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Updated March 19, 2019: The band’s 2019 opus Distance Over Time added to the ranking.

Dream Theater’s place in the music history will definitely be remembered as a band who defined a genre that we all know today as progressive metal. Formed in 1985 as Majesty by guitarist John Petrucci, bassist John Myung and drummer Mike Portnoy, the band went forward to put out twelve studio albums, seven live records, one compilation release, two EP’s and eighteen singles. They have also released fourteen music videos, and have tons of official and unofficial bootlegs under their belt.

After the release of their debut When Dream and Day Unite in 1989, the band second vocalist Charlie Dominici was replaced by James LaBrie, and the core of the band for the next twenty years was pretty much intact, although they had line-up changes on the position of a keyboardist (Kevin Moore was replaced by Derek Sherinian who was later replaced by Jordan Rudess). In 2010, after 25 years spent in the band, Mike Portnoy left Dream Theater, and Mike Mangini was announced as his permanent replacement. With him in the line-up, Dream Theater released A Dramatic Turn of Events in 2011 and self-titled album in 2013, two records that brought the band their first Grammy nominations.

Prog Sphere has recently made a selection of the top 20 Dream Theater songs, and in this post we tried our best to rank the band’s studio opus from worst to best with a bit of commentary aside.

Feel free to leave your comments with your rankings.

14. The Astonishing (2016)

The latest Dream Theater studio album is not bad, but it’s not good. With the band’s effort to create an opera and deliver a lengthy release, The Astonishing feels as an album that is lost due to the quantity of the offered material. Certainly, it has good songs and moments, but overall it fees like a very “filler” release.

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  1. feargal m

    July 13, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    I’d agree with most, but place the self titled as the worst followed by octavarium and the rest is solid

    • Cat

      August 7, 2014 at 10:12 pm

      I don`t agree with part of it, but fuck it, it is DT that brings us together to this website and it is a brilliant band

  2. Beno

    July 14, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    “…they have left more than enough room for a more determined up-and-comer to approach and knock them off their throne.”

    Yup, and that up-and-comer is called Haken, and the dethroning is nearly complete, if not already happened.

  3. Omair

    July 14, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    FII as the weakest DT? It’s top 5 DT, and I know many people don’t share that opinion, but at least the band let loose a little and had fun with the music as opposed to being overly anal over every little detail of the music. It probably features Myung’s best performance as well. Incredible album that gets too much undue hate.

  4. David Aguilar (@Davguilar)

    August 6, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    12 When Dream and Day Unite
    11 A Dramatic Turn of Events
    10 Dream Theater
    9 Black Clouds and Silver Linnings
    8 Systemathic Chaos
    7 Falling Into Infinity
    6 Octavarium
    5 Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
    4 Train Of Thought
    3 Awake
    2 Images And Words
    1 Scenes from a Memory

  5. Fernando Coutinho

    December 11, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    No way falling to infinity is behind the self-titled. Are you guys fucking crazy?

  6. Gimmy

    December 13, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    I agree with the list, but I put in third place the self-tilted album. This album is too powerful.

  7. Vlad Rose

    January 21, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    While I love all of Dream Theater’s work, I personally think Black Clouds and Silver Linings is actually one of their best in that it is very emotionally charged and not so dark and depressing as people seem to think. Every time I hear ‘The Best of Times’ it makes me cry, not in sadness, but in remembrance of the important happy memories family can bring. Portney really hit the nail on the head with that song.

    I also am not as fond of Metropolis Pt.2 as everyone seems to be as I feel the album is just too frantic to be enjoyable in one listen and doesn’t pull you in quite as well as some of their other albums do.

    Their self-titled album do not think is good at all in comparison to their other works. While it’s technically proficient, it feels very hollow and emotionless. I think Mike Portney might have been right in saying that a break needs to be taken as the members seemed burnt out on the album. I really hope it’s not the loss of him that is the result of the decline.

    Again, it’s just one person’s preference and each fan of DT will have their own as well since their music is quite diverse.

  8. Ryan Whiteside

    May 15, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Dream Theater sucks. Their music is the soundtrack to cartoons about fairies. Period. To say they invented progressive metal is the most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard. That title goes to King Crimson and even maybe Opeth.

  9. Lynden

    December 6, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Black Clouds and Silver Linings has to be in Dream Theaters top 3! I thought the self titled should be swapped in position with A Dramatic Turn Of Events. Love what I hear of The Astonishing.

  10. Musicmaing

    December 8, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    The only thing I’d change is put Systematic Chaos in the dead-last position.

  11. Someone

    December 16, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    BC&SL behind the self-titled? I can’t take this list seriously.

  12. Steven

    January 7, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    Six degrees should be number one.

    • Johnny

      October 11, 2016 at 2:11 am

      I LOVE six degrees, but Metropolis part 2 is a much more focused, concept-based album. Metropolis Part 2>Six Degrees>Images & Words.

  13. Tore

    February 2, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    I think this needs to be updated after recent occurance.

  14. Nat

    April 25, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    Absolutely disagree about Black Clouds. An excellent album, at least 7 or 8. WDADU is 12. Everything else is about right.

  15. MJ B

    October 22, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    01-metropolis pt2 scenes fro a memory12-when dream and day unite
    02-dramatic turn of events
    03-images and words
    04-dream theater
    06-black clouds and silver linings
    07-six degrees of inner turbulence
    08-train of thought
    09-falling into infinity
    11-systematic chaos
    12-the astonishing

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