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Portnoy was smart to leave - 69%

Satosuke, July 6th, 2012

Since the unfortunate schism between DT and founding member Mike Portnoy, both sides have successfully moved on from the drama. But who really came out on top? Portnoy formed Adrenaline Mob; a band that sounds like NWOAHM but with actual talent behind it, and Flying Colors, whose debut album is one of the best things ever recorded. What has DT done? This big morass of prog metal filled with more of the same they've been doing since Train of Thought. Considering his recent output, it's no surprise Portnoy wanted a break from...well...this.

On a positive note, the musicianship is still there; DT - Portnoy + Mangini still equals a fairly impressive fivesome of metal talent, and the album taken as a whole, is still perfectly solid in all aspects. And, well, the lyrics are fine. There's really nothing actually bad about this album...but that's all the praise I can really muster.

The biggest problem I'm getting is that none of it is all that memorable. It just sorta blends into all the other music they've done in the past ten years, excluding Octavarium, which was awesome. It doesn't even feel like there's a cohesive theme here; just the same formula of instrument noodling-to-vocals-to-noodling for an hour and change. It's a strange conundrum where I know the music is honestly good but it utterly fails to keep my interest. It's a good album for throwing into your playlist on a long drive or plane ride, but its overwhelming blandness sinks in quick if you really sit down to listen to it. Sure it's heavy, but there's just no legitimate 'edge' to it. On a technical level, it easily passes. On an artistic/metal/prog level, it falls pretty flat.

All in all, it feels like an album fueled by spite. It's good, but spite is a fuel that burns quick. Only time will really tell if DT is better off without Portnoy. That question doesn't seem to matter much though, since it's pretty obvious that Portnoy's better off without them.

P.S. - It's pretty weak and classless of the band to name this album what it is and deny it has anything to do with their former drummer. I don't believe them for a second.