Back in October I posted a bit about my feelings regarding Mike Mangini’s new kit for Dream Theater. I was a bit critical in my opinion post, mainly b/c I was still reeling from the thought that Mike Portnoy, my 2nd biggest drum influence & drum ‘god’ was no longer to be in his band. Now I’ve followed Dream Theater/Portnoy since about a year & 1/2 after I began drumming, which was June 13th of 1991. Since that time, I’ve amassed a huge collection of CDs w/ Portnoy (not only D.T., but Liquid Tension Experiment, Transatlantic, Rush Tribute albums, & various other side projects), a huge collection of DVDs (Instructional/Educational, D.T. Concert DVDs, etc.), & of course a collection of almost every drumming publication that the man’s ever been in, including all of his “DRUM!” covers & features.
That being written, I was simply un-accepting of anyone taking the throne from Portnoy @ the time that I wrote the comment about Mangini’s kit in October of last year…
Then…“A Dramatic Turn Of Events” was released! When the double disc (1 CD & 1 DVD) came by UPS, I opened it, very skeptically, after all the ONLY reason for the purchase was b/c I have all of the D.T. recordings (both audio & video) & do love the other members of the band. I just didn’t want to ‘break’ a collection. I put it in my home audio system and…WOW! Not only did it sound like the D.T. that I know & love, but Mangini—amazing, just incredible. 1/2 way into the opening track, “On The Backs Of Angels”, I was sold on it all! The band remaining true to it’s signature sound & yes, Mike Mangini’s drumming! As the disc progressed I became even more pleasently surprised by the music as a whole, but in particular how Mangini had fit himself into the band so seamlessy!
His grooves & fills are absolutley incredible—his drum parts for the tracks are SO fitting! Tracks like “This Is The Life”, “Bridges In The Sky”, & “OutCry”, which happen to be my favorites, are excellent examples!
The most impressive thing to me is that he managed NOT TO SOUND LIKE Mike Portnoy. His own individual sound stands out like a sore thumb, but WITHOUT sacrificing the D.T. sound. That, in my opinion, is a tremendous feat in & of itself! I am so happy that I gave the new lineup a chance. & the DVD addition on select, Limited ‘Deluxe Editions’ is a cool touch. It’s the audition footage of the 7 drummers (Roddy-who I was originaly rooting for, Lang, Donati, etc.—& of course Mangini). It also shows the call from James LaBrie to Mike telling him the great news. All of this footage was released on their site & YouTube, I know. But it IS nice to have all of the footage culled together & on a hi-def, 5.1 DVD.
Dream Theater fans, we will always miss Portnoy! After all, he is the Founding Father of this band! But I believe the band to be in good sticks w/ Mangini. The most important thing to me is that he does NOT sound like Portnoy, but still manages to fit in great w/ the inherent sound & style of Dream Theater!