by Michael Popke
The big news in prog and metal circles today is the debut of Dream Theater’s new song with new drummer Mike Mangini (the short one, second from right). Titled “On the Backs of Angels,” the first Dream Theater track (ever) to not feature founding member Mike Portnoy is streaming on YouTube. The track opens with John Petrucci’s lovely acoustic guitar, followed by Mangini’s first beats. He plays a tribal-like groove that sets the pace for the nearly nine-minute song. A middle section highlights Jordan Rudess’s classical-piano chops, and Petrucci’s soloing sounds clean and carefree. Even vocalist James LaBrie seems a lot less pissed off than he did — especially on last year’s solo album, Static Impulse. This is pure Dream Theater, but — and it could just be the nature of the song — this also sounds like a band renewed.
The new Dream Theater album, aptly titled A Dramatic Turn of Events, will be released by Roadrunner Records on Sept. 13.