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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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Buy DREAM THEATER Music


Dream TheaterDream Theater
Roadrunner Records 2013
Audio CD$12.49
$10.25 (used)
Images & WordsImages & Words
Atlantic 1992
Audio CD$4.05
$1.98 (used)
The Studio Albums 1992-2011The Studio Albums 1992-2011
Box set
Roadrunner 2014
Audio CD$34.66
$58.26 (used)
Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a MemoryMetropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory
Elektra 1999
Audio CD$3.23
$1.94 (used)
Black Clouds & Silver LiningsBlack Clouds & Silver Linings
Roadrunner Records 2009
Audio CD$3.59
$1.25 (used)
Systematic ChaosSystematic Chaos
Roadrunner Records 2007
Audio CD$3.49
$2.93 (used)
AwakeAwake
Atlantic 1994
Audio CD$3.10
$2.10 (used)
OctavariumOctavarium
Atlantic 2005
Audio CD$3.91
$0.41 (used)
A Dramatic Turn of Events (Special Edition) (CD+DVD)A Dramatic Turn of Events (Special Edition) (CD+DVD)
Roadrunner Records 2011
Audio CD$4.35
$3.57 (used)
Change of SeasonsChange of Seasons
Atlantic 1995
Audio CD$2.41
$0.96 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
DREAM THEATER - ORIGINAL ALBUM SERIES 5 CD 2011 NEW SEALED USD $17.16 Buy It Now 45m 48s
Jacobs Dream - Theater Of War CD 2001 Metal Blade USD $29.00 Buy It Now 1h 23m
Dream Theater - Live Scenes from New York [ECD] (2001) 3CD NEW SPEEDYPOST USD $13.55 Buy It Now 1h 41m
Dream Theater "Master Of Puppets" Official Bootleg Mint [Metallica Flying Colors USD $15.23 Buy It Now 2h 17m
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Dream Theater- Dramatic Turn of Events - 0016861776527 USD $14.69 Buy It Now 3h 21m
JELLY JAM self titled CD Progressive Classic Rock Kings X/Dream Theater 2002 NEW USD $7.99 Buy It Now 3h 27m
Dream Theater - Score:20th Anniversary World Tour Live [CD New] USD $37.33 Buy It Now 3h 35m
Tribute To Dream Theater - String Quartet Tribute To Dream Theater (CD New) USD $13.70 Buy It Now 4h 5m
DREAM THEATER Falling Into Infinity 2LP SEALED gatefold, limited - numbered USD $34.71 Buy It Now 4h 16m
Avenged Sevenfold - Nightmare [CD, 2010] w mike portnoy dream theater metal NICE USD $7.43 Buy It Now 4h 20m
Falling into Infinity by Dream Theater (CD, Sep-1997, Elektra (Label)) USD $1.99 [0 bids]
4h 37m
Dream Theater, Once in a Livetime Audio CD USD $8.39 Buy It Now 5h 2m
DREAM THEATER: Self Titled 2LP 2013 Roadrunner HQ 180gram vinyl album New Sealed USD $33.00 Buy It Now 5h 44m
Awake by Dream Theater (CD, Oct-1994, Elektra) John Myung Bass USD $6.99 Buy It Now 6h
Dream Theater - Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (CD, Jan-2002, 2 Discs) USD $8.54 Buy It Now 6h 41m
Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory - Dream Theater (2014, Vinyl New) USD $31.42 Buy It Now 6h 42m
Dream Theater - Dramatic Turn Of Events (CD New) USD $12.48 Buy It Now 6h 46m
Dream Theater (2013, CD New) USD $14.64 Buy It Now 6h 46m
DREAM THEATER-AWAKE CD ORIGINAL 1994 EAST WEST/RUSH/PROGRESSIVE METAL USD $10.00 Buy It Now 7h 10m
DREAM THEATER-IMAGES AND WORDS CD ORIGINAL 1992 ATCO/RUSH/PROGRESSIVE METAL USD $10.00 Buy It Now 7h 10m
Dream Theater - New York City 3/4/93 Ltd 2xCD USD $26.53 Buy It Now 7h 11m
Images & Words - Dream Theater (2013, Vinyl New) 8718469532919 USD $26.87 Buy It Now 7h 43m
OSI ( DREAM THEATER & FATES WARNING members ) "Free" (CD) PROG METAL USD $9.44 Buy It Now 8h 9m
When Dream & Day Unite [Remaster] by Dream Theater (CD, Feb-1996, One Way... USD $5.99 Buy It Now 8h 42m
Dream Theater Once In A Lifetime USD $10.70 Buy It Now 9h 6m
Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory - Dream Theater (Vinyl Used Very Good) USD $27.42 Buy It Now 9h 13m
DREAM THEATER**2006: SCORE: 20th ANN TOUR (DIGI)**3 CDS USD $24.95 Buy It Now 9h 34m
Dream Theater Making Of Scenes From a Memory 2x CD Official Bootleg Demos USD $10.50 [2 bids]
9h 43m
Dream Theater Awake Demos 1994 CD Official Bootleg USD $10.00 [0 bids]
9h 43m
Dream Theater Master Of Puppets Live in 2002 CD Official Bootleg Metallica USD $10.50 [2 bids]
9h 44m
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10h 41m
DREAM THEATER International Fan Clubs CD 1999 "CLEANING OUT THE CLOSET" Long OOP USD $99.00 [0 bids]
11h 7m
DREAM THEATER - IMAGES AND WORDS -SEALED VINYL 2LP LIMITED EDITION 740/2000 USD $65.00 [0 bids]
USD $85.00 Buy It Now
11h 7m
DREAM THEATER - Mind Control - Live in Urawa 1995 - Very Rare & Hard To Find OOP USD $249.00 [0 bids]
11h 8m
DREAM THEATER - The Dance Of Eternity - Live 1993 - RARE & HARD TO FIND USD $150.00 [0 bids]
11h 8m
Dream Theater "Images and Words" cassette 1992 prog rock VG+ "Pull Me Under" USD $3.99 [0 bids]
11h 12m
Dream Theater - Score 20th Anniversary World Tour [Vinyl New] USD $37.98 Buy It Now 13h 52m
Dream Theater - Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory [Vinyl New] USD $29.42 Buy It Now 13h 55m
Dream Theater - Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence [Vinyl New] USD $28.38 Buy It Now 14h 20m
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Dream Theater - Once In A Livetime [Vinyl New] USD $37.96 Buy It Now 14h 39m
Dream Theater - Falling Into Infinity [Vinyl New] USD $27.65 Buy It Now 14h 41m
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Dream Theater - Metropolis Pt 2 2x 180g vinyl LP NEW/SEALED USD $37.40 Buy It Now 15h 8m
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Dream Theater - Dramatic Turn Of Events [CD New] USD $11.61 Buy It Now 15h 25m
DREAM THEATER - MAGAZINE CUTTING (FULL PAGE PHOTO) (REF R3) USD $9.29 Buy It Now 15h 40m
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Systematic Chaos [CD] [Audio CD] Dream Theater USD $12.48 Buy It Now 17h 48m
Dream Theater Awake remastered hand numbered gold/grey/blue vinyl 2LP NEW/SEALED USD $72.72 Buy It Now 18h 52m
Dream Theater Falling Into Infinity remastered hand numbered aqua/blue vinyl 2LP USD $72.72 Buy It Now 18h 55m
Dream Theater - Dark Side Of The Moon - Double CD - Official Bootleg Ytsejam USD $11.71 [8 bids]
19h 16m
DREAM THEATER WEMBLEY ARENA TICKET FEBRUARY 10 2012 (UNUSED) UK USD $14.05 Buy It Now 19h 18m
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19h 20m
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DREAM THEATER - Master of Puppets (Official bootleg series) USD $10.15 [8 bids]
19h 22m
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19h 25m
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CHARLIE DOMINICI:O3 PART 1/DREAM THEATER USD $12.48 Buy It Now 19h 32m
EXPLORERS CLUB / Age of Impact - '98, Japan OBI ~feat: MAGELLAN , DREAM THEATER USD $7.90 [0 bids]
20h 56m
FRAMESHIFT / Unweaving the Rainbow - '04, JAPAN OBI ~feat: DREAM THEATER USD $5.90 [0 bids]
20h 57m
DREAM THEATER OCTAVARIUM LP VINYL RECORD NEW USD $44.99 Buy It Now 21h 6m
V.A. - Dragon Attack: A Tribute to Queen / Impellitteri Dream Theater Anthrax USD $0.99 [0 bids]
21h 27m
Dream Theater / Falling into Infinity - '97, Japan limited edition~obi+bonus CD USD $4.80 [3 bids]
23h 3m
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Dream Theater- Original Album Series (5CD) - 0081227976309 USD $20.50 Buy It Now 23h 13m
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23h 34m
Dream Theater - Live Scenes from New York recalled 9/11 artwork. OUT OF PRINT!!! USD $24.00 Buy It Now 23h 49m
* DREAM THEATER - A Change of Seasons [5 SONG EP] USD $5.50 Buy It Now 23h 55m
Train Of Thought - Dream Theater (2003, CD New) USD $11.65 Buy It Now 1 day
Dream Theater - Scenes From A Memory (CD New) USD $12.00 Buy It Now 1 day
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1 day
Dream Theater - Live In USA / TH Cassette USD $49.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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DREAM THEATER Metropolis PT.2 Scenes From A Memory Taiwan w/box 2-CD+Live New USD $99.99 Buy It Now 1 day
A Change of Seasons by Dream Theater (CD, Sep-1995, Elektra (Label)) Mint USD $7.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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USD $20.00 Buy It Now
1 day
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1 day
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USD $20.00 Buy It Now
1 day
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1 day
DREAM THEATER - Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory (reissue) - 2xLP USD $41.29 Buy It Now 1 day
Dream Theater Instrumental 1987 cd demos USD $7.00 [0 bids]
1 day
DREAM THEATER - GREATEST HIT - 2 CD NEW AND ORIGINAL USD $13.90 Buy It Now 1 day
Dream Theater Instrumental II 1992 CD - Demos from Images and Words sessions USD $10.00 [0 bids]
1 day
Dream Theater When Dream & James Unite 2CD - Majesty Dreams - rare live tracks USD $10.00 [0 bids]
1 day
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Dream Theater Live Scenes From New York BANNED COVER w/ twin towers rare 3CD USD $15.00 [0 bids]
1 day
Dream Theater / Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence 180gm Double Vinyl LP New USD $35.43 Buy It Now 1 day
Jordan Rudess Listen solo CD from 1993 - before joining Dream Theater USD $12.00 [0 bids]
1 day
Dream Theater / Once In A Livetime 180gm 4 x Vinyl LP New USD $49.88 Buy It Now 1 day
Tribute To Dream Theater - String Quartet Tribute To Dream Theater [CD New] USD $15.12 Buy It Now 1 day


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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 | 1000 ratings
When Dream And Day Unite
1989
4.29 | 2269 ratings
Images And Words
1992
4.11 | 1662 ratings
Awake
1994
3.33 | 1218 ratings
Falling Into Infinity
1997
4.28 | 2336 ratings
Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory
1999
4.13 | 1570 ratings
Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence
2002
3.58 | 1469 ratings
Train Of Thought
2003
3.66 | 1656 ratings
Octavarium
2005
3.32 | 1405 ratings
Systematic Chaos
2007
3.43 | 1307 ratings
Black Clouds & Silver Linings
2009
3.88 | 1315 ratings
A Dramatic Turn Of Events
2011
3.40 | 606 ratings
Dream Theater
2013

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

3.63 | 321 ratings
Live At The Marquee
1993
3.28 | 316 ratings
Once In A Livetime
1998
4.57 | 439 ratings
Live Scenes From New York
2001
4.24 | 388 ratings
Live At Budokan
2004
4.46 | 449 ratings
Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra
2006
3.70 | 50 ratings
Happy Holidays
2013

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

4.19 | 154 ratings
Images And Words - Live In Tokyo
1993
4.36 | 351 ratings
Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York
2001
3.81 | 160 ratings
Live in Tokyo/5 Years in a Livetime
2004
4.10 | 97 ratings
When Dream And Day Reunite [Official Bootleg]
2004
4.29 | 341 ratings
Live at Budokan
2004
3.56 | 41 ratings
A Walk Beside The Band
2005
4.39 | 362 ratings
Dream Theater - Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra
2006
3.97 | 116 ratings
Dark Side Of The Moon
2006
4.07 | 64 ratings
Bucharest, Romania 7/4/02
2007
3.44 | 193 ratings
Chaos In Motion 2007/2008
2008
2.36 | 60 ratings
Greatest Hit (...and 5 Other Pretty Cool Videos)
2008
3.72 | 36 ratings
Live at Tokyo Sun Plaza
2009
4.11 | 86 ratings
Live at Luna Park
2013
4.36 | 46 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)

2.10 | 158 ratings
Greatest Hit (...and 21 other pretty cool songs)
2008
4.03 | 28 ratings
Original Album Series
2011

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

2.89 | 27 ratings
Afterlife
1989
3.26 | 27 ratings
Status Seeker
1989
2.83 | 21 ratings
The ATCO Demos
1991
2.87 | 49 ratings
Another Day
1992
3.65 | 43 ratings
Pull Me Under
1992
2.85 | 37 ratings
Caught In A Web
1994
3.75 | 48 ratings
The Silent Man
1994
2.98 | 45 ratings
Lie
1994
3.66 | 557 ratings
A Change Of Seasons
1995
3.06 | 53 ratings
Hollow Years
1997
3.82 | 26 ratings
Once In A LIVEtime Outtakes (International Fan Club CD 1998)
1998
3.04 | 50 ratings
Cleaning Out The Closet
1999
3.15 | 52 ratings
Through Her Eyes
2000
1.98 | 26 ratings
Christmas 2000 Fan Club CD
2000
1.91 | 27 ratings
4 degrees of Radio edits
2002
3.25 | 16 ratings
When Demos and Singles Unite
2002
2.96 | 32 ratings
Taste The Memories
2003
2.94 | 28 ratings
Graspop Festival 2002 (International Fanclub CD 2003)
2003
3.15 | 38 ratings
The Making Of Scenes From A Memory
2003
2.79 | 87 ratings
The Number Of The Beast
2003
1.94 | 97 ratings
Master Of Puppets
2003
2.69 | 28 ratings
Los Angeles, California 5/18/98
2003
3.33 | 27 ratings
Tokyo, Japan 10/28/95
2003
2.90 | 41 ratings
The Majesty Demos 1985 - 1986 [Official bootleg]
2003
3.80 | 26 ratings
A Sort Of Homecoming
2004
3.39 | 28 ratings
Images and Words: Demos 1989 - 1991 [Official Bootleg]
2004
3.84 | 55 ratings
When Dream And Day Reunite
2004
2.79 | 19 ratings
When Dream And Day Unite Demos 1987-1989
2004
3.33 | 109 ratings
Dark Side Of The Moon
2006
2.33 | 29 ratings
Awake Demos
2006
3.07 | 26 ratings
Old Bridge, New JERSEY - 12/14/96
2006
3.64 | 51 ratings
Made in Japan [Official Bootleg]
2006
3.46 | 30 ratings
Images and Words - 15th Anniversary Performance (Fan Club CD 2007)
2007
4.19 | 59 ratings
Falling Into Infinity: Demos 1996-1997 [Official Bootleg]
2007
3.15 | 34 ratings
Constant Motion
2007
3.63 | 31 ratings
New York City 3/4/93
2007
3.70 | 10 ratings
Progressive Nation 2008 - The International Fan Clubs CD 2008
2008
2.44 | 52 ratings
Forsaken
2008
2.56 | 63 ratings
A Rite of Passage
2009
3.07 | 67 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
3.18 | 69 ratings
Wither
2009
3.03 | 37 ratings
Uncovered 2003-2005
2009
2.53 | 23 ratings
The Making of Falling Into Infinity
2009
2.79 | 24 ratings
Train of Thought Instrumental Demos 2003
2009
3.56 | 110 ratings
On the Backs of Angels
2011
3.19 | 64 ratings
The Enemy Inside
2013
3.71 | 14 ratings
Illumination Theory
2014

DREAM THEATER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Dream Theater by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.40 | 606 ratings

BUY
Dream Theater
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

2 stars If Dream Theater released a self-titled album 10 years ago, it would be synonymous with excellence in the prog-metal genre. It would erupt with creative instrumental virtuosity; explode with equal parts hooks, riffs, and brain-melting awesomeness.

But it's not 10 years ago. And it seems like it's becoming a tradition of mine to basically just whine about how mediocre one of the best prog-metal acts of all time has become. These days, a self-titled Dream Theater album means three things: generally cookie-cutter song writing, outstanding musicianship made boring by lack of enthusiasm, and vocals and lyrics that fall flat on their face.

"Dream Theater" (the album) is exactly what you expect at this stage in their game. It plays it safe, which isn't always a bad thing, but it certainly isn't going to pull the group out of a nearly decade-long slump of mediocrity.

After listening to this album a few times consecutively, I decided to perform an experiment. I listened to one of my favorite DT songs, "Glass Prison," and counted the number of times I was genuinely stimulated - emotionally, creatively, whatever. I counted 22 times. Then, I listened to this album's opener "Enemy Inside". The count: 4.

Reviews are much more honest when they take an album at its own merits, rather than comparing it directly against something else - but this should give you an idea of the overall feeling of "blah" that "Dream Theater" offers up.

OK, so what do we actually get with "Dream Theater"? The opener is a disjointed and silly instrumental that comes and goes without direction. It's not connected to any of the themes of the album, and is filled with Rudess' now cartoonish sounding keyboards. Off to a bad start.

"Enemy Inside" isn't a bad track; it's bottom-heavy, has nice soloing, hooks, and shows off some energy. Alright!

"The Looking Glass" is the band's now formulaic second-track single. Sort of middle of the road metal that would impress someone unfamiliar with the prog-metal genre. Pretty banal for people reading this review. I much preferred "I Walk Beside You" from Octavarium, which at least let LaBrie sing his heart out.

"Enigma Machine" is fast and heavy instrumental, and probably the best short track on the album, even though it reprises moments from "A Nightmare to Remember." Since we're talking instrumentals, I'll say a few words about Mangini's drumming. Overall, I'm not impressed. He certainly keeps up with the group and delivers a very precise performance, but doesn't have a faction as much personality to his playing as Portnoy. Portnoy, whom I've described as having George Lucas levels of creative douche-bagery, is at least exciting to hear play. Mangini could be a very realistic drum-machine for all I can tell by his lack of character.

"Bigger Picture," a power ballad, is pretty awful. It's trite and poorly written, giving us lyrics like:

Like a moth burned by the fire and driven to the flame (Prophecies' a blessing and a curse) I must bare this cross alone There's no one else to blame

Petrucci lyrics at their most contrived and uncreative. These are typical throughout the album, which by the way, are sung quite blandly by LaBrie.

"Behind the Veil" is basically the point of no return. It, and the following three songs pass by with a wimper of creativity and excitement. The three observations I raised earlier stick with you for about 25 minutes that basically just made me sigh and look at the clock.

The grand finale, "Illumination Theory," is the only reason any one will remember this album. It's sort of a sweeping epic that (surprise!) deals with issues of self-discovery and cartharsis... just like every other extended Dream Theater song (except that one about gay European vampires). It's actually pretty good; there is a lot of variety and compositional complexity. LaBrie actually sings like he still cares about being in the band, and the song's momentum gives us a lot to enjoy.

So a very mixed bag from Dream Theater's 12th album. In looking at my review history of the group, they have a 63% average... a poor score for a band with their impact on the genre. But, an appropriate average considering that's about exactly how I'd rate this group's self-titled release. Not terrible, but definitely not going to impress anyone new to the party.

Now excuse me, I'm going to go back listening to 6 Degrees of Inner Turbulence.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

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 Images And Words by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1992
4.29 | 2269 ratings

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Images And Words
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by marcobrusa

4 stars My favourite DT album. Favoutite songs: Take the Time, Surrounded, Metropolis Pt. 1. Musicmanship is sharp and compositions are memorable. I like some pop so it doesn't bother me to hear catchy vocal melodies and harmonies. I consider negative (maybe this is true...) that DT forced other musicians to play at their level (because they became famous and so many bands want to be like them) and that, in my opinion, RUINED creativity and put virtuosity as a priority for DT musicians-fans. I DONT' WANT ANY MORE VIRTOUSITY UNLESS THERE ARE GOOD COMPOSITIONS TOO. 4/5 just for personal taste. I think this is a very good album but other albums by DT cannot compare to this one. Easily the best music DT ever made.

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 A Dramatic Turn Of Events by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.88 | 1315 ratings

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A Dramatic Turn Of Events
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Years after the hype, years after the heartache, I've finally spent sometime with Dream Theater's comeback hopeful, and can say that A Dramatic Turn of Events is an enjoyable release, and that's about it. The album doesn't break new ground, doesn't make me cringe with terrible lyrics and bad song writing, and doesn't spark with the same creativity and energy from the band's peak output more than a decade ago.

So if that's what this album doesn't do, what does A Dramatic Turn of Events accomplish?

It gives us more than an hour of good songs written, performed, and produced in the usual Dream Theater style; complex instrumental playing hidden behind the veneer of simple song writing. There is a good mix of rockers, ballads, and epics here, including four songs that clock in at over 10 minutes. The band's playing is characteristically good, and occasionally excellent, and it really does feel like they put some thought into the variety on the album. The ballads are thoughtful, if not especially creative. There are a few songs that fall short, such as the bland "Build Me Up, Break Me Down," and the cartoonish middle-eastern pastiche that shows up for the instrumental section of "Outcry", but these moments are in the minority. "Bridges in the Sky" is easily the most creative track of the group, and "Breaking All Illusions" may actually make the DT highlight reel.

It took me a long time, and many listens of this album for me to decide what I thought about it. It didn't make a very good first impression, but I decided that this was probably due to my disgust over the previous two albums. A Dramatic Turn of Events didn't grab me, and with the exception of "Breaking All Illusions," it still doesn't. There's just nothing here that makes me melt with metal awesomeness like the band could years ago. With that being said, I still enjoy the serviceable songs and occasional standout moment or thoughtful lyric. Maybe its me, and I'm not the impressionable 20-something that fell in love with Scenes from a Memory and Images and Words. Maybe its the band, and they're so completely sick of making what is mostly the same music that their enthusiasm has all but evaporated. Either way, A Dramatic Turn of Events will please fans of the band who are expecting to hear more of their prog-metal champions keep at it, but it won't win anyone new. You've got to respect DT for their legacy and persistence, but there are other bands that are making more interesting versions of this music.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

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 Octavarium by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.66 | 1656 ratings

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Octavarium
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Insin

5 stars Depending on who you ask, Dream Theater is either pretentious or genius. They've done concept albums, meta-album cycles, the Twelve-Step Suite, and they've even written a forty-two minute song that takes up an entire CD. With Octavarium, they take it to another level. Basically, the whole album is a nugget. It's been analyzed by the fans and there is a webpage floating somewhere out there dedicated to better understanding all the references it contains. In short, it's an album based off the concept of, yes, you guessed it, the octave, with a recurring theme of fives and eights. Each song is in a different key, riffs are repeated subtly throughout it, and it continues the meta-album cycle, starting where Train of Thought ended and finishing on the same note that that begins the album's first track, Root of All Evil (coming "Full Circle").

I understand the hate for Dream Theater's self-importance, but concept albums and high levels of technicality are impressive, and obviously, I like music to be impressive. As do most people. These nuggets make the album a more interesting listen, and I really enjoy it. There are weak points, but most of the songs are solid, and the title track is undoubtedly one of Dream Theater's finest works.

The album flaunts its influences shamelessly; I Walk Beside you an uninspired attempt at a radio-friendly, poppy sound with some guidance from bands like Foreigner and U2, and Never Enough, while a good song, basically rips off Muse's Stockholm Syndrome. Panic Attack also exhibits the same Muse influence, to a lesser extent, sounding more original, but clearly a reference to Hysteria. It falls on the heavier end of the Dream Theater spectrum, and the lyrics fit the music extremely well: it's frantic, headbangable, and even nervous at times. The Answer Lies Within is a return to balladry and it's definitely the worst song on the album, a cheesy soft rock number that deserves to be eternally skipped, unless you like their soft stuff. Then it might be worth a listen. Generally, the album's first six songs tend to be more structurally traditional.

Dream Theater definitely saved the best for last. As for influences, the title track displays so many. Part three of the song's lyrics are devoted to naming all of them; it's just a tribute to progressive music as a whole. The structure of this song is incredibly effective and it must be taken as a whole. Octavarium builds up steadily for almost twenty minutes, reaching an intense, climactic bout of LaBrie screaming (yes, screaming) "TRAPPED INSIDE THIS OCTAVARIUM!" It doesn't sound very exciting when I say it like that, but when you get there after tension gradually increases until you're wondering how it could possibly get any more intense, it's incredibly satisfying. Awesome keyboard soloing, plenty of time signature changes, and technicality, it's everything you'd expect from a Dream Theater song, only in a more driving structure of steady buildup. The title track is just a prog masterpiece and probably Dream Theater's best song. I would still be giving this album five stars even if the other seven songs were mediocre because this one makes up for all of their flaws.

The band's albums after this have seemed relatively unambitious (or less pretentious, if you see it that way). That might be because they've already tried everything. Octavarium is an excellent effort, the title track making up for the weaker songs. Dream Theater have taken their dozens of influences and crafted something that some may see as pompous, but I view as uniquely elaborate and bold. Definitely worth checking out for and not an album to be dismissed.

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 Train Of Thought by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.58 | 1469 ratings

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Train Of Thought
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Insin

3 stars Train of Thought was much more rushed than any of Dream Theater's other albums, written in mere weeks, and could've used some more touching up and improvements. It also has some of the detested "mallcore" influence hated by metal elitists (and others), angrier and heavier than any of the band's other albums, with both cursing and rapping. The members still perform well, the technicality as present as ever, including some great look-how-many-notes-I-can-play solos from Rudess and Petrucci, but the songwriting is possibly the weakest of any Dream Theater album and can likely be attributed to the quick writing process.

The individual songs vary widely in quality. On one side of the spectrum, there is Honor Thy Father (with lyrics written by Korn, probably) and This Dying Soul. This Dying Soul starts and finishes strong with great soloing, but the middle is dominated by LaBrie's vocals, without much room for the instrumentalists, which causes it to meander aimlessly. Honor Thy Father is even worse, also controlled by LaBrie's angsty vocals and a completely pointless soundbite montage, except there is a decent instrumental passage that doesn't really make up for anything. It is almost painful to listen to because the vocal delivery and lyrical content is so very, very nu-metal, not to mention it also tends to meander aimlessly. Coincidentally (or maybe not), these songs are the two that contain the distorted rapping that made a lot of people wary of this release.

In opposition, saving the album from utter mediocrity, there are songs like In the Name of God, a Middle-Eastern tinged but otherwise standard DT epic with a cool bridge. Endless Sacrifice is the easily best song on Train of Thought, its beginning the only soft moment off the album (besides the short song/interlude Vacant). Though the chorus is disproportionately heavy the first time around, that doesn't stop it from building up smoothly from a ballad with a riff similar to the one from Metallica's Sanitarium, and into DT's classic insane technicality. The instrumental track, Stream of Consciousness, isn't bad either, evolving and transitioning well. I guess they had to compensate for the LaBrie-dominated tracks with this song.

Train of Thought is worth a few listens, but the songs generally tend to be hit or miss. It has possibly the weakest songwriting of any Dream Theater album, since it was thrown together so quickly. Since then, fortunately, they've dropped the 'mallcore' influence and started taking more time to work on albums before releasing them.

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 Dream Theater by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.40 | 606 ratings

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Dream Theater
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Wicket
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Call me insane, but I really feel like it's pointless to review Dream Theater albums on a prog-rock-themed forum. No other ensemble in the past 30 years has created a gigantic schism of love-em-or-hate-em listeners, and frankly, it's getting to the point in time where it's nigh impossible to change the minds of the "haters" and it'd be more worthwhile for all the people who still do like DT's music just to sit down and enjoy it.

After all, everyone is going to have their biases on why they love or hate DT. My personal reason is the fact that their music relates so much to classical compositions (which I both perform and compose, BTW). They're not songs you can really jam to (although there are quite a few where you can), they're songs you have to sit down and enjoy, absorb the melodies, embrace the disonance, sit and watch in awe and amazement as these guys weave an unexplainable, unimaginable web of melodies, harmonies and sound effects into not just songs, but emotions. They tell stories.

That's one thing I've always looked for in progressive music, that unmistakeable art of evoking emotion and telling stories. In the 1800's, the Romantic era of composing revolved around telling stories. Beethoven was the first true master of the art, starting with his "Eroica" symphony written in honor of Napoleon Bonaparte at the time, and ending with his epic 9th. Schubert's lieder pieces evoked a sense of reality when you listened to the singer weep her sad, sad tune. It was such a provocative way of making music, it only caught on to even bigger, more elaborate productions in the form of Berlioz's "Symphonie Fantastique" and Wagner's operas.

So when you look at it from that perspective, Dream Theater has created many pieces like that, what with "Metropolis", "Six Degrees", "In The Presence Of Enemies", etc. Sure, have they lost their way a bit from a compositional aspect with the departure of Portnoy? Absolutely. No one can replace Portnoy in my mind. Sorry, Mangini.

If it's any consolation, Mangini's sophomore effort with the band is a MILLION times better than on "Dramatic Turn Of Events". I did say a while ago that I thought DToE was the best Dream Theater album ever made, and while I'm not really sure it is anymore, it's still one of their best efforts to date. The only blemishes I did knock it for was Mangini's drumming, which is vastly improved on this disc. It sound more refined, less copycat and more original. I felt like Mangini was trying too hard to fill Portnoy's shoes. After all, as one of the most beloved, if not THE most beloved member of the band, it would be impossible to replace him.

In fact, in any circumstance, it's impossible to truly replace anyone in any circumstance. Steve Young knew there was no way he was going to be able to live up to the hype of Joe Montana in San Francisco after he was traded. How can you replace a quarterback who won 4 Super Bowls? Simple. Forget about him and win another 3 Super Bowls for the franchise. And I feel that's the mentality Mangini went into the studio with when recording tracks for this album. DT with Mangini is like Queen with Adam Lambert: it's a completely different band. Now did we say that when Kevin Moore was replaced with Derek Sherinian, who was then replaced by Rudess? No, because while both were great keyboard players and pianists, Rudess just has a magic touch the other two didn't have. The same kind of magic Portnoy has.

And perhaps due to the identity Mangini is now creating in the drummer of one of the most popular and respected prog metal bands of our time, this self titled album reflects a bit of a change. In what direction? I still can't say. It's definitely not the heaviest album in their repertoire, but it's also not the most memorable. Sure, the heavy single "The Enemy Inside" is going to be catchy, while "The Looking Glass" tries too hard to be mainstream and falls flat on its face. The "False Awakening Suite", while brilliant, is way too short, while "Enigma Machine" is a classic DT instrumental. Again, not entirely memorable, but still distinctly true to that DT sound. "The Bigger Picture" has nothing in it that keeps me hooked or entertained, whereas "Behind The Veil", while brilliant, has an intro that simply takes far too long in proportions to the rest of the track. "Surrender To Reason" has one chord in the middle I like, "Along For The Ride" should be renamed "Falling Into Infinity", and the whole album is wrapped up with a 22-minute epic that should have been made a long time ago.

Is this album perfect? Far from it. I can recognize far more tracks off of DToE then I can this album, so from a critics standpoint, this album is essentially being held up by an epic intro, a standout single, an awesome instrumental and an album closing epic.

And that's OK.

Frankly, this current ensemble is still in a development stage. This a Dream Theater that wants to bring back its staple compositions that shaped their identity ("Enigma Machine", "Illumination Theory") while still trying to remake themselves with this new chemistry than stay anchored to roots which are drying up with nowhere else to go ("Behind The Veil", "Surrender To Reason", "The Bigger Picture").

This is a veteran band caught through a transitional period. A period where they still want to perform, tour and make music, but one where they have to deal with a new hand of cards dealt to them in a music world that has changed a lot since they first made waves back in 1992 with "Images & Words".

In short, this is a band that still has a story that needs to be completed, a story that, hopefully, comes full circle and re invites Portnoy back to the fold eventually. Only then will we, as critics, as judges, be able to truly judge and define this band's legacy, because when you think about it, most people are analyzing their legacy when they're still going strong, and that's not right. One day, all five of these guys will have become too old to tour, too old to keep pounding away in that metallic fashion they've embraced for many years.

Only then, when they all hang up their instruments, will we truly be able to determine their successes and failures over this band's lifetime.

Only then will we truly understand their progress and motivation into their ever-changing, ever-evolving sound. A identity totally unique to this band, yet always evolving to keep up with the times (AND their audience, that's always important). After all, the Beatles succeeded in doing that, and they're one of the most popular and famous bands in history.

It's not easy, but it can be done. And hopefully, Dream Theater will add their names to that rarefied list of artists to forever stand the test of time.

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 Dream Theater by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.40 | 606 ratings

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Dream Theater
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A letter of apology.

Dear Dream Theater,

During the naughties, when you released several bleak albums in a row I was really starting to worry about you. The whimsy and magic from earlier albums that kept me captivated among the hard hitting metal and intricate songs were no more. At first I enjoyed the manic frenzy but after time it started to grow old. When you released Black Clouds and Silver Linings I considered it the final nail in the coffin of a band that I once dearly loved.

In the coming years with the shift in personnel I still didn't want to give you another chance. I didn't listen to any of your music until just earlier this year. The colourful cover of A Dramatic Turn of Events paired with the name to me just seemed like a cocky statement about how you could overcome your own nadir, but I was so busy exploring new music that I didn't have any time for the band who once let me down so badly.

But I shouldn't have given up on you. I am sorry for thinking that there was no way that you would ever be able to make enjoyable music again. Maybe I was caught up on the idea that your time had passed, that the world no longer needed complex progressive metal with a story telling aspect. Maybe I just didn't need the hard hitting riffs at the time. Maybe I had lost appreciation for just how much practice goes into being able to shred the way you do.

Thank you for changing my mind. When I finally got up the guts to listen to your new album I heard a band revitalized. Playing music that they wanted to play, not the music they thought their fans wanted to hear.

Yours Truly, --Queen By-Tor

*ahem* Now that that is out of my system...

Dream Theater's newest album is a far cry from the band who has for a long time been a laughing stock of the progressive community. The songs are tighter, the solos are enjoyable instead of indulgent and the writing has a down to earth feel which makes the album actually relatable.

Even the structure of the work is better thought out. The album is composed of a handful of medium length tracks (between 6-7 minutes), a few shorter rockers and one epic track. Perhaps after learning that a string of long songs and epics just don't work there is a variety of lengths at play that don't grow tired after repeated listens.

This feels like the album they were trying to make with Octavarium but got too caught up in the theme of 8 to actually accomplish. A mixture of darker, heavier tracks blended with some songs that are actually upbeat make for a Dream Theater that we haven't heard since Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. The Looking Glass and The Bigger Picture being two soaring songs that can lift up your heart without sacrificing the music to (too much) cheesiness. Enigma Machine is a hard hitting instrumental reminiscent of the Train of Thought era and The Enemy Inside builds off of the few things that were right with Black Clouds..., and expands them into a new and better territory.

Even Illumination Theory seems like a monument compared to previous works. After Black Clouds and Silver Linings I did not want to listen to Dream Theater play a song longer than 10-minutes ever again. Illumination Theory takes all the themes of the album and takes them for a ride through brilliant and beautiful music. Through its speed changes and all its own sections it manages to never become boring. It is an epic that was made to be an epic, not a song built upon just to make it longer.

In conclusion - This is not only a great album for Dream Theater but a great album for the progressive metal scene. It has completely restored my faith in the band which means next stop, A Dramatic Turn of Events! Even if they never manage to produce another album that I like I will still hold faith that they could. 4 stars, well done boys!

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 Dream Theater by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.40 | 606 ratings

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Dream Theater
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by JJLehto
Prog Reviewer

3 stars While I have not been a big fan of DT's output over the preceding decade, finding these albums either hit/miss or lackluster, (and I admit I'm odd that I feel the band actually peaked with "Train of Thought") I was intrigued to listen to this album, since it would be the first to have Mike Mangini fully integrated in the creative process. Perhaps he would bring some new ideas, or spark a change I felt they long needed, and being a drummer I at least wanted to hear what he's got.

Well, it doesn't seem very different from anything Dream Theater has done before. Aside from shorter songs it seems a very standard Dream Theater affair. Mangini is clearly a talented drummer, though I can't say his work here was much "better" or even radically different from Portnoy. I would say he has a more "technical" style, and I do like his drumming, there's some impressive stuff.

The album has a good sound to it, I think the guitars sound good, heavy but not ridiculous, just have a good tone, the drums sound great, I am still not a big fan of LaBrie's vocals but they are fine, and not placed well in the mix. I hear a tiny bit more Myung but that's not hard considering I never hear his bass at all, it's still not prominent at all and missing on most of it.

While the music is typical Dream Theater, and still hit or miss for me, I do think this is a better album than any of their recent ones with some great standouts. The album opens with the awesome instrumental "False Awakening Suite" a keyboard heavy, fun piece filled with choirs, great melodies, drumming and instrumentation and moves into "The Enemy Inside" which may be the best song DT has made since Train of Thought.

"The Enemy Inside" is packed with great riffs, melodies and has a superb flow. It doesn't linger, it doesn't move at breakneck speed or with abrupt changes, just has a great pace. It's a very well composed song, with everything having its place, and getting show off, but working together, and the drumming kicks ass. It frustrates me songs this good, this well written, are possible but generally elude the band.

"Enigma Machine" is another standout. A classic DT instrumental bursting with epic riffs and virtuosic musicianship, it's compact and packs a wallop. Mangini's greatest display on the album. "Illumination Theory" is the other highlight, a 20 minute prog epic that features it all, "Metal Heaven" as I'd call it, great riffs, great flow and pace, and some awesome moments. There is a long interlude, and everyone gets to show off. I mean everyone, Myung has his section and even LaBrie shows some range and hits some real shockers. As always guitar and drums dominate, with Petrucci and Mangini really impressing. One of the better prog metal epics from the band.

Those were the highlights. "The Looking Glass" is a really good song and it's nice to see DT can be DT, but without lingering on and on or sounding stale. The rest of the album I find lackluster. Uninspired and boring. There are good moments of course but not enough to really call the songs good.

So what to make of the eponymous "Dream Theater"? There is nothing that will surprise you, nothing is added, or removed, and the album is inconsistent. The musicianship is good though, including a real coming out party for Mangini, and there are some songs that are quite good. The others, while not special, are not bad by any means. The shorter songs do of course mean there is less time to linger in the so so areas. So, I have to say this album is not a superb effort, but stronger than the last few DT albums and have some of the better songs they've made in a decade.

Three Stars

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 Images And Words by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1992
4.29 | 2269 ratings

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Images And Words
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Pastmaster

4 stars Dream Theater-Images and Words

'Images and Words' is the second studio album by progressive metal band Dream Theater. Often called one of the greatest progressive metal albums of all time, if not the greatest, 'Images and Words' holds the spot as Dream Theater's highest rated album here on PA. This album is also claimed to have popularized the progressive metal sub-genre, even though bands like Queensryche, Voivod, and Watchtower came years before Dream Theater released their debut. While I do have to agree it did popularize progressive metal quite a bit, I don't think it's one of the greatest prog metal albums.

The album opens up with one of Dream Theater's most popular songs, 'Pull Me Under', which rightfully so is called a masterpiece. It begins with very memorable acoustic guitar chords before picking up with heavy guitar. Soon the crunching thrash riffs come in with complementary keyboard work. LaBrie's voice, as many have expressed before, is very much a love-hate vocal style. I personally love his voice, it's especially strong on this song, but some may find it annoying. You know you've made a perfect chorus when it constantly flows through your head, I find myself singing to the lyrics 'Pull Me Under, Pull Me Under, I'm Not Afraid!' quite often. Easily the best song on the album, and one Dream Theater's best songs in general.

The song that standouts the most along with 'Pull Me Under' is the nine-minute 'Metropolis Part 1', which is another one of my favorites. This song continues the melodic thrash found on the aforementioned song, except on a grander scale. Mike Portnoy's drums I find to be especially strong on this track, creating some pretty complex rhythms. It has an awesome bridge with complex keyboard and drum patterns. 'Learning to Live' is another favorite, the finale epic. LaBrie's vocals are very strong during the second part of the song, complementing the flowing guitar very well.

The only real problem I have with the album are the sappy ballads like 'Another Day' and 'Surrounded'. I'm not a fan of ballads, but I do like them if they're done right especially power ballads. I do love power ballads, but unfortunately these ballads act more as filler then songs to benefit the listening experience. The song 'Take the Time' also feels like filler, except I don't think it's bad. It's an okay song with a funky feel, but really does not fit well on the album.

Overall, 'Images and Words' is certainly a great album even though it has its flaws. While not my favorite Dream Theater album, it's still an excellent album to have in any metal collection. If you ever thought melodic thrash metal with some keyboards sounds good, I'd say go pick it up.

(Orginally written for www.MetalMusicArchives.com.)

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 Awake by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.11 | 1662 ratings

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Awake
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Losimba

4 stars Awake is one of the albums with the biggest number of changes of the rating I have ever handed out. I bought it shortly after its release and liked it quite well, especially the one six star song. The problem was, however, that I slipped into my "folky" phase when I preferred artists like Runrig, U2 and even the Dubliners over Power and Progressive Metal around the millenium. This was the reason why I didn't buy another Dream Theater album for nearly ten years, but after I returned to the more progressive and powerful sounds Awake became one of my favourite albums again.

The six star song had always been in my then much shorter favourite playlist, but it has now been joined by The Silent Man. There are other really good songs on Awake, like the first two parts of the trilogy A Mind Beside Itself which The Silent Man concludes, but none of them is outstanding. I guess that I would have awarded five stars eight years ago, but after I got Octavarium, Systematic Chaos and especially Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence, I can't uphold this rating.

So now it's down to strong four stars, certainly four and a half over at metalmusicarchives. You'd like to know the name of the six star song? Sorry for holding back. it is the last track on the album, Space Dye-Vest which I liked for its weird title even before the first listening, and still consider to be the best Dream Theater song (together with Octavarium).

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