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Dream Theater: Dream Theater

The post-Portnoy age continues in style

The runaway success of 2011’s A Dramatic Turn Of Events, Dream Theater’s first Grammy-nominated release, overturned a commonly held theory: namely that the US-Canadian band could not exist without the presence of Mike Portnoy, the drummer, songwriter, co-producer and publicity dynamo who had resigned so shockingly a year earlier.

The quintet’s 12th studio album sees Portnoy’s replacement, Mike Mangini, contributing much more than the remarkable percussive skills that were revealed last time out. With the ex-Steve Vai/ Extreme/ Annihilator man fully integrated into the creative team, its 69 minutes confirm that …Events was no fluke.

The opening instrumental flurry of False Awakening should be featured in a blockbuster adventure movie soundtrack, while standout moments include The Looking Glass – with shades of axeman John Petrucci’s heroes Rush – a wonderful slice of introspection titled The Bigger Picture, and, best of all, the album’s 22-minute swansong. Illumination Theory is broken down into five separate suites that include a luscious orchestral segment, a false ending delaying the final, glorious dénouement.

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.