Dream Theater was my gateway to prog and my favorite band for a long time during my teens. Like with most things I got a bit sick of listening to them and most of their later releases just didn't spike my fancy anymore. Though I can't blame it on Portnoy leaving: I found A Dramatic Turn of Events to be better than just about everything after A Change of Seasons and upon revisiting that album this week I must revalidate this opinion. I furthermore gave I&W, ACOS and Awake a few spins and was astonished (pun intended) at how much I still like those records and how impressive they are in instrumental prowess and originality. At some point in the late 90s the band, to me, lost the very bluesy and jazzy edge that mixed so well with their highly melodious side (I'm thinking of the intense middle part in A change of seasons, 6:00 on Awake, or parts of Under A Glass moon, Metropolis and learning to live, to name a few). Now I do enjoy some of their later stuff as well (I hold the above mentioned a dramatic turn of events in high regard and still throughly enjoy much of Six degrees of inner turbulence and some crunchy tunes on octavarium and Metropolis part 2, the count of Tuscany on BC&SL etc.), but some of their boldness of the 90s that really defined their style has completely disappeared imo. Now my questions: Firstly - Do you see my point or am I just babbling up a storm?
I for one believe it has something to do with the keyboards: I very much enjoy the more minimalistic but highly melodious approach Kevin Moore brought to I&W and Awake. Then again there's Sherinian on A change of seasons, which works for me as well. Rudess seemed fine to me in the beginning but lately especially he bores the hell out of me. Always the same overblown effects, too many notes on one beat and so on...On top of that he is so far down in the mix on the last albums it's just a muddy affair. Then there's the Portnoy - Mangini question...or is there? I find both have brought out good and more bland albums with DT. For me one thing is for sure: Mangini is a much less characteristic drummer in DT. I get the feeling Petrucci just programs the drums and Mangini comes to the studio after to play exactly what was programmed.
I didn't find the right solution from the Internet.