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When Mike Portnoy left Dream Theater I was truly surprised and shocked, not sure if I would continue to follow Dream Theater's next albums. But as time was passing by, bringing us closer to their new release, my thoughts changed. I said: "Wait a minute, I can't regret that Mike Portnoy made Dream Theater what they are today, but with the help of John Petrucci, Jordan Rudess, John Myung and James LaBrie, each one being a great musician and composer by himself also. So by hearing A Dramatic Turn Of Events I was surprised, in a good way this time.
The achievement here is that Dream Theater needed Mike Portnoy to leave, to make another masterpiece and that is reflected in every second of every song. All the members are more refreshed than ever. Jordan Rudess is free to play now, without someone holding him back and limiting his style. And the result is really great. All the classic Dream Theater elements are here. It reminded me from time to time of Images & Words, Scenes From A Memory and Train Of Thought, combined together. In the first audition you will feel excited by the catchy choruses, but every time you hear the songs, they will grow different in your mind. You will see the work that it's done here in many layers, behind the catchy sounds. You may feel stunned (in a good way) by the oriental scales on the epics Bridges in The Sky and Outcry but you may also cry hearing Far From Heaven and Beneath The Surface, proving that John Petrucci is in a great form and not to mention his great both technical and catchy solos. When I first heard the intro of This Is The Life I was shuddered by the feeling it delivered to me. And what can I say about Breaking All Illusions... only that it will become a Dream Theater classic over the years. All the songs have many emotions, melodies and they are very technical, but the remarkable thing is that they started a brand new chapter.
Maybe Portnoy did the best thing for the band by quiting and in addition to that, another "monster" came to fill his position, without a single gap. Mike Mangini gave Dream Theater exactly what they needed to continue making excellent albums. In every aspect, A Dramatic Turn Of Events is a spectacular masterpiece and the best they made since Scenes From A Memory. And this is only the beginning...