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DREAM THEATER

Progressive Metal • United States


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Dream Theater picture
Dream Theater biography
I. Introduction

II. History
    A. Formation and Early Years (1985-1990)
    B. A New Singer and Success (1990-1993)
    C. The Middle Period and Band Turbulence (1994-1998)
    D. Jordan Rudess and the New Millennium (1999-2006)
    E. The Roadrunner Years and the Departure of Mike Portnoy (2007- )

III. Style, Live reputation, Bootleg Culture, and Conclusion



DREAM THEATER is a progressive metal band formed in 1985 in Boston, Massachusetts by guitarist John PETRUCCI, bassist John MYUNG, and drummer Mike PORTNOY. Since the band's conception, they have become one of the most influential post-1970s progressive rock bands as well as ranking as one of the early progenitors of the entire progressive metal genre.



II. History

A. Formation and Early Years (1985-1990)

Based in a love of the sophistication of YES, the virtuosity of RUSH, and the heaviness of IRON MAIDEN, DREAM THEATER had a desire to create complex, heavy, and progressive from the very beginning. Guitarist and bassist PETRUCCI and MYUNG grew up together on Long Island, New York. After high school, both received scholarships to the esteemed Berklee University of Music, where they met drummer PORTNOY, who, incidentally, grew up in a nearby area. The trio soon became friends and began making music together and settled upon the name MAJESTY. This name came about when PORTNOY described RUSH's song "Bastille Day" as "majestic" as they were waiting outside a Rush concert to open. As the band became more "serious," they went out looking for a keyboardist and vocalist. Eventually the band found PORTNOY's high schoolmate Kevin MOORE to play keys as well as schoolmate Chris COLLINS to sing in 1986. The new 5-piece recorded a 6 song demo titled simply "The Majesty Demos" in 1986 on PORTONY's analog 4-track cassette recorder, making an initial run of 1,000 tapes. The tapes, to the band's surprise sold out relatively quickly, which was aided also by the band's distribution of the tapes to friends, family, local rock and metal magazines.

Only a few months after the release...
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Buy DREAM THEATER Music


Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a MemoryMetropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory
Elektra 1999
$5.75
$2.44 (used)
The Studio Albums 1992-2011The Studio Albums 1992-2011
Box set
Roadrunner 2014
$39.73
Images & WordsImages & Words
Music on Vinyl 2013
$22.39
$24.99 (used)
The Astonishing (2CD)The Astonishing (2CD)
Roadrunner Records 2016
$13.51
$7.96 (used)
Train of ThoughtTrain of Thought
Music on Vinyl 2014
$23.94
$23.94 (used)
Dream TheaterDream Theater
Roadrunner Records 2013
$11.58
$7.81 (used)
Change Of Seasons (ep)Change Of Seasons (ep)
Atlantic 1995
$4.38
$2.10 (used)
Six Degrees of Inner TurbulenceSix Degrees of Inner Turbulence
Music on Vinyl 2013
$25.49
$30.22 (used)
Once in a LivetimeOnce in a Livetime
Warner 1998
$7.51
$1.85 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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DREAM THEATER FALLING INTO INFINITY CD USD $2.67 [0 bids]
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DREAM THEATER OCTAVARIUM CD USD $2.67 [0 bids]
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Dream Theater Another Uncovered CD Ultra RARE Live in Germany USD $34.99 Buy It Now 12h 59m
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13h 29m
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More places to buy DREAM THEATER music online Buy DREAM THEATER & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

DREAM THEATER discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

DREAM THEATER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.19 | 1204 ratings
When Dream And Day Unite
1989
4.29 | 2696 ratings
Images And Words
1992
4.11 | 1959 ratings
Awake
1994
3.32 | 1449 ratings
Falling Into Infinity
1997
4.29 | 2752 ratings
Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes From A Memory
1999
4.13 | 1845 ratings
Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence
2002
3.59 | 1716 ratings
Train Of Thought
2003
3.66 | 1912 ratings
Octavarium
2005
3.30 | 1646 ratings
Systematic Chaos
2007
3.43 | 1526 ratings
Black Clouds & Silver Linings
2009
3.84 | 1537 ratings
A Dramatic Turn Of Events
2011
3.30 | 861 ratings
Dream Theater
2013
3.45 | 592 ratings
The Astonishing
2016

DREAM THEATER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.66 | 387 ratings
Live At The Marquee
1993
3.30 | 370 ratings
Once In A Livetime
1998
4.55 | 514 ratings
Live Scenes From New York
2001
4.24 | 458 ratings
Live At Budokan
2004
4.46 | 517 ratings
Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra
2006
3.53 | 81 ratings
Happy Holidays
2013

DREAM THEATER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.18 | 188 ratings
Images And Words - Live In Tokyo
1993
4.35 | 399 ratings
Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York
2001
3.80 | 190 ratings
Live in Tokyo/5 Years in a Livetime
2004
4.02 | 116 ratings
When Dream And Day Reunite [Official Bootleg]
2004
4.29 | 392 ratings
Live at Budokan
2004
3.53 | 53 ratings
A Walk Beside The Band
2005
4.40 | 412 ratings
Dream Theater - Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra
2006
3.88 | 144 ratings
Dark Side Of The Moon
2006
3.97 | 78 ratings
Bucharest, Romania 7/4/02
2007
3.43 | 223 ratings
Chaos In Motion 2007/2008
2008
2.38 | 77 ratings
Greatest Hit (...and 5 Other Pretty Cool Videos)
2008
3.53 | 51 ratings
Live at Tokyo Sun Plaza
2009
4.08 | 132 ratings
Live at Luna Park
2013
4.40 | 111 ratings
Breaking The Fourth Wall (Live From The Boston Opera House)
2014

DREAM THEATER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 4 ratings
Systematic Chaos Special Edition
2007
2.15 | 180 ratings
Greatest Hit (...and 21 other pretty cool songs)
2008
3.92 | 46 ratings
Original Album Series
2011

DREAM THEATER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.95 | 36 ratings
Afterlife
1989
3.24 | 35 ratings
Status Seeker
1989
2.85 | 28 ratings
The ATCO Demos
1991
2.89 | 61 ratings
Another Day
1992
3.60 | 54 ratings
Pull Me Under
1992
3.00 | 2 ratings
Take the Time
1992
3.73 | 58 ratings
The Silent Man
1994
2.88 | 45 ratings
Caught In A Web
1994
3.04 | 58 ratings
Lie
1994
3.67 | 643 ratings
A Change Of Seasons
1995
3.00 | 3 ratings
International Fan Club Christmas CD
1996
3.07 | 63 ratings
Hollow Years
1997
3.78 | 36 ratings
Once In A LIVEtime Outtakes (International Fan Club CD 1998)
1998
3.08 | 62 ratings
Cleaning Out The Closet
1999
3.18 | 68 ratings
Through Her Eyes
2000
2.06 | 36 ratings
Christmas 2000 Fan Club CD
2000
1.93 | 36 ratings
4 degrees of Radio edits
2002
3.17 | 23 ratings
When Demos and Singles Unite
2002
3.02 | 44 ratings
Taste The Memories
2003
2.93 | 35 ratings
Graspop Festival 2002 (International Fanclub CD 2003)
2003
3.18 | 46 ratings
The Making Of Scenes From A Memory
2003
2.80 | 106 ratings
The Number Of The Beast
2003
1.98 | 111 ratings
Master Of Puppets
2003
2.76 | 36 ratings
Los Angeles, California 5/18/98
2003
3.38 | 39 ratings
Tokyo, Japan 10/28/95
2003
2.88 | 49 ratings
The Majesty Demos 1985 - 1986 [Official bootleg]
2003
3.70 | 32 ratings
A Sort Of Homecoming
2004
3.37 | 38 ratings
Images and Words: Demos 1989 - 1991 [Official Bootleg]
2004
3.82 | 69 ratings
When Dream And Day Reunite
2004
2.93 | 30 ratings
When Dream And Day Unite Demos 1987-1989
2004
3.35 | 127 ratings
Dark Side Of The Moon
2006
2.47 | 40 ratings
Awake Demos
2006
3.17 | 34 ratings
Old Bridge, New JERSEY - 12/14/96
2006
3.39 | 67 ratings
Made in Japan [Official Bootleg]
2006
3.48 | 39 ratings
Images and Words - 15th Anniversary Performance (Fan Club CD 2007)
2007
4.14 | 72 ratings
Falling Into Infinity: Demos 1996-1997 [Official Bootleg]
2007
3.10 | 45 ratings
Constant Motion
2007
3.68 | 41 ratings
New York City 3/4/93
2007
2.50 | 4 ratings
Forsaken
2007
3.68 | 19 ratings
Progressive Nation 2008 - The International Fan Clubs CD 2008
2008
2.51 | 60 ratings
Forsaken
2008
2.58 | 75 ratings
A Rite of Passage
2009
3.11 | 77 ratings
Stargazer
2009
3.39 | 72 ratings
Tenement Funster/Flick Of The Wrist/Lily Of The Valley
2009
3.68 | 57 ratings
Odyssey
2009
3.51 | 53 ratings
Take Your Fingers From My Hair
2009
3.23 | 71 ratings
Larks Tongues In Aspic, Pt. 2
2009
3.22 | 81 ratings
Wither
2009
3.12 | 46 ratings
Uncovered 2003-2005
2009
2.59 | 30 ratings
The Making of Falling Into Infinity
2009
2.84 | 29 ratings
Train of Thought Instrumental Demos 2003
2009
3.56 | 118 ratings
On the Backs of Angels
2011
3.00 | 4 ratings
Build Me Up, Break Me Down
2011
3.50 | 2 ratings
Along for the Ride
2013
3.16 | 76 ratings
The Enemy Inside
2013
4.13 | 31 ratings
Illumination Theory
2014
3.50 | 4 ratings
Our New World
2016

DREAM THEATER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Christmas 2000 Fan Club CD by DREAM THEATER album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2000
2.06 | 36 ratings

BUY
Christmas 2000 Fan Club CD
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

2 stars Dream Theater's 2000 fan club CD is basically a collection of outtakes from their Metropolis world tour of the same year. Jokingly described on the back cover as "Metropolis 2000 Tour Highlights (and Lowlights)", it's not really something you'd listen to more than once or twice, but it's a fun little collector's item none-the-less.

With that said, there's not really anything to comment on. 'What Did They Say?' is a medley of snippets featuring the band members goofing around during various songs, ad-libbing lyrics and whatnot. 'War Pigs' involves a fan singing with the band, and 'The Spirit Carries On' has drummer Mike Portnoy singing, forgetting the lyrics, and getting the crowd to finish off. Nothing serious, just basically an hour of Dream Theater having fun.

Overall, this is a light-hearted album, good for one or two listens, but seeing as it's a fan club CD, it's definitely nothing more than a novelty item for die-hard fans.

 The Number Of The Beast by DREAM THEATER album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
2.80 | 106 ratings

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The Number Of The Beast
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

2 stars Now, I love Dream Theater, and I love Iron Maiden, but this is just all kinds of silly.

'The Number of the Beast' has never been one of my favourite Maiden albums. Sure, it was the record where they truly started to ascend to the top of the metal world, but in my opinion it's vastly inferior to the likes of 'Powerslave' and 'Seventh Son of a Seventh Son', and much of their later output.

So when Dream Theater, one of my all-time favourite groups, decided to do a live cover of the entire album, I was far from enthusiastic, but willing to give the progressive metal icons a chance to make something worthy out of it.

They failed.

Dream Theater's 'The Number of the Beast' just doesn't work. While the band had previously attempted something similar with Metallica's 'Master of Puppets', that live recording had something to it that, while still nothing more than a fun release not meant to be taken seriously, still made it a worthwhile listen. Especially if you're a fan of both bands.

But 'Number...' just doesn't click. Maybe it's James LaBrie's vocals, or John Myung not quite having the energy of Steve Harris, or maybe a guitar/keyboard hybrid just doesn't suit Maiden's sound. Either way, Dream Theater are more than competent as musicians, but this release is a bit of a blunder.

Even as a novelty item, this album is a bit of a stretch. I barely ever listen to the original version, so I'm certainly not going to feel inclined to listen to a cover of it, which is why this is best left for the absolute most die-hard fans of either band. And even then, it's not a release to be taken seriously.

 Illumination Theory by DREAM THEATER album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2014
4.13 | 31 ratings

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Illumination Theory
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by thwok

4 stars "Illumination Theory" is the epic from Dream Theater's 2013 self - titled album. There seems to be one on just about on every studio album the band puts out, doesn't there? I haven't listened to the reset of the album much, so I won't compare this song to the rest. This song is a terrific epic in the DT tradition. I've tried unsuccessfully to find out what the title means. However, there is a YouTube video in which John Petrucci says the song's about what you're willing to live, die or kill for. The lyrics are thankfully clear and straightforward, not abstract

One of the best things about this epic IMHO is that the individual parts don't overstay their welcome. In a self - serving interview on the musicians' website Music Radar, Jordan Rudess gives due credit to the string arranger Eren Basburg. The strings are not overbearing; The Embracing Circle is a particularly beautiful section. I don't think DT break new ground with "Illumination Theory". The DT regulars, whom this release is probably intended for, should thoroughly enjoy it.

 Octavarium by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.66 | 1912 ratings

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Octavarium
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by guiservidoni

5 stars No doubt, this definitely is on the top 3 Dream Theater albums for me.

Octavarium is a concept album, but a really unusual one: it doesn't necessarily have a storyline, or even circles around a certain theme. It revolves around two numbers: 8 and 5. Point for prog.

It is filled with elements that point to those numbers that, those alone, already are a reason to buy this in physical copy. It is their 8th studio album, containing eight songs, called OCTavarium. You see, the band has five members, and to this point had released five live albums. The numbers make you think of piano keys: C D E F G A B and the octave coming full circle (ha-ha), and C# D# F# G# A#. So, the songs' tones follow this very scale, with five transitions between the songs in the sequence of a piano. I could write quite some others, but you should find them yourself.

The Root Of All Evil is amazing, making it up to Portnoy's ambitions with the Twelve-Step suite. Some more commercial stuff will appear, such as These Walls and The Answer Lies Within, but these are great songs nonetheless. You see the Muse-ish Never Enough, with its weird and awesome time signatures that have everything to do with the song, and things only get better.

For the two last songs, you have a full orchestra working alongside. On Russia On IcWHOOPS I mean Sacrificed Sons, it works beautifully, and on the album's last track which gives the album its title, you not only have Dream Theater's best song ever made, but possibly one of the best songs ever made in history.

Octavarium (the song) deserves a separate review for its awesomeness. The Shine On You Crazy Diamond beginning, its five (YEA BRUH 5 AGAIN) sections that are meticulously crafted, the lyrics emphasising the cycle concept, that everything ends where it begins, and fantastic musicianship: from the Petrucci and Rudess unison solo to LaBrie screaming at the top of his lungs, this song is, for me, the best song there is, simply put.

Everyone should know this album and you're not complete if you don't know it.

 Greatest Hit (...and 21 other pretty cool songs) by DREAM THEATER album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2008
2.15 | 180 ratings

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Greatest Hit (...and 21 other pretty cool songs)
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by guiservidoni

3 stars This compilation is worth it if you've never heard progressive metal before (not buying it, of course). This was my case, and the reason I give this three stars.

Back then, my proggiest knowledge ended on Muse's Knights Of Cydonia. If this album wasn't made of radio edits, or if didn't disregard album concepts the way it does, probably I would have never gotten into the genre, for I definitely wasn't ready for it. Now that I'm into it, I never ever listen to this, but I must recognise its importance.

This definitely isn't the reason this was released, but it might be what saves your nephew from getting addicted to pop [&*!#]. And for that, it deserves three stars. Oh, and it also deserves it because of the subtitle letters in a different color forming the word '[&*!#]' in the cover.

 The Astonishing by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.45 | 592 ratings

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The Astonishing
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by guiservidoni

4 stars I get why a lot of people dislike this. Overused keyboards, a second act that mostly feels like a huge interlude, and a guy that interprets seven characters (Arjen Lucassen gets it). However, this album does deserve four stars anyway.

Dream Theater being a ***progressive*** band, they were really slow in their progression. They make a double concept album that clocks well over two hours with a story that, actually, I quite enjoy! Some moments like the music-player-bulls**t could have been better worked, but this is not a five-star album anyway. However, I get with this album something I get with Yes a lot: I need to listen to it numerous times to start to really grasp why the album is great. The problem is Yes' albums don't last more than two hours, so the number of times grows considerably.

Despite interpreting seven different people, LaBrie does an excellent job on that! Despite excessive keyboards, Rudess is brilliant here! Musicianship stays awesome, and that includes Mangini too! He's not Portnoy, get over it.

Personally, I saw this performed live. And it was one of the best shows of my life! Perhaps that is the reason I can really appreciate the album, for I saw the story being told by those who created it, in the way they wanted me to see it. Whenever I listen to the album, the show comes alive in my memory, and it feels really great!

The reason this doesn't get five stars are the ones I pointed at the beginning (and a couple more maybe), but four stars are definitely reasonable here.

 Live Scenes From New York by DREAM THEATER album cover Live, 2001
4.55 | 514 ratings

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Live Scenes From New York
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

4 stars With the success of 'Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory' under their belts, Dream Theater were sitting firmly on the throne of the prog world, and so what's the next step? To take the entire concept album on tour, of course!

An absolute sonic tour-de-force of Dream Theater music, the band are relentless as they bombard a New York audience with over three hours of excellence. Besides playing 'Scenes from a Memory' in its entirety, with a few added bonuses thrown in, the band play various hits from their past records, including all three parts of the 'A Mind Beside Itself' trilogy from the 'Awake' album, 'Metropolis Pt. 1' and 'Learning to Live', both clocking in at ten and twelve minutes respectively, and if that wasn't enough, they then close with the 23-minute epic, 'A Change of Seasons'.

This is not for the faint-hearted.

As you'd expect from Dream Theater, the musicianship and chemistry is unparalleled by any other band. Each instrumentalist here has truly mastered their craft, with the only real weakness coming from vocalist James LaBrie. He tries his best, bless him, but having gone through some well-documented problems at the time (food poisoning led to him rupturing his vocal chords a few years prior), his voice can be pretty grating to listen to at times. However, he does redeem himself at the end when he jokingly says "sorry about the short set". Good job, sir!

All praises aside, I'm not the biggest lover of live albums, as I usually prefer the punch and clarity of a studio recording, and at times I feel the sound isn't as perfect as it could be, at least, not when compared to the 'Scenes from a Memory' record. But that just comes down to personal preference.

With that said, 'Live Scenes from New York' is a beast of a live album. A three-disc set that perfectly sums up Dream Theater's career to that point, and an all-out assault of progressive proportions. This is an essential addition to every fans collection.

 Once In A Livetime by DREAM THEATER album cover Live, 1998
3.30 | 370 ratings

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Once In A Livetime
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

3 stars With four studio albums and one EP to their name, it's time for another Dream Theater live recording! Coming at a time when the band were towing the line between their underground progressive metal roots and record label pressure to be more mainstream, 'Once in a Livetime' came at a bit of a transitional period, when really, they were neither of these things.

The set is amazing, and features all the early Dream Theater classics. There's plenty of little tidbits, jams, and covers thrown in between and during songs, giving this a true "live" feeling, and the 20-minute epic 'A Change of Seasons' has been broken down into multiple segments, each serving as interludes amongst the other tracks, giving a nice sense of continuity throughout the show.

The sound is very good, the band are incredibly tight, and the audience add a great energy to it all (the cheering at the beginning of 'Metropolis' sends chills down my spine!). A lot of the lengthier songs have been cut down, for example, twelve-minute 'Learning to Live' is now down to a staggering four minutes, yet they manage to capture the main essence of each piece, making the whole set flow effortlessly.

The only legit detriment to this album is vocalist James LaBrie, who at this point was desperately struggling from a well-documented case of food poisoning that had ruptured his vocal chords (so well-documented, in fact, that people who have never even heard of Dream Theater know about it).

Otherwise, the only reason I never really listen to 'Once in a Livetime' any more is because it's been surpassed by later releases. 'Score', 'Live Scenes from New York', and especially 'Live at Budokan' are far superior live albums. Still, it wraps up "that period" of the bands career with keyboardist Derek Sherinian, who is an incredible musician, but always had a flamboyance about him that didn't really suit Dream Theater.

Good album to own if you're a collector, but they've done much better ones since.

 Live At The Marquee by DREAM THEATER album cover Live, 1993
3.66 | 387 ratings

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Live At The Marquee
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

3 stars Hey kids! Remember Kevin Moore?! The guy played on Dream Theater's first three studio albums, buggered off, and has since more-or-less completely cut off all ties to the Dream Theater name, wanting nothing to do with the band. So if you wanted to hear what the progressive metal legends sounded like in their early days, playing live with a certain Mr. Moore, then this is likely to be the only chance you'll ever get.

Released shortly after the bands second album, 'Images and Words', 'Live at the Marquee' is a six-track EP which doesn't really do the group or their previous releases justice. It's a nice addition to the collection of any Dream Theater fan, but since most of their live records would go on to become three-disc sets, this one has become pretty obsolete and unnecessary.

With Dream Theater classics such as 'Metropolis', 'A Fortune in Lies' and 'Pull Me Under', there's no denying the tracks are stellar, and considering vocalist James LaBrie would go on to suffer from ruptured vocal chords which would affect his live performances for years to come, it's nice to hear these songs with the youthful energy that the band had at the time.

Overall this isn't a terrible release, but if you're after a true Dream Theater live experience then you're better off looking for 2004's 'Live at Budokan', 2005's 'Score' or 2000's 'Live Scenes from New York'. It's a nice little EP if you come across it, but not really worth the effort unless you must own everything.

 Hollow Years by DREAM THEATER album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1997
3.07 | 63 ratings

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Hollow Years
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

2 stars 'Hollow Years' is an incredible song, and definitely one of Dream Theater's most memorable and catchy ballads, and releasing it as a single/EP is fully justified, however, it's the extra material that leaves this release feeling slightly lacking.

First off, 'Hollow Years'... great song. No need to have the radio edit alongside the album version though. Does anyone ever listen to these edited versions? Didn't think so. 'You or Me', a demo version of 'You Not Me' is a nice touch, but not as polished as the finished track. The main reason I like these kinds of discs is for the b-sides and non-album tracks, in which case here we have 'The Way It Used to Be'. It's an alright song. A bit bland if I'm honest. I can understand why it wasn't included on the 'Falling Into Infinity' album.

And then there's two lives tracks (included on the North Korean EP version of this, anyway). They're "good" I suppose, but not really incentive enough to track this down.

Overall, despite my criticisms, this isn't a bad little release. The musicianship is exceptional, as always, and there's not really anything particularly wrong with any of the songs, it's just not anything worth having unless you're a collector of everything Dream Theater.

Thanks to [email protected] for the artist addition. and to Andy Webb for the last updates

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