Top 10 Best Dream Theater Albums

The Top Ten
1 Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory

This album was my favorite of any band throughout college and for long time thereafter. I didn't listen to it for at least 10 years and recently came back into it. It still holds up, I love it. Some of the instrumentals go on for longer I want to sit through now, but I still never skip a track. It's a top-3 DT album for sure.

One of the absolute best concept albums to ever be written, alongside The Wall, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, and 2112. The magnum opus of the band, only even somewhat matched by the also fantastic Images and Words and Octavarium. Everything about this album is sublime and couldn't be a higher recommendation.

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.

My favorite album of all time. So many amazing moments. Every song is incredible. The only two albums that stand toe to toe with this album are The Wall by Pink Floyd, and Terminal Redux by Vektor. Very few records can truly be described as all out masterpieces, and without a doubt this album is one of them. The story is interesting and dramatic, the music is complex yet emotional, and James' voice is simply magical on this album. The use of spoken word on this album is also really special, because it isn't just a narrator telling you the story, it's a character form the story speaking directly to you/Victoria. AND THAT'S NOT IT, he actually plays a massive role in the story too! I love this album so much.

2 Images and Words

This album is timeless. It's in my top-3 DT albums for sure. I don't think I can pick a #1 overall, but this one is close. I can never turn off Another Day or Surrounded. Take the Time is amazing, too, and of course Metropolis which sparked another top-3 album (SFAM).

Every song on there is great. Starts off hard, then goes slow, then progressive. Powerful and emotional singing. Elite talent by all. Greatest album ever. Can't see any other album it's equal. Learning to live and surrounded are underrated. Amazing songs.

Never heard about this band, but since they say Jon Petrucci is such an awesome guitarrist and Theater is an innovative band... I had to try it out. Don't be startled by the size of the tracks, you'll be wanting they were the triple of their size because they are so awesome! If you're into awesome riffs, solos, and keyboarding, that's just it. There's even a legendary bass solo! Just downloaded this album and I'm already downloading another, because Dream Theater won a place in my heart.

Every song in this album is perfect! The recording is very good and the MP snare is very powerful! Pull Me Under have done well to put first, because the intro is a lot of atmosphere. Then switch to Another Day which is one of my favorite ballad, the refrain I never tire of listening to it. The solo then I think it's better than petrucci, not too fast but very melodic. Anyone who has listened to Take The Time has remained in love. Sorrounded starts with just piano and voice, and then expand to all the tools a little at a time before returning to piano and voice. Metropolis pt.1 is the best song in the world, the more progressive you the entire album. Under A Glass Moon almost power metal, very fast and difficult (of course). Wait For Sleep is a song composed by only piano and voice, made ​​me cry when I was sad. Finally Learning To Live is to sound level, very well done especially at the end, where there is a bass solo, then overwritten by a melodic Ibanez

3 Train of Thought

It's not as progressive as other albums but it's still an absolute masterpiece and by far my favourite DT album. It's super heavy and there isn't a single moment where it feels dull. This is one of those albums where you cannot do anything but sit there and listen to the music. Anybody, wether or not you are into heavy music should give this one thorough listen. It was the album that introduced a whole new side of metal and it changed the way I listen to music, and it still does every time I put the cd in.

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.

James LaBrie cleaned up his act after SDOIT and the band just seemed to get tighter. Then, inspired by all the heavy metal albums they were covering, the band went in a heavier, darker direction with Train of Thought. The record pounds you will incredible, progressive-oriented crunching riffs and never relents, delivering monstrosities like 'This Dying Soul' when you feel the heaviness is lightening up. Great album.

Metropolis never really clicked with me. Trains of Though however sounded great the first time I listened to it. Every song is perfect, the guitars sound amazing, and the lyrics are very meaningful. It is easily the heaviest and loudest Dream Theater album, but that's why I love it!

4 Octavarium

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!

This album is a journey, from the first note of Root of All Evil, to the last note of Octavarium, you find that your journey starts where it ended, and leave utterly satisfied that you have lived life to its fullest. After listening to this album you feel a sense of liberation, freedom from what has been trapping you inside. This is progressive metal at its finest.

The first time I listened to Octavarium I knew immediately from The Root of All I was about to hear a masterpiece. Octavarium gives everything that one needs in a Dream Theater album the mystic entrancing songs, the powerful riffs/musicianship period, and that vivid story it paints in your mind. Both the Album, and Title Track are my favorites from Dream Theater.

As a prog lover, I find that those mixes between pop and prog just kind of pop out having that catchy hook, and then with DT, they just pull you in with those solos and that great harmony. Easily one of, if not my favorite DT album. Usually I like half the songs on their albums, and the other ones just kind of fall flat after a certain point in the song. But this album, oh it keeps you going the entire time!

5 Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence

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.

Each song has its own character. Glass prison and Great debate have everything about DT. Harmony between the piano and the guitar in Blind faith is amazing. Misunderstood and Disappear are very progressive. Orchestration was not a very idea: boring, but 6 degrees of inner turbulence is the best of the best among their masterpieces.

Blind Faith, best song with the best, both agressive and chilling drumming, and a mind-blowing Keyboard. Not to mention James charming voice, Petrucci's guitar and Myung's bass, of course. One of my favorites and definitely, my favorite album.

6 Black Clouds & Silver Linings

To me, this album rounds out my top-3 DT albums. Overall, the album is solid but Count of Tuscany sets this one apart. I listen to that song and the storytelling in it is so good that it feels like I'm there.

If I had to pick just one release among anything I've heard so far, this would be it. Every song differs from another one, superb songwriting. You get fine rock (and some metal) elements in one package. Instrumental version is absolutely phenomenal, 70+ minutes of almost classical music ideal just before a sleep. Get this record if you love atmospheric music and if you are ready to take your time to get addicted and hypnotized by music to be ready for a voyage of the grandest kind. Check the second disc as well (their version of Stargazer, Queen medley (appreciated by May as the best Queen cover), To Tame A Land).

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.

Each of the songs in this album are very long, and each one tells a story through the lyrics. There are major tone shifts throughout each song that depict changes in mood in the story, an example being "A Nightmare To Remember", which is 16 minutes of great music that leaves me captivated each time I listen to it.

7 Awake

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.

8? How the hell can this be below Train of Thought, ADTOE and because&SL? This album was recorded when Dream Theater were at the top of their game and while their music was still unique. Some of their absolutely most bone-chilling and orgasmic songs are on here, like Voices and Scarred, and the more aggressive songs like 6:00 and The Mirror are really heavy, really progressive and really innovative considering the popularity of prog metal in 1994. This album is what got me into Dream Theater and it has remained one of my favorite albums ever since. Not hating on DT's new stuff but their music just used to be orgasmic beyond imagination. The only prog metal album that would ever compare to this masterpiece is Colors by BTBAM

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.

Dream Theater at their bests. Great climate and good balance between playing heavy, melodically and progressivelly. Let's take for example the duo 'The Mirror/Lie' (my favourite part of the longplay). The guitar has so much power as on the albums of Pantera, but it is also someway commercial (chorus in 'Lie'). You can say the same 'bout '6:00 A.M. ' and 'Caught In A Web'. And songs like 'Innocence Faded' and "Lifting The Shadows Off A Dream' could have foud themselves as well o Images and Words or Falling Into Infinity. 'Erotomania' and 'Scarred' shows the most progressive rock (metal) face of DT. The album has also the greatest ending - 'Space Dye Vest', which I love. Awake is more difficult than most of other their albums (I didn't like it after first listening), but it guarantees great experiences.

8 A Dramatic Turn of Events

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

This is the album that really got me into Dream Theater. So many epic songs, and not a bad song on the entire album. Most albums nowadays you're lucky to get more than two good songs on, but practically every track is a masterpiece. Epic is the only way to describe this album and this band. It is now almost a tossup between DT and Rush as who is my all time favorite band.

This is the album that got me into Dream Theater. There are a lot of melodic, progressive masterpieces on this album, that made me discover an entirely different style of music. Highlights on this album are 'On the backs of angels' and 'Breaking all illusions', but frankly every piece is of a great quality.

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

9 Systematic Chaos

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 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!

Every day I get more & more confused as to why this is seen as one of DT's weakest albums. In my opinion it's better than Scenes From A Memory & almost as good as Images & Words. While this isn't my favourite Dream Theater album (that would be Train Of Thought), this deserves to be way higher than 10; at least higher than self-titled, that's for sure.

Every song in this album is a masterpiece. Is the most balanced album, not hard to hear but heavy and prog. The arrangements are top and most of the tracks are some of the must listen.
This album deserves a better place on this list.

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!

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.

Masterpiece with incredible musicianship from all band members, especially mike mangini. Really pushes the boundaries technically and has some great riffs like enigma machine and the enemy inside.

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!

The Contenders
11 The Astonishing

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.

This album will divide DT's fans for sure.

Very different from their previous work. I didn't enjoy my first listen of this album.
But I remember not liking Train of Thought the first time I listened to it because it was so different from their previous albums (it was more dark, more heavy), but today I love it.

Maybe my opinion about it will change overtime... My advice would be to give this album the time it needs, 2h30 is a lot to digest.

Don't get me wrong, this is NOT a bad album, it just doesn't feel like a DT album to me.

One thing for sure, this band will never cease to surprise me :P

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.

12 Distance Over Time

Extremely disappointing album - being a hard-core DT fan for such a long period of time, I was so taken aback that I had to sell this album on Discogs for a far cheaper price after having bought it with passion straight after the release. Ever since Mike Portnoy left, I'm really not liking any of their albums comprehensively and the worst part is that I really dislike the new drummer they chose. There is no character in his drumming at all, it simply feels like as if the band installed and employed a robot in the studio to do the drum work.
I'm missing Mike Portnoy more than ever.

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.

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)

Fantastic album...tight and meaty, there are no weak tracks, At Wit's End and Pale Blue Dot are masterpieces, in my opinion one of their best albums.

13 Falling Into Infinity

Very good album. Consistently great songs with lots of replay value. The keyboards have a different, more upfront sound which is really good. Has a beautiful, simplistic feel. Definitely one of if not the best Dream Theater albums. Also very underrated.

This is criminally underrated and easily better than every Dream Theater album released after SDOIT. It is such a relaxing album. Sure it is restrained by DT standards, but that's what makes it special. It isn't the most consistent, but the best songs on this album are among the best that DT has to offer. I advise everyone to take another look at this hidden gem.

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.

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.

14 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.

A great album. Everyone may forget about this album a lot, but it's one of DT's best. Awesome 80's sound/production (not a very good production, but great "feel"), lovely instrumentation, heavy without trying (see ToT), Dominici is arguably a better fit, in my opinion. A lot to love about this underrated, excellent masterpiece from an overly excellent band.

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.

15 A View from the Top of the World
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