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Metal - Released January 1, 1999 | Atlantic Records

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Metal - Released June 30, 1992 | Atlantic Records

Dream Theater's first album with new vocalist James LaBrie is an excellent mix of progressive metal stylings with heartfelt vocals and thought-provoking lyrics. Guitarist John Petrucci, bassist John Myung, and drummer Mike Portnoy, all of whom trained at Berklee, show impressive ability on their respective instruments. Kevin Moore's keyboards weave strongly through the intricately constructed songs, while operatically trained LaBrie shows an impressive range with his tenor. Standout tracks include the complex "Metropolis, Pt. 1," the Shakespeare-influenced "Pull Me Under" (also released as a single and video), the dramatic "Take the Time," and the 11-minute, thoughtful "Learning to Live." Dream Theater's musicianship and songwriting are a cut above the norm; this is a very good disc. ~ Phil Carter
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Metal - Released October 3, 1994 | Atlantic Records

Dream Theater's third studio release, Awake, marks a definite change in the band's tone. From the moment the guitars enter on "6:00," the first track, a darker sound is immediately evident, and it continues through the entire 75 minutes of the disc. The complex song structures, marked by arrangements that would give many good players fits, are very impressive. Drummer Mike Portnoy and guitarist John Petrucci, in particular, reach new heights with their instruments, but keyboardist Kevin Moore and bassist John Myung hold up quite well, adding to the prog metal sound with their own contributions. There are several good tracks here, but the best are the crunch-heavy "Lie," the 11-minute "Scarred," the thought-provoking "Caught in a Web," and the deeply personal, moving "Space-Dye Vest." This disc also marks keyboardist Moore's last recording with the band; he left not long after to pursue other musical directions. The heavy guitar sound may turn some off, but Dream Theater's musical ability can't be denied. ~ Phil Carter
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Metal - Released January 22, 2002 | Atlantic Records

The godfathers of progressive metal have been amazing and delighting their dedicated fans since the late '80s. Throughout their impressive and unlikely career they have continued to push themselves and the genre into new and challenging directions. While arguably hitting their peak with 1994's Awake, the band continued to grow with each new release (save for perhaps Falling into Infinity). Their previous studio effort, Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From a Memory, was a milestone in their career, finding all of the band's best attributes amalgamated into a fully realized whole. Although "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" may not be another magnum opus, it is still another fine addition to their impressive discography. The band continues to explore new directions, but the results are not always consistent on the two CD's worth of material. Their overall sound is heavier, for better or worse, than it has been and they make some interesting compositional and lyrical choices, but their usual afflatus is missing. Petrucci in particular seems content to recycle his already-established pyrotechnics, which mostly come off as ostentatious and often out of place. With the exception of the high-octane "The Glass Prison," disc one is made up of more experimental tracks, with influences such as Radiohead and Tool being explored. The band also offers up one of their only political tracks in "The Great Debate," which deals with stem cell research. Disc two is comprised of the eight-part "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" epic and is more in line with their traditional approach. The "Overture" incorporates a full orchestra with surprisingly effective results and is the recording's standout track. Keyboardist Jordan Rudess gets more of an opportunity to demonstrate how valuable he is to the band's compositional and sonic depth. Fans of Pantera may cry foul when they hear "The Test That Stumped Them All," but this is meant more as a tribute than the blatant thievery it appears to be. While each member of Dream Theater has proved to have a more sophisticated and mature side -- as evidenced by side projects such as Transatlantic, Platypus, Liquid Tension Experiment, and Mullmuzer -- they understand where their proverbial bread is buttered. So exists Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, an intentionally pretentious, somewhat juvenile, but undeniably likeable recording. Despite the nearly impossible task of satisfying their mostly youthful fan base while still nurturing the band's natural maturation process, Dream Theater has mostly managed to deliver once again. ~ Robert Taylor
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Metal - Released September 12, 1997 | Atlantic Records

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Metal - Released September 11, 2001 | Atlantic Records

Unfortunately, this fine live recording will always be remembered for the cover art. Released on September 11, 2001, the original cover displayed a flaming apple wrapped in barbed wire with the skyline of New York engulfed in flames. The band's trademark logo had always been a flaming heart wrapped in barbed wired, but for this recording the apple and skyline were added to reflect that the live concert was held in New York (Roseland Ballroom). The dreadful coincidence was a shock to both the band and record company, prompting an immediate recall. Tragically, this made the original pressings an instant collector's item to those who engage in such feckless activities. The issue received national media attention and the band, mostly comprised of native New Yorkers, issued a sympathetic statement that the recording would be re-released with a new cover. The recording itself is a live version of their prog rock masterpiece, Metropolis Part II: Scenes From a Memory, plus additional live material performed the same evening. The production and sound quality are good and the band's energy is fittingly captured. This same live concert can be seen on the DVD Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York. ~ Robert Taylor
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Metal - Released August 29, 1995 | Atlantic Records

A Change of Seasons is a strange disc. There are only five tracks but with a total time that approaches an hour anyway. The first track, the 23-minute, seven-part epic "A Change of Seasons," is one of the most impressive pieces of music ever written in the progressive metal vein. With the same heavy sound that marked Awake, but with many other styles mixed in, the track features incredible playing, dramatic, complex instrumental arrangements, and soaring vocals. New keyboardist Derek Sherinian (formerly of Kiss and Alice Cooper) adds his own stamp to the Dream Theater sound as if he'd always been with them. The remainder of the tracks are live cover tunes, recorded from the band's "Uncovered" gig at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club; the material varies widely and includes Elton John's "Love Lies Bleeding" and Deep Purple's "Perfect Strangers." The final track, "The Big Medley," has to be heard to be believed; Dream Theater shift musical styles on a dime to cover Pink Floyd, Kansas, Queen, Journey, the Dixie Dregs, and Genesis all in ten minutes. ~ Phil Carter
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Metal - Released January 1, 1970 | Atlantic Records

Dream Theater finally released their first official live album, the double-disc Once in a LIVEtime (recorded June 1998 in Paris). Granted, the 1995 release A Change of Seasons contained a wealth of live material, but they were all cover songs, and 1994's Live at the Marquee was only available as a European import. With material spanning their entire career, the many die-hard Dream Theater fans will love Once in a LIVEtime, but it won't win over disbelievers to their highly technical, sometimes cold style. There's no denying that the band's musicianship is top-notch, but the songs often get repetitious and start sounding similar. But Once in a LIVEtime may be a breath of fresh air if you've had it with smug alterna-wannabes who can hardly play, or if you long for the glory days of Yes or ELP (in other words, the music punk rock tried to annihilate). Highlights include their instrumental tour de force "Ytse Jam," as well as the fan favorites "Pull Me Under," "Lie," "Metropolis," and certain portions of their lengthy "A Change of Seasons" composition. Also released in conjunction with Once in a LIVEtime was the home video Five Years in a LIVEtime. ~ Greg Prato