Prog Report Ranking – Dream Theater Albums

Ranking of Dream Theater’s studio albums.

The ranking of Dream Theater albums…a timeless debate. We have decided to update The Prog Report’s ranking of Dream Theater to add their recent album ‘A View From The Top Of The World’.  All of the band’s albums are great, but we had to start somewhere. So here goes…

15- When Dream and Day Unite (1989)

The very first album.  For some die-hards, this is their favorite album.  But, it is before James Labrie joined the band and the band has significantly evolved since this release, so we rank it here.  But by any measure, this is a pretty darn good debut and showed the band’s potential. When making a list, something has to be ranked last, unfortunately.


14- Dream Theater (2013)

The band followed up their surprising post-Portnoy debut A Dramatic Turn of Events, with this very solid effort. It is a bit of a Dream Theater sampler in that it features one of everything good that the band as done – long epic track, a killer instrumental, heavy opening track and a few great album tracks. While not breaking any new ground, tracks like The Looking Glass and Illumination Theory showed the band still had some tricks up their sleeve.


13- Systematic Chaos (2007)

This album is a tough one to figure out. There are some killer riffs and it is pretty heavy but there are a lot of weird parts and sections that sounded forced. It is still better than your average band and has some memorable songs, but we had to put one album near the bottom of the list.


12- The Astonishing (2016) 

Dream Theater make a bold statement with their 2 and half hour rock opera set in the future where machines have taken over music. James Labrie delivers one of his strongest performance as the band take on a more diverse approach musically, exploring new boundaries. This album, however, is a major departure from the band’s signature style and has been polarizing among the fanbase.


11- Falling Into Infinity (1997)

Amid label struggles, the band falls victim to trying to appease two sides of their audience: the die-hard Prog Metal core and the those that are not as die-hard but might be open to shorter, simpler songs. To be fair, this album has held up better than expected since its release.  There are a few good tracks on here like Trial of Tears and New Millennium and even Hollow Years is one of their better ballads.


  • 1) Scenes From a Memory
    2) Images & Words
    3) Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
    4) Awake
    5) Train of Thought
    6) Octavarium
    7) Systematc Chaos
    8) Black Clouds & Silver Linings
    9) A Dramatic Turn of Events
    10) Dream Theater
    11) Falling into Infinity
    12) The Astonishing.

  • I rate the top to as Images and Words and then Scenes from a Memory. I also think Distance Over Time is an incredible album and my favorite since Scenes from a Memory. Train of Thought, Octavarium, Systematic Chaos, and Black Clouds and Silver Linings had some incredible songs, but several songs I don’t like. The one album I guess I completely agree with most is Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. I almost never listen to that album and don’t get how people put that near the top. I would put that album 2nd to last only in front of When Dream and Day Unite (which has good music but I don’t like the vocals and the production quality isn’t good).

  • Meh:
    The Astonishing

    A View From The Top Of The World
    Distance Over Time
    Dream Theater (S/T)
    Black Clouds & Silver Linings
    Falling Into Infinity

    Very Good:
    A Dramatic Turn Of Events
    Systematic Chaos
    Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence
    When Dream And Day Unite

    3. Train Of Thought
    2. Scenes From A Memory
    1. Images And Words

  • I mostly agree with this ranking but I’d swap “Awake”, which has never really resonated with me and feels like a retread of “Images & Words”, with “The Astonishing” which is a phenomenal album and doesn’t get nearly enough respect from DT fans. I’d also probably flip “Falling into Infinity” which has a couple of genuinely *bad* songs, with “When Dream & Day Unite” which, while rough around the edges, is a really exciting, fun album.

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