A Dramatic Turn of Events
(for 9-13-11 release)
By Ellen Eldridge
Dream Theater is really good. I say that because I first heard the band when I was an angst-filled teen and I wrapped my tormented soul around songs like “Wait For Sleep,” and skipped past the often-lengthy guitar solos. But, as my appreciation for music grew, I started to understand snippets of theory and what makes that seamless flowing between time signatures happen. Dream Theater has often been considered a musician’s band. That compliment must rank high with the founding members, Mike Portnoy (replaced by Mike Mangini for A Dramatic Turn of Events), John Myung, and John Petrucci who met at Berklee music school.
Not only are the lyrics poetically written and sung well, but the intricacies of the guitar solos, keyboard phrases, and drum patterns mesh in a manner that most won’t even hear! While some fans can listen to John Petrucci play and know every note he hits makes theoretical and creative sense, they could not say why for they do not know the theory of music. The collaboration makes the band stand out, and the fact that the last album, Black Clouds and Silver Linings, stood out as one of the most profitable for the band shows fans the future of Dream Theater stands secure.
The dark keyboard chords after the opening lyric, “Today I will be a savior; tomorrow a demon” in “Build Me Up, Break Me Down” shows this collaboration and interplay.
“Bridges in the Sky” starts with what sounds like a didgeridoo and adds an element to Dream Theater that shows the band can express itself outside the boundaries of metal. The subtle, almost chanted, backing vocals create a mystic feeling, which Petrucci cuts with his guitar riffing, and Mangini percussively punctuates. The accented cymbal bell strikes sound like the call to class where Dream Theater instructs on dynamics.
The uplifting lyrics, “rise up, be counted” speak to the remembrance of the 9-11-01 attacks. Perhaps, the feeling comes from the lyrics because of the time of the release of A Dramatic Turn of Events, though.
Fluctuating between quiet ballads and progressive, odd-time, metal solos, Dream Theater adds another successful album to its repertoire.
Check out A Dramatic Turn of Events on Sept. 13 and see Dream Theater at the Tabernacle on Oct. 19.