Just listened to Dream Theater’s new single “On The Backs of Angels” from their upcoming September album “A Dramatic Turn of Events”, their first without Mike Portnoy.
Mike Mangini does an adequate job with Dream Theater’s complex rhythms and time signatures but his sound is lower in the mix than Portnoy’s used to be, and the drums have less presence. Don’t know if this intentional or otherwise. It has the side effect of allowing the other instruments to come through better, especially the bass.
The song seemed fairly derived to me. I heard echoes of Scenes From a Memory and Six Degrees here, and the riffs sounded almost recycled. The most lyrical and soaring moments come in the slow sections, where Petrucci shines. Overall the sound is instantly recognizable as Dream Theater, which may have been what the band was going for, and there is hardly a lack with Mangini’s replacement of Portnoy, but the sound is beginning to get tired. it’s really time for DT to get to the woodshed and summon their muse. Other songs on the album may be better (this is the single, after all), so I won’t carve judgment in stone, and of course I’ll see DT when they come to town, but after listening to this track twice, I was left feeling vaguely unsatisfied and wondering why.