YMMV / Dream Theater

DT is one of the most polarizing bands in Prog Rock. They're either the best musicians performing today, writing some of the best music out there, or they ramble through overly technical, endless solos. Or they may be both. That's left to your choice.
  • Awesome Music: Have their own page.
  • Broken Base: Generally in the form of Older Stuff vs. Newer Stuff. The dividing point is usually with Scenes from a Memory.
    • Kevin Moore is one as well. Depending on who you ask, he was either a valuable but nonessential part of the band whose loss was made up for, or he was their secret weapon and someone whose loss made the band lose some of its charm.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: Have their own page.
  • Ending Fatigue: "Six Degrees"'s final chord fades out over the course of two minutes, and "Finally Free"'s outro riff repeats twelve times before the song ends (although it is overlaid by a rather climactic drum solo)... leading into a minute-and-a-half long epilogue that cuts to lingering static. Subverted by "Octavarium", which sounds like it's about to end on the last chord of "Intervals", but transitions into "Razor's Edge", which is epic enough to defy this trope.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: You're most likely to hear Images and Words or Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory cited as their best album, but there are other fans who will give the nod to works like Awake, A Change of Seasons (technically an EP, though it's longer than a few of the band's actual albums), Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, or Train of Thought.
  • Epic Riff: For a band often slagged for their songwriting, they have quite a few of these on a wide variety of instruments. From Awake, the main riffs from "Erotomania" and "The Mirror" are good examples, as is the drum intro to "6:00".
  • Face of the Band: Mike Portnoy was pretty much the face of the band. He acted as the spokesman and did the bulk of the interviews and other things, and interacted with the fans more than any of the others. Petrucci is a sort of second in command. Jordan also does a lot of face stuff, but usually in the context of a solo artist. John Myung mostly stays out of the limelight. Labrie himself was only going to be a guy who did vocals for them, rather than being a full on member who worked on songs.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Depending on who you ask, the responses you'll get for favorite and least favorite albums tends to be almost random. Every single album will be at the top or bottom of someone's list, and most fans ignore a few albums. Some examples:
    • When Dream and Day Unite, due to its fairly jarring Early Installment Weirdness. As in "there was no DT before James LaBrie".
    • Falling into Infinity, due to it being a New Sound Album towards radio-friendliness. Sometimes A Change of Seasons gets hit as well, getting a "there was no DT with Derek Sherinian".
    • Everything post-Scenes... (and sometimes Scenes itself) is subjected to this, as "there's no DT with Jordan Rudess".
    • Everything post-Black Clouds... as "there's no DT without Mike Portnoy".
  • Funny Moments: Have their own page.
  • Growing the Beards: As one might tell by the plural, played literally, too. Their breakthrough, Images and Words, was released in 1992 and peaked at #61 in the United States. Nobody had any facial hair. Compare that to 2007's Systematic Chaos, their first Top 20 album (#19) and 2009's Black Clouds & Silver Linings, their first Top 10 (#6) which by then, everyone except Myung is more often seen with big beards and other facial hair.
  • Heartwarming Moments: They have their own page.
  • Memetic Badass: John Petrucci, likely due in large part to the "Psycho Exercises" videos. Most videos on YouTube featuring Petrucci either performing or just talking about his rig, music, etc. have a number of comments referencing absolute world-dominating awesomeness, usually in ways obviously influenced by Chuck Norris Facts.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moral Event Horizon: Edward in Metropolis, Pt. 2 crosses it when he kills Victoria and Julian.
  • Narm Charm:
    • The lyrics on the song "The Count of Tuscany", from Black Clouds & Silver Linings, are some of the most ridiculous in the band's history. LaBrie sings this like it's the most sinister and creepy thing in the world. The lyrics are undeniably cheesy:
    • Another example:
    Let me introduce-
    My ''brother
    A bearded gentleman
  • Never Live It Down: Portnoy's recent Twitter outburst (the one where he castigated a fan for wearing a Mangini-era Dream Theater shirt to a meet-and-greet, then subsequently ranted about how he learned that he wasn't allowed to have opinions when called out on it) is starting to look like it's going to become a case of this.
  • Nightmare Fuel: They have their own page.
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Former keyboardist Derek Sherinian, who replaced original keyboardist Kevin Moore. Sherinian's own replacement, Jordan Rudess, was better received.
    • Drummer Mike Mangini, regarding former drummer Mike Portnoy's departure.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Overall, they avert Author Tracts in their music, with a few exceptions. The biggest exception is that they have quite a few songs based on mental disorders, and they're not remotely subtle about depicting how debilitating said disorders can be, nor how unjust it is that people who suffer from them are stigmatised in society. "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" may be the best example, though "The Enemy Inside" also deserves mention for bringing attention to the problem of post-traumatic stress disorder among war veterans (as well as the band's close work with a charity for said veterans).
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" starts with a melody that sounds eerily similar to the way Kansas began the outro to their song, "The Wall", and the "Solitary Shell" movement has more in line with Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill" than just its title.
    • There's also a recurring riff in "The Enemy Inside" that has the exact same guitar line as the main riff in Megadeth's "Sudden Death".
    • "Panic Attack" has a recurring riff that sounds very similar to Ridley's Leitmotif from the Metroid series.
  • Tear Jerker: Have their own page, and they've really, really earned it.
  • That One Boss: "Constant Motion" and "Panic Attack" in Rock Band, as well as "Pull Me Under" from Guitar Hero, especially on drums and bass.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks:
    • Subverted by LaBrie, who replaced Dominici. This was immediately followed by the release of Images and Words, their biggest mainstream success.
    • Kevin Moore's departure from the band.
    • Subverted again with Derek Sherinian, who replaced Kevin Moore before they released "A Change of Seasons", widely regarded as their best song to date.
    • And once again subverted by Jordan Rudess, who replaced Derek Sherinian. after it, they released Scenes from a Memory, which is regarded by many fans as their absolute greatest album.
    • Some fans had this attitude after Mike Portnoy was replaced by Mike Mangini. While Mangini is a spectacular drummer on the post-Portnoy albums, he doesn't garner the same "excitement" Portnoy was known for.
  • Too Soon: "Live Scenes from New York" was released on September 11th 2001. This is the original album cover. As you can probably guess, the album was quickly recalled, and the cover replaced.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Pretty much anything post-Images and Words (and sometimes Awake) is subjected to this, with the exception of Scenes....
    • Falling Into Infinity suffered from this hard due to following up the critically acclaimed Awake. James LaBrie suffering from a vocal cord injury also didn't help matters. But what really hurt this album was Executive Meddling up the wazoo, such as the band having to write shorter, "radio-friendly" songs, producer Kevin Shirley making a lot of changes (such taking the middle section out of "Burning My Soul" and turning it into what would become "Hell's Kitchen"), and the band being forced to work with an outside songwriter, Desmond Child. The album was a critical and commercial failure upon release, although in the recent years, fans and critics alike have been much kinder to the album.
      • A fairly recent release of demos of the album's songs has been quite warmly received, with many fans saying they preferred these versions to the overproduced album versions.
    • Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence is a very underrated album, mainly because it was unfortunate enough to come after Scenes From a Memory, which is widely considered their best album.
    • The Astonishing for some, while critics are hailing it as a great album, many fans see it as average at best, feel it is heavily similar to Rush's 2112 album, and that its 2 hour length and overabundance of power ballads really bring the album down.
    • Mike Mangini compared to Mike Portnoy, in spade.
  • Vindicated by History: Falling Into Infinity was a failure after it was released. Nowadays, a lot of people call it an underrated gem in their discography. A 2007 release of the demos from the album got quite a large amount of acclaim, with many fans and critics feeling they represent the way the album should have sounded in the first place. (The addition of well-loved tracks such as "Raise the Knife" helped, too).
    • From a critical standpoint, Awake was rather mixed in its release. Years later, critics have looked back on the album more favorably, enough to include it in various "best of the 90s" lists.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Mileage may vary, but there's no doubt that the self titled brought a lot of fans back following the mixed bag release of A Dramatic Turn of Events, often even called heavier than Train of Thought and some (even Mike Portnoy) feel the album is similar to Images and Words.