Author Topic: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums  (Read 3073 times)

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Offline npiazza91

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My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« on: December 14, 2018, 07:11:31 PM »
I started listening to DT a lot again lately after a really bad breakup (we're both in our mid 20s, I was close friends with her for two years, we had the greatest connection, nothing even slightly romantic between us, then one night something "happened", we lasted for three months before we self imploded.  It might not sound like a big deal because "only 3 months", but you might as well say it was a two year relationship because I lost so much more than romance when we broke up, I didn't think my heart was going to survive it, I'm still not sure if it did).  Dream Theater is such good therapy you have no idea, it's helped me so much.  Anyway, after listening to pretty much all their albums and songs again I decided to think about how I would rank them, since they are all fresh in my mind.  Keep in mind that my list is entirely subjective and will differ from yours.  In fact, I hope our lists are as different as possible so we can get some good discussions going.  So without further ado, here we go.

13. The Astonishing- The only DT album that I actively have no interest to listen to anymore.  It's way too long, it's bloated, and it's so pretentious that it comes off as cheesy and makes me wanna roll my eyes.  And worst of all, it's just boring.  Dream Theater is so good at writing deep, emotional and intellectual songs that really resonate with you, so the story on this album just doesn't pull me in at all.  There's a few tracks I like on here but the package as a whole is a stinker.  The Gift of Music is the only song I go back to, it's a pretty good song.

12. When Dream and Day Unite- Dare I call this album...underrated?  It's not great by any means, but it's good for a debut and pretty decent overall.  This is an album that, in my opinion, is held back by Charlie Dominici's vocals.  He just doesn't have the charisma or the passion that James Labrie has in my opinion, and his vocals sound too echoey and tinny, almost like he's in a tunnel far away.  Vocals aside, it's clear that Dream Theater hadn't fully come into their own yet.  The songs are solid, but they lack the tight writing and tight playing of what comes after.  As a prog rock album, it's pretty good, it's just that Dream Theater hits such a high standard after it that it's hard to appreciate their "ok" debut album.  For those of you that hate it, go back and give it a listen, it's really not that bad.  A Fortune in Lies is king here in my opinion, great song, and The Ytse Jam is a great instrumental.  The rest of the album is ok, but nothing else really stands out to me too much.

11. Systematic Chaos- A dark album that seems to lack a lot of focus and direction.  This is an album that I do enjoy in short bursts, but it's hard for me to keep my attention throughout the whole thing.  There's a few great songs on here, but there's also some weak stuff, and with not too many tracks on the album to begin with, the weak tracks really do hold it back.  This album has always sounded muddy to me, as if it's moving in slow motion the entire time.  I don't know, this one's not bad, but it's one of them that I go back to the least.  It just doesn't have that signature Dream Theater charm to it.  Constant Motion is my personal favorite song on this album, it sounds like Metallica and I love Metallica.  Plus that solo is amazing.  Forsaken is another standout.  Kind of cheesy with the lyrics, but I love the piano and James sounds great here.  Plus that second verse is just kickass.  In the Presence of Enemies can be a bit long winded at times, but overall it's a pretty good epic.  The rest of the songs are just ok to me.

10. Images and Word- Ok guys, let the flaming begin.  Yes, I have Images and Words at number 10 in my ranking.  Here's the thing.  From a musical standpoint, this album is written extremely well.  Musically, it's a near perfect album from beginning to end.  But do I enjoy going back and listening to it?  Yes, but not nearly as much as some of the other ones.  The tone on this album is extremely light.  It has a very 80s sort of synth sound to it, from the way the instruments sound to the way Labrie sings the lyrics.  Half of this album I like a lot and I do go back and listen to, but the other half is kind of "meh" to me, and doesn't really do much for me.  Overall, it's really the lighthearted tone of this album that doesn't do it for me.  I'm a metal guy, I like my heavy tracks to be dark and heavy. I love ballads too though and thankfully the ballds on this album are standouts and it's one part that this album gets really right for me.  A heavy song like Take the Time...yeah it's heavy, but it just sounds so fun and upbeat, and that has to do with the lighthearted sound of the instruments.  This album is a but too Rush-esque, it lacks that ambient atmosphere that Dream Theater does so well.  I like Rush, but they're not my first choice when I wanna listen to music.  And yes, Metropolis is the most overrated Dream Theater song of all time.  I agree 100% with Lost in Vegas' review, go watch their reaction, they say it better than I could.  The song just doesn't work for me at all.  Surrounded is a top tier Dream Theater song to me.  It's the best way you can write a simple song in my opinion.  It's so simple, yet so effective, and it I really do love the solo and how fast it is.  Also James hits some insanely high notes and sounds great here.  Another Day is one of James' best vocal performances ever.  This song is emotional, sounds beautiful and really takes you on a journey.  Take the Time is a great song.  Yeah I wish it had a darker tone, but it's still a great tune and a lot of fun.  Under a Glass Moon is another great track that has an awesome groove.  The rest of the album is kind of "meh" to me.  Pull me Under is boring and generic, Learning to Live feels like it's 30 minutes long despite being 11 minutes, and Wait For Sleep is forgettable.  Overall, I do like this album, but I respect it much more than I actually enjoy it.  It just doesn't "click" with me all that much.  In my opinion, Dream Theater is at their best when they're dark, heavy, emotional, and deep.

9. Dream Theater- It was tough deciding between this one and Images and Words.  But in the end I went with this album as an album that I enjoy more.  The songwriting on here is...not the greatest.  It's not terrible, but it's rather formulaic and a bit bland at times.  However, I really like the darker atmospheric tone on this album, and there's a few tracks on here that are just outstanding in my opinion.  Yeah there's some filler stuff there in the middle and overall the album doesn't really work as a whole package, but the tracks I do like a lot, I REALLY like a lot, so that's why it beat out Images and Words for me.  The Bigger Picture was an instant classic for me.  I love how the keyboard and guitar work together to make a sound that's both emotional and really heavy, love the atmopshere there.  The verses are beautiful and the chorus is catchy as hell.  Behind the Veil just sounds like Megadeth and Megadeth is my favorite band of all time.  Plus the chorus is so catchy.  The Looking Glass is a darker, heavier version of Limelight, and honestly it's catchier too.  So it makes an already great song even better (though sorry Mangini, you can't beat Peart).  The Enemy Inside is pretty standard, but I love the main riff and the chorus is really catchy, so I enjoy going back to this one.  The rest of the album is pretty much filler to me, with some good moments, but also some "meh" moments.  Illumination Theory is a waste of time in my opinion.

8. Falling Into Infinity- The most underrated Dream Theater album ever.  I get why people have problems with this album, but if you look at it as something really unique in the band's lineup, and kind of just listen to it for what it is, it's a really good album.  Yes there's some filler on here, but the highs are REALLY high for me.  I'm not at all a fan of the poppy sounding production, but it is what it is.  It doesn't ruin the album for me.  Peruvian Skies might be a top 10 Dream Theater song for me.  It's just so good.  It has everything.  Slow, dark first half, and a kickass thrashy sounding second half.  The riffs in this song are some of the heaviest they've ever done, this song makes me feel like a complete badass.  Hollow Years is a beautiful little ballad that really makes you feel good.  I've always connected with that song.  Anna Lee is in the same ballpark, but I really don't like when James sings high here in the second half of the song, I don't think he sounds good at all.  But this was the first album where his voice got messed up, so I get it.  Take Away My Pain is great as well.  All three of these songs pretty much have the same effect on me, they're all emotional and sound good, I just prefer Hollow Years the most out of the three.  New Millenium is a weird song at first, it has a very odd flow to it, but it grows on you, and I find it interesting because it's so unique sounding.  Has a grunge feel to it too, which is cool.  The rest of the album has a few decent spots, Burning My Soul isn't too bad.  But I'm not a fan of the two epics on here, they sound awkward to me and never stuck with me.  I can listen to Lines in the Sand 100 times and never remember how the song goes.  Trail of Tears is better...but still not that great to me.  Overall a bit of a mixed bag, but the highs are really high for me.

7. Octavarium- A very "middle of the road" album.  It's got some really high highs, but also some filler there too.  The production here is solid and the I think album does a good job at having a mix of softer songs and heavier songs.  The title track is one of their best songs, easily, I don't even have to comment on that one.  The Root of All Evil is a personal favorite of mine, it's just so damn good.  So dark, so heavy, and James sounds great here.  Panic Attack is a classic, not much to say there.  It captures the feeling of anxiety perfectly.  Sacrificed Sons is so underrated.  It's a slow build up at first, but once it gets there you realize how much of a great song it is.  I LOVE that last verse, and the chorus is really emotional, it's just a great song.  I Walk Beside You is a very catchy song.  The other three songs are decent, but not ones I go back to that much really.  A very solid album, I want to call it a great album, but I think it falls JUST SHORT of greatness.

6. A Dramatic Turn of Events- The one issue I have with this album is the guitar tone.  It sounds a bit dry to me, like it just needs a LITTLE BIT more oomph to make it sound really awesome.  That being said, this is a great album.  Lost Not Forgotten and Far From Heaven are really the only two tracks that I don't care for too much.  The rest ranges from absolutely amazing to great.  All three mini epics I can listen to from beginning to end and love every minute of them (maybe not the first minute of Bridges in the Sky lol), and the other two ballads on here hit me emotionally more than pretty much any other Dream Theater song, I can get lost in those songs and just feel the moment (Beneath the Surface and This is the Life helped me so much with my breakup it's not even funny).  I hate putting this album in this spot, because it really is a great album.  I just feel like it's slightly bloated at times, and that dry guitar tone on the heavier tracks...it bothers me slightly.

5. Metropolis Pr. 2: Scenes From a Memory- This is an album that I really do love, but it's also an album that I have to be in the mood for.  It's a very deep album, and it's very story driven, so if I'm not in that specific state of mind I won't come back to this one as much.  That being said, it's still a phenomenally written album.  Fatal Tragedy is an absolute classic, so well written, so good.  Strange Dejavu is a lot of fun and James sounds great on that one.  Finally Free is a fantastic album closer.  One Last Time is very underrated, and while it's not an epic song, James is at his best here post food poisoning.  Home is great, Through Her Eyes is great, and who can forget The Dance Of Eternity?  The rest of the album is still really good.  Honestly, there's not a weak track on here.  Every song ranges from good to incredible.  It's just an album that I don't go back to as much as the four above it.

4. Black Clouds and Silver Linings- Man, this is such an amazing album.  I really wanted to put this at number 3, but after thinking about it for so long, I decided against it.  As amazing as this album is, it's just soooooo long winded, and it's hard for me to get through at times.  That's why even though I had trouble deciding how to order numbers 2-4 on my list, I ended up putting this one at number 4.  I'm just gonna say right now, there isn't a bad song on here.  I guess the weakest might be The Shattered Fortress, but I even enjoy that one from time to time.  The other five songs range from great to phenomenal.  A Nightmare to Remember is one of my favorite Dream Theater songs of all time.  A Rite of Passage is so good, so heavy, so catchy, and that breakdown thrash riff is so badass.  Plus I love the solo section.  I just love that song.  Wither is just great, nothing outstanding about it, but nothing bad about it at all.  I relate a lot to The Best of Times, seeing as how much my life has changed since I was a kid, and what I wouldn't give to be a kid again and have that innocence.  Even though it's about Portnoy's father, I still relate to the "amazing moments I will never get back" aspect to it.  Even though my dad didn't die, I still relate a lot to that song, and it's just such a beautiful song from beginning to end.  The Count of Tuscany is really long winded, but it's still a great tune.  So yeah...amazing album.

3. Awake- This album ALMOST made it to fourth place, but I decided to put it at third place instead.  The reason why I was struggling with where to put this album is because I really don't like the first two songs at all.  6:00 is one of the worst Dream Theater songs in their discography, and Caught in a Web is generic and boring.  That being said, can we all just take a moment to appreciate how good the atmosphere is on this album?  This album is so dark sounding, it's incredible how they were able to achieve that sound, especially coming right off of Images and Words, because the two next to each other is literally like night and day.  But it's not a dirty or harsh kind of dark, it's a beautiful, emotional kind of dark.  Even songs like Lie or Lifting Shadows off a Dream...they're good but not great, but the atmosphere just carries them so well and makes them better than they should be.  The main reason why this album is so high is because of the trifecta of greatness which is Voices, The Mirror and Scarred.  Wow, just wow.  Three songs that are so incredible that I'm almost sure they'd all make my top 10.  From the vocals to the lyrics to the riffs, they're just really amazing.  They're amazing songs already, but the atmosphere of the album just brings them up to God tier levels.  Innocence Faded is a fun song (and a great example of a song that would have been "meh" on Images and Words, but because of the atmosphere becomes really good here), Erotomania is a ton of fun, The Silent Man is so calming and relaxing, and I've always had a special place in my heart for Space-Dye Vest.  It can be a little boring, and I almost never listen to it all the way through, but I still really like that song a lot.  The vibe in that song is just great.  So yeah if you go song by song, this album actually has more flaws than a few of the albums below it.  Other than the three songs I mentioned, another reason why this album is up so high for me is the atmosphere.  It makes the songs that I don't like as much actually become enjoyable to listen to, and it brings the amazing songs up even higher.  Sadly, it can't save 6:00 or Caught in a Web.  Especially 6:00.  God I hate that song.

2. Train of Thought- Now we're at the top two.  Quite honestly, my number 1 pick was very easy for me, it wasn't even close.  However, from spots 2-4, the albums were pretty close for me and I had a hard time choosing the order that I wanted to go with them.  Train of Thought is Dream Theater's heaviest album, and like I said I'm a metal guy, so naturally I'm drawn to this one right off the bat.  This Dying Soul, Endless Sacrifice and In the Name of God are top tier Dream Theater for me.  Probably top 10, and ITNOG is top 5, maybe even top 3 for me.  As I Am is great, a little bit standard, but still great.  Honor Thy Father I really like a lot, but that Labrie rap section in the second verse is so cringey that it does distract from the song for me.  Vacant is ok, but it never really hooked me.  I never got pulled in by Stream of Counsciousness either.  But honestly it's the high of those three songs that brings this album up to number 2 for me.  ITNOG alone is better than anything off of Awake, and the other two songs are on Voices/The Mirror/Scarred levels of Dream Theater.  This album is very close to Awake for me, but Awake has 6:00.  This album doesn't.

1. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence- And...it wasn't even close.  This album is so close to perfection that it hurts my brain.  It's SO CLOSE to being a perfect album, there's just one song that I don't care for and that's Disappear.  The rest is utterly phenomenal from beginning to end.  In fact, I'm gonna put on Blind Faith right now, I'm craving that song.  Disc one doesn't have a bad or even "good" song on it except for Disappear, and the second disc is a pure work of art, it's simply a masterpiece.  The tone of this album, the way they balance the heavy with the emotional.  The psychological themes, the passion that James sings with, the almost schizophrenic ambience that plagues this album, it's just a masterpiece.  I'm not gonna go through every song individually because there's no reason to, I seriously love them all (except Disappear), but this is far and away my favorite Dream Theater album and a complete and utter masterpiece.  And the girl I was just with...she suffered from bi-polar disorder.  It's why we didn't last.  So I connect to About to Crash so damn well right now.  I mean I loved the song before that, but it's really high for me now.  I went through heaven and hell with her and I was with her every step of the way until the end.  SDOIT as a whole is my favorite song of all time, and it's the closest thing to perfect a song has ever gotten for me.  And with an amazing first disc that comes before it, there was no way any other album was gonna take this spot, and I don't think any other Dream Theater album ever will.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2018, 07:16:47 PM by npiazza91 »

Offline Darkstarshades

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Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2018, 07:32:33 PM »
So that's why you hate TA
Jatruccyundessgini

Offline TAC

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Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2018, 07:37:14 PM »
Following...





Oh wait, you're done. :lol
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
Winger Theater Forums................or WTF.  ;D

Offline Vmadera00

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Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2018, 09:13:21 PM »
Sorry about the break up. It’s not about the length of the relationship but the connection you have to the person. With that said, I don’t agree with your rankings.

I recently listen to every Dream Theater, beginning to end, no songs or sections skipped. However I started with the astonishing and made my way back to WDADU. I know it’s a matter of opinion, but The Astonishing is a better album than most people give it credit for. I was one of the first ones to say the album was too keyboard oriented and the story was too cheesy(the ending at least). But besides that, the whole album was written very well.

Plus you haves Images and words lower than Self Titled.

Offline RoeDent

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Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2018, 11:00:50 AM »
1. A Dramatic Turn of Events
2. The Astonishing
3. Scenes from a Memory
4. Images and Words
5. Octavarium
6. Awake
7. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
8. Dream Theater
9. Systematic Chaos
10. Train of Thought
11. Falling Into Infinity
12. Black Clouds & Silver Linings
13. When Dream and Day Unite

Yay contrasts!
*smash cut to a bleached white skeleton*

Offline Dave_Manchester

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Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2018, 03:15:59 PM »
We're doing this again? Very well. In any case I was planning on listening to their discography before the release of their new one.

It goes like this for me:

Brilliant:

1. Awake
2. Scenes From A Memory
3. Octavarium
4. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
5. Train of Thought
6. The Astonishing

Great:

7. A Dramatic Turn of Events
8. Dream Theater
9. Systematic Chaos
10. Black Clouds and Silver Linings
11. Images and Words

Good:

12: Falling Into Infinity
13: When Dream And Day Unite
"As democracy is perfected, the office of President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts' desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron" - H.L.Mencken, 26th July 1920.

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Offline lovethedrake

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Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2018, 12:57:45 PM »
1. Scenes From a Memory
2. Images and Words
3. Six Degrees

4. Awake



5. Falling Into Infinity

6. The Astonishing
7. Train of Thought

8. Black Clouds and Silver Linings
9. Dream Theater









10. Octavarium


11. When Dream and Day Unite

12. Systematic Chaos

13. A Dramatic Turn of Events

Offline Phoenix87x

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Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2018, 01:40:26 PM »
Ones I love:      I&W, TOT, Awake, DT, WDADU, FII, SFAM


Ones I enjoy: ADTOE, SDOIT,


Ones I don't listen to: Black clouds, SC, TA, Octavarium   


Offline geeeemo

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Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2018, 01:52:49 PM »
After almost 3 years since my DT awakening, my latest ranking.  It has changed several times.

1. ADTOE - I love every song

2. SFAM - close 2nd, but really over-played it at first. Sooo excited for the concert!

all the rest -  I love them all!!!..and don't feel one more... or less.... the the other.

But
13. WDADU - just can't get into it.  I do like YTSEJAM.  Maybe it's all about the vocals


Offline Samsara

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Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2018, 02:48:01 PM »
The albums (not counting ACOS, which basically belongs with 1 and 2)

1. Images and Words
2. Awake
3. Falling Into Infinity
4. Scenes From a Memory
5. Train of Thought
6. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence

>>>>Then the rest. I tried to rank them, and to be honest, DT just lost me starting with Octavarium. I've always followed them, and like songs here and there from everything, but only the albums above really are things that I go back to. I keep hanging in, hoping. But I am not sure what it is. I love a wide variety of rock and metal, but for some reason, DT's evolution just hasn't resonated with me. Truth be told, it really started going downhill for me with Jordan. I think Jordan is the best keyboardist, technically speaking, the band has ever had, and appreciate him and his talent. But even the band admitted that the chemistry in LTE was something they jumped on, and for me, that's not really appealing.

I felt there was a lot more soul and personality in I&W through FII. Once Jordan joined, the band's tone and overall sound shifted to something I personally haven't liked as much, although I am really at a loss to properly describe it. I did enjoy the first few records with Jordan, but after that, the band just became something I couldn't get behind all the time. But like I said, I still support them, and buy the records, hoping my ear picks up on something that opens up that door for me again with DT.

Offline pg1067

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Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2018, 04:47:54 PM »
This will probably be inconsistent with what I've done before.

1-3.  SFAM, I&W and 6DOIT -- probably in that order, but they're largely interchangeable.

4.  Awake -- excellent album, but not on the same level as the top 3.

5-8  (in chron order) TOT, 8VA, ADTOE and DT12 -- fairly interchangeable in terms of rankings; each has a couple of duds, but they're overall really strong albums.

9.  BC&SL -- half of it is quite enjoyable (Wither, TSF and TCOT); the other half is forgettable.

10-12.  WDADU, FII and SC -- each has a couple of bright spots, but they're overall hiccups in an otherwise excellent catalog.

Not ranked:  The Astonishing -- if I did rank it, it would be in the bottom group, but I still don't feel like I've given it a reasonable chance, so I don't feel like it's fair to rank it.
"There's a bass solo in a song called Metropolis where I do a bass solo."  John Myung

Offline dream75

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Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2018, 06:27:27 PM »
1. Images and Words


2. Scenes from a Memory
3. Awake



4. The Astonishing
5. Dream Theater
6. A Dramatic Turn of Events
7. When Dream and Day Unite
8. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
9. Falling Into Infinity
10. Octavarium
11. Train of Thought
12. Black Clouds & Silver Linings
13. Systematic Chaos

Offline TAC

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Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2018, 07:27:17 PM »
OK..

1. Images And Words
2. Scenes From A Memory
3. Awake
4. A Dramatic Turn Of Events
5. When Day And Dream Reunite
6. The Astonishing
7. Six Degrees Disc 1
8. Train Of Thought
9. Systematic Chaos
10. Black Clouds And Silver Linings
11. Dream Theater
12. Octavarium
13. Falling Into Infinity
14. Six Degrees Disc 2

If I had to include Six Degrees as a single release, it would sit right behind BC&SL.
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
Winger Theater Forums................or WTF.  ;D

Offline noxon

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Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2018, 07:07:51 AM »
1. Scenes from a Memory - My first "new" DT album after becoming a fan. The first album I participated in the hype and excitement for, and the first album I got to hear a long time before it was actually released to the public. And it just blew me away. The balance between the heavy, the progressive, the melodic and the soft. The story. In my eyes the magnum opus of DTs catalogue. This started my journey into the fandom of DT - becoming very strongly involved in the fan community of DT.net where I ran the official chat room for 8 years. We had a lot of VIP guests in the chat network, like MP, JR, CD, DS and even KM.

2. Images and Words - This didn't use to be as high for me, but it has increased in love for me year after year. Not a single boring moment on the CD. Another Day was actually my first real exposure to DT, as it was a part of a various artist collection called "even more power ballads" over here.

3. Distance over Time - Spoilers! ;) This is such a well balanced album. It's everything DT -is- in a great little package, with some of the heaviest, grooviest riffs I've ever heard from them. It also takes some unexpected turns which surprised me and made me grin of delight when I first heard it.  It just oozes FUN. The bonus track is particularly a joy to hear, it just feels like a bunch of guys in a garage making a cool rock'n roll tune.

4. Falling into Infinity - My first DT album. My first DT tour. I love every song on this album, even the ones "everyone" seems to hate. Made me wanna play in a band. Never got any good though, and put down the guitar for like a decade.

5. Awake - Contains one of my least favorite choruses by DT ever (Innocence Faded), but the rest is just so good that it lifts it up beyond that. A serious mainstay in my playlist, although not as often as the others.

6. The Astonishing - I'm a huge fan of musicals and rock operas - shows like Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Miserables, Hamilton, War of the Worlds, Ayreons albums, Rocky Horror, Chess, Pink Floyd's The Wall, The Who's Tommy, the Disney musicals - this album is so clearly rooted in the world of musical theatre (which DT actually has strong connections to both as fans of, and for having family members working in the business). A lot of the criticisms from fans are seemingly attached to them not really having experience with musicals and their structure. That being said, every musical (even big hits like Hamilton) went through many revisions before the "set" version that is on stage today, and I'm pretty sure the same fate would've happened to DT if they'd actually tried to stage it - trim it a bit, and clarify some plot points.

7. Train of Thought - I love heavy (I was a Metallica fan before I was a DT fan), and there's a lot of damn cool riffs and solos in here. Did our first listening party for this album.

8. Octavarium - Loved it when it came out, Muse influences included (Absolution was my favorite album of 2003). Attached to extra special memoires for me, as this was the album that led to the tour where I was in charge of the Fan Club DVD project which turned into A Walk Beside The Band and Romavarium, as well as the Dark Side of the Moon DVD.

9. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence - To me, this album was a disappointment when it came out. It contains some killer tracks, but it feels a bit unfocused to me. The start of the "cut and paste"-symptoms, where there's a lot of musical ideas that are recorded, but not necessarily thought out fully as to how the flow should be. And all the meandering experimental sections do nothing for me. Second disc contains some very good elements, but I feel it's far too disjointed to be actually considered a cohesive piece. Marks the time when I became involved in the inner workings of the fan clubs.

10. A Dramatic Turn of Events - First album with Mangini, a good album, but I simply do not return to it often. It just doesn't connect to me on the same level, and it is attached to some bittersweet personal memories for me as well.

11. Dream Theater - loudness war disaster. Very hard to listen to at first, took a while to get into the songs, and is not an album I return to very often. Good songs though, just not that interesting in the long run.

12. Systematic Chaos - Lots of great melodies, but the album seems a bit unfocused and wavering. Contains my least favorite DT track - Ministry of Lost Souls, a 4 minute song stretched out in content to last a whopping 15 minutes.

13. Black Clouds and Silver Linings - I initially liked this album, but I had a few reservations. The lyrics juxtaposed with the actual music was jarring at times, and this album exemplified some of the staleness I had felt with DT - formulaeic song writing where the formula became more important than the actual songs, leading to a lot of extended instrumental sections that just went on too long for no reason.

14. When Dream and Day Unite - Not a bad album, but the mix is so muddy, and the music is unpolished. Best track for me is Ytse Jam - not because I dislike Charlie (I like his vocals), but it just resonates with me.


---

This list is constantly changing, as it's hard to really choose.
There will be a reckoning.

Offline dream75

  • Posts: 130
  • Gender: Male
Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2018, 07:48:57 AM »
1. Scenes from a Memory - My first "new" DT album after becoming a fan. The first album I participated in the hype and excitement for, and the first album I got to hear a long time before it was actually released to the public. And it just blew me away. The balance between the heavy, the progressive, the melodic and the soft. The story. In my eyes the magnum opus of DTs catalogue. This started my journey into the fandom of DT - becoming very strongly involved in the fan community of DT.net where I ran the official chat room for 8 years. We had a lot of VIP guests in the chat network, like MP, JR, CD, DS and even KM.

2. Images and Words - This didn't use to be as high for me, but it has increased in love for me year after year. Not a single boring moment on the CD. Another Day was actually my first real exposure to DT, as it was a part of a various artist collection called "even more power ballads" over here.

3. Distance over Time - Spoilers! ;) This is such a well balanced album. It's everything DT -is- in a great little package, with some of the heaviest, grooviest riffs I've ever heard from them. It also takes some unexpected turns which surprised me and made me grin of delight when I first heard it.  It just oozes FUN. The bonus track is particularly a joy to hear, it just feels like a bunch of guys in a garage making a cool rock'n roll tune.

4. Falling into Infinity - My first DT album. My first DT tour. I love every song on this album, even the ones "everyone" seems to hate. Made me wanna play in a band. Never got any good though, and put down the guitar for like a decade.

5. Awake - Contains one of my least favorite choruses by DT ever (Innocence Faded), but the rest is just so good that it lifts it up beyond that. A serious mainstay in my playlist, although not as often as the others.

6. The Astonishing - I'm a huge fan of musicals and rock operas - shows like Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Miserables, Hamilton, War of the Worlds, Ayreons albums, Rocky Horror, Chess, Pink Floyd's The Wall, The Who's Tommy, the Disney musicals - this album is so clearly rooted in the world of musical theatre (which DT actually has strong connections to both as fans of, and for having family members working in the business). A lot of the criticisms from fans are seemingly attached to them not really having experience with musicals and their structure. That being said, every musical (even big hits like Hamilton) went through many revisions before the "set" version that is on stage today, and I'm pretty sure the same fate would've happened to DT if they'd actually tried to stage it - trim it a bit, and clarify some plot points.

7. Train of Thought - I love heavy (I was a Metallica fan before I was a DT fan), and there's a lot of damn cool riffs and solos in here. Did our first listening party for this album.

8. Octavarium - Loved it when it came out, Muse influences included (Absolution was my favorite album of 2003). Attached to extra special memoires for me, as this was the album that led to the tour where I was in charge of the Fan Club DVD project which turned into A Walk Beside The Band and Romavarium, as well as the Dark Side of the Moon DVD.

9. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence - To me, this album was a disappointment when it came out. It contains some killer tracks, but it feels a bit unfocused to me. The start of the "cut and paste"-symptoms, where there's a lot of musical ideas that are recorded, but not necessarily thought out fully as to how the flow should be. And all the meandering experimental sections do nothing for me. Second disc contains some very good elements, but I feel it's far too disjointed to be actually considered a cohesive piece. Marks the time when I became involved in the inner workings of the fan clubs.

10. A Dramatic Turn of Events - First album with Mangini, a good album, but I simply do not return to it often. It just doesn't connect to me on the same level, and it is attached to some bittersweet personal memories for me as well.

11. Dream Theater - loudness war disaster. Very hard to listen to at first, took a while to get into the songs, and is not an album I return to very often. Good songs though, just not that interesting in the long run.

12. Systematic Chaos - Lots of great melodies, but the album seems a bit unfocused and wavering. Contains my least favorite DT track - Ministry of Lost Souls, a 4 minute song stretched out in content to last a whopping 15 minutes.

13. Black Clouds and Silver Linings - I initially liked this album, but I had a few reservations. The lyrics juxtaposed with the actual music was jarring at times, and this album exemplified some of the staleness I had felt with DT - formulaeic song writing where the formula became more important than the actual songs, leading to a lot of extended instrumental sections that just went on too long for no reason.

14. When Dream and Day Unite - Not a bad album, but the mix is so muddy, and the music is unpolished. Best track for me is Ytse Jam - not because I dislike Charlie (I like his vocals), but it just resonates with me.


---

This list is constantly changing, as it's hard to really choose.

Wow!!! D / T in third position   ;D

Offline Pound4aBrown

  • Posts: 66
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Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2018, 10:07:48 AM »


3. Distance over Time - Spoilers! ;)

Still has that new album smell, eh?

Offline noxon

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Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2018, 10:18:42 AM »
Been listening for a month now, heard it a lot of times, but sure - new album smell is a valid thought.
There will be a reckoning.

Offline Dream Team

  • Posts: 3324
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Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2018, 01:26:24 PM »
As of today . . .

1. D/T (hopefully)
2. Images & Words - back at the top due to TA’s production
3. The Astonishing
4. Scenes
5. Six Degrees
6. ADTOE
7. WDADU
8. Dream Theater
9. Awake
10. Black Clouds
11. Train of Thought
12. Octavarium (was 13th but SC is just so stupid)
13. SC
14. FII - always last by a lot, just not what I wanna hear from them

Offline BeardedGentlemanHistorian

  • Posts: 56
  • Gender: Male
Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2018, 09:20:48 PM »
Dream Theater is one of the few bands I can honestly say I enjoy every song they've recorded.

Tier 1 - IAW, Awake, MP2:SFAM, SDOIT, ADTOE. These are the most consistent albums. Everything clicks.

Tier 2 - 8VM, DT12, ToT. Very good, very solid albums. Each album has a few songs that aren't quite as strong as the best ones but are still remarkably consistent.

Tier 3 - BC&SL, SC and FII. These are the hit and miss albums for me. They each contain some brilliant songs, including some of my all time favorites, but as whole albums are inconsistent.

WDADU and TA. Don't mistake my ranking these separately as my way of bashing them. I'm not. Honestly, I enjoy both of these albums. The early installment weirdness on WDADU is jarring, Dominici is talented but lacks the chemistry that makes Labire fit with DT so well, IMO. The Astonishing is just to different for me to really compare to other DT albums.

Offline erwinrafael

  • Posts: 2923
Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2018, 11:13:36 PM »
Updated, after the initial "shock and awe" effect of TA has worn off.

1. Awake
2. Dream Theater
3. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
4. A Dramatic Turn of Events
5. The Astonishing
6. Scenes from a Memory
7. Images and Words
8. Octavarium
9. Train of Thought
10. Falling Into Infinity
11. Systematic Chaos
12. Black Clouds and Siliver Linings
13. When Dream and Day Unite

In terms of songs:

1. Breaking All Illusions
2. Illumination Theory
3. Trial of Tears
4. Our New World
5. Scarred
6. In The Presence of Enemies Part 2 (oh my, this song finally clicked with me this year)
7. The Mirror
8. Peruvian Skies
9. Surrounded
10. These Walls

Offline lovethedrake

  • Posts: 262
Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2018, 09:29:30 AM »
I'm more on the proggy side of loving DT and less the metal... so I literally have every 90's DT album +SDOIT ranked ahead of every album following it and then the Astonishing closely following.

I am noticing that others with similar tastes have ADTOE up there with the early stuff.    I personally have that last.

What am I missing with that album?   Its the only album in their catalogue that actually bores me.   I just don't have much interest in returning to it ever.   


Offline As I Am

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Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2018, 03:04:08 PM »
GREAT:
1. Scenes from a Memory
2. Images and Words
3. Awake

Excellent:
4. Train of Thought
5. Falling Into Infinity
6. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence

Very Good:
7. A Dramatic Turn of Events
8. Octavarium

Good:
9. Black Clouds & Silver Linings
10. Systematic Chaos
11. Dream Theater

Decent:
12. When Dream and Day Unite

Disappointing:
13. The Astonishing

.......mic drop!

Offline Darkstarshades

  • Posts: 1045
Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #22 on: December 21, 2018, 03:10:35 PM »
If Impermanent Resonance was a DT album where it would rank for you.
Jatruccyundessgini

Offline Bertielee

  • Posts: 2331
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  • RIP, Dad (1935-2017)
Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2018, 03:09:21 AM »
GREAT:
1. Scenes from a Memory
2. Images and Words
3. Awake

Excellent:
4. Train of Thought
5. Falling Into Infinity
6. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence

Very Good:
7. A Dramatic Turn of Events
8. Octavarium

Good:
9. Black Clouds & Silver Linings
10. Systematic Chaos
11. Dream Theater

Decent:
12. When Dream and Day Unite

Disappointing:
13. The Astonishing

.......mic drop!

It will be the first time I have agreed with you, As I Am. Your first six album ranking almost mirrors mine except that I would put SFAM 3. For the rest BC&SL, SC and 8vm would be in the disappointing section and TA 7 I think.

B.Lee
"Life is divided into two sets of people : people who have lost and people who haven't yet." George Michael

Offline KevShmev

  • EZBoard Elder
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Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2018, 09:30:04 AM »
1. Awake
2. Scenes from a Memory
3. Images and Words


4. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence

5. The Astonishing
6. A Dramatic Turn of Events
7. Falling into Infinity
8. Dream Theater

9. Train of Thought
10. Octavarium
11. When Dream and Day Unite

12. Systematic Chaos
13. Black Clouds & Silver Linings

Offline jayvee3

  • Posts: 275
Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #25 on: December 23, 2018, 08:41:51 AM »
1. Awake
2. Scenes from a Memory
3. Images and Words


4. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence

5. The Astonishing
6. A Dramatic Turn of Events
7. Falling into Infinity
8. Dream Theater

9. Train of Thought
10. Octavarium
11. When Dream and Day Unite

12. Systematic Chaos
13. Black Clouds & Silver Linings

This is basically my rankings to a tee. 6 degrees is likely amongst the 4-8 group which can interchange a bit. And black clouds is my least favourite by quite a margin, even though there are some nice moments

Offline jammindude

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Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #26 on: December 23, 2018, 10:59:35 AM »
Today....

1. Octavarium
2. Scenes From A Memory
3. Images and Words
4. Awake
5. Dream Theater
6. Train of Thought
7. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
8. A Dramatic Turn of Events
9. Falling Into Infinity
10. The Astonishing
11. When Dream and Day Unite
12. Black Clouds and Silver Linings
13. Systematic Chaos

I don’t think the top 4 will ever be touched. With the exception of Lie from Awake, they are flawless albums with nothing I ever skip.

The self titled has grown on me tremendously, and it is the only album from the Mangini era that I am always coming back to because of the smile it puts on my face every time.

Train of Thought is a bit one dimensional, but considering that the goal was to create a front to back “metal classic” in the vein of Master of Puppets, I think it accomplished exactly what it was meant to.

The Glass Prison and the title track of Six Degrees is PERFECTION. Blind Faith and Misunderstood are solid. Great Debate and Disappear are meh.

Dramatic is a nice return to form, and I enjoy the “IAW but not IAW” hoodwink. I think it’s a nice artistic exercise for an artist to revisit a previous pattern from time to time as long as it’s not overdone. There are moments when it feels a bit stiff...like it hadn’t quite gelled yet...

Falling Into Infinity has aged extremely well. You Not Me suffers from DCs input, Burning My Soul doesn’t hold up as a stand-alone track (the original idea incorporating Hell’s Kitchen was better) and I never much cared for the chorus in Lines in the Sand. But everything else on the album is solid.

The Astonishing on the other hand, has aged very poorly. I LOVED the idea, and the balls that it took to try the idea. I don’t even mind that it’s a bit “Disney” in places. (It is supposed to be a musical after all) But too many ideas feel almost unfinished. Almost like it wanted to be a 3-disc story that they chickened out and hacked up for time purposes. For all of its tracks, there’s really only about a half dozen stand alone songs. I still say it’s an excellent and under appreciated album. It just doesn’t feel finished somehow. If you were to flesh out the story, and turn more of the ideas into actual songs, this could have been DTs finest hour. But it falls way short.

When Dream and Day Unite is purely a production issue. It sounds like it was recorded in a cave with a single microphone at the mouth of the cave. It just sounds far away, distant, and echo-y. Terry Date produced Metal Church’s Blessing in Disguise at almost the same time, and it suffers from the same problem, so I don’t know what Terry was smoking in 1989.

BCASL is two great Dream Theater songs, with a lot of boring stuff in the middle. Rite of Passage is great on the first listen, but after the 5th spin I didn’t really need to hear it again. Same with Wither. Best of Times should have been amazing and somehow fell flat. And Shattered Fortress sounds great at the end of the 12SS, but sounds like a mish mash by itself.

SC is what I consider to be the only truly BAD Dream Theater album. I never revisit it anymore. It’s just terrible. The worst epic DT has ever done (part 1 is good, part 2 is a disaster). And the rest of it makes me laugh more than it makes me listen. The Dark Eternal Night is (ironically) the only bright spot. Everything else is either laughable (Forsaken, Constant Motion, Prophets of War) or boring (Repentance, MoLS). Maybe I’ll spin it again one day, but this album actually hurts to listen to. It’s just a dumpster fire.
"Better the pride that resides in a citizen of the world.
Than the pride that divides when a colorful rag is unfurled." - Neil Peart

The Jammin Dude Show - https://www.youtube.com/user/jammindude

Offline Darkstarshades

  • Posts: 1045
Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #27 on: December 23, 2018, 03:21:05 PM »
I don't care if you like SFAM, or 6DOIT, or TA
I don't care if you hate I&W or Awake
I don't care if you LOVE BC&SL or SC
or if you think DT12 and WDADU are perfect.

Because I hate this band and their entire discography. :biggrin: :biggrin:
Jatruccyundessgini

Offline Devin Townsend

  • Posts: 49
  • Gender: Female
Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #28 on: December 26, 2018, 07:31:58 PM »
My top 6:

1. Awake
2. Scenes From A Memory
3. Images And Words
4. Falling Into Infinity
5. A Dramatic Turn Of Events
6. Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence

The rest would be aprox like:

7. Train Of Thought
8. When Dream And Day Unite
9. Systematic Chaos
10. Dream Theater
11. Octavarium
12. Black Clouds & Silver Linings
13. The Astonishing
 

Offline Squa7ch2112

  • Posts: 16
  • Gender: Male
Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2019, 03:20:58 AM »
1. Images & Words
2. Awake
3. Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory
4. Train of Thought
5. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence

These are the albums I still listen to on occasion, mainly the first 2-3 on the list on a semi-regular basis, but if I had to make a top five this is what it would look like.

Offline metrojam

  • Posts: 142
Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #30 on: January 06, 2019, 11:35:48 AM »
1. Scenes From A Memory
2. Images and Words
3. Octavarium
4. Black Clouds and Silver Linings
5. A Dramatic Turn of Events
6. Awake
7. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
8. When Dream and Day Unite
9. Falling Into Infinity
10. Train of Thought
11. Systematic Chaos
12. DT

No number 13 as I just can't even bear to listen to that record and prefer to pretend that it never existed or at least, wasn't a DT release!



Offline jakepriest

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Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #31 on: January 06, 2019, 12:18:00 PM »

No number 13 as I just can't even bear to listen to that record and prefer to pretend that it never existed or at least, wasn't a DT release!

Sure thing buddy.

Offline metrojam

  • Posts: 142
Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #32 on: January 06, 2019, 03:17:47 PM »

No number 13 as I just can't even bear to listen to that record and prefer to pretend that it never existed or at least, wasn't a DT release!

Sure thing buddy.

Apologies for having my own opinion about a record, I could have sworn this was a "DT albums ranking" thread but I guess I was wrong. OK, I'll try again, move everything down a place and put TA as my new number 1. Is that better?

Offline lucasembarbosa

  • Posts: 430
  • Gender: Male
  • Pale Rider of No Tomorrow
Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #33 on: January 06, 2019, 03:37:52 PM »

No number 13 as I just can't even bear to listen to that record and prefer to pretend that it never existed or at least, wasn't a DT release!

Sure thing buddy.

Apologies for having my own opinion about a record, I could have sworn this was a "DT albums ranking" thread but I guess I was wrong. OK, I'll try again, move everything down a place and put TA as my new number 1. Is that better?

Well, that escalated quickly

Chill, bro! :facepalm:

Offline jakepriest

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Re: My ranking of the Dream Theater albums
« Reply #34 on: January 06, 2019, 03:57:19 PM »
I forgot how touchy people are on the internet. Better green text everything nowadays. :neverusethis: