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DREAM THEATER

Progressive Metal • United States


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Dream Theater picture
Dream Theater biography
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, making an initial run of 1,000 tapes. The tapes, to the band's surprise sold out relatively quickly, which was aided also by the band's distribution of the tapes to friends, family, local rock and metal magazines.

Only a few months after the release...
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Dream TheaterDream Theater
Roadrunner Records 2013
Audio CD$9.32
$6.47 (used)
Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a MemoryMetropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory
Elektra 1999
Audio CD$2.91
$0.47 (used)
OctavariumOctavarium
Atlantic 2005
Audio CD$2.05
$0.01 (used)
Images & WordsImages & Words
Atlantic 1992
Audio CD$4.12
$1.39 (used)
Change of SeasonsChange of Seasons
Atlantic 1995
Audio CD$2.79
$1.62 (used)
Train of ThoughtTrain of Thought
Elektra 2003
Audio CD$2.32
$0.34 (used)
The Studio Albums 1992-2011The Studio Albums 1992-2011
Box set
Roadrunner 2014
Audio CD$42.01
$43.96 (used)
When Dream and Day UniteWhen Dream and Day Unite
MCA Records
Audio CD$7.04
$2.41 (used)
A Dramatic Turn of Events (Special Edition) (CD+DVD)A Dramatic Turn of Events (Special Edition) (CD+DVD)
Roadrunner Records 2011
Audio CD$3.72
$12.25 (used)
Systematic ChaosSystematic Chaos
Roadrunner Records 2007
Audio CD$2.36
$1.18 (used)
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DREAM THEATER shows & tickets


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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)

3.22 | 938 ratings
When Dream And Day Unite
1989
4.29 | 2104 ratings
Images And Words
1992
4.11 | 1548 ratings
Awake
1994
3.33 | 1139 ratings
Falling Into Infinity
1997
4.28 | 2171 ratings
Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory
1999
4.13 | 1470 ratings
Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence
2002
3.58 | 1391 ratings
Train Of Thought
2003
3.65 | 1567 ratings
Octavarium
2005
3.32 | 1327 ratings
Systematic Chaos
2007
3.44 | 1237 ratings
Black Clouds & Silver Linings
2009
3.91 | 1234 ratings
A Dramatic Turn Of Events
2011
3.44 | 516 ratings
Dream Theater
2013

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

3.61 | 295 ratings
Live At The Marquee
1993
3.24 | 287 ratings
Once In A Livetime
1998
4.57 | 406 ratings
Live Scenes From New York
2001
4.24 | 356 ratings
Live At Budokan
2004
4.46 | 409 ratings
Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra
2006
3.82 | 34 ratings
Happy Holidays
2013

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

4.16 | 140 ratings
Images And Words - Live In Tokyo
1993
4.35 | 327 ratings
Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York
2001
3.79 | 146 ratings
Live in Tokyo/5 Years in a Livetime
2004
3.98 | 95 ratings
When Dream And Day Reunite [Official Bootleg]
2004
4.30 | 324 ratings
Live at Budokan
2004
3.50 | 38 ratings
A Walk Beside The Band
2005
4.40 | 345 ratings
Dream Theater - Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra
2006
3.96 | 106 ratings
Dark Side Of The Moon
2006
3.79 | 67 ratings
Bucharest, Romania 7/4/02
2007
3.45 | 182 ratings
Chaos In Motion 2007/2008
2008
2.28 | 56 ratings
Greatest Hit (...and 5 Other Pretty Cool Videos)
2008
3.56 | 34 ratings
Live at Tokyo Sun Plaza
2009
3.95 | 63 ratings
Live at Luna Park
2013
4.21 | 15 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)

2.07 | 152 ratings
Greatest Hit (...and 21 other pretty cool songs)
2008
3.97 | 23 ratings
Original Album Series
2011

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

2.84 | 26 ratings
Afterlife
1989
3.22 | 26 ratings
Status Seeker
1989
2.77 | 20 ratings
The ATCO Demos
1991
2.86 | 48 ratings
Another Day
1992
3.62 | 41 ratings
Pull Me Under
1992
2.85 | 37 ratings
Caught In A Web
1994
3.75 | 48 ratings
The Silent Man
1994
2.94 | 43 ratings
Lie
1994
3.64 | 528 ratings
A Change Of Seasons
1995
3.05 | 52 ratings
Hollow Years
1997
3.74 | 23 ratings
Once In A LIVEtime Outtakes (International Fan Club CD 1998)
1998
3.02 | 48 ratings
Cleaning Out The Closet
1999
3.14 | 49 ratings
Through Her Eyes
2000
1.94 | 25 ratings
Christmas 2000 Fan Club CD
2000
1.87 | 25 ratings
4 degrees of Radio edits
2002
3.13 | 15 ratings
When Demos and Singles Unite
2002
2.94 | 31 ratings
Taste The Memories
2003
2.91 | 27 ratings
Graspop Festival 2002 (International Fanclub CD 2003)
2003
3.12 | 37 ratings
The Making Of Scenes From A Memory
2003
2.77 | 81 ratings
The Number Of The Beast
2003
1.91 | 91 ratings
Master Of Puppets
2003
2.65 | 27 ratings
Los Angeles, California 5/18/98
2003
3.22 | 27 ratings
Tokyo, Japan 10/28/95
2003
2.86 | 39 ratings
The Majesty Demos 1985 - 1986 [Official bootleg]
2003
3.64 | 27 ratings
A Sort Of Homecoming
2004
3.27 | 26 ratings
Images and Words: Demos 1989 - 1991 [Official Bootleg]
2004
3.77 | 55 ratings
When Dream And Day Reunite
2004
2.67 | 18 ratings
When Dream And Day Unite Demos 1987-1989
2004
3.32 | 104 ratings
Dark Side Of The Moon
2006
2.26 | 27 ratings
Awake Demos
2006
3.02 | 25 ratings
Old Bridge, New JERSEY - 12/14/96
2006
3.63 | 49 ratings
Made in Japan [Official Bootleg]
2006
3.47 | 27 ratings
Images and Words - 15th Anniversary Performance (Fan Club CD 2007)
2007
4.11 | 57 ratings
Falling Into Infinity: Demos 1996-1997 [Official Bootleg]
2007
3.15 | 34 ratings
Constant Motion
2007
3.57 | 29 ratings
New York City 3/4/93
2007
3.38 | 8 ratings
Progressive Nation 2008 - The International Fan Clubs CD 2008
2008
2.46 | 51 ratings
Forsaken
2008
2.55 | 62 ratings
A Rite of Passage
2009
3.07 | 68 ratings
Stargazer
2009
3.36 | 65 ratings
Tenement Funster/Flick Of The Wrist/Lily Of The Valley
2009
3.63 | 49 ratings
Odyssey
2009
3.43 | 44 ratings
Take Your Fingers From My Hair
2009
3.16 | 62 ratings
Larks Tongues In Aspic, Pt. 2
2009
3.17 | 67 ratings
Wither
2009
3.00 | 36 ratings
Uncovered 2003-2005
2009
2.45 | 22 ratings
The Making of Falling Into Infinity
2009
2.72 | 23 ratings
Train of Thought Instrumental Demos 2003
2009
3.56 | 109 ratings
On the Backs of Angels
2011
3.15 | 59 ratings
The Enemy Inside
2013
4.27 | 11 ratings
Illumination Theory
2014

DREAM THEATER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Wither by DREAM THEATER album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2009
3.17 | 67 ratings

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Wither
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by jampa17
Prog Reviewer

3 stars If you like the DT "soft" side, this is for you

Many people don't understand the essence of Dream Theater. While they're not interested on realizing hit singles, occasionally they brought out some EPs just to have something "extra" out there. And this is maybe their finest release of "extras".

You will get the traditional track of the "single", the minimalistic version with only piano and vocals and the Demo guide that John Petrucci sang to teach it to James Labrie. This version is quite intriguing and beautiful, and it's not better than the original version but it really changes the vibe completely.

You ended the album with a Mike Portnoy version of THE BEST OF TIMES, which is nice and cool, but of course is not near the final version. As it is available on Deezer, I didn't need to pay for the import to Guatemala and it's an occasional album that I hear very often when I'm on an easy going kind of mood. Nice for those who like the "soft" side of DT. 3 strong stars. A really nice surprise.

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 Dream Theater by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.44 | 516 ratings

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Dream Theater
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by jampa17
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A great add for your collection but not their best

The self-titled album of Dream Theater was a big step in their career because it was the first time they have a different drummer involved in the composition of the songs. And of course, the really big shoes of Mike Portnoy weren't easy to fit in and walk away just like that. Well, Mike Mangini proves in this album that he is really on the same page of the rest of the band and made a wonderful work making the music interesting, intriguing and powerful.

If it's your first DT album you're going to hear, you will be pleased with the amazing riffs, the complex time signatures and melodic lines you're going to hear. There are some really fresh tracks like THE LOOKING GLASS (very "Rush-y") or ENIGMA MACHINE (a really "happy" and "easy going" instrumental piece) while SURRENDER TO REASON is maybe the most memorable and intriguing. On the other hand, while all the songs of the album are great, is not near the best you can hear from them. AWAKE, METROPOLIS Pt_2 or A DRAMATIC TURN OF EVENTS are way more interesting and the lyrics and melodic lines are more engaging and beautiful at the same time. Maybe the issue with this album is the "snare" sounds, which don't match with the rest of the production. I mean, the ejecution of the drums are perfect, but the sound lacks strength and definition. It's a minor problem, of course, more to do with the mix than with the band itself. The rest is a solid, creative, "usual" stuff for DT, with powerful guitar sounds, great harmonies, fresh keyboards sounds and the enigmatic bass lines fitting great with Labrie's top notch vocals. It's indeed a strong 4 stars album, but it will not convert the detractors, 'cause the band is no interested on doing it so. It's a great addition for those who love Prog Metal and this proves that DT keeps as the referent for the sub-genre.

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 Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.28 | 2171 ratings

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Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by gavharr

2 stars DT were, according to history some kind of pioneers in this genre. And they can play their respective instruments. Still I think this band and, especially this album, is seriously overrated. That does not mean I find it completely uninteresting. I just think that there are many albums in this genre that shows better songwriting, more tasteful soloing and musicianship in general.

"Regression" is not musically of interest, but is important because of the concept.

"Overture 1928" Has the very memorable intro with Portnoy hitting the snare accompanied by a cheesy synth theme. The guitars enter and we are in for some wankery, adding nothing of interest.

"Strange Deja Vu" Is partially good, and would have been even better if this band had a good vocalist. That said it's a track with some good riffage and not too much wankery. I really don't think it contains very memorable melodies, but it has a nice flow, and an interesting structure.

"Through My Words" Nice little piece with piano and vocals. Good in context, but it isn't a track you would play by itself.

"Fatal Tragedy" This track is significantly insignificant. No memorable melodies, and unconvincing wanking. In fact half of the songs 7 minutes are wankery. Not my kind of prog...

"Beyond This Life" This track is mean in a good way! Tha starting riff makes me want to (Head)bang. Not a big fan of the synth sounds, but the guitar playing makes up for it. I don't like LaBrie's voice, but in this track I think he conveys the lyrics in a convincing and good manner. Thumbs up. I also think the soloing in this song(for the most part) is good. It fits the sinister vibe of the song. STILL, I wonder how good this song would be if these guys knew how to restrain themselves. They could have cut it down 4 minutes, and end up with a better track.

"Through Her Eyes" WARNING: This song contains memorable melodies! And I quite like that. Also I like the piano and the fretless bass. Still, I wonder how this would have sounded with a guy like Daniel Gildenlw behind the mic. Easy on the ears this one, which is great after the last one.

"Home" Nice intro with some eastern influences and a Tool-like bass riff. Then along comes Portnoy with a comical take on drumrolls. This guy could'nt play a decent drumroll if his life depended on it. That said, he is a very creative and powerful drummer. Overall an OK track.

"The Dance of Eternity" HORRENDOUS! Is this actually music. It holds no value to me. It's like a bad version of Toto's "Dave's Gone Skiing" on speed. Still I know people which I like and respect who loves this piece of S**T.

"One Last Time" LaBrie's best performance on the record. I can in fact hear every word he is singing. Also this song is short, which in this case is just fine...

"The Spirit Carries On" This song is alright. It has guitar soloing that actually resembles melody and is kind of soothing to listen to. I know many people have a problem with the gospel. I don't. I like it. This is probably one of the best songs on this record. It showcases songwriting more than skill. No "Take The Time", but still quite enjoyable.

"Finally Free" This title kind of sums up my feelings at the end of this listening experience. This track is not too bad though. But overall this album is not up to par even with the best from this band, and miles away from records like Symphony X's "V" or "Pagan's Mind's "Celestial Entrance"

That said it is ok. Not good though, so I'll give it 2 stars.

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 Breaking The Fourth Wall (Live From The Boston Opera House) by DREAM THEATER album cover DVD/Video, 2014
4.21 | 15 ratings

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

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

4 stars It seems like it was just yesterday that the Luna Park DVD was released. Now it's another one from the Boston Opera House less than a year later. The show is divided in three acts. The first act is tracks from the last two albums and the song "A Trial of Tears" from "Falling to Infinity". The second act is 5 songs from the "Awake" album to celebrate his 20th anniversary and the third act is the encore celebrating again "Scene from a Memory" with his 15th anniversary. On those 2 albums, the band use the same pattern by starting to play the technical, fast and heavy songs like "The Mirror", "Lie", "Overture 1928" and "Strange Dj Vu" and finishing with the slower and emotional songs like "Lifting Shadows Off A Dream", "Space Dye Vest" and "Finally Free".

"The Illumination Theory", the most progressive and the epic song of the last album is played with an orchestra in the second act which is the perfect fit with this song that contains an irresistible classical break in the middle. The picture is crystal clear and the camera work more satisfying than the "Luna Park" DVD. As for the sound, I had to crank up the volume very high to get the full sound. Again, I wish we could hear John Myung louder, but that's what happens on live recording, it rarely match the sound quality of a studio release. James Labrie's voice is in nice shape as well as all others members. It's another nice addition to your Dream Theater collection. 3. 8 stars.

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 Dream Theater by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.44 | 516 ratings

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Dream Theater
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Progulator

2 stars Dream Theater: perhaps one of the most hated and loved bands in the prog community. A new release from this band that has arguably had the biggest influence on the prog metal community is always up for discussion. Finding myself to be a mild fan, and often a harsh critic of the band, I certainly was intrigued to see what all the post-Portnoy drama would conclude with, what type of album they would make with Mangini fully behind the drum-kit from day one of songwriting.

Well, in the end, I must say I was pretty underwhelmed by the album, which certainly has all the old Dream Theater trademarks, but doesn't seem to really tread any new ground and is often plagued with bad transitions. The album kicks it off with "False Awakening Suite," a decent intro which comes off as a sort of heavier version of the 6 Degrees Overture crossed over with a bit of Symphony X. The single, "The Enemy Inside" shows an aggressive and metal approach with a bit more orchestral bombast than the band traditionally employs, while "Looking Glass" is clearly a Rush fanboy track, although it is decently well done; I admit that Petrucci's solo on this track is brilliant?incorporating dynamic phrasing through a variety of techniques and pairing them with enjoyable melodies. "The Enigma Machine" ends up being a bit of a bland instrumental that incorporates a few redeeming heavy/melodic moments, while "The Bigger Picture" comes off as mostly sappy. "Behind the Veil" starts off with a subtle but powerful intro that uses lots of great synths and a glorious choir sound, but when the guitars come in it feels like they randomly slapped a new song that didn't mesh with the intro. If you're into the classic fast, doubled classic DT instrumental madness, there is a bit of that awesomeness on this track though. "Along for the Ride" is perhaps the best arranged piece on the album, but the level of corny ballad on this one is so extreme that I'll certainly skip it in the future. Finally, the epic, "Illumination Theory" closes off the album. In comparison to other epics it is a bit weak, featuring the good (fun rhythms, majestic symphonic sections), the bad (the transitions between sections often break down), and the ugly (Labrie's vocals are an absolute nightmare on this one and he nearly ruins it). If you're into classic pieces like "The Dance of Eternity" though, you'll certainly be blown away by the insanely technical awesome instrumental section after the ambient middle section; Mangini absolutely kills it on drums, followed by some great soloing from JP, and then there's even a bit of vocal redemption by Labrie that is most uplifting.

Clearly the last paragraph didn't have a lot of positive things to say about the album. But like I said, what we get is about usual from DT with just a little more mess, a little less cohesion between sections, and the same generic ol' same ol' DT sound. Bonus though: if you're a bass player you'll finally get to hear John Myung in the mix, which is quite fun indeed.

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 Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.28 | 2171 ratings

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Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Obsidian Pigeon

2 stars I was never the biggest Dream Theater fan. I do remember getting Images and Words and really enjoying that album for a time, and I still do like quite a lot of the songs on there, but all of their other work that I've heard has really underwhelmed me. This album, despite the hype that helped convince me to check it out, failed to really grab my attention.

I find that while the songwriting is not bad, I simply do not really like Dream Theater's new style that they adopted after Awake, which is another album by them that I do enjoy. I attempted several times to listen to this album, but to no avail. I know that many people really enjoy this album, and I was hoping to really enjoy it, as some even consider this album better than Images and Words. I remain fairly unconvinced.

Dream Theater made an album that many deem a classic here, and for that reason I really feel bad with the rating that I am awarding this. However, I personally could never enjoy this album nor really any of the music on here as much as their earlier works, and I feel compelled to rate this album based on how I feel it stacks up against their other releases.

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 Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.28 | 2171 ratings

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Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by JCDenton

5 stars Marvelous album. I absolutely love each track. The album finds a good balance between the faster heavier recordings and switches into laid-back tunes nearly flawlessly. The band doesn't just make a bunch of unrelated good prog songs. Even the songs that aren't Prog at all sound great and entirely relevant. It's hard to pick highlight songs because every track feels important. The ominous horror of "Finally Free" sticks out to me, as do the stunning showcase of talents on "Dance of Eternity", but "Fatal Tragedy" is my favorite. This is an album I could listen to every day.

I know most of this review wasn't so explanatory of the music here. In short, it's dynamic, and the high peaks in volume and technicality is accompanied by Jordan Ruddess. He's a great addition to this album. All the band plays an incredible performance in a excellently written, intricate album.

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 Awake by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.11 | 1548 ratings

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Awake
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by k3no444

4 stars This five-piece from Boston consists of some of the most influential musicians in their respective instruments. With twelve albums released, Dream Theater has sold millions of albums over their lifetime. Varying in styles from progressive rock, to progressive metal, to even glam rock, each album differs in some way from the rest, as you can hear many unique sounds from album to album. I believe of all the albums they have released, one of my favorites has to be their album "Awake."

I noticed immediately that this album was a step in a different direction from their last album "Images and Words." Feeling more metal-oriented, songs like "Caught in a Web" and "The Mirror" are guitar-driven, featuring some of the bands heaviest riffs at the time. Guitarist John Petrucci is showcased in songs like "Erotomania" and "Lie," with his flawless execution of sweep and tremolo picking. Although Petrucci has sections of each song devoted to soloing, they are much more toned-down than previous albums, but are not over-technical, and when they do occur, it is more enjoyable for the listener. Besides such heavy riffs lies songs like "The Silent Man" and "Space-Dyed Vest," in which clean guitar is used and takes a back seat to other members of the band.

The vocals and lyrics are also fantastic in this album thanks to singer James LaBrie. LaBrie's voice is much more controlled in this album, and can be considered much more rugged than high- pitched. His voice is displayed beautifully in voices like "Lifting Shadows Off A Dream," "The Silent Man," and "Voices," which proves the range and quality of his voice.

Both the bass and keyboards help complement each song off the album. Bassist John Myung and keyboarder Kevin Moore have their own sections in this album dedicated specifically to their instrument, being "Lifting Shadows Off A Dream" and "Space-Dyed Vest" respectively. Coincidentally, these two songs happen to be my two favorite songs off this album, containing some of the best overall workmanship by the band as a whole. The darker and more melancholic themes that are so greatly expressed in this album are greatly increased with help from Myung and Moore.

As most of Dream Theater's other albums, I cannot help but focus on the drum track for every song Dream Theater releases. Mike Portnoy, the drummer during the time of this album's release, is magnificent. His flawless hits on the snare, the ease of his time signature changes, and the quality of sound off this album proves Portnoy to be one of the best drummers in progressive metal. His presence is known in songs like "6:00" and "Scarred," where Portnoy relies on other percussion.

I really enjoy listening to this album. I give it a solid 4 star rating.

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 Awake by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.11 | 1548 ratings

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Awake
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by thwok

4 stars I agree with the general population that Awake is one of Dream Theater's best efforts. It belongs in the top five, and deserves at least four stars. "Erotomania" is the first Dream Theater song I ever heard, and I was hooked. It was also the first video I watched on Prog Archives, shortly after I joyously discovered our favorite website! I live in central Illinois, and the FM radio situation here is pretty dire. If It wasn't for PA, I would never even have heard of Dream Theater!

Besides "Erotomania", I also love "Caught in a Web" and "Innocence Faded". In fact, I think the whole first half of the album is brilliant. There isn't a bad song on Awake. If Dream Theater weren't the fine songwriters that they are, I wouldn't care about them. The choice of Kevin Moore versus Jordan Rudess isn't really an issue for me, since neither of them has written much of the material. Awake contains some of DT's best songs IMO, and is worth at least four stars.

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 Systematic Chaos by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.32 | 1327 ratings

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Systematic Chaos
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by thwok

4 stars I don't understand the relative disdain that my fellow reviewers on PA show for Systematic Chaos. It has the lowest overall rating of Dream Theater's first 10 releases. For me, Systematic Chaos is one of DT's finest releases and deserves at least four stars. I would rather listen to Systematic Chaos than Metropolis 2, to pick one for comparison. Systematic Chaos isn't apparently a concept album, unlike M2. Maybe that makes Systematic Chaos less "prog". Being progressive in the superficial sense of that word isn't the ultimate goal in life. I think the songwriting on Systematic Chaos is generally much better.

The present album has, for me, a lot of DT's most attractive and memorable songs. My personal favorites are "Forsaken" through "Repentance", but I love almost all of it If it is Mike Portnoy singing "The Dark Eternal Night", I think he does a fine job. No, Portnoy can't sing like LaBrie. However, that's why you hire a lead singer. Systematic Chaos has some of LaBrie's finest work; I don't know if there's a DT album where he performs better. My primary complaint with Systematic Chaos is that "The Ministry of Lost Souls" and "In the Presence Pt. 2" are too long back-to-back. Together they make up almost half of the album. It's just too much epicness at once for my tastes. However, that's a minor issue for me. Systematic Chaos is better than some of DT's better-regarded releases IMHO, and fully deserves four stars.

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