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.
  • 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.
  • 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... 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.
  • 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 La Brie".
    • 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".
  • 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.
  • Hell Is That Noise:
    • The solo and outro of "Misunderstood".
    • The extended ending to "Panic Attack".
    • The NOMAC Tracks off The Astonishing.
  • Jerk Ass: Mike Portnoy according to some fans, especially after he left the band.
  • Large Ham: The Black Clouds & Silver Linings album treats us to thunder, dissonant piano, heavy guitars, choirs, and organs. Oh, and that's just in the first minute of over an hour of music.
  • Love It or Hate It: The Astonishing has quickly become this among the fandom. While critics loved it, the fanbase was really divided. Those who loved it for its story and for featuring some of the best songs of the band's career called it the best album since Octavarium, while the detractors that disliked it for its 2 hour length, almost every other song being a power ballad, and the cheesy lyrics were saying this is where Dream Theater jumped the shark. Keep in mind though that the detractors still find a few songs off this album to be good, but a 2 hour long album gets really tiring to listen to.
  • 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: John Petrucci's Psycho Exercises. You suck if you can't play five million notes a second like he can.
  • 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:
    • "Caught in a Web" can really inspire this sort of thing.
    • Their cover of "Flick of the Wrist" by Queen on the special edition of Black Clouds & Silver Linings too, specifically the way James LaBrie sings the verses.
    • Open your eyes, Nicholas. AHH! *record scratch* *static*
  • 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.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Charlie Dominici, mainly since he isn't in par with James. He's better received in his later projects.
    • Derek Sherinian due to not being as memorable as Kevin Moore and Jordan Rudess. He is however liked for his work in A Change of Seasons.
    • James LaBrie, as far as metal is concerned, although this is mainly due to debates on his vocal range.
    • Mike seems to becoming this for Dream Theater fans, especially due to his attitude towards Dream Theater and his band mates (lest we remember the infamous outburst about the Dream Theater shirt). His apparently diva-like behavior during his time in Adrenaline Mob (he was apparently known for loudly complaining about having to play small clubs and generally acting like having to go through what most lower and mid-level touring acts go through was some sort of grave injustice) did nothing to help his cause.
  • Stunned Silence: A common response upon first hearing Scenes from a Memory or "A Change of Seasons".
  • 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.
  • 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. Although it's gotten better since the release of the self titled, since Mangini feels more open with his drumming.
  • 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.
  • 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: Millage 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.