Best Dream Theater Albums

The Top Ten

1 Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory

Seriously, everything about this album is just too good to be true. 77 minutes of pure beauty. Not to mention it even has a story to follow. Sure I might not call it the greatest album of all time. Dark side of the Moon has that honor. I find it sad that this album will never get the sheer amount of respect it deserves. Dream Theater is just without a doubt the current gods of music. But sadly, the media don't want to see them for what they are and are calling little teenaged boys who's voice haven't even broken and busty woman who like to dye their hair pink "Superstars". It just makes me sick.

This is the soundtrack of my life. On my funeral they will play "Scene Eight: The Spirit Carries On"

I will choose this album over every single piece of music ever made on the planet earth. - unknown-soldier

I could compare listening to this album with a good movie you just can't stop watching over and over again. 20 years later, it still sounds so good!

60 Comments
2 Images and Words

Honestly the best DT has ever put out. Great production, great songwriting, and James Labrie's voice on this album was something else. The earlier albums were all great, especially Images and Words. - AdamDestructorJr.

Metropolis part one and take the time are my favourites on this, also pull me under and the rest is good. Think it's my number one DT album.

Their best without question. Awake and Train of Thought are close 2nd and 3rd.

The only Dream Theatre's album that I can listen to in it's entirety. Albums following this bores me to death with the exception of few tracks here and there (SDOIT, SoC, Panic Attack, & MoLS).

43 Comments
3 Train of Thought

The ultimate progressive metal album: meaningful lyrics along with instrumental madness.

The Best

While it isn't a progressive masterpiece such as Metropolis or Octavarium, ToT is on a new level of musicianship. Stream of Conciousness has to be the greatest instrumental I've ever heard, while In the Name of God... Just wow. There isn't a song on this album that I don't listen to over and over again. Honor Thy Father, This Dying Soul... So many memorable and badass moments with riffs and incredible guitar work.

Hardest, heaviest and loudest in their catalogue. Also the most enjoyable.

21 Comments
4 Octavarium

This is the first Prog Metal album I ever listened to and it still holds up today. Especially that title track. - AdamDestructorJr.

I think every song on this album is perfect for this slbum

About 5/8 songs are good.
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As an album, it's not consistent. It has some gret songs, and some really bad ones. I don't think it should be before 6DoIT

Next to Supper's Ready by Genesis, the title track might be my favorite song ever, and I'm not even big on metal. I also loved it before I was really a fan of DT as a whole, which really says something about how good it is. The rest of the album is also very solid, especially in the context of the abstract concept of the whole thing regarding the number 8 and all the little easter eggs. Some of DT's albums are arguably more consistent, but the rest of this album is definitely still good enough to put it in the conversation for the band's best album. The Root of All Evil and Panic Attack are amazing, and These Walls and Never Enough are pretty underrated!

18 Comments
5 Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence

This albums and black clouds are tied for first for me. Both are very underrated and every single song on both are amazing and top notch.

My personal favorite dream theater album, there's just so much greatness on it, Misunderstood, Disappear, the Great Debate, of course the 7 part 42 minute suite that is Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, and my personal favorite the Glass Prison. This album is criminally underrated in my opinion but honestly is it really a surprise that Scenes From A Memory would take the top spot?

7?! 7! REALLY?! This is, in my opinion, their third best album, after Scenes From a Memory and Octavarium. When I first saw that this had a 40 minute song, I was too scared and overwhelmed to spend the time listening to this masterpiece. But 6DOIT is so easy to listen to. Every song is pure gold. It's worth your time.

I love this album, songs like Misunderstood, The Great Debate and Six Degrees are just unbelievable! Dream Theater forever!

18 Comments
6 Black Clouds & Silver Linings

A massively underrated album amongst most fans. While A Rite of Passage is pretty mediocre, the rest of the album is near perfection. The Count of Tuscany's ending is on the same level as A Change of Seasons', The Best of Times has one of Petrucci's best solos, A Nightmare to Remember has a great energy and The Shattered Fortress is the best way they could've ended the 12-Step Suite. Awesome. - AdamDestructorJr.

you just cannot hate this album in any conceivable way. with such epics as a nightmare to remember, a rite of passage, wither, the shattered fortress, the best of times, and the count of tuscany (heck, I just named every song on the album! ), it is a masterpeice in every way, shape, or form.

Their most beautiful

This album is all Dream Theater epics! And it ends with The Count of Tuscany! How can you not love it?

33 Comments
7 Awake

This album has some real underrated gems on it. - AdamDestructorJr.

It does not surprise me that Awake is only at number 8 (as I write this). When you first listen to it, this album is not nearly as accessible as say, Images or Metropolis pt2. It takes a few run throughs to realize what a masterpiece the band has come up with. I actually believe vocally this is James' best album, he really adds color to the dark tone and combined with some awesome lyrics, after a while you really understand what Dream Theater is trying to show. In my opinion their best album, and undoubtedly top 3 with images and metropolis part 2.

Awake is a major standout in Dream Theater's discography because it represents the beginning of their progressive metal tendencies but unlike later albums, it balances its songs really well, there are songs for nearly every genre and they don't take that many liberties for heavy soloing which is why this album should be higher up the list.

Space-dye vest is just incredible. But where is train of thought I know it wasn't "Dream Theater" proggy but still amazing. When Dream and Day United blows I don't care what anyone says

31 Comments
8 A Dramatic Turn of Events

A personal favourite and my father has this one as a favourite as well

This album is way too underrated. Every song on this album is so melodic and full of emotion. This is the Life is such a beautiful song, and Breaking All Illusions is a near perfect track. Coupled with the fact that every other song on this album is pure gold, I gotta rate this higher

I vote it because I think it should be higher than 8th. Personally I'll put it on 5, together with Scenes from memory, images and words, ToT, A change of seasons, and SDOIT.
My favourite is Outcry and Bridges in the sky. And I think it's their best after portnoy departure. Easily become a masterpiece

Frankly might just be a masterpiece? Takes a few listens perhaps but give it a chance and it WILL reward. It definitely needs to be high up on a list - even though it's very difficult to list in an ordered sense great DT albums because they are all pretty much awesome, just in different ways. I can name less than perfect ones, falling into infinity, Once in a lifetime but even they are not exactly terrible

18 Comments
9 Systematic Chaos

I feel like some of the songs on Systematic Chaos get far too much hate for what they are. - AdamDestructorJr.

This album was when I truly fell in love with Dream Theater, there is not a single bad song in here. Starting In the Presence of Enemies with the amazing rhythm breaks. The more "pop" song Forsaken is followed by Constant Motion, a song that is so not-Dream Theater that it is (amazing drumming in this song in my humble opinion) and Dark Eternal Night straight after, gets you banging your head without noticing, both absolutely mind-breaking. Repentance comes next and is a beautiful song in its own away and will help you to chill... Ministry of Lost Souls which comes next was actually my favourite song for a long time!

This album is way too low - V4noM

This album deserves more recognition, for many reasons. The diversity, from The Dark Eternal night to Repentance. It has multiple epics, like In the Presence of enemies, and my favorite DT song, The Ministry of Lost Souls. Some of it is heavy, some of it is soft. Another huge part of this album, are the compositions. Some of these songs have the best compositions I have ever listened to. For example, listen to The Ministry of Lost Souls by Symphonic Theater of Dreams. It is amazing!

19 Comments
10 Dream Theater

An amazing and memorable album, with a lot of new flavors and experiments. False Awakening Suite is just the ultimate opener, The Bigger Picture is beautiful, and Illumination Theory is up there with Six Degrees and Octavarium!

The Looking Glass, The Bigger Picture, Behind the Veil, Along for the Ride and Illumination Theory are all brilliant. A new dream Theater classic.

Incredible album. A progressive gem, as well as a metal meltdown that we don't see enough from Dream Theater. Enemy Inside, Behind the Veil, The Bigger Picture, Along for the Ride, really every song on here is among their best of all time.

A really great progressive metal album. Definitely Dream Theater's best. Lord willing, I'm going to see them in Boston in March. Hope they play the whole album through!

24 Comments

The Contenders

11 The Astonishing

You guys sure this belongs outside the top 10? I would like to agree with the guy who motivates you to listen a couple of times, this could easily be in top 4 if everyone really gets it. - unknown-soldier

It is really hard for me to choose a favorite album by these unbelievable artists. Scenes from a Memory was my favorite one for a long time. I absolutely adore Octaviarium and Six Degrees. After hearing The Astonishing several times and then seeing it live, I can honestly say that it is the most creative, organic, and musical piece of art I've ever heard from a band like them. This album really showed me that these guys are literally capable of anything. The production of the show was incredible as well as the overall flow of the album. Each leitmotiv presented in this album complements the characters and situations impeccably well. Thank God for this band. So far this is turning into my new favorite record of theirs.

Full blown opera rock. The Astonishing takes everything they've ever done to a higher level. It's a blend of wise mature musicianship, wonderful songwriting and fantastic orchestral work, in support of telling a beautiful and yet uncommon story nowadays. Bringing such deep, wide and dense music to life requires nothing but the best from the best. It's beautiful, moving, captivating, powerful, emotional music.

An incredibly ambitious album. While not immediately rewarding, give it time and few listens and you will see that this is simply a masterpiece. It is also James Labrie's best album since Octavarium, as he fully nails seven different characters, crafting a unique voice for each of them. Sure it's a little long, and the story is fairly cheesy (very Disney inspired), but the overall experience is just perfect.

26 Comments
12 A Change of Seasons

THIS SONG IS AMAZING! Why is it so low on the list? It's a sad song depending on Portnoy's mother's death in the early 1990s in a plane crash. But its 23 minutes is so good and awesome!

Perhaps this masterpiece has been drowned because it's not an album per se; still, should be rised only because of its title track; everything is perfect there. The sounds show so much feeling, I don't even feel the lenght of the song. Furthermore, it's so full of meaning and has such a beautiful story... That it may even carry this whole EP among the status of real Dream Theater albums.

A Change of Seasons is easily their best song (suck it octavarium) Plus all of the covers are nice... I actually think that SFaM is their best, very closely followed by Images and words. But I couldn't stand to see this ranked last.

Honestly this album is very proggy and very emotional. There's a part close to the end where you could feel what mike portnoy was feeling, the disturbance, the stress, the single word "goodbye" uttered which shattered his life into pieces. I LOVE THIS SONG

8 Comments
13 Falling Into Infinity

My favorite album. It has Lines in the Sand which is my favorite Dream Theatre song. Trial of Tears is also a phenominal finish to the album. The entire album represents the pinnacle of 90's progressive rock-metal.

What, this album should be in the top ten, I think this album is so much better than whatever chaos, I guess those fans just too lazy to listen deeply to each of the songs in this beautiful album, and Hell's kitchen is one of the best instrumental after stream of consciousness, it's simple yet the melody is deep, and the last song trial of tears will touch your heart more softly, I think it's Myung's best song he ever put the lyrics on

Great songwriting and dynamics. Sounds more alive an less produced than the other albums. Lines in the sand is probably their best track to date.

So underrated album, but why?! Mike Portnoy got his own piece of soul into this it should be higher!

12 Comments
14 Distance Over Time

Although, this is a great album, it should rank around midway because of the sound-shift, best described as a shift from their grassroots original music style to something more contemporary and mass-appealing. There were definitely some outstanding tracks on the album but the it isn't nearly as unique and creative as some of the music on some of the other albums (just my two-sense)

Yea, this one is definitely in my top 5. - unknown-soldier

This album is great, definitely their best album since they have Mike Magini as drummer. At Wits End, is one of my new favorite songs by them. In my opinion I actually think they're getting better and better by album Mike Magini as drummer. I actually really liked the Astonishing, and the self titled album especially Illumintion Theory. Honestly, I like all their albums, I even like Falling Into Infinity I think it's underrated not their best but it's not as bad as people put it out to be.

Are you kidding, this is a great album, only hated because Dream Theater fans are stuck in the past...

10 Comments
15 Score

I just enjoy how well done the songs are, while I don't think it's the best, I just really would hate to see this album be so far down on this chart. It's obviously not nearly as good as most albums, including their latest release, but its still really good.

16 Falling Into Infinity Demos

FII would've been DT's magnum opus if it had been allowed to develop properly.

17 Breaking the Fourth Wall
18 Once In a Livetime

A lot of really good live performances by dt I just love it!

19 When Dream and Day Unite

This and Falling Into Infinity are incredibly underrated while Octavarium and Train Of Thought are overrated in my opinion. Especially Octavarium was extremely cheesy and poppy (except for the title track which I love).
But let's talk about When Dream And Day Unite: The songs just sound "fresh" and alive, not as overproduced as for example Octavarium. This is Dream Theater in its purest form! The playing may not be as perfect as on other albums, but still... When Dream And Day Unite has soul!

I think this album greatly portrays their 80's sound. Very underrated album. I liked the whole album. My favourite song has got to be The Killing Hand, Ytse Jam, Afterlife and Status Seeker. They have momentum, build up, soul and dynamics. I like it. Of course James voice sounded shrilly on the non-remaster album, I don't know why maybe it's my player, but James voice never sounded better on Awake album. That's his best in my opinion.

Great album! This is where it all began. The Killing Hand was one of my favorite songs growing up. I'm not sure why this album doesn't get any love.

I find it odd how the best band ever's worst album is their worst according to this

2 Comments
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List Stats

4,000 votes
19 listings
10 years, 157 days old

Top Remixes (69)

1. Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory
2. The Astonishing
3. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
DesL42
1. Octavarium
2. Train of Thought
3. Systematic Chaos
Messej
1. A Dramatic Turn of Events
2. Octavarium
3. Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory
razors15

WRemix
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Black Clouds & Silver Linings - Dream Theater: Random Album Review
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"Octavarium" Album Review
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