This album is a project that fans have long anticipated, mainly due to the fact that for quite a long time, DT seemed to have lost their identity.
Ever since the departure of their former drummer and founding member, Mike Portnoy, DT has seemed lacklustre in the eyes of their long-time fans. DoT is the fourth album since the departure of Portnoy, and his absence was felt, greatly, in the three other records.
DoT feels very different from the rest, however. It's the first album in which their new drummer, Mike Mangini, has actually contributed to the writing process. When viewing the album from a technical point of view, it seems nothing short of a masterpiece.
However, for older fans, this album might just be an acceptable compromise. Yes, DoT sounds very much like DT, but it still doesn't have the same listening value of something like Awake or Falling into Infinity.
The album begins with the track Untethered Angel, and almost feels reminiscent of a more stripped down version of A Nightmare to Remember from Black Clouds and Silver Linings. This track really feels like a melodic metal track that'll perform exceptionally well live, with some of the heaviest riffs on the entire album.
Fall into the Light is the third song and probably the best “headbanger” track on the entire album. Starting off with a fast guitar riff before slowing down more into the style of a ballad, the song is constantly shifting between being a more metal track, to being a slow alternative piece.
At Wit's End is the seventh track, and the fact that it's the next one being mentioned in this review is an indication on its own that tracks four through six were somewhat disappointing. However, At Wit's End is, at least in my opinion, the best track on the entire album. It showcases a classic DT style of heavy verses and soft chorus ballads, with soothing piano playing, almost unnoticeably, through the chorus courtesy of Jordan Ruddess. John Petrucci's solo on this is also one worth listening to over and over.
The bonus track, Viper King, feels like a song where DT just merged every bit of technical musicianship that they could muster. There is great guitar and drum work throughout the track, but it ends up feeling out of place, with no real story behind the song to appeal to fans. The end result is that the song feels almost out of place.
Now hold on, before you take my word for it, let me just clear up once again that this album isn't going to rival the likes of Metropolis Pt. 2. At most, it might be a bit better than the band's self-titled album that released in 2013.
However, it no longer feels like a DT which has lost its identity. In fact, for casual fans, the album will probably come off as a breath of fresh air, as it has been a long time since DT really took control of the reigns and created music which they were fully invested in. And more than anything, it sets itself up to be an album which will introduce a whole new generation to the world of DT.