Portnoy, Mike - Prime Cuts


Year of Release: 2005
Label: Magna Carta
Catalog Number: IOMCD 209
Format: CD
Total Time: 57:54:00

An average pop band consists of a number of "musicians" who often are controlled by a clever producer and do not mean that much on their own. A rock band consists of several musicians and a singer and each nicely plays their part. Then there is progressive rock, where the concept "band" often does not really apply, as in many bands it happens to be a bunch of multi-instrumentalists who play together under one name and have several project besides that.

In this situation it is not simply a drummer that nicely hits his part and just beats the rhythm in the song. No, all musicians showcase within a song their talents, fortunately as a coherent band and not as loose egos who all want the lead.

That brings us to the drummer in question: Mike Portnoy. Mentioning that he is the drummer of Dream Theater was fitting ten years ago, but not now. Transatlantic, O.S.I., Liquid Tension Experiment, Neal Morse are but a few names of the artists and projects Portnoy played an important role in, and still plays in. In the case of the Magna Carta release Prime Cuts, we will leave Dream Theater out of the picture and focus on "Mike Portnoy's Magna Carta Sessions," or the songs he released on this label.

The nine songs on the album are for the large part from the Liquid Tension Experiment and from a few tribute projects for ELP and Rush. The opening song might be the least known on the album: "Mad March" fom Andy West with Rama. This Andy West (bassist and co-founder of The Dixie Dregs) wanted to replicate the principle of jazz musicians, that being getting together to play without rehearsing in advance, and this is a prog rock setting. "Mad March" contains a nice counter-rhythm, but as a whole it sounds fairly the same and does not offer much variation. I find this the least interesting song on the album. Despite that, the drum parts by Portnoy are OK, but can't save the song.

Portnoy in the shoes, or better said, chair of Carl Palmer, that is "Endless Enigma," of the ELP tribute album Encores, Legends & Paradoxes. This is one of the better songs on the album, where, of course, the instrumental break stands out, as Portnoy can really get loose there. Two songs from Working Man, a tribute to Rush: "Working Man," with Sebastian Bach on vocals and "By-Tor And The Snow Dog." The first one sounds nice, with good drums. Portnoy once again on the chair of a drum icon: Neal Peart, but this is definitely entrusted to him. I prefer the second track, as Portnoy gets lots of space there, plays great together with guitarist Jake E. Lee and has an amazing drum solo.

Then there is left the Liquid Tension material, where "Chris & Kevin's Excellent Adventure" stands out like a giant in a crowd, because of ? of course, the drums. Here in sort of duet with Tony Levin on bass. I am not very familiar with Liquid Tension, but it all sounds really good. Lots of variation in the music and solid play by Portnoy. These songs alone justify the purchase of this album.

Well, how then do you judge this kind of an album? It is about Portnoy, but there are the songs that he, in some cases, just played on. Still it is evident he is a real super drummer, because whatever material he plays, his parts sound tight and powerful.

Put this next to his work with O.S.I, Transatlantic and of course, Dream Theater and the end conclusion may be clear: Mike Portnoy is the best drummer that walks around! Prime Cuts may not be that special as an album; as a whole, it is still good to listen to.


Tracklisting:
Mad March (Andy West with Rama, Rama 1) / Freedom of Speech (Liquid Tension Experiment, Liquid Tension Experiment) / Acid Rain (Liquid Tension Experiment, Liquid Tension Experiment 2) / Endless Enigma - Encores Legends & Paradox (ELP Tribute) / Chris and Kevin's Excellent Adventure (Liquid Tension Experiment, Liquid Tension Experiment) / Working Man (Working Man (Rush Tribute)) / By-Tor And The Snow Dog (Working Man (Rush Tribute)) / Another Dimension (Vapourspace remix of Liquid Tension Experiment) / Three Minute Warning Edit - Liquid Tension Experiment, Liquid Tension Experiment)

Musicians:
Mike Portnoy -drums
Brent Allman - rhythm guitar
Sebastian Bach - vocals
Geoff Downes - synth
Trent Gardner - vocals, keyboards
Wayne Gardner - bass
Toshi Iseda - guitar
Mike Keneally - guitar
James LaBrie - vocals
Jake E Lee - guitar
Tony Levin - bass, Chapman Stick, NS upright bass
John Petrucci - guitar
Jordan Rudess - keyboards
Billy Sheehan - bass
Andy West - bass

Discography:
Dream Theater - When Dreams and Day Unite (1989)
Dream Theater - Images and Words (1992)
Dream Theater - Live At The Marquee (1993)
Dream Theater - Dream Out Loud (1994)*
Dream Theater - Awake (1994)
Dream Theater - A Change In Season (1995)
Various Artists - Working Man (Rush Tribute) (1996)
Dream Theater - Falling Into Infinity (1997)
Dream Theater - Once In A Livetime (1998)
Liquid Tension Experiment - Liquid Tension Experiment (1998)
Dream Theater - Scenes From A Memory (1999)
Liquid Tension Experiment - Liquid Tension Experiment 2 (1999)
Dream Theater - Cleaning Out The Closet (Xmas CD 1999) (1999)
Transatlantic - SMPTe (2000)
Dream Theater - Scenes From A World Tour - Christmas CD 2000 (2001)
Dream Theater - Live Scenes From New York (2001)
Transatlantic - Live In America (2001)
Transatlantic - Bridge Across Forever (2001)
Transatlantic - Bridge Across Forever - Special Edition (2001)
Dream Theater - Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence (2002)
Andy West with Rama - Rama 1 (2002)
Transatlantic - Live In Europe (2003)
Dream Theater - Train Of Thought (2003)
John Arch - Twist of Fate (2003)
O.S.I. - Office of Strategic Influence (2003)
Yellow Matter Custard - One Night in New York City (2003)
Neal Morse - Testimony (2003)
Dream Theater - Live At Budokan (2004)
Neal Morse - One (2004)
Mike Portnoy - Prime Cuts (2005)
Dream Theater - Octavarium (2005)
O.S.I. - Free (2006)
Dream Theater - Score (3CD) (2006)

Transatlantic - Live In America (VID) (2001)
Transatlantic - Live In Europe (DVD) (2003)
Dream Theater - Live At Budokan (DVD) (2004)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: July 31st 2005
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Score:
Artist website: www.mikeportnoy.com
Hits: 723
Language: english

  

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