Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory

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Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory
Dream Theater - Metropolis Pt. 2- Scenes from a Memory.jpg
Cover art by Dave McKean
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 26, 1999 (1999-10-26)[1]
StudioBearTracks Studios in Suffern, New York
Dream Theater chronology
Once in a LIVEtime
Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory
Live Scenes from New York
Singles from Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory
  1. "Through Her Eyes"
    Released: February 2000 [2]

Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory is the fifth studio album and first concept album by American progressive metal band Dream Theater, released on October 26, 1999 through Elektra Records. It was recorded at BearTracks Studios in Suffern, New York, where the band had previously recorded their second studio album Images and Words (1992) and the EP A Change of Seasons (1995).

The album is the sequel to "Metropolis—Part I: 'The Miracle and the Sleeper'", a song previously featured on the band's 1992 album Images and Words. It was also the first album to feature Jordan Rudess on keyboards.

For the album's twentieth anniversary, the band performed the album live in its entirety throughout the Distance over Time Tour.


Fans had previously requested a sequel to the first part of the song "Metropolis—Part I" from Images and Words, but the band had not yet been able - nor had they originally intended - to make one. The name "Part I" was added by Petrucci as a joke. With the sessions for Falling Into Infinity (1997), the band recorded a 21-minute instrumental demo of "Metropolis Pt. 2" (which was later released by Mike Portnoy via his Ytsejam Records site along with the other Falling Into Infinity demos), but this did not make it onto that album. The demo, which included several musical citations from "Metropolis—Part I" and featured many motifs that would later appear on Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory (most notably the majority of "Overture 1928" and "Strange Deja Vu" and parts of "The Dance of Eternity" and "One Last Time"), was however significantly different from the finished album version in most parts.

After participating with keyboardist Jordan Rudess in Liquid Tension Experiment, a supergroup composed of various members of famous progressive rock bands, Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci found themselves writing music and working together with Rudess quite easily. They convinced the rest of the band to offer Rudess the position of full-time keyboardist for the band's upcoming album. He accepted, and current keyboardist Derek Sherinian was fired from the band via a conference call between the four members in New York and him in Los Angeles (Portnoy and Petrucci have stated that while it was an uncomfortable and unattractive situation, they didn't want to ask Derek to fly out from L.A. to New York only to be fired).[3]

After his departure, the band went back to BearTracks Studios in Suffern, New York to record their new album, previously the site of recording for Images and Words (a photograph of Beartracks is featured on the album's back cover, meant to represent the house in the album). After the commercial failure of Falling Into Infinity, their record label gave the band free rein over their new album's direction, which led the band to finally finish the story. The final version of the story became a concept album, dealing with the story of a man named Nicholas and the discovery of his past life, which involves love, murder and infidelity as Victoria Page, and as such was heavily inspired by the 1991 film Dead Again,[4][5] more so than the original "Metropolis—Part I".

Following the album's release, the band embarked on an extensive world tour, and at a show in New York City the band actually hired actors to perform the narrative elements of the album whilst they played. The performance was recorded and was released in 2001 as the Metropolis 2000 Live DVD. In 2011 the album was released on LP for the first time to celebrate Record Store Day. In 2019, the twentieth anniversary of the release of Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory, Dream Theater performed it live in its entirety alongside material from their fourteenth studio album, Distance over Time.[6][7] The Distance over Time tour was documented as well and released in November 2020.


Act I[edit]

Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory opens to Nicholas, a troubled man going through past life regression therapy. In a hypnotic trance induced by his hypnotherapist, he begins to see a girl named Victoria Page (her full name is in the CD booklet and was shown during the 2019 tour, when the album was performed in its entirety) and a life that feels strangely familiar, despite the fact that he has never been here. ("Regression") He learns that she was murdered, and that he was Victoria in a past life. ("Strange Deja Vu") He begins to believe that Victoria is haunting him to reveal the truth about her murder. ("Through My Words") Nicholas is able to recall that Victoria began distancing herself from her lover Julian Baynes (also given last name in 2019 tour video and is also in the CD insert) because of his drinking and gambling addictions; she sought comfort in Julian's brother Edward Baynes and began an affair with him. Nicholas assumes that Julian murdered her out of jealousy and then killed himself, a story backed up by a newspaper article covering the events, which cites a witness' testimony. However, Nicholas begins to doubt this series of events, and converses with an older man who was more familiar with the case (an animated video that played during "Fatal Tragedy" on the 2019 tour heavily suggests he is a reincarnated Julian). He realizes that he will never be able to get on with his own life until he solves her murder. ("Fatal Tragedy"; "Beyond This Life", "Through Her Eyes")

Act II[edit]

The second act begins by describing Julian's addictions to cocaine and gambling, which drives Victoria away from him. ("Home") Edward feels guilty about deceiving his brother, but decides that his love for Victoria is greater than his guilt, and he seduces her when she is vulnerable following her breakup. ("The Dance of Eternity") After visiting Edward's old house, Nicholas believes he has solved the mystery: Julian had tried to beg Victoria for forgiveness, and when rebuffed, killed both her and Edward, and positioned himself as the witness in the newspaper article. ("One Last Time") Nicholas comes to terms with what has happened, and bids farewell to Victoria. The hypnotherapist ends the session at this point, despite pleas from Victoria's memories. ("The Spirit Carries On") The narrative then cuts to Edward's perspective, revealing that he wished his romance with Victoria was more than a simple affair. As Victoria begins to reconcile with Julian again, Edward confronts the two of them, murders them, then stages the scene and assumes the role of the witness for the newspaper column. The flashback includes Edward telling Victoria to "open [her] eyes" before killing her, echoing the same choice of words the hypnotherapist used to wake Nicholas from his hypnotic trance. ("Finally Free") In the present, Nicholas arrives home, followed by the Hypnotherapist. Nicholas is startled by another request to "open [his] eyes", before the album cuts to (and concludes on) phonographic static. The band confirmed on the Scenes from New York live DVD that the hypnotherapist is Edward's reincarnation, and has killed Nicholas to complete the cycle yet again.

The static that closes this album continues at the beginning of "The Glass Prison", the first song on their next album, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (2002), and continuing a chain for their subsequent albums until Octavarium (2005) with the same idea but different closing notes.


Scenes from a Memory showcased a traditional progressive rock sound.[1][8][9][10] According to the "Making of Scenes from a Memory" video, some of the influences for Metropolis Pt. 2 are the following concept albums: the Who's Tommy, Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Roger Waters' Amused to Death, Radiohead's OK Computer, Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime, the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Marillion's Misplaced Childhood and Pink Floyd's The Wall and The Final Cut. These albums are shown on a table Mike calls "Inspiration Corner".[11]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Rock Hard10/10[12]
Metal Storm10/10[5]

Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory reached #73 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, #2 on the Billboard Top Internet Albums, #6 on the Finnish Albums Chart and #8 on the German Albums Chart. The album received acclaim from a variety of sources. It was ranked number 95 on the October 2006 issue of Guitar World magazine's list of "The greatest 100 guitar albums of all time".[13] It is ranked as the 15th Greatest Concept Album (as of March 2003) by Classic Rock Magazine.[14] The German Rock Hard magazine voted it Album of the Month, giving a perfect score,[12] and eventually ranked it number 410 in their book The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time in 2005.[15]

In 2012, the readers of Rolling Stone voted the album into the #1 position of their "Your Favorite Prog Rock Albums of All Time" poll.[16] Scenes from a Memory was ranked by the same magazine at #29 in their list "50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time."[17]

In 2015, The Prog Report ranked it #3 in the Top 50 Modern Prog Albums 1990–2015.[18]

Jordan Blum of PopMatters called the album "the greatest progressive metal work of all time."[19]

Loudwire named it at #14 in their list "Top 25 Progressive Metal Albums of All Time."[20]

Track listing[edit]

All music is composed by Dream Theater, except where noted.

Act I
1."Scene One: Regression" (music: Petrucci)John Petrucci2:06
2."Scene Two: I. Overture 1928"(instrumental)3:37
3."Scene Two: II. Strange Deja Vu"Mike Portnoy5:12
4."Scene Three: I. Through My Words" (music: Petrucci)Petrucci1:02
5."Scene Three: II. Fatal Tragedy"John Myung6:49
6."Scene Four: Beyond This Life"Petrucci11:22
7."Scene Five: Through Her Eyes"Petrucci5:29
Act II
8."Scene Six: Home"Portnoy12:53
9."Scene Seven: I. The Dance of Eternity"(instrumental)6:13
10."Scene Seven: II. One Last Time"James LaBrie3:46
11."Scene Eight: The Spirit Carries On"Petrucci6:38
12."Scene Nine: Finally Free"Portnoy11:59
Total length:77:06

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1999) Peak
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[21] 28
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[22] 6
French Albums (SNEP)[23] 40
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[21] 8
Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ)[24] 13
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[25] 28
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[26] 44
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[27] 44
US Billboard 200[28] 73
US Top Internet Albums (Billboard)[28] 2
UK Albums (OCC)[29] 131


Dream Theater
  • Theresa Thomason – additional vocals (tracks 7, 11), additional background vocals (track 11)
  • Mary Canty, Shelia Slappy, Mary Smith, Jeanette Smith, Clarence Burke Jr., Carol Cyrus, Dale Scott – additional background vocals (track 11)
  • Terry Brown – voice of the Hypnotherapist (uncredited)
  • David Bottrill – voice of Edward (uncredited)
  • Doug Oberkircher – sound engineering
  • Brian Quackenbush – assistant engineering
  • Michael Bates – assistant engineering
  • Terry Brown – vocals co-production
  • Kevin Shirleymixing engineering (tracks 2–8, 11)
  • Rory Romano – mixing engineering assistance (tracks 2–8, 11)
  • David Bottrill – mixing engineering (tracks 1, 9, 10, 12)
  • Shinobu Mitsuoka – mixing engineer assistance (tracks 1, 9, 10, 12)
  • George Marino – mastering engineering
  • Eugene Nastasi – mastering engineering assistance
  • Lili Picou – art direction and design
  • Dave McKeancover illustration
  • Ken Schles – still life photography
  • Andrew Lepley – house photography


  1. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Metropolis, Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory - Dream Theater - Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  2. ^ "Through Her Eyes".
  3. ^ "Mike Portnoy Faq's: Dream Theater- Members (Past and Present)". Retrieved August 12, 2013.
  4. ^ "Dream Theater Discography". Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Dream Theater - Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory review". Metal Storm. September 29, 2003. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  6. ^ "Dream Theater to Perform Entire 1999 Concept Album 'Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory' on Upcoming Tour". November 14, 2018. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  7. ^ Jomatami. "Dream Theater: How We're Going to Approach Playing 'Scenes from a Memory' in Full on Upcoming Tour". Ultimate Guitar. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  8. ^ Harris, Craig. "Dream Theater - Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  9. ^ Ezell, Brice (June 21, 2012). "Rush: Clockwork Angels". PopMatters. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  10. ^ Taylor, Robert. "Live Scenes from New York - Dream Theater | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  11. ^ "Dream Theater - Making of Scenes From A Memory". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  12. ^ a b Rensen, Michael. "DREAM THEATER - Scenes From A Memory". Rock Hard (in German). Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  13. ^ "Guitar World's (Readers Choice) Greatest 100 Guitar Albums Of All Time". Community. August 13, 2006. Archived from the original on May 26, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  14. ^ " Parker...Classic Rock Lists..." Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  15. ^ Best of Rock & Metal - Die 500 stärksten Scheiben aller Zeiten (in German). Rock Hard. 2005. ISBN 3-89880-517-4.
  16. ^ "Readers' Poll: Your Favorite Prog Rock Albums of All Time - 1. Dream Theater – 'Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From a Memory'". Rolling Stone. July 25, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  17. ^ "50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. June 17, 2015. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  18. ^ "Top 50 Prog Albums 1990-2015". The Prog Report. July 13, 2015. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  19. ^ Blum, Jordan (January 22, 2015). "Miraculous Metropolis: A Reflection on Dream Theater's 'Scenes from a Memory'". PopMatters. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  20. ^ Hill, John (August 2, 2017). "Top 25 Progressive Metal Albums of All Time". Loudwire. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  21. ^ a b " – Dream Theater – Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  22. ^ "Dream Theater - Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  23. ^ " – Dream Theater – Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  24. ^ "Album Top 40 slágerlista – 1999. 44. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved November 24, 2021.
  25. ^ " – Dream Theater – Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  26. ^ " – Dream Theater – Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  27. ^ " – Dream Theater – Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  28. ^ a b "Metropolis, Pt. 2: Scenes From a Memory - Dream Theater | Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on January 7, 2016. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  29. ^ "Chart Log UK". Zobbelaccess-date=November 18, 2021. Archived from the original on October 15, 2015.

External links[edit]