Re: Mike Portnoy
Actual time signatures aside, any odd meters and phrasing generally sound homogenous to me on these prog rock albums.
As for the Indian stuff. It probably isn't anywhere near authentic. It is more likely what Tool, DT, and the West in general THINKS indian music sounds like.
Coincidentally, Tool's logo is written with Arabic script, but it says "lamamel" in Arabic. To the untrained, it looks all middle-easterny though. That's my point about the Indian stuff.
I dunno. Your points are well put, but I just find it EXTREMELY hard to believe that a purist (and, yes, pretentious at times) Prog band that are all HIGHLY trained musicians at great schools would look to Pantera and Tool for inspiration. Maybe these are not-so-subtle tips 'o the hat to the more mainstream guys? Even then, why wouldn't they just rip-off the more mainstream riffs, like Walk, or Cowboys?