Synopsis

Dream Theater is an amazing Heavy / Progressive rock band that has been active since the late 1980's. Would be the best if it hadn't been for their vocalist

History of the band

In 1985, the majority of the band (John Petrucci, John Myung and Mike Portnoy) met at the Berklee School of Music in Boston. Together, they defied the notion that Berklee was for "serious musicians" (Rock is not "serious music"). Kevin Moore and Chris Collins ended up joining them, and they formed a band they called Majesty.

The three of them dropped out of Berklee to continue work with Majesty. They soon recorded a demo tape which they sent off to record companies and sold to friends, family and other local fans.

The band decided to let Chris Collins go, and switched names to Dream Theater, because Majesty was already taken by another (jazz-)band

Their first album, "When Dream and Day Unite" was recorded in 1988, using Charlie Dominici on vocals. It experienced a limited release. Their record company (Mechanic) didn't have enough funding to be able to distribute the album much, and Dream Theater's first album pretty much fizzled when it came to sales.

The next two years, the band kept looking for a new vocalist. The rest of the band was experiencing a substantial boost in professionality and skill, but without writing any new vocal stuff. Dream Theater considered John Arch (Fates Warning), Steve Stone and Chris Cintron, before they were tipped off about Kevin James LaBrie, front man of Winter Rose from Toronto. Kevin James LaBrie was chosen (he chose to use his middle name, because having two Johns and two Kevins in the band just would get too weird)

In 1991, Dream Theater recorded "Images and Words" which was received with open arms all over the world, in particular in Japan (as with all of Dream Theater's stuff, curiously enough)

In 1994, during the recording of their fourth album, Kevin Moore (Keyboards) decides to leave Dream Theater, because he wanted to try some other musical stuff and start recording own material. Jordan Rudess (from Jan Hammer and Dixie Dreggs) temporarily took over for Kevin for touring and some recording. Derek Sherinian (played with Kiss and Alice Cooper) became the permanent replacement.

In the beginning of 1999, there is another change in the lineup: Sherinian decides to leave Dream Theater, and is replaced by Jordan Rudess, who in the meantime has worked with a few of the Dream Theater members on the Liquid Tension Experiment

The Music

Dream Theater oscillate between heavy rock and gorgeous ballads, with the common denominator of being played by musicians who are nothing short of virtuous on their instruments. Petrucci is one of the greatest guitarists of our times - Not only fast (Flight of the Bumblebee in 200 bpm? You have to hear it to believe it), but also sensitive to the strenghts and weaknesses of his instrument. Mike Portnoy is equally one of the most prominent drummers around

The band works incredibly well together, and anyone who has the slightest interrest for heavy rock, metal, power metal or progressive metal has to have a listen. If you only buy one album, get Awake or Images and Words, two very varied albums that represent their work very well.

The only bad thing about Dream Theater is (IMHO) the fact that they have a vocalist. The nature of the songs is such that LaBrie, even though he is a very skilled singer, is chanceless - DT would probably be better off being an instrumental-only band (which is why Liquid Tension Experiment is so great :)

The Band Members

Current members (separate biographies are stuck in separate nodes. Go have a look)

Former members

Discography

  • 2001 - Live Scenes From New York
    • Ack! I only found out this thing existed when I was making this discography. And I call myself a fan. Make that two albums I don't have yet *goes on a shopping spree soon*
  • 1999 - Metropolis 2: Scenes From A Memory (****-)
    • This is a miracle-piece. The whole album is a long story about a girl who gets killed, and it is one of those albums you just have to listen all the way through. The live tour (Metropolis 2000 tour) is BRILLIANT, - they pretty much just play the whole content of the album with a full range of A/V tricks attached to it. A show in the true sense of the word.
  • 1998 - Once In A LIVEtime
    • The only DT album I don't own! Oh the shame. The humiliation. :)
  • 1997 - Falling Into Infinity (****-)
    • Another beautiful CD. A bit more sophisticated than the previous albums
    • Highlights: Hard to choose. "New Millennium", "Hollow Years", "Trial of Tears".
  • 1995 - A Change Of Seasons (****-)
    • How to say this? My ACOS CD has been stolen 6(!) times, and I have bought it again every time (this was before the miracles of CD-r) And it's been worth it. A piece or art, no less..
    • ACOS is really an EP, but included here because of its importance. it is a 20-minute epic that changes several times throughout the song. It's great!
  • 1994 - Awake (*****)
    • Another must-have-album. Their best, if you ask me (which you didn't but I'm gonna tell you anyway)
    • Highlights: WHere to begin? "6:00", "The Mirror" and "Lie" are epic pieces of progmetal history. "The Silent Man" and "Space-Dye Vest" are beautiful ballads. The whole damn album is great.
  • 1993 - Live At The Marquee (**---)
    • This album has been much debated, actually. Personally, I believe it was a disappointment - Dream Theater are such a great live act that an album becomes a pale imitation. At the same time, it seems like this album has been over-engineered. It sounds too good for a live album, if you know what I mean.
    • Highlight: The live version of Pull Me Under. It saves the album.
  • 1992 - Images And Words (*****)
    • This album is the classic. It has some wonderful songs on it, and the music is very well balanced. A few heavy tracks and some calm stuff. Great!
    • Highlight: Wait for Sleep is one of the best ballads ever made. well.. The whole album just rocks.
  • 1989 - When Dream And Day Unite (****-)
    • This album is slightly fragmented. The quality is good all over, but the music style is slightly wandering. Worth having if you are a fan.
    • Highlight: "The Ytse Jam" ("Majesty" backwards) which they still play live at concerts

Tours

  • 1989 - When Dream and Tour Unite
  • 1992 - 1993 - Images and Tour
  • 1994 - 1995 - Waking Up the World Tour
  • 1995 - A Change of Seasons mini-tour
  • 1997 - 1998 - Touring Into Infinity
  • 1999 - 2000 - Scenes From A Memory Tour

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