A Dramatic Turn of Events
With the departure of original drummer Mike Portnoy, who gave DT much of their distinctive sound, and the introduction of veteran Mike Mangini, Dream Theater solider on as progressive metal warriors who manage to maintain their trademark sound. Guitarist John Petrucci keeps his virtuoso chops grinding out these intensely complex tunes and keyboardist Jordan Rudess adds an anthemic texture to the expansive beauty at the heart of “Build Me Up, Break Me Down.” Singer James LaBrie is notably more sedate, but still clearly on top of things. However, Dream Theater are primarily about instrumental prowess and the ability to bring the listener to an alternate reality. “Far from Heaven” and “Beneath the Surface” are the compact ballads here. But tracks such as the ten-minute “Lost Not Forgotten,” the eleven-minute “Bridges In the Sky” and “Outcry” and the twelve-minute “Breaking All Illusions” are the kind of monster opuses that allow the band to stretch out in that pure Dream Theater kind of way. Fans of the group’s stunning complexity will not be disappointed.