Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence

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This article is about the album. For the title track, see Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (song).
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
Cover art by Dung Hoang
Studio album by Dream Theater
Released January 29, 2002 (2002-01-29)
Recorded March 12 – August 2001 at BearTracks Studios in Suffern, New York
Genre Progressive metal, progressive rock
Length 96:17
Label Elektra
Producer Mike Portnoy, John Petrucci
Dream Theater chronology
Live Scenes from New York
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
Train of Thought
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[1]
Entertainment Weekly (B)[2]
Rolling Stone (favorable)[3] (8.5/10)[4]

Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence is the sixth full-length studio album by progressive band Dream Theater, released as a double-disc album on January 29, 2002 through Elektra Records. Excluding the A Change of Seasons EP, it is the first Dream Theater album to feature a title track.


The recording is a type of concept album wherein the five songs which comprise the first disc explore different themes of lifetime struggle, such as alcoholism, loss of faith, self-isolation, sanctity of life and death. The sixth song—a 42-minute track occupying the entire second disc, separated into eight parts—explores the stories of six individuals suffering from various mental illnesses. Particularly represented are bipolar and post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, post-partum depression, autism and dissociative identity disorder. Furthermore, the title of the album may also allude to the fact that each song on the album could be seen as a different form of inner turbulence, with the six tracks making another reference to the six degrees, along with the apparent reference to the six degrees of separation. The musical styles of each section of the title track are direct reflections of the band's large variety of influences. Classical, folk, jazz and metal styles are present within the track.


  • The first track of the album, "The Glass Prison", is the beginning of the Twelve-step Suite, dealing with Mike Portnoy's story of rehabilitation from alcoholism, continued in tracks on subsequent albums ("This Dying Soul" on Train of Thought, "The Root of All Evil" on Octavarium, "Repentance" on Systematic Chaos and "The Shattered Fortress" on Black Clouds & Silver Linings). "The Glass Prison" is composed of three parts, mirroring the first three of the twelve steps of the AA program by Bill W. for rehabilitation of alcoholics. Furthermore, it begins with the pink noise that ended Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory.
  • "Blind Faith" was written by James LaBrie about questioning religious belief. Also, it is the second longest song LaBrie has written to date, running at 10:21 (the longest is Sacrificed Sons from Octavarium, running at 10:43.) It was also the first time he had written more than one song on an album. The next time would be on Octavarium.
  • In the song "Misunderstood", John Petrucci wrote and played the guitar solo, and then reversed it. He then learned how to play this reversed version, and after recording it, reversed it once more. This resulted in a solo like the original but with a unique twist to the way the notes sounded.[5] His use of such a technique was predated by George Harrison, on the Beatles song "I'm Only Sleeping".
  • "The Great Debate" is a non-partisan song dealing with the topic of stem-cell research. It was originally titled "Conflict at Ground Zero" based on the lyrics in the chorus but changed at the last minute to "The Great Debate" due to the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York City[6] (as producers John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy were actually in a Manhattan studio conducting final mixes of the album on the day in question and made the change when all of the news reports started to refer to the site as "Ground Zero.")
  • The song "Disappear" was written by James LaBrie and was originally titled "Move On".[6] At 6:46, it is the shortest song on the album and it is about death.
  • The sixth song "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence", which makes up the entire second CD, is the longest song Dream Theater have recorded to date. The song tells of six people suffering from various syndromes, each of which either is written by Mike Portnoy or John Petrucci. When recording it, they wanted to keep the song at the 20 minutes, but more and more ideas came which resulted in the 42 minute epic. Realising that they would have to cut "Disappear" and "Misunderstood" to keep the album at one CD, their record label was now open for the idea of a double album (Dream Theater had previously been denied on this when recording Falling into Infinity.)
  • The last chord of "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" is the same that opens "As I Am" on the next album Train of Thought.


Influences for the album's writing and recording, according to the authors, include Metallica's Master of Puppets, Radiohead's OK Computer (and also a Radiohead bootleg Portnoy brought in), Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power and song "Mouth for War",[7] Megadeth's Rust in Peace,[7] U2's Achtung Baby, Tool's Ænima, Nine Inch Nails' The Downward Spiral, Soundgarden's Superunknown, Alice in Chains' Dirt, Kevin Gilbert's Thud, King's X's Faith Hope Love and Galactic Cowboys' Space in Your Face, Béla Bartók, Rage Against the Machine's The Battle of Los Angeles, and Maria Tipo's Chopin Nocturnes.[8]

Track listing[edit]

Disc one[edit]

All music composed by John Petrucci, John Myung, Jordan Rudess and Mike Portnoy.

No. Title Lyrics Length
1. "The Glass Prison"
  • I. "Reflection"
  • II. "Restoration"
  • III. "Revelation"  
Mike Portnoy 13:52
  • 5:54
  • 3:44
  • 4:14
2. "Blind Faith"   James LaBrie 10:21
3. "Misunderstood"   John Petrucci 9:32
4. "The Great Debate"   Petrucci 13:46
5. "Disappear"   LaBrie 6:46
Total length:

Disc two[edit]

No. Title Lyrics Length
1. "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence"
  • I. "Overture"
  • II. "About to Crash"
  • III. "War Inside My Head"
  • IV. "The Test That Stumped Them All"
  • V. "Goodnight Kiss"
  • VI. "Solitary Shell"
  • VII. "About to Crash (Reprise)"
  • VIII. "Losing Time/Grand Finale"  
Petrucci, Portnoy
  • (instrumental)
  • Petrucci
  • Portnoy
  • Portnoy
  • Portnoy
  • Petrucci
  • Petrucci
  • Petrucci
  • 6:50
  • 5:50
  • 2:08
  • 5:03
  • 6:17
  • 5:47
  • 4:04
  • 5:59
Total length:

Chart performance[edit]

Year Chart Position
2002 Billboard 200 46[9]
Year Title Chart Position
2002 "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" Billboard Top Internet Albums 1[9]



External links[edit]