Release by Roadrunner Records on 24 Sep 2013.
There are times when I wondered if I would tire of this band, some of their albums were getting a bit formulaic, and while musically good seemed to lack the fresh inspiration that so many of their albums seemed to portray. But their last three recordings for my ears have been exceptional for what has become quite an extensive studio discography, those cds being Black Clouds and Silver Linings, A Dramatic Turn of Events, and now this, their self-titled release. What is even more surprising to me is, here is a band that has survived some key member replacements (something many bands never get around), and having had the same singer, who has had a love him / hate him influence on those that listen to the band, and to me, he sounds better now than he ever has, showing restraint, and accentuating his virtues as a vocalist.
This cd really impresses in a lot of ways, first, it is Dream Theater, they are what they are, and they are showing that they are not bored, resting on their laurels, or stagnant, in fact far from it. many know that this band in it's origens was highly influenced by the Canadian band Rush, and this album shows a nice return to that inspiration, The Looking Glass, really shows some glances back to the days of Rush's Caress of Steel, 2112, Fly by Night. Later on the cd, there are more Rush reflections which really make this a fun album to spend time getting acquainted with.
Many highlights worth mentioning with this release, one being LaBries voice, another being the Rush influence, more to add are, the bass efforts of Myung, getting a bit of front space on some songs, love it, and also Rudess' Keyboards, really strong here, I have come to love what effect he is having on the band, his presence seems to have pushed the other musicians to new thresholds of excellence, he really brings so many genres to the table, and the rest of the band seems to be following with him. And also a special nod to new drummer Mike Mangini, you may have a hang up on Portnoy, but man, this guy is much better than I originally thought, having only heard him with Mullmuzzler, Extreme, and Vai, when they passed on Minnemann, Lang, and Donati, I thought they made a huge mistake, but now I am convinced, they knew what they were doing, DT's drums have never sounded better, both in sound and style, he is giving the band a noticable and well needed charge.