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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)

3.18 | 1310 ratings
When Dream and Day Unite
1989
4.29 | 2982 ratings
Images and Words
1992
4.13 | 2155 ratings
Awake
1994
3.33 | 1578 ratings
Falling into Infinity
1997
4.30 | 3046 ratings
Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes from a Memory
1999
4.14 | 2025 ratings
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
2002
3.60 | 1865 ratings
Train of Thought
2003
3.67 | 2061 ratings
Octavarium
2005
3.31 | 1768 ratings
Systematic Chaos
2007
3.45 | 1656 ratings
Black Clouds & Silver Linings
2009
3.84 | 1654 ratings
A Dramatic Turn of Events
2011
3.29 | 974 ratings
Dream Theater
2013
3.37 | 734 ratings
The Astonishing
2016
3.71 | 336 ratings
Distance over Time
2019

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

3.64 | 417 ratings
Live At The Marquee
1993
3.31 | 396 ratings
Once In A Livetime
1998
4.55 | 557 ratings
Live Scenes From New York
2001
4.24 | 495 ratings
Live At Budokan
2004
4.46 | 554 ratings
Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra
2006
3.53 | 90 ratings
Happy Holidays
2013
3.61 | 17 ratings
Distant Memories - Live in London
2020
0.00 | 0 ratings
Lost Not Forgotten Archives: A Dramatic Tour of Events - Select Board Mixes
2021
0.00 | 0 ratings
Lost Not Forgotten Archives: Images and Words - Live in Japan, 2017
2021

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

4.20 | 201 ratings
Images And Words - Live In Tokyo
1993
4.37 | 425 ratings
Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York
2001
3.83 | 203 ratings
Live in Tokyo/5 Years in a Livetime
2004
4.03 | 124 ratings
When Dream And Day Reunite [Official Bootleg]
2004
4.30 | 414 ratings
Live at Budokan
2004
3.54 | 57 ratings
A Walk Beside The Band
2005
4.41 | 435 ratings
Dream Theater - Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra
2006
3.87 | 155 ratings
Dark Side Of The Moon
2006
4.00 | 10 ratings
Romavarium
2006
4.01 | 83 ratings
Bucharest, Romania 7/4/02
2007
3.45 | 242 ratings
Chaos in Motion 2007/2008
2008
2.40 | 80 ratings
Greatest Hit (...and 5 Other Pretty Cool Videos)
2008
3.59 | 56 ratings
Live at Tokyo Sun Plaza
2009
4.17 | 6 ratings
Official Bootleg: Santiago, Chile 12/6/05 (20th Anniversary Tour 2005/2006)
2009
4.12 | 152 ratings
Live at Luna Park
2013
4.37 | 128 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)

3.43 | 7 ratings
Systematic Chaos Special Edition
2007
2.20 | 190 ratings
Greatest Hit (...and 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs)
2008
1.50 | 4 ratings
Take The Time (The Warner Years 1992-2005)
2009
3.33 | 6 ratings
Black Clouds & Silver Linings Box Set
2009
3.93 | 48 ratings
Original Album Series
2011
1.50 | 4 ratings
The Triple Album Collection
2012
3.22 | 9 ratings
The Studio Albums 1992-2011
2014

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

3.02 | 39 ratings
Afterlife
1989
3.25 | 37 ratings
Status Seeker
1989
2.88 | 30 ratings
The ATCO Demos
1991
2.92 | 64 ratings
Another Day
1992
3.69 | 58 ratings
Pull Me Under
1992
4.00 | 8 ratings
Take the Time
1992
4.67 | 3 ratings
Live
1993
3.56 | 63 ratings
The Silent Man
1994
2.92 | 48 ratings
Caught In A Web
1994
3.07 | 62 ratings
Lie
1994
3.68 | 685 ratings
A Change Of Seasons
1995
2.75 | 8 ratings
International Fan Club Christmas CD
1996
2.17 | 6 ratings
You Not Me
1997
2.50 | 6 ratings
Burning My Soul
1997
3.08 | 66 ratings
Hollow Years
1997
4.50 | 4 ratings
Live Bonus Tracks
1998
3.80 | 37 ratings
Once in a LIVEtime Outtakes (International Fan Club CD 1998)
1998
3.11 | 66 ratings
Cleaning Out The Closet
1999
3.15 | 74 ratings
Through Her Eyes
2000
2.11 | 39 ratings
Christmas 2000 Fan Club CD
2000
1.96 | 39 ratings
4 degrees of Radio edits
2002
3.25 | 24 ratings
When Demos and Singles Unite
2002
2.83 | 6 ratings
Selections from Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
2002
3.03 | 47 ratings
Taste The Memories
2003
2.93 | 40 ratings
Graspop Festival 2002 (International Fanclub CD 2003)
2003
3.08 | 50 ratings
The Making Of Scenes From A Memory
2003
2.82 | 111 ratings
The Number of the Beast
2003
2.02 | 117 ratings
Master of Puppets
2003
2.71 | 42 ratings
Los Angeles, California 5/18/98
2003
3.33 | 43 ratings
Tokyo, Japan 10/28/95
2003
2.91 | 52 ratings
The Majesty Demos 1985 - 1986 [Official bootleg]
2003
3.72 | 36 ratings
A Sort Of Homecoming
2004
3.31 | 42 ratings
Images and Words: Demos 1989 - 1991 [Official Bootleg]
2004
3.82 | 73 ratings
When Dream And Day Reunite
2004
2.79 | 33 ratings
When Dream And Day Unite Demos 1987-1989
2004
3.36 | 134 ratings
Dark Side Of The Moon
2006
2.52 | 42 ratings
Awake Demos
2006
3.20 | 38 ratings
Old Bridge, New JERSEY - 12/14/96
2006
3.39 | 71 ratings
Made in Japan [Official Bootleg]
2006
3.48 | 41 ratings
Images and Words - 15th Anniversary Performance (Fan Club CD 2007)
2007
4.07 | 77 ratings
Falling Into Infinity: Demos 1996-1997 [Official Bootleg]
2007
3.12 | 48 ratings
Constant Motion
2007
3.58 | 46 ratings
New York City 3/4/93
2007
3.00 | 6 ratings
Lifting Shadows Companion CD
2007
2.67 | 3 ratings
Road to Wembley
2007
2.67 | 9 ratings
Forsaken
2007
3.75 | 20 ratings
Progressive Nation 2008 - The International Fan Clubs CD 2008
2008
2.52 | 63 ratings
Forsaken
2008
2.61 | 79 ratings
A Rite of Passage
2009
3.12 | 79 ratings
Stargazer
2009
3.40 | 74 ratings
Tenement Funster/Flick Of The Wrist/Lily Of The Valley
2009
3.67 | 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
3.20 | 86 ratings
Wither
2009
3.14 | 49 ratings
Uncovered 2003-2005
2009
2.29 | 33 ratings
The Making of Falling into Infinity
2009
2.93 | 32 ratings
Train of Thought Instrumental Demos 2003
2009
3.58 | 124 ratings
On the Backs of Angels
2011
3.27 | 11 ratings
Build Me Up, Break Me Down
2011
3.30 | 10 ratings
Along for the Ride
2013
4.50 | 2 ratings
The Looking Glass
2013
3.21 | 83 ratings
The Enemy Inside
2013
4.04 | 39 ratings
Illumination Theory
2014
3.31 | 13 ratings
Our New World
2016
3.09 | 23 ratings
Untethered Angel
2018
3.62 | 21 ratings
Falling Into The Light
2019
3.82 | 11 ratings
Paralyzed
2019

DREAM THEATER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes from a Memory by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.30 | 3046 ratings

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Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes from a Memory
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by prog_traveller!!

5 stars There is a lot of debate about Dream Theater within the metal community, within the prog community and within the prog metal community. Dream Theater is an American band founded in 1989 by John Petrucci (guitar), Mike Portnoy (drums and, later, backing vocals) and John Myung (bass) with Kevin Moore (keyboards) and Charlie Dominici (vocals). After the first album, already a harbinger of greatness but all in all immature, Dream Theater, replaced Dominici with Canadian James LaBrie, release what is their absolute masterpiece: Images and Words, one of the most beautiful and most important of prog metal.

"Metropolis part 2: Scenes From a Memory" takes up in the title the grandiloquent "Part 1: the Miracle and the Sleeper", a masterpiece of "Images and words", to which the epithet "part 1" was given almost as a joke ... Nothing more wrong! Fans all over the world start a war of words, clamoring for the sequel to the small 1992 masterpiece, and Dream Theater satisfied them with an entire concept album, which only partially takes up and amplifies the story, the vocal lines and the leading riffs of the first chapter.

A story built to perfection, and based on the strange night visions and nightmares of Nicholas, a young man who, thanks to hypnotherapy sessions, will discover that he is the reincarnation of Victoria, a girl who lived in the 1920s and died in mysterious circumstances precisely in 1928. During the course of the album, Nicholas will be able to reconstruct the turbulent love story of Victoria, divided between two brothers as different as they are similar in their lucid madness, until a dramatic epilogue for her, and not devoid of consequences for Nicholas himself, who will be indelibly affected by what he discovered ... final is as assured as unexpected!

From the musical point of view, the Dreat Theater recover their roots: this album is a riot of prog-metal in its purest form, and ours seem to find the lost compositional vein, reconnecting the musical discourse to the glories of "Images and Words" and "Awake", while maintaining a certain amount of improvisation in the scores, certainly the result of the experience in the Liquid Tension Experiment. A working method in which, apparently, Petrucci, Rudess and Portnoy fit perfectly, given that the album releases a charge, an intensity and an expertise never felt before. Since the opener "Overture 1928", we will be sucked into a vortex of music with a very high technical and compositional content, not devoid of references to part 1, but filled with precious moments of high inspiration, as we have not heard for a long time. James LaBrie will interpret the various roles of the story, with different nuances in the use of the voice, leading the listener by the hand within a real film in music. Stupendous and essential prog- metal pearls such as "Strange Deja-Vu", "Fatal Tragedy", the powerful "Beyond this Life", the bombastic "Home", a true ideal sequel to Metropolis pt.1. There is no lack of instrumental track, and it is something inhuman: "The Dance of Eternity" leaves you astonished as to skill, in a composition so intricate that you lose your head?. Like any self- respecting masterpiece, we also find two soft tracks, and they are two small pearls: "Through her Eyes", which narrates Victoria's death seen through Nicholas' eyes, is full of poignant melancholy; "The Spirit Carries On" is universally recognized as one of DT's most beautiful songs, with its PinkFloydian gait, and a thrilling chorus, not to mention Petrucci's solo, literally moving in terms of intensity. The masterpiece closes with a simply fantastic song, namely "Finally Free", in which the DT resume and conclude the threads of the plot, complete with a final twist, and with a lot of creative culmination, truly leaving the unwary listener speechless. , who, like myself, will be forced to start listening again, at least two - three times, before being able to find out in the midst of all this good things ...

Most of the Dream Theater fans are torn by not knowing which one to elevate as the best work of the band between this and Images And Words, but for me there is no doubt, Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory represents a magical moment, unique and unfortunately unrepeatable in the history of this great group, although the other is also a work, like almost everything that is part of the Dream Theater discography, far above average. Wonderful melodies, flawless virtuosity and instrumental technique, poetic and theatrical texts, and only one adjective: masterpiece.

 Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes from a Memory by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.30 | 3046 ratings

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Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes from a Memory
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Gorgut Muncher

5 stars Dream Theater have become one of the most generic bands in the progressive metal world because of how much they've been copied, which is funny and sad at the same time. Here's a thing. I gave Images And Words a five star review because of its historical importance rather than the album itself, because that album doesn't impress me that much (I personally think it's a four star album). It IS an essential record to that genre, and that's a fact. Now, Metropolis Pt. II is an album that shattered all progressive metal standards AND was actually amazing. I like Metropolis Pt. II, although I personally find it to be the only Dream Theater album I truly enjoy. They wank a lot in this album, so much that there's even a moaning section in Home, which lasts for way too long (probably the first time you would want sex to be short)

They cover many things in this album. From momentary rag-times, to Pink Floyd-ish ballads, to technical Iron-Maiden-Inspired guitars... they basically wanted to prove everyone that they can do everything. And this was probably the first (and last) time Dream Theater managed to make technical wanking very fun. It is an essential album within its genre, so I'm giving it five stars.

 Images and Words by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1992
4.29 | 2982 ratings

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Images and Words
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Gorgut Muncher

5 stars You can hate this polemic band as much as you want, but to each with their own: Images And Words is an album that defined progressive metal the same way that Operation Mindcrime did. So yeah it's essential, at least within progressive metal. Although I must say that the more time passes, the more generic this sounds (mostly because many more bands copy it), and that's its biggest weakness! Still, let's do some quick mentions about the album's tracks.

Pull Me Under is the most overrated track, pretty much. Another Day is another single type of track with a sax solo. Take The Time has lyrics written from each Dream Theater member, which is interesting. Surrounded is a very up-beat ballad with a nice bridge. Metropolis Pt. I became so popular that Dream Theater released an entire album as its continuation, it's a very technical song and the wanky side of Dream Theater. Under A Glass Moon has John Petrucci's first great guitar solo. Wait For Sleep is a nice and short track that works as the first part of Learning To Live. Learning To Live is a pretty good song, but one of their least interesting epics.

So, yeah, essential for prog metal, but that's it.

 Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.14 | 2025 ratings

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Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by King Brimstone

5 stars - Review #16 -

This is one fat album. Many people say that Train Of Thought is Dream Theater's heaviest release. For me, it's Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence, which is one of the band's greatest efforts to date. It only features six tracks but they cover a runtime of an hour and a half, this is because it features a 42-Minute suite, which is the title track. After an album like Metropolis Pt. II it was going to be hard for the band to impress their fans, but Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence manages things that its predecessor couldn't.

Those things are extreme consistency and more focused works. Unlike Metropolis which had a good amount of one and two minute tracks, the shortest track in this album is 6:40, and the majority of the songs are +10 minutes long. However, these songs are not stretched out on purpose, they're as long as they deserve to be, with many small sections composing them that still manage a cohesive work with surprises.

For example, The Glass Prison. It feels like a 13-minute song because of its reprises of previous parts within itself while also managing to surprise the listener with what everyone likes to call "Technical Wanking". Blind Faith features, in my opinion, Jordan Rudess' best solos, and one of the best solo duels (in this case, guitar vs keyboard) I've ever heard! The Great Debate has some of the band's best drum work to date, and the Tool influence is very strong in this one too.

The closing epic is a 42-Minute track, with eight sections. The sound of the sections are different, going from soft ballads (Goodnight Kiss, Solitary Shell, Losing Time), to classic-DT-sounding tracks (About To Crash, Overture, Grand Finale) and hard-hitting works (War Inside My Head, The Test That Stumped Them All, About To Crash (reprise)). It works amazingly when listened from beginning to end, and it's one of my favorite Dream Theater Suites.

Although I can't say this is my favorite Dream Theater album, it's without a doubt one of the best, not only of their discography, but of progressive metal too. Five Stars for me.

 Awake by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.13 | 2155 ratings

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Awake
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by King Brimstone

5 stars - Review #8 -

Awake can be perfectly described as the dark side of Images And Words. It's not as commercial or poppy as I&W but it maintains its heaviness (and even amplifies it) while making constant use of moody, mellow and melancholic melodies. Honestly? I like it much more than Images And Words! But it's up to you to decide which one's better.

Being their last album with founding keyboardist Kevin Moore, Awake was released just two years after its considerably popular predecessor. It's also the first Dream Theater album with their average album length, ~75 minutes. Something worth mentioning is that this album is slightly more technical than Images And Words. You could tell they were starting to flex their technicality much more, for example with Scarred's instrumental section or The Mirror/Lie.

Maybe this can be a tough nut to crack, but if you enjoyed I&W then you should give it a try. You will find out that it's just as good (If not better) than I&W. It's a five star album to be honest, one of the best Dream Theater albums.

 Images and Words by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1992
4.29 | 2982 ratings

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Images and Words
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by King Brimstone

5 stars - Review #7 -

I'm gonna say once and for all that if you're a progressive metal fan then this is essential. It basically established the main sound not only of Dream Theater, but of hundreds and hundreds of bands too. If you don't think that's an essential album then I don't know what else is.

After their odd debut, When Dream And Day Unite, the band decided to do some changes. Pretty much everyone in the band, Charlie Dominici himself, thought that he had to go since his vocals were very restricting to the music that they intended to make. After a good amount of vocalist auditions, the winner was chosen: James LaBrie. The loved and hated Canadian singer that to this day remains in the band. His wide vocal range was exactly what the instrumentalists in Dream Theater were looking for, and chemistry between the band and James happened.

This chemistry was part of the reason why creativity in Dream Theater blew up. They were still young, and had to mature a lot musically, but you could tell that they had a very strong energy for revolutionizing their genre inside. And this is what happened when they released Images And Words.

Images And Words isn't a very big album, in fact, it's their second shortest album. But the amount of things that Dream Theater explores in just those fifty-six minutes is truly outstanding. Technical Passages (Under A Glass Moon, Metropolis Pt. I), melodic ballads (Another Day, Surrounded, Wait For Sleep), dynamic and balanced tracks (Pull Me Under, Take The Time, Learning To Live) are very present in this album. And it's all around a very fun listening experience that never gets boring.

Like I said in the beginning: If you're a progressive metal fan, it's essential. If you're not into metal then I still recommend you to give it a try. Five stars, Dream Theater's first milestone.

 Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes from a Memory by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.30 | 3046 ratings

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Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes from a Memory
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by King Brimstone

5 stars - Review #3 -

This album... is something else. I actually absolutely recommend you to go and do a full listen of this album, whether you like metal or not. The reason is, that Dream Theater explores so many topics in just one album that's hard to be even able to define this whole work in just a few words, maybe it's actually possible, and with just one word: Essential. At least to any progressive metal enjoyer.

Similar to 1992's Images And Words, Metropolis Pt. II defined not only a standard, but a high-point for all progressive metal before and to come. It features your basic prog metal aspects, such as technicality, dynamism, frequent melodies, all this implemented in a perfectly balanced way.

Metropolis Pt. II continues the story of the the first part, Metropolis Pt. II: The Miracle And The Sleeper, from Images And Words. This story is about a man who has a regression, where he finds out about a past life where he was a woman (Victoria) that was tragically murdered by her boyfriend. Nicholas decides to dig deeper into the story to find out the truth about all this.

If you're a progressive metal fan: What are you waiting for? If you're a progressive rock fan: Give it a try! Who knows if maybe you had a bad impression of progressive metal before and this album will show what it really is all about.

A truly essential album. One of my desert island albums, in fact. Five Stars.

 Images and Words by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1992
4.29 | 2982 ratings

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Images and Words
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars The early 90s caused a lot of turmoil in the music industry as everything 80s was pretty much swept away by the alternative rock and grunge invasion that was pretty much solidified by Nirvana's phenomenal success of its album "Nevermind," but the metal world too was completely transformed as glam metal went the way of the dodo as more extreme acts like Metallica and Megadeth established metal as a more technical and serious genre for the masses. Add to that changing of the tides the massive explosion of not only the prog rock revival but something completely new and that was progressive metal. DREAM THEATER had already been around a few years but didn't capture a lot of attention with its debut "When Dream And Day Unite" which IMHO was an excellent album but suffered from a dismal album cover and emerging a little too soon for the appetite of the public to shift interest into the complexities that prog metal had to offer.

DREAM THEATER itself underwent a huge change when lead singer Charlie Dominici left the band and was replaced by James LaBrie who had remained with DT ever since. After joining the dream team of guitarist John Petrucci, keyboardist Kevin Moore, bassist John Myung and drummer Mike Portnoy, the band was ready to conquer the world with its second classic release IMAGES AND WORDS which was released just at the right time for a glam metal weary public to move on to something with a bit more heft and together with Fates Warning and Queensryche, DREAM THEATER launched the progressive metal invasion that hasn't stopped since this album was released in 1992. The album pretty much caught the world's attention immediately with the release of the first single "Pull Me Under" which featured the heft and bravado of classic 80s metal but featured hitherto unthinkable progressive rock crossover effects which most of the world had never experienced despite bands like Watchtower developing the prog metal world in the underground as early as 1984.

As DREAM THEATER's most successful album of all time, IMAGES AND WORDS is regarded as one of those classics that launched a whole new revolution in the metal world with complex proggy composiitons that adopted symphonic prog touches from bands like Kansas, pastoral moments of classic Genesis and knotty compositions that exuded virtuosic instrumental interplay in the vein of classic Yes but with the energetic overdrive of 80s power metal with neoclassical references. While regarded as an all time classic, i personally can't say i find IMAGES AND WORDS to be a perfect album by any means. No doubt that "Pull Me Under" was not only the perfect single to bring DT to the world's attention but also the perfect track to begin the album as it delivers electrifying atmospheres, dynamic songwriting skills performed by seasoned veterans of the metal trade with an energetic bombast and vocal octave range that put this band well over the talent range of the average metal band of the era. However some of the tracks just flounder a bit such as the rather sleepy AOR inspired "Another Day" with Kenny G sax sensualities and sounding something like Styx on a very uninspired day.

While the first half of IMAGES AND WORDS may sound a bit restrained as the band was trying too hard to appeal to melodic metal bands of the 80s that featured too many sappy ballads, the second half opens with the highlight of the album the outstanding "Metropolis?Part I: 'The Miracle and the Sleeper,'" a massive sprawling near 10-minute track that busts out all the prog goods with all the bombast, pomp and awe one could hope for including Keith Emerson keyboard wizardry, tricky speed-of-light time signature frenzies and some of the best musicianship that the band members have ever conjured up. The track proved to be a popular live number with variations changing each performance and by popular demand carried on until an entire album "Metropolis Pt 2: Scenes From A Memory" finally emerged down the line.

Luckily the album continues the prog workouts with tracks like "Under A Glass Moon" and even takes the beautiful ballad "Wait For Sleep" into turbulent prog workout territories culminating in the album's lengthiest track the 11 1/2 minute "Learning To Live" which ultimately leaves a satisfying experience that leaves IMAGES AND WORDS resonating high on the metallic prog-o-meter. When all is said and done this album really does deserve its status as one of the best prog metal albums of all time however as i've already stated i find the second track "Another Day" to be a throwaway track and even "Surrounded" lacking in compositional fortitude. If these two tracks had been modified or replaced altogether then i would could perhaps deem this a perfect album but since they appear early on sort of dampen the overall experience. But i shouldn't be too harsh as they aren't gawd awful tracks either. They just don't live up to the quality of the others therefore they can be overlooked as a small blemish that doesn't detract from the overall magnitude that the album brings forth as one of prog metal's magnum opus. After all the remaining tracks have a staying power some thirty years later after IMAGE AND WORDS' initial release and one of DREAM THEATER's finest moments for sure.

4.5 but can't seem to round it up

 When Dream and Day Unite by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.18 | 1310 ratings

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When Dream and Day Unite
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by luisM.

3 stars When Dream and Day Unite is the debut album of one of the most influential progressive metal bands in the world, Dream Theater. This album although it has a poor quality production (but thanks to that we can hear Myung, so that's a positive thing) and the sound is not the best which can be decisive when making a review of it, doesn't remove the fact that the album has very interesting ideas and good songs. Keep in mind that this album was made in 1989, so you are going to hear a lot of 80s and 90s influence on this album and in the next ones too.

Let's start with A Fortune In Lies, the first song of the album. This song although it has a terrible sound quality, you can see the potential that the band members have. It starts with an epic introduction and an epic guitar solo after that. Charlie Dominici fits really well the music, his voice makes a very good combination. Kevin Moore does an excellent job with the atmosphere of the song. Portnoy and Myung on the other hand do an incredible job keeping the groove in the song (especially Portnoy, one of his best drumtracks in my opinion). And Petrucci does an excellent job with the solo, a very 90s solo in my opinion, which fits really well the song. A very good song for starting the album.

Status Seeker, on the other hand is a very melodic and motivating song, Charlie Dominici does an excellent job in this song, me personally I love the chorus. It's a good song, when I listen to this I think of Rocky Balboa for some reason haha, but that's all. It has nothing interesting to offer, which makes this song feel like a "filler".

Ytse Jam, this is THE song of the album. Considered one of the "classics" of Dream Theater. It's an instrumental where the 4 band members (excluding Dominici) use all their potential on this song. This song is really Arabian-style which is very interesting. Petrucci, Moore, Myung and Portnoy, everyone has their moment in this song, a solo for every instrument, which makes this song wonderful and not monotonous at all. A classic and technical song.

The next song, The Killing Hand, this song starts with a dark but epic atmosphere that keeps the first 5 minutes. This atmosphere along with the lyrics makes a good combination. It has also an upbeat part and also a Moore's solo comes in, even a Myung's solo comes in too!. This song is very epic, it's very captivating and Dominici's vocals make it even better.

Light Fuse And Get Away, I really like this song, it's so weird, first you have a calm part and then suddenly you have a fast part, and then after that you have another calm part. Kevin Moore's keyboard and tune in this song is a superb, really cool song. Portnoy's playing in this song is amazing as well, Myung plays the bass really well and the best part is that you can hear him. Petrucci obviously does an incredible solo. The final part of this song is the best part, very melodic and epic at the same time. A very cool song.

Afterlife, the first 3 minutes of this song feel like Status Seeker, it sounds good, but it's nothing interesting at all. But after these 3 minutes the thing changes completely. Some of the best Petrucci solos on this albums comes up but a Kevin Moore's solo doesn't stay back either. A decent song, only saved by the last 2 minutes.

The One Who Help To Set The Sun, this one may get really boring and repetitive at the start, but it's an interesting song, and it has a powerful solo by Petrucci, the best guitar solo on this album. It has good things and good moments, but it can get repetitive. Decent song.

Only A Matter Of Time, this song is one of the best on the album. The context of the song is fascinating, so it's really recommended reading the lyrics. This song is in my opinion, is very keyboard-based, which is not bad at all. A really cool song.

When Dream and Day Unite is not a bad album, but it's not their best either, yes it has really good songs like The Killing Had, Ytse Jam and Only A Matter Of Time, but it has some weak songs and moments as well. Maybe if the production of this album were not that bad my opinion could change completely. When Dream and Day Unite is a good opening for this band, it allows us to see their potential and synergy as musicians.

 The Astonishing by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.37 | 734 ratings

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The Astonishing
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by boomer89

4 stars Dream Theater's The Astonishing is a notable example of an album that requires a gestation period in order to appreciate. The album is long at over 2 hours long and seems extremely bloated on first listen, or even the first several listens. The story is easily understood with the lyrics, which include locations and characters, but the extensive amount of vocals can seem laborious to listen to. Isolated moments of melodic guitar solos and exciting ensemble playing by the band help break up the monotony, but don't seem to happen quite often enough. I imagine listeners could be too discouraged by an unsatisfying initial listen and the length to attempt to wade through the album again. However, after multiple listens, the various melodies start to stand out and, together with the interspersed instrumental parts, help give the album shape, and I find that I quite enjoy it.

First and foremost, I truly am glad Dream Theater challenged themselves by attempting another concept album - this time with a more of a musical vibe with a direct story and wide cast of characters. Whereas Scenes from a Memory delivered a power packed album of amazing playing that never seemed to take a back seat to the story, which itself is great, the goal of The Astonishing seems to be to allow the story to take center stage and let the band play the part of the orchestra. While it may not always work or please the fans, it is nice to see them inspired at this stage of their career and willing to take risks.

Despite the obstacles in accessing the album, I think there is a lot to enjoy. The band sounds great. In particular, tracks such as The Gift of Music, A Life Left Behind, and A New Beginning have passages of great ensemble playing that would stand out as highlights on other albums. LaBrie sounds great and succeeds in a difficult task of using different timbres with his voice for different characters without sounding silly; I find that each 'voice' is similar to inflections he uses on other albums. Petrucci shines with some intense and melodic guitar solos, such as on The Gift of Music, A Better Life, A Savior in the Squire, and When Your Time Has Come. I think Rudess plays a big part in the overall cinematic atmosphere of the album with his keyboard sounds and textures. He also has some great lead playing on When Your Time Has Come, A Life Left Behind, and Heaven's Cove. Several tracks have strong melodies and an unexpected emotional impact, such as When Your Time Has Come, Act of Faythe, A Life Left Behind, Chosen, The X Aspect, and A New Beginning.

The story itself is a bit unclear, if not underdeveloped. The overall plot is easy enough to follow along with and is an admirable attempt to place family struggles in the midst of a society level struggle, but a lot of questions remain. What exactly is Gabriel's power, and how does it relate to music? A lot of actions seem unearned and arbitrary. One character makes a hollow wish to trade his life for the survival of another character, but no such sacrifice is required for a happy ending. Another character is forgiven for murdering one character and almost murdering another character, without any growth. Other than a vague well wishing among the characters, it is hard to know what a listener is really supposed to get out of the story.

A few other flaws should be noted. The lyrics are often very blunt and can seem silly. Myung, unfortunately, seems as buried in the mix as ever. The second disc is notably weaker than the first disc with the best parts seeming to be reprises of themes from the first disc.

The bottom line is that this album provides an interesting experience of hearing a progressive metal band deliver a musical-style concept album and can reward the listener who chooses to dig into the album multiple times, even if the story is a bit underwhelming.

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

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