Dream Theater Are Pop, Not Progressive

Dream Theater are commonly mistaken to be a “progressive” metal band. Their fans love to brag about how “progressive” the band is as it makes them feel smarter than the typical rock and mainstream Maiden and Metallica metal fans. This is the same sort of intellectual smugness that pretentious urban leftists and the communist-infiltrated ivory tower have about the working class, those who do not shout whatever their currently favored political slogans in the street are like Mao’s Red Guards, or whoever openly dislikes the latest pretentious socialist realist film awarded a trophy by the liberal media shills to promote their Marxist agenda.

Dream Theater‘s songs are not “progressive” as they don’t really progressive forward melodically in an orderly fashion like the better examples of classical music. Yes, Dream Theater do modulate through a series of arpeggios, scales, and keys and shift time signatures like Rush but just like Rush never in the name of overall melodic progression or to make musical point. Their modulations and time signature shifts are more about haphazard instrumental wank. Dream Theater write music as far from Yes and King Crimson as they do from Slayer.

Dream Theater write wanky, hook-based pop rock. Yes, their compositions have a few metal verses mixed in with the arena and album oriented rock parts in every song but that in no way makes the compositions metal ones. Nirvana copying one Celtic Frost rhythm did not mean Nirvana played metal music. Dream Theater’s music frequently and quite randomly modulates from power chord chug rhythm verses to catchy, major scale based choruses used as hooks in the same way boy bands on the radio do.

Similarly Satyricon is far removed from Mayhem and Immortal . The difference is Nocturno Culto kept their riffs black metal but Satyricon’s songs were still rather random on Nemesis Divina featuring some hilarious major key modulations for the leads that made zero sense thematically or melodically. Satyricon were once a metal band, just not a particularly good one. Dream Theater are as metal as Nirvana and Styx, that is not at all.

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36 thoughts on “Dream Theater Are Pop, Not Progressive”

  1. GGALLIN1776 says:

    There was once this anorexic horse face chic that worked at strawberries about 15 years ago, when I would go check the used cd bin I would always hear her blabbing about cream theater. I once asked what other bands she liked & I got a “ASS THEATRE IS THE ONLY METAL BAND I LISTEN TO!”

    Then I got an earful of how death metal is no talent crap & I think I told her to go get raped(or something similar to that). Whatever it was that I said, I saw her at a party not too longer after & she was screaming at me over my choice of words. It may have been a different party/person but i’m pretty sure that I dumped some liquid out of the fridge on her head. Most likely dairy or not-so-ready jello shots. With that action I angered everyone, but twas not ejected from the soiree.

    1. Angry Garden Gnome says:

      You’re a real badass around these parts I hear.

      Fear not, as I bring gifts. A dried up husk that barely even bleeds, just like you like em.


  2. Exfoliation says:

    An awful waste of time band

  3. bring back the metal into deathmetal.org says:

    so now we know that dream theatre is pop not prog. that satyircon isn’t good but at least used to be a metal band. other than that, i couldn’t figure any content in this one. so once again, great post maraat.

    let me guess how you make a post… you have 2-3 blueprints that go something like:
    A is not metal. comunist shit bags like A because it makes them feel superior. A is like B, B once was good, now they make wanky stuff for hipsters. They want to be like C but they are just like B. Verse-Chorus-Verse like A is simply pop, not metal. C would rape them so they can get aids.

    then you go like ctrl + f and then replace:
    A = Band you dislike
    B = Band that is too popular for you
    C = Either Profanatica or Serpent Ascending, depending on your actual mood

    If that isn’t pop culture you’re doing here with your posts, what is pop then?

    1. Ah the panderer to German political correctness has returned. How’s the ongoing epidemic of rape working out for you?

      1. GGALLIN1776 says:


        1. PUNCTUATION GESTAPO says:


      2. Lancer says:

        Your counter reeks of ad homo-nem, Daniel

        1. Lance in the streets, Virgin in the sheets says:

          Don’t use my name slut

      3. bring back the metal into deathmetal.org says:

        i’m not a supporter of political correctness neither do i practise it, i’m not even german. things can be more complex than your dullness can imagine

  4. Brock Dorsey says:

    “How many notes can we fit in a song?” Is a really bad approach to music.

    Also, the fact that their “best of” album is titled “Greatest Hit” (singular) is a testament to a failed career

  5. anus.com/metal > this says:

    Awful band.

  6. Matt says:

    Who is this asshat writing this article. Don’t ever put RUSH in the same breath as these clowns.

  7. MF says:

    “Progressive” as the term originally applied to music signified a departure from traditional pop song format. Progressive metal when it originated was heavy metal incorporating key/time changes and more elaborate song structures.

    Arguing that DT (who suck) don’t qualify as progressive metal because they aren’t as good as King Crimson or classical music is just stupid and plain wrong.

    This site would be much better if it stopped policing arbitrary (and revisionist) genre definitions.

    “(Band X) is not metal because it’s (rock/emo/metalcore) and therefore it sucks” is not an argument.

    Unfortunately the current staff doesn’t seem to have much of a grasp of musicology beyond rattling off a few buzzwords (article above uses a form of “modulate” four times and only one time correctly) and parroting what Prozak/Brett used to write.

    1. AYYY WEY says:

      Da boi Danny autistic, don’t worry about it

      1. Contrary to funderground belief, all Death Metal Underground’s staff are mentally normal.

        1. Victims of AIDS says:

          Fucking normies

          1. Bloodsugarsexmaverick says:

            Being a normie involves more dedication and hard work than any funderground sub(human)culture. It should be something one should strive for. Gas this clown.

    2. Rainer Weikusat says:

      “Progressive” as the term originally applied to music signified a departure from traditional pop song format

      That’s quite a bit of a revisionist definition as people had gone beyond traditional song structure before.

      Random sample:


      And so-called ‘progressive rock’ (I’m sometimes tempted to call ‘regressive pop’) marks a depature from that to something more regular, more composed, more suitable to the learned prejudices of European ears and – above all – wihtout pretensions to be anything but mediun-light entertainment.

      There’s a famour CAR Hoare quote about software,

      There are two ways to construct a software design. One is to make it so simple that it has obviously no bugs and the other to make it so complicated that it has no obvious bugs.

      The second methodology applied to $musical_genre yields progressive $musical_genre.

      “Excuse me while I kiss the toilet”.

  8. Eddy says:

    The salt is strong with this one

  9. Scott Lattea says:

    What Dream Theater are is a band of talented musicians. When listening to their music you can’t deny hearing influences from Journey to Metallica and everything in between. I personally don’t think Ozzy Osbournes solo material is METAL. At least nothing past the Ultimate Sin album. This type of a article is much like saying PRINCE was a great Pop star but a terrible guitarist. He may have been the greatest guitarist ever.

    1. They’re musicians, not great composers or songwriters. Dream Theater is what happens when a bunch of musicians who like a little of everything get together to do everything at once and try to show the world that they are great musicians. Yes they can play but they’re playing awful music. Solo Ozzy at least made consistent radio and MTV rock. Dream Theater might as well be the beta version of Baby Metal.

      1. fenrir says:

        Hitting the nail here.

  10. Cate says:

    Obviously none of you have a true ear for talented musicians. Dream Theater broke their own mold by playing music that you can actually understand! Death metal is nothing but a bunch if mic swallowing, distorted bs, with no meaning or thought process behind it, Anyone can grovel and sound distorted, hell my 16 year old daughter can do that!! This bs they call music these days is nothing but the same sound repeatedly, I really don’t see them having much of a voice left to scream their so called lyrics in a few years, give it some time this too shall pass!

    1. Victims of AIDS says:

      Nice b8, m8, time for some 14/88

  11. Dirk says:

    Oh please, next thing I’ll read from you Daniel is that bands like Deicide and Immolation are better because they always make the same album. The guys in DT have levels of musicianship that those other bands would hope to obtain.

    1. Reactionary Reasons says:

      Being a — let’s be honest, at best — decent musician does not equal being a great or even decent composer. Managing to read adequately with quirky cadence in tonality obviously doesn’t mean that one knows squat of how to write a good book. Such is the case of DT, a fundamental confusion of surface and content.

      Mainly, they suffer from inferior structure and gimmicky juxtaposition, as can be seen in Opeth and Nu-metal (which DT arguably was a precursor of). On top of that, said band has a tendency to delve into the realm of saccharine bubblegum-“riffs”, without any further context as to why, than as a means of contrast.

      For a far better delivery of the same rough concept, Atheist is the obvious choice, with their ability to actually develop songs.

      1. Exfoliation says:

        I never ever, fucking once even ever understood the appeal of the galloping beat with slappy bass style that is associated with “being prog”, not even in Atheist. To me prog is old Yes, Gentle Giant, Genesis, Magma and a fuckton of even more obscure Italian bands, you can even say some Frank Zappa albums. DT are fucking cock rock with prog dresses folded on them like paper dolls. They’re fags.

  12. whatilike says:

    I like Awake and Scenes, the rest… hmm
    DT is prog/metal light. They kept making the same albums since 2002, which make them very prog and metal according to the modern definitions.

    1. Bloodsugarsexmaverick says:

      You also seem to like human male peninsula in your anal cavity.


    Mr. Daniel marrat,
    if there’s some entity in this whole universe which would be exactly opposite to music then that’s what you are.
    haven’t you heard “scenes from a memory”, systematic chaos etc???
    you are such a moron saying DT is POP.
    for the love of almighty, DONT FUCK UP

    1. Are the Beatles pop?

      1. bring back the metal into deathmetal orh says:

        no because they did not what they were expected to do when they had, that per se is not pop

  14. Scientist says:

    Ok Dream Theater fan here. Couple of comments.
    I can understand opinions can differ, but full of insult and apparent hatred towards bands music expressed in the first paragraph questions objectivity and validity of the ‘analysis’ done in the rest of the post.
    While the author might know something about music theory and can do basic analysis of musical structure, he is far from able argumenting his opinions in any objective or respectable way.

    What I would do instead is provide MY PERSONAL definition of progressive metal (because there is no objective definition of any musical genre) and explain why I don’t think it belongs to progressive.

    Phrases like ‘Their modulations and time signature shifts are more about haphazard instrumental wank’ won’t make any impression to anybody. It makes the author sound like an angry (for some reason) person who has strong opinions but not nearly as strong arguments to back them up. I don’t even want to argue about the content itself because there is no content there (apart from some rant from a person who dislikes some band).

    Dear author, if this is your way of dumping your negative emotions somewhere, its fine, it is your right. But if you intend to create some respectable analysis/report/content, try to put some thought and think critically.

    1. We don’t give a shit what your personal definition of “progressive metal” is and you didn’t state it to begin with. Some men think if they emasculate themselves, quaff estrogen, and wear a dress and high heels, they are a real woman. We don’t give a shit if you’re a “genre-queer” psychotic and want to pretend reality isn’t real due to your own delusions. Dream Theater is saccharine​ radio pop trying to imitate Rush, not heavy metal.

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