Re: Mike Portnoy
Well finn, considering the odd meter of both of those tunes, there really isn't much room for too much creativity, and still having it sound like rock music. Prog is prog.
The difference between DT and Pantera (I like Pantera better, btw), is that DT actually thinks of the stuff and writes it out in musical form and structure. Pantera just takes a hit off the old bong and says, yeah, that sounds really good, let's do that. I'm not saying that makes DT better, I'm just saying, it makes them less likely to be the one's ripping off anyone else.
Also the indian sounding riffs (or whatever it is) are fairly stereo-typical sounding eastern music. It is just a coincidence that they sound similar. Our western ears hear that kind of music and it "all just kinda sounds the same".
Now the most important part. Even if DT DID rip it off, the DT interpretations are much more lavish and interesting sounding, while the Tool part is more commercial and radio-friendly sounding.
I don't get your point about Tool having such great chart success and DT doesn't...so what?
I watched Budokhan again and found yet another thing impressive about Portnoy. I would encourage all aspiring metal wannabees to watch how he plays his cymbals. He doesn't bash them in with huge strokes, yet they are still loud and powerful sounding. hmmmm, I wonder how many cymbals Mike breaks, and what his opinion is about "hard hitters".