DT without Portnoy is a different band. Maybe it actually became a real band? ;-) Just joking.
I have seen them live 5 or 6 times between 1995 and 2001 and they were always great. What prevented me from really warming up to their studio album is the fact that Portnoy was too often overplaying. I like busy drummers, but up to a point only. His playing, as brilliant as it is, could distract the listeners.
From his background, and previous gigs, I feel that Mangini lets the music breathes. Overall, my take is that he is as good a technician as Portnoy and is a better musician in the sense that he blends nicely in the sound of the band, and plays more for the song. His drumming philosophy is closer to what I actually look for in a drummer.
Both brilliant players. It is only a matter of taste. Mine dictate that I will probably be more interested in DT now, than I was in the past.
And let's not forget that at the end of the day, what matters are the songs!
From what I heard, most of the drum work on ADTOE was written by Petrucci, as they more or less had the album completely written before they got MM in, and he just did near enough exactly what was already laid down by Petrucci. Thats what I heard anyway. Thats why im really looking forward to the next album, where we get to see MM's real input into the album. Although that being said, MP always took hold of all the in studio documentaries which I really love watching and im really going to miss them.
It's a bit unfair to compare at this time as MM didn't have much input and he's settling in.
I wad sad to see Portnoy go, he is a massive part of DT, not just musically, he wad the spokesman and a real character.
Would loved to have seen Minneman or Donati get the gig. Mangini has the skills though so, I expect him to takenit up a notch on the next album.
I find although Portnoy overplayed at times and was sometimes a bit tastless he also had the balls to play parts that i wouldn't dare, and he'd pull it off too. Did fit alot of colours into the songs even though at times he'd sound like a parody of himself, is there anything wrong with sounding like yourself?
I was never a fan of Portnoys double pedal work. Always seemed a bit flumpy and off. and the biggest downside to DT is listening to them try to play heavy music while the guitars are a little small and the drums are doing double bass while riding a splash, tamborine or closed hats!
it's like old men trying to be down with the kids.
Apart from that I love them, love their OTT arrangements and ideas, they really don't care they just do what they like and that's cool.
I'm constantly picking my jaw off the floor listening to these guys. Man petrucci is a machine!
So while I don't think it's fair to say who's best, they are different and his first album isn't enough to judge by it's still goibg to be hard for me to wacth/hear Portnoy being replaced