Dream Theater (album)

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Dream Theater
Studio album by Dream Theater
Released September 23, 2013 (2013-09-23)
Recorded January–May 2013 at Cove City Sound Studios in Glen Cove, New York
Genre Progressive metal
Length 68:01
Label Roadrunner
Producer John Petrucci
Dream Theater chronology
A Dramatic Turn of Events
Dream Theater
Live at Luna Park
Singles from Dream Theater
  1. "The Enemy Inside"
    Released: August 5, 2013
  2. "Along for the Ride"
    Released: September 9, 2013
  3. "The Looking Glass"
    Released: February 3, 2014

Dream Theater is the twelfth studio album by American progressive metal band Dream Theater, released through Roadrunner Records on September 23, 2013, in Europe and a day later in the United States. The album was written, recorded, mixed, and mastered between January and May 2013 at Cove City Sound Studios in Long Island, New York, the same location as the band's previous album, A Dramatic Turn of Events (2011).

The band made Dream Theater a self-titled album to emphasize that they were moving forward in their career and to make it a reference point for fans. The album's songs are shorter on average than most Dream Theater songs, with the exception of the 20-minute closer "Illumination Theory". Strings for the album were arranged by Eren Başbuğ, a Berklee College of Music student.

Dream Theater moved 34,000 units in the United States in its debut week and became the band's second highest charting album behind 2009's Black Clouds & Silver Linings. For its lead single "The Enemy Inside", the band received their second consecutive Grammy nomination in the Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance category. In early 2014, the band toured Europe and America in support of the album and recorded their performance at the Boston Opera House for a live release.


Preliminary writing for Dream Theater's twelfth album commenced on the A Dramatic Turn of Events Tour in April 2012.[1] During soundchecks, the band would jam and record their ideas, and guitarist John Petrucci would try out independently composed material.[2] They did not enter the recording studio until January 2013,[3] returning to Cove City Sound Studios in Glen Cove, New York, where they recorded A Dramatic Turn of Events.[4] The first song the band wrote was "Surrender to Reason",[5] which bassist John Myung credited with setting the pace for the remainder of writing.[6]

From the start, drummer Mike Mangini was wholly integrated in the creative process,[4] unlike for A Dramatic Turn of Events, where Petrucci programmed the main drum parts during writing and Mangini recorded his own interpretations of them later.[7] Commenting on Mangini's work, Petrucci said, "When people hear the drumming on this album, they’re gonna be pretty freaked out... I feel like now he’s just Mike Mangini unleashed. It's all him. It's all his creativity, all his decisions and ideas - and man, the guy's an animal."[8]

During the studio sessions, every band member's instrument was miked and captured as they were writing so they could hear ahead of time how everything would sound when it was recorded.[9] Recording concluded in May,[10] and mixing was performed by Richard Chycki, who was hired based on Dream Theater's past experiences with him and his history with Rush.[11]


In calling the album Dream Theater, the band tried to define who they were and emphasize that they were moving forward.[9] Reflecting on the decision for Guitar World, John Petrucci said, "We wanted to make this album a reference point for [fans] as far as what Dream Theater is all about. That was the goal and the mission, and it set the tone for the entire project."[12] In an article for Grantland, Steven Hyden noted the album's stylistic similarities to Rush, writing, "There are songs on Dream Theater that are just straight-up Rush imitations, most notably 'The Looking Glass,' which crossbreeds 'Limelight' with 'Freewill' while leaving out Neil Peart’s misanthropic individualism."[13]

The Berklee College of Music (pictured in 2010). The band and the self-titled album have many connections to the school.[14]

The songs on Dream Theater are shorter and more compact on average than on other Dream Theater albums, a conscious decision made by the band during writing that Petrucci later admitted was a challenge for them.[15] Two songs on the album made use of a string ensemble conducted by Berklee College of Music student Eren Başbuğ,[16] including the 20-minute closer "Illumination Theory", which keyboardist Jordan Rudess called the band's opportunity to go "crazy" after writing so many concise songs.[17]

Dream Theater features two instrumentals, "False Awakening Suite" and "Enigma Machine", the former of which was written specifically to open the band's live shows.[18] They were the first instrumentals the band had written for a studio album since "Stream of Consciousness" on 2003's Train of Thought.[12] The lyrics for "The Enemy Inside", which deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), were written in response to the Boston Marathon bombings.[19]


In June 2013, Dream Theater announced that their upcoming studio album would be self-titled and released in September.[20] The album's first single, "The Enemy Inside", was made available for streaming by USA Today on August 5.[21] Its second single, "Along for the Ride", was made available for streaming one month later.[22] The album was premiered by Rolling Stone on September 16 via a free online stream.[23] It was officially released one week later on September 23.[4] In its debut week, it sold over 34,000 copies in the United States to land at number seven on the Billboard 200 chart,[24] making it the band's third consecutive top ten debut and second highest charting album ever behind 2009's Black Clouds & Silver Linings, which debuted at number six.[25] That same week, the band released a music video for "The Enemy Inside", which drove awareness for Save a Warrior, a foundation dedicated to helping veterans heal from the effects of combat.[26] In February 2014, the album's second and final music video was released, this time for "The Looking Glass".[27]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[28]
Loudwire 4.5/5 stars[29]
PopMatters 3/10 stars[30]
Sputnik Music 3.5/5 stars[31]

Allmusic gave Dream Theater a strong review, with Thom Jurek calling it "one of the more dynamic, far-reaching albums in DT's catalog."[28] Loudwire was also very positive, giving it a near-perfect score and praising its more streamlined sound compared to previous Dream Theater albums.[29] Grantland's Steven Hyden, whose introduction to the band was through the self-titled album, wrote, "I drank this cocktail, and I’m glad. Dream Theater is a blast."[13] PopMatters was less positive, criticizing the band for giving "a noticeably watered down take on a core style".[30] For "The Enemy Inside", Dream Theater received their second consecutive Grammy nomination in the Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance category.[32]

Supporting tour[edit]

In promotion of the album, Dream Theater toured Europe and North America in early 2014.[33] On March 25, they performed at the Boston Opera House with the Berklee Concert Choir and Berklee World Strings in an event that was dubbed the band's "homecoming".[14] The concert was recorded and released on September 30 as part of the Breaking the Fourth Wall live collection.[34] The live Blu-ray/DVD of the release debuted at number one on various music video charts, and the band donated part of the proceeds to the Dream Theater Scholarship Fund at Berklee.[35]

Track listing[edit]

All titles and song lengths taken from the Dream Theater liner notes. All lyrics written by John Petrucci except where noted and all music written by Dream Theater except where noted.[36]

No. Title Length
1. "False Awakening Suite" (instrumental; music by Petrucci, Rudess)
  • "I. Sleep Paralysis"
  • "II. Night Terrors"
  • "III. Lucid Dream"  
  • 0:58
  • 0:45
  • 1:03
2. "The Enemy Inside"   6:17
3. "The Looking Glass"   4:53
4. "Enigma Machine" (instrumental; music by Petrucci, Rudess, Myung, Mangini) 6:01
5. "The Bigger Picture"   7:40
6. "Behind the Veil"   6:52
7. "Surrender to Reason" (lyrics by Myung) 6:34
8. "Along for the Ride" (music by Petrucci, Rudess) 4:45
9. "Illumination Theory"
  • "I. Paradoxe de la Lumière Noire" (instrumental)
  • "II. Live, Die, Kill"
  • "III. The Embracing Circle" (instrumental)
  • "IV. The Pursuit of Truth"
  • "V. Surrender, Trust & Passion" + "Hidden track"" (instrumental)
  • 1:16
  • 5:45
  • 4:09
  • 4:07
  • 7:00
Japanese edition bonus track
No. Title Length
10. "The Enemy Inside" (instrumental) 6:17


All credits taken from the Dream Theater liner notes.[36]

Dream Theater
String Ensemble
  • Violin I - Misha Gutenberg (Concert Master), Larisa Vollis
  • Violin II - Yelena Khaimova, Yevgeniy Mansurov
  • Viola - Aleksandr Anisimov, Noah Wallace
  • Cello - Anastasia Golenisheva, Valeriya Sholokhova
  • Double Bass - Len Sluetsky


Chart (2013) Peak
Argentina[37] 3
Austria 7
Australia[38] 15
Belgium[39] 16
Canada [40] 5
Czech Republic[41] 4
Denmark[42] 6
Finland[43] 2
Germany 4
Germany (Metal-Rock-Charts) 2
Netherlands[44] 4
Hungary 2
Italy 2
Indonesia 1
Japan[45] 1
Norway[46] 7
Portugal 10
Poland 4
Spain[47] 11
Sweden[48] 5
Switzerland[49] 5
UK Albums Chart[50] 15
UK Rock Chart[51] 1
US Billboard 200[25] 7
US Billboard Tastemaker Albums[52] 3
US Billboard Top Digital Albums[53] 10
US Billboard Top Hard Rock Albums[54] 1
US Billboard Top Rock Albums[55] 3


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