Since Dream Theater began more than two-and-a-half decades ago, the New York group has done more than possibly any other act to push the development of progressive metal. In a genre that requires flawless technical execution, frontman John Petrucci and company stand head and shoulders above a crowded field of skilled players. Of course, it's no surprise that Petrucci and founding members John Myung and Mike Portnoy met at the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston, where jazz and classical training leaked into their hard-rock forays from the band's early days. Those three played together consistently for some 25 years, creating an even more untouchable musical bond.
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So fans were stunned last year when Portnoy left Dream Theater permanently, citing burnout and the other members' refusal to take a break. For Petrucci and company, this seems to have caused barely a blip in the band's usual nonstop work pace. An 11th full-length studio album, A Dramatic Turn of Events, appeared last month, full of expansive spiritual concepts and heavy use of piano.