Top 10 Best Dream Theater Songs

This list shows the best songs of the gods of Prog Metal.
The Top Ten
1 Octavarium

The obvious choice for #1, and understandably so - it takes all the elements the band does right and puts them into one giant, epic ass-blaster of a song. From the droney, beautiful intro to the insanely technical parts to what is probably the most emotional guitar solo Petrucci has ever composed, this song is the quintessential Dream Theater song and will be a staple of prog for all eternity.

An odyssey of a song, no doubt, this song takes me on a journey through the depths of the Earth to places unexplored and full of wonder. It takes me around the circle of rock history, presenting a variety of famous rock songs through the lyrics of Portnoy. Octavarium is far more than just a song. It is a piece of art, a musical masterpiece, structured in a unique way, containing themes, and filled with secrets many of the listeners are probably unaware of.

I would love to go into detail about what Octavarium truly displays behind its genius melodies and solos, but I will leave it for you to discover yourself. An adventure awaits, and that adventure is enhanced with the true knowledge of the song.

2 The Count of Tuscany

Incredible song. Not quite as good as Octavarium, but if one were to argue that this was better than Octavarium, I couldn't argue with it because it's just so good.

I don't judge songs by their lyrics, but this song's lyrics always stand out for being cheesy and silly. Despite the epicness of the music, the song describes a downright embarrassing situation.

This is one of the best songs I've ever heard by Dream Theater. The structure of the piece was one of my favorite parts of this song, as I am always keen to hear the more adventurous songs by Dream Theater, and this one is certainly no exception.

I also liked the "Echoes"-inspired middle section, with only Rudess and Petrucci providing a much more meditative section, before the song built back up to an absolutely amazing finish with another awesome guitar solo, and plenty of high-soaring string parts and clever harmonies. An absolute must-have. If I had to choose only one song that I could listen to for the rest of my life, then this would be it.

3 A Change of Seasons

Great Dream Theater song, but also Dream Theater's most overrated song of all time. Dream Theater's first attempt at creating an epic longer than 15 minutes. It climaxes too early with Another World, and the rest just feels dragged and disconnected, especially between The Inevitable Summer and The Crimson Sunset. Doug Helvering noticed that too. I can no longer listen to it past Another World. Dream Theater managed to refine their epics soon after with 6DOIT.

I remember a time when my frail, virgin mind had never heard of this song. But now, I can't stop listening to it. Even though it's 23 minutes long, I love the lyrics to this song and how everything flows together. Plus, the ending gives me goosebumps every time I hear James's vocals at the end of the song.

The vocals are incredible throughout the song. Just a few months before this was recorded, LaBrie had a food poisoning incident. While vomiting, his vocal cords ruptured, and doctors could only advise him to rest his voice as much as possible. Obviously, that didn't happen.

Besides, at 11:54 in, the riff is so catchy, and it sounds great. This song screams #1.

4 Metropolis Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper

This song is a work of art, offering the best quality within its genre. You simply enjoy every second, and it's hard to get bored. People who dislike Dream Theater often say that they are good musicians who brag too much. I often use this song to prove otherwise, and most of the critics are convinced. This song represents both musical and technical power, combined in a way that can move mountains. It's surely one of the best masterpieces that has ever graced the Earth. That's the simple way to put it.

It's very close between The Count of Tuscany, Octavarium, and Metropolis for me, but in the end, Metropolis is the winner. The way the intro is crafted and leads into the speed picking, ultra-tight bass and guitar riff, the dynamic bass breakdown solo, and the heartfelt lyrics - this song melts your mind and then reconstructs it in a way that was previously unimaginable.

I used to like Dream Theater. Then I heard this song. From that point on, I LOVED Dream Theater. It is easily my favorite song of all time. The musicianship shown by Myung, Petrucci, Portnoy, Moore, and LaBrie is incredible. Just because it isn't over 20 minutes long doesn't make it worse than the likes of Octavarium or The Count of Tuscany.

5 Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence

I don't really treat this as one song. While it's cool to think of it as a single composition, and I'd love to see it performed live in its entirety, it's not just one song. It is great, though. The only part that falls flat is the overture, which pales in comparison to the other three overtures they've done (SFAM and Astonishing). Opting not to take the rock route and making it sound like a real orchestra comes off as cheesy and somewhat lame. I always skip track 1 if I'm paying attention.

I recently saw About to Crash (Reprise) + Losing Time, Grand Finale performed live, and it's awe-inspiring. This is Dream Theater crafting an epic conclusion that doesn't rely on a flashy guitar solo but rather on JLB's vocals.

This song is moving. The mixed emotions it evokes cannot be explained. To me, the song brings up feelings of fear and sadness, yet also conjures feelings of innocence, happiness, hope, and magnificence. It expresses the thoughts, troubles, and problems faced by those suffering from mental issues like autism or split personalities. Everything goes on inside their heads: their perceptions, the war inside their minds. The song sends vivid images and scenes floating by, accompanied by different melodies in my head. I thought the song was touching and meaningful.

6 Breaking All Illusions

This is one of the best songs I've ever heard. The lyrics are perfection, James' voice is incredible, and he makes it even better with the feeling he puts into singing it. The new drummer, Mike Mangini, is amazing. I haven't listened that much to classic Dream Theater, so I can't comment on him being better than Mike Portnoy, but I can say that the new one is really good.

The guitar solo isn't necessarily my favorite of all time, but it is most definitely in my top 10. It is simply fantastic. The feeling in it is just amazing. The best parts of this song for me are the intro, the Life's biggest battles part, the chorus, and the solo. If you haven't heard this song before, I can't recommend it enough.

I absolutely agree with the guy above me. The guitar solo is the best one I've heard in my entire life. It has so much feeling in it! You can almost hear Petrucci speak through his guitar. Myung did a great job in this song as well. His bass sounds incredible in this one. (As a bassist, I am still wondering: How can he even play that stuff? OO) Not to forget, he wrote the lyrics, which are awesome. The intro makes me feel almost ecstatic, and the chorus is just epic.

This is now the song, after all those years, where I can say: This is their best! I've been waiting so long for a song like this.

7 Panic Attack

Jesus, I've been into heavy metal for over 30 years (Maiden, The Big Four, etc.), but this song is definitely the best thing I have ever heard! So complex but very compact at the same time. Phenomenal lyrics, great drumming by Mike Portnoy, great harmonies - just a true masterpiece. DT would be my favorite band ever if they had more things like this in their catalogue.

A brutal assault from Dream Theater. It's a complete contrast to the rest of Octavarium, which is rather mellow in comparison. This is probably their heaviest song since The Glass Prison. It's very Portnoy-driven, and here, he makes excellent use of those two kick pedals he's armed himself with.

I thought this song was just okay until I tried playing the intro on guitar, which took me 2 hours to learn. Now I respect the song much more. It's not a "perfect song," but it is one of the more interesting ones, without requiring you to listen as closely as "Metropolis" or "Octavarium," which makes it the best.

8 Pull Me Under

I just read a review in Classic Rock Magazine in 2001, which told of Dream Theater's style. Within three months, I had the full back catalog plus two of the bootleg series. I despise comments like just because of Guitar Hero. It doesn't matter how you hear the music just as long as you do and you enjoy it. I also only heard of My Chemical Romance because of Guitar Hero and subsequently bought two albums. I would still put this song at number one on the list, even if my personal favorite is Under a Glass Moon, because it will easily lead anyone reading this into the musical masterpiece that is Dream Theater.

Say all you want about Octavarium. I do love that song too. But in my opinion, Pull Me Under is the greatest song Dream Theater has ever created.

How do I describe this? Hmm, the introduction, the mid-passage instrumental, the suspenseful ambiance, the colorful theme, the complexity, the beauty, and the beat - everything will make your already-beating heart dance to it like a one-time-only experience.

Pull Me Under for the win!

9 The Glass Prison

I LOVE when Dream Theater goes really heavy, and this is one of the best examples of that. This song not only marks a complete shift in direction compared to their pre-Six Degrees output, it also deals with darker subject matters that a former addict such as myself can relate to. The song oozes with Mike Portnoy's personality and the problems he went through, and it stands as a prime example of Dream Theater showing they're not confined to proggy, pretty-sounding passages.

My favorite Dream Theater song of all time! The main reason is that it's arguably their heaviest song, and the heaviness goes on for 14 minutes! I love the lyrics, not only to this song but to the ENTIRE 12-STEP SUITE! I don't know how it's only at #10. It deserves a top-3 spot for sure.

After hearing this song, you will not find a single Dream Theater song better than this one. What I love about Dream Theater is that they are fantastic musicians. These five guys are musical masterminds, and they show off their skills, which are top-notch. Dream Theater definitely showcased their talents in this one!

10 The Spirit Carries On

Probably the most underrated DT song ever.
However, for those poor souls who never try to understand the true meaning of a song, here is a quick step-by-step guide on how to love this song:

1. Listen to the whole album "Scenes from a Memory"
2. Understand the story/lyrics
3. Listen to this song again
4. Cry whenever you hear JP's solo
5. Great success!

Listening to it right now! It's amazing. Don't forget a solo with such passion that I can't even play the first three notes without sounding like I can't be bothered!

I'm not that sensitive, but this song keeps hitting the right string even after listening to it a thousand times. Overall, I prefer the harder songs of DT, but this one stands out above everything in the world.

The Contenders
11 The Best of Times

Love this song. It should be inside the top 15, if not the top 10. The intro is fantastic. The piano and strings work majestically. Then the guitar riff that comes in at 2:47, oh, I love it! Inspired by the Rush classic "Spirit of Radio," it's like a whole new beginning to the song.

I'm playing this song on three different occasions:
My dad's funeral,
My stepdad's funeral,
And when my girlfriend and I get married.

Awesome song, second best from "Black Clouds," only behind "The Count of Tuscany."

Come on! This song is a masterpiece. I can't help but cry at the end of this song because of the level of passion and emotion that goes into this piece. It may not be the most musically complex, but the guitar solo at the end is nothing short of virtuosity. This song deserves to be in the top ten. "Pull Me Under" is a good song, but "The Best of Times" is a masterpiece. It should be right up there with "Octavarium."

Wow, this is easily one of Dream Theater's best songs. There is absolutely no reason why this should be at number 38, nor is there any reason why "Pull Me Under" should be at number 2. It should at least be at number 18, right under "Forsaken." Honestly, I don't understand the logic behind this list.

12 Scene Nine: Finally Free

Naturally, the epic finale of Metropolis Pt. 2 stands out as one of Dream Theater's best, with a large number of references to their previous songs while having personality on its own.

Are you kidding me? Seriously? Finally Free is in my top ten DT songs. It always will be. This is the icing on the cake for Scenes From a Memory. You hear The Spirit Carries On, then just when you think it can't get any better or more emotional, this song comes on. It's absolutely flawless. And I have to point out the vocals. I think this is James LaBrie's best song to date. The way he sings it - I wouldn't want any other person doing it. Perfect song.

"Finally Free" has the kind of chorus you can just scream out. When it appears for the last time with acoustic accompaniment, before launching into full power with the backing vocals and a characterful guitar riff, it's one of those rare moments of musical perfection.

I've cried before while singing along to "We'll meet again, my friend, someday soon." It's the perfect end to what I believe is their strongest album, and I'm a fan of most DT works, both old and new.

The drum solo at the end is such a feat! It's a close second to "Octavarium" for me, but "Octavarium" needs no more publicity. It's in a league of its own. Placing it 14th is ridiculous in my opinion. It should be 2nd, or at least in the top 5, and I wouldn't complain.

13 In the Name of God

This song is musically perfect. It's the DT equivalent to Hallowed Be Thy Name. The main riff is absolutely chilling and one of my favorites in all of music. The last shrieking note in the solo that smashes into the main riff is a moment any metalhead should recognize as truly perfect. These guys showed up on my Iron Maiden station on Pandora a year ago, and they've been in my top three bands ever since.

This song is so heretic and heavy - one of the best DT songs. Can't say anything more. I also like Honor Thy Father, but I could only select 10.

My favorite heaviest Dream Theater song. I love the theme about fake religious cults.

14 Another Day

Don't be a fool. Don't believe in propaganda. Undoubtedly, this is the best song of Dream Theater I've ever listened to. It's awesome, amazing, fantastic, wonderful, and mind-blowing. It must be placed at number 1 (not just on this list, but also in every music lover's mind).

Who made this absurd list? Shame on him. They forgot to mention the best song in the top place.

Please listen to the dream song of Dream Theater and explore the world of melody. Good luck, fans...

When I opened this page, I searched for this song in 1st or 2nd place on the list! But it's not even in the top 10. I scrolled down and down, and hey, it's at 34. Come on, DT fans, Another Day is the most amazing song DT has ever produced. Way better than Pull Me Under. Best instrumental use and one of the greatest solos ever. So before voting for other songs, please listen to Another Day if you haven't listened to it yet.

I have listened, listened, and listened, and I'm still listening thousands of times. All my heart goes to this song, even from childhood. Teardrops fall from my eyes hearing this song. It needs to be 1st on the list.

15 In the Presence of Enemies, Pt. 1

Longest, heaviest Dream Theater song. I don't know why somebody separated Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 as they should've been merged into one whole song.

In my opinion, this song should be in the top 5. I think the only problem with the song is that it is broken into two pieces as bookends of the album. I see what DT was trying to do, but I think it was a mistake nonetheless. If DT had included the song on the album in its entirety as one track, then I believe it would be appreciated more.

For myself, I spliced the two parts together and blended them with an audio editing program so I could listen to the song as it was originally intended. This allows me to have the complete listening experience without interruption. I would recommend every DT fan do this, even though it takes a little work. I was amazed at the difference it made for me as a listener. Truly one of their greatest masterpieces.

Epic battle of good and evil. A lifetime full of notes, riffs, intros, changes, choruses. Altogether, you get two brilliant songs to open and close the album. Portnoy's vision of making great prog metal with balls and relevance is fully realized. Perfect 10. Dark master...

16 The Dance of Eternity

Certainly, one of the most complex songs ever released by Dream Theater. It may not be as emotionally complex as songs such as Octavarium or A Change of Seasons, but with 104 time signature changes in just 6 minutes, it is one of their shortest songs and certainly their most complex musically. John Myung delivers an excellent bass solo, and Rudess offers my favorite keyboard solo from any Dream Theater work.

It's such a memorable song that you can listen to it over and over again. It's difficult for it to get old or stale, which can be said for much of their other music as well.

Like a collage of the best of their work, this song showcases the best of their technical and progressive skills. For me, it's their best instrumental.

This is completely amazing: the drum signatures, the bass solo, and Rudess surfing on the keyboard are all fantastic. I can't believe it's ranked #18 when it's easily in the top 10 for both old and die-hard fans of DT.

Additionally, this song is played with percussion-only instruments at a music school in Venezuela. Take a look on YouTube and ask yourself: would it be worth it to play another clich├ęd, glamorous piece, or this mind-blowing work of art?

17 Learning to Live

By far, the best song on Images and Words, and it's not close. The song is very light and easily listenable compared to most of their catalog, while still retaining an ambitious sense of composition with awesome solos and a fantastic climax (James' high F#).

It's one of those Dream Theater songs that are more progressive rock than heavy metal, and I like it for that. This song has so much feeling and emotion in it without becoming anywhere near cheesy. No unnecessary soloing, just great songwriting, great dynamics, and an overall great flow. Hardly any other DT song flows as well as Learning to Live, my favorite song ever. Plus, the lyrics are plain awesome!

The fact that this is #28 is a crime. This song is easily in the top ten. It should replace As I Am and Pull Me Under with In the Presence of Enemies and In the Name of God (not at those specific places, though). Obviously, anyone can vote on this list, so it shows what their most known songs are rather than what the really hardcore fans think. But seriously...

18 Illumination Theory

This is a great epic from an underwhelming, boring album. The prior song, "Along for a Ride," is good but nothing special. However, this song is one of the best. The string section does have a pretentiousness about it, but I love it. The ending is wrapped up so tightly and perfectly. I think the outro music after the song is overrated, but it's fine. The song obviously shares a similar format with The Count of Tuscany, but that's not a bad thing.

This is Dream Theater's most beautiful song. It has excellent musicianship, tune, instrumentals, solos, climax, and everything else. For some reason, I feel that Illumination Theory is better than Octavarium because I never get tired of listening to it.

Octavarium is actually my favorite, but I think this song ultimately deserves to be in the top ten at least. With its false ending, orchestral interlude, and ultimate theme, it was legitimately one of the best songs I've ever heard. It's really just an all-around amazing experience to listen to.

I know how difficult it will be to vote this all the way up to the top of the list. All of the songs currently at the top of the list are pure masterpieces, each of which has given me chills and a deeper appreciation for the greatest group of five musicians ever to grace the Earth with their presence. But this song absolutely deserves to be among them.

19 Stream of Consciousness

Serving as a continuation of Vacant, this one hits me hard. This is their longest instrumental, and it doesn't even need words to be as meaningful and emotional as it is. As Vacant is about the helplessness associated with a loved one in a coma, this song serves as a really fitting expression of the torrent of thoughts going through the mind of someone who goes through that.

Around the end of the 8th minute, this song gives me chills with its climactic build-up and keyboard/guitar solos. It's dark and heavy, but it goes on to become chillingly fluid and full of sorrow in an intense climax toward the finale. Definitely worth a listen.

This is the only Dream Theater song that has remained in my music library since I first started listening to them some five years ago. I love the transition that starts at 5:07, as well as the hard-to-describe sound from 7:13 to 7:31. That's my favorite part.

I absolutely and dearly love this instrumental. It's currently my favorite instrumental song. If it weren't for this song, I would have battered, shattered, and dumped the Train of Thought CD in the garbage bin.

20 A Nightmare to Remember

Why is this not higher? This is Dream Theater pouring everything they've got into one masterpiece. A dash of their typical style of prog metal, a pinch of Opeth-style death metal, a tad bit of Dimebag Darrell-style riffs, a small handful of incredible solos, and a drop of slow acoustic metal-style music make this song one of Dream Theater's best tracks.

This song is possibly one of the few examples of modern metal taking on board the structures and compositional principles of classical music. The motifs are presented and developed in a really clever way.

The first time I ever heard this song, I was watching the DT auditions on YouTube. I watched Mike Mangini play it with such passion. It really inspired me. It's a beautiful song, with each play better than the last. Should be higher in my opinion.

21 These Walls

This song touches my soul like no other. I can't think of any other song that can inspire me like it does. This song really needs to be in the top 10 at least. It has DT's most evocative solo, a massive chorus that's on par with In the Name of God's, the best hi-hat work from MP, and by far the most poignant lyrics in a DT song. It's not as well-known as their other stuff, but it's the real deal.

According to the top 10s, it seems as though the best Dream Theater songs are those that pass the 10-minute mark. This song, despite being 7 minutes long, is literally epic. It's my personal favorite.

Awesome song, my personal favorite. When I listen to it, I just want to tear down the walls. It's really amazing.

22 Space-Dye Vest

Dream Theater always strikes me for their technical superiority and virtuoso musicianship, but I have always found them a little too overproduced and somewhat emotionally sterile. Something I'm pretty sure will irritate a lot of Dream Theater fans, although I know many would disagree. This song, on the other hand, and for whatever reason, has a great deal of punch to it. Perhaps it's the (relatively) simple structure compared to other DT songs, but to me, this song feels more real.

This song is a prime example of what Dream Theater was missing when Kevin Moore left. Only Scenes From a Memory can compete with Images and Words and Awake, and part of that is keyboards. Jordan Rudess is technically amazing, but he lacks the knack for songwriting that Moore brought to the table.

I can't in good faith call this "Dream Theater's best song," for this is a Kevin Moore work through and through.

However, it's still one of the most intriguing and emotionally heavy pieces of music I've ever heard.

23 Endless Sacrifice

Let me start off by saying "Pull Me Under" is very good. Some people seem to think that just because people like "Pull Me Under," they must have found out about Dream Theater through Guitar Hero, which is nonsense. Everyone has different tastes, and we should all respect that. The only thing that is slightly strange is if you do not like a band with such epic music.

Most of my friends are not able to sit through a song that is more than 5 minutes long. They like things that are played on the radio and in the charts. Fair enough, I think. But they are missing out. Okay, lecture over. Now let's get on to this epic song.

James LaBrie has an awesome voice and sings really well on this one. It's almost like a ballad. The chorus is the best part, though - absolutely brilliant stuff. This one is actually pretty underrated. The lyrics are thought-provoking, and some of their best. John Petrucci's guitar is almost as good as it gets, and Mike Portnoy's drumming is great as well. What a mistake it was for him to leave them and join Avenged Sevenfold! Is it their best? Maybe. There is a great deal to choose from, all of their albums being so long. But it is my favorite. Their three best ones, apart from this, are probably "Octavarium," "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence," and "The Count of Tuscany." To be honest, I'm pretty new to them.

24 Wither

Okay, let's face it: "Wither" isn't one of the better-known songs on Black Clouds and Silver Linings because the other five are what most people think about when they hear the name of the album. But even though it's the lowest on the album, this song is just awesome.

Seriously, this song may not be the most popular, but it is superbly composed. One of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard, with one of the best guitar solos ever done - not the fastest, but it has so much feeling!

Wonderful song, with some amazing lyrics and great piano and guitar solos. This song should have made it to the top ten.

25 On the Backs of Angels

This song has an underrated composition. If you take out the singing and just listen to it instrumentally, this song would be one of the best out of all the others.

I don't understand why the new songs are so underrated. I think some dumb '90s fans can't accept that sometimes things change. In my opinion, the new album is the best, and OTBOA is a masterpiece. I've never heard such good construction.

Both the music and lyrics are awesome, talking about our modern society and commenting as well on recent events such as the 2008 crisis. They do all this philosophizing with beautiful metaphors.

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