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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 Videos (YouTube and more)

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Distance Over TimeDistance Over Time
Century Media 2019
$10.03 (used)
Distance Over TimeDistance Over Time
Century Media 2019
$23.07 (used)
Images and WordsImages and Words
Atco Records 1992
$2.03 (used)
Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a MemoryMetropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory
Elektra 1999
$1.99 (used)
The Studio Albums 1992-2011The Studio Albums 1992-2011
Box set
Roadrunner 2014
$44.59 (used)
A Change Of Seasons (EP)A Change Of Seasons (EP)
Atlantic Off Roster 1995
$2.30 (used)
The Astonishing (2CD)The Astonishing (2CD)
Roadrunner Records 2016
$7.98 (used)
Dream TheaterDream Theater
Roadrunner Records 2013
$9.78 (used)
A Dramatic Turn Of Events (Special Edition)(CD/DVD)A Dramatic Turn Of Events (Special Edition)(CD/DVD)
Roadrunner Records 2011
$3.25 (used)
Breaking The Fourth Wall (Live From The Boston Opera House)(Blu-Ray)Breaking The Fourth Wall (Live From The Boston Opera House)(Blu-Ray)
Roadrunner Records 2014
$11.75 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
DREAM THEATER 1986 Demo While Performing As Majesty NEW CD Sons of Apollo USD $5.25 [0 bids]
40m 36s
DREAM THEATER 1985-1993 InstruMental II Original CD Rush YYZ Sons of Apollo USD $5.75 [0 bids]
40m 36s
DREAM THEATER 1987 InstruMental Original CD Mike Portnoy METAL ALLEGIANCE USD $4.99 [0 bids]
40m 37s
DREAM THEATER InstruMental III / Brooklyn 9/25/1986 Original CD Rainbow / Dio USD $4.09 [0 bids]
40m 37s
Dream Theater - Scenes From A Memory (Metropolis Part 2) CD. Like New USD $3.64 [0 bids]
1h 21m
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rare ROCK POP CD sleeve DREAM THEATER Metropolis Pt.2 SCENES FROM MEMORY USD $13.16 Buy It Now 1h 51m
rare ROCK POP CD sleeve DREAM THEATER Falling Into Infinity NEW MILLENNIUM Anna USD $13.16 Buy It Now 1h 53m
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3h 17m
Awake by Dream Theater (CD, Oct-1994) USD $5.00 Buy It Now 3h 57m
4h 19m
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Dream Theater - Octavarium [U.S. Version] [CD] USD $8.01 Buy It Now 5h 18m
Frameshift - Unweaving The Rain (CD, Jul-2004, Frontiers) Dream Theater USD $3.00 [0 bids]
6h 22m
Systematic Chaos by Dream Theater. USD $14.05 Buy It Now 6h 56m
Train of Thought by Dream Theater Rush Liquid Tension Experiment Queensryche USD $2.00 [0 bids]
7h 4m
DREAM THEATER - Live Scenes From New York (3CD) *NEW, SEALED* RARE OOP COVER USD $91.56 Buy It Now 7h 11m
Once in a LIVEtime by Dream Theater (used, 2 CD's) USD $5.66 Buy It Now 7h 21m
Dream Theater - A Change Of Seasons (CD, 1995, EastWest Records America) BMG USD $6.38 Buy It Now 7h 48m
7h 56m
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Dream Theater - Falling Into Infinity (CD, 1997, Elektra Records (BMG), USA) USD $6.99 Buy It Now 7h 59m
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Dream Theater - Greatest Hit (...And 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs) [2CD](Digipak) USD $26.99 Buy It Now 12h 12m
BILLY AND CHARLES Vinyl Record Album SEALED fvs-2001 ( Dream Theater Vocalist ) USD $40.00 [0 bids]
12h 37m
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DREAM THEATER When Day & Dream Unite NUMBERED 180gm RED Vinyl LP NEW & SEALED USD $26.59 Buy It Now 13h 6m
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James LaBrie (Dream Theater) - Prime Cuts Magna Carta Sessions CD - Near Mint USD $4.74 Buy It Now 14h 41m
DREAM THEATER - 5CD ORIGINAL ALBUM SERIES (NEW/SEALED) Inc Awake Images & Words USD $14.56 Buy It Now 14h 56m
DREAM THEATER - "Falling Into Infinity", 1997, John Petrucci, Mike Portnoy, CD USD $7.27 Buy It Now 15h
Dream Theater Distance Over Time 2CD & DVD All Regions & BLU-RAY All Region NEW USD $46.00 Buy It Now 15h 36m
Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos Special Edition CD+DVD w/ CD sleeve USD $9.71 [0 bids]
15h 58m
Dream Theater - Change of Seasons (1995) cd album USD $5.40 Buy It Now 16h 16m
DREAM THEATER - Awake CD 1994 USD $6.09 [0 bids]
16h 27m
Dream Theater When Dream And Day Unite cd Limited Edition #9617 SEALED USD $99.99 Buy It Now 16h 46m
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DREAM THEATER The Triple Album Collection MALAYSIA EU 3 CD SET NEW FREE SHIPMENT USD $18.90 Buy It Now 18h 5m
Dream Theater - Once In A Livetime (NEW CD) USD $9.70 Buy It Now 18h 21m
Dream Theater - Greatest Hit And 19 Other Cool (NEW CD) USD $15.47 Buy It Now 18h 50m
DREAM THEATER / A Change of Seasons (mini-Album)- '95, JAPAN OBI USD $5.40 [1 bids]
18h 55m
TIM DONAHUE / Madmen & Sinners - '04, JAPAN OBI ** DREAM THEATER USD $5.40 [1 bids]
18h 56m
Dream Theater / Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory JAPAN w/Sticker D1 USD $23.99 Buy It Now 19h 25m
THRESHOLD Clone CD Progressive Metal 2001 Symphony X Dream Theater BRAND NEW USD $4.49 Buy It Now 19h 28m
Dream Theater, Touring Into Infinity 1998 Programme, 10 x 13 Inches USD $24.23 Buy It Now 20h 11m
Dream Theater - Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From a Memory [CD] USD $7.93 Buy It Now 20h 20m
Dream Theater - Dying To Live Forever 1993 Vol.2, NEW LP USD $26.70 Buy It Now 20h 39m
Dream Theater - Score NEW CD USD $13.16 Buy It Now 21h 22m
DREAM THEATER 3xCD/digi/2+3Disc "Score 20th Anniversary"+"Dream Theater"+"Voices USD $19.91 Buy It Now 21h 32m
Dream Theater (Special Edition), Dream Theater, Audio CD, New, FREE USD $23.11 Buy It Now 21h 35m
Dream Theater - Images And Words Cassette Tape 1992 Pre-Owned Very Good Cond USD $4.99 Buy It Now 21h 40m
Dream Theater / Train of Thought - '03, Japan obi USD $4.25 [2 bids]
21h 50m
Dream Theater / Octavarium - '05, Japan obi USD $1.80 [1 bids]
21h 50m
Mind Key - Pulse For A Graveheart (2009) Prog Metal,Circus Maximus,Dream Theater USD $12.99 Buy It Now 22h 7m
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Evergrey - A Decade and a Half 2 CD New Opeth Dream Theater USD $9.99 Buy It Now 22h 12m
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Dream Theater - Awake (1994) USD $9.10 Buy It Now 23h 4m
Dream Theater - Once In A Livetime (1998) USD $9.10 Buy It Now 23h 5m
DREAM THEATER - Black Clouds & Silver Linings Deluxe Collector's Edition Box Set USD $124.99 Buy It Now 23h 21m
Official Bootleg: Master of Puppets by Dream Theater (CD, 2003, YTSEJAM006) USD $13.95 Buy It Now 23h 36m
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Dream Theater - Black Clouds & Silver Linings (2009) USD $9.10 Buy It Now 23h 51m
Dream Theater - (2013) USD $16.38 Buy It Now 23h 53m
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Dream Theater - Images And Words (1992) USD $9.10 Buy It Now 23h 54m
Dream Theater: Dying To Live Forever - Summerfest, Milwaukee 1993 2 CD Set NEW USD $13.99 Buy It Now 23h 55m
Dream Theater - Train Of Thought (2003) USD $9.10 Buy It Now 23h 59m

More places to buy DREAM THEATER music online Buy DREAM THEATER & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

DREAM THEATER discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

DREAM THEATER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.19 | 1245 ratings
When Dream And Day Unite
4.28 | 2811 ratings
Images And Words
4.13 | 2043 ratings
3.33 | 1503 ratings
Falling Into Infinity
4.29 | 2873 ratings
Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes From A Memory
4.12 | 1918 ratings
Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence
3.58 | 1774 ratings
Train Of Thought
3.67 | 1976 ratings
3.30 | 1697 ratings
Systematic Chaos
3.45 | 1577 ratings
Black Clouds & Silver Linings
3.84 | 1587 ratings
A Dramatic Turn Of Events
3.28 | 911 ratings
Dream Theater
3.41 | 654 ratings
The Astonishing
3.69 | 218 ratings
Distance Over Time

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

3.66 | 400 ratings
Live At The Marquee
3.30 | 383 ratings
Once In A Livetime
4.55 | 533 ratings
Live Scenes From New York
4.24 | 476 ratings
Live At Budokan
4.45 | 534 ratings
Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra
3.53 | 88 ratings
Happy Holidays

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

4.17 | 195 ratings
Images And Words - Live In Tokyo
4.36 | 412 ratings
Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York
3.82 | 196 ratings
Live in Tokyo/5 Years in a Livetime
4.03 | 118 ratings
When Dream And Day Reunite [Official Bootleg]
4.29 | 401 ratings
Live at Budokan
3.54 | 56 ratings
A Walk Beside The Band
4.40 | 423 ratings
Dream Theater - Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra
3.88 | 148 ratings
Dark Side Of The Moon
3.60 | 5 ratings
3.98 | 79 ratings
Bucharest, Romania 7/4/02
3.43 | 231 ratings
Chaos In Motion 2007/2008
2.40 | 79 ratings
Greatest Hit (...and 5 Other Pretty Cool Videos)
3.57 | 54 ratings
Live at Tokyo Sun Plaza
4.50 | 4 ratings
Official Bootleg: Santiago, Chile 12/6/05 (20th Anniversary Tour 2005/2006)
4.10 | 142 ratings
Live at Luna Park
4.39 | 120 ratings
Breaking The Fourth Wall (Live From The Boston Opera House)

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

3.17 | 6 ratings
Systematic Chaos Special Edition
2.18 | 185 ratings
Greatest Hit (...and 21 other pretty cool songs)
1.50 | 4 ratings
Take The Time (The Warner Years 1992-2005)
3.50 | 6 ratings
Black Clouds & Silver Linings Box Set
3.92 | 49 ratings
Original Album Series
1.50 | 4 ratings
The Triple Album Collection
2.83 | 6 ratings
The Studio Albums 1992-2011

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

3.00 | 39 ratings
3.27 | 37 ratings
Status Seeker
2.92 | 30 ratings
The ATCO Demos
2.92 | 64 ratings
Another Day
3.66 | 57 ratings
Pull Me Under
3.71 | 7 ratings
Take the Time
4.67 | 3 ratings
3.55 | 63 ratings
The Silent Man
2.94 | 48 ratings
Caught In A Web
3.08 | 61 ratings
3.68 | 663 ratings
A Change Of Seasons
3.00 | 6 ratings
International Fan Club Christmas CD
2.17 | 6 ratings
You Not Me
2.50 | 6 ratings
Burning My Soul
3.09 | 66 ratings
Hollow Years
4.67 | 3 ratings
Live Bonus Tracks
3.80 | 37 ratings
Once In A LIVEtime Outtakes (International Fan Club CD 1998)
3.10 | 64 ratings
Cleaning Out The Closet
3.14 | 72 ratings
Through Her Eyes
2.08 | 38 ratings
Christmas 2000 Fan Club CD
1.96 | 37 ratings
4 degrees of Radio edits
3.25 | 24 ratings
When Demos and Singles Unite
2.83 | 6 ratings
Selections from Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
3.03 | 46 ratings
Taste The Memories
2.94 | 38 ratings
Graspop Festival 2002 (International Fanclub CD 2003)
3.21 | 48 ratings
The Making Of Scenes From A Memory
2.81 | 108 ratings
The Number Of The Beast
2.00 | 114 ratings
Master Of Puppets
2.81 | 40 ratings
Los Angeles, California 5/18/98
3.41 | 41 ratings
Tokyo, Japan 10/28/95
2.91 | 52 ratings
The Majesty Demos 1985 - 1986 [Official bootleg]
3.71 | 34 ratings
A Sort Of Homecoming
3.31 | 42 ratings
Images and Words: Demos 1989 - 1991 [Official Bootleg]
3.81 | 72 ratings
When Dream And Day Reunite
2.79 | 33 ratings
When Dream And Day Unite Demos 1987-1989
3.36 | 131 ratings
Dark Side Of The Moon
2.52 | 42 ratings
Awake Demos
3.20 | 37 ratings
Old Bridge, New JERSEY - 12/14/96
3.39 | 69 ratings
Made in Japan [Official Bootleg]
3.48 | 41 ratings
Images and Words - 15th Anniversary Performance (Fan Club CD 2007)
4.07 | 77 ratings
Falling Into Infinity: Demos 1996-1997 [Official Bootleg]
3.12 | 48 ratings
Constant Motion
3.57 | 45 ratings
New York City 3/4/93
3.00 | 6 ratings
Lifting Shadows Companion CD
2.67 | 3 ratings
Road to Wembley
2.67 | 9 ratings
3.75 | 20 ratings
Progressive Nation 2008 - The International Fan Clubs CD 2008
2.52 | 63 ratings
2.61 | 79 ratings
A Rite of Passage
3.12 | 79 ratings
3.40 | 74 ratings
Tenement Funster/Flick Of The Wrist/Lily Of The Valley
3.68 | 59 ratings
3.52 | 54 ratings
Take Your Fingers From My Hair
3.24 | 73 ratings
Larks Tongues In Aspic, Pt. 2
3.22 | 86 ratings
3.14 | 48 ratings
Uncovered 2003-2005
2.29 | 33 ratings
The Making of Falling Into Infinity
2.90 | 31 ratings
Train of Thought Instrumental Demos 2003
3.58 | 122 ratings
On the Backs of Angels
3.30 | 10 ratings
Build Me Up, Break Me Down
3.22 | 9 ratings
Along for the Ride
3.22 | 83 ratings
The Enemy Inside
4.04 | 39 ratings
Illumination Theory
3.33 | 12 ratings
Our New World
3.06 | 22 ratings
Untethered Angel
3.58 | 19 ratings
Falling Into The Light
3.78 | 9 ratings


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Distance Over Time by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.69 | 218 ratings

Distance Over Time
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by ken_scrbrgh

5 stars 'Alas poor [humanity] I knew [thee] well.'

During the course of this, our twenty-first century, Dream Theatre could have erred on the side of a fewer releases. Perhaps Systematic Chaos and Black Clouds & Silver Linings could have been redacted into one truly stellar work? No matter. By contrast, if only Stanley Kubrick had erred a little on the side of excess, we would have his thirteen existing films and a biography of Napoleon Bonaparte and a possible 'Aryan Papers.'

In addition to A Dramatic Turn of Events (especially 'Bridges in the Sky,' 'Outcry,' and 'Breaking All Illusions'), Distance Over Time marks a new apex for Dream Theatre, mature and elegiac. In 1977-78, Yes and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer 'hit' a creative 'wall' from which they were never the same. Albeit subject to debate, Dream Theatre has avoided such a 'wall.' Notwithstanding a few personnel changes, Dream Theatre's work has remained consistent. What The Yes Album signifies in the history of Yes, one might draw a parallel with Dream Theatre and Images and Words; Fragile and Awake; Close to the Edge and Scenes from a Nightmare, Pt.2. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and, well, the comparisons aren't exact, but the general progression is. Conversely, in the Dream Theatre catalogue, one will not find a Union or Love Beach. Back in the 'Dark Ages' of the 70's, I studied the guitar without gaining any meaningful proficiency. However, the 'masters' were apparent: Jimi Hendrix, Duane Allman, Eric Clapton, Steve Howe, and, yes, Jimmy Page. We all know a fuller list must include Les Paul, George Harrison, Larry Carlton, Elliot Randall, Steve Hackett, and, you know, Trevor Rabin is no 'slouch' . . . . To this fuller list, one must add John Petrucci. 2/3's of the way through 'Fall Into the Light,' Petrucci delivers an ethereal and lyrical passage that is sublime. Speed alone does not equal quality, but Petrucci's prowess includes speed that is appropriately called for or perhaps, in the instance of the remaining third of 'Fall Into the Light, not.

Beginning with John Petrucci, John Myung, Mike Portnoy, Kevin Moore, Derek Sherinian, later, Jordan Rudess and Mike Mangini , the members of Dream Theatre have carried on the instrumental virtuosity that dates back to King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. Of course, in actuality, the representative progressive rock players are the inheritors of a much larger tradition: classical, jazz, choral / sacred, and global. Since Images and Words (practically the beginning), Kevin James La Brie has been the voice of the band. To ask Dream Theatre not to display their prowess is disingenuous.

Some have commented about Petrucci's membership in the Roman Catholic Church. Whatever the denominational allegiance, the view is global. Through Petrucci's lyrics, the band displays the particular respect for angels as demonstrated in Islam: 'On the Backs of Angels,'' Outcry,' and 'Untethered Angel.' Knowing human history, Petrucci's question in 'Pale Blue Dot,' 'Who's out there to save us from ourselves' is apt. Whatever one's world view, it is impossible to ignore humanity's ostensible predilection towards the 'darker angels of our nature' rather than 'our better angels' as President Lincoln mentioned in his first inaugural address.

And, with Myung and Petrucci's 'S2N,' we have a contemporary version of William Wordsworth's, 'The World is Too Much with Us.' Our supposed age of information is often a labyrinth devoid of any real meaning. Could all those eyes transfixed by smart phones simply be our age's version of 'navel-gazing?' Those individuals responsible for the paintings in the Caves of Altamira and Lascaux in our deep, European pre-history possessed the same Imagination we possess. Fortunately for their descendants, they did not 'navel-gaze.'

Perhaps, combined with Dream Theatre's customary instrumental prowess, Distance Over Time takes us on a cosmological, anthropological set of reflections on human potential and human limitation that often leaves us 'At Wit's End.' In listening to 'Pale Blue Dot,' I have to think of one of the 13 films I mentioned earlier from Stanley Kubrick, Dr. Strangelove: or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb. Let's hope that the reflection of a mushroom cloud does not become the final image any of us sees on the screens of our smart phones.

Let's hope that the title of Michael Shaara's prodigious work of historical fiction concerning the Battle of Gettysburg, The Killer Angels, doesn't encapsulate what our descendants attribute to us.

 Distance Over Time by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.69 | 218 ratings

Distance Over Time
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Distance Over Time" is the 14th full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Dream Theater. The album was released through InsideOut Music in February 2019. Itīs the successor to "The Astonishing" from 2016. A double concept album release which divided the waters. Some felt it was pompous and overblown, while others lauded itīs epic scale concept and praised the boldness of the band.

With the release of "Distance Over Time" it would seem Dream Theater have gotten their epic scale album wet dream out of their system, and that they have also listened to those who felt that their experiment was a bit too much, because "Distance Over Time" is very much back to basics Dream Theater progressive metal. Sure thereīs the epic moment here and there, but thatīs not unusual for Dream Theater, but most tracks on the 9 track, 56:51 minutes long album are relatively short and to the point. Donīt expect "regular" vers/chorus structured tracks though, as Dream Theater as always toy with song structures, and incorporate complex instrumental sections, but the music is generally more immediate and hard rocking/heavy than the case was with much of the material on "The Astonishing (2016)".

Itīs almost pointless at this time in their career to talk about how skilled and virtuosic the guys in Dream Theater are, because thatīs been the focus of many reviews and interviews over the years, but Iīll get it over with as fast as possible, and just quickly mention that Dream Theater are still at the top of their game performing their music. James LaBrie still hits the high notes with ease, and although the riff style, the solo style, the keyboard sounds, the bass playing, and the drumming arenīt exactly surprising anymore, itīs all delivered in an extremely high quality. "Distance Over Time" also features a powerful, detailed, and overall very well sounding production, which suits the material perfectly. So check mark on that too.

So itīs of course the songwriting which should be the main focus when writing about the details of "Distance Over Time", and to my ears Dream Theater hit spot on what they do best on "Distance Over Time". Powerful riffs, melodic guitar solos, intricate keyboard work, and a rhythm section capable of playing very complex beats/bass lines. The melody lines are catchy and although the tracks are fairly complex, they are still pretty easy to sing along to, which has almost always been one of the great strengths of Dream Theater. A good balance between technical playing and catchy melodies.

Iīm not gonna mention specific tracks, because "Distance Over Time" is a varied high quality progressive metal album through and through, and thereīs not a weak moment on the album. Itīs not the most standout album in the bandīs by now large discography, but itīs definitely not among their less remarkable ones either. To my ears itīs their strongest release since Mike Mangini replaced Mike Portnoy. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Distance Over Time by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.69 | 218 ratings

Distance Over Time
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by DominicS

2 stars After being excited for months waiting for the new Dream Theater album, I was bitterly disappointed when I gave the full album a listen, as although there are some areas of strength it is largely crippled by its lack of originality, imagination and most importantly a sense of uniqueness.

I have been a strong fan of Dream Theater throughout my late teens with many of their past albums being memorable even after a first listen such as 'Scenes from a Memory' and 'Black Clouds and Silver Linings'. Yet 'Distance Over Time' went right over my head; there was hardly anything memorable about it and little that stood out; 'Paralyzed', for example, is quite boring to listen to probably due to its simple verse/chorus structure, therefore merely resembling a generic metal song. The album is made further tedious by the similarity of some of the songs such as with the introductions of 'Paralyzed' and 'Barstool Warrior', where both songs begin with John Petrucci's guitar followed by some stabs on the bass drum ? it shows a complete lack of imagination and creativity. The opening riff of the song 'Viper King' is strong and quite funky which makes a nice change yet when the rest of the band suddenly enter, the riff seems less defined and slightly lost in the distortion of the song which is a real shame as a cleaner guitar tone could have really benefitted here. The song is also quite monotonous in my opinion, not enough contrast of lighter and darker tones as it is texturally dense pretty much throughout and therefore, I lose interest quickly.

However, I do not completely hate this album as it would be unfair to say that this is a complete failure ? it certainly isn't. While it is not the most memorable album, I was blown away by the strength of the section beginning at 3:10 in the song 'Fall into the Light'. I love how the song suddenly goes from being texturally busy to then being sparse of anything apart from a gentle guitar, at which point you know something special is going to occur. What makes this section the most memorable for me is the descending guitar line played continuously throughout the solo, it is so majestic and gives me shivers every time I hear it. This is the type of soloing I prefer from Petrucci: emotional and atmospheric rather than the mindless shredding that occurs for the most part of the album. After this majestic and uplifting section, the song returns into chaos which displays an imaginative contrast of sections that the rest of the album desperately needs. The only other bit of the album I like is the song 'Out of Reach' as it is a nice break from the heaviness of the other songs. The whole song, in my opinion, is glorious as it feels like one big build to the climax at 2:48; during this build, Rudess' gorgeous piano tone along with Petrucci's soulful soloing over the top creates a peaceful melancholy. It would have been nice for more songs like this to appear on the album in order to add more of a variety of tones and textures and to be honest I thought the song could have lasted more than 4 minutes.

So yes, the album is not entirely awful, but the bits that make it strong are not present enough and so it suffers in terms of being unique. Dream Theater could learn some valuable lessons from an artist such as Steven Wilson, who has been able to give each of his Porcupine Tree and solo albums their own unique sound, exploring genres such as krautrock and jazz. Perhaps Dream Theater needs to try something radically different because in my opinion they seem to be running out of original ideas; instead they're copying material from their previous albums. 'The Astonishing' was an attempt at doing something different but they could probably be even more radical. I would rather hear them try something completely experimental rather than listen to the band repeatedly display their technical accuracy in an overblown manner. We know they are exceptional players and we know they are one of the best in terms of prog metal bands ? so instead of communicating this to us in the same tedious ways, they should possibly attempt something bolder and only then will I begin to praise them the way I used to.

 A Change Of Seasons by DREAM THEATER album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1995
3.68 | 663 ratings

A Change Of Seasons
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

3 stars Dream Theater's EP 'A Change of Season's' definitely is an EP even though the entire run time is over 57 minutes. The reason for this is there is only the one original track on this EP which runs over 23 minutes, a suite that was originally written for inclusion on the album 'Images and Words', but for some reason, it was left off that album and released this way. The rest of the album, after this suite, is a 'bonus' and contains several covers that were recorded live at Ronnie Scott's Jazz club in London, England on January 31, 1995. The decision to release this album this way was a strategic one since the real reason for the release was the original suite, but DT didn't want to disappoint fans by releasing a short album or EP (because you know someone was bound to complain, even with the cheaper price point), so the live cover fan club show was added to this album.

Let's start out with concentrating on the suite 'A Change of Seasons'. The basic story line here deals with an individual's experiences leading from birth to death. The suite is made up of 7 subsections, so each one is actually quite short, none of them reaching the 4 minute mark. Starting with the instrumental section 'The Crimson Sunrise' you get a nice electric, but soft introduction involving guitars, piano, keyboards which suddenly erupts into the full band and heaviness halfway through, and the band lives up to it's Progressive Metal style as the section continues. 'Innocence' continues with the heavier sound, but with a noticeable meter and style change as the guitars take hold of a melody and vocals start soon after. The music is a definite progressive sound with a 4 / 4 meter, that gets manipulated and played around with so that it isn't just standard. Soon other meters come in making this more complex and the vocal melody refrains from dropping into any singular theme. 'Carpe Diem' slows things down quite a bit as the rhythm section drops out and we have acoustic guitar and dramatic vocals. The last part of this section works as a vocal build up which intensifies to the next section which is the instrumental 'The Darkest of Winters'. This section is full of ever changing meters and instrumental solos which flawlessly move through tricky rhythm changes and styles, going from heavy to jazz fusion and rapid guitar riffs that approach tech metal riffs with hardly misstep and ending back to a stately theme that moves into the next subsection 'Another World'. When the vocals come in, the rhythm drops out again with only organ accompanying before minimal bass comes in, later accompanied by piano and soft guitar. Things intensify again as in the 'Carpe Diem' section so we end up with a lovely mid- tempo guitar solo and later, emotional vocals. The next subsection is instrumental and called 'The Inevitable Summer' which starts more atmospheric, but continues the moderate tempo from the previous section along with a nice guitar solo that borrows from an almost UK style, that suddenly moves to a fast rhythm and a cool keyboard solo then heavy guitars driven by changing rhythms and broken up meters. We return to the beginning theme from the first section 'The Change of Seasons', this time with vocals following the thematic elements from the beginning of the suite. It all ends as it begins, with soft guitar. This track is one of DT's epic works that many consider one of their best.

The rest of the album is a lot of covers done live as mentioned before. You could end the EP right there, but the band thought it would be nice to add this live fan show. So, this all starts with Elton John's 'Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding', which is Elton's only real progressive track, and it is a 5-star classic. But how does DT fare with it? Well, it is quite faithful to the original, but with more guitar filling in some of the extra keyboards and instruments that Elton has on the original. It's a decent rendition especially for being live, but doesn't add or take away from the original. The next cover is Deep Purple's 'Perfect Strangers'. I like the DP version well enough, but there really isn't anything added here except for a longer guitar solo. Next is a Led Zeppelin medley featuring 'The Rover', 'Achilles Last Stand' and 'The Song Remains the Same' all crushed down to 7 minutes. This is bad. So, so bad. You only get the introductory riff from The Rover and it slips into a shortened introduction to Achilles with some shaky vocals, and you can tell that DT is in too deep with this complex song and besides, you are entering sacred territory here. After a few verses and an attempt at part of the Achilles instrumental, they slip into 'The Song Remains the Same' but the vocals are just out of is range, so they end on that quickly before he tears a larynx or something. The last set of covers is a medley of various classical hits; 'In the Flesh?' by Pink Floyd, 'Carry On Wayward Son' by Kansas, 'Bohemian Rhapsody', 'Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin' ' by Journey, 'Cruise Control' by Dixie Dregs, and 'Turn it on Again' by Genesis. It's like a Reader's Digest version of condensed 70's rock hits. It's as bad as it sounds.

So now we run into the problem of whether the covers were bonus tracks and don't count towards the final score of the EP, or, since in reality they are part of the whole album and actually take up more time than the suite does. I think you have to listen to it all when you are reviewing and decide if the bonus material adds or takes away from the main feature here, and since this is an original recording, and not one where the bonus covers were added later, then it definitely counts to the overall EP. The suite is great, but by the time you get to the end of all of the covers, you have forgotten about how good the suite was, so it takes away from the EP. Yes, I am saying they would have been better off leaving the covers off of this EP. I'm not a huge fan of DT anyway, but this is one of their better suites, but the covers are not great and sometimes laughable. So with the covers added on, they managed to turn this into a 3 star affair.

 Train Of Thought by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.58 | 1774 ratings

Train Of Thought
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars This seems to be one of the more divisive albums in Dream Theater's discography, further developing the extremely dark, heavy sound that the previous 2 albums had begun to implement, yet also adding some more modern, alternative metal elements into the equation. The aggression present here is for the most part extremely prominent, with even the lighter songs having really heavy sections. However, despite the overall impressive sound that the album possesses, certain compositional flaws present among much of Dream Theater's material are even more common and egregious here, with almost every solo sounding very similar to one another throughout many songs, and certain songs being overlong and containing sections of pointless noodling. Despite this, I do overall find the album to be one of the better ones, despite the issues with it, as most of the songs are still massive hits for me.

As I am is both the shortest and by far the most commercial track on the album, taking a lot of clear inspiration from Metallica in the pseudo-thrash riffing and the agressive, yet melodics vocal melodies dominating the song, with a fairly standard structure, but some really great keyboard work as it segues into an unfortunately dull solo, which does impact the song in a fairly negative way. This Dying Soul is both one of the greatest songs on the album, but then also one of the weakest, if it cut off at around the 9 minute mark, I'd absolutely adore the eerie, intense, downright harrowing nature of the song, especially with the distortion that comes in throughout, and the chorus, and the continuation of the 12 Step Suite with hte reprise of The Glass Prison's middle section. That said, the instrumental outro goes from boring to downright silly, with constantly teasing the prospect of it ending before becomning faster, making it feel obscenely excessive, or, as many detractors of the band would say, filled with instrumental wanking.

After these first 2 lackluster songs, the rest of the album picks up its act a lot more, with greater variation in between and much more impressive composition. Endless Sacrifice, while being the light song of the album, has a wonderfully heavy, emotional chorus with some really great guitar. The solo provides some more impressive technicality along with intensity, being quite varied throughout to maintain the enjoyable nature, which transitions into a climactic finale and an insane drum fill. Honor Thy Father is tied with In The Name Of God as my favourite song on the album, being without a doubt, the heaviest, nastiest, most angry and aggressive song the band has ever written, with lyrics equally as direct and in your face as the instrumentation, which switches between brutality and groove. I love the way the song continues building in intensity, especially with the chorus changing slightly each time, using more profane and direct vocabulary each time. While the use of movie audio samples isn't quite as effective here as in Space Dye Vest, it does still work quite well. Stream Of Consciousness is probably what I'd consider to be the best of the instrumental tracks by the band, being extremely dynamic with every instrument getting the spotlight at one point or another, sometimes extremely epic, while other times really laid back and atmospheric, essentially combining every good aspect of their previous instrumentals to make this. In The Name Of God is also an incredible song, with a middle eastern styled, crushing riff throughout most of the song, combined with constantly climactic vocals from Labrie, lyrics equally fitting of the incredibly grndiose nature of everything.

Overall, while this album is flawed in a few ways, I enjoy it a lot for its heaviness and powerful riffs throughout, even if the solos almost always end up falling flat. I find this to be one of the better Dream Theater albums overall, despite the seemingly mixed opinion people have of it. While I don't recommend anyone start with this album when delving into this band's discography, it's definitely a great album all around, especially for those who like heavier music.

Best songs: Endless Sacrifice, Honor Thy Father, In The Name of God

Weakest songs: This Dying Soul

Verdict: The heaviest album that Dream Theater have made, and one of my favourites as well. I find this to be the last truly great full album the band wrote, and would recommend it to those who like heavier music, but nothing too extreme.

 Distance Over Time by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.69 | 218 ratings

Distance Over Time
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars 2016's double concept work `The Astonishing' proved to be a very divisive release for legendary prog-metallers Dream Theater, one that was loved and loathed in equal measure by their fanbase, and easy ammunition for those who've long disliked or ridiculed them. Its padded-out length, somewhat trite theme and show-boating excess aside, it was commendable that the band were pushing the whole album format as a still valid proper artistic musical statement in this modern era of disposable music. But despite it admirably being in the manner of the ambitious and creative classic prog double concept works, it was clear that a course-correction of sorts was necessary, so the band have bounced back in 2019 with a relatively compact 56 minute release in `Distance Over Time'.

Initial look at the often shorter running times on several tracks on the back CD cover might have some prog-snobs spitting their drink across the table in shocked outrage for fear of a more commercial release (or perhaps the streamlined songs that popped up on something like their `Falling Into Infinity' disc back in 1997), but all is not as it seems. For `Distance...', while the band have admittedly focused on punchier and more melodic tunes, they are still full of all the instrumental trickery, jagged time-changes and fancy soloing the band is known for, and it makes the album much more focused and memorable than their former release. Sure, it doesn't really do much that hasn't popped up many of their previous discs, but it's simply a reminder of what they do well, and that will absolutely do for this `comeback'.

Opener `Untethered Angel' is a tough hard rock tune with alternates a frantic momentum with grinding breaks, a rousing chorus and a giddy instrumental sprint in the middle, and the self-belief reaffirming lyric is welcome. Keyboardist Jordan Rudess' gothic piano and John Petrucci's crisp guitar soloing is a standout of the knotted heaviness of `Paralyzed', and there's a thrashy Metallica snarl with a Tony Iommi bite to much of `Fall Into The Light'. It also holds both a reflective acoustic break and refined soloing in the middle that is elegant and powerful, but the band step up for a pair of delirious instrumental races in the latter half.

Rudess works a little E.L.P-like keyboard buster into the opening of `Barstool Warrior', home to plenty of seamless tempo changes back and forth from the band, a soaring guitar theme frequently reprised throughout, and James Labrie's confident vocal perfectly conveys the tale of regret that ultimately turns defiant and uplifting. The absurdly schizo horror tale `Room 137' plods with grumbling menace powered by some intricately bashing drumming from Mike Mangini, and the band unexpectedly work in some light Beatles flavours to some of the dreamy vocal harmonies and playful bluesy soloing!

John Myung lets rip with aggressive bass spasms to open `S2N', and he powers throughout the entirety of the observation of the world state lyric, with the track constantly trailing out of control with plenty of spiralling instrumental duels between all the players, despite being anchored by a recurring chorus (and listen out for the ballsy bluesy wail that kicks in at around the 4:45 mark!). `At Wit's End' holds plenty of variety - maniacal pummelling riffing, softer ballad interludes and dirtier grooves, all laced with sparkling piano and simmering Hammond organ in between a pleading chorus. `Out Of Reach' is the obligatory `James Labrie breathy ballad' that pops on all DT discs, although it's one of the more classy examples. Closer `Pale Blue Dot' then races to the finish, a final showcase of maniacal stuttering riffs, commanding drum power and synths that move between ambient and imposing.

(Some copies of the album come with a short bonus track, and `Viper King' is a cool retro rocker that reminds of Deep Purple with its grooving riffs and deliciously murky organ)

No, it doesn't reinvent the Dream Theater wheel (let's cut them some slack, they pretty much invented a template that just about every prog-metal act has taken influence from since), nor does it do much that various parts of their discography haven't done before, but its focus on strong and compact tunes without sacrificing the expected technical display is welcome. All the exceptional musicians still get constant standout soloing moments, but they're delivered in more mature and tighter bursts so as to the avoid the...well, musically masturbatory excess that DT can often give in to! `Distance Over Time' is more a refining of everything that makes Dream Theater still stand out in the crowded prog-metal genre, and longtime fans will likely find this one an endlessly replayable and highly satisfying effort from the fellas.

Four stars.

 Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.12 | 1918 ratings

Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars After the masterpiece that was Metropolis Part 2, Dream Theater continued their trajectory into darker, heavier music with their followup, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, which as you can immediately see from the album art, is not going to be mistaken for something happy any time soon. While I do personally prefer this sort of sound more when compared to their early, synth heavy lighter music, I do think that compositionally, this album is quite a bit weaker in many places when compared to Awake and Images and Words, mostly in terms of its formidable length combined with DT's habit of dragging out a song for a few minutes too long hindering the overall enjoyment I have of the album.

Despite my criticisms, The Glass Prison shows no signs of this in the slightest, being by far the best song on the album, and one of my favourite songs by the band, wonderfully fusing thrash metal into their sound to create an amazingly powerful, oppressive, and downright brutal song. I absolutely love the 12 step suite in general, and think that it's easily one of the band's greatest achievements, and the one that kicks all of that off is definitely a strong one, with the insane instrumental breakdown being perfectly chaotic and carrying on for the perfect amount of time, with enough variation to maintain interest. Furthermore, the rest of the song is equally as excellent, especially the desperate chorus. Past this point the album falls on its face for a bit, with Blind Faith being nothing more than a standard rock track that happens to carry on for far too long, and Misunderstood has a very similar issue, especially with the outro that feels quite pointless and repetitive, not having the hypnotic effect that many great, repetitive pieces have to them, making it instead boring. The Great Debate is my least favourite song here for quite a few reasons. The biggest one is that while I normally don't care too much about lyrics, I really don't like when bands such as Dream Theater get political, it just doesn't feel right at all and really takes me out of the music. What makes this track worse to me is that I don't even find the music itself to be particularly interesting, sure, it sounds different in ways such as James Labrie singing with a strange robotic voice in sections, along with the chorus which completely halts the groove and pace being set in favour of some really passionate screams, but on the whole, this song doesn't do much for me at all, mostly due to the extremely lackluster vocal melodies, which dominate a lot of the song, but just don't sound good at all.The album gets back on track aftre this, with Disappear, which I find to be extremely good due to its atmosphere and melancholy tone, being an all around lovely track.

The second half of the album is really what most people think of when they thik of this album, the 42 minute long title suite. I personally find it to be somewhat too long, but to have so many amazing sections in it, along with an interesting lyrical concept running through, focusing on the topic of mental illness. The suite has a far more symphonic sound to it compared to essentially anything else they've ever written, which works to varying degrees of success. On one hand, I'm personally not a fan of Overture, finding it to drag and have an overly cheesy sound to it, while Solitary Shell has a strong Yes influence to it, and while I'm not the biggest fan of Yes, this track still works quite well. I definitely find it to be the best when things are on the heavier, more frantic side, specifically War Inside My Head and The Test That Stumped Them All, both of which showcase their heavy side exceptionally well, the former focusing on slightly slower, heavier riffs (still quite fast paced), and the latter being all about insane rhythms with frenetic keyboard playing and drumming. It ends in a satisfying enough way, but overall, while certain aspects of it work, I'm still not too keen on Overture and find the reprise of About To Crash to be fairly uninteresting, although I still stand by many aspects being great.

Overall, this is an extremely uneven albums, with moments of brilliance, but also aspects of wasted potential. My bigget issue with it is undoubtedly the fact that I feel like this could have been easily made into a single disc album and have been one of the band's better efforts, but as it stands, I can't rate it highly, as there are too many moments of boredom found within, at least to me. The biggest positive I can say about this album is that I really love the direction they began to take that becomes more developed in their next album.

Best songs: The Glass Prison, Disappear, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence

Worst songs: The Great Debate, Blind Faith

Verdict: A much heavier and darker album than previous efforts, but also a very uneven one. I'd highly recommend listening to the best songs here, as they are incredibly good for the most part, but I couldn't really recommend the middle 3 tracks on the first half.

 Distance Over Time by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.69 | 218 ratings

Distance Over Time
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team

3 stars After the Octavarium album, I have lost a bit of my enthusiasm towards the band's music. I was not expecting something amazing with this new album. I saw the reviews of the album before it was out. Some said the band was back with some of their best music of the past. When I give a spin to the album at first was a bit disappointed. But if I do this review, it's because, after more listening, the music has grown a little on me enough to justify a review. From the first 2 songs, we are in familiar territory with the band's style over the last 20 years. "Fall into the Light" brings some trash metal Metallica style, but the songs have many rhythms change displaying some impressive playing from every player and some cool melodic parts. There are some vocals effects on James voice in the song "Room 137" and "S2N", the latter show some Rush inspired parts and a more inspired Mangini on drums. "At Wit's End" has a heavy first part, a lighter and melodic second part, a song that starts to fade away at the 7 minutes mark. "Out of Reach" is what I don't like in Dream Theater, another boring ballad like you have in every album. In the song"Pale Blue Dot" we have some cool keys and drums parts and that typical John Petrucci heroic on guitar. The bonus track is a surprise with some groovy more standard rock style kind of music that made me think of Deep Purple. So I think this album is a natural evolution of the band's music in the last two decades. After so many years of great music, we could expect that the band is starting to run out of ideas, but a good band that they are they can't release a bad album. 3.4 stars
 Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes From A Memory by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.29 | 2873 ratings

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

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

5 stars I'd like to preface this review with a quick list of the good and bad of this album.

The bad:

This is more or less the genesis of almost every Petrucci solo being nothing more than shredding

Occasionally clunky lyrics, notably in Beyond This Life

The good:

Literally everything else.

Without any question at all, this is my favourite Dream Theater album by a mile, and one of my favourite concept albums full stop. This marked the shift in the band's sound that would stick with them for the rest of their career with Portnoy, a much darker, more brooding and heavy band with greater focus on the metal aspect of their sound. What this album does differently is add a theatrical edge to everything, all the way down to the song titles containing a scene number, all the grandiose melodies making everything more fun and epic, while the dark storyline about a murder suicide causes the music to have points in which there is a sense of urgency or discomfort, providing a lot of complexity to the album.

From the first track, interest is already piqued, with a mysterious voice talking about hyponotherapy to the main character, before the vocals kick in and already make the listener ask questions about what is happening. The opener is just quite nice in general, but it's from Overture 1928 that things really get going, borrowing a lot of musical inspiration from Metropolis Part 1, with a few additions throughout, making it a great guitar led instrumental track. This transitions into Strange Deja Vu, with an awesome, heavy riff that as the song goes on, drags out certain notes for longer, which slowly darkens the atmosphere, all before it lightens up and brings forth a soaring melody, with vocal harmonies that seem to represent Victoria, hence the much higher register they're sung in. The song ebbs and flows between majesty and music that complements headbanging extremely well, all before completely dying down into the next scene. Through Her Words is a pleasant little piano ballad that continues into one of my favourite songs on the album (although honestly, a lot of these could be considered my favourites), Fatal Tragedy, which builds into a truly foreboding section, with intense, but not over the top vocals combined with a slow creeping riff, staccato piano chords in the background, which builds into more standard prog metal before upping the intensity considerably with a hint of sadness mixed in for good measure, fitting considering the topic of murder. After this, the song then shifts into its second half, which is nothing more than a completely insane, fast paced instrumental section, with duelling solos between John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess, while Mike Portnoy smashes away at hit drums. It continues building further and further, essentially being a constant explosion, with so much latent energy that even when it cuts to just the piano, it still segues perfectly into Beyond This Life, one of the fastest songs on the album, with sections where the drumming could quite easily be considered blast beats. This is definitely the most energetic, urgent songs on the album, sounding as if it simply cannot stop with the intensity, with the main verses, despite being relatively quiet, maintain this intense pace, the only moments of respite being the chorus, which has a psychedelic feel to it, with extremely spacey sounding vocal effects on it. I also really like the part where an isolated riff begins jumping between the left and right ears on headphones, which then transitions into the downright groovy second half of the song, using it to somewhat control the energy present in order to then transition into Through Her Eyes, another absolutely beautiful ballad, with some nice female vocals added. Not too much to say about this particular song, it's just really nice all around.

The second act of the album begins with what I consider to be one of DT's greatest songs of all time, up there with the likes of Space Dye Vest, Octavarium, and In The Name of God. The songs starts off with a mysterious, exotic intro that build so perfectly, maintaining the style it has even once the amazingly heavy guitar comes in, in a similar fashion to Iron Maiden's Powerslave. Each riff introduced is nothing short of incredible. I also adore how the song switches perspectives between various characters, each with their own issues perfectly fitting in with the general lyrical theme, and definitely fitting in with the dark, desperate nature of it, with an incredibly passionate vocal performance. What follows after this is easily the most ridiculous song the band has ever made, The Dance Of Eternity. The amount of time signature changes in this is absolutely absurd, pompous, excessive, yet unlike an extended solo from a band like ELP, this song manages to continue shifting gears throughout, making the angular nature of the rhythm work really well with some really groovy sections. Looking at this from a technical stadpoint, this song is insane, and looking at it from an enjoyment standpoint, it's still really fun all around, and I've never found it to be dull at all. One Last Time is a powerful, lovely softer song that I find really sticks with me for some reason, which then leads into The Spirit Carries On. Up to this point, there have been multiple instances of reprise, being parts of Metropolis Part 1 making appearances in both Overture 1928 and Dance of Eternity, Overture 1928 having sections found in both Strange Deja Vu and Dance of Eternity, and now this, reprising the opener to the album, but expanding it into a full fledged song complete with a gospel choir and an incredibly happy, optimistic tone to it. Finally Free makes for a perfect finale, with the first half showing each characters' perspective, each now feeling fulfilled, each repeating the same chorus, which if you've followed along with the story, will feel off if oyu've followed the story. The song progresses into a single riff repeated ad nauseum, with a clear focus on mood and atmosphere, before completely cutting out and then ending in a somewhat shocking way, which I won't disclose here, mostly due to the long winded explanation it would warrant to properly convey.

Overall, this is definitely one of my favourite albums, and even though I barely listen to Dream Theater at all these days, this album will still make it onto my rotation fairly regularly. Each song is excellent, but also importantly, the songs work together perfectly as a whole, leading to a listening experience that I feel never falters. I understand that this review is quite excessive, but I judt adore this album too much to make it any shorter. I seriously recommend that if you haven't listened to this album, and enjoy prog metal to any extent whatsoever, that you listen to this album, as I honestly believe that it is close to perfection as long as you can get behind some excess and pompousness.

Best songs: All of them, but especially Fatal Tragedy, Beyond This Life, Home and Dance of Eternity

Weakest songs: none

Verdict: My absolute favourite pure prog metal album, with everything not only being consistently great, but amazing me extremely frequently. This is definitely a good starting point into the band, and more importantly, a must listen album if you can get behind some pretentious moments.

 Distance Over Time by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.69 | 218 ratings

Distance Over Time
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

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

3 stars DREAM THEATER sure has had an amazing run throughout their three decade career which began all the way back in 1989 with the debut 'When Dream And Day Unite.' Lauded for the following 'Images And Words,' this Boston turned NYC based band was one of the key players in reviving the slumbering progressive rock scene and ground zero for bringing progressive metal into the larger public consciousness. Lo and behold, despite all the turbulence of the ups and downs throughout their career and just as many misses as hits, the band returns 30 years after their debut with their 14th studio album DISTANCE OVER TIME which continues the stability of the 21st century lineup which includes many of the legends: James LaBrie (vocals), John Petrucci (guitars), John Myung (bass) and Jordan Rudess (keyboards). And continuing the DT ride since his debut in 2011 is Portnoy's replacement Mike Mangini on drums.

As with many of the progressive metal bands that have come and gone since DT's early 90s triumph on the music scene, this band too has had to find that delicate balance between crafting compositions that are accessible to a large dedicated fanbase with finding the room to experiment and expand into newer arenas. And much like many more progressively oriented bands DT has found that it strayed a little left field from what the fanbase expects of them and such is the case with the previous album 'The Astonishing' which found the whole plethora of responses ranging from opinions as the band's absolute worst album ever and should be hurled into the trash bins to the other extreme of those who absolutely adore extremely lengthy rock opera infused pompousness in their prog metal. Fortunately the band seems to have their fingers on the pulse of the situation and always seem to bounce back after dodging the career crashing bullet that plagues bands who have achieved such popularity.

And so it is. DISTANCE OVER TIME seems like an album that was designed to reel the fans back to some of the classic aspects of the band, namely progressively constructed compositions that are based on strong melodies, tight performances and technical wizardry to shock and awe, well at least for those who have not become inured to this now tried and true style of prog metal playing. DREAM THEATER also forged their new creation so that it could be performed in live settings in conjunct with the 20th anniversary of the 5th studio album 'Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory,' which still remains one of the band's most respected and popular albums of the entire DT canon and while DISTANCE OVER TIME certainly doesn't outshine its 90s predecessor, it certainly does revive a sort of musical mojo of heavy no-nonsense metal delivery not heard since 2003's 'Train Of Thought.'

For all the bloated excess of 'The Astonishing,' DISTANCE OVER TIME takes the opposite extreme. While the former was a behemoth double album that sprawled ten minutes past the two hour mark, the latter sits comfortably under the 57 minute run and is the shortest album since the band's debut 30 years ago. Likewise the tracks are streamlined into more digestible chunks with none extending past the 10 minute mark and only 'At Wit's End' coming close at 9:20. From a business perspective, this was a very wise move as it allows prog metalheads the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with what attracted them to the band in the first place without having to dedicate excessive quantities of time and effort to pierce the impenetrable veil, not to mention the annoying fact that when DT releases an album of such overweening length, many tracks contain more padding than a tween's first training bra. For complex music with a technical flare, shorter is always the answer, at least for an album that lacks epic transcendental qualities.

Admittedly, DREAM THEATER is a band i've had a love / hate relationship over the years and i suspect many share this sentiment given the high / low ratings of their albums that checker the canon as high ratings alternate with low ones. For me, DT still found their heyday in the 90s and peaked with 2002's 'Six Degrees Of Turbulence' and everything thereafter has pretty much been a somewhat stagnate retread, albeit a competent one of the former glory. In this regard DISTANCE OVER TIME firmly falls into that camp. The band members as brilliant as they are continuously fail to evolve past their classic 'Awake' sound that implements the punishing guitar antics fortified with keyboard wizardry, operatic vocals and percussive bombast and although DT crafts a roster of pleasantries that tick off all the expects boxes on the checklist. The band seems to alternate between exploring new territories that don't connect with the audience and then retreating to the status quo with no additional surprises.

In the end, DISTANCE OVER TIME successfully dishes out nine well crafted tracks that flow together fairly well without over- sappifying into wretch-inducing ballads and are displayed in rather well constructed vocal rhythmic passages augmented with blistering face melting technical wankery. This is what makes DT an interesting listen time and time again when they focus on these more intense aspects of their sound. However, DISTANCE OVER TIME will offer no surprises, no deviations from anything that has come before and the touched by the gods magical mojo of earlier albums like 'Images And Words' is still a fading memory of the past. So once again, DT delivers a competent album that stands up well amongst the less talented contemporaries but in comparison to the band's own majesty of their history, doesn't really muster up enough goods to really get overexcited about. Generic to the hilt but generic performed in fully fueled DT excellence of course. While the album may make some waves in the here and now of 2019, i very much doubt that DT will be celebrating THIS album 20 years from now.

3.5 but rounded down

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

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