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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


The Studio Albums 1992-2011The Studio Albums 1992-2011
Box set
Roadrunner 2014
Audio CD$32.41
$32.77 (used)
Dream TheaterDream Theater
Roadrunner Records 2013
Audio CD$12.59
$10.07 (used)
Images & WordsImages & Words
Atlantic 1992
Audio CD$3.96
$2.39 (used)
Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a MemoryMetropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory
Elektra 1999
Audio CD$3.94
$1.88 (used)
Change of SeasonsChange of Seasons
Atlantic 1995
Audio CD$2.41
$1.75 (used)
AwakeAwake
Atlantic 1994
Audio CD$3.94
$0.40 (used)
OctavariumOctavarium
Atlantic 2005
Audio CD$3.19
$0.98 (used)
Train of ThoughtTrain of Thought
Elektra 2003
Audio CD$3.66
$0.69 (used)
When Dream and Day UniteWhen Dream and Day Unite
MCA Records
Audio CD$4.27
$3.20 (used)
Systematic ChaosSystematic Chaos
Roadrunner Records 2007
Audio CD$3.89
$1.00 (used)
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15h 31m
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DREAM THEATER-IMAGES AND WORDS CD ORIGINAL 1992 ATCO/RUSH/PROGRESSIVE METAL USD $10.00 Buy It Now 16h 37m
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17h 21m
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DREAM THEATER shows & tickets


  • Rock by the River 2015 on 7 Jul 2015
  • Rockharz Open Air 2015 on 9 Jul 2015
  • Dream Theater + Devin Townsend Project + Haken at Kunst!rasen Gronau, Bonn on 9 Jul 2015
  • Mind Over Matter on 10 Jul 2015
  • Bospop 2015 on 11 Jul 2015
  • Bukta - Tromsø Open Air Festival on 16 Jul 2015
  • Bang Your Head!!! 2015 on 16 Jul 2015
  • Metaldays 2015 on 19 Jul 2015
  • Dream Theater + guest on 19 Jul 2015
  • Dream Theater + Anathema + Myrath at Théâtre Antique, Arles on 20 Jul 2015
  • [LES ESCALES DU CARGO ] Dream Theater + Myrath + Guest @ Arles on 20 Jul 2015
  • Rock Fest Barcelona 2015 on 23 Jul 2015
  • Ramblin' Man Fair on 25 Jul 2015
  • Dream Theater + Queensr˙che + Mother's Cake at Z7 Konzertfabrik Pratteln, Pratteln on 26 Jul 2015
  • Dream Theater + Queensr˙che + Fish at Château de Beaufort, Beaufort on 28 Jul 2015
  • Wacken Open Air 2015 on 30 Jul 2015
  • Skogsröjet 2015 on 31 Jul 2015
  • Dream Theater + Anathema + Von Hertzen Brothers + more at Jäähalli, Helsinki on 2 Aug 2015

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 | 990 ratings
When Dream And Day Unite
1989
4.29 | 2256 ratings
Images And Words
1992
4.11 | 1646 ratings
Awake
1994
3.33 | 1206 ratings
Falling Into Infinity
1997
4.28 | 2321 ratings
Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory
1999
4.13 | 1556 ratings
Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence
2002
3.58 | 1458 ratings
Train Of Thought
2003
3.66 | 1644 ratings
Octavarium
2005
3.32 | 1395 ratings
Systematic Chaos
2007
3.43 | 1297 ratings
Black Clouds & Silver Linings
2009
3.89 | 1302 ratings
A Dramatic Turn Of Events
2011
3.43 | 592 ratings
Dream Theater
2013

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

3.62 | 318 ratings
Live At The Marquee
1993
3.27 | 312 ratings
Once In A Livetime
1998
4.57 | 435 ratings
Live Scenes From New York
2001
4.24 | 384 ratings
Live At Budokan
2004
4.46 | 446 ratings
Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra
2006
3.67 | 48 ratings
Happy Holidays
2013

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

4.19 | 151 ratings
Images And Words - Live In Tokyo
1993
4.35 | 348 ratings
Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York
2001
3.81 | 159 ratings
Live in Tokyo/5 Years in a Livetime
2004
4.09 | 96 ratings
When Dream And Day Reunite [Official Bootleg]
2004
4.29 | 338 ratings
Live at Budokan
2004
3.53 | 40 ratings
A Walk Beside The Band
2005
4.39 | 360 ratings
Dream Theater - Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra
2006
3.95 | 114 ratings
Dark Side Of The Moon
2006
4.06 | 62 ratings
Bucharest, Romania 7/4/02
2007
3.45 | 191 ratings
Chaos In Motion 2007/2008
2008
2.33 | 59 ratings
Greatest Hit (...and 5 Other Pretty Cool Videos)
2008
3.65 | 34 ratings
Live at Tokyo Sun Plaza
2009
4.09 | 84 ratings
Live at Luna Park
2013
4.34 | 43 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)

2.08 | 156 ratings
Greatest Hit (...and 21 other pretty cool songs)
2008
3.98 | 25 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
2.96 | 44 ratings
Lie
1994
3.65 | 552 ratings
A Change Of Seasons
1995
3.05 | 52 ratings
Hollow Years
1997
3.80 | 25 ratings
Once In A LIVEtime Outtakes (International Fan Club CD 1998)
1998
3.03 | 49 ratings
Cleaning Out The Closet
1999
3.14 | 50 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
2.78 | 85 ratings
The Number Of The Beast
2003
1.92 | 94 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 | 40 ratings
The Majesty Demos 1985 - 1986 [Official bootleg]
2003
3.64 | 27 ratings
A Sort Of Homecoming
2004
3.33 | 27 ratings
Images and Words: Demos 1989 - 1991 [Official Bootleg]
2004
3.83 | 54 ratings
When Dream And Day Reunite
2004
2.67 | 18 ratings
When Dream And Day Unite Demos 1987-1989
2004
3.32 | 108 ratings
Dark Side Of The Moon
2006
2.29 | 28 ratings
Awake Demos
2006
3.02 | 25 ratings
Old Bridge, New JERSEY - 12/14/96
2006
3.62 | 50 ratings
Made in Japan [Official Bootleg]
2006
3.47 | 27 ratings
Images and Words - 15th Anniversary Performance (Fan Club CD 2007)
2007
4.17 | 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
2.44 | 52 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 | 110 ratings
On the Backs of Angels
2011
3.15 | 62 ratings
The Enemy Inside
2013
3.71 | 14 ratings
Illumination Theory
2014

DREAM THEATER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Octavarium by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.66 | 1644 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 | 1458 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
3.43 | 592 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
3.43 | 592 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
3.43 | 592 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 | 2256 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 | 1646 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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 When Dream And Day Unite  by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.22 | 990 ratings

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When Dream And Day Unite
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Losimba

2 stars When I got this CD in 1994 or so, I wasn't very impressed. Unfortunately this unimpression hasn't changed until now and I doubt that it ever will.

While the instrumental parts clearly show the talent of the musicians, the voice of Charlie Dominici is nowhere near James LaBrie's. I wouldn't call him a bad singer, just not the right one for this band and style of music. It is similar with the songs themselves: While none causes immediate vomit, there's nothing that would remain distinct even after a hundred times of listening in. Finally, the sound, while not bad, hasn't developped into that wall I love on the later Dream Theater albums. Here, and to a slightly lesser extent on the second album, Dream Theater sound like Metallica plus keyboards. This is not necessarily bad, but on the other hand not good enough for a high rating.

So in the end, I can't justify more than 2 stars for a debut album which is not bad but overshadowed by the things to follow. Had Dream Theater not gone on to albums like Awake or Scenes From A Memory, I might have given 3 for this one, but it's unlikely that I'd thought about reviewing them at all.

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 Breaking The Fourth Wall (Live From The Boston Opera House) by DREAM THEATER album cover DVD/Video, 2014
4.34 | 43 ratings

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

Review by TheMasterMofo

5 stars As a long time Dream Theater fan, there's a certain level of performance I've come to expect from Dream Theater when it comes to live shows, and while they certainly reach this level on Breaking the Fourth Wall, I think I have to start out by saying that this is absolutely the best vocal performance I've EVER heard from James Labrie. (Get ready for a rare Labrie love fest from me)

I became a Dream Theater fan in 2003. I was teaching private guitar lessons after school to make gas money for my car and one of my students handed me Awake and Train of Thought and told me that I was going to like them... I did. Since then, I've seen Dream Theater nearly every time they've come through the southeast U.S. and even went up to New York for the filming of their 20th anniversary Score DVD. I've stuck with DT through the good and the bad, but this is, IMO, their best live performance to date, and the only reason it's not perfect is because Mike Portnoy isn't featured...

Anyway, the first half of the show focuses on Dream Theater's last three albums: Black Clouds, Dramatic Turn of Events, and the self-titled album (And, randomly, Trial of Tears). While I could've done without The Shattered Fortress (Nightmare to Remember would've been better!), the song selection from these albums was fantastic, highlighting some of their best songs of this modern era of DT without repeating too many songs from Live at Luna Park, which seems like it just came out (it did). If you haven't given DT's newer stuff much of a chance, this is a very good chance to watch, listen, and determine whether or not you can truly get into it. The musicianship on the first half is amazing and James Labrie seems pretty much perfect.

Oh, speaking of Labrie, my friends and I were taking a drink whenever James Labrie did something particularly amazing because we could tell very early on in the set that he was sounding stronger than ever... By the end of the first half of the set we were fairly inebriated. What would happen next, none of us were prepared for...

The second half of the set focuses on two albums: Awake and Scenes From a Memory, two of DT's most monumental and critically acclaimed albums. The first two songs, The Mirror/Lie destroyed the night for my friends and I. What I mean by that is, Labrie sounded so ridiculously better than any time I've ever heard him perform these songs, even on the studio albums, that we wound up taking several rounds of triple shots to affirm his awesomeness during these two songs.

Needless to say, we didn't finish the DVD that night, but when we did, we enjoyed the rest of a great set of DT classics. If you've been waiting for years to hear Labrie nail vocals on your favorite Awake and Scenes songs, your wait is over; Labrie sounds better than ever. It's not just the fact that he's hitting the notes, or that he's doing it with clarity, or that he's doing it with confidence... He's doing all of those things, but he's got an attitude on stage, too. Labrie seems every bit as aware as I was of how great he sounded on stage. I've never seen Labrie own the stage like he does in this DVD, and I've seen DT more than ten times live now.

So, I've spent most of this review praising Labrie... You should know that Petrucci sounds great like normal, though his tone on some of the older songs seems out of place. Myung needed to be louder, but he does what he always does and plays a solid show. Rudess seems to fit in better with the newer music from the last three albums than he does with DT's older stuff, so he really shines in the first half of the set. He still does fine in the second half, but doesn't sound quite as good. Mangini is a wonderfully talented drummer and does as good a job as anyone could hope to do filling Mike Portnoy's shoes. Like Rudess, he sounds better on the recent songs, probably because when he plays the classics I'm comparing what he does to what Portnoy did and my brain can't accept anything differently.

All in all, this is, IMO, the best live DVD Dream Theater has ever put out. If you lost faith in James Labrie, this will restore it. If you never liked him to begin with, you probably will after watching this. And of course I say DVD throughout this review, but I purchased the Bluray. The quality is great, but I'm not well-versed enough in the nerdom of audio/video quality to give any relevant comments.

If you like DT, get this DVD. If you live good music, get this DVD. If you like redemption stories (Labrie, who has been bashed for quite a while), get this DVD.

Get this DVD.

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 Live at Luna Park by DREAM THEATER album cover DVD/Video, 2013
4.09 | 84 ratings

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Live at Luna Park
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by jampa17
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Wonderful redemption for the band

This was a birthday present my wife gave me a year ago. Of course, the detractors of DT would say "Oh no, another DVD" but you know, it's quite a great experience, 'cause DT is always about the music, the sound, the technique and the "live version" is always needed to complete the cycle of the current album. It was really important 'cause is the first time Mangini appears in the drums command live. And what a show!!! My review is over the special 2DVD+3CD edition.

The image, the production and editing is quite great. You have a lot of material and several songs covered, as usual, with great arrangements, very sober and the usual DT controlling everything. Maybe the bass and keys are a bit down in the mix, but the energy, the passion and the vibe is all there.

I don't love the snare drums from Mangini but the man is quite a show to watch and you see the energy in between the members. Portnoy on the last couple of DVDs was in too many places, taking too much control and been honest, the energy of the band wasn't as good as in here. Portnoy's monster kit and jumping one side to the other doing different arrangements for the songs and trying to do "something else" that wasn't necessary. Especially when you see Labrie, more focused, more into the crowd doing his roll as a frontman and not as a hiredgun-singer Portnoy always want to portrait him. Also, you have a quite nice documentary (really funny, actually) previous the show and several extra tracks, with some of the most wonderful performances they've made. A lot of material of the Moore era and a quite rounded show.

The CDs are great and even the package with the artwork and the pictures and everything is quite an experience, even for fans like me, that have been around for 15 years or so. I know there is a lot to enjoy here and I'm quite sure prog metal fans will enjoy the show. They set the bar way too high each time around. A masterpiece? Yes, on it's own terms.

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