History & BiographyThe band was formed in 1985 when different members met at Berkeley College Of Music. Through friendship with a guitarist of Crumbsuckers the band obtained a deal and were soon on their way having already released a successful demo using the Majesty moniker. That name was soon abandoned as another act had the legal rights to its use. While the band's debut on Mechanic Records was impressive in its own right, it was the second album, featuring Canadian singer LaBrie, which catapulted the band to the top of the progressive movement. Most progressive or technical metal bands are subsequently compared to Dream Theater who themselves are heavily influenced by Canadian acts Saga and Rush. Beginning with Awake the band made a conscious effort to commercialize the outings and mixed elements of AOR into its sound. James LaBrie suffered a vocal injury in 1994 when he suffered food poisoning with shrimp in Cuba being fingered as the culprit. Going against doctor’s advice the man toured and further damaged his vocals. Its 2001 live 3-CD release featured the World Trade Center engulfed in fire. With the release date slated for September 11, the band was quick to withdraw the product and re-ship a month later with a new cover. Oddly the band began performing whole sets of Iron Maiden material in 2002 as part of its autumn European tour. This habit had earlier been developed when Dream Theater would perform Metallica songs on a second night at the same venue. The Metallica set in Barcelona, Spain was the first of many such performances and became the subject of whole independent releases by the group's own imprint, Ytsejam. The band toured North America with Queensryche and Fates Warning in 2003. Fates Warning had been added to the bill at the insistence of drummer Mike Portnoy. The drummer would also join Fates Warning as a fill-in for live shows at the beginning of 2005. He did so again in 2012. The band oversaw the release of a compilation and a DVD called When Dream and Day Reunite in 2005. In the summer a new album called Octavarium emerged.
Roadrunner Records signed the band at the beginning of 2007. A new album, entitled Systematic Chaos, was due in June. The album featured a special-edition DVD featuring 90 minutes of material. Former singer Charlie Dominici finished recording a new Dominici album, entitled O3: A Trilogy - Part 3 in 2007. The man had the opportunity to open for Dream Theater on some shows earlier in 2007. The band’s Chaos In Motion 2007/2008, which documented the Chaos In Motion world tour, was due in September of ‘08. Drummer Mike Portnoy directed it. The band announced Black Clouds & Silver Linings as the title for its tenth studio album, which was due on June 23rd of 2009 through its newest label Roadrunner. The band was shooting a video for the song A Rite Of Passage. Avenged Sevenfold, whose drummer James 'the Rev' Sullivan died in December of 2009, was recording a new album with Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy in the winter of 2010. Apparently, Sullivan was a fan of Portnoy. Dream Theater spent the summer of 2010 supporting Iron Maiden on the band's month-long tour of the U.S. and Canada. The tour was dubbed The Final Frontier and would hit Europe next. Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie was working on a solo album called Static Pulse. It was expected in September of 2010.
After 25 years in the band he co-founded drummer Mike Portnoy left Dream Theater in September of 2010. The man apparently did not have as much fun as previously within Dream Theater, but insisted his departure had nothing to do with his slot in Avenged Sevenfold. Mike Portnoy next revealed that he had attempted to rejoin Dream Theater in December only to be rebuffed. The band was rehearsing with another drummer. In the spring of 2011 Dream Theater recruited 48-year old Mike Mangini (Annihilator, Extreme and James LaBrie) as the replacement for Mike Portnoy. The band announced the release of a new album, A Dramatic Turn Of Events, on September 13th through Roadrunner Records. The album would be followed by a North American tour. Dream Theater’s A Dramatic Turn Of Events hit position #1 in Japan. Drummer Mike Portnoy sat on the stool for Stone Sour for the band's appearance at the Rock In Rio festival on September 24th in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Flying Colors, featuring drummer Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater) and guitarist Steve Morse (Deep Purple), scheduled shows in the USA and Europe for September of 2012. Roadrunner Records would release Dream Theater’s self-titled album in September of 2013. Dream Theater was nominated for a second Grammy in 2014. It was for the Best Metal Performance for the song The Enemy Inside from the band’s self-titled album on Roadrunner Records. The band was booked for the Masters Of Rock 2014 in Vizovice, an open air festival in the Czech Republic on Friday, July 11th. Dream Theater picked The Astonishing as the title for its next album, due in January, 2016 through Roadrunner. The band was touring Europe to coincide with the release. The band would perform the entire The Astonishing album on its North American tour, which would kick off in Quebec City, Canada in April.
The band had a The Astonishing computer game that April, which was based on the band's concept album of the same name. Dream Theater was conducting a 30th Anniversary World Tour. Dream Theater signed to InsideOut Music at the end of 2017. Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess would conduct a U.S. and European tour in the winter of 2018 during which he performed a piano set entitled From Bach To Rock: A Musician's Journey. The Distance Over Time album was slated for February. The band was on InsideOut. A North American tour was also announced. John Petrucci was releasing a new solo album, entitled Terminal Velocity, in the autumn of 2020. Dream Theater had a live album in 2020. It was called Distant Memories - Live In London and was out in November. The act was digging into its vaults and releasing material on CD and digitally. The first release in the Lost Not Forgotten Archives series was Images And Words - Live In Japan, 2017 on June 25th. The band’s imprint was called Ytsejam. A View From The Top Of The World was supported through a video for the song The Alien. Petrucci produced it and Andy Sneap mixed and mastered it. Dream Theater postponed its North American tour to early 2022 due to the pandemic situation in the USA. Singer James LaBrie picked Beautiful Shade Of Gray as the title for his solo album, which was to be released by InsideOut Music in May 2022. Dream Theater was nominated for a Grammy, and won, for the song The Alien from its 2021 album A View From The Top Of The World. Former member and current The Winery Dogs drummer Mike Portnoy announced he had contracted COVID-19 in the meantime. He would be the drummer for John Petrucci's solo tour of the USA in the autumn of 2022. The Dream Theater wives would reform Meanstreak and open. Keyboardist Jordan Rudess would conduct a two-month solo tour of the USA called An Evening With Jordan Rudess from June to August 2022. The dates would mix music with talk. The band’s concert in Oulu, Finland on February 3rd 2023 was cancelled after the stage set-up and rigs were deemed insufficient by the promoter. The group conducted the Dreamsonic 2023 North American Tour with openers Devin Townsend and Animals As Leaders in the summer. John Myung wore a bandage on his forehead, which he attributed to falling and hitting his forehead against a metal post later. He cited dehydration as the cause. Drummer Mike Portnoy, who had lobbied for his old job publicly for years, replaced the man who had replaced him in 2023. Portnoy had attended a Dream Theater concert and played with Petrucci recently. Mangini had a solo record. Former singer Charlie Dominici, who sang on the debut album When Dream And Day Unite of 1989, died in November 2023. Jordan Rudess rejoined Dixie Dregs on the road in the USA in 2024.
DREAM THEATER - IMAGES AND WORDS - ATCO
It is difficult to find words for the musical images presented on this CD. Images And Words, the band’s second album and the first with singer James LaBrie, overflows with complex song structures, breaks, tempo changes, solos, et cetra. Still, all songs are easy to listen to and heavy enough for people who don’t like Saga or Rush because those bands are more rock than metal. Dream Theater draws heavy influences from these two bands Saga shines through in the staccato-type rhythms, as in Pull Me Under and Under A Glass Moon, and in the dramatic vocals, while Rush appears in the styles of both drummer and bassist. Take The Time features a short passage spoken in Italian. Another Day and Surrounded are great songs for every AOR fan out there. The latter features an impressive solo burst after the line "Let the light surround you" comes up for the second time. The piano piece Wait For Sleep is reminiscent of Savatage and Queen. The long songs Metropolis Part I (9:30 min) and Learning To Live (11:30 min) will please the progressive genre experts.
All in all, the album contains songs for a broad range of people, but on an unparalleled level of virtuosity. Some argue that the debut album When Dream And Day Unite is better just because it is the debut, some do not like James LaBrie, some may deem the band too commercial, some like the later albums more than this one but Images And Words remains the band’s most enjoyable display of skilled musicianship. Bands like Watchtower were always cases for specialists this is 'progressive for the people.' - Andreas Herzog