Dream Theater have
steadily achieved a startlingly sublime synthesis of soaring and unmistakable
melody, progressive instrumentation and aggressive heaviness unrivaled
within hard rock music. The legacy established throughout their virtuosic
career of astounding aesthetic alchemy has made their very moniker synonymous
with the power of talent, ability and momentum when brilliantly forged
As the world around them unravels, unfurls and transitions toward an
uncertain destiny economically, militarily, spiritually and politically,
Dream Theater refashioned a way forward from the molten hot iron of
their own internal transition to create the career-defining album A
Dramatic Turn of Events. It's an evocative collection of fully-realized
soundscapes that stands alongside landmark Dream Theater albums like
Images and Words and Scenes from a Memory with an even greater prestige,
ambition and cunning.
Over twenty-five years since their formation, Dream Theater continue
to cultivate, curate and protect their status as worldwide niche tastemakers
on their eleventh studio album, which was produced by the band's own
John Petrucci and mixed by hi-fidelity magician Andy Wallace (Nirvana,
Prince, System Of A Down).
"I'm ecstatic with the way the album came out," proclaims
James LaBrie, whose lead vocals are instantly recognizable as one of
the strongest elements of the well-established Dream Theater sound.
"It's the album we had to make. I think we've once again touched
on what in the earlier years gave us our originality and our identity.
We infused definitive styles that were predominant in our music: the
progressive end and the metal end, with the melodic element pretty high
up on the list of priorities."
It is an album born from transition, crafted with studied persistence
and possessed by newfound freedom and free-flowing invigoration. A Dramatic
Turn of Events strikes the perfect balance between Dream Theater's intimate
history with all that is heavy, progressive and melodic with each element
fully realized. Longtime fans of the band intrigued by the speediness
of the notes on display from Dream Theater have much to study on the
new album, while fans of melodic hooks will find equal pleasure within
Perhaps most excitingly, as always, the progressive and the heavy compliment
one another without the risk of one overshadowing the other. Dream Theater
knew they wanted the album to be both heavy and melodic (musically and
vocally) and with that determination of vision they obtained that goal.
It's the natural culmination of a rightfully celebrated career that
has endeared them to millions of fans.
Lead guitarist Petrucci and bassist John Myung have a relationship dating
all the way back to middle school. Kindred spirits united by their shared
devotion to constant study and rehearsal on their respective instruments,
they formed the nucleus of what would become Dream Theater with a fellow
student at the Berklee College of Music named Mike Portnoy. The second
Dream Theater album, Images and Words, introduced the world to LaBrie
while achieving gold status and heavy MTV rotation for "Pull Me
The band took a step toward its modern lineup with the addition of keyboardist
Jordan Rudess, who made his recorded debut on their sixth album, Metropolis
Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory. Thanks to fan embraced releases like the
dark Train of Thought (2003) and the much more diverse Octavarium (2005),
Dream Theater has sold well over ten million albums worldwide, including
over two million in the United States.
Dream Theater found themselves at a career crossroads following the
departure of longtime drummer, co-producer and unofficial spokesman
Portnoy. But the addition of Mike Mangini (the result of a search and
audition process documented in a highly-viewed YouTube series) and the
remaining members rededication to each other and their band has resulted
in a creative resurgence overall. The personalities and individual talents
possessed by Dream Theater behind the scenes were strengthened by adversity,
with each rising to the challenge individually and collectively as Dream
Theater pushed forward.
"When I came upon the title A Dramatic Turn of Events, it really
spoke to me as so perfect to what the content of the album is in general,"
Petrucci explains. "Most of the songs deal with some kind of major
change, whether in one person's
life or the lives
of many on a grand scale. Whether it be uprising that's
happening now in the Middle East or some even in history or some incredible
spiritual or personal journey that somebody went on that they had to
go through to get somewhere else and become a better
"That theme of metamorphosis was really constant throughout the
lyrics," he continues, noting the obvious change within Dream Theater
as well. "Not on purpose, maybe subconsciously, because of what
was happening to us, that album title just fit so perfectly. 'White
elephant' or not, it was perfect."
The positive recharge within the re-calibrated group played into the
dismissal of an angrier side they had previously experimented with.
"Dream Theater has always had a basis of metal mixed with prog,
that's who the players are at the core, [but] over recent years we were
going into the arena of being growly," Rudess points out. "We
withdrew from that a little bit. We thought about who we are - the remaining
forces in the band - our personalities and where we were coming from.
The music remains heavy, of course."
"There's as much metal as there's been in the past," he continues.
"We also focused in. When we got progressive and instrumental,
we took it an extra step. We've gotten a little crazier than we've done
before. There are some tunes like "Outcry" which is such an
example of us going full tilt and turning on the progressive maximum.
We had fun. The instrumental madness really comes through on that."
Which isn't to say the new Dream Theater is all about the blur of fast-paced
notes they are often (rightly) credited with popularizing within the
genre, because they also love great melodies. "I always tell young
musicians that having a good technique is not about playing fast, it's
about playing slow," Rudess clarifies. "If you say someone
has really great technique it's because anything they have in their
musical mind can come through the mechanism that they're using. JP can
express a beautiful melody lyric melody line as well as anyone else.
That to me is a really good technique - It's
not always about 64th notes."
A Dramatic Turn of Events is the perfect representation of Dream Theater
for 2011 and beyond. There's the progressive elements, deeply serious
lyrical topics ("I often joke with JP about how he can't just write
straight loves songs," notes Rudess), strong ballads, some wacky
fun and no shortage of heaviness.
"This is a top three Dream Theater album for me," LaBrie states.
just something about this album that I think really touches on some
of the elements on our music that really made this
band shine as far back as 1992 when we released Images and Words. I
think that put us on a level that was hard to ignore. I think this album
solidifies that. We're
still the band we've always been. We're keeping it contemporary
and taking it to a whole new
level. With all the body of work, this album proves we're
continuing to better ourselves and continuing to write the material
we think is the best material we've ever written."
Petrucci concurs. "The mood the songs have, the infectious nature
and depth of the music, the depth of the subject matter, I think it's going to be something
of a shining light amongst a few others in our catalog for years to
come. You always hope people enjoy it, you can't predict, but I have
a strong feeling that this is going
to be something that our fans, and even new fans relate to on a different
"We're just having a great time on the road. Everything has really
come together," Petrucci concludes. "To deal with the departing
of one band member to finding a new one that fits in like a glove, making
a great record and finally be out on tour and playing in front of people
has been unbelievable. Everyone has been incredibly accepting, gracious
and wonderful. I look out every night and see hands up in the air and
smiles. We had a definite mission that we were on from the moments before
we walked into the studio with our whole tour and upcoming album. I
feel great about it. I feel like we're
in a really great headspace."
JORDAN RUDESS (DREAM THEATER Keyboardist And Award-Winning App Builder) Releases New Album And APP
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Two World-class Pianists–Jordan Rudess and Judith Lynn Stillman–Will Perform The Mozart Double Piano Concerto At Roberts Hall In The Nazarian Center For The Performing Arts In Providence, RI on Monday, December 9