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DREAM THEATER

Progressive Metal • United States


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Dream Theater picture
Dream Theater biography
Founded in Boston, USA in 1985 (as Majesty) - Changed name in 1988 - Still active as of 2018

I. Introduction

II. History
    A. Formation and Early Years (1985-1990)
    B. A New Singer and Success (1990-1993)
    C. The Middle Period and Band Turbulence (1994-1998)
    D. Jordan Rudess and the New Millennium (1999-2006)
    E. The Roadrunner Years and the Departure of Mike Portnoy (2007- )

III. Style, Live reputation, Bootleg Culture, and Conclusion



DREAM THEATER is a progressive metal band formed in 1985 in Boston, Massachusetts by guitarist John PETRUCCI , bassist John MYUNG, and drummer Mike PORTNOY. Since the band's conception, they have become one of the most influential post-1970s progressive rock bands as well as ranking as one of the early progenitors of the entire progressive metal genre.



II. History

A. Formation and Early Years (1985-1990)

Based in a love of the sophistication of YES, the virtuosity of RUSH, and the heaviness of IRON MAIDEN, DREAM THEATER had a desire to create complex, heavy, and progressive from the very beginning. Guitarist and bassist PETRUCCI and MYUNG grew up together on Long Island, New York. After high school, both received scholarships to the esteemed Berklee University of Music, where they met drummer PORTNOY, who, incidentally, grew up in a nearby area. The trio soon became friends and began making music together and settled upon the name MAJESTY. This name came about when PORTNOY described RUSH's song "Bastille Day" as "majestic" as they were waiting outside a Rush concert to open. As the band became more "serious," they went out looking for a keyboardist and vocalist. Eventually the band found PORTNOY's high schoolmate Kevin MOORE to play keys as well as schoolmate Chris COLLINS to sing in 1986. The new 5-piece recorded a 6 song demo titled simply "The Majesty Demos" in 1986 on PORTONY's analog 4-track cassette recorder, ma...
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DREAM THEATER Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy DREAM THEATER Music


Distance Over TimeDistance Over Time
Century Media 2019
$6.97
$10.16 (used)
Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a MemoryMetropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory
Elektra 1999
$5.80
$2.58 (used)
The Astonishing (2CD)The Astonishing (2CD)
Roadrunner Records 2016
$14.20
$2.98 (used)
Images and WordsImages and Words
Atco Records 1992
$5.80
$2.76 (used)
The Studio Albums 1992-2011The Studio Albums 1992-2011
Box set
Roadrunner 2014
$43.06
$41.77 (used)
Six Degrees of Inner TurbulenceSix Degrees of Inner Turbulence
Wea/Elektra Entertainment 2002
$8.32
$2.51 (used)
Dream TheaterDream Theater
Roadrunner Records 2013
$7.73
$5.93 (used)
OctavariumOctavarium
Atlantic 2005
$5.80
$2.18 (used)
When Dream and Day UniteWhen Dream and Day Unite
MCA Records
$6.30
$5.36 (used)
Breaking The Fourth Wall (Live From The Boston Opera House)(Blu-Ray)Breaking The Fourth Wall (Live From The Boston Opera House)(Blu-Ray)
Blu-ray
Roadrunner Records 2014
$19.85
$18.80 (used)

More places to buy DREAM THEATER music online Buy DREAM THEATER & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

DREAM THEATER discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

DREAM THEATER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.19 | 1260 ratings
When Dream And Day Unite
1989
4.28 | 2854 ratings
Images And Words
1992
4.12 | 2069 ratings
Awake
1994
3.33 | 1517 ratings
Falling Into Infinity
1997
4.29 | 2916 ratings
Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes From A Memory
1999
4.12 | 1940 ratings
Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence
2002
3.58 | 1793 ratings
Train Of Thought
2003
3.67 | 1992 ratings
Octavarium
2005
3.31 | 1711 ratings
Systematic Chaos
2007
3.45 | 1592 ratings
Black Clouds & Silver Linings
2009
3.84 | 1601 ratings
A Dramatic Turn Of Events
2011
3.28 | 925 ratings
Dream Theater
2013
3.42 | 673 ratings
The Astonishing
2016
3.69 | 259 ratings
Distance Over Time
2019

DREAM THEATER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.66 | 403 ratings
Live At The Marquee
1993
3.31 | 385 ratings
Once In A Livetime
1998
4.55 | 537 ratings
Live Scenes From New York
2001
4.24 | 479 ratings
Live At Budokan
2004
4.45 | 537 ratings
Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra
2006
3.54 | 90 ratings
Happy Holidays
2013

DREAM THEATER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.17 | 195 ratings
Images And Words - Live In Tokyo
1993
4.36 | 414 ratings
Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York
2001
3.82 | 196 ratings
Live in Tokyo/5 Years in a Livetime
2004
4.03 | 118 ratings
When Dream And Day Reunite [Official Bootleg]
2004
4.29 | 404 ratings
Live at Budokan
2004
3.54 | 56 ratings
A Walk Beside The Band
2005
4.40 | 424 ratings
Dream Theater - Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra
2006
3.88 | 148 ratings
Dark Side Of The Moon
2006
3.67 | 6 ratings
Romavarium
2006
3.99 | 81 ratings
Bucharest, Romania 7/4/02
2007
3.44 | 233 ratings
Chaos In Motion 2007/2008
2008
2.40 | 80 ratings
Greatest Hit (...and 5 Other Pretty Cool Videos)
2008
3.58 | 55 ratings
Live at Tokyo Sun Plaza
2009
4.40 | 5 ratings
Official Bootleg: Santiago, Chile 12/6/05 (20th Anniversary Tour 2005/2006)
2009
4.10 | 144 ratings
Live at Luna Park
2013
4.36 | 122 ratings
Breaking The Fourth Wall (Live From The Boston Opera House)
2014

DREAM THEATER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.17 | 6 ratings
Systematic Chaos Special Edition
2007
2.18 | 185 ratings
Greatest Hit (...and 21 other pretty cool songs)
2008
1.50 | 4 ratings
Take The Time (The Warner Years 1992-2005)
2009
3.50 | 6 ratings
Black Clouds & Silver Linings Box Set
2009
3.92 | 49 ratings
Original Album Series
2011
1.50 | 4 ratings
The Triple Album Collection
2012
2.83 | 6 ratings
The Studio Albums 1992-2011
2014

DREAM THEATER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 39 ratings
Afterlife
1989
3.27 | 37 ratings
Status Seeker
1989
2.92 | 30 ratings
The ATCO Demos
1991
2.92 | 64 ratings
Another Day
1992
3.66 | 57 ratings
Pull Me Under
1992
3.71 | 7 ratings
Take the Time
1992
4.67 | 3 ratings
Live
1993
3.55 | 63 ratings
The Silent Man
1994
2.94 | 48 ratings
Caught In A Web
1994
3.08 | 61 ratings
Lie
1994
3.68 | 664 ratings
A Change Of Seasons
1995
3.00 | 6 ratings
International Fan Club Christmas CD
1996
2.17 | 6 ratings
You Not Me
1997
2.50 | 6 ratings
Burning My Soul
1997
3.09 | 66 ratings
Hollow Years
1997
4.67 | 3 ratings
Live Bonus Tracks
1998
3.80 | 37 ratings
Once In A LIVEtime Outtakes (International Fan Club CD 1998)
1998
3.11 | 65 ratings
Cleaning Out The Closet
1999
3.15 | 73 ratings
Through Her Eyes
2000
2.11 | 39 ratings
Christmas 2000 Fan Club CD
2000
1.97 | 38 ratings
4 degrees of Radio edits
2002
3.25 | 24 ratings
When Demos and Singles Unite
2002
2.83 | 6 ratings
Selections from Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
2002
3.03 | 46 ratings
Taste The Memories
2003
2.94 | 39 ratings
Graspop Festival 2002 (International Fanclub CD 2003)
2003
3.07 | 49 ratings
The Making Of Scenes From A Memory
2003
2.82 | 109 ratings
The Number Of The Beast
2003
2.01 | 115 ratings
Master Of Puppets
2003
2.70 | 41 ratings
Los Angeles, California 5/18/98
2003
3.33 | 42 ratings
Tokyo, Japan 10/28/95
2003
2.91 | 52 ratings
The Majesty Demos 1985 - 1986 [Official bootleg]
2003
3.71 | 34 ratings
A Sort Of Homecoming
2004
3.31 | 42 ratings
Images and Words: Demos 1989 - 1991 [Official Bootleg]
2004
3.81 | 72 ratings
When Dream And Day Reunite
2004
2.79 | 33 ratings
When Dream And Day Unite Demos 1987-1989
2004
3.36 | 131 ratings
Dark Side Of The Moon
2006
2.52 | 42 ratings
Awake Demos
2006
3.20 | 37 ratings
Old Bridge, New JERSEY - 12/14/96
2006
3.39 | 69 ratings
Made in Japan [Official Bootleg]
2006
3.48 | 41 ratings
Images and Words - 15th Anniversary Performance (Fan Club CD 2007)
2007
4.07 | 77 ratings
Falling Into Infinity: Demos 1996-1997 [Official Bootleg]
2007
3.12 | 48 ratings
Constant Motion
2007
3.57 | 45 ratings
New York City 3/4/93
2007
3.00 | 6 ratings
Lifting Shadows Companion CD
2007
2.67 | 3 ratings
Road to Wembley
2007
2.67 | 9 ratings
Forsaken
2007
3.75 | 20 ratings
Progressive Nation 2008 - The International Fan Clubs CD 2008
2008
2.52 | 63 ratings
Forsaken
2008
2.61 | 79 ratings
A Rite of Passage
2009
3.12 | 79 ratings
Stargazer
2009
3.40 | 74 ratings
Tenement Funster/Flick Of The Wrist/Lily Of The Valley
2009
3.68 | 59 ratings
Odyssey
2009
3.52 | 54 ratings
Take Your Fingers From My Hair
2009
3.24 | 73 ratings
Larks Tongues In Aspic, Pt. 2
2009
3.22 | 86 ratings
Wither
2009
3.14 | 48 ratings
Uncovered 2003-2005
2009
2.29 | 33 ratings
The Making of Falling Into Infinity
2009
2.93 | 32 ratings
Train of Thought Instrumental Demos 2003
2009
3.58 | 123 ratings
On the Backs of Angels
2011
3.30 | 10 ratings
Build Me Up, Break Me Down
2011
3.22 | 9 ratings
Along for the Ride
2013
3.22 | 83 ratings
The Enemy Inside
2013
4.04 | 39 ratings
Illumination Theory
2014
3.33 | 12 ratings
Our New World
2016
3.06 | 22 ratings
Untethered Angel
2018
3.58 | 19 ratings
Falling Into The Light
2019
3.78 | 9 ratings
Paralyzed
2019

DREAM THEATER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Distance Over Time by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.69 | 259 ratings

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Distance Over Time
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Zoltanxvamos

5 stars A Solid Performance, well wiritten, unbelievable sound quality but very overcorrected.

This album is like something robots would write, perfect timing (too perfect at that). My first complaint is that this album is so perfect that it lacks humanity, it's a very robotic album. Everything is overcorrected and sounds like it was drawn with midi instead of it being played with actual instruments. But that doesn't take away the fact that this album is actually really good. This album their best release since 'Black Clouds and Sliver Linings'. Lots of Solos by both Mister John Petrucci and Mister Jordan Rudess. Complex time signatures, complex guitar riffs by John that... well... let's say many guitarists will have stretch marks on their fingers if they even attempt half of these riffs. I actually can't believe I'm saying this about Dream Theater as they are nowadays, with the... other than impressive release 'The Astonishing' (Post-'The Astonishing' Era DT as I should say) but this album is actually gold. Its heavy, well written and might actually take over Train of Thought on my list. Dream Theater obviously wanted a clean album and they delivered an album that is as clear and clean as purified water. Well Done Dream Theater!

 The Astonishing by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.42 | 673 ratings

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The Astonishing
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by maani
Special Collaborator Founding Moderator

5 stars Wait...five stars? Considering how disappointed so many reviewers clearly are? Well, yes. Because I feel that many listeners simply may not have understood what they were listening to. True, it's not Metropolis, or even Six Degrees (or possibly even Systematic Chaos). But its' not supposed to be. Like Metropolis, it is a concept album. But that is where the similarity ends. Metropolis - one of the greatest concept albums in history - was "simply" an album built around an idea, a story, a theme. When Petrucci wrote The Astonishing, he was specifically writing a musical. And since I believe he succeeded in this - quite spectacularly - I am giving this five stars because of the success of his intent - which also assumes brilliant writing for the concept. A musical is a very specific form. Petrucci shows just how brilliant he is beyond being an amazing lyricist and guitarist, by writing the world's first (and highly successful) progressive rock musical. In fact, I cannot wait to see whether he attempts to have this staged AS a musical. Can you imagine? Progressive rock takes over the West End and Broadway? Can you imagine a voice like Idina Menzel's as Faythe? It send goosebumps up my spine. In fact, even if this were not a a successful musical concept, I would give it 4 stars; Act 2 (i.e., Disc 2) is among the best work Petrucci has done. The first three compositions alone are worth the price of admission. Again, it is true that this is not Metropolis, and so maybe I am being a TAD generous in giving it 5 stars. But i am so incredible impressed with the idea of a progressive rock musical, and the clear success that this one presents, that I felt it would be unkind of me to give it less. The lyrics are masterful in the context of a musical, and the music runs from the merely very good to the truly breath-taking. But all of it must be taken in the context of the project,- which is what I think many listeners may have missed. However, taken in context, and measuring the album by the success of which it was written and executed, this is absolutely a five-star effort. Bravo! I can't wait to buy a ticket to the first performance on Broadway. (But where are they going to find musicians who can play the score? LOL) That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
 Distance Over Time by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.69 | 259 ratings

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Distance Over Time
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by JJLehto
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A solid, though unspectacular, album. Possibly the best they've made in 16 years.

If this seems like an odd, or snarky, headline it's a reflection of DT's output for the past decade and a half. Dream Theater has been putting out inconsistent or mediocre albums since Train of Thought. They seem to have put this maddening trend to bed at least for this album. "Distance Over Time" is a fairly consistent album, and one that is largely solid to good. There is no track that really stands out or hits me with a "wow" but none are real clunkers either. Unlike some other albums that fit this mold (Systematic Chaos, ADTOE) that come off as uninspired or trying too hard, Distance Over Time does not. I suppose I wouldn't say this album feels inspired, it really doesn't, but the band certainly seems to have dropped their purposefully over the top mentality. Shorter songs, (not one over 10 minutes and 6 of the 9 clocking in at under 7 minutes!) less technical wankery, shorter solos, it could be called "Dream Theater abridged"

Some may lament this. Those very things are what make Dream Theater, often prog itself, and I am 100% A OK with all of it. Give me 10+ minute epics with all the showing off, every instrument getting a solo, and complex songcraft you can! That said, in the case of DT, (a talented band that I feel has been wheel spinning for a long time and suffered from "cant get out of their own way" even earlier on) I think this is a welcomed change.

It's undeniably Dream Theater. It's got absolutely everything you would expect, nothing is skipped. Unfortunately this includes passages of simple chords, with airy uplifting keys and soaring vocals that LaBrie struggles to nail... you know the song(s) that are contractually obligated to be on every DT album, (or that's what I wish was true, as it's frustrating they are unable/unwilling to break free). As for LaBrie there's nothing to say about his voice that hasn't been beaten to death, all I will say is I dislike them especially on this album. I find them particularly bad, shame because I found them quite fine on "Dream Theater" so not quite sure if some different recording/editing technique was done differently this time. That said there are of course some nasty riffs, solos, epic passages and progressions, and the best drumming I have yet heard from Mike Mangini. Since his entrance to this band his talent was clear but it never really stood out or impressed me in any real way. Seemed a good but generic drummer. This is not the case here, Mangini's drumming is quite human, passionate, and well...lively. The best output he's had yet with this band.

I won't go into song particulars except that it ends on a high note. "Pale Blue Dot" is the best song on the album by far. Though a close second is the bonus track "Viper King". I get why this is not on the official album, it's a far cry from a normal DT song: a 4 minute Deep Purple/Van Halen laden romp about the Dodge Viper. It's awesome. It's the most energetic, fun and human song on the album, and frankly more than most DT songs. Even LaBrie sounds really good! Sorry DT loyalists/"prog or it's not even music" believers. I would LOVE for the band to do a whole album in the vein of Viper King.

THREE AND A HALF STARS

 Tokyo, Japan 10/28/95 by DREAM THEATER album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
3.33 | 42 ratings

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Tokyo, Japan 10/28/95
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

3 stars 'Tokyo, Japan 10/28/95' is the second release in Dream Theater's live series of official bootlegs. Recorded in 1995 (the clue's in the title!), it shows a fairly young band who, while playing immaculately, are still polishing off and refining their live shows.

With only three studio albums and one EP under their belts at this point, the set list seems fairly limited by today's standards, especially as the band don't play anything from their debut, and miss two pretty important tracks from their seminal 'Images & Words' album. Still, it's a look back at the band in their early days, and the set is pretty solid nonetheless. There's a fair bit of "jamming" added in which does get a little tedious, especially as some of the placements of these sections seem a bit jarring, but again, this is something the band will refine over time.

The sound is okay. The band themselves sound great and everyone is perfectly balanced in the mix. Unfortunately the audience are barely audible, which, considering this is a live album, is a little bit of a shame. Vocalist James LaBrie trying to get the crowd to sing only for the listener to receive near-silence in response is a bit of a letdown.

But otherwise, this is a decent enough release. The performances from all involved are fantastic, including LaBrie, who struggled enough live as it was, even before his infamous food poisoning incident, and there are a few added in extras that make this worth having for fans, such as an acoustic guitar version of piano ballad 'Wait for Sleep'. While this pales in comparison to the bands later official live albums, it's still cool to hear them in their earlier days, making this a worthy addition to any fans collection.

 Distance Over Time by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.69 | 259 ratings

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Distance Over Time
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by ssmarcus

4 stars For long-time Dream Theater fans, the 2010's have been a frustrating decade. In the years following the departure of legendary drummer and founding member Mike Portnoy, the band released several albums to, shall we say, "mixed" reactions by fans and critics alike. While the albums 'A Dramatic Turn of Events' and 'Dream Theater' arguably had their moments of brilliance, 2016's two-hour rock opera 'The Astonishing' was a hard swallow, even for the most dedicated of fans. With this year's 'Distance Over Time,' the band seems to finally feel comfortable again in their own skin. The riffs are some of the band's heaviest in over a decade. The choruses are colorful and harmonically interesting. Gone are the long robotically constructed prog epics. Tight and balanced songs have taken their place.
 Los Angeles, California 5/18/98 by DREAM THEATER album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
2.70 | 41 ratings

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Los Angeles, California 5/18/98
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

2 stars Aw man... poor James LaBrie. I can't help but feel that this release is some kind of dig at the fella. Perhaps he'd upset Mike Portnoy or maybe he lost a bet or something? The fact is, this official bootleg by Dream Theater is a pretty substandard album thanks in part to LaBrie's absolutely horrendous vocals which falter and diminish more and more as the set drags on.

It's been well documented the issues LaBrie had after rupturing his vocal chords whilst touring in the mid-90's, but damn, the number of times his voice cracks or wobbles or he just flat out can't sing like he use to, is painful to hear. But props to the guy for never giving up, since stuff like this must have been a HUGE knock to his confidence.

Besides that, while the musicianship is fantastic as you'd always expect from this band, the only other notable reason that this recording was put out there was because it features the legendary Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden on vocals for a number of songs, (and Ray Alder of Fates Warning too! But that pales in comparison), and to be fair if I was joined on stage by Bruce Dickinson I'd probably want everyone to hear it too.

But even that is mildly entertaining, as it's literally just a fun jam, and nothing overly memorable. But for what it's worth, that's probably the only major selling point of this release. Hell, even the front cover is a shot of Dickinson jamming with the band, leaving poor James LaBrie standing in the background with whatever shred of dignity and self- respect he had left slowly fading away.

Poor LaBrie.

 The Making Of Scenes From A Memory by DREAM THEATER album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
3.07 | 49 ratings

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The Making Of Scenes From A Memory
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

2 stars 1999's 'Scenes From a Memory' is not only one of Dream Theater's most beloved and pivotal albums, but also prog's in general. A monumental success for the band and often cited as one of the best concept albums of all time... that doesn't change the fact that you'd have to be the most nerdy virgin possible to actually 'like' this album.

I mean, it's mostly snippets of the album is production. Sound interesting? It's really not. Even for die-hard fans, this is the kind of thing you'd listen to once just for the sake of hearing a documented 'making of' release, only to keep it in your collection for collector's sake.

The second disc features an alternate mix of the entire album, which is mostly why this release gets two stars. The music is fantastic, but why wouldn't you just listen to the actual, final studio product instead of remixes and snippets and demos.

The only real notable thing here is John Petrucci's vocal demo for 'The Spirit Carries On', which is hilariously entertaining.

 Breaking The Fourth Wall (Live From The Boston Opera House) by DREAM THEATER album cover DVD/Video, 2014
4.36 | 122 ratings

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Breaking The Fourth Wall (Live From The Boston Opera House)
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by judahbenkenobi

4 stars When I was a young man, Dream Theater was one of my favorite bands. Although the passage of time has changed my tastes and priorities in music, DT will always have a special place in my heart, especially since they introduced me to progressive metal.

That said, I will not delve too deeply in a track-by-track dissection of this concert. I'll leave objective analysis to experts (I was amazed to see there was only one review for this release at the time of my writing).

The highlight for me is the rendition of "Space Dye Vest", one of my favorite Kevin Moore songs. I deeply appreciate the respect Jordan and Mike showed toward the original musicians. Not that playing differently is disrespectful per se, but there is a fine line to get there. Only the musician knows what's in his/her heart, if he/she is playing things differently just to boast or is merely interpreting a known artpiece. Anyway, I loved the way this guys played their parts, combined with the different interpretation the rest of the band made of their original material.

The rest of the concert has very little to set it apart from their other live releases, so if you liked their other concerts, please have a go at this one too.

 Distance Over Time by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.69 | 259 ratings

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Distance Over Time
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by ken_scrbrgh

5 stars 'Alas poor [humanity] I knew [thee] well.'

During the course of this, our twenty-first century, Dream Theatre could have erred on the side of a fewer releases. Perhaps Systematic Chaos and Black Clouds & Silver Linings could have been redacted into one truly stellar work? No matter. By contrast, if only Stanley Kubrick had erred a little on the side of excess, we would have his thirteen existing films and a biography of Napoleon Bonaparte and a possible 'Aryan Papers.'

In addition to A Dramatic Turn of Events (especially 'Bridges in the Sky,' 'Outcry,' and 'Breaking All Illusions'), Distance Over Time marks a new apex for Dream Theatre, mature and elegiac. In 1977-78, Yes and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer 'hit' a creative 'wall' from which they were never the same. Albeit subject to debate, Dream Theatre has avoided such a 'wall.' Notwithstanding a few personnel changes, Dream Theatre's work has remained consistent. What The Yes Album signifies in the history of Yes, one might draw a parallel with Dream Theatre and Images and Words; Fragile and Awake; Close to the Edge and Scenes from a Nightmare, Pt.2. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and, well, the comparisons aren't exact, but the general progression is. Conversely, in the Dream Theatre catalogue, one will not find a Union or Love Beach. Back in the 'Dark Ages' of the 70's, I studied the guitar without gaining any meaningful proficiency. However, the 'masters' were apparent: Jimi Hendrix, Duane Allman, Eric Clapton, Steve Howe, and, yes, Jimmy Page. We all know a fuller list must include Les Paul, George Harrison, Larry Carlton, Elliot Randall, Steve Hackett, and, you know, Trevor Rabin is no 'slouch' . . . . To this fuller list, one must add John Petrucci. 2/3's of the way through 'Fall Into the Light,' Petrucci delivers an ethereal and lyrical passage that is sublime. Speed alone does not equal quality, but Petrucci's prowess includes speed that is appropriately called for or perhaps, in the instance of the remaining third of 'Fall Into the Light, not.

Beginning with John Petrucci, John Myung, Mike Portnoy, Kevin Moore, Derek Sherinian, later, Jordan Rudess and Mike Mangini , the members of Dream Theatre have carried on the instrumental virtuosity that dates back to King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. Of course, in actuality, the representative progressive rock players are the inheritors of a much larger tradition: classical, jazz, choral / sacred, and global. Since Images and Words (practically the beginning), Kevin James La Brie has been the voice of the band. To ask Dream Theatre not to display their prowess is disingenuous.

Some have commented about Petrucci's membership in the Roman Catholic Church. Whatever the denominational allegiance, the view is global. Through Petrucci's lyrics, the band displays the particular respect for angels as demonstrated in Islam: 'On the Backs of Angels,'' Outcry,' and 'Untethered Angel.' Knowing human history, Petrucci's question in 'Pale Blue Dot,' 'Who's out there to save us from ourselves' is apt. Whatever one's world view, it is impossible to ignore humanity's ostensible predilection towards the 'darker angels of our nature' rather than 'our better angels' as President Lincoln mentioned in his first inaugural address.

And, with Myung and Petrucci's 'S2N,' we have a contemporary version of William Wordsworth's, 'The World is Too Much with Us.' Our supposed age of information is often a labyrinth devoid of any real meaning. Could all those eyes transfixed by smart phones simply be our age's version of 'navel-gazing?' Those individuals responsible for the paintings in the Caves of Altamira and Lascaux in our deep, European pre-history possessed the same Imagination we possess. Fortunately for their descendants, they did not 'navel-gaze.'

Perhaps, combined with Dream Theatre's customary instrumental prowess, Distance Over Time takes us on a cosmological, anthropological set of reflections on human potential and human limitation that often leaves us 'At Wit's End.' In listening to 'Pale Blue Dot,' I have to think of one of the 13 films I mentioned earlier from Stanley Kubrick, Dr. Strangelove: or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb. Let's hope that the reflection of a mushroom cloud does not become the final image any of us sees on the screens of our smart phones.

Let's hope that the title of Michael Shaara's prodigious work of historical fiction concerning the Battle of Gettysburg, The Killer Angels, doesn't encapsulate what our descendants attribute to us.

 Distance Over Time by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.69 | 259 ratings

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Distance Over Time
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Distance Over Time" is the 14th full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Dream Theater. The album was released through InsideOut Music in February 2019. Itīs the successor to "The Astonishing" from 2016. A double concept album release which divided the waters. Some felt it was pompous and overblown, while others lauded itīs epic scale concept and praised the boldness of the band.

With the release of "Distance Over Time" it would seem Dream Theater have gotten their epic scale album wet dream out of their system, and that they have also listened to those who felt that their experiment was a bit too much, because "Distance Over Time" is very much back to basics Dream Theater progressive metal. Sure thereīs the epic moment here and there, but thatīs not unusual for Dream Theater, but most tracks on the 9 track, 56:51 minutes long album are relatively short and to the point. Donīt expect "regular" vers/chorus structured tracks though, as Dream Theater as always toy with song structures, and incorporate complex instrumental sections, but the music is generally more immediate and hard rocking/heavy than the case was with much of the material on "The Astonishing (2016)".

Itīs almost pointless at this time in their career to talk about how skilled and virtuosic the guys in Dream Theater are, because thatīs been the focus of many reviews and interviews over the years, but Iīll get it over with as fast as possible, and just quickly mention that Dream Theater are still at the top of their game performing their music. James LaBrie still hits the high notes with ease, and although the riff style, the solo style, the keyboard sounds, the bass playing, and the drumming arenīt exactly surprising anymore, itīs all delivered in an extremely high quality. "Distance Over Time" also features a powerful, detailed, and overall very well sounding production, which suits the material perfectly. So check mark on that too.

So itīs of course the songwriting which should be the main focus when writing about the details of "Distance Over Time", and to my ears Dream Theater hit spot on what they do best on "Distance Over Time". Powerful riffs, melodic guitar solos, intricate keyboard work, and a rhythm section capable of playing very complex beats/bass lines. The melody lines are catchy and although the tracks are fairly complex, they are still pretty easy to sing along to, which has almost always been one of the great strengths of Dream Theater. A good balance between technical playing and catchy melodies.

Iīm not gonna mention specific tracks, because "Distance Over Time" is a varied high quality progressive metal album through and through, and thereīs not a weak moment on the album. Itīs not the most standout album in the bandīs by now large discography, but itīs definitely not among their less remarkable ones either. To my ears itīs their strongest release since Mike Mangini replaced Mike Portnoy. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

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