Dream Theater

MW564

Ancient Mariner
The Astonishing may be a shitty album but it works well while studying mathematics.
I found this too. Something like Metropolis or Six Degrees would keep stealing my attention, but The Astonishing is great for when I don't want to be in silence, but don't want to pay a great deal of attention to the music either, so work can actually be done.
 

KidInTheDark666

What's yours is mine and what's mine is mine too
I feel like this is a good moment to post my album ranking. I've been really grinding through their discography lately.

#14 The Astonishing (2016): There's no doubt this is their weakest album. There's nothing wrong with the theme of the album but I find the songwriting to be very, very lacking. The performances are not on Dream Theater's usual level either. I'd say that LaBrie is probably the best part of this record.
#13 Dream Theater (2013): Extremely forgettable, half-assed album. The first couple of songs, The Enemy Inside and The Looking Glass, are good, but the album takes a huge nosedive after that. Along For The Ride and Illumination Theory are OK, but not good enough to save this album. Instrumentally this is a good album, but James sounds bored and has more vocal effects than an average KPOP singer.
#12 When Dream And Day Unite (1989): This doesn't really sound like Dream Theater to me, which is understandable for a debut album. The band hasn't evolved to the top level yet. Dominici does a pretty good job, but obviously, he doesn't fit. This is a short album, which is a good thing imo. My favorite songs are Ytse Jam, Afterlife and Status Seeker.
#11 Awake (1994): This is the point where the good albums start. I honestly thought that Awake would end up a lot higher, but the next few are really close. Performance-wise this album is excellent, one of their best. My problem with this one is that it feels like half of the songs just get fused together. My two favorites are Lie and Scarred.
#10 A Dramatic Turn of Events (2011) You can really feel that Portnoy isn't there anymore, as this is a huge step down from the previous few albums. The problem isn't who's drumming, it's who's writing the songs. Another big problem is James's decreasing voice. On this album, they fortunately also managed to write their best tracks of this decade. Breaking All Illusions is easily a top 10 DT song to me, and BMU,BMD and Lost Not Forgotten are very good as well. On the other hand, Outcry, This is the Life and Far From Heaven bore me death.
#9 Distance Over Time (2019): I really disliked this when it came out, but most of the songs grew on me. A shorter, more radio friendly metal album is exactly what was needed at this point. I like all of these songs except Out of Reach and Pale Blue Dot, my favorite being the bonus track Viper King. I really like the guitar work on this one.
#8 Six Degrees of Inner Turbuence (2002) The most overrated Dream Theater album, no question. The 40-minute title track just doesn't do it for me. Blind Faith is boring as well. The biggest positive things have to do with the instrumentation, especially Jordan's keyboards, which stands out on this one. Solitary Shell is one of my favorite songs by them. The Glass Prison, Misunderstood, The Great Debate and About to Crash are the other highlights.
#7 Octavarium (2005) Panic Attack was the first DT song I ever heard and liked. I was hoping that the rest of the album was as good, but of course, that's impossible. There is one really crappy song here, The Answer Lies Within, which is the reason I can't place Octavarium any higher. The title track is obviously great as well and the rest of the songs are good. LaBrie continues his great form from TOT.
#6 Falling Into Infinity (1997) A seriously underrated album which suffers from too many ballads and a horrendous opening track. Trial of Tears, Take Away My Pain. You Not Me, Hollow Years, Lines in the Sand and Just Let Me Breathe are great songs. Instrumentally this isn't one of their best albums, but the writing style really fits them. I understand why FII is so disliked though.
#5 Images and Words (1992) Another slightly overrated album, but damnit, it's still really good. James LaBrie sounds fucking phenomenal here and holy shit, those solos by Petrucci. Metropolis and PMU are songs that every metal or rock fan should hear.
#4 Systematic Chaos (2007) This one is really great. Every member is giving 110%. Mike's drumming and backing vocals are really great and James is still very good at this point. Rudess, Petrucci, and Myung kick ass once again. I absolutely love Forsaken and Constant Motion. The rest of the album is also really good apart from Repentance, which is easily the worst one of Mike's drinking songs.
#3 Metropolis pt. 2(Scenes From A Memory) (1999) Are there any DT fans who don't like this album? The story is kind of cliche but who cares? The lyrics and atmosphere are so strong. The performances are incredible. There are a couple of ballads and interludes which aren't quite my cup of tea, but that's often the case when it comes to concept albums. Strange Deja Vu and Spirit Carries on are the best songs on this album. Open your eyes, Nicholas...
#2 Black Clouds and Silver Linings
Probably the most consistent album they've done. Every song is good, and the best ones are among their absolute best. A Rite of Passage, ANTR and TCOT include some really awesome melodies. What an album. There is also The Best Of Times which ends with a mindblowing solo by Petrucci. Sadly this is the last album to have good vocals by James and even worse, the last album to have Mike Portnoy behind the kit.
#1 Train of Thought
I had a really hard time deciding which one is my favorite, this one or BCASL. Eventually I had to pick the album with higher highs and lower lows. In the Name of God is by far Dream Theater's best song in my opinion. It reminds me of a certain other band that made an amazing epic about the same subject in the mid 2000s. Honor Thy Father is in the top 5 as well. Vacant...I wish that song didn't exist. Train of Thought is the heaviest album they have ever made and it reminds me of many bands, such as Maiden, Korn, Slipknot and Metallica. The riffing and some of the solos are to me the best they have done. LaBrie sounds perfect with his angry and emotional vocals and Jordan wanks his keyboards as fast as possible. The drumming is phenomenal as well as the bass playing. I know that many people dislike the nu metal influences on this record but damnit they make it even better.
 

Collin

Chasing Ponce De Leon's Phantoms
I'd recommend it. After hearing 'Raise the Knife', 'The Way It Used to Be', and 'Cover My Eyes' you'll wonder why tracks like 'You Not Me' and 'Anna Lee' made the cut.
 

Mosh

And I should contemplate this change
Staff member
Anna Lee is a good ballad.
I really like Raise the Knife, it’s the only thing I’d preserve from the original demos. Honestly those demos kinda proved to me that FII was going to be flawed even before the label started to meddle.
 

KidInTheDark666

What's yours is mine and what's mine is mine too
That's a bit meh. It's also probably 1 song longer than the show I'll be seeing next month. The good thing is that there's a lot of
2000s material.
 

Collin

Chasing Ponce De Leon's Phantoms
I'm shocked that they went that radical with the setlist changes! I honestly just expected to see the new stuff + select tracks from SFAM + Pull Me Under, but that's a nice surprise. I'd be super happy with that at a festival.
I expected the same too. The lack of Pull Me Under was shocking.. But as for the new additions, they are pretty basic songs. I'm getting sick of seeing As I Am in the setlist, worst song from ToT if you ask me.
 
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