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.
Dream Theater: Dream Theater
The post-Portnoy age continues in style
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. I_llumination Theory_ is broken down into five separate suites that include a luscious orchestral segment, a false ending delaying the final, glorious dénouement.