This album will be the first in the band’s catalog to have an eponymous name and the second record released without founding member and former drummer Mike Portnoy. Portnoy left the band and started Adrenaline Mob, before stepping away from that project as well to focus on The Winery Dogs. Portnoy was replaced with former Steve Vai drummer Mike Mangini.
Dream Theater was recorded at Cove City Sound Studios with founding guitarist John Petrucci taking on producing duties once again with the assistance of Richard Chycki (Aerosmith, Rush) doing the engineering and mixing. The album marks new territory for the band as it is their first to have been written and recorded with Mangini involved in the creative process from the inception of the album.
“I see every new album as an opportunity to start over,” said Petrucci. “To either build or improve upon a direction that has been evolving over time or to completely break new ground. This is the first self-titled album of our career and there is nothing I can think of that makes a statement of musical and creative identity stronger than that. We’ve fully explored all of the elements that make us unique, from the epic and intense to the atmospheric and cinematic. We’re incredibly excited about ‘Dream Theater’ and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”
When asked whether having drummer Mike Mangini involved in the songwriting process this time around has made a difference in the new CD’s overall sound, keyboardist Jordan Rudess recently said, “It really has. This is the first album where Mike Mangini has been there and really part of the writing process. He’s such a sweet guy and he has so much energy, and it’s just great to have that energy involved when we’re writing the music, ’cause he’ll come up with stuff that’s really cool. We’ll be composing along our merry way and stop to maybe look at the next part, and he offers this other perspective which we never had in the same way that we have it with him, which is that he has a super math brain — a rhythmic math brain; he’s really an expert in that field, more so than myself or John Petrucci or anybody in the band — so he can say, ‘Guys, if you play 10 measures at 7, and if you play triplets five times, and you do this and that, it’s all gonna equal out in 21 measures. Go ahead and try it.’ And at first, we’re, like, ‘What?’ But he kind of sees that; he sees that map.”
The album will be released with various versions, including standard and special edition CDs, a double LP on 180-gram vinyl and a limited edition box set. Pre-orders have been scheduled sometime in July through the Roadrunner Records webstore.