I have to say, being that Mike Portnoy is one of my favorite musicians of all time, I was more than just a little bit skeptical when I downloaded Dream Theater's new album A Dramatic Turn of Events. I wanted so much to dislike this album, possibly due to the seemingly genuine sadness Mike Portnoy displayed upon his parting with the group. I hurt for him, and secretly hoped that the new endeavor would fail for his ex-band mates. However, I was disappointed (but also excited) in that after three listens through the album I have to say this is one of my favorite. Sorry Mike, but it seems that Dream Theater is surviving without you. I guess one way of looking at it is that it frees you up to be involved in even better musical endeavors in the future. I hope this is the case and look forward to them. However, I have to say that A Dramatic Turn of Events will be a major influence on the music I write in the future.