dramatic Turn Of Events Thread

  • A Dramatic Turn Of Events Thread
    September 8, 2011 - 10:37pm

    There is one on the other forum, and there should be one on here, I think. I'm super excited for it. It looks like it will be their best album since Scenes!

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻'s picture
on September 8, 2011 - 10:37pm

There is one on the other forum, and there should be one on here, I think. I'm super excited for it. It looks like it will be their best album since Scenes!

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Cirone328's picture

Is that the Budweiser frogs in Bridges in the Sky!!! :D

Soulfire's picture

Taken straight from my post about the album on JR's forums. I have since gotten into the album a bit more and the bits I didn't like I am liking a bit more, but here's my critique anyway:

Got my copy on Tuesday and have listened a few times. First time through, if i'm honest, I have to say I wasn't impressed. Second time through though I really warmed up to it. I have a few comments:


Great sounding album, definitely reminds me of Images and Words in terms of sound, although the album definitely has a distinct 'sound' to it; just like you can just "tell" when a song is off Awake, or off Train of Thought, I feel this one is the same. I quite liked the new direction. Perfect blend of the heaviness and the progginess. Ballads are also very strong.

A few issues I did have with it though is that EVERY chorus on the album sounds EXACTLY the same (with the exception of FFH and BTS). They all have the same sort of chord movement (resolving to the minor, but using the relative major chords a lot), the same epic choir + strings sound (which was WAAY overused on the album), and the same harmonies and almost the same melodic line. That bugs me, because it doesn't make a song's chorus memorable. I hear it, and I just think "oh look, another ADTOE chorus". They're still good, but that did bug me. I also felt the album didn't flow as much as it could have. Unlike other DT records, to me, this one felt more like a collection of songs than an album, even including, dare I say it, filler tracks, which I felt came in the form of This is the Life. Well thats just my 2 cents about the things that bugged me, but besides that each song is great. I definitely don't like this album as much as some other efforts (Octavarium, Black Clouds and Silver Linings), but its definitely up there.

Another thing that would have been better for the album IMO is if Mangini could have written his own drum parts. I feel like the drums just sit there as background to everything else here (which they obviously are). It does work, but I would prefer it if i could feel Mangini injecting his creativity into the songs.

In terms of the songs, On the Backs of Angels is great, but enough has been said about that already.

I LOVED the riffage in Build Me Up, Break Me Down. Excellent metal tune for the album. James sounds great, and the chugginess is fantastic. The electronic drums and the intro just made me think of Disturbed though, which I think is a risky move for the band, but I liked it anyway :)

Lost Not Forgotten has a great intro. Very Under a Glass Moon. The instrumental sections are pretty good too. Keys are superb in this track too. Some of the verse riffage gets a bit old quickly though.

As I've already said, This is the Life does not stand out to me at all. I reckon if I have a few more listens though I'll warm up to it.

Bridges in the Sky is GREAT. My favourite song off the album to be sure. Once you get over the weirdness of the shaman singing at the beginning, it's actually kinda cool. The Gregorian Choir is AMAZING. Great moment. And then the smack straight into the super heavy 7 string riffage: I loved it. Great moment. The chorus is very memorable to me on this one (unlike some of the other ones) and I liked the lyrics in this one a lot too.

Outcry has great lyrics, but the musical elements of this one were lost on me a bit so far, because they don't really stand out as different to me. I reckon give it a few more listens and I'll warm up to it though.

Far From Heaven is another stand out moment on the album for me. BEAUTIFUL ballad, James sounds amazing. The vocal melodies are equally amazing, and Jordan has finally learnt sublety in his piano work lol! Sometimes I feel he can just put too many notes in, but here he's got a perfect balance.

Breaking All Illusions is another favourite track of mine. The instrumental section is probably my favourite off the album, and I loved the JMX lyrics. James once again sounds amazing. There's a really cool moment in the instrumental section where suddenly it goes all ala Disco Queen, which I quite enjoyed :P.

Beneath the Surface is a nice way to cool down the album, and probably the point on the record where James sounds the most amazing. His vocals here are so strong and so smooth, it sometimes sounds even better than his voice back on Images and Words. The one thing I have a problem with though is that the lyrics are so depressing lol! It's all about repressing bad memories and emotions! To me, thats a really depresing way to end an album, but i think in a way it works.

Tl;dr: Pretty good album, not as good as others. Plenty of great standout moments, but same-samey stuff brought the album down for me.

Despite the bad points, still looking forward to hearing it live!



Bis's picture

Got ADTOE yesterday; Epic, Cinematic and brilliant; i can hear JM in the mix more- the band sounds more like a band & everyone turns in nothing short of stellar performances. My favorite DT album, maybe ever!

theaterofdreams's picture

Long time DT, since way back in '93...first post here. New album sounds pretty good. I like most of the tracks except the one titled "Bring me down, Build me up" I might have the name wrong. I can't stand the scream in the background. So annoying. And another track I'm not too fond of is Lost Not Forgotten. Sounds too metal for my tastes. The reason I got into DT in the first place was because they didn't sound like generic metal. I'm so over that. DT was different, special, epic and mysterious. Breaking All Illusions is the best song on this album. I hear the old DT hear with new touches. I wish the whole album was more like this. Love the soft ballads by the way too. All of them on this album. Great stuff. DT is great at the slower tracks. Always has been.

I want to go purchase this album. Actually the special edition, but I thought the special edition came with the instrumentals. Can anyone confirm if it does or not? I can't afford the deluxe edition just to get the instrumentals.

Ianuarius's picture

Yeah, I'm just talking about this:

I mean I understand that they worked hard for that documentary and they wanna share it and it's a great extra, but it doesn't by any means make the package "special"... just a waste of a DVD. :/ If the DVD had something different on it (like all the unedited auditions) THEN it would be fucking SPECIAL!!! :)

Hérus's picture

I'm really hoping that the instrumental versions of the song in the special editions have the lead instruments as well, unlike the BC&SL. Although I bet they won't.

Ianuarius's picture

I think they went a bit lazy with the special edition. I mean all you got is the same drummer documentary I've already watched for free in youtube! Behind the scenes would've been golden... :/

Hérus's picture

EndersGamer touched on one thing that made me think "huh?" when I first heard it. On "Bridges In The Sky", although musically I like the choral "Agnus Dei", mixing a shamanistic culture with Latin phrases just doesn't make sense. It's a VERY minor detail, I know.

As a side question, can anyone tell what the male voices are saying just after the first "Agnus Dei"? I think it's "Potens (something)".

AnotherWon's picture

To me this is their best ever.

I have listened to them from 1992 and they have never been more refreshed and more new - regardless of if they are using previous musical charts.

Music and especially DT music has alot to do with feeling and they are FEELING IT!

I can't wait for the next album when MM will contribute to the writing.

SilentFury007's picture

[quote=EndersGamer]on the album cover:

Impossibly Balanced
Impending Catastrophic Change
Hanging on by a thread - Continuing on faith
...just a few options you might try out?


Thanks for the thoughts, I'll go with those. :)

guitarob's picture

Absolutely amazing album. I definitely enjoy this one more than Black Clouds and Systematic Chaos. This one will probably end up higher on my list with the classics. It's a very deep album musically. It'll take a long time to fully appreciate everything that it has to offer, which is great because it's hard to get bored with an album when you keep hearing new things in it. I love it! It's nice to feel this way about a DT album again, the last two were great, but they seemed to me like they were missing something. This is a nice return to form.

EndersGamer's picture

on the album cover:

Impossibly Balanced
Impending Catastrophic Change
Hanging on by a thread - Continuing on faith
...just a few options you might try out?

The outfit of the figure definitely calls to mind circus or rodeo clown fashion flavor. Those white gloves... is this even a real stunt does anyone know? Never heard of a unicycle + tightrope bit. Maybe that's part of the *drama? This next trick will blow your minds ladies and gentleman... no net! etc etc

I'm at about 20 spins now and I couldn't be happier with ADTOE. Of course that means I've just scratched the surface; there is a lot to appreciate here. And the Genie--best debut ever? Just saying. Personally I am dying to hear some jamming with the new lineup. Live or otherwise. He doesn't get much solo breaking in this album (somehow the solos seem a bit less spotlighty in this album overall). I do have a sense of muted drums in the mix but somehow it seems... respectful to MP... to not be the highly-ornamental presence that he was right out the gate.

I also think it will take longer for fans to really learn and digest this album than either Octavarium or BCSL. Maybe even SFAM. Lyrically I don't hear anything groundbreakingly artistic yet but on the plus side it hasn't hit me with anything groan-inducing either, unless you count my inner chuckle every time I hear the words "Agnus Dei".

dongringo's picture

It's not a clown. It's a guy on a unicycle. Don't know how it fits in, sorry.

SilentFury007's picture

I’m sure I missed this somewhere, but can anyone tell me how the clown on the cover artwork fits into the album?

EndersGamer's picture

Initial listens finally in. Miles better than BCSL imo.

A classic DT album. Not a radio-worthy track on the disc. Hell yeah.

James back in the stratosphere. No more faux Opeth screamsing. This album delivers pure DT.

Bucks's picture

Thoroughly satisfied & impressed !

tjcr's picture

I really love ADTOE......I had a similar feeling when I heard SFAM for the first time. Great riffs, great vocals one after another.
In prog music you have to hear the CD SEVERAL times to really appreciate every aspect.... same here....
Mangini's drumming is different, but should be this way... there is no point in having a World Class Drummer trying to emulate another drummer. But he is a genius and fits perfectly fine.
Looking forward to seeing them live!

e-lex's picture

[quote=aneksteve]...hope hes as good live as he looked and sounded on the DVD
He is! Mangini is really great live, I can assure you).

aneksteve's picture

Been holding out on watching the DVD until the kids were back at school ,so I could watch in peace,so glad I did ,just loved watching MM s face when he got the phone call ,priceless ,hope hes as good live as he looked and sounded on the DVD

Mericege's picture

Still waiting for the album to be released here in our lovely country Turkey,i am so excited about it after reading these comments about the new album here...

dongringo's picture

@SteveRaven, I've found ADTOE to have actually the opposite effect on me. This album is a grower. Every time I listen to it (about 10 times now) I like it even more and hear and appreciate just how great it really is. This, to me anyway, is the key to longevity. This is complex and melodic progressive metal and each member is at the top of his game. Don't give up so fast. Keep spinning it and I'm pretty sure it will grow on you too.

SteveRaven's picture

Oh and one more thing for now - I've read in a lot of places that this is DT going 'back to their roots'.

This is a total cop out - you ALWAYS have your roots - you just build, grow and improve on them.

So instead of 'going back to their roots', it should read - 'slipping backwards and sounding old'.

SteveRaven's picture

I'll ignore for now the poster above the last one, as he's obviously so 'prog' that he's writing stuff about what I havent written.

But the points about SFaM, SDoIT, ToF et all don't ring true at all - I loved all of those on the first listen, as I did with every one of the previous albums.

ADTOE is just very hard going as its not at all fluid and many parts of it just seem contrived to be there as 'fill-ins'.

Dysplasia's picture

I can see how there will still be complaints on the instrumental elements, lyrical themes and 'metal' sides of the new album. All the people who have ranted over these things in the last few years will surely continue that pattern, however I think it's impossible to deny that "A Dramatic Turn of Events" is Dream Theater in its purest form. When the guys said they would move forward in the same musical tradition, with the same intensity and integrity, they weren't joking. There's always been a heavy aspect to their music, just as there were fiction-based lyrics prior to "Systematic Chaos". The new album is intense, and some of instrumental passages are certainly hard to grasp at first, but it's no different than when "Scenes From a Memory" first came out, or "Six Degrees... " and "Train of Thought", for that matter.

As far as the "Mike Portnoy = DT" debate, it's a delicate topic, however I think this album clearly shows that Dream Theater can (and will) carry on just fine. Mike Portnoy had such an amazing musical energy, presence and identity--of that there is no doubt. He was a very big part of Dream Theater, and contributed immensely to the band. Just the other night as I watched "Live at Budokan" and "Chaos in Motion", I felt nostalgic---he will be missed, for sure. Having said that, shit happens, and I'm still excited as ever in regards to this new chapter in Dream Theater's career. I thought Mike Mangini did a phenomenal job on this new album, and look forward to hearing more.

Wilde Silas's picture

Wow - that's awful perceptive of you to be able to make a judgement on the entire album after listening to it a whole .5 times. Your insight should be greatly valued among prog fans who tend to take months, if not years, to digest DT albums because there's so much going on.

SteveRaven's picture

Hi guys, first post!

I first found DT a couple of years ago via their MySpace page, where they have all their albums in the music player. Bought every album, and every single track on those albums was a classic - every track was a perfect gel of musical skill and genius.
Went to see them a few weeks ago in Leeds UK and it was the most stunning event I've been privaleged to witness - a REAL event to end all events. And I'll most certainly be going to see them early next year when they return to the UK.
BUT - there is a problem with the new album - or rather - many problems. There is no 'edge' to the music. Sure its very competent, but I feel that the vast excess of time signature changes is an attempt to disguise the lack of 'edge'.
On every other album, you cannot put it down - you have to listen until the disc wears out. Every riff and solo is fixed in your head.
On this album however, I actually found myself bored and left it halfway through to go and make sandwiches. That fact alone says to me this is not Dream Theater as Dream Theater should be. But truth be told, I cant be bothered to play the album again - at some point I obviously will, but thats not a sign of Dream Theater.
One thing all that says - and this is no reflection on Mike Mangini - is that the driving force was most certainly Mike Portnoy, both writing and performance-wise.
I'll always love DTs music - its just that this album is making it very hard to do so.

RuRo's picture

Loving Outcry at the moment (maybe even slightly more than Breaking All Illusions... I always cycle song of the moment when getting to know a new album though so Breaking All Illusions will probably still remain top). Honestly at first I was a bit disappointed with Outcry - unlike every other song except BMU,BMD I hadn't heard any samples and for Outcry I thought it had the potential to be my favourite song on the album from the descriptions. Once it got started, I was blown away, loved the intro and main riff, loved the vocals in the first verse, loved the sudden fade away to nothing with Rudess's electronic sound, then the soft bit and the even bigger build up to the first chorus which is awesome. Then comes a heavy verse, and just when you expect another chorus - nope, crazy instrumental section. This is good (although like most crazy instrumental sections, it takes a few listens to appreciate), but at that point I was just dying to hear more of the song I'd been listening to. After what seems like a long, long, time, the instrumental stops and the beautiful, simple piano part begins, with another amazing soft part before a return to the chorus.

I was a little disappointed then, for the first time feeling what people had been saying about DT for a while about a huge instrumental "interrupting" the song. Maybe it's just because this is my first new release as a DT fan so I got to know the songs more slowly instead of hoping for so much on first listen. Because now that I'm expecting the huge instrumental and have gotten to know it, I don't get bothered by it as I was when I was just getting into the beginning of the song. And, crazy instrumental and all, Outcry really is amazing. Only time will tell if it could ever surpass Breaking All Illusions.

But I still do think it's criminal, when you've got such a strong chorus, to only have it twice in the song, so far apart (I think there's nearly six minutes between them, in an eleven minute song).

Crash_of_Doom's picture

I got it yesterday and today gave it it's first spin. It exceeds my expectations! I really like the sound en feel of this album (after one listen). It really gels and i hear some magical moments in it. Looking forward to seeing the material live, although it's stupidly expensive! (€60,-)

Chris1979's picture

I just love this album! Best dt album

dongringo's picture

This is my favorite DT album by far. It grows on me with each listen. It's perfectly balanced, produced, and mixed. I love the journey it takes me on from start to finish. Every member is at the top of his game. Nothing feels forced. It's intense, emotional, moving, and most of all melodic. And it contains some of the best lyrics I've ever heard from DT. I adore this album and won't be getting tired of it any time soon.