Dream Theater is still progressive

Dream Theater: band history and trademarks

from editorial staff,

Dream Theater is known for tasteful, varied and innovative progressive metal. When the five exceptional musicians James LaBrie (vocals), John Petrucci (guitar), Jordan Rudess (keyboards), John Myung (bass) and Mike Mangini (drums) are creative together, something always comes out that sounds unique and unmistakably on Dream Theater suggests. Learn more about the band's history and their own distinctive trademark!

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When was Dream Theater founded?

Dream Theater goes mainstream?

Systematic chaos

Mike Mangini replaces Mike Portnoy

Dream Theater discography

When was Dream Theater founded?

Dream Theater's roots go back to 1985 when Berklee students John Petrucci (g), John Myung (b) and Mike Portnoy (dr) formed the band Majesty.

Later renamed Dream Theater, the project became so important that the three of them gave up their studies in order to concentrate fully on their own music. Charlie Dominici was active as a singer with Dream Theater from 1987 to 1990. It wasn't until 1991 that Dream Theater found what it was looking for in Canadian James LaBrie. 1992 appeared with “Images And Words” the second album of the prog metal band, on which singer James LaBrie could be heard for the first time.

No later work came close to the commercial success of this album, and "Pull Me Under" in particular became the favorite song of DT fans, which received a lot of airplay on the radio; the video was seen many times on MTV. As a result, “Images And Words” went gold in the US, and Japanese fans even gave the band platinum.


Bring the super hit home to jam along with!


 

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Dream Theater goes mainstream?

Of course, every successful band must also think about commercial directives. Dream Theater did this blatantly on their 2005 opus, Octavarium ‘and came to the conclusion that their sound would be based on the" new challenges that every band has to face in order to stay fresh and hungry "(drummer Mike Portnoy).

Portnoy, Petrucci & Co. rightly asked themselves the question: Anyone who has already been able to unite such a large fan base with such special music as that of Dream Theater must also have the potential to advance into completely different regions of popularity?

So far it has been the versatility within the boundaries of heavy metal that brought the band an audience of millions. "Last year we toured America with Yes, then we played with Megadeth", even Portnoy wondered about the huge spectrum. At the same time, the band aimed at a market that not only takes place in concerts, but also on radio and music television.

"Wouldn't it be great if we could land a real single hit with a song like 'I Walk Beside You' or 'The Answer Lies Within'", explained the drummer and agreed with his colleague Petrucci, who said he was "unusual high commercial potential of the disc ”said and admitted:“ We like catchy pop songs like Coldplay's and would certainly be proud if we succeeded in doing one too. Because, of course, as an artist you always hope to reach as large an audience as possible. "

However, other bands have already had to pay for such attempts at the end of their careers or at least with a rough economic dip. Just think of Motörhead, which went into a tailspin at the beginning of the nineties. The band signed their first major deal back then and, at the insistence of their record company, tried to sand the unbridled power rock more towards radio use.

The 91 album, 1916 ‘still knew how to please the fans, the successor, March Ör Die‘, on the other hand, failed completely. The following was disturbed, even guitarist Würzel rated the attempt to gain a foothold in the commercial camp with the ballads, Ain't No Mr. Nice Guy ‘(with guests Ozzy Osbourne and Slash, among others) as a complete mistake. "Motörhead is a rock 'n' roll band, the fans don't want to hear this silly Geseire. Not even if your deity means that, ”he poisoned in the direction of his boss Lemmy Kilmister and then left Motörhead in an argument.

So could a similarly risky balancing act also cost Dream Theater fans? Do you even throw the internal group structures upside down? In the summer of 2005, Portnoy was still optimistic: “We have been around for 20 years. Fans who came to our concerts in 1985 now bring their children to the shows. Our followers are loyal and loyal. "

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Systematic chaos

In 2007, Petrucci & Co. changed their mind and presented, Systematic Chaos ‘, an album typical of dream theater. However, Systematic Chaos ‘harbors a few surprises that, on closer inspection, turn out to be a conscious step. Even if the pieces as a whole are not as dark and bulky as, for example, Train Of Thought ‘, the band's harshest album to date, you can find really hard metal stuff among the eight compositions.

In, Constant Motion ‘, for example, Petrucci peps up a riff from the hip that seems to be somewhere between Metallica, Megadeth and Accept. LaBrie roars in the best Hetfield manner, Portnoy drums almost as thrashy as Lars Ulrich in, St. Anger ‘.

It gets even coarser in the immediately following, The Dark Eternal Night ‘, a composition that rightly bears its title. Pantera seem to have specifically been the godfather here: Hardcore, Thrash, Metal and a computer-alienated vocal voice really raise the alarm. "I am the last born of the blood of the pharaohs, the ultimate god of a rotting creation, sent to unleash this curse", rages LaBrie, while his four instrumentalists are brutal and as a gimmick they even sound like a honky-tonk piano let, to seemingly reduce metal to absurdity. Getting used to.

In direct contrast to this, the Repentance, which follows directly from The Dark Eternal Night, in which Dream Theater goes back to the sixties and experimented psychedelically with swirling sounds and floating atmospheres. The interplay of calm guitar and warm bass lines is fascinating. The keyboard sounds and the vocals also reveal the musicians' penchant for archaic soundscapes and make 'Repentance' one of the best moments in 'Systematic Chaos', stylistically comparable to' Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun 'by Pink Floyd .

With the following, Prophets Of War ‘, the musicians mix an idiosyncratic Metallica riff with strange disco rhythms and 80s synthesizer sounds. Probably not to everyone's taste. But there are also pieces on, Systematic Chaos die, which are as typical of dream theater as in earlier times, Metropolis ‘or, Stream Of Consciousness‘. Particularly noteworthy is the addictive, Forsaken ‘, which is reminiscent of the Savatage classic, Gutter Ballet‘ in structure and conciseness. A real highlight, not just for this disc, but for the entire Dream Theater history.

A conclusion to the new album? Dream Theater dare to experiment, but at the same time have remained true to each other without repeating themselves artistically on their latest litter. Certainly one of the outstanding strengths of this band!

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Mike Mangini replaces Mike Portnoy

On September 8, 2010, a rumor turned into an official report, announced on the Dream Theater website: Drummer and founding member Mike Portnoy is leaving the band to "pursue other challenges". Fans, as well as the band themselves, were visibly surprised that the slow, down-to-earth US progressive rockers had not exactly made headlines before.

From then on, Dream Theater primarily took care of three topics: normality, songwriting and the search for a new percussionist. While guitarist John Petrucci was busy producing demos for a new long player, auditions were scheduled to which seven drummers were invited. The result was then also recorded on film and packed as a 60-minute documentary as a bonus on the deluxe version of the album. Title: 'A Dramatic Turn Of Events'.

The new stick-slinger eventually became a Mike again: Mike Mangini, former sideman for Steve Vai, Extreme and Annihilator. Mangini then immediately sat down on the stool for the recordings of 'A Dramatic Turn Of Events' - a good album that should rightly be classified in the band's catalog as a classic dream theater work in the future.

In 2013 the quintet released the album, which was simply titled Dream Theater ‘with full calculation. Because this disc was a self-confident statement about their own strengths and indeed the resounding proof that Dream Theater themselves still set the bar for tasteful, varied and innovative progressive metal.

The progressive metal band has sold several million records worldwide in the course of its history and received positive criticism - and fortunately there is no end in sight!

Text: Matthias Mineur

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Dream Theater discography

  • 1989: When Dream and Day Unite
  • 1992: Images and Words
  • 1994: Awake
  • 1995: A Change Of Seasons
  • 1997: Falling into Infinity
  • 1999: Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a memory
  • 2002: Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
  • 2003: Train of Thought
  • 2005: Octavarium
  • 2007: Systematic Chaos
  • 2009: Black Clouds & Silver Linings
  • 2011: A Dramatic Turn of Events
  • 2013: Dream Theater
  • 2016: The Astonishing

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