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Dream Theater – On the Backs of Angels

This is the first single from Dream Theater’s 11th studio album, “A Dramatic Turn of Events” which was released on 13th September 2011 by Roadrunner Records.

It was produced by John Petrucci and mixed by Andy Wallace. It was also nominated for a Grammy Award this year in the “Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance” category, making us, the diehard fans very proud and happy!

My precious, favourite, beloved band gets a Grammy nomination and I am still not writing about it! The shame!

God knows for how long this song blew my mind… spent days and days giving listening to it and I was about to lose my marbles over it… it made me love my all-time-fave band even more…

That feeling kind of faded away once the album came out, mostly because of overhearing the song but after a bit of crop rotation when I come back to it, I fall in love all over again.

So, after some healthy digestion, I think it’s time to write a review…

When the single was first released on YouTube on 29th June, I was one very happy die-hard DT fan like so many around the world even though I was beat for the lack of sleep the night before – I was very excited about the song coming out, so sue me! J I was very curious and wondering whether the single would live up to its epic title…

The moment I started listening, I was blown away…

First thing I spotted was how very old DT it was. It was clear that the new album would hold onto DT elements. Of course, similarities were only to an extent which is in line with the Theater’s long established tradition of constant evolution without losing their spirit.

The beginning instrumental section was phenomenal and they were followed on their heels by Labrie – running a chill down my spine! Awesome! After a couple of lines I was practically writhing on the ground. Then comes a very impressive bridge, a mini solo dropped into place with a pair of tweezers and an awesome, super-catchy chorus.

Very progressive, very well written song with very impressive lyrics, and the traffic keeps you on your toes until the end as you would expect from DT… Awesomeness goes all the way and ends with a fantastic outro … It has a perfect length for an album opener… very concise, focused and well-organised song with the impact of a hammer right between the eyes, overall.

Labrie – He is all over the track; it is a feast of his awesome high notes and impossibly fine control. Not much to say about him, once you go James you don’t play games!

Petrucci – Guitars are, again, as always, are on the “well played, sir” part. You can find everything you would expect from him – an awesome melodic solo and a true mastery of the instrument he wields (yes).

Myung –Bass is strong and loud. You can hear every note he plays and the awesome foundation he lays.

Rudess – In the middle of the song, there is a piano section and oh, is this an understatement or what? I should say “the” piano section since it is magnificent. You have to hear it yourself.

Mangini – To tell you the truth, I wasn’t expecting anything less – I was already sold seeing his attitude during the auditions and his performance, of course… And his excitement when he heard that he’s got the job? He was already a member of the family for me. I could tell from the audition that this drumming would be stellar and he would fit right in.

Now, you heard a lot of fans welcoming him but almost visibly doubting that Mike Mangini would be as well a fit as Mike Portnoy – who left the band in September 2010 – since this was going to be their first recording together. I never had that doubt and his phenomenal performance makes me proud in a weird way.

He plays beautifully and adds a lot to the feel of the song. It flows like water. Of course, it is different than previous DT works as the drums are not as prominent (to say the least) as before. It could be the mixes though.

Overall, very pleased. Dream Theater delivered another great song!


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