DREAM THEATER
Progressive Metal • United States

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I. Introduction

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
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The Astonishing (2CD)The Astonishing (2CD)
Roadrunner Records 2016
Audio CD$3.92
$9.98 (used)
Images and WordsImages and Words
Atco Records 1992
Audio CD$3.15
$1.86 (used)
Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a MemoryMetropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory
Elektra 1999
Audio CD$2.83
$0.43 (used)
OctavariumOctavarium
Atlantic 2005
Audio CD$2.78
$0.34 (used)
Train Of ThoughtTrain Of Thought
Elektra 2003
Audio CD$3.15
$2.15 (used)
Dream TheaterDream Theater
Roadrunner Records 2013
Audio CD$11.09
$8.82 (used)
AwakeAwake
Atlantic 1994
Audio CD$3.15
$0.32 (used)
The Studio Albums 1992-2011The Studio Albums 1992-2011
Box set
Roadrunner 2014
Audio CD$38.31
$56.87 (used)
Dream Theater - Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium OrchestraDream Theater - Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra
Multiple Formats
Rhino 2006
DVD$8.86
$1.30 (used)
Systematic ChaosSystematic Chaos
Roadrunner Records 2007
Audio CD$3.15
$1.94 (used)
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DREAM THEATER Discography

DREAM THEATER albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.10 | 104 ratings
When Dream and Day Unite
Progressive Metal 1989
.. Album Cover 4.28 | 197 ratings
Images and Words
Progressive Metal 1992
.. Album Cover 4.06 | 138 ratings
Awake
Progressive Metal 1994
.. Album Cover 3.14 | 114 ratings
Falling Into Infinity
Progressive Metal 1997
.. Album Cover 4.10 | 164 ratings
Metropolis, Part 2: Scenes From a Memory
Progressive Metal 1999
.. Album Cover 3.92 | 123 ratings
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
Progressive Metal 2002
.. Album Cover 3.89 | 120 ratings
Train of Thought
Progressive Metal 2003
.. Album Cover 3.61 | 115 ratings
Octavarium
Progressive Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 3.26 | 111 ratings
Systematic Chaos
Progressive Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 3.53 | 122 ratings
Black Clouds & Silver Linings
Progressive Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 3.82 | 111 ratings
A Dramatic Turn of Events
Progressive Metal 2011
.. Album Cover 3.49 | 53 ratings
Dream Theater
Progressive Metal 2013
.. Album Cover 2.43 | 28 ratings
The Astonishing
Progressive Metal 2016

DREAM THEATER EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 3.78 | 85 ratings
A Change of Seasons
Progressive Metal 1995
.. Album Cover 2.69 | 7 ratings
Wither
Progressive Metal 2009

DREAM THEATER live albums

.. Album Cover 3.79 | 41 ratings
Live at the Marquee
Progressive Metal 1993
.. Album Cover 3.38 | 30 ratings
Once in a LIVEtime
Progressive Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 4.32 | 48 ratings
Live Scenes From New York
Progressive Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 4.02 | 42 ratings
Live at Budokan
Progressive Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 4.13 | 42 ratings
Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour
Progressive Metal 2006

DREAM THEATER demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
International Fan Club Christmas CD 1996
Progressive Metal 1996
.. Album Cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
The Making Of Falling Into Infinity (International Fanclub Christmas CD 1997 / Official Bootleg 2009)
Progressive Metal 1997
.. Album Cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Once In A Livetime Outtakes (International Fan Clubs Christmas CD 1998)
Progressive Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 3.22 | 4 ratings
Cleaning Out The Closet (Christmas CD 1999)
Progressive Metal 1999
.. Album Cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Scenes From A World Tour (Christmas CD 2000)
Progressive Metal 2000
.. Album Cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
04 Degrees of Radio Edits (Christmas CD 2001)
Progressive Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Taste the Memories (International Fan Clubs CD 2002)
Progressive Metal 2002
.. Album Cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Graspop Festival 2002 (International Fan Club CD 2003)
Progressive Metal 2003
.. Album Cover 3.00 | 5 ratings
The Majesty Demos 1985 - 1986
Progressive Metal 2003
.. Album Cover 2.24 | 4 ratings
Los Angeles, California - 5/18/98
Progressive Metal 2003
.. Album Cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
The Making of Scenes From A Memory
Progressive Metal 2003
.. Album Cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
A Sort of Homecoming (International Fan Club CD 2004)
Progressive Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
When Dream and Day Unite Demos 1987-1989
Progressive Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 2.24 | 4 ratings
Tokyo, Japan - 1995-10-28
Progressive Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 1.84 | 17 ratings
Master Of Puppets
Thrash Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
A Walk Beside the Band (International Fan Clubs DVD 2005)
Progressive Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 3.48 | 2 ratings
Images and Words Demos 1989-1991
Progressive Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 2.43 | 17 ratings
The Number of the Beast
NWoBHM 2005
.. Album Cover 3.35 | 12 ratings
When Dream And Day Reunite
Progressive Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Romavarium (International Fan Clubs DVD 2006)
Progressive Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 2.85 | 6 ratings
Awake Demos 1994
Progressive Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 2.24 | 4 ratings
Old Bridge, New Jersey - 12/14/96
Progressive Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 2.98 | 16 ratings
Dark Side of the Moon
Progressive Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 3.28 | 5 ratings
New York City 3/4/93
Progressive Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 3.17 | 8 ratings
Falling Into Infinity Demos 1996-1997
Progressive Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 3.10 | 12 ratings
Made in Japan
Progressive Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Images And Words: 15th Anniversary Performance Live In Bonn, Germany - 6/16/07 (International Fan Clubs CD 2007)
Progressive Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 3.35 | 5 ratings
Progressive Nation 2008 (International Fan Clubs CD 2008)
Progressive Metal 2008
.. Album Cover 2.55 | 6 ratings
Train Of Thought Instrumental Demos 2003
Progressive Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 3.32 | 10 ratings
Uncovered 2003-2005
Progressive Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 2.52 | 2 ratings
Happy Holidays
Progressive Metal 2013

DREAM THEATER re-issues & compilations

.. Album Cover 1.96 | 19 ratings
Greatest Hit (...and 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs)
Progressive Metal 2008
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Original Album Series
Progressive Metal 2011
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Studio Albums 1992-2011
Progressive Metal 2014

DREAM THEATER singles (17)

.. Album Cover
2.76 | 3 ratings
Afterlife
Progressive Metal 1989
.. Album Cover
2.02 | 2 ratings
Status Seeker
Progressive Metal 1989
.. Album Cover
2.32 | 3 ratings
Another Day
Progressive Metal 1993
.. Album Cover
2.14 | 2 ratings
The Silent Man
Progressive Metal 1994
.. Album Cover
2.55 | 3 ratings
Lie
Progressive Metal 1994
.. Album Cover
2.04 | 3 ratings
Hollow Years
Progressive Metal 1997
.. Album Cover
2.05 | 2 ratings
Through Her Eyes
Progressive Metal 2000
.. Album Cover
2.10 | 2 ratings
Forsaken
Progressive Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
3.00 | 2 ratings
Odyssey
Progressive Metal 2009
.. Album Cover
2.67 | 3 ratings
Tenement Funster/Flick Of The Wrist/Lily Of The Valley
Progressive Metal 2009
.. Album Cover
3.00 | 3 ratings
Stargazer
Progressive Metal 2009
.. Album Cover
2.50 | 2 ratings
Take Your Fingers From My Hair
Progressive Metal 2009
.. Album Cover
2.66 | 4 ratings
Larks Tongues In Aspic, Pt. 2
Progressive Metal 2009
.. Album Cover
2.89 | 5 ratings
A Rite Of Passage
Progressive Metal 2009
.. Album Cover
3.71 | 6 ratings
On the Backs of Angels
Progressive Metal 2011
.. Album Cover
3.50 | 2 ratings
The Enemy Inside
Progressive Metal 2013
.. Album Cover
3.50 | 2 ratings
Illumination Theory
Progressive Metal 2014

DREAM THEATER movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
4.01 | 6 ratings
Images and Words Live in Tokyo
Progressive Metal 1993
.. Album Cover
3.20 | 7 ratings
5 Years in a LIVEtime
Progressive Metal 1998
.. Album Cover
4.42 | 33 ratings
Metropolis 2000: Scenes from New York
Progressive Metal 2001
.. Album Cover
3.56 | 15 ratings
Images and Words Live in Tokyo / 5 Years in a LIVEtime
Progressive Metal 2004
.. Album Cover
4.12 | 25 ratings
Live at Budokan
Progressive Metal 2004
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
When Dream And Day Reunite
Progressive Metal 2005
.. Album Cover
4.26 | 25 ratings
Dream Theater - Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra
Progressive Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
3.75 | 2 ratings
Dark Side of the Moon
Progressive Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Bucharest, Romania 7/4/02
Progressive Metal 2007
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Greatest Hit (...and 5 Other Pretty Cool Videos)
Progressive Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
3.85 | 16 ratings
Chaos in Motion
Progressive Metal 2008
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0.00 | 0 ratings
Santiago, Chile 12/6/05
Progressive Metal 2009
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4.02 | 2 ratings
Live at Luna Park
Progressive Metal 2013
.. Album Cover
4.67 | 2 ratings
Breaking The Fourth Wall
Progressive Metal 2014

DREAM THEATER Reviews

DREAM THEATER Hollow Years

Single · 1997 · Progressive Metal
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martindavey87
'Hollow Years' is an incredible song, and definitely one of Dream Theater's most memorable and catchy ballads, and releasing it as a single/EP is fully justified, however, it's the extra material that leaves this release feeling slightly lacking.

First off, 'Hollow Years'... great song. No need to have the radio edit alongside the album version though. Does anyone ever listen to these edited versions? Didn't think so. 'You or Me', a demo version of 'You Not Me' is a nice touch, but not as polished as the finished track. The main reason I like these kinds of discs is for the b-sides and non-album tracks, in which case here we have 'The Way It Used to Be'. It's an alright song. A bit bland if I'm honest. I can understand why it wasn't included on the 'Falling Into Infinity' album.

And then there's two lives tracks (included on the North Korean EP version of this, anyway). They're "good" I suppose, but not really incentive enough to track this down.

Overall, despite my criticisms, this isn't a bad little release. The musicianship is exceptional, as always, and there's not really anything particularly wrong with any of the songs, it's just not anything worth having unless you're a collector of everything Dream Theater.

DREAM THEATER The Astonishing

Album · 2016 · Progressive Metal
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DippoMagoo
Two of my favorite bands are Dream Theater and Ayreon. The former because of their insanely top notch technical musicianship and ability to write some of the best instrumental sections ever into their songs, and the latter for the unique combination of epic storytelling and songwriting project mastermind Arjen Lucassen brings. I have long wondered, though, what would ever happen if the two were to be combined somehow? If either one of the two tried to borrow elements from the other or if some new band came along and managed to combine elements of the two expertly themselves? Well, after years of wondering, I finally have my answer as in 2016 none other than Dream Theater themselves decided to make an attempt at an Ayreon style rock opera, the result of which is a hugely ambitious concept album titled The Astonishing. So, what has this experiment led to exactly? Well, for the very long answer, you can read the following few paragraphs that answer everything in great detail. If you’d like a short answer, please feel free to skip to the very end of the review.

Over the years, Dream Theater have become a rather controversial band, as some of their early releases such as Images & Words, Awake and Metropolis 2: Scenes From a Memory are widely considered as some of the absolute best progressive metal records ever, but in recent years the band has lost of their fans as they’ve had some questionable releases, a rather infamous meltdown with former drummer Mike Portnoy that led to him leaving the band, and overall it seems the band has lost a lot of the respect they once had among metal fans. Personally, I’ve enjoyed every album of theirs to at least some extent, and I’ve welcomed drummer Mike Mangini from the very start and now think of him as a very important part of the group. At the same time, while their previous self-titled release was excellent, I was anxious to see them attempt something a bit more focused again, and so I had very high expectations for The Astonishing when I first heard it would be a concept album, and those expectations only rose when I learned it would be a full blown, 2 disc rock opera. Needless to say, my expectations were more than met, and the album instantly became one of my all time favorites. However, seeing how the band’s recent output had been getting a mixed reception, this album marked a possible turning point for the band, as to whether or not they could finally win their fans back, or if those fans would only drift further away.

In that regard, making an album such as The Astonishing was a massive risk, as it’s such an ambitious undertaking, and unsurprisingly many folks were not pleased with the result. Stylistically, this album is not going to please those looking for a pure, straight-forward prog metal album, and I really don’t think that’s what the band was going for. Instead, they have brought in a full orchestra, added in some choir vocals for added effect in some sections, and have made what can best be described as a mix between an Ayreon style rock opera, a broadway musical and even in some aspects a Disney movie. So yes, that mix of styles was bound to be met with mixed responses, but personally, I was always on board and excited to hear what the band would do with this album and over a year after its release, I have to say it’s absolutely brilliant and one of the greatest things ever created. I will say, though, in order to fully appreciate this album it certainly helps if the listener enjoys at least one or two of those styles I mentioned, or even progressive rock as well, because anyone looking only for progressive metal will be hugely disappointed.

Obviously, Dream Theater have some of the best musicians in the world, with guitarist John Petrucci and keyboardist Jordan Rudess in particular being considered among the absolute best of the best at their respective instruments, but on this album while they’re still given a bit of space to show their talents, these are often limited to shorten periods than normal, as this is a largely vocal driven album, making James LaBrie perhaps the most important factor as to whether or not the album could work or if it would be a massive failure. For the most part, the album is focused more on telling its story than on flashy musicianship, but in some ways I love this as one criticism against the band has always been that they’re all about technical showmanship and can’t put any feeling into their music, but the few solo sections on this album are much more melodic than usual and to me they help prove that everything said against them is false, with John in particular putting in a lot of extra touch into his solos on this album. On the whole, the music is much softer than usual for Dream Theater, as it’s a very fun and very showy album, with a lot of added orchestral elements and there are many more progressive rock oriented sections where Jordan uses piano sounds. In fact, many tracks here could best be described as mini ballads, with no metal to be found. At the same time, there are still some metal moments to be found, and if anything the lower quantity of heavier sections helps them to stand out more than usual, and indeed, there are some very intense passages on this album, especially during the first half of disc 2, which is very much a turning point for the story.

Speaking of which, while I can’t go into full detail to avoid turning this review into a novel, the story is a very important aspect of the album, and while it’s at times extremely cheesy, I find it works very well when set to music and it’s certainly very entertaining. Basically, the album takes place in a dystopian world, ruled by the evil tyrant Emperor Nafaryus, and it’s a world where all music has been taken away to be replaced by noise machines (or NOMACS.) A rebel faction called the Ravenskill Militia, led by Arhys exists, and is counting on his brother Gabriel, who’s considered the chosen one who will use his voice to free them from the evil empire. Other important characters include Faythe, the daughter of Nafaryus, who falls for Gabriel once she discovers his music, and Daryus, son of Nafaryus, who’s jealous of the attention his sister gets and so he seeks to end the rebellion on his own. Obviously there are far more pieces to this story, but for the sake of giving a brief summary, those are all the essential characters and plot elements to know. I’d definitely recommend that anyone interested in the album read about the story and characters on the Dream Theater website before listening for the first time and to read the lyrics while listening at least once, to help get the full experience. Some questions to ponder, as you listen: Will Gabriel come through in the end? Will love prevail? Will Nafaryus learn the error of his ways? Can music save the day? And most importantly: Is Emperor Nafaryus such a ridiculous(ly awesome) name that Disney writers are now beating themselves up every day for not coming up with it themselves? Okay, I think the answer to that last one is pretty obvious.

Moving on, I mentioned earlier that James LaBrie is a very important part of this album, and so this brings me to another very controversial fact: You see, on Ayreon albums (and really most rock and metal operas) each character is played by a different guest singer who has been brought in just for the album. Well, that is not what happened with The Astonishing. Nope, always wanting to do things their own way, Dream Theater decided to have James play every role on his own, be it male or female. I actually find he does an amazing job, as he has to show his full vocal range, as well as his ability to portray different characters, which he demonstrated expertly on Ayreon’s The Human Equation. This time around, he makes subtle changes in his delivery to indicate which character is singing. For example, while Nafaryus and Daryus are both menacing, you can tell the two apart fairly easily because the former tends to sound more quirky and showy, while the former is always more serious and business like. Obviously, James has to sing a bit higher than normal when portraying Faythe and other female characters, and he does this quite well, while he’s probably at his best when portraying the strength and determination of Arhys. All in all, I’d say this album represents some of his finest work to date, and as a longtime fan who’s always defended him even while others criticized, I’m extremely pleased with how he sounds on this album. At the very least, it’s definitely a very unique and interesting way of doing a rock opera, and so for that alone it stands out big time.

Usually I’d do a song by song section, but for an album such as The Astonishing, that would be rather difficult, to say the least, seeing how the album contains 34 tracks. Instead, I’ll be briefly detailing some of my favorite moments, both musically and for plot reasons. First off, though, it’s worth mentioning that a few of these tracks are brief instrumentals, which are mostly just various sound effects that may seem inconsequential at a quick glance but these are actually sounds from the NOMACS and are meant to represent the kind of “music”, the world of this album has become dominated by. Let me tell you, that kind of “music” sure is creepy and I’d want nothing to do with it, so if I lived in that world, I’d totally be sending in an application to join Ravenskill!

Moving on then, each disc begins with an overture track, and this kind of structure is meant to mimic that of a musical, with both tracks containing instrumental passages from various tracks on the album, with “2285 Entr’acte” in particular having some great call backs to some of the best moments on disc one, and both tracks allow John and Jordan to have some memorable solos. The first full song on the album is “The Gift of Music”, a rather straight-forward track which starts off as a mid tempo prog metal track before Mike Mangini starts speeding up his drums midway the first verse and we actually get a very brief power metal passage. Aside from that section, the track is the kind of prog metal the band is great at, and Jordan gets a really nice solo in the second half, while the track on the whole does a great job of introducing the concept of the album. The first few tracks on the whole serve as a nice introduction, with the brief ballad “The Answer” doing a great job of introducing Gabriel and showing us his doubts, while “ A Better Life” is basically Arhys giving his men a pep talk, and the track does a great job of showing us how determined this man is, and of course the aptly named “Lord Nafaryus” introduces us to one of the villain figures and shows us how unimpressed he is by the rebellion. Speaking of which, “Three Days” is an interesting track as it’s at times dark and quite heavy, while also being a very theatrical track, and James does an excellent job as Nafaryus on that track, as he issues a threat against Gabriel, and his vocals there are both very menacing and yet also suitably goofy. Likewise, “Act of Faythe” is a softer track and is a great introduction to the title character, showing us how this sheltered girl is surprised and amazing by what she sees from Gabriel and the folks beyond her castle walls.

Moving past the introductory phase, “Brother, Can You Hear Me” makes excellent use of marching drums, and is effectively a rally cry, and shortly after that comes the ballad “Chosen”, my personal favorite track from disc one, as by this point in the story Gabriel and Faythe have been united, and this is beautiful track where Gabriel finally starts to show some of his brother’s determination, giving us the super inspiring chorus “But I can’t climb this mountain without you. No I can’t face this on my own. With you by my side, we will open his eyes, and the truth will deliver us home.” Truly an inspiring chorus, and one my absolute favorite moments on the album. Disc one ends with hints of a possible betrayal on “The X Aspect”, as Daryus threatens Arhys with his son Xander, and says he can only be free if Arhys hands over Gabriel. Thus, begins an epic plot line that carries over to disc 2. Meanwhile, “A New Beginning” features a confrontation between Faythe and her father over her wishes to be with Gabriel, and this is a pretty cool scene, while musically this is the most progressive track on the album and features some great instrumental sections in the second half.

On to disc two, then, and after that excellent overture track, we get “Moment of Betrayal”, another more traditional prog track that is great on its own, but also sets off a huge chain of events, eventually paying off with a very dramatic scene in “The Path That Divides”, a track that starts off soft but quickly assaults the listener with some of the heaviest, darkest riffs on the album as the plot takes a violent turn with Arhys not betraying his brother, and instead being murdered by Daryus. This, of course, leads to Xander being really angry and he gives us an outburst of emotion on “The Walking Shadow”, the last really heavy track on the album, and probably the darkest moment of all, as Daryus attacks a target emerging from the shadows, thinking it’s Gabriel, but it turns out to be…. Faythe! Yep, it appears tragedy strikes, and Gabriel descends into darkness on “Whispers on the Wind”, before being riled up by a huge choir of fans on “Hymn of a Thousand Voices”, the climatic track of the album where Gabriel uses his voice to bring Faythe back, and we get a happy ending after. Following that track we get two happy tracks to close out the album, though the real standout of the two is “Our New World”, more of a soft progressive rock track where John Petrucci gives us one the happiest sounding guitar solos I’ve ever heard, and this section especially to me helps disprove anyone who says he can’t play with any feeling, because damn do I ever get major feels during that track! Really, most of the album does that to me, and his guitar work is brilliant throughout the album, but that song in particular really stands out. Lastly, the title track while more of a ballad, is a very nice closing to the album and it gives us an incredible final line “Our lives will be astonishing again.” Absolutely brilliant!

Even after over 2500 words, I will admit I still have not done this album justice, and to do so without writing a full length novel would be impossible, but alas, it’s now time to bring things to a close. For that, I will return to my opening question: What would happen if there was ever an album that combined the technical mastery of Dream Theater and the storytelling of Ayreon? The answer: That would be something absolutely brilliant! No, more than brilliant: It would be……… Astonishing!

DREAM THEATER Metropolis, Part 2: Scenes From a Memory

Album · 1999 · Progressive Metal
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Modrigue
THE concept album of the 90's

After the commercial failure of "Falling into Infinity", DREAM THEATER had to to pull off a major coup to keep their progressive metal crown. Furthermore, the band was lacking a genuine concept album to their discography to enter the prog hall of fame. Finally, fans were requesting a sequel to "Metropolis Part 1: The Miracle and The Sleeper", the most ambitious title from "Images and Words".

All these goals will fully be reached with the sublime "Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes from a memory". This fifth studio opus also marks the arrival of keyboardist Jordan Rudess from LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT. Based on an instrumental demo recorded in 1996, the musicians extended the lyrics of "Metropolis Part 1" to narrate the story of a man though his anterior life, in two acts.

Influenced by the greatest concept records of all time, such as RUSH's, ZAPPA's, YES', GENESIS' "The Lamb...", and especially QUEENSRŸCHE's "Operation Mindcrime" and PINK FLOYD's "The Wall", "Metropolis Part 2" literally redefines modern progressive metal and simply stands as THE major concept album of the 90's. The quintet's musical elements such as multiple time signatures, raging riffs, breathtaking soli and typical gimmicks are of course present, however this time with more harmony, balance, richer instrumentation and better flow. Gorgeous!

Act 1 is nearly perfect. The hypnotic countdown of "Regression" and its "The Wall-esque" acoustic guitar introduces "Overture 1928", an instrumental patchwork of the disc's main themes. The nightmarish and aggressive "Strange Deja Vu" is freaking good. Its rhythm changes are energetic and even a little groovy at times. The sad piano interlude "Through My Words" unveils another impressive composition, the powerful and beautiful "Fatal Tragedy". Its horrific atmosphere and multiple instruments create a tragic and thrilling sensation, carried away by magnificent soli. Wow! Great! Also featuring various musicians' interventions, "Beyond This Life" alternates raging darker, floating and funky sections. Unfortunately, the act finishes with the black sheep of the album, which is... a soapy ballad, "Through Her Eyes", the only weak track. Guess we cannot avoid this type of cheesy song in a DREAM THEATER release... At least, its "The Final Cut"-esque introduction is pretty charming.

Act 2 starts with the longest and most progressive title of the record, "Home". Let's go straight to the point: this is simply one of the best prog Middle-Eastern-ish metal piece of its kind, bombastic and epic! This composition represents the style and quality of music you would expect by looking at the cover art of, say, you-know-who's "Powerslave". The theme from "Metroplis Part 1" makes a short incursion. The instrumental "The Dance Of Eternity" possesses a terrifying and haunting overture, as well as surprising moments, such as rag-time, while borrowing some parts from "Metroplis Part 1". We even got a bass solo from John Myung! Yes! After its beautiful piano opening, the enchanting "One Last Time" reuses the theme from "Strange Deja Vu", whereas "The Spirit Carries On" is quite "The Wall"-esque with its Roger Waters-ian whispered vocals and female choirs. "Finally Free" concludes the disc by alternating peaceful and tragic passages. Enjoyable but a bit too long.

Anyway, this was a genuine mesmerizing journey, both nightmarish and dreamy. "Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes from a memory" is DREAM THEATER's magnum opus, transporting you into another - inner - world. Mindblowing, breathtaking, magic, epic, borrowing from numerous influences and various musical genres, this fifth studio album is simply a milestone in the prog metal genre. In the 90's, there are hardly no concept albums that could compete with such musicality, aggressiveness and virtuosity.

The success will be comparable to "Images And Words"'s and will launch the musicians for a massive tour. The quintet's reign can safely continue... Unfortunately their further albums won't be able to recreate a mixture of such balance and quality...

Simply one of DREAM THEATER's and progressive metal in general's best offerings! An ESSENTIAL listen...

DREAM THEATER Live at the Marquee

Live album · 1993 · Progressive Metal
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Modrigue
Short but good

This album represents for me the first time I heard of DREAM THEATER. Recorded at the Marquee Club in London in 1993, the concert was part of a huge tour following the unexpected success of "Images and Words". (Almost) cleverly thought, the set-list simply consists in 2 emblematic progressive metal titles from their first and second albums, 1 new improvisation and... unfortunately 1 soapy song, "Another Day" or "Surrounded", depending on your version... Choose your sleeping pill. Nevertheless, despite the 45 minutes duration, the quality is present.

The live renditions of "Pull Me Under" and "Metropolis" touch perfection. If you want me to nitpick, I will just mention the very low volume of John Myung's bass solo. A problem of microphone? "Bombay Vindaloo" is an instrumental jam led by John Petrucci, where he displays his virtuosity. This improvisation offers a nice Middle-Eastern-ish mysterious ambiance, although a bit too long. Only appearing on this disc, there exist no other studio or live versions of this track.

However, for the fan, the main interest of this record are undoubtedly "A Fortune In Lies" and "The Killing Hand". Finally, two songs from "When Dream and Day Unite" where James LaBrie replaces Charles Dominici! LaBrie's high-pitched and raging vocals does the justice that these great compositions deserve, making them more aggressive than the originals. His performance, especially on these tracks, is incredible! There is also an alternate opening for "The Killing Hand". Entitled "Another Hand", this enjoyable neo-proggy instrumental was written during the tour to bring a smoother transition to the end of "Another Day".

"Live at the Marquee" is simply THE old-school DREAM THEATER live album to own, as well as a good introduction to the band's first era. After the listen, a hopeless and futile idea germinates in your mind: maybe one day the band will re-record "When Dream and Day Unite" with James LaBrie...

DREAM THEATER Awake

Album · 1994 · Progressive Metal
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Modrigue
When Dream and Technique disunite

After the unexpected success of the enchanting "Images and Words", and especially the hit-single "Pull Me Under", DREAM THEATER were urged by their music label to release a new album, more aggressive, certainly because of the recent grunge explosion. And that's exactly the main issue with "Awake": under pressure, the musicians didn't have the required latitude to fully imagine and develop their compositions. So the tracks are cold, darker, complex, maybe more modern, but without a proper soul. Those expecting the magic and fantasy of their two first albums may be disappointed. No problem with that, every band can - and must - evolve, but this time the virtuosity nearly fails at serving a real cause or crafting a captivating atmosphere. As you understand, I was mostly deceived by this third studio album.

However, there are some titles that caught my attention. "Erotomania" is easily one of DT's most breathtaking instrumentals. The musicianship is unbelievable, and this track features an incalculable number changes and ambiances! Great! My favorite song of the record is the multi-faces "Voices", alternating calm, floating and raging passages with cool sound effects. The middle part is an iced beauty... Concerning the average titles, "Caught in a Web" and "Scarred" reminds me, at times, the vanished magic of the former discs. "Space-Dye Vest" has also touching moments.

The rest of the disc fails at catching my attention and at really transporting me to another world. Furthermore, the somber and modern musical direction of "Awake" does unfortunately not spare us a few moments of soapiness: "Innocence Faded", "The Silent Man", "Lifting Shadows Off A Dream"...

"Awake" is definitely not my DREAM THEATER favorite, but will allow the band to confirm its leadership in the progressive metal sphere. Too long, too complex, too cold, lacking memorable melodies, this opus is an example where the means - the virtuosity of the musicians - is used as an end, and not to an end. Nonetheless, the band members shouldn't be blamed, they were pressurized by their record label, which is in complete opposition to their style of music, requiring to "Take The Time" to give birth to. As a result, internal dissensions will appear within the group, and keyboardist Kevin Moore will left the ship. Therefore, "Awake" marks the end of the first era of DREAM THEATER.

"Awake" still remains a technical demonstration and a mandatory listen for fans. The newcomers won't find it very accessible, although there are a few interesting tracks that shouldn't be missed. Not the DT album to start with.

DREAM THEATER Movies Reviews

DREAM THEATER Breaking The Fourth Wall

Movie · 2014 · Progressive Metal
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rdtprog
It seems like it was just yesterday that the Luna Park DVD was released. Now it's another one from the Boston Opera House less than a year later. The show is divided in three acts. The first act is tracks from the last two albums and the song "A Trial of Tears" from "Falling to Infinity". The second act is 5 songs from the "Awake" album to celebrate his 20th anniversary and the third act is the encore celebrating again "Scene from a Memory" with his 15th anniversary. On those 2 albums, the band use the same pattern by starting to play the technical, fast and heavy songs like "The Mirror", "Lie", "Overture 1928" and "Strange Déjà Vu" and finishing with the slower and emotional songs like "Lifting Shadows Off A Dream", "Space Dye Vest" and "Finally Free".

"The Illumination Theory", the most progressive and the epic song of the last album is played with an orchestra in the second act which is the perfect fit with this song that contains an irresistible classical break in the middle. The picture is crystal clear and the camera work more satisfying than the "Luna Park" DVD. As for the sound, I had to crank up the volume very high to get the full sound. Again, I wish we could hear John Myung louder, but that's what happens on live recording, it rarely match the sound quality of a studio release. James Labrie's voice is in nice shape as well as all others members. It's another nice addition to your Dream Theater collection. 3. 8 stars.

DREAM THEATER Dream Theater - Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra

Movie · 2006 · Progressive Metal
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AtomicCrimsonRush
I always look forward to putting this DVD on as I know I am going to get the best of both worlds; symphonic orchestrated music and full on Dream Theater prog. I agree with some reviewers that the setlist is not exactly mind blowing but it nevertheless spans the 5 year history. It is interesting the way the orchestra blends into the metal sound, similar to the Metallica S&M concert, or indeed Kiss Alive IV. It is always of interest when metal meets symphony. The DVD "Score" is very well produced, sharp editing throughout and excellent sound quality. There is nothing wrong with the visuals at all, with the band members sharing the spotlight, but the problem lies in the setlist itself. There are too many omissions and some opportunities wasted in the early part of the concert.

It opens with some deadset oddities such as The root of all evil, I walk beside you, Another won and Afterlife. It isn't until Under A Glass Moon that it really takes off showing the power of that brilliant track and Petrucci's amazing guitar solo. Later we are treated with The spirit carries on and the entire suite of Six degrees of inner turbulence; absolutely flawless and indispensable on the live stage. After an ovation the band belt out Vacant, The answer lies within, Sacrificed Sons and the masterpiece epic Octavarium that is quintessential to the band. The Encore: Metropolis Pt. 1 is a brilliant way of ending the concert to a rapturous crowd.

Disc 2 is packed with some hit and miss Bonus material including a mammoth 20th Anniversary Documentary, that has some fascinating info on the band and the way that not everything goes to plan on a tour. Portnoy has too much to say and now it is a bitter taste now he has scarpered and been replaced. The Octavarium Animation is terrific, and the live performances are always a treat including Another Day (Tokyo - 1993), The Great Debate (Bucharest, Romania - 2002) and Honor Thy Father (Chicago - 2005).

The DVD comes with high recommendations due to the visual quality, and overall package. Ignore the early part of the set and just enjoy DT at their absolute best in the middle half of the concert accompanied by masterful orchestration. A must for all DT fans and one of the best DT DVDs available to this point in time.

DREAM THEATER Live at Budokan

Movie · 2004 · Progressive Metal
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AtomicCrimsonRush
One of the first DVDs I saw of Dream Theater before the onslaught of DVDs that have come since. This is an early performance and of considerable interest as a result. These were the glory days of Dream Theater ramming prog down the throats of the hungry Budokan fans. It is an incredible performance best seen than heard though the audio experience offers much as a type of Dream Theater concoction of the best of the earlier years. The CD is good listening but the visual persentation is incredible. There are a few odd surprises scattered in the mammoth set list but the classics are here and played to perfection. Beyond This Life is a huge epic clocking 19:37, and with some dynamic lead guitar from Petrucci. The Test That Stumped Them All is always a killer track live and sounds fresh and powerful with huge bass runs of Myung and Portnoy's slamming percussion.

Endless Sacrifice is an 11 minute gruelling journey into prog excess with a wild keyboard section from Rudess. The Instrumedley to follow features some awesome musicianship. LaBrie is in fine form on soaring vocals, and shines on such compositions as the 14 minute Trial Of Tears and New Millennium. It is always a pleasure to experience a Jordan Rudess keyboard solo and it is as inventive here as ever. There are some amazing songs such as Solitary Shell, Stream Of Consciousness and quintessential Pull Me Under. The set closes with epic 16 minute In The Name Of God. So overall this is a great set with power metal and tons of instrumental breaks. It is progressive and packed to the gills with mind bending virtuoso solos and material from some of their best albums. It was the "Train of Thought" tour so there is plenty from that album as well as "Six Degrees" and "Images and Words" among others.

The special features are wonderful featuring 'Riding The Train Of Thought" a Japanese Tour Documentary of about half an hour, and John Petrucci Guitar World segment, Jordan Rudess Keyboard World, and a Mike Portnoy Drum Solo clocking 12 minutes. The Dream Theater Chronicles - 2004 Tour Opening Video is okay showing the video the crowd saw in the opening, and Instrumedley with multi-angles is lots of fun. Overall it is a fantastic DVD concert, and all Dream Theater fans must have it.

DREAM THEATER Shouts

Please login to post a shout
Andyman1125 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I can't decide whether to be really excited or nervous about the announcement of the new drummer-- but anyway, FAVORITE band of ALL TIME - ROCK PROG METAL ON DT!
martindavey87 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
My favourite band of all time!
progkidjoel wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Although I'm not a huge fan of most of their stuff, you have to respect the insane musician ship. Some of the best!!!
CCVP wrote:
more than 2 years ago
My favorite metal band ever. Rock on DT. . . Or would it be Metal on ?

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