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Metal - Released February 22, 2019 | InsideOutMusic

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In 2016, prog metal progenitors Dream Theater issued the 130-minute conceptual opus The Astonishing, which all but left metal behind to pursue a classic prog direction. Widely acclaimed by mainstream rock media, it proved divisive among fans and the metal press. Whether they admit it or not, DT took note. When it was time to record for new label Inside Out, they collectively decamped to a rural spot and lived together for the four months it took to write and record Distance Over Time. Ultimately, they took full measure of their history together and made a nearly complete U-turn, heading (mostly) back to basics for an injection of inspiration and renewed force. First single and opener "Untethered Angel" is classic Dream Theater, offering an abominably heavy riff from bassist John Myung and guitarist John Petrucci. James LaBrie's clean vocals soar above Jordan Rudess' driving organ and synth and Mike Mangini's thundering double kick drums. It's replete with time and tempo changes. "Paralyzed," despite its 4:17 length, is a riotous crunch-and-crush jam with roiling snare and tom-tom thud; the unhinged grooves from Myung and Petrucci, along with Rudess' piano, add ballast and drama for LaBrie, and he delivers the lyrics with characteristic commitment and remarkable range. "Fall Into the Light" with its bell-like cymbals and crashing snares provides a backdrop for seriously heavy shredding, offering two of Petrucci's finest solos. Musically, "Barstool Warrior" and "Out of Reach" could have been part of The Astonishing (though they wouldn't fit its subject matter). Their hooky prog ranges from anthemic rock djent to ELP-esque keyboard runs to Peter Gabriel/Steve Hackett-era Genesis -- which all entwine and add an expansive dimension to Distance Over Time. "At Wit's End" is a creative peak that illustrates the band's preference for leaving the heaviest hitters near the album's end. It delivers a kaleidoscopic range of prog metal tenets with frenetic polyrhythms, screaming guitar and keyboard solos, chugging bass, and emotive, soulful vocal refrains. The eight-and-half-minute "Pale Blue Dot" is another. Using Carl Sagan's phrase for describing earth from space, it commences with an ambient sci-fi intro that balances intense heaviness, knotty, time-stretching progressions, near-symphonic bombast, a taut hook, a foreboding chorus, and killer solos from Petrucci and Rudess that aggressively engage counterpoint. Vintage-era Deep Purple were a big influence on Dream Theater. The bonus track "Viper King" is a charged yet radio-friendly tribute to the Ritchie Blackmore/Jon Lord/Ian Gillan era, with its punched-up hard/prog rock swing showcasing insane collisions of organ, with unhinged guitar and bass exchanges prodded by maniacal drumming in supporting a loping cinematic chorus. Dream Theater reaffirm their identity on Distance Over Time, displaying a collective hunger, abundant energy, creativity, and musical (re)discovery. This set should erase the schism between fans and win the band a whole slew of new ones. ~ Thom Jurek
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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 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 September 12, 2011 | Roadrunner Records

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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 June 4, 2007 | Roadrunner Records

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Few bands in the history of rock have warranted the "either you love them or hate them" tag as much as Dream Theater, as fanatics consider them musical geniuses, while detractors sneer at their bombast. Either way, there's no arguing that the group has built a large and loyal following over the years by doing things their way, and with little to no help from radio or MTV. And on their tenth full-length overall (and first for their new label, Roadrunner), 2007's Systematic Chaos, the quintet sticks to the prog metal game plan that they've followed since their inception. In true Dream Theater fashion, the gentlemen are not ashamed to show off their chops -- as evidenced by the album opener, "In the Presence of Enemies, Pt. 1," in which James LaBrie's vocals do not kick in until after the five-minute mark. Elsewhere, "Forsaken" proves wrong those who say that Dream Theater is all about instrumental gymnastics and not songwriting, at least momentarily, while "The Dark Eternal Light" features some nifty Pantera-esque riffing from John Petrucci. Additionally, "Repentance" is one of the album's four ten-minute-plus, mid-paced epics, and features a prerequisite of countless extended prog suites and spoken word passages. Unlike other veteran rock acts that attempted to update their sound with the times (and failed miserably), Dream Theater has admirably stuck to its guns through thick and thin -- much to the delight of their legion of admirers -- and they continue to do so on Systematic Chaos. And for that, we salute you with a flurry of flawlessly sweep-picked arpeggios. [The 2007 CD/DVD edition features the entire album remixed for 5.1 Surround on an included bonus DVD.] ~ Greg Prato
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Metal - Released June 6, 2005 | Warner Bros.

Prog rockers Dream Theater tallied 19 years as a band with the release of Octavarium, but in listening you're apt to suspect otherwise. As a collective they remain as tight as they were on 2003's obsessively dark Train of Thought (like all music-school outfits, they've exacted an all-for-one formula that doesn't allow a single player more than his share of swagger), but a post-hardcore edge -- call it a leap into 2005 -- has invaded their pledge of allegiance to theatrical heavy rock. Hear it on "I Walk Beside You" and "The Answer Lies Within," both of which, at under five minutes, play like charming haikus from a band known for its epic poetry, and also on the orchestra-backed 20-plus-minute final cut, which skips around from Pink Floyd to Rush to Black Sabbath influences, stopping off every so often at a place fans of My Chemical Romance might find familiar. As with all the band's discs, guitars loom large and both doom and redemption seem no further than the next twisted verse. What's changed is Dream Theater's commitment to carrying on their reputation as underground progressive rock's classicists, and it seems well-timed. ~ Tammy La Gorce
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Metal - Released June 22, 2009 | Roadrunner Records

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Hard Rock - Released September 20, 2013 | Roadrunner Records

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Though Dream Theater recruited drummer Mike Mangini to replace Mike Portnoy on 2011's A Dramatic Turn of Events, his drum parts had all been scripted before the change, leading to the rather stilted feeling of the album. This self-titled offering, the band's 12th album overall, marks the first time Mangini was involved in the writing and creative decision making from the jump and it shows. Produced by guitarist John Petrucci and recorded and mixed by Richard Chycki, this is one of the more dynamic, far-reaching albums in DT's catalog. Opener "False Awakening Suite" is a brief but cinematic near-instrumental with twinned guitars and keyboards riffs from Petrucci and keyboardist Jordan Rudess, all underscored by a string section and layered choral vocals by James LaBrie. The band's harder edges are displayed immediately after in "The Enemy Inside," with Mangini's fast, syncopated tom-tom and heavy drumming charging through the labyrinthine changes, as prog and death metal join in an unholy alliance; LaBrie is in command, atop it all. "The Looking Glass" is an obvious tribute to Rush, particularly the big arena anthems like "Spirit of Radio" and "Free Will" in its crunchy intro. It moves beyond that into something darker and more intricate with numerous time changes and interludes, yet always returns to the hook. These three tracks make for a fantastic opening trifecta, but the rest doesn't disappoint either. The driving, labyrinthine instrumental "Enigma Machine" features some of Petrucci's finest playing on the album, while "Behind the Veil" reveals itself slowly, emerging from lithe, whispering keyboard lines to engage explosive drumming and punishing guitar riffs and varied, thrumming bass parts from John Myung. All efforts lead to the five-part, 22-minute closer "Illumination Theory." Though it borrows a riff from "The Enemy Inside," inspiring its first instrumental section, it moves afield quickly. This is Dream Theater at its most creative. Rudess' keyboard playing comes right out of Frank Zappa in several sections, but particularly in "Live, Die Kill." There is an atmospheric interlude in the second instrumental part "The Embracing Circle." In the fourth section, "The Pursuit of Truth," Rudess, Petrucci, and Myung exchange fours, sixes, and eights in syncopated time signatures as Mangini prods them with explosive fills and elephantine rolls between verses. To finish, the music becomes positively majestic (à la Queen) in the final section "The Pursuit of Truth," whispering to a close with acoustic piano, strings, and a single-line guitar melody. Dream Theater is one of the quintet's big ones; it holds inside it everything a fan could want, yet also expands the reach of American prog metal. ~ Thom Jurek
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Metal - Released November 10, 2003 | Elektra Records

Coming a year after Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, it's great to hear that Dream Theater hadn't lost their überheavy edge. John Petrucci, Mike Portnoy, Jordan Rudess, and bassist John Myung effectively peeled back the pretentious excesses of Six Degrees, turned them in on themselves, and came up with a leaner, meaner but no less ambitious outing. The centerpiece track, despite the fact that it is second on the disc, is "This Dying Soul: IV. Reflections of Reality (Revisited)." A tome about alcoholism and recovery, it's strident riff opens out onto vast sonic panoramas where pianos and rhythm section offer Petrucci the space he needs to take his guitar playing into overdrive. Also, lyrically this is an evolutionary track on the set; it opens doors for the rest of the narratives here. Whereas the opener, "As I Am," is an anthem of resistance and independence, from "This Dying Soul" onward, themes of acceptance, surrender, and willingness become the M.O. for transcendent transformation. Struggles with the past, new encounters, and near despair are common themes, as on the brilliantly textured and detailed "Train of Though." Note the beautiful interplay between the guitars and keyboards on "Endless Sacrifice," the insane drums and buzz saw attack on the intro to "Honor Thy Father," or the brilliant play on the intro to "Seasons of Whither" in the intro to "In the Name of God," before the almighty riffing takes it into crunchland with a deep, poignant reflection on spiritual and religious hypocrisy. This is hard, heavy progressive metal at its very best lyrically and musically. ~ Thom Jurek
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Metal - Released March 28, 2008 | Rhino Atlantic

Dream Theater's Greatest Hit (....And 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs) collection is a strange animal indeed. Despite the band's amazingly longevity -- they cut their first demo in 1986 -- as a touring act and as a steadily selling concern in the product marketplace, they've had exactly one hit, sort of, in 1992's "Pull Me Under" from the album Images and Words. That they are still together and still a viable touring and recording enterprise is testament enough in these strange times. Apparently, though, that's not enough for them. Drummer Mike Portnoy and his bandmembers assembled this collection with a few twists that make for rather curious listening. Divided into two discs collecting 22 cuts, the first oddity is that the epic, intricate pro-pop metallic jams they are most closely associated with are almost entirely absent here. In their place, as Portnoy goes to great lengths to explain in his liner notes (which amount to more of an apologia than anything else), are a "dark side" disc reflecting the more riff-centric, metallic, guitar and double bass drum tunes that have been influenced by everyone from Black Sabbath and Judas Priest to Iron Maiden and Metallica. The other disc, is, predictably enough, the "light side." Here, the tunes reflect the more melodic, accessibly progressive aspect of the band that has been influenced by, "...U2, Pink Floyd, Journey, and Peter Gabriel." Whatever. What's worse, Portnoy somehow thinks that this set is for the uninitiated, and claims he sees it almost as a "TV commercial or a coming attraction for a film...something that will lure the viewers/listeners in and inspire them to dig deeper, eventually leading them to experience the 'full picture'..." Apparently, he hasn't been paying attention to what's been going on in a marketplace increasingly reliant on digital media. As for the music itself, here's the rub: the only real thing to attract veteran fans are some 2007 remixes including "Pull Me Under" (they messed with their sole pop culture classic!!!!), "Take the Time," and "Another Day," and edits that include shortened versions of "Lie," "Home," "Misunderstood," and "Solitary Shell." There is also an alternate album mix of the track "Through Her Eyes." The cover sticker reflects this, but the actual track listing on the back of the package does not. Musically, if you are a Dream Theater fan and need to have everything, you already know these tracks, and have them in at least two versions -- live and studio -- anyway, and the remixes are nothing whatsoever to write home about. If you are a novice, you'd be better of picking up one of the band's truly classic recordings such as Images and Words, Change of Seasons, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, or Scenes from a Memory to hear their studio magic, on the one hand, or, Live Scenes from New York on the other. This double-disc makes little sense. Excess is one of the greatest things about Dream Theater: they are one of the best live bands on the planet and understand that big rock & roll is about the show as well as great musicianship, but sometimes, even grand excess is a little to o grand for its own good; this is just such a case. ~ Thom Jurek
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Metal - Released September 12, 1997 | Atlantic Records

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Metal - Released September 26, 2014 | Roadrunner Records

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Metal - Released June 19, 2009 | Roadrunner Records

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Metal - Released August 5, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Steadfast at the apex of the prog-metal heap, Dream Theater has reached the coveted position where it can do no wrong in the eyes and chops-hungry ears of its international fan base. LIVE AT BUDOKAN is the band's third full-length live offering, a mammoth three-CD affair with a set list that leans heavily towards the studio albums SIX DEGREES OF INNER TURBULENCE (2002) and TRAIN OF THOUGHT (2003). As with any Dream Theater concert, the crown jewel of LIVE AT BUDOKAN is its legendary "Instrumedley." The awe-inspiring epic puts the metallic virtuosos through a series of strung-together touchstone themes culled from both "Metropolis" pieces, "Erotomania," "A Change of Seasons," and "Ytse Jam," plus two excerpts drawn from Liquid Tension Experiment (an instrumental side-project featuring 3/5ths of Dream Theater). With this performance, there are notable upgrades in the group's live act. Vocalist James LaBrie gets better with each tour, and the background vocals have never sounded so spot-on. To top it all off, guitarist John Petrucci continues to push the six-string-shredding envelope to its furthest reaches with his rapid-fire soloing palette.
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Metal - Released August 25, 2011 | Roadrunner Records

A Dramatic Turn of Events, the 11th studio long player from progressive hard rock act Dream Theater, is understandably among the most anticipated in their decades-long career. Founding drummer Mike Portnoy -- long considered, with guitarist John Petrucci, to be DT -- left the band and was replaced with veteran Mike Mangini. This is the set that answers the question about his impact on their sound. Interestingly enough, it's not that much. Mangini is as much a complex, intricate drummer as Portnoy was, though he is more an ensemble player; he plays more on the beat than behind it. A Dramatic Turn of Events is a much more keyboard-driven offering, though there is plenty of good old-fashioned prog metal here, too. Given its nearly 80-minute length, there is something here for virtually every fan -- or detractor -- to grab hold of. Singer James LaBrie doesn't indulge his high metal screech here that often, and prefers to sing plainly -- a good thing. Three tracks -- “Outcry,” “Breaking All Illusions,” and “Lost Not Forgotten” -- feature wildly long instrumental segments with more odd time signature changes than you can likely count. The latter of these sounds almost like Meshuggah with keyboards and stacked with multi-part harmonic vocals. Opening track and single "On the Backs of Angels" contains all the DT trademarks: disciplined drumming, intricate seven-string guitar riffs that grow increasingly more explosive, a Gothic chorale, and John Myung's insistent basslines, which are nearly buried in the mix. Jordan Rudess' keyboards counter Petrucci's guitar and Mangini's drums for dominance and come out on top. That said, the melodic structure of the tune harkens back to DT albums previous to the last decade's. As melodic as it is, it's almost knotty compared to the sheer melodicism of “Build Me Up, Break Me Down” that follows it. One does have to wonder about the inclusion of the ballads "Far from Heaven" and the string-laden "Beneath the Surface," which have clunky, trite lyrics, sappy instrumentation, and feel like filler; it would have been better to have trimmed them to keep the album a reasonable length. In sum, a Dramatic Turn of Events, while not a perfect offering, has enough of what makes Dream Theater attractive to make it a necessary purchase for fans. ~ Thom Jurek
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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