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DREAM THEATER

Progressive Metal • United States


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

I. Introduction

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

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



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



II. History

A. Formation and Early Years (1985-1990)

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

3.21 | 1376 ratings
When Dream and Day Unite
1989
4.30 | 3087 ratings
Images and Words
1992
4.16 | 2242 ratings
Awake
1994
3.34 | 1646 ratings
Falling into Infinity
1997
4.30 | 3147 ratings
Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes from a Memory
1999
4.15 | 2107 ratings
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
2002
3.61 | 1942 ratings
Train of Thought
2003
3.68 | 2147 ratings
Octavarium
2005
3.32 | 1843 ratings
Systematic Chaos
2007
3.46 | 1728 ratings
Black Clouds & Silver Linings
2009
3.84 | 1728 ratings
A Dramatic Turn of Events
2011
3.25 | 1055 ratings
Dream Theater
2013
3.27 | 815 ratings
The Astonishing
2016
3.67 | 429 ratings
Distance over Time
2019
3.82 | 261 ratings
A View from the Top of the World
2021

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

3.66 | 434 ratings
Live at The Marquee
1993
3.34 | 411 ratings
Once in a Livetime
1998
4.56 | 579 ratings
Live Scenes From New York
2001
4.25 | 514 ratings
Live at Budokan
2004
4.45 | 575 ratings
Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra
2006
3.52 | 93 ratings
Happy Holidays
2013
4.50 | 9 ratings
Chaos in Motion 2007-2008
2015
3.15 | 7 ratings
Breaking the Fourth Wall (Live from the Boston Opera House)
2017
3.56 | 35 ratings
Distant Memories - Live in London
2020
3.24 | 17 ratings
Lost Not Forgotten Archives: Images and Words - Live in Japan, 2017
2021
0.00 | 0 ratings
Lost Not Forgotten Archives: ...and Beyond - Live in Japan, 2017
2022
0.00 | 0 ratings
Lost Not Forgotten Archives: Live in Berlin (2019)
2022

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

4.20 | 206 ratings
Images And Words - Live In Tokyo
1993
4.37 | 430 ratings
Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York
2001
3.82 | 205 ratings
Live in Tokyo/5 Years in a Livetime
2004
4.02 | 126 ratings
When Dream And Day Reunite [Official Bootleg]
2004
4.31 | 424 ratings
Live at Budokan
2004
3.54 | 57 ratings
A Walk Beside The Band
2005
4.41 | 444 ratings
Dream Theater - Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra
2006
3.88 | 159 ratings
Dark Side Of The Moon
2006
3.85 | 13 ratings
Romavarium
2006
3.99 | 85 ratings
Bucharest, Romania 7/4/02
2007
3.44 | 249 ratings
Chaos in Motion 2007-2008
2008
2.39 | 80 ratings
Greatest Hit (...and 5 Other Pretty Cool Videos)
2008
3.56 | 57 ratings
Live at Tokyo Sun Plaza
2009
4.00 | 8 ratings
Official Bootleg: Santiago, Chile 12/6/05 (20th Anniversary Tour 2005/2006)
2009
4.02 | 159 ratings
Live at Luna Park
2013
4.36 | 135 ratings
Breaking The Fourth Wall (Live From The Boston Opera House)
2014

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

3.70 | 10 ratings
Systematic Chaos Special Edition
2007
2.22 | 197 ratings
Greatest Hit (...and 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs)
2008
2.20 | 5 ratings
Take The Time (The Warner Years 1992-2005)
2009
3.57 | 7 ratings
Black Clouds & Silver Linings Box Set
2009
3.96 | 51 ratings
Original Album Series
2011
2.67 | 6 ratings
The Triple Album Collection
2012
4.45 | 14 ratings
The Studio Albums 1992-2011
2014

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

3.03 | 40 ratings
Afterlife
1989
3.27 | 40 ratings
Status Seeker
1989
2.88 | 30 ratings
The ATCO Demos
1991
2.92 | 65 ratings
Another Day
1992
3.69 | 59 ratings
Pull Me Under
1992
4.11 | 9 ratings
Take the Time
1992
4.67 | 3 ratings
Live
1993
3.55 | 65 ratings
The Silent Man
1994
2.93 | 49 ratings
Caught in a Web
1994
3.09 | 63 ratings
Lie
1994
3.70 | 717 ratings
A Change of Seasons
1995
2.82 | 11 ratings
International Fan Club Christmas CD
1996
2.50 | 8 ratings
You Not Me
1997
2.75 | 8 ratings
Burning My Soul
1997
3.09 | 67 ratings
Hollow Years
1997
4.40 | 5 ratings
Live Bonus Tracks
1998
3.77 | 37 ratings
Once in a LIVEtime Outtakes (International Fan Club CD 1998)
1998
3.11 | 68 ratings
Cleaning Out The Closet
1999
3.15 | 74 ratings
Through Her Eyes
2000
2.08 | 39 ratings
Christmas CD 2000 - Scenes from a World Tour
2000
1.96 | 39 ratings
4 degrees of Radio edits
2002
3.25 | 24 ratings
When Demos and Singles Unite
2002
3.02 | 48 ratings
Taste the Memories
2002
3.00 | 7 ratings
Selections from Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
2002
2.94 | 42 ratings
Graspop Festival 2002 (International Fanclub CD 2003)
2003
3.10 | 51 ratings
The Making Of Scenes From A Memory
2003
2.82 | 112 ratings
The Number of the Beast
2003
2.03 | 121 ratings
Master of Puppets
2003
2.67 | 43 ratings
Los Angeles, California 5/18/98
2003
3.32 | 44 ratings
Tokyo, Japan 10/28/95
2003
2.90 | 53 ratings
Official Bootleg: The Majesty Demos 1985-1986
2003
3.67 | 37 ratings
A Sort of Homecoming
2004
3.29 | 43 ratings
Images and Words: Demos 1989 - 1991 [Official Bootleg]
2004
2.74 | 33 ratings
When Dream and Day Unite - Demos 1987-1989
2004
3.80 | 74 ratings
When Dream and Day Reunite
2005
3.36 | 137 ratings
Dark Side of the Moon
2006
2.51 | 43 ratings
Awake Demos
2006
3.16 | 39 ratings
Old Bridge, New Jersey - 12/14/96
2006
3.39 | 72 ratings
Made in Japan [Official Bootleg]
2006
3.44 | 41 ratings
Images and Words - 15th Anniversary Performance (Fan Club CD 2007)
2007
4.07 | 79 ratings
Falling Into Infinity: Demos 1996-1997 [Official Bootleg]
2007
3.12 | 49 ratings
Constant Motion
2007
3.55 | 47 ratings
New York City 3/4/93
2007
3.29 | 7 ratings
Lifting Shadows Companion CD
2007
2.60 | 5 ratings
Road to Wembley
2007
2.85 | 13 ratings
Forsaken
2007
3.65 | 20 ratings
Progressive Nation 2008 - The International Fan Clubs CD 2008
2008
2.50 | 63 ratings
Forsaken
2008
2.62 | 81 ratings
A Rite of Passage
2009
3.13 | 80 ratings
Stargazer
2009
3.40 | 74 ratings
Tenement Funster/Flick Of The Wrist/Lily Of The Valley
2009
3.67 | 59 ratings
Odyssey
2009
3.52 | 54 ratings
Take Your Fingers From My Hair
2009
3.24 | 73 ratings
Larks Tongues In Aspic, Pt. 2
2009
3.22 | 89 ratings
Wither
2009
3.10 | 49 ratings
Uncovered 2003-2005
2009
2.25 | 33 ratings
The Making of Falling into Infinity
2009
2.93 | 33 ratings
Train of Thought Instrumental Demos 2003
2009
3.58 | 126 ratings
On the Backs of Angels
2011
3.14 | 14 ratings
Build Me Up, Break Me Down
2011
3.17 | 12 ratings
Along for the Ride
2013
4.00 | 6 ratings
The Looking Glass
2013
3.22 | 84 ratings
The Enemy Inside
2013
4.04 | 42 ratings
Illumination Theory
2014
3.20 | 15 ratings
Our New World
2016
3.11 | 26 ratings
Untethered Angel
2018
3.58 | 24 ratings
Falling Into The Light
2019
3.67 | 15 ratings
Paralyzed
2019
3.00 | 2 ratings
Pale Blue Dot (Live at Hammersmith Apollo, London, UK, 2020)
2020
3.50 | 2 ratings
Scene Three: II. Fatal Tragedy (Live at Hammersmith Apollo, London, UK, 2020)
2020
3.35 | 33 ratings
The Alien
2021
3.47 | 15 ratings
Invisible Monster
2021
4.25 | 8 ratings
Awaken the Master
2021
3.00 | 2 ratings
Transcending Time
2022

DREAM THEATER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Astonishing by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.27 | 815 ratings

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The Astonishing
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars What is it about bands continually going back to the "what if in the future the GOVERNMENT banned ROCK MUSIC" well? Rush did the definitive take on the subject on 2112 and still had a whole side of the record left to do some self-contained songs; Zappa did an exhaustive treatment of it on Joe's Garage; Styx blew themselves up when they tried it on Kilroy Was Here; the Queen jukebox musical adopted it as the plot. It's possibly one of the most overused plots in rock opera, next to "I had a bad childhood and now I have a sad" (hello Tommy, hello The Wall, hello S.F. Sorrow...).

So for Dream Theater to do a two-CD concept album about the idea, running at over two hours... it was always going to be a bit of a hard sell to me. It's just not that clever or original a lyrical concept, and seriously, since the early 1990s rock music (and the less extreme flavours of metal) have been absolutely establishment. If any musical form is about to get banned these days, it's far more likely to be rap or drill music. The mild references to music fading away because mainstream society "has no time for it" would be an original twist... except, oops, the arbiters of popular culture take exactly the same stance in Rush's 2112! Just cover that song if you want to tell that story, lads, it's a banger and you've got the chops to do it justice.

So, lyrically speaking this is worn-out old rubbish, recycling an idea which has already been rehashed far too many times since Rush made bank with it. Musically speaking, on the other hand, it's a bit of a departure. Rather than being produced collaboratively, with all the band members making contributions, John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess went into a room, wrote all the music, and Petrucci knocked out the lyrics (and therefore must take the lion's share of the blame for the crushingly unoriginal concept).

The end result is a rather simpler, smoother take on Dream Theater - there's shimmers of their usual ornate style, but much of it is more straightforward, or dips into more symphonic styles of metal than we're used to hearing from them. It's all rather accessible - to the point where it can be accused of being Falling Into Infinity 2.0.

All that said, I don't think trying something very different from business as usual was a bad idea at this stage. A Dramatic Turn of Events was very much a Business As Usual album, because with Portnoy out and Mangini in the band needed to demonstrate that they weren't about to fall apart. Fine. Then there was their self-titled album, and the whole thing felt a little TOO "business as usual" - it's not that it was bad, but none of it felt special because it was all the sort of thing we've heard from the band a lot.

So in terms of compositional approach and being a two-CD concept album, The Astonishing can't be accused of being business as usual - and sometimes you need to do an exercise like this to shake things up creatively. Even if you go straight back to the old formula, you'll often still find new ways to refine it after this sort of diversion.

What you get here, though, is 2 hours of Dream Theater taking a bit of a break from being the Dream Theater we've gotten used to. It's actually not bad - not Astonishing, despite the title, but not bad. Like many concept albums which botch the concept, it's far more entertaining if you don't even bother to try to follow the story and just let it wash over you. Nonetheless, I'd tend to sit it alongside the preceding album; it's the product of Dream Theater being in a little bit of a creative slump, but whilst the previous album saw them sliding into that fallow patch without changing course, this finds them doing something bold to try and climb out of the rut.

As a result, I think I prefer this one mildly to their self-titled album: they might be flailing a little, but at least some interesting stuff results from it, and you can't really accuse this album of sounding like yet another rehash of A Dramatic Turn of Events. If the idea of Dream Theater applying their cheesiest instincts to a sub-Hunger Games dystopian plotline sounds either entertaining or amusingly bad to you, check it out; otherwise, I wouldn't make this your first port of call in exploring their discography.

 Awake by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.16 | 2242 ratings

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Awake
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nš 566

"Awake" is the third studio album of Dream Theater and was released in 1994. Much of the material for the album was written by Dream Theater under pressure from their record label to produce an album as successful as their previous studio album "Images And Words". The record label wanted the band produced a more metal oriented album. It was the last Dream Theater's album to feature their former keyboardist Kevin Moore, who announced his decision to leave the band during the recording sessions of the album, to pursue a solo career. He was substituted by Derek Sherinian to perform with the band during the live tour of the album. Sherinian stayed with in the band only on "Falling Into Infinity".

So, the line up on the album is James LaBrie (lead vocals), John Petrucci (backing vocals and guitars), Kevin Moore (vocals and keyboards), John Myung (bass) and Mike Portnoy (backing vocals, drums and percussion).

"Awake" has eleven tracks. All music was written by Dream Theater except "A Mind Beside Itself: III. The Silent" written by Petrucci and "Space-Dye Vest" written by Moore. The first track "6.00", with lyrics by Moore, shows the more technical side of the band, with plenty of strange and syncopated rhythms. It's aggressive, musically and lyrically, with LaBrie's high notes. It's warning us this isn't another "Images And Words". The second track "Caught In A Web", with lyrics by LaBrie and Petrucci, is much like its predecessor but it features very interesting keyboard effects over a nice rhythm. Probably, this is one of the most keyboard oriented songs on the album. It's another excellent song with intricate parts. The third track "Innocence Faded", with lyrics by Petrucci, is more radio friendly than the first two tracks and is almost a throwback to "Images And Words". The voice of LaBrie is more melodic and it has also a less aggressive guitar work. However, it maintains the great darker aura of "Awake". The fourth track "A Mind Beside Itself: I. Erotomania" is an instrumental track and represents the first part of a suite. This is a complex track, even by the standards of Dream Theater. It's a track with many musical changes and passages that shows perfectly well the high quality of these musicians. The fifth track "A Mind Beside Itself: II. Voices", with lyrics by Petrucci, is the part two of the suite and is one of the two epics on the album. It's another track full of changes and passages where each member shines through it. The chorus is incredible with an epic feel and the solo sections are excellent, which are probably the best on the album. The sixth track "A Mind Beside Itself: III. The Silent Man", with lyrics by Petrucci, is the last section of the suite and is the shortest track on the album. Musically it's a different song because it's all acoustic. But, it actually follows the standard's song structures. It's also a great song, but it doesn't stand out much after the epic. The seventh track "The Mirror", with lyrics by Portnoy, is about his alcoholic problems. It's one of the heaviest songs on the album. It starts with an aggressive guitar work followed by drums. What impresses me most on this song are Moore's keyboard lines, added to the hostile attitude of LaBrie when he delivers Portnoy's story of his losing battle against alcoholism. The eighth track "Lie", with lyrics by Moore, seems like a counterpoint, more melodic and technical, but still heavy and similar in tone to the previous track. The lyrics are also a counterpoint, expressing Moore's anger at being continually deceived by lovers, friends and possibly, even by his fellows of the group. The ninth track "Lifting Shadows Off A Dream", with lyrics by Myung, is a song built on bass guitar, with the other instruments providing the support. It's a sort of a break from the two last heavy songs. It's a pretty and simple ballad with an incredible atmosphere and with a phenomenal keyboard work. The tenth track "Scarred", with lyrics by Portnoy, is the album's second epic. It seems to be the most experimental song on the album and it has even more changes and passages, that are used here, than on "A Mind Beside Itself". This is one of the best tracks on the album and it became a classic track, really. The eleventh and last track "Space-Dye Vest", with lyrics by Moore, is a simple but hunting beautiful piano piece with some drumming and guitars in the back. This track is simply amazing and represents the culmination of everything that made Moore's keyboard work so great. This is a perfect closer for the album and a great farewell of Moore from the band.

Conclusion: "Awake" is a complex, experimental and varied album, with a permanent gloomy feeling to it. "Awake" is definitely another masterpiece of Dream Theater and represents really a very impressive follow up to the great previous album "Images And Words". It shows a different musical approach to a more progressive metal sound. Comparing to its predecessor "Awake" has a heavier and aggressive sound and the lyrics are more dark and impenetrable. In my humble opinion, "Awake" is probably a better album than "Images And Words" is. It hasn't any weak points and it's more expressive, inspired, honest and fresh. Sincerely, I think "Awake" is simply brilliant and a very unique album in Dream Theater's career. It's one of their best releases that will take some time to grow on you. It's highly recommended.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Breaking the Fourth Wall (Live from the Boston Opera House) by DREAM THEATER album cover Live, 2017
3.15 | 7 ratings

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Breaking the Fourth Wall (Live from the Boston Opera House)
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This came hot on the heels on the Live At Luna Park live set, which might prompt you to wonder whether Dream Theater were starting to flood the market a little with these epic-length live releases. Ever since Live Scenes From New York ended up as legendary as it was, triple album-length live workouts have been part of Dream Theater's schtick, but I'm unpersuaded.

If you're here for the visuals, then god this is a lot of Dream Theater to sit there and watch for nearly 3 hours; probably too much. This got an audio-only release on CD as well as a DVD release, at least, though the audio does reveal some issues with the mix - LaBrie's vocals are outright murky at some point, and some of the higher cymbal sounds end up coming across weird. The audience are also a little prominent in the mix - some crowd noise is nice on live albums, of course, but here it's a little more intrusive than usual.

Sure, some imperfections come with the territory, that's part of the appeal of live albums usually, but on the technical front past live releases from the band have avoided these issues. It really comes across as something knocked out and released in a hurry - particularly given how close this release was to the Luna Park one - which only contributes to the impression of Dream Theater needlessly flooding the market. Maybe I could give it more of a chance if these nagging technical issues didn't keep taking me out of it - there's nothing wrong with the performance here, if anything the band are at the top of their game - but in this case, their live recording setup wasn't keeping pace with them.

 Dream Theater by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.25 | 1055 ratings

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Dream Theater
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Dream Theater's second album with Mike Mangini on drums takes the ballsy step of being a self-titled album. There's basically two reasons to do a self-titled album: one is that it's your debut album, and the other is that you think it's a release which really encapsulates your sound. Doing this some 12 albums into your career feels like a big step in particular - it's not that doing this necessarily disparages the preceding albums, but it does imply a crystallisation of the thread that ran through all of them.

As it turns out, though, the choice of title is apt not for this reason, but simply this: "Dream Theater" is about a generic a Dream Theater album as Dream Theater have ever made.

It's not that it's clumsy or bad - it's just that nothing in particular stands out, the band largely continuing to plough the same furrow they'd been working on A Dramatic Turn of Events. That album, in itself, was very much a "business as usual" affair; producing such a thing after one of your co-founders have left and you need to establish you can still go like you used to is fair enough, but doing two in a row suggests the creative well is drying up.

The major exception here is False Awakening Suite, a brief under-3-minutes introductory track which sees the band dabbling in symphonic power metal territory; it's incongruous and could have probably happily been trimmed, but at least it manages to stand out. Here, Dream Theater sound like, well Dream Theater - or any other reasonably competent imitator. And we've got plenty of that already.

I wouldn't say this album is outright bad - but I'd be lying if I said it was great. It's fine to listen to in the background if you are fond of the group, but I'd never make it the first album you listen to. For better or worse, if any album in their discography can be said to sum up what makes Dream Theater, well, Dream Theater, it's Images & Words, their first true classic which set the stage for everything to follow. As for Dream Theater, by Dream Theater... well, it's Dream Theater, alright. But it's just Dream Theater, nothing more than that. And Dream Theater are able to be a better Dream Theater when they reach beyond the unambitious boundaries they set for themselves on "Dream Theater".

 Live at Luna Park by DREAM THEATER album cover DVD/Video, 2013
4.02 | 159 ratings

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Live at Luna Park
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Though released in late 2013, a few months after they put out their self-titled album, Dream Theater's Live At Luna Park actually captures a 2012 residency at the titular venue hailing from the Dramatic Turn of Events tour - hence the daredevil unicyclist from that cover appearing here.

That album was, of course, largely an exercise in reassuring listeners that Dream Theater could still be Dream Theater without Mike Portnoy at the drum stool, though it managed to pull through on the strength of its material. Here, the band seem to be doing the same thing from the perspective of live albums - demonstrating to fans that we needn't worry, new boy Mike Mangini can drum for absurd amounts of time just like Mike Portnoy could. The three-CD live album had become something of a calling card for Dream Theater - though by this point in their career they tended to be coupled to DVDs - and so this seems to have been an exercise in demonstrating that the adjusted lineup could still do this.

It's not bad, on the whole, but it doesn't feel compelling necessary either. Unless you are a true zealot, there's a point where you've kind of got enough live Dream Theater, and though the focus here on material from A Dramatic Turn of Events at least means there's fresh stuff here, there's more that could have been done to shake up the set list. There's a bizarre lack of material from Black Clouds and Silver Linings, despite that they hadn't done any of their 3CD live albums since the Systematic Chaos tour, so that's an entire well of material left unaccountably untapped. Chunks of this material has already had good airings on live albums, and the strong focus on material from Images and Words and Awake makes the set list feel lop-sided - Octavarium, Six Degrees, and Metropolis also get a look-in, but there's several albums which just get overlooked entirely.

To an extent, of course, that's a testament to the strength of Dream Theater's body of work - of course you can come up with a 3 hour-plus setlist only working from a fraction of their back catalogue, they've got an embarrassment of riches to choose from! At the same time, it does make the setlist feel a bit off, and between this and them sticking fairly closely to the studio renditions for the most part it just makes the whole thing seem inessential compared to prior live releases. It comes across as Dream Theater putting out these super-long live albums because they feel an obligation to, rather than (as with Live Scenes From New York) it felt like the natural and artistically appropriate choice. If my feeling on that is correct, that's an issue; if it's not, it's still a problem, because it means the album's failed to convince me on that front.

Either way, this captures a solid performance so I can't rate it down too much, it just doesn't quite have the magic of Scenes From New York.

 The Studio Albums 1992-2011 by DREAM THEATER album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2014
4.45 | 14 ratings

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The Studio Albums 1992-2011
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This 11-disc boxed set presents the run of Dream Theater albums from Images and Words through to A Dramatic Turn of Events in no-fuss cardboard sleeves, presented in a clamshell box. The sleeves themselves are not as cheap as some of the "original album classics"-like sets that are out there, and because Dream Theater were very much a band of the CD era it's not like you are losing out on masses and masses of details from the artwork from this approach, so the overall presentation manages to be cost-effective without being cheap.

As for the contents - well, fans of the band might quibble about missing out When Dream and Day Unite, or query the lack of A Change of Seasons (strictly speaking an EP, but a fairly important release in many fans' estimation) or any live albums (but their best ones from this era were triple-CD releases), but these would all be quibbles. The fact is, if you've been after a physical Dream Theater collection want a nice, compact, cost-effective way to start it off, this one purchase gets you the majority of their studio albums (including many of their absolute best) in one fell swoop.

 A Dramatic Turn of Events by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 1728 ratings

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A Dramatic Turn of Events
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Let it not be said that Dream Theater lack self-awareness: calling their first album without Mike Portnoy "A Dramatic Turn of Events" suggests that the band were well aware that the loss of such a key member of the group would be difficult to adjust to. Indeed, not only had Portnoy been onboard from the beginning, but this would mark the first lineup change the band had endured since the Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From a Memory lineup had coalesced.

New drummer Mike Mangini doesn't exactly turn the Dream Theater sound on its head here, but frankly he was never likely to - nobody joins a band which is 11 albums deep into its career and generally considered a leader of its subgenre and seriously expects to change the chemistry of the group rapidly. Indeed, the album opener - On the Backs of Angels - is an almost calculatedly "business as usual" Dream Theater number, a piece you could imagine Portnoy drumming on just as much as Mangini.

Perhaps part of this is a by-product of the way the album was developed - with the rest of the group writing it and developing demos with programmed drums in parallel with finishing off their search for a new drummer. As a result, whilst Mangini has some scope here to add a little personal touch here and there, he doesn't make any substantial songwriting contributions at all - which means that on the composition side of things you don't have a fresh perspective coming in, you just have the well-oiled Dream Theater machine minus Mike Portnoy.

So it's business as usual, then - but fortunately, for Dream Theater "business as usual" is still pretty good. I wouldn't put it in the absolute top rank of the band's albums, but it's far from an embarrassment either - it needed to prove the band could still recognisably be Dream Theater without their co-founder, it succeeded and did so better than expected.

 A Change of Seasons by DREAM THEATER album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1995
3.70 | 717 ratings

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A Change of Seasons
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nš 550

"A Change Of Seasons" is an EP of Dream Theater and was released in 1995. It comprises their great epic suite track "A Change Of Seasons", with about twenty-three minutes long. It was recorded at the Bear Tracks Studios in New York. "A Change Of Seasons" has also two live covers and two medleys of some other bands. They were performed at a fan club concert, Ronnie's Scott's Jazz Club in London, England. "A Change Of Seasons" was the first Dream Theater's release featuring their new keyboardist Derek Sherinian who substituted their previous and former keyboardist Kevin Moore.

So, the line up on the EP is James LaBrie (lead vocals), John Petrucci (guitars), Derek Sherinian (keyboards), John Myung (bass) and Mike Portnoy (drums).

"A Change Of Seasons" has five tracks. The first track is the title track "A Change Of Seasons", with music by Dream Theater and lyrics by Portnoy. "A Change Of Seasons" is divided into seven parts: "The Crimson Sunrise", "Innocence", "Carpe Diem", "The Darkest Of Winters", "Another World", "The Inevitable Summer" and "The Crimson Sunset". It includes samples from the 1989 film "Dead Poets Society" and from 1648 Robert Herrick's poem, "To The Virgins, To Make Much Of Time". The lyrics, written by Portnoy, weren't properly inspired by the film but rather by the death of his mother. "A Change Of Seasons" was meant to be in the track list of their second studio album "Images And Words" released in 1992. So, during the gap between 1991 and 1995 it was deeply modified. It's a huge evolution of an old piece written in 1989 together with "Metropolis-Part I". "A Change Of Seasons" is a wonderful suite with excellent lyrics, a metaphor representing the human life in all his length. The production is impeccable and the whole sound is clean and delicate. So, we can just relax and let this song carry us through great and wonderful musical atmospheres, deep melodies accurate vocals and expressive guitar sections. In conclusion, "A Change Of Seasons" can be considered as one of Dream Theater's greatest songs. It's full of emotions, high and caim musical points, great and diverse solos performed with great virtuosity. This is, without any doubt, one of the best tracks ever made by the band.

As I said before, the EP has four more tracks, two covers and two medleys. "Funeral For A Fiend/Love Lies Bleeding" is a live version of a song originally recorded on the double studio album "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" by Elton John and released in 1973. The real differences between the original and the cover aren't much different. Only LaBrie voice brings it back to life in a whole different being and Sherinian improves the introduction of the synthesizer and the piano on "Funeral For A Friend". Dream Theater covered and made it their tune with the stamp of Elton John on it. It remains with its very own 70's sound. "Perfect Strangers" is a live version of a song originally recorded on the studio album "Perfect Strangers" of Deep Purple and released in 1984. This version is very faithful to the original. The only negative thing was that LaBrie tried to imitate Gillan's voice, but his voice wasn't made for imitating Gillan. Anyway, and besides that, this version is very well done. "Led Zeppelin Medley" is divided into three parts "The Rover", "Achilles Last Stand" and "The Song Remains The Same". "The Rover" is a song of the "Physical Graffiti" album released in 1975, and has a real groovy tune with a good groovy opening riff. Only the intro was used. "Achilles Last Stand" is a song of "Presence", an album released in 1976. Unfortunately, only a mid section of the song was used. "The Song Remains The Same" is a song of "Houses Of The Holy", an album released in 1973. On this medley LaBrie proves that he can sounds like Robert Plant without losing his properly vocal chords. "The Big Medley" is divided into six cover parts, "In The Flesh" of Pink Floyd, "Carry On Wayward Son" of Kansas, "Bohemian Rhapsody" of Queen, "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" of Journey, "Cruise Control" of Dixie Drags and "Turn It On Again" of Genesis". Most of these songs are from bands that are amongst Dream Theater's prime influences. All these covers generally do flow together with every member of the group doing their best, to keep up a very melodic and progressive tone throughout this entire medley.

Conclusion: "A Change Of Seasons" is a great EP. The title track is the pinnacle of this EP. It's a wonderful suite, a metaphor representing the human life. It features excellent lyrics, an encouragement to enjoy our lives. The rest of this EP is filled up with excellent live covers of great songs. The best example of it is the cover of "Funeral For A Fiend/Love Lies Bleeding" which is a wonderful version of a great song, Elton John's best and most progressive composition ever. "Perfect Strangers", which is one of my favourite Deep Purple's songs, despite the vocal work of LaBrie, it's also an excellent version. Led Zeppelin's medley is excellent with extracts of two of my favourite songs from the band "Achilles Last Stand" and "The Song Remains The Same". The closing medley with extracts from many varied bands is the less interesting. "In The Flesh" of Pink Floyd is the best part. Still, it has the usual Dream Theater's trademark and quality.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Black Clouds & Silver Linings by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.46 | 1728 ratings

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Black Clouds & Silver Linings
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Little did they know it at the time, but this would be the last album that Dream Theater would record with Mike Portnoy at the drum stool. (It's lucky, then, that it includes The Shattered Fortress, the end of his Twelve Step Suite - would have been a bit awkward if he'd had to get that out on a Transatlantic album or something.)

If the band had any hint that a change was brewing, however, there's no sign of it here - if anything this is business as usual, with ballad Wither's five-and-a-bit minutes amounting to the only sub-epic song on here - everything else is over 8 minutes long, and 4 of the six songs here are over 12 minutes long.

As it stands, Wither ends up offering a bit of a breathing space of the running order, coming as it does between two heavier pieces (A Nightmare To Remember in particular taking the band further towards extreme metal territory they've ever gone) and The Shattered Fortress, which picks the ferocity back up with its intro. This is perhaps the most straight-ahead epic of the album; Portnoy himself has said that in retrospect, he found he'd written himself into a bit of a corner with the Twelve Step Suite, and with hindsight he might have instead just one song covering all twelve steps back when the band were making Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. It's not that I think it's outright bad - but perhaps because it's trying to maintain a thematic and musical link to material spread over the previous four albums, it doesn't quite feel fresh.

The Best of Times, by comparison, lets things pick up, with a beautiful, restrained opening giving way into a light and positive-sounding song, a real breath of fresh air after the band had spent not only much of this album but a fair chunk of previous recent albums looking at darker material. It reminds me almost of a tribute to Rush circa Permanent Waves or Moving Pictures in some respects. The album closes off with The Count of Tuscany, a foreboding narrative about a strange encounter overseas which presents perhaps the album's most classically proggy sections.

Overall, I can't quite give the album full marks, but it is another impressive entry in the Dream Theater discography; if Portnoy never works with the band again, he can at least be proud of going out on a high note.

 Chaos in Motion 2007-2008 by DREAM THEATER album cover Live, 2015
4.50 | 9 ratings

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Chaos in Motion 2007-2008
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Dream Theater might have thought that their triple live album schtick was starting to wear thin after Live Scenes, Budokan, and Score, because for Chaos In Motion the triple CD is only actually available with the DVD set (though most of the live album - bar an intro track and a keyboard improvisation - is available streaming). I don't think they need to have worried; this live sampling of the Systematic Chaos tour absolutely cooks.

Naturally, Systematic Chaos itself is well-represented, with all but two of its songs represented (those being Repentance and Prophets of War, the latter of which I considered one of the weaker songs on that album). In the Presence of Enemies is presented as one single 26 minute song, rather than split into two halves on the album, which is interesting in itself. As far as dipping into the band's past goes, honourable mention has to go to the extended version of Surrounded from Images and Words, extending it from a five and a half minute piece to a fifteen minute workout which ends up being a medley incorporating a good chunk of Marillion's Sugar Mice, which is a fantastic interpretation of what is already an incredible song.

It's surprising to find that Dream Theater are still excelling to this level on these triple live releases at a point when you would have thought that these would start getting redundant, but I genuinely think Chaos In Motion is an overlooked and undervalued part of their discography and it's well worth a revisit... just, lads, consider a standalone CD reissue, will ya?

Thanks to [email protected] for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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