Prog Report Ranking – Dream Theater Albums

Ranking of Dream Theater’s studio albums.

5- Train of Thought (2003)

After 2 incredible Prog heavy albums, the band decided to go really, really heavy. And they did so with flying colors (no pun intended). This is a great album from start to finish. There is an intensity in each song that they have not replicated since. This Dying Soul, Endless Sacrifice and In the Name of God are spectacular as is much of the album.

 

4- Awake (1994)

When it first came out, the album was a bit of a left turn for the band which had just made their names with Images and Words. It was heavier, less keyboard heavy and way more diverse. But rather than make Images and Words 2, they took a solid step forward as songwriters, which few bands in this genre have been able to do. It set the band up for many more albums of experimentation and growth. Many years later, tracks like Erotomania, Voices, Scarred and Caught In A Web remain fan favorites and still resonate live.

 

3- Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (2002)

Here we start to get to the cream of the crop. Every Prog band has to attempt a double album. It’s practically in the rules. But not many can produce this good a result. The first disc is complete with all different styles from the aggressive Glass Prison to the Floyd-esque Blind Faith and the equally diverse Great Debate. The second disc is just as good with the 42 minute title track that includes highlights like The Test That Stumped Them All and Solitary Shell.

 

2- Images and Words (1992)

It is hard not to put this at number 1, with all that it means to so many Prog fans. For many of us that only knew Prog as Yes and Genesis, this was the first time it was heavy and modern and paved the way for all the bands we listen to today. It was the beginning for many fans and future bands that would follow in their footsteps. The album now approached its 30 year anniversary.

 

1- Scenes From A Memory (1999)

This is almost universally considered as the group’s best album and that would be hard to argue. It meets all the marks of a great Prog album and then some. It’s a concept album (check), every song is great (check), it has a mind blowing instrumental (check), a choir (check) and an epic ending (check). The album recently passed the 20 years old mark and the band it on tour it in its entirety live on their previous tour. Songs like Strange Deja Vu, Fatal Tragedy and Dance of Eternity are some of their best songs and remain incredible live.

6 comments

  • 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

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

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

    Best:
    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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