Humans are haunted by myth. We are unable to let go of the aggrandizement of story, to stop glorifying certain instances into the realms of legend. Often, these statuses are unjustified and only serve our basic, inane needs. But, sometimes, craving and reality collide and the object of our adulation actually deserves our praise. Then, oh then, the myth is elevated into heights of catharsis and passion as our internal stories meet external confirmation. An example of this can definitely be found within Mike Portnoy’s (ex-Dream Theater, Transatlantic) “Twelve Step Suite”. Sometimes known as “the meta album”, the Suite is a series of tracks featured on the following Dream Theater albums: Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (“The Glass Prison), Train of Thought (“This Dying Soul”), Octavarium (“The Root of All Evil”), Systematic Chaos (“Repentance) and Black Clouds & Silver Linings (“The Shattered Fortress”). “The Mirror” from Awake is often considered as a prologue The Suite retells Portnoy’s long struggle with alcoholism and addiction, the damages caused to his life and surroundings, his psychological challenges and healing process.
Up until now, seeing this Suite live was a distant dream; even when Portnoy was still in Dream Theater, chances of this being played from start to finish were slim for a variety of reasons. However, it seems that, like in all good myths, in death lies rebirth; Portnoy has thus far confirmed a series of performances of the Suite, in festivals around the world. One of those festivals is Be Prog! My Friend in Barcelona, which we will be attending as you might remember. The drummer will be joined by a as yet unannounced, progressive supergroup. We should get our first glimpse of these performers in February, when they first take to the stage as The Shattered Fortress.
Portnoy has emphasized repeatedly that this will be a one-off event; there is no recording planned or further live shows beyond the ones in 2017. Thus, these dates, and Barcelona among them, represent a rare chance to see a myth come to life. It’s hard to overstate how important, accomplished and down right amazing the Twelve Step Suite is. From its lyrical concepts, through its games with album and song structure, the Suite (all through its years of operation) is a monument within the annals of progressive metal. It represents the potential of a evocative themes and consistent playing and composition unleashed across five different albums. Every track is crafted in the style of its host but also communicates across the Suite itself, thus creating something grander and organic at the same time.
Long story short, I am beyond excited to receive this one in a life time opportunity. Join me?