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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DREAM THEATER Discography

DREAM THEATER albums / top albums

DREAM THEATER When Dream and Day Unite album cover 3.29 | 123 ratings
When Dream and Day Unite
Progressive Metal 1989
DREAM THEATER Images and Words album cover 4.44 | 241 ratings
Images and Words
Progressive Metal 1992
DREAM THEATER Awake album cover 4.06 | 166 ratings
Awake
Progressive Metal 1994
DREAM THEATER Falling Into Infinity album cover 3.44 | 134 ratings
Falling Into Infinity
Progressive Metal 1997
DREAM THEATER Metropolis, Part 2: Scenes From a Memory album cover 4.32 | 193 ratings
Metropolis, Part 2: Scenes From a Memory
Progressive Metal 1999
DREAM THEATER Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence album cover 4.24 | 148 ratings
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
Progressive Metal 2002
DREAM THEATER Train of Thought album cover 3.98 | 144 ratings
Train of Thought
Progressive Metal 2003
DREAM THEATER Octavarium album cover 3.82 | 141 ratings
Octavarium
Progressive Metal 2005
DREAM THEATER Systematic Chaos album cover 3.52 | 129 ratings
Systematic Chaos
Progressive Metal 2007
DREAM THEATER Black Clouds & Silver Linings album cover 3.73 | 142 ratings
Black Clouds & Silver Linings
Progressive Metal 2009
DREAM THEATER A Dramatic Turn of Events album cover 3.98 | 132 ratings
A Dramatic Turn of Events
Progressive Metal 2011
DREAM THEATER Dream Theater album cover 3.52 | 71 ratings
Dream Theater
Progressive Metal 2013
DREAM THEATER The Astonishing album cover 2.88 | 54 ratings
The Astonishing
Progressive Metal 2016
DREAM THEATER Distance Over Time album cover 3.90 | 33 ratings
Distance Over Time
Progressive Metal 2019
DREAM THEATER A View from the Top of the World album cover 3.81 | 22 ratings
A View from the Top of the World
Progressive Metal 2021

DREAM THEATER EPs & splits

DREAM THEATER Wach Auf! album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Wach Auf!
Progressive Metal 1994
DREAM THEATER A Change of Seasons album cover 3.94 | 97 ratings
A Change of Seasons
Progressive Metal 1995
DREAM THEATER Wither album cover 3.28 | 9 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 3.82 | 49 ratings
Live at the Marquee
Progressive Metal 1993
DREAM THEATER Once in a LIVEtime album cover 3.67 | 38 ratings
Once in a LIVEtime
Progressive Metal 1998
DREAM THEATER Live Scenes From New York album cover 4.72 | 55 ratings
Live Scenes From New York
Progressive Metal 2001
DREAM THEATER Live at Budokan album cover 4.30 | 52 ratings
Live at Budokan
Progressive Metal 2004
DREAM THEATER Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour album cover 4.34 | 50 ratings
Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour
Progressive Metal 2006
DREAM THEATER Distant Memories: Live in London album cover 3.60 | 5 ratings
Distant Memories: Live in London
Progressive Metal 2020

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 / LNFA 2023) album cover 1.14 | 3 ratings
The Making Of Falling Into Infinity (International Fanclub Christmas CD 1997 / Official Bootleg 2009 / LNFA 2023)
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 3.71 | 7 ratings
Cleaning Out The Closet (Christmas CD 1999)
Progressive Metal 1999
DREAM THEATER Scenes From A World Tour (Christmas CD 2000) album cover 2.06 | 5 ratings
Scenes From A World Tour (Christmas CD 2000)
Progressive Metal 2000
DREAM THEATER 04 Degrees of Radio Edits (Christmas CD 2001) album cover 2.83 | 3 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 2.83 | 3 ratings
Graspop Festival 2002 (International Fan Club CD 2003)
Progressive Metal 2003
DREAM THEATER The Majesty Demos 1985-1986 (reissued 2022) album cover 2.55 | 7 ratings
The Majesty Demos 1985-1986 (reissued 2022)
Progressive Metal 2003
DREAM THEATER Los Angeles, California - 5/18/98 album cover 2.73 | 7 ratings
Los Angeles, California - 5/18/98
Progressive Metal 2003
DREAM THEATER The Making of Scenes From A Memory album cover 2.28 | 5 ratings
The Making of Scenes From A Memory
Progressive Metal 2003
DREAM THEATER A Sort of Homecoming (International Fan Club CD 2004) album cover 3.17 | 3 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 3.29 | 8 ratings
Tokyo, Japan - 1995-10-28
Progressive Metal 2004
DREAM THEATER Master Of Puppets (reissued 2021) album cover 2.53 | 22 ratings
Master Of Puppets (reissued 2021)
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 (reissued 2022) album cover 3.21 | 6 ratings
Images and Words Demos 1989-1991 (reissued 2022)
Progressive Metal 2005
DREAM THEATER The Number of the Beast (reissued 2022) album cover 2.70 | 22 ratings
The Number of the Beast (reissued 2022)
Heavy Metal 2005
DREAM THEATER When Dream And Day Reunite (reissued 2021) album cover 3.77 | 16 ratings
When Dream And Day Reunite (reissued 2021)
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 (reissued 2022) album cover 2.79 | 8 ratings
Awake Demos 1994 (reissued 2022)
Progressive Metal 2006
DREAM THEATER Old Bridge, New Jersey - 12/14/96 (reissued 2022) album cover 3.50 | 7 ratings
Old Bridge, New Jersey - 12/14/96 (reissued 2022)
Progressive Metal 2006
DREAM THEATER Dark Side of the Moon album cover 3.54 | 20 ratings
Dark Side of the Moon
Non-Metal 2006
DREAM THEATER New York City 3/4/93 (reissued 2022) album cover 3.43 | 7 ratings
New York City 3/4/93 (reissued 2022)
Progressive Metal 2006
DREAM THEATER Falling Into Infinity Demos 1996-1997 (reissued 2022) album cover 3.59 | 11 ratings
Falling Into Infinity Demos 1996-1997 (reissued 2022)
Progressive Metal 2006
DREAM THEATER Made in Japan (reissued 2022) album cover 3.50 | 13 ratings
Made in Japan (reissued 2022)
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 3.17 | 3 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 (reissued 2021) album cover 2.75 | 8 ratings
Train Of Thought Instrumental Demos 2003 (reissued 2021)
Progressive Metal 2009
DREAM THEATER Uncovered 2003-2005 album cover 3.42 | 12 ratings
Uncovered 2003-2005
Hard Rock 2009
DREAM THEATER Happy Holidays (2013) / Lost Not Forgotten Archives: A Dramatic Tour of Events - Select Board Mixes (2021) album cover 3.00 | 5 ratings
Happy Holidays (2013) / Lost Not Forgotten Archives: A Dramatic Tour of Events - Select Board Mixes (2021)
Progressive Metal 2013
DREAM THEATER Lost Not Forgotten Archives: Images And Words - Live In Japan, 2017 album cover 3.50 | 3 ratings
Lost Not Forgotten Archives: Images And Words - Live In Japan, 2017
Progressive Metal 2021
DREAM THEATER Lost Not Forgotten Archives: ...And Beyond - Live in Japan, 2017 album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Lost Not Forgotten Archives: ...And Beyond - Live in Japan, 2017
Progressive Metal 2022
DREAM THEATER Lost Not Forgotten Archives: Live in Berlin (2019) album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Lost Not Forgotten Archives: Live in Berlin (2019)
Progressive Metal 2022
DREAM THEATER Lost Not Forgotten Archives: Live at Wacken (2015) album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Lost Not Forgotten Archives: Live at Wacken (2015)
Progressive Metal 2022
DREAM THEATER Lost Not Forgotten Archives: Live at Madison Square Garden (2010) album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Lost Not Forgotten Archives: Live at Madison Square Garden (2010)
Progressive Metal 2023
DREAM THEATER Lost Not Forgotten Archives: Distance Over Time Demos (2018) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Lost Not Forgotten Archives: Distance Over Time Demos (2018)
Progressive Metal 2023

DREAM THEATER re-issues & compilations

DREAM THEATER Greatest Hit (...and 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs) album cover 2.09 | 19 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 4.91 | 2 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
3.33 | 5 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
4.20 | 10 ratings
Images and Words Live in Tokyo
Progressive Metal 1993
.. Album Cover
3.65 | 10 ratings
5 Years in a LIVEtime
Progressive Metal 1998
.. Album Cover
4.67 | 38 ratings
Metropolis 2000: Scenes from New York
Progressive Metal 2001
.. Album Cover
4.30 | 30 ratings
Live at Budokan
Progressive Metal 2004
.. Album Cover
3.23 | 16 ratings
Images and Words Live in Tokyo / 5 Years in a LIVEtime
Progressive Metal 2004
.. Album Cover
4.50 | 3 ratings
When Dream And Day Reunite
Progressive Metal 2005
.. Album Cover
4.31 | 4 ratings
Dark Side of the Moon
Progressive Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
4.48 | 27 ratings
Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra
Progressive Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
4.42 | 2 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
4.17 | 18 ratings
Chaos in Motion
Progressive Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 2 ratings
Santiago, Chile 12/6/05
Progressive Metal 2009
.. Album Cover
3.25 | 5 ratings
Live at Luna Park
Progressive Metal 2013
.. Album Cover
3.47 | 4 ratings
Breaking The Fourth Wall
Progressive Metal 2014
.. Album Cover
3.50 | 2 ratings
Distant Memories: Live in London
Progressive Metal 2020

DREAM THEATER Reviews

DREAM THEATER Lost Not Forgotten Archives: Live at Madison Square Garden (2010)

Promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs) · 2023 · Progressive Metal
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Pekka
The ongoing Lost Not Forgotten Archives series has gotten a good few brand new Mangini era releases in addition to the Official Bootleg reissues, and Live at Madison Square Garden (2010) carries the distinction of being the very first previously unheard Portnoy era recording issued under the new header. This was most likely slated for release around 2010/2011 but scrapped along with the entire project when the drummer split. After the recent mending of fences between all parties it comes as no big surprise, but indeed a very welcome one, that it is dug out from the bin and finally put out.

Recorded during a run supporting Iron Maiden on their Final Frontier tour, the recording finds the band doing a rare short set clocking in at just under 50 minutes with only six songs with no true epics mixed in. Home is the longest track of the bunch at eleven minutes, and the band launches right into the heavier riffs skipping the moody intro of the original recording. The entire set consists of heavier songs from six different albums ranging from the classic Pull Me Under to the then-recent single A Rite of Passage from the at the time latest album Black Clouds and Silver Linings.

After some recent rather well produced entries the MSG show - which carries the credit "produced by John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy for JaM Progductions" further lending credence to the theory that the release was ready to go all those years ago - is a bit more bootleggy affair. The sound is fairly ok in quality, but wildly uneven in volume levels. The vocals are particularly loud and the echo of the arena is gigantic, and amusingly during the Petrucci solo in A Rite of Passage the loudest instrument is the one note backing line of Jordan Rudess' keyboards. Speaking of Rudess, listeners that find his Continuum freakouts offputting should approach with caution, as his solo in the same song is also very very much at the forefront.

Less than slick production aside, the performance is very fine from all members. LaBrie is in good form and, in contrast to the stiffer live habits of the Mangini era, the presence of Portnoy brings some nice looseness in drum arrangements, but also some pretty annoying and pointless mid-song hollers. But it's understandable if he was a bit over-excited as after the set closer he thanks the audience mentioning that the band was formed 25 years ago across the city dreaming of playing this perhaps the most iconic indoor venue in the world.

Live at Madison Square Garden is a very welcome addition to the Dream Theater live canon, and hopefully just the first foray into the Portnoy era recordings that were left in the vaults when the original series went cold.

DREAM THEATER Lost Not Forgotten Archives: Live at Wacken (2015)

Promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs) · 2022 · Progressive Metal
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Pekka
As a somewhat serious Dream Theater fan who lacked the funds to buy the original Official Bootlegs back when they came out and subsequently got burned by UNofficial versions multiple times when trying to hunt them down at Discogs.com, I greeted the news of the re-issue program Lost Not Forgotten Archives with glee. In addition to the Portnoy-issued releases the new series was to include brand new recordings from the Mangini era as well.

Recorded during Dream Theater's first visit to the iconic Wacken Open Air festival at the tail end of their 30th Anniversary Tour, the band does a chronological set starting from their first album and ending with the then-last one. As this is indeed a festival show with a shorter time slot than their usual headline events some songs have been dropped from the list, but what is left is a reasonably solid mix ranging from early deep cut Afterlife to some of their most enduring tracks like Metropolis pt. 1 and The Spirit Carries on.

Dream Theater being Dream Theater you know what you're getting from the instrumentalists, and thus any live album lives and dies by James LaBrie's vocal performance. What I really appreciate with these official bootlegs is that while the recent "properly" released Distant Memories live box set was noticeably auto-tuned, this series has always presented an honest picture of what went on any particular night. And in Wacken LaBrie was not having his strongest performance, to put it nicely. As has been the habit for many a show the last decade or so, he does fine when the going is mellow, but when in need of power and range it goes sideways. Bellowing somewhere around the correct notes his pronunciation of the lyrics is often cursory at best.

In addition to the general air of Inside Out half-assing the whole project compared to the lovingly put together originals, there have been a couple of inexplicable decisions made, and on this particular release I can't for the life of me think of a good reason why they left out the final track Behind the Veil. It's not space constraints since it would have fit just fine on any of the formats and it's not a LaBrie issue since there are some way more brutal moments on earlier songs. This would have been the first official live recording of that song, but for some reason they just didn't want to do it.

I'm hoping they have in their vaults a headline show from earlier on the tour with the complete setlist and a less strained vocalist. As it stands Live at Wacken is a nice addition to the series but nothing worth returning to very often.

DREAM THEATER A View from the Top of the World

Album · 2021 · Progressive Metal
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Warthur
The latest Dream Theater album feels a little like business as usual - but unlike their self-titled album, it's a "business as usual" that the band are comfortable with, rather than one they seem tired of. This late in their career, it's perhaps a bit much to expect Dream Theater to reinvent the wheel any time soon; their last attempt to really change their approach was The Astonishing, which can perhaps most charitably be described as well-meaning folly; by comparison, Distance Over Time was a bit of a return of the old Dream Theater, refreshed after that departure.

A View From the Top of the World feels like more of the same, with perhaps more flashes of a sunnier, brighter, optimisitc side of the band's music which has been a feature since at least as far back as Images and Words, but has often flown under the radar (especially when they've been in their darker moods). It's a gradual evolution, not a revolution, but I think it's pretty solid for that.

DREAM THEATER Distance Over Time

Album · 2019 · Progressive Metal
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Warthur
2016's The Astonishing, a double concept album, was written in a way almost entirely unlike any preceding Dream Theater album, with Jordan Rudess and John Petrucci cloistering themselves away and writing the entire thing by themselves. On this album, the band return to the much more band-oriented approach that is more customary for them, with an intent on producing something tighter and heavier than that divisive piece.

This seems to do the trick. The Astonishing felt like Dream Theater trying their best to not sound like Dream Theater, because they'd become kind of tired of being Dream Theater; their self-titled album felt a bit like Dream Theater by numbers, resulting an album which was alright, but not exceptional. As they say, a change is as good as a rest; after indulging in the departure from the norm that The Astonishing represented, the band come to Distance Over Time sounding refreshed and more vibrant. There's just a bit more pep to their step this time, an extra dose of exuberance which feels like it went missing some time after A Dramatic Turn of Events. It's hard to put your finger on, but you can tell it's back as the album opener, Untethered Angel, roars forth.

That new commitment to tightness also extends to the songwriting and the album's overall length; there's several songs here under five minutes, and the whole thing is over and done in less than an hour. After the sprawling morass of The Astonishing, this is a relief. Although prog metal, like any other prog genre, is a field which thrives on excess and embraces long-form compositions, the actual secret to good prog is the same as the secret to getting the best in any other artistic endeavour: namely, editing. Songs like Paralyzed are short not because they lack for ideas, but because all the fat has been trimmed off them; they're lean, they're taut, they hit the notes they need to hit, they take a bow.

It's not another Images and Words - but it is the album that Dream Theater needed to make at this point in time to win back some fan confidence, and to breathe life back into their music.

DREAM THEATER The Astonishing

Album · 2016 · Progressive Metal
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Warthur
What is it about bands continually going back to the "what if in the future the GOVERNMENT banned ROCK MUSIC" well? Rush did the definitive take on the subject on 2112 and still had a whole side of the record left to do some self-contained songs; Zappa did an exhaustive treatment of it on Joe's Garage; Styx blew themselves up when they tried it on Kilroy Was Here; the Queen jukebox musical adopted it as the plot. It's possibly one of the most overused plots in rock opera, next to "I had a bad childhood and now I have a sad" (hello Tommy, hello The Wall, hello S.F. Sorrow...).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DREAM THEATER Movies Reviews

DREAM THEATER Breaking The Fourth Wall

Movie · 2014 · Progressive Metal
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Warthur
This came hot on the heels on the Live At Luna Park live set, which might prompt you to wonder whether Dream Theater were starting to flood the market a little with these epic-length live releases. Ever since Live Scenes From New York ended up as legendary as it was, triple album-length live workouts have been part of Dream Theater's schtick, but I'm unpersuaded.

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

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

DREAM THEATER Live at Luna Park

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

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

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

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

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

DREAM THEATER Chaos in Motion

Movie · 2008 · Progressive Metal
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Warthur
Dream Theater might have thought that their triple live album schtick was starting to wear thin after Live Scenes, Budokan, and Score, because for Chaos In Motion the triple CD is only actually available with the DVD set (though most of the live album - bar an intro track and a keyboard improvisation - is available streaming). I don't think they need to have worried; this live sampling of the Systematic Chaos tour absolutely cooks.

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

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

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!!!
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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