DREAM THEATER

Progressive Metal / Metal Related / Hard Rock / Non-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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Distance Over TimeDistance Over Time
Century Media 2019
$14.18
$23.07 (used)
Distance Over TimeDistance Over Time
Century Media 2019
$8.12
$10.95 (used)
Images and WordsImages and Words
Atco Records 1992
$7.59
$2.00 (used)
The Astonishing (2CD)The Astonishing (2CD)
Roadrunner Records 2016
$10.74
$3.28 (used)
Train Of ThoughtTrain Of Thought
Elektra 2003
$5.32
$1.71 (used)
Systematic ChaosSystematic Chaos
Roadrunner Records 2007
$5.32
$2.62 (used)
A Dramatic Turn Of Events (Special Edition)(CD/DVD)A Dramatic Turn Of Events (Special Edition)(CD/DVD)
Roadrunner Records 2011
$6.20
$8.00 (used)
Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A MemoryMetropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory
Music on Vinyl 2019
$27.07
$26.20 (used)
Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a MemoryMetropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory
Elektra 1999
$5.12
$1.91 (used)
The Studio Albums 1992-2011The Studio Albums 1992-2011
Box set
Roadrunner 2014
$41.19
$39.93 (used)
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DREAM THEATER Discography

DREAM THEATER albums / top albums

DREAM THEATER When Dream and Day Unite album cover 3.30 | 108 ratings
When Dream and Day Unite
Progressive Metal 1989
DREAM THEATER Images and Words album cover 4.39 | 211 ratings
Images and Words
Progressive Metal 1992
DREAM THEATER Awake album cover 4.02 | 143 ratings
Awake
Progressive Metal 1994
DREAM THEATER Falling Into Infinity album cover 3.33 | 121 ratings
Falling Into Infinity
Progressive Metal 1997
DREAM THEATER Metropolis, Part 2: Scenes From a Memory album cover 4.23 | 169 ratings
Metropolis, Part 2: Scenes From a Memory
Progressive Metal 1999
DREAM THEATER Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence album cover 4.16 | 127 ratings
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
Progressive Metal 2002
DREAM THEATER Train of Thought album cover 3.91 | 125 ratings
Train of Thought
Progressive Metal 2003
DREAM THEATER Octavarium album cover 3.75 | 120 ratings
Octavarium
Progressive Metal 2005
DREAM THEATER Systematic Chaos album cover 3.41 | 114 ratings
Systematic Chaos
Progressive Metal 2007
DREAM THEATER Black Clouds & Silver Linings album cover 3.69 | 126 ratings
Black Clouds & Silver Linings
Progressive Metal 2009
DREAM THEATER A Dramatic Turn of Events album cover 3.96 | 116 ratings
A Dramatic Turn of Events
Progressive Metal 2011
DREAM THEATER Dream Theater album cover 3.59 | 57 ratings
Dream Theater
Progressive Metal 2013
DREAM THEATER The Astonishing album cover 2.83 | 37 ratings
The Astonishing
Progressive Metal 2016
DREAM THEATER Distance Over Time album cover 3.87 | 7 ratings
Distance Over Time
Progressive Metal 2019

DREAM THEATER EPs & splits

DREAM THEATER A Change of Seasons album cover 3.87 | 90 ratings
A Change of Seasons
Progressive Metal 1995
DREAM THEATER Wither album cover 3.21 | 7 ratings
Wither
Progressive Metal 2009
DREAM THEATER God of War: Blood & Metal album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
God of War: Blood & Metal
Progressive Metal 2010

DREAM THEATER live albums

DREAM THEATER Live at the Marquee album cover 3.80 | 44 ratings
Live at the Marquee
Progressive Metal 1993
DREAM THEATER Once in a LIVEtime album cover 3.62 | 33 ratings
Once in a LIVEtime
Progressive Metal 1998
DREAM THEATER Live Scenes From New York album cover 4.64 | 50 ratings
Live Scenes From New York
Progressive Metal 2001
DREAM THEATER Live at Budokan album cover 4.25 | 44 ratings
Live at Budokan
Progressive Metal 2004
DREAM THEATER Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour album cover 4.28 | 45 ratings
Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour
Progressive Metal 2006

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

DREAM THEATER International Fan Club Christmas CD 1996 album cover 2.00 | 2 ratings
International Fan Club Christmas CD 1996
Progressive Metal 1996
DREAM THEATER The Making Of Falling Into Infinity (International Fanclub Christmas CD 1997 / Official Bootleg 2009) album cover 1.14 | 3 ratings
The Making Of Falling Into Infinity (International Fanclub Christmas CD 1997 / Official Bootleg 2009)
Progressive Metal 1997
DREAM THEATER Once In A Livetime Outtakes (International Fan Clubs Christmas CD 1998) album cover 2.75 | 2 ratings
Once In A Livetime Outtakes (International Fan Clubs Christmas CD 1998)
Progressive Metal 1998
DREAM THEATER Cleaning Out The Closet (Christmas CD 1999) album cover 4.25 | 4 ratings
Cleaning Out The Closet (Christmas CD 1999)
Progressive Metal 1999
DREAM THEATER Scenes From A World Tour (Christmas CD 2000) album cover 2.00 | 3 ratings
Scenes From A World Tour (Christmas CD 2000)
Progressive Metal 2000
DREAM THEATER 04 Degrees of Radio Edits (Christmas CD 2001) album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
04 Degrees of Radio Edits (Christmas CD 2001)
Progressive Metal 2001
DREAM THEATER Taste the Memories (International Fan Clubs CD 2002) album cover 3.33 | 3 ratings
Taste the Memories (International Fan Clubs CD 2002)
Progressive Metal 2002
DREAM THEATER Graspop Festival 2002 (International Fan Club CD 2003) album cover 2.75 | 2 ratings
Graspop Festival 2002 (International Fan Club CD 2003)
Progressive Metal 2003
DREAM THEATER The Majesty Demos 1985 - 1986 album cover 2.55 | 7 ratings
The Majesty Demos 1985 - 1986
Progressive Metal 2003
DREAM THEATER Los Angeles, California - 5/18/98 album cover 3.50 | 5 ratings
Los Angeles, California - 5/18/98
Progressive Metal 2003
DREAM THEATER The Making of Scenes From A Memory album cover 2.25 | 2 ratings
The Making of Scenes From A Memory
Progressive Metal 2003
DREAM THEATER A Sort of Homecoming (International Fan Club CD 2004) album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
A Sort of Homecoming (International Fan Club CD 2004)
Progressive Metal 2004
DREAM THEATER When Dream and Day Unite Demos 1987-1989 album cover 2.50 | 4 ratings
When Dream and Day Unite Demos 1987-1989
Progressive Metal 2004
DREAM THEATER Tokyo, Japan - 1995-10-28 album cover 3.67 | 6 ratings
Tokyo, Japan - 1995-10-28
Progressive Metal 2004
DREAM THEATER Master Of Puppets album cover 2.47 | 18 ratings
Master Of Puppets
Thrash Metal 2004
DREAM THEATER A Walk  Beside the Band (International Fan Clubs DVD 2005) album cover 2.75 | 2 ratings
A Walk Beside the Band (International Fan Clubs DVD 2005)
Progressive Metal 2005
DREAM THEATER Images and Words Demos 1989-1991 album cover 3.15 | 5 ratings
Images and Words Demos 1989-1991
Progressive Metal 2005
DREAM THEATER The Number of the Beast album cover 2.71 | 18 ratings
The Number of the Beast
Heavy Metal 2005
DREAM THEATER When Dream And Day Reunite album cover 3.78 | 15 ratings
When Dream And Day Reunite
Progressive Metal 2005
DREAM THEATER Romavarium (International Fan Clubs DVD 2006) album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
Romavarium (International Fan Clubs DVD 2006)
Progressive Metal 2006
DREAM THEATER Awake Demos 1994 album cover 2.73 | 7 ratings
Awake Demos 1994
Progressive Metal 2006
DREAM THEATER Old Bridge, New Jersey - 12/14/96 album cover 3.50 | 5 ratings
Old Bridge, New Jersey - 12/14/96
Progressive Metal 2006
DREAM THEATER Dark Side of the Moon album cover 3.43 | 16 ratings
Dark Side of the Moon
Non-Metal 2006
DREAM THEATER New York City 3/4/93 album cover 3.43 | 7 ratings
New York City 3/4/93
Progressive Metal 2006
DREAM THEATER Falling Into Infinity Demos 1996-1997 album cover 3.61 | 10 ratings
Falling Into Infinity Demos 1996-1997
Progressive Metal 2006
DREAM THEATER Made in Japan album cover 3.66 | 12 ratings
Made in Japan
Hard Rock 2006
DREAM THEATER Images And Words: 15th Anniversary Performance Live In Bonn, Germany - 6/16/07 (International Fan Clubs CD 2007) album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
Images And Words: 15th Anniversary Performance Live In Bonn, Germany - 6/16/07 (International Fan Clubs CD 2007)
Progressive Metal 2007
DREAM THEATER Progressive Nation 2008 (International Fan Clubs CD 2008) album cover 3.60 | 5 ratings
Progressive Nation 2008 (International Fan Clubs CD 2008)
Progressive Metal 2008
DREAM THEATER Train Of Thought Instrumental Demos 2003 album cover 2.60 | 6 ratings
Train Of Thought Instrumental Demos 2003
Progressive Metal 2009
DREAM THEATER Uncovered 2003-2005 album cover 3.31 | 10 ratings
Uncovered 2003-2005
Hard Rock 2009
DREAM THEATER Happy Holidays album cover 2.50 | 3 ratings
Happy Holidays
Progressive Metal 2013

DREAM THEATER re-issues & compilations

DREAM THEATER Greatest Hit (...and 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs) album cover 2.11 | 20 ratings
Greatest Hit (...and 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs)
Progressive Metal 2008
DREAM THEATER Original Album Series album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Original Album Series
Progressive Metal 2011
DREAM THEATER The Studio Albums 1992-2011 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Studio Albums 1992-2011
Progressive Metal 2014

DREAM THEATER singles (17)

.. Album Cover
2.83 | 3 ratings
Afterlife
Progressive Metal 1989
.. Album Cover
2.25 | 2 ratings
Status Seeker
Progressive Metal 1989
.. Album Cover
2.79 | 3 ratings
Another Day
Progressive Metal 1993
.. Album Cover
2.62 | 4 ratings
The Silent Man
Progressive Metal 1994
.. Album Cover
3.19 | 4 ratings
Lie
Progressive Metal 1994
.. Album Cover
2.44 | 4 ratings
Hollow Years
Metal Related 1997
.. Album Cover
2.14 | 3 ratings
Through Her Eyes
Progressive Metal 2000
.. Album Cover
3.00 | 2 ratings
Forsaken
Progressive Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
3.00 | 2 ratings
Odyssey
Metal Related 2009
.. Album Cover
2.92 | 3 ratings
Tenement Funster/Flick Of The Wrist/Lily Of The Valley
Hard Rock 2009
.. Album Cover
3.00 | 3 ratings
Stargazer
Hard Rock 2009
.. Album Cover
2.50 | 2 ratings
Take Your Fingers From My Hair
Metal Related 2009
.. Album Cover
2.31 | 4 ratings
Larks Tongues In Aspic, Pt. 2
Non-Metal 2009
.. Album Cover
2.17 | 5 ratings
A Rite Of Passage
Progressive Metal 2009
.. Album Cover
3.90 | 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
4.22 | 9 ratings
Images and Words Live in Tokyo
Progressive Metal 1993
.. Album Cover
3.61 | 9 ratings
5 Years in a LIVEtime
Progressive Metal 1998
.. Album Cover
4.67 | 33 ratings
Metropolis 2000: Scenes from New York
Progressive Metal 2001
.. Album Cover
4.32 | 25 ratings
Live at Budokan
Progressive Metal 2004
.. Album Cover
3.20 | 15 ratings
Images and Words Live in Tokyo / 5 Years in a LIVEtime
Progressive Metal 2004
.. Album Cover
4.50 | 1 ratings
When Dream And Day Reunite
Progressive Metal 2005
.. Album Cover
4.50 | 3 ratings
Dark Side of the Moon
Progressive Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
4.50 | 25 ratings
Dream Theater - Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra
Progressive Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
Bucharest, Romania 7/4/02
Progressive Metal 2007
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Greatest Hit (...and 5 Other Pretty Cool Videos)
Progressive Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
3.96 | 16 ratings
Chaos in Motion
Progressive Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
Santiago, Chile 12/6/05
Progressive Metal 2009
.. Album Cover
4.17 | 3 ratings
Live at Luna Park
Progressive Metal 2013
.. Album Cover
4.14 | 3 ratings
Breaking The Fourth Wall
Progressive Metal 2014

DREAM THEATER Reviews

DREAM THEATER Distance Over Time

Album · 2019 · Progressive Metal
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siLLy puPPy
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.

DREAM THEATER Distance Over Time

Album · 2019 · Progressive Metal
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DippoMagoo
When I first started getting into metal, one of the very first bands I checked out was American progressive metal band Dream Theater. They were the ones to really get me into prog, as I enjoyed many of their albums, starting with Octavarium, Awake and Train of Thought, before eventually checking out their full discography and loving most of it, with Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory, in particular, being one of my all-time favorite albums. While I’ve become a fan of many other prog bands over the years, DT are the ones who started it all for me, and so every time they release a new album I get excited, waiting with bated breath to hear what they will come up with next. Their previous release, The Astonishing, was an extremely polarizing release, to say the least, as it took the band in a much lighter, more rock-infused direction than normal, being a massive 2+ hour concept album that at times even felt like a Broadway musical. I personally loved it and considered it to be possibly their very best effort to date, but to say most fans disagreed with me, would be a major understatement. Following such a divisive release, it’s no surprise that the band decided to re-think things a bit, which led to a tour where they focused on classic releases, particularly their breakthrough album Images & Words, and then when it came time to release a new album, they looked to the past to help create a new release that could hopefully win back folks who were disappointed with the previous release. That upcoming release, Distance Over Time, is now almost here, and while it’s been teased as a “return to the roots”, it has turned out to be an album that has the elements fans would expect from the band and does a solid job of providing some entertaining songs, but it doesn’t quite capture the magic of many of the band’s classic releases, nor does it push their music forward in a significant way.

If I could describe Distance Over Time with one simple phrase, it would be “back to the basics”. Compared to The Astonishing and some of the band’s other more ambitious releases, this one feels surprisingly simple and straight-forward, focusing on all of the band’s main aspects at their surface level, without digging too deep or without throwing in too many surprises. Fans who’ve been disappointed with some of the band’s recent albums may enjoy this one a bit more, as it’s by far their heaviest release since at least Black Clouds & Silver Linings, with almost every song having some pretty heavy, chunky lead guitar work from John Petrucci. At the same time, the band has always done a great job of mixing together heavy and melodic passages, with all of their classics featuring a perfect blend of the two, and so obviously that is still true of this release, with Petrucci providing some excellent melodic guitar work to go along with the heavier passages, as well as some typically excellent keyboard work from Jordan Rudess. I find the band is at their best when allowing one element of their music to dominate for a while, without losing sight of the rest of their sound, which is something they’ve pulled off wonderfully in the past, while this release doesn’t really go one way or the other for very long on most of the tracks, instead opting to blend heavy and melodic passages together near seamlessly. This has led to some mixed results, with some tracks pulling it off a whole lot better than others. One thing’s for sure, though: Petrucci and Rudess, along with bassist John Myung and drummer Mike Mangini, are exceptional musicians, among the absolute best in the world with their respective instruments, and so everything is performed to perfection, with the sound production being equally flawless.

One surprising aspect of Distance Over Time is its length. Looking through the band’s discography, it’s their shortest album since their debut, When Dream and Day Unite, and is only their third release to clock in at under an hour (excluding bonus tracks, that is), which is quite surprising for a band known to make their albums over 75 minutes. Even more surprisingly, it joins the aforementioned debut and The Astonishing to become just their third release in 14 albums to not have any tracks over 10 minutes (though the latter can be disqualified from this, as it’s a concept album meant to be treated as a whole, where the other two are entirely song focused.) For a band known to make epic, long and complex tracks, this comes as quite the surprise, to say the least. With all things taken into consideration, it feels to me like the band went out of their way to make a more accessible album, without turning to outside sources as they did on the previously ill-fated Falling Into Infinity. There’s still plenty of excellent, highly technical instrumental work, of course, and a few tracks do have some of the more complex arrangements longtime fans would expect, but it definitely feels like the band has stripped their sound down to its bare essentials at this point, which has made for an entertaining, but somewhat disjointed album. Songwriting is fairly hit and miss, though most tracks are at least solidly enjoyable, and it certainly isn’t as wildly inconsistent as the likes of Systematic Chaos, Octavarium or the aforementioned Falling Into Infinity. However, the most disappointing thing about this album to me, is that by going back to the roots of their sound in such an extreme way, it feels like they’ve both ignored any of the evolution they’ve gone through over the years, as well as taken away a lot of the things that make their music so special.

Another area where the release is a bit mixed is the vocals. Unlike many fans, I’ve always considered James LaBrie to be an excellent singer, and he has contributed heavily to some of my favorite works by the band, with The Astonishing, in particular, is one of my favorite performances from him to date, as it allowed to really showcases many different aspects of his voice, and he was clearly fully invested in the lyrics, which led to some amazing vocals from his all around. On this album, I find his vocals to be a bit all over the place, though some of this has to do with an increased use of vocal effects on his voice, which seem more noticeable than usual, as well as the fact that some of the vocal melodies on this release just aren’t that great, unfortunately. However, there are still some tracks where he gets to shine, and there are moments where he’s clearly invested in the lyrics and gets to deliver some great vocal melodies. If anything, his vocals, like the album, on the whole, are simply a bit more inconsistent than I’d like, though they’re still quite good, more often than not.

And of course, the most important aspect of any album is the songwriting, which is where this album is solid, but not up to par with any of the band’s best releases, or even most of their albums in general. Unlike most fans, I’ve quite enjoyed each of their past several releases, with Systematic Chaos being their last release I would consider less than great. This album is considerably better than that one, thanks to the songwriting never falling as low as that one did in places, but it still rarely reaches the heights the band is capable of. They sure were spot on with their picks for lead singles, though, with opening track “Untethered Angel” being a very fun, hard-hitting track that strikes a perfect balance between heavy and melodic, while “Fall into the Light” is just as good. The former opens with some very melancholy guitar work from Petrucci, before quickly exploding and turning into a heavy mid-paced track, with the keyboards lending a dark atmosphere to the proceedings. Vocals are solid during the verses and pick up big time during the chorus, which speeds up and has some excellent vocal melodies, managing to be very catchy and melodic. As always, the track has an extended and highly impressive instrumental section in the middle, as well as a very nice outro performed mostly by Petrucci. The latter track is almost the reverse of the opener, in that it starts out with some very heavy riffs, clearly inspired by Metallica, as many of Petrucci’s riffs are, before speeding up and turning into a pretty fast-paced and fun track during the verses. Once the chorus hits, though, the track slows down and gets very melodic and atmospheric, with some excellent vocal melodies and more strong vocals from LaBrie. The track does an excellent job of blending metal and rock, with some excellent soft passages in the second half, where Petrucci showcases some beautiful, highly emotional guitar work, to go along with the already soft chorus. In between those two tracks is the slightly less successful “Paralyzed”. It’s a more modern sounding track, opening with some very heavy, modern sounding riffs. It moves along at a rather slow pace and feels pretty basic throughout, like the kinda song that could be played by some random band off the streets. Don’t get me wrong, though, it’s a solid track, as the verses are solidly engaging, and the build-up to the chorus is great, but overall, the track just feels like it’s far beneath the band’s capabilities, with the end of the chorus, in particular, being incredibly underwhelming, and it only gets worse at the end of the track, when it becomes highly repetitive and annoying. The verses and a really good instrumental section, with more melodic and beautiful soloing from Petrucci, are enough to salvage the track, but not nearly enough to make it particularly special or memorable.

Moving along, the band follows up “Fall into the Light” with another excellent track in “Barstool Warrior”. This one has a very classic DT feel to it, with some very melodic guitar work that definitely would have fit in great on Images & Words, mixed in with some even more beautiful melodies where the guitar tone feels similar to the outro to “The Ministry of Lost Souls”, which is one of my personal favorites by the band, despite being on a largely uneven album. The track is fairly laid back throughout, being one of the band’s more melodic and more prog rock infused tracks, but it’s very beautiful throughout, with some excellent vocal melodies and a very strong chorus, as well as the always great instrumental work. If the band wanted this album to be a return to the roots then this track is definitely one of the best cases of them pulling that off to perfection. Next is “Room 137”, the first song written by Mangini since he joined the band. In fact, with Mangini and Myung contributing to the lyrics, that leaves Rudess as the only member not to do so on this album, which is interesting, as the past three releases have been largely written by Petrucci, with a song here and there written by LaBrie, so I guess it’s nice to see this album being more of a team effort. Anyway, “Room 137” is, unfortunately, the worst track here. It starts off inoffensively enough, with more dark and heavy guitar work during the first verse, which only gets better during the second verse where its enhanced by some excellent backing keys. The chorus is also pretty decent and very atmospheric, and obviously, the instrumental section is great. Sadly, there’s one vocal section that pops up a couple times, where it sounds like LaBrie’s attempt at the intro to the Queen classic “Bohemian Rhapsody”, and between bad sound mixing and just poor arrangements in general, the result is unbearably bad, and is easily one of the worst things I’ve ever heard from DT. It’s bad enough to completely ruin an otherwise solid (if not great) track. Thankfully, that is the only real dud of the album, and things pick up again with “S2N”, another very classic DT sounding track, mixed in with some weird voiceovers near the beginning. Once it gets going it’s a mid-paced track, with some fairly heavy guitar work, though it has a slight rock feel to it. The track moves along at a nice pace, being fun and somewhat upbeat, but not particularly fast. It has a great chorus, as well as some excellent keyboard work from Rudess throughout, and it has a very heavy, outstanding outro from Petrucci, that helps close things out in a great way.

Moving towards the end, the band delivers an absolute masterpiece in “At Wit’s End”, which is one of the tracks written by LaBrie. I mention that only because it’s by far the best-sung track on the album, with some very emotional lyrics, as well as a strong, very powerful performance from LaBrie, where he’s clearly fully invested in the lyrics. The track, which is the longest in the album, clocking in at 9:20, is very much a mini-epic, in that it packs in about as many highlights and surprises as one would expect from a lengthy track, without actually going over 10 minutes. It opens with a long, hard-hitting intro from Petrucci, before slowing down with a nice, melodic opening verse, which then gives way to an amazing, very melodic and beautiful chorus, where LaBrie is in absolute top form. The pace picks up for a heavy, very intense second verse, with some very hard-hitting riffs, and this gives way to a kind of secondary chorus, which is also very nice, though much more intense than the main chorus. After that, we get an excellent extended instrumental section, with some of the best work from Rudess on the album, as well as more excellent shredding from Petrucci, and then the music calms down for a bit, leading to a very nice almost ballad-like sequence, with more very soft and excellent vocals, and of course more amazing guitar work, and then the track has an extended intro, with more great vocals and melodic leads, before a long, dramatic fade out. It’s definitely the kind of complex, dynamic and highly engaging track I love from the band, and it’s easily the best on the album.

Following the longest on the album, we have the shortest in “Out of Reach”, a nice ballad with some more soft and melodic guitar work, as well as some strong vocals from LaBrie. It has a very strong chorus and is a nice track overall, but it feels like it just starts to pick up steam, before suddenly fading out and then ending, before it has time to fully develop. Closing out the album is “Pale Blue Dot”, the second longest track on the album. It isn’t quite as epic as “At Wit’s End”, but it’s still an excellent track in its own right. It opens with some nice ambient keyboards as well as some voiceovers, which lasts for around a minute, before some more chunky guitars kick in, as some more epic keys from Rudess, which have a slight symphonic feel to them. The song stays heavy during the verses and moves along at a good pace, though the highlight of the track is the epic symphonic keys from Rudess, which actually get even better as the song goes on. The chorus is rather subdued, but also very nice. It’s a fairly straightforward track, with a fairly standard structure, though it has an excellent, extended instrumental section in the middle, as well as one last amazing outro from Petrucci to close out the album. The digipak version of the album has a bonus track called “Viper King”. It’s a rather upbeat and fun track, with a bit of a classic rock feel to it. In fact, I initially wondered if it was a cover track, but it’s actually an original, written by LaBrie. It’s a fun, fast-paced track, with a really catchy chorus. It’s another more accessible track, which doesn’t really showcase the band’s talents, but for a bonus track it’s a lot of fun, so I can’t complain.

I always have high expectations for Dream Theater, and while Distance Over Time is a very good release, overall, it doesn’t fully meet those expectations. I’ve admittedly been a bit hard on the album, so much so that the final score below may be hard to believe, but that’s large because I love the band so much and I expect better from them. With that being said, as a “back to basics” sort of album, it’s a highly enjoyable release, and it certainly contains traces of all the elements fans of the band have come to love, even if it doesn’t have anything over 10 minutes, or any instrumental tracks. The songwriting is a tad more inconsistent than I’d like, but there’s definitely more winners than losers here, with even the worst track being mostly fine outside of one huge misfire, while the four best tracks are all amazing, and every bit as good as I expect from the band. Overall, it’s an album I’m sure any longtime fan of the band will enjoy, and those disappointed with the direction the band took on The Astonishing will most likely enjoy this one a lot more, while any prog fan who’s somehow never heard of the band should find this a good enough place to start, as it has all of the band’s main elements, while being a bit more accessible than most of their other albums. Personally, I hope this more restrained approach is a one-time thing and that they dial up the epic again next time around, but for what it is, I’d still take it over anything from most other prog bands, so it’s still a winner, in my book.

originally written for myglobalmind.com: https://myglobalmind.com/2019/02/09/dream-theater-distance-over-time-review/

DREAM THEATER Images and Words Demos 1989-1991

Promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs) · 2005 · Progressive Metal
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martindavey87
The third instalment of Dream Theater’s official bootleg demo series covers my favourite album of all time, or at the very least, one of them; 1992’s ‘Images and Words’. Like before, this is something that would be best reserved for the die-hard fans, and normally something that I’d not pay too much attention to myself, since I’d rather listen to the actual studio release. But since these are demos for the greatest album in history, my interest is slightly more piqued than usually.

Similar to previous demo releases, this album is split into four parts. First there are instrumental demos, recorded by the band on a four-track Tascam tape recorder, followed by vocalist audition demos. These could be of interest to long-time fans, as it features three different vocalists who all tried out for the band. A highlight here is a very raw version of ‘A Change of Seasons’ which features different lyrics, vocal phrasing and musical arrangements.

Then there’s ‘The Atco Demos’ and finally, pre-production demos, and this is where the songs really take shape. There’s not many differences compared to the finished product, besides a more polished sound, but I guess it’s kind of cool to hear the bands versions of these songs before they were properly recorded.

Of course, at the end of the day, who’d honestly choose to listen to these demos of varied quality, when you could simply listen to the actual album itself? I’ll tell you who... nobody (and possibly a bunch of nerds trying to be cool or something). However, as is always the case with these official bootlegs, they’re only really for the most dedicated of fans, especially as, if you’re like me, you’re only likely to listen to it a couple of times before leaving it to collect dust in your mum’s attic.

DREAM THEATER When Dream and Day Unite Demos 1987-1989

Promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs) · 2004 · Progressive Metal
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martindavey87
The second release of Dream Theater’s demo series of official bootlegs, ‘When Dream and Day Unite Demos 1987-1989’ is a look at the making of the bands seminal debut album. Obviously...

Split into four main sections, there’s instrumental demos, early-Charlie Dominici demos, pre-production demos, and probably the most nerdy aspect of the album is the ‘X-Mas Demo’, which features a super early version of ‘To Live Forever’, which has remained more-or-less unchanged since its creation, as well as an array of random tunes and “messing around” spots that might (but probably won’t) pique the interest of die-hard fans.

The sound is alright, for what it is. Most of these being demos and recorded by the band themselves, there’s nothing massively remarkable, but again, this is for die-hard fans, anyway. Dream Theater are no doubt highly adept at their instruments, and this CD shows that even at a young age, these guys were technical wizards.

But overall, this isn’t really worth even considering to purchase unless you’re the absolute, most highest level of elite Dream Theater fan. And let’s be honest, even if you are, you’ll probably never listen to this anyway.

DREAM THEATER Falling Into Infinity Demos 1996-1997

Promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs) · 2006 · Progressive Metal
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martindavey87
‘Falling Into Infinity Demos 1996-1997’ is the fifth instalment of Dream Theater’s demo series line of official bootlegs. There’re two important factors here that make this arguably one of the better releases of demo albums. Firstly, the wealth of material on hand, including five unreleased tracks that never made it onto the album, as well as a 20-minute instrumental demo that features plenty of moments that would be expanded upon, and eventually become the bands next and most highly revered album, ‘Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From a Memory’.

The second important factor, and certainly an interesting one, is that ‘Falling Into Infinity’ was an album plagued by record label interference, and while the finished product isn’t quite what the band would have desired, this gives fans a chance to hear the songs how they were originally intended to sound.

Of course, by now, I’ve grown accustomed to the ‘Falling Into Infinity’ album (I, for one, really enjoy it), so listening to the demos is cool for a die-hard fan such as myself, but I’m still happy to listen to the finished product instead. The unreleased tracks are all pretty decent, especially ‘Raise the Knife’ and ‘Speak to Me’, but they all sound unfinished. No doubt they’d have been polished up had they made the final cut, but I guess these will have to do.

Overall however, this isn’t something I’d feel inclined to listen to. I’d much rather stick with the original studio album. There’re plenty of differences and nuances to pick up upon though, and it’s intriguing to see how many changes were made to these tracks over time. But that’s about it. Perhaps sometimes record label interference isn’t such a bad thing afterall?

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

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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!!!
more than 2 years ago
I would go with PROG METAL ON ?! Anyway you are right DT rules !
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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