Dream Theater is New York’s progressive metal standard bearers. Their unique ability to deliver melodic, tight, and musically sophisticated songs and refined lyrics have made them the standard other acts are measured by. Images and Words, the band’s second album, has helped establish their sonic signature.
However, it was 1994’s Awake and 1999’s Metropolis, Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory that truly cemented Dream Theater’s rightful place in progressive metal’s pantheon. Despite releasing several 21st-century live albums, the band has remained one of the most bootlegged bands in the genre.
Founded by guitarist John Petrucci, the band was originally named Majesty. Other members of the band include drummer Mike Portnoy and bassist John Myung. They were later joined by vocalist Chris Collins and keyboard player Kevin Moore. As Majesty, they released an eight-tune demo that sold a thousand copies in six months.
In late 1986, Collins left the band and was replaced by Charlie Dominici in 1987. The band changed their name to Dream Theater and landed a recording contract with Mechanic Records. Label mismanagement limited the band to performing only at small bars and clubs. Frustrated, the band cut their ties with the label.
After that, the band spent a couple of years searching for a replacement for Dominici. Replacement vocalist James LaBrie joined the band in late 1991. After signing with Atco Atlantic, the band released Images and Words, their second album, in 1992. While their third album showed great growth, the band continued to be hampered by lineup changes.
After more lineup changes, Dream Theater pre-released On the Backs of Angels on YouTube. This was followed by the release of another full-length album, A Dramatic Turn of Events, in the fall. After spending time touring internationally, the band took a break before reconvening in early 2013.