A guide to Dream Theater
This is a personal guide to Dream Theater. As such all thoughts are my own opinions and may vary from others. Hope this will help introduce in my opinion the most technically advanced band of the last few decades. They aren’t going to be for everyone and that’s okay!
Who is Dream Theater:
Depending on what album you listen to, Dream Theater is a 5 member band consisting of:
James Labrie- vocals 1991-current
John Petrucci- Guitar 1985- current
Jordan Rudess- Keyboardist 1999-current
John Myung- Bass 1985- current
Mike Portnoy- Drums 1985-2011
Mike Mangini- Drums 2011- current
(just to show the craziness of Mikes drum set)
What is Dream Theater:
Dream Theater is a progressive metal band that for most of their music is dedicated to advancing music by pushing the boundaries of what is possible. This may sound similar Miles Davis and John Coltrane with Kind of Blue and Giant Steps and how they changed jazz music to this day… Exactly!
Dream Theater may not be revolutionizing the whole rock/metal genre but in the prog world they are equivalents to these legendary musicians.
With having 3 of the most talented (again in my opinion) musicians for their instruments in the world John Petrucci on guitar, Mike Mangini on Drums (RIP Neal Peart) and John Myung on Bass and a knowledge of music theory to numb the brains of many a music professor. They have created some truly astounding pieces of music. One extreme example is “The Dance of Eternity” a 6 minute 14 second monster that has 5 key changes, 128 time signature changes over a total of 108 different time signatures.
Okay we get it; they do crazy stupid things with music anything else?
Yes! They create massive intricate pieces of music that is still pleasant to listen to, they have a huge variety of music that is sure to have something to appeal to everyone.
So you want to find out if this is a band you could listen to or a genre you could even tolerate?
Let’s start with some Metal but not too progy or wild and crazy.
Images and Words - “Pull Me Under” (the song that launched their career)
Distance Over Time - “Unthethered Angel”
Train of thought - “As I Am”- This song has a very Metallica meets Black Sabbath feel to it that isn’t too proggy but just rocks! Also if you want to hear the BIGGEST guitar sound that I’m sure if amplified correctly will tear down a house listen to this… even if you aren’t into big Godzilla like guitar tones listen to the first minute of this as it’s something else.
So you made it through that and now want to liven it up a bit! Fantastic this is where Dream Theater really starts to get good!
Images and Words- “Metropolis Pt 1” ( The one DT song to test if you want to find out if you like the band itself )
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence - “The Glass Prison” (A sad/ song when you think about it, about Mike Portnoy’s struggle with alcoholism)
Images and Words- “Take the Time”
Images and Words- “Under A Glass Moon”
Distance Over Time- “At Wits End”
Some of DT’s most crazy songs:
Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory- “The Dance of Eternity” 6 min 5 keys 128 time changes…
Octavarium- “Octavarium” a 24 min epic ballad of prog metal/ psychedelic rock
A Change of Seasons- “A change of Seasons” Think 2112 on steroids! This is DT’s best work and if you find you are into them or prog in general this is worth the listen.
Some other fun listens with DT:
DT does Master of Puppets album:
DT does Funeral for a Friend/ A Friend Lies Bleeding:
(Also found on the album a change of seasons)
DT does the whole Dark Side of the Moon Album live!
Not sure if you like Hard Rock/ Metal, try these!
Pull Me Under
As I Am
Want a little "What the hell was that?"
The Glass Prison
Metropolis pt 1 (single song you should try to see if you like DT)
At Wits End
Want Something you’ve never experienced unless you’ve listened to Dream Theater before?
A Change of Seasons
Hope some of you find this helpful with giving DT a try. If anyone else has more to add please do! DT has been around for 35 years now and has a huge catalogue, it was hard to do this in a short write up!